Sunday, October 6, 2013

COLOR

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 42; the forty-second edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is "COLOR"
Picture taken from Google images

Aryan watched the rain pour outside through the tiny window above his bed. He wished the pitter patter outside could drown the voices of his parents shouting, but they were too loud. Moreover, their fights were already etched on his mind now; silence of no intensity could erase them away.

“Why have you shut him inside his room? At least open the goddamned door!” his father was saying.

“So that he could sneak back into that shitty place again?” his mother shouted back.

“He is a kid of 9 for God’s sake! You are scaring the hell out of him!”

“If fear is going to put an end to his attempts to go there, so be it. It is all for his good.” His mother’s voice was deathly cold.

Aryan jumped as a loud bang rattled through the house; his father seemed to have hit the table in frustration.

“He is lonely Anjali. We hardly stay at home the entire day. My parents are very much capable of handling him. And it’s not as if he goes there every day. It’s just once in a month. I thought you were OK with that?” he tried to reason with her.

“I was initially! But have you noticed the change in his behavior when he comes back from there? Dadu this, Dadi that. Those old people are distancing our only son from us Rajeev, don’t you see that?” Anjali said.
“And the questions he is full of?” she continued, “Why Sita was kidnapped by Raavan? Yeesh! Is that what is going to come in his exams? Buddha, buddhi are not responsible for him finishing his homework are they?”

“Anjali! How dare you talk about my parents like that!”

“Yes. Go on. Yell at me. Where was your loyalty towards your parents when you sent them away from our house Mr. Shravan Kumar?” Anjali taunted him.

“It was because you wanted that! You said that we wanted a more private life!”

“Then why are you letting your parents invade our privacy now Rajeev?”

“It’s just for one day Anjali. You know he misses them too much…”

Aryan shut his ears with all the might his small hands could muster and closed his eyes. He choked back a sob, big boys didn’t cry.But he missed his grandparents so much; it felt as if his eyes would burst with the unshed tears.

He looked outside to see that the rain had intensified. With a pang, he realized that Dadu would be standing near the bridge, waiting for him to come. Dadi would be smiling at the porch, delicious smells wafting from her weather beaten hands and a hundred endearments in her wrinkled, warm eyes. He ached to go back to the ramshackle house they lived in. True the old wooden gate was moldy and the garden overgrown but no skilled gardener in their own prim lawn could match the beauty of his grandmother’s roses.

He looked around to take in the ‘modern’ design of his bedroom. Colorful posters of his favorite cartoons, wall murals, play station, laptop, a makeshift basketball play space with a plastic hoop and his big bicycle all spoke of a grandeur he had never wished or wanted.

He loved the peeling paint of his grandparent’s cottage more than the fashionable peach and lavender of his mother’s design, he loved the old, dusty frames of what seemed like a million Hindu Gods and Goddesses more than the expensive paintings the walls of his house boasted of, he loved the warm smell of his Dadi’s kitchen more than the artificial fragrance of the room fresheners in his house.

Yes, he loved every part of the small house at the sight of which his mother wrinkled her nose but more than that, he loved the two old and extraordinarily warm people associated with it.

As far as Aryan could remember, it was the soft cotton of his Dadi’s saris that had nestled him than his mother’s silks and furs as a baby. And it was his Dadu’s incredibly interesting stories that had lulled him to sleep than his parent’s lullabies. As two very busy people, his parents hardly ever were in the house but he never complained, he was more than happy to stay with his grandparents.

But then, one fine morning, they were made to leave. Aryan couldn’t understand what happened but he cried and cried so much that his parents agreed to send him every weekend. Weekends therefore, became his favorite days. As he grew older, his mother who was against their bonding from the very start convinced his father to curtail his visit to once a month. What do children with no grandparents or grandparents far away do, was her argument.

Aryan met this decision with a huge tantrum but to no avail. But the fact that he could at least cherish a single day in the month was his only consolation. Things were working fine until his mother finally put her step down and banned his visits altogether. He was shocked when the designated weekend came and he wasn’t taken to the much awaited trip. This continued for two months till Aryan decided that it was time to take matters into his own hands. He sneaked away from the house when the maid was busy with the TV. He knew the path perfectly and he could even tell the time form his Sponge Bob Square Pants watch. But as fate would have it, a neighbor caught him walking alone in the middle of the road and marched him to his parents.

Result- shut in his room with voices inside and outside his head alike.

He rolled to his side and extracted a small glass ball from beneath his pillow. He twirled it in his hands, watching it catch little details of his room and reflect them back. He remembered the day he came into its possession as clearly as if it happened just hours back and not a year ago.

He had gone to the beach with his grandfather that day. It had just stopped raining and the sunlight sparkled gaily on the dancing waves. A rainbow popped out of nowhere then, like the magic his Dadu had often told him about. Having never seen one before, Aryan had raced the colorful band as far as his small legs could carry him and sunk down at the place he thought it originated. He had grabbed fistfuls of sand and shouted excitedly “I caught it Dadu, I caught it!”

But moments later, when he had opened his hands gingerly, only the grayish black sand slipped through his fingers- no colorful bands of the rainbow.

He was beyond consolation then, even his Dadi’s soothing words that it can’t be caught, it was a part of the nature failed to pacify him- his tiny heart was broken at the revelation that day.

It was then, in that moment of terrible anguish that his Dadu came like his personal savior angel and presented the small glass ball on outstretched hands.

The plain ball had come alive with colors as the sunlight fell on it, the white light getting trapped buy the million facets inside to produce brilliant, brilliant hues. He carried it with him everywhere since, the magic ball, his own personal rainbow.

He soon forgot all the expensive balls his parents got him; there was a whole world of beauty in it for him that his prents could never see. He refused to part with it even when he went for a bath; it was only when it fell and showcased its fragility that he satisfied himself by putting it under his pillow and taking it out occassionally. And every time he went to his granparent's place, he took it along with him. He would sit with his Dadu and stare at it for hours in silence, using it as a magnifying glass, watching the slow procession of ants as they gathered food, observing the curious way catterpillars moved and every time it caught the sunlight and splitted the seven colours, his own face would split with a huge smile.

He loved watching his Dadi through the ball too. He would trace it over her soft skin while she napped, feel the awe as her red bindi became magnificently big in it and then laugh and skitter away as she woke up with a start and pretended to catch him.

He traced the ball with one hand on his bedspread when he was suddenly aware of the silence in the house.
Aryan gingerly removed his other hand that still clutched his ear and allowed it to receive the news from outside. The shouting match seemed to have stopped. There was a hushed silence instead. Aryan, instead of feeling happy, felt a wave of foreboding wash him. His childish instinct told him that something was wrong. Before he could ponder further, the door opened and his father came in.

“Get ready Aryan, we are going to Dadu’s place” he said in a surprisingly gentle voice. Aryan’s heart leaped at that. He instantly combed his hair and checked himself in the mirror; Dadu always demanded perfection in his attire. He pulled his socks and shoes at a speed that would have surprised his mother and tugged his father’s arm “Ready Papa”.

Maybe he should have wondered over the strange look his father gave him as he ruffled his hair sadly, but all he could think disgruntled was that his hair was ruined. Maybe he should have wondered over his mother accompanying them on the trip, it was so unlike her to do so, but all he could think of was the mantra in his happy head “I am doing to Dadu’s place. Dadi will give me kheer again. I am going to Dadu’s place. Dadi will…”

His mantra came to an abrupt stop as the car splattered mud and came to a stop in front of a small cottage. What surprised Aryan was the number of people gathered outside. He didn’t even know so many people lived in the neighborhood. 
Birthday, was his instant thought, maybe it is Dadi’s birthday and they are giving a party! He called his mother to confirm his theory but the look on her face stopped him from saying anything.

They got down from the car, his mother insisting that they take the umbrella, but for once his father stepped out of the bulbous shadow the black fabric seemed to cast and went forward in the rain. The hushed conversation of the neighbors seemed to pause as they approached; Aryan winced as his father’s angry, pained voice echoed through the night.

“The rites have already been performed?” his mother piped in incredulously.

Murmurs of affirmation and something that sounded like ‘Yes, in the morning. She passed away last night…’ sounded out.

Aryan gaped confused from one face to another; unable to understand why they wouldn’t go inside. Nervously, he started tugging his father’s arm.

“Why didn’t you tell us? And you’re saying he left? LEFT? Just like that?” his voice cracked.

“He told us not to… tell you. But we thought we should inform you at least after he left…” a lady said.

A panic started building inside Aryan’s chest then. What was happening? Who were these people? What were ‘rites’ and who had left? He tugged his father’s arm in frenzy, fear clouding his senses just like the dark clouds clouded the evening light.

Finally realizing that he would not get any answers from the horde of people standing there, Aryan ran. Heedless to his mother shouting behind him, Aryan ran. He fumbled with the wooden gate, ran on the gravel path till he reached the blessed abode of the small, ramshackle cottage. 

He waited for a shriveled figure wreathed in a soft, warm sari press him to her chest. He waited for a tall, strong figure to peer down on him behind his glasses and greet him with a “Are you here Aryan? Open your shoes outside and hurry in.” He waited to see the soft lights of the house illuminate two wrinkled faces that lit up at the sight of him but there were no lights that day. The house was just another trick of the dark.

Aryan took a few steps till he stood at the door. What met his eyes shocked him beyond measure.

The door was locked.

The big old fashioned lock that he had played with all his life was bolted shut on the door. He remembered how his Dadi used to joke that they never had to lock their house; the thieves would never find anything valuable in it. It seemed like a betrayal to him now, that lock on the door, betrayal to his faith that his grandparent’s door would never be closed for him.

It was then that he finally realized, they were not coming back. His personal angels were not coming back, they were gone forever. He looked at the glass ball in his hand; there was no rainbow smiling with all its colors that day- as the rain streaked down the smooth surface, Aryan could just make out his own tear streaked face in it. 

He threw it with all his strength and walked away. 

And as the ball rolled and took its final breath on a black rock, the colors crumbled to dust for once and for all…
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: 03

31 comments:

  1. hmm,impressive.
    somtimes story loses thr tracks,bt it's so well knit in every paragraph, tht I got this feeling only aftr I read it whole!!!
    awesome thinking,and teri writing pe comments krne ki kabiliyat mujhme nhi hai...

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    1. It is always a pleasure to have your comment on my blog Avinash. I am so glad tujhe ye story acha laga! Keep visiting!

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  2. Ah, such a poignant, painful and emotional story!! I felt choked. Very beautifully written!

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    1. Hi Usha Ji, welcome to my blog. Thanks a ton for the appreciation. I am really glad that you liked my story :)

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  3. It's a touching tale beautifully written Kriti. The end is too good. Keep writing for BAT.

    Someone is Special

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    1. Thank you SIS :) I am glad you liked the ending. It was partly the reason I was compelled to write this tale in the first place. And I am hoping to be a regular participant for BAT too!
      Thank you for the visit :)

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  4. we don't realise someone's worth till they are gone, and then it's too late...sad but true! well written tale.

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    1. Exactly Little Princess. There are so many things in life we take for granted and realize their worth only when they are no longer a part of our lives.
      Thank you for the visit! :)

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  5. Hmm. Lots of different character sketches as your stories usually have :) Sad ending. I wish you had given it a happy one. Not always possible in life I know. But I feel it merited a happy one.

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    1. Thank you Leo. Regarding the ending, you know the reason why I wrote this in the first place. Moreover, you know how famous I am with sad endings to sad stories ;)
      Feels great to have you commenting here :)

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  6. A gem of a story....
    hats off to you.
    simply incredible & inimitable piece of writing.I was literally bulldozed into shedding my tears although at the outset I was in jolly mood.This is what present day education system is teaching. Each one of us is craving for NAME,FAME & GLORY -The same old story. The etiquettes & decorums have taken a back seat on the pretext of aiming at apogee,. Such diabolical actions of a handful of elements are something alien to our cultural ethos.anyways, Keep writing. A good one. It has made me go green with envy :) I wish you could transfer some of your brains here.

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    1. I am sorry for the tears you shed Ravi. I hope you dont blame me for a case of dehyrdation later :P And I agree with what you say here, the current trend has really put our culture in the back seat.
      Anyway, thank you for the visit and the lovely comment; your appreciation truly counts :)
      Keep visiting :)

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  7. Hats off !!
    No words to say more !!
    You caught me, wordless, choking, emotional here...
    I can see an Aryan in each one of us....in one form or the other !!
    Absolutely tugging and pulling at the heart !

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    1. Thank you Sreeja Ji. I am glad my story could move you :) Welcome to my blog :)

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  8. Touching!
    You beautifully carried with the emotes and attachment.... very well crafted with your words.
    Kirti, it was pleasure reading you dear :-)

    All the best!

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    1. That made my day Simran! Thank you so much. I am glad you liked the story :)
      All the very best to you as well :)

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  9. Tragic story. The number of nuclear families is increasing at a really fast pace. Can't blame new couples entirely, life has become really hectic, with no time for family. Life is a real struggle these days, with no support system to fall back on. No wonder kids these days have a seemingly inferior value system

    Well narrated.

    Cheers
    CRD

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    1. Absolutely true CRD. But family is a thing that a child should never be deprived of... this is what i have always felt. Thank you for the visit :)

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  10. Kriti Kriti Kriti.
    Wonderful write-up. I wasn't expecting such a tragic end. Keep honing your writing skills.
    Way to go.

    Cheers

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    1. Thanks a ton Animesh! :D I am glad you liked the story :)


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  11. that was a touching tale..
    ATB for BAT :)

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    1. I am so happy you liked it Rashmi :) Thank you so much :)

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  12. Oh wow. Well written. Not hard to picture the whole story.

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  13. Its very skillfully narrated and felt very authentic and heart felt at the same time. Awesome!

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    1. I am so glad you liked it Sunjoo. Thank you so much :)

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  14. Sigh. This is beautiful. Heartwrenchingly beautiful. Many people don't realise how much of space grandparents hold in our hearts.

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    1. They don't and that is so unfortunate. I am glad you liked this. I was waiting for your comment :D

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