The Grave's Heart

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The Grave's Heart is a short story about idealized love, a tale of irrational romanticism akin to tragedies like Romeo and Juliet which immortalized the notion of love. A tale of romantic young couples for whom love is sometimes much more than infatuation; a bond the rest of the world would never understand.

Submitted: June 06, 2013

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Submitted: June 06, 2013

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THE GRAVE'S HEART

Ashay Anand

 

It was a foggy morning, not nice for a funeral procession especially if you are a part of it. The procession was nearing the grave yard. The atmosphere appeared tense. There was no wailing although the face of the elderly man was showing grimaces making it clear that he was sobbing. It appeared as if his voice had choked in the burden he carried.

Suddenly the mullah shouted something and the procession halted, it had finally reached its destination. The grave diggers started their work. They were as expressionless as usual knowing that if they showed signs of casual approach they could be roughed up by the mourners. I often felt their dilemma; it was their job they had got accustomed to it, they were professionals, machines made to these menial jobs in places where ordinary people would be reluctant .I did not expect empathy from these living corpses. I was the wrong man caught in between them. I was still alive in my heart I felt in the land of death. Absentmindedly, I assisted them in their work my mind still on those thoughts. We had dug just enough to bury the body. The corpse was brought, just then I saw her face. Sharp features, light irradiating from her glowing skin, a pleasant smile she must have been a fairy, a nymph or a princess. She looked as if she were sleeping peacefully and would get up in a few moments and start speaking. My thoughts were abruptly interpreted by the maulvi’s call for performing the last rites. Soon all was over. The nymph was gone from where she had come.

It was mid afternoon the fog and mist had made the visibility poorer. Cursing my job I sat by the pavement near the newly dug grave and saw a youth sitting next to the grave sobbing. I was startled my palms sweated was this a ghost? My voice choked and my head felt dizzy. When I got up he was still there, I summoned up my courage and got a closer look at him…….he was the same lad …..the same boy….. My mind raced back to the events that had occurred in the morning. He was the one; the crook who had tried to disrupt the procession and was lynched by the angry mob .he was ghastly. No wonder I fell unconscious seeing him. They had not killed him just to preserve the sanctity of the grave. He was a kafir they had said, even his seeing the face of the dead girl was an insult to them.

Gathering my courage I went up to him and asked him what the matter was but he just kept staring at the grave as if he was a hermit in trance. I advised him to go to the hospital or his wounds could cot him his life but my words had no effect on his deaf ears. My courage failed me and I ran as fast as I could, wandering whether he was a human or a ghost. I dared not to tell it to anybody lest they mock at me but I didn’t visit the place again that day.

Two days passed my failing health did not permit me to go to the graveyard. It was Friday, the holy day. After reading the namaaz I set out to work my health was better now and it is a serious offence for a grave yard guard to keep away from his workplace for long. It is not just a job but a responsibility. When I reached the place the boy was sitting in the same position. I cursed the other guards for being so careless and went up to the lad. His gaze was still fixed on the girl’s grave when I touched him he was cold and unresponsive. I was late. I let out a scream and called everyone.

We stood in a row watching him. He couldn’t be buried…..he was a Hindu. I felt myself guilty for being the cause of his death. I wanted to know abut him, find out why did he do so? Only this could lessen my burden, my guilt. I found it out and the scenario became clear to me.

His father was a rich man and like most rich men he was like a tortoise in a shell. He stood with serenity head hung low as if he was more concerned about the dishonor caused to him by his son’s act than his death itself. He shed no tears for this would have affected his dignity. But his mother was after all a mother and she wailed, sobbed and grieved. I decided to know about this boy from her. This was not very difficult as she wanted to meet the person who had watched her son in his last moments. I told her about his lunatic state and asked her the reason…and then she told me the tale…..the tale interrupted by sobs.

He was a jolly boy and had all the things one could dream of. He was well behaved, studious, gentle and humane. He had a lot of friends to share his happiness but some where in his heart he always missed something, something he himself did not know of. Maybe it was love. Something he desired and he could not get from us.

Suddenly he stated showing rapid change. He became gloomy and did not talk to any one, he slept less, ate even lesser. I found out what happened through his diary.

He had seen her running errands and offered her a lift politely, but she had sternly turned down his request and left him a little embarrassed. He was mesmerized by her looks, her manners, and her reply even. Everyday he would sit by the window waiting to catch a glimpse of her. Everyday she would pass by indifferent to him. He never said a word but waited for her patiently. Then she disappeared. He was aghast. Somehow he found her house and came to know she was terminally ill and was about to die. He wanted top help but did not fearing this would malign her name, something he could never bear. He saw everything as a silent spectator watching the fate do its work slowly and silently.

I did not want to hear more. Looked straight out of movies, they have spoiled people’s brains. Rubbish, plain rubbish. What a foolish thing to do! Suicide yourself for a girl you don’t even know. It was all nonsense, an infatuation carried to the extremities by a lunatic.

I returned home .I was already expecting to be a grand father and I had taken too much of this nonsense. My heart skipped a beat as I entered the house. A crowd had gathered there. Had my daughter delivered? I rushed in only to be greeted by a rude shock. My daughter had miscarriage. My unborn grandson was dead without even catching a glimpse of this world. My life seemed shattered. I sulk myself into a cocoon and barred any one from meeting me. Days passed without food. I did not wish to live.One day my trance was broken by a knock on the door. It was the mother of the deceased youth. She handed me a letter that had been found in his clothes. He had wished that his body be buried in the same grave of the girl. I told her to leave as this was not possible. She begged me to listen to her. His body had already been burnt. She wanted to honor the last wish of his son so she had preserved the ashes. She clung my feet and asked me to spread his ashes over the girl’s grave. I did not want to hurt the sentiments of a mother so I decided to keep the ashes. I would dispose them off later.

Next day I went off to the graveyard to dispose them off some where. No way was I going to sprinkle them over the girl’s grave and destroy its sanctity. But then I heard the voice of my heart, it was urging me to let the two pure souls meet…….maybe the girl would have also realized his love ……I had felt so much grief on my unborn grandson’s death. I had also not spent time with him. There was no visible bond…..my eyes opened from the slumber my reasoning mind had put me in. There is no reason required for devotion, for love. It knows no reasons, no logic. Why was his love infatuation when he had wanted nothing in return? This revelation stuck me. I would respect the last wish and I have no regrets for my actions.


© Copyright 2019 Ashay Anand. All rights reserved.

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