There was stillness in the dark. It was hot and the air was heavy. A dark man with a frail and sickly frame staggered on the dusty parts in the outskirts of Kubari. He was bald, his face sagged beneath the wrinkles, and he had big round eyes set deep in their sockets, which reflected extreme pain and agony. He must have been, in his younger years, a beautiful creature but that day he looked like a drooping flower. He was cast out from his village – his family backing the decision of the Panchayat.
The man was too weak to hold himself together. He had barely eaten anything since the previous day. He raised his eyelids to look for shelter and all he could see was the faint image of a nude tree swaying at some distance. It was alone, the only sign of life there, besides his own. It almost was his reflection – the tree.
The man walked towards the tree. Suddenly the clouds roared and thundered, breaking the intense silence. The man reached the tree and sat down with his back against the trunk, touching the bark, feeling the life within as if sharing a bond. All of a sudden the man coughed and it became a coughing fit. The black clouds too blasted. The sudden pauses of muteness of their roaring were filled up by the loud coughing of the man.
It rained. The droplets hitting them hard. The man was coughing up blood. He covered his mouth with his hand. The blood, dark and thick stained his hands and the rain washed them. The man succumbed to death and received his final ablution.
Although the man had given up his life, a couple of weeks later, the tree was laden with new leaves. It had embraced the man forever – after his own kith and kin had turned their back on him during the toughest time of his life.
This story was penned by my sister, Pallavi N a couple of years ago. When she is not busy with other worldly issues she spends her time creating spaces of imagination and bringing to life a side of reality seldom discovered.