FictionThe Death Blow - Rajani Priya, Tamilnadu

The Death Blow – Rajani Priya, Tamilnadu

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A house full of people and their neighbours waited in the street. The men especially were alert and expecting something. All their eyes glued to the street’s end. The mournful eyes shed all the tears. There was an inexplicable shock in everyone’s face. The family was struck with a crude truth. But what was that they were to accept? The truth was unbearably torturous to the family. But reality was that they had to believe it. It had come to them as a thunder bolt, shattered them completely.

It had finally arrived. It was an ambulance. People stared at it. The ambulance slowly halted before the crowded house. There was chaos in the crowd. More voices, more weeping were heard. They could feel their blood curdle. The whole air was filled with uncontrollable reverberation of noises. “It” was there at last. The father broke down at the sight of the vehicle. He was cursing the gods, cursing him, his fate .The vehicle slowly stopped before the house. There was chaos unleashed. Women were wailing on hearing the sound of the vehicle.

The body of the young man was brought in, which intensified the pain. A young eligible bachelor hardly in his late twenties, dead, was laid as though he slept forgetfully. No obvious injury was seen. All was perfect except his head, which was tied up with the hospital gauze. The mother, who was struck with horror, started talking to him. “Hey you dog! Raja! Get up; I’ll make dosa for you. See all your friends have come. Raja! Get up! You idiot. Don’t sleep!” She started banging at the freezer box, which held the boy’s dead body. The scene was so pathetic that everyone started crying with heavy hearts. The boy’s only sister was uncontrollably weeping. The house bore a deadly look.

Raja was the only son of the lower middle class family. The father was working as a carpenter in housing projects. But they lived a contented life except the debt after the marriage of Raja’s sister. The father gave a decent education to his son and daughter. He married off his daughter to one of their relatives. The boy younger of the two got into a fairly good job with a good salary. The family was happy that they would be able to clear all the debts that they had, once he gets a good pay hike. Raja, known for his mischief would always play with his mother even after he went for a job. He called her “Shantha” always, which gave her a lot more happiness. Whenever he was happy he gave her a hug and a pinch in her cheek. Though it pained she would only pat him with a pretended anger. The mother and son duo was known for their jokes too. She scolded him whenever he went wrong but also loved him more than anything in the world. The family was enjoying the initial bliss of the boy’s proud earnings, when that fateful day came. The mother wanted the boy to buy a brand new bike in the market to make him look like a real raja. Though the boy resisted the parents had already placed order for the bike which they thought would bring him back home soon. Little did they realize that they were spending a huge amount to purchase death?

The all new brand gave him extra pride and it was a definitely a luxury for him. He performed all known religious pujas at home stringently. He got up early whenever he had a morning shift and he would take bath at the backyard regularly. That was a Friday, a very auspicious day according to him. As usual he took bath and offered his prayers to all his favourite deities. He had mild fever but he ignored it. His mother advised him not to go and rest at home completely for a day. But death was awaiting and would not allow anyone to escape. Would it? The boy too was not an exception. He left home neatly dressed, telling her that he could manage. At office he was not normal. He could feel his body temperature rising. He wanted to leave the office but had so many works in a row. He managed to stay till the office hours got over. He started from his office with his friends who all bid him goodbye on the way. He had to travel more than an hour in his bike to reach home. His body pain was severe and his eyes were burning due to sleeplessness. He had been watching a match on the television on the night before. All these made him tired and weak. He was nearing his home, sweet home. He would taste his favourite lip smacking dosa. He would lie on his mother’s lap the moment he reached home. Every inch of his body was complaining. He was completely exhausted and for a fraction of a second his eyelids drooped making him lose his control of the bike. The next moment his bike slipped into a speeding bus. He was thrown a few feet away in the corner of the road. In his tiredness he forgot to wear the helmet, which was lying safely locked to the bike. He was rushed to a nearby hospital. He suffered grievous head injury. His parents were informed and they rushed to the hospital. They couldn’t believe a word that was told about their son’s accident. They were not told of the severity of it though. Everyone gave them false assurance that their son would become fine. They were sent home as they were too weak to stay back the night. The boy lived that night but only that night. The friends and relatives of the boy had many formalities to be completed before claiming the boy’s dead body. Meanwhile the boy’s sister was informed of the sad news and she conveyed it to the parents. It was a blow to the family, a death blow. It was too unreal to believe.

There he was lying down as if he was deaf. The mother started cursing the boy for not getting up, his friends for not awaking him. She finally swooned when her dead son was removed from the home. She could never see him again. He would not be there to play with her, to pinch her cheek. There was none to call her name “Shantha O! Shantha”. The loss of her son was incredible. It was as though he was pretending to be deaf to her voice. She was asking herself hundreds of questions.”How could it be true? She saw him alive and lively that morning. He could have reached home in another ten minutes but even before that why did it happen? How could God be so cruel to a person who was just beginning to live his life? Why should he die and I live to see that? What was his fault? What was the sin? Why my son, my only son, the apple of my eye chosen by death? Death the leveler is at times cruel, unfair. Who decides death? On what basis does death strike a person? How is it that people with diseases in advanced stages pull on while children and young men die unreasonably? Is it Karma? Or is the result of what is called Purva janma karma? Oh! God why can’t you be rational and fair to the ones you bring to earth?

These are some of the unanswered questions of many such Shanthas. She finally cursed “Let death face Death”. Death be not so proud! A mother’s love is far more powerful!

IR
IR
Editorial Team of Indian Ruminations.

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