Wahab and his geometry box

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
just an anecdote of a superficial soul

Submitted: September 26, 2011

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Submitted: September 26, 2011

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Some days back when I was taking my folks to our ancestral home, a bizarre incident took me by surprise. Its monsoon in Kerala, and some of most elite artistic stokes from god’s brushes can be witnessed here during this time.

The vigor of Nature on that day was not helping me on my driving, as viscous droplets of rain came rebelliously against my windshields. The visibility reduced to a complete oblivion, but with luck just in favor, we had reached a town near to our destination. Our vehicle was made to stop near to a “bakery” to buy the customary “guest-gifts”.

May be it was the registration or the strikingly odd car out of place, that made a ten year old take a notice on his target. I was still lost in gaze with the droplets battling over the glass, evidently portraying the strength of rain in this part of the world. The sound created a strange trance added on to the gloomy mood. It wasn’t until my mother came back with the gifts I noticed the little think dark boy standing next to passenger’s door.

It must have been the mother within her that prompted out to ask the question “enda mone..?”(“What happened son..?”)
His eyes ran through the car and without meeting any other eyes he said “box – vennum”(“I need box.”)
“boxo… enthu box?”(Box…what box?”) With intriguing compassion she asked.
“ee.. compass.. scale.. vattathillulla…”(“ee.. compass..scale..round-thingy…”) then he stopped with an abrupt ending, not knowing whether to plead or expound.

“Buy him”, spoke my dad from the backseat for the first time, sensing the situation.
Before my mom could even spring into action, I intervened and asked her to hand me some cash.

The kid was still by the door carefully monitoring all what was happening in front of him. It was my turn to get wet now, and the boy was already drenched.

I got out and asked him to point at the shop from where he wanted to get it from. With wary cautious steps he moved forward and raised his little finger on to a shop. I had a reason for the question, something that was running in my adverse mind. “Was he a con artist being played by a vendor to keep his stock flowing in monsoon?”
So my immediate answer was a “no”. As I looked around and walked a few more steps he pointed at another shop, to that shop too it was a “no”. He never questioned or made statements.

“What’s your name?” foolishly thinking that every boy of his age should interpret this statement in English.

To which he replied “hhhmm….uppa… veettill kal odinju… athonda…”
(“Hhhmm…dad… in the house with broken legs… that’s why…”) As he spoke there was a small formation of teardrop in the corner of his eye melting away with the pores of rain. It was then I realized that he wasn’t a con artist but just a boy crying out for help.

I had become the villain of my own plot. And realizing that needed a change, took him to the next immediate shop for amending the scenario. Asking him to choose the box, i went into closer inspection of the character. He never struck as a beggar or a scrounger, and thus realized that he was asking a benefit for the first time.

He carefully chooses his Geometry-box from the stack, as the same way he had chosen the car earlier. Holding up the box, with sparkle in the eye, he said “ethu” (“this one”). And for the first time he had smiled.

Without much further ado, I took the “box” to the counter for payment. Like the déjà vu that haunts me in every shop, the machine plays the “not working” track again. With pinch of humor I asked the lady at the counter “did computer upgrade us, or slow us down…?” To which the answer was an understandable break of smile, and she went back to mending the machine.

The rain’s play for the day had toned down by now. The silhouette of that young boy, eagerly waiting outside the shop was much clearer now.

I asked the lady to pack some pens and pencils on to it as well. He never asked for anything else, which made me think on how stern he was to get that “box” of his. He made me ponder deeper to my conscience, about how granted you have taken life so far? Here a boy at such tender age is eager to study, and I crib about the broken computer. I had got the answer to my earlier question. “I am happy to have my ‘box’ ”. The maze of thoughts was disturbed by the familiar “beep” sound.

While handing over the packet I asked Him, “enda ninte perru..?”(“What’s your name..?”)
To which he replied “Wahab”, ironically that was the same name of my previous school owner. Life is full of metaphors indeed, and reading through them takes time.

He took the plastic bag and met my eye for a second or two, then turned around and walked above the trail of wet road. The rain had stopped by then, and the silver lining among the clouds became clearer as I walked towards the car.

From my “box”.


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