A blue lunch box

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

It's a short story about eternal memories that travel with us forever, When we lose our most precious thing in life. A story about pure love, memories, and emotions.

 

“When someone you love becomes a memory,

 then that memory becomes a treasure.”

 

12:30 pm … as recess bell rang; turmoil among students would get started. Students started rushing to the table where their beloved parents kept their lunchboxes waiting eagerly for children to arrive- having name and class slip attached to them. Usually every kid knew their lunchboxes, and just by looking, they would grab them promptly without noticing the slips. As lunchboxes began to open- an aroma of pasta, sandwiches, parantha started spreading. Some Students would eat their lunch with their friends, but there were some, who only wanted to devour all the food by themselves and liked to eat alone. Whole school would echo with children’s voices in these 30 minutes of recess. This half an hour was like a priceless gift to them.

 

BUT BETWEEN THESE LUNCHBOXES, there was a “Blue lunchbox” that had never been taken by any kid; no one ever came to pick it up. In whole recess that lunchbox kept remained on the table, and when the recess got over, someone would come to take it back.

***

“Good afternoon madam, “guard, standing on the main gate of the school said in very gracious tone.

A lady in Indian dress gave perfunctory smile to him without saying anything, and kept a blue lunchbox on the table as she did every working day of the school.

Guard stared at her in very curious way until that lady droved in the car. He had been observing this same thing for the past two months since he joined the duty of a guard in this school, and he knew very well that this lunchbox would never be taken by any student. He never understood that for whom this lady was keeping this lunchbox every day? And ten minutes after the recess gets over, she would always take it back. Even she knew it very well that this box would remain in the same condition as she had left it. He tried many times to ask this lady- about this strange behavior of hers, but he never gathered that courage to do so.

 

BUT, after so many days of peculiarity- finally one day, he told one of the school teacher about the strange behavior of that lady, and asked her about this happening. He also showed her the slip, which that lady used to put on the lunchbox.

 But when the teacher saw that slip, she got astonished by seeing the name on it; on slip “Nishant Mehta class 2”in beautiful handwriting was written.

“Does this student study in our school?” guard asked that teacher curiously. “He never comes to take his lunch box “

After a small respite; the teacher took out her spectacles and…..

****

Three months ago….

“Nishant, today I am gonna give you something special,” Nishant’s mother said to him in a jumpy tone.

A felicity came in Nishant’s eyes “Is this my favorite pasta maa? “ He asked delightedly.

“Surprise surprise,” she responded in impish manner.

Nishant always loved surprises about what would be inside his lunchbox.

Apart from the delicious food that his mother gave to him, he also loved his “Blue lunchbox”, his favorite color very much. He would always be the first who collected his lunchbox from the table, and considered himself as a bigwig in his group while eating food from it. He didn't love to share much with his friends.

Whenever he came back from the school; He gave his lunchbox to his mother, and there would always a slip inside it, written:-

“My mom is world’s best cook”

Drawing was his favorite subject. He loved to play with colors, and always tried to make ‘magnum opuses’ from them.

His mother was a bank accountant, and his father had passed away when he was three years old, nor he had any sibling. He was the only child to his mother.

Fulfilling his desires had been the first priority of his mother. Every day she would take him to the park in their locality; where he would play with his friends and ride his bicycle, which was the best among the bicycles his friends had had.

In every 10 minutes, he would call his mother so that she could be able to see him that whether he was playing with his friends, cycling or anything.

Seems to be simple, but for him his life was full of fascination and excitement.

***

On one regular day:-

“Can we go to park maa? “Nishant said to his mother.

“No, not today, I am little busy. We will go tomorrow, promise,” his mother said in very adoring voice.

After hearing disgruntled answer from his mother, he started obstinate

“Please mom, please,” knowing that this trick would never be crash.

After losing from her child’s stubbornness, finally his mother agreed to go to park with him as always.

Same day in the park:-

It was a cloudy day, and little rain had also got started.

“Now it’s time to go back to home, we are getting late,” she started calling her son Nishant.

When he didn't respond to her- she started seeking him. But even after a good search she only found that her son was not playing anywhere in the park. Agitation started stimulating in her mind now.

 She started shouting hardly, “Nishant, Nishant…it’s time to go home, where are you?”, so that her son can heed her voice.

 

AFTER A FEW MOMENTS- finally, she found that her son was riding a bicycle with his friends on nearby road, which she didn't allow him to.

“Nishant… Nishant, come here. It’s time to go home. Rain has begun to start,” she said loudly.

But her son was busy in enjoying a good race with his friend.

As he always loved to win. He was riding his bicycle as fast he could.

But as he reached his finishing line at intersection- suddenly a WHITE CAR stroked his bicycle, and knocked him down on the road, few feet away - dragging his loving bicycle up to a little distance on the road, till the driver applied brakes.

“Nishaaaaaaant, “his mother, who was watching his son riding bicycle few seconds ago bellowed horribly. She started running towards his son who was lying injured - bleeding on the road.

It was a cloudy day. Now rain had also started gushing.

People began to congregate.

When somehow that lady managed to reach near to her child; her dear son’s blood was flowing on the road with the water.

By witnessing such a dreadful incident, a Black out occurred before her eyes. She was on the verge of fainting.

She ran towards his son, lying insensately on the road, and put him on her lap. She started crying, howling; rain was getting stronger and stronger - carrying her tears along.

She was half dead at that moment.

People were shouting - Showing agony on the car driver but nobody was caring about that seven year “Benign kid”.

He had been taken to a hospital. Those were the gruesome hours of hope and fear.

 

BUT, she became completely dead- when the doctors gave up on her child.

 ***

We all know that whatever precious things we have, they are not going to remain with us forever. Whether they will leave us, or we have to leave them. This is a true and harsh reality of life.

But when we lose our “most paramount reason of being living”; then it becomes very difficult for us to regain our “life” again.

And same thing happened to that lady on that cataclysmic day. She got completely shattered from inside, but no one was there to comprehend this, nor anyone to console her. She was left alone- totally devastated.

 

***

Present day:-

IT WAS A SUNNY MONDAY - as 12:25 pm reached; the red car stopped at the front of the school main gate. The same lady stepped out of the car, and kept the lunchbox  on the table; on which a slip was attached - inscribed “Nishant Mehta class 2“. But this time the percipience of guard towards that lady had been changed. Now he knew the story of this “blue lunchbox” very well. Today he didn't say good morning to her.

 

Two - three days passed like this - Same recess time - same lunchbox, and no one to pick it up.

 

BUT SUDDENLY ONE DAY - when that lady came back to pick her lunchbox after the recess, something unusual happened. When she grabbed the lunchbox, it was not in the same condition as she had left it – It was empty. It was the first time that someone had emptied it, and when she opened it - not even a single food particle was present, as someone had swabbed it completely!!! She became cogitated for some time.

Guard was observing all this. But she didn't ask him anything about this unusual happening. She just moved back to her car with that empty lunchbox.

One week passed; this thing started happening every day. Whenever she came back to take the lunchbox, it was found to be empty. Now, this mystery of empty lunchbox was making that lady overwrought.

***

 IT WAS A CLOUDY TUESDAY:-

Today, when that lady came- the guard standing there said good morning to her.

She felt very strange- that after so many days - why this guard wished her suddenly?

When she turned towards him - there was some other guard standing there.

“Earlier, some other had been servicing here?” She said softly to that guard.

“Yes madam, actually he resigned from the job,” guard said.

She didn't show any expressions and started moving. But before she could withdraw her feet, the guard began to complete his answer- “sadly his father passed away last Saturday, and now, there is no one to take care of his mother in the village, so he went,” guard said in-one breath.

She still said nothing - just gave him a mournful smile, and she moved.

As she was driving the car, something came in her mind, and she turned back to the school.

 As she reached there, she found something strange; her child blue lunchbox was “missing” from the table.

She had become aggravated about this mystery. She thought might be some other kid in the school who had just found that this lunchbox had never been taken by any one was doing this, or perhaps some other secret was there. Because she knew this really well that her kid wouldn't come to take his lunchbox.

She went to nearby park- where she used to come with her son every evening. Where - her son used to hit sixes while playing with his friends. She sat on the bench there- thinking about everything that she could think of about her son.

Suddenly clouds in the sky thundered. She looked up.

It was a cloudy day too - just like that devastating day.

She started thinking of her son again, but she didn't want to, because it hurt, it hurt her lot.

SUDDENLY, she conceived one method of solving this mystery- that was to reach the school before recess gets over, and she could nab that person, when he would come to put that empty lunchbox back on the table.

But now, she didn't want to. She decided that she would not go back to collect the box. Now, the story of his son’s blue lunchbox should be ended just like his son’s story.

 

WHEN she was plodding back to her car- suddenly she saw something behind the bushes - something known. But she didn't know- what exactly it was?

As she moved close to that bush; things started becoming clear. Yes, it was something blue- “A blue lunchbox”. When she came closer, she found something strange. There was a miserable kid of same age that her child was, wearing old torn out clothes - bare foot - was gobbling up the food from her son’s lunchbox, such that it was the last food left in the world.

Now, the mystery of “This empty lunchbox” had seemed to be solved.

 She kept looking that boy for a few minutes- until he gobbled out all the food - even the food sticking inside the box.

After some time she said slowly, “Have you liked the food?”

When the boy heard the voice of that lady, he got scared. He thought that she had come to nab him. He began to run, leaving the box there only. But she grabbed his hand promptly.

“Don’t be afraid. I am not here to catch you,” she said.

Boy started fibbing.

“Don’t panic,” she said politely, giving him a kind smile.

 He was still frightened, but despite of that, his eyes were still rolling on that lunchbox. He wanted to put it back, because he didn't want to break his promise at any cost.

 “Have you liked the food?”  She asked again.

But he said nothing, just kept looking down.

“Ok, just tell me that, when you take this lunchbox, nobody stops you?” She said little emotionally

 

AFTER A WHILE, boy said, “The guard who sits there…..” His face got smeared with fear. “He used to give me this lunchbox every day- but with a promise that I have to give it back to him before the recess gets over,” he said nervously.

She said nothing, just stood there, listening to the boy, like that his voice was the only thing she wanted to hear now.

After he stayed silent for a while; “But today….,” he continued, “Somebody else was present there instead of him. So, I took this box furtively from the table”

 That day was cloudy; now little rain had also got started.

“But I have to go now. I should have kept this back until now. I got late today,” he said to her while picking the lunchbox- having tears of abash, and fear in his eyes.

She still said nothing. She got trapped in a web of emotions, empathy, and longing of her beautiful past- her memories with her child.

As she was thinking of all this- something started filling her eyes. She thought that she had never seen her child eating from this lunchbox but when he used to- did he eat in the same way as this boy was eating few moments ago?

 Something had filled her eyes completely now.

As moments were passing, rain was getting stronger and stronger. The tiny droplets of water now became a heavy pouring.

The boy started plodding towards the school with the lunchbox.

But she was still standing in the rain; thinking…

But after moving little- the boy turned back, and said with a smile:-

YOU ARE WORLD’S BEST COOK

As she listened this; whatever was filling her eyes, it started coming out.

But this time rain wasn’t that strong to take them along with itself.  

THE END…

 

 


Submitted: December 14, 2014

© Copyright 2021 divyanshu007. All rights reserved.

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