That Letter

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story about a letter received by the narrator and the story told about the characters within and related to that letter.

Submitted: March 28, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: March 28, 2012



‘Grandpa, why don’t you stay with us anymore?’; asked the boy.

The old man wanted to tell his grandson; “he never wished to, but had to do so to avoid conflicts.”

Instead he said, ‘I’m just here like you are in your boarding school. When I finish my schooling, I’ll be back’

‘Okay, but study well’, said the kid and he left with his parents.

Occasional visits is all that the kid will have with this grandfather for many more years until old age pave way to graveyard.

He didn’t talk about his grandpa anymore on their way back home, but he said this much to his parents, ‘I hope you guys will also be going to boarding school like grandpa, so I’d have less conflicts.’


What’s the destiny for most parents?

Many bring up their children with great hope. But most dreams are shattered in two shakes. That’s why we see many parents stuck inside four walls of modern and classy dungeons, which shelter only but the ignored and the deserted. In recent times, even the parents prefer that. An environment where their voices are heard and their thoughts have value and their work is appreciated. Most parents come from adon’t-even-waste-a-single-pennygeneration. It is easy to dump them to an old age home or shelter and come-up with an excuse. The easiest excuse will be the communication-gap that exists between them and the younger generation.

But, isn’t it what’s going to happen to them too, when their grand-children have the same problem?

Well, let it be where it is and nothing is going back to the way it was.

Here, it’s a story about a son and his father. A story of a father who gave all his life to nourish the son from his sweat; it's not just maxim because he truly toiled fighting the mother nature and pleaded for grand harvest every year until one day he came to know that his boy is at such height, even to get a glimpse. Whilst his son proclaimed a self made with a rag to riches chronicle like many.

How do I come to know about this? That’s the story.


‘Hey come on man, get out, it’s already late’. Yelled my roommate.

It was a routine thing in the hostel for everyone to stick around after the breakfast, reading newspaper or gossiping and then rushing to the bathrooms at the very last minute.

‘Okay, okay,' I said and got out and went to my room to get ready for classes.

I looked at the clock and it was just eight minutes to the first bell. I looked at my library books and there were two, which were already due and decided to take it back to library during leisure between classes.

Just when I go out of my room, my roommate came rushing in to get ready as usual.

On my way to the classes I saw coloured flags and slogan banners held by many. I saw the possibility of a strike by the student wing of a political party who doesn’t even have the slightest relationship with the college.


Just after the first bell those strikers hurried into classes with slogans and flags. Soon the long-bell signaled classes were over for the day.

As usual I was evading all the crowd and mad scuttle of college as I succumbed to the library. This was the place I visited most after food outlets. It was a large library with all facilities and spread over seven floors. I come here almost daily either to read current affairs or lend books — novels of great writers likeDickens, Verne, Kipling, Bronte sisters, Dumasand lot more.

I was in the English section looking for “The Count of Monte Cristo” byAlexandre Dumaswhich I have read at least a dozen times, but the enchantment of the book had me captivated. The bookshelf had score of copies and dust was all over it as it seemed none even touched them for years. I took out a copy with a green casing and as I blew away the dust, suddenly a piece of paper fell out from it which was partly damaged and in damp colour.

I took the sheet of paper and without anyone seeing I placed it in my pocket and signed off the book and hurried to my hostel room.

There, when I opened it to read a silkworm jumped off abruptly.

Blowing away the dust I started reading the sheet which was actually a letter. The letter was in my mother-tongue, ‘Malayalam’.

A note outside of this story — did you know the word ‘MALAYALAM’ is one of the few words you can read from left or right; try it.

The letter appeared like this, but to write the precise emotions and worry of the original is not possible.

“…………………………..It has been a long time since you have come home or wrote a letter, I know you would be really busy. I am making our girl to write this letter and she is really anticipating for you. Any way you know the problems here and I’m sorry for sending your money late.

Mother has to undergo a surgery next month, if not she won’t be able to walk without help. The girl comes and helps us which I think her parents don’t like as they want you to marry her soon.I think they are right to some extend.

Our girls are doing good but had to stop their school as the harvest season is approaching and I need help in the fields. The collection people have given the final notice and soon something should be done. I’m looking to get some money as loan.

I don’t know how long I could hold on like this. Everything depends on the crops; if they deceive this time too, we will be doomed. Hope nature won’t play unfair games again.

Everything depends on you and hope after this year you will get a job as your teacher as said and we will all be…………………………………………………”

The rest was eaten up by the silkworm.

What more a desperate father could write with all hopes relying on his son.

What happened to that father? What came about to that son? What was their destiny? Did that girl got his boy back? Questions are limitless to be asked but answers, they are hard to uncover.


As a normal person with anxiety to know what came about to those people, I decided to go after the ensuing story of that letter. The only thing I had was the name of the son and the name of the hostel he stayed, from the address section. The postage stamp showed the last digit of the year as the rest faded out. It was“7”and was not that hard to find which year it could be as there were only four chances;1967, 1977, 1987and1997as that hostel was established in1962.

A clerk in the office, father of one of my friends, helped me in getting some information about that son. He was an undergraduate in Economics and completed his studies in 1967. That was almost thirty years back. Most of the current teachers wouldn’t even have graduated and may not have any idea. My research came to a halt.

I left the unfinished pursuit there and went on with my studies.

The letter and its characters just became some performers in an early morning delusion.


After almost five years I was settling in a foreign country. I was a student again and was continuing my flat existence. My only contact with the soil I left behind was condensed to occasional emails and current affairs updated by means of internet dailies or magazines.

Once skimming through a famous regional language daily I saw an individual receiving one of the richest honours in alliance with the Republic day festivities.

But what struck me was the name of that person. A name which won’t leave from memory that fast, as it was the name of that son whom I was after to find the reality of some relationships a few years back. What made my assumption right was the description of the beneficiary signifying his studies in the same college during the same period of time.

He was in the government services and had been ambassador to many countries and currently was in the elite group of governors. Not a single word was written regarding his parents or birthplace but rather had details on his foreign wife and children pursuing education at top institutions in England and USA.

What a patriot? He was considered the true son of India –he was but fed with the tax of those people like his father.

Truly, the media are mostly behind these clean images to get a scoop which gets more coverage than exposing the filthy life of a whore who sells the flesh to feed her child. But nothing was found when I googled; criticizing this persona.


After fifteen years I read about that great son’s memorial service reports in the newspaper. This time it had the details about his village he grew-up and about his parents which was not there in previous several occasions.


After a year I went to my home country for holidays. I was adamant that I will trace back the story behind that letter as much as I can.

I went to his village which was now slowly paving way to the modern technologies and found the house which was now inhabited by one of his sisters.

She told me everything in brief; how hard her parents worked for him; their dreams shattered. They were devastated when he didn’t even return to see his parents after reaching colossal heights. What he didn’t forget was to send money as a reward for his upbringing. The girl who waited for years with her innocent love, later conceded suicide. A family with a son at such heights had nothing but story of misfortune to tell. His youngest sister was taken to the West part of the country where she was sold to some man-eaters by her own partner.

This sister stayed lonely for years after her partner eloped. She said everything with no sniffle or misery. Their parents left this world with no delight or contentment.

She said before her brother passed away he came to visit once; he seemed to be repentant and seemed devastated.

He gave some money to her and said;“What you do to your parents; you will get back for definite from your own brood someday.”

Four weeks later he passed away.


Two weeks later when reading the newspaper I came to know that the son who attained even the top most positions in a country didn’t die naturally.

He committed suicide, which was revealed by his secretary quoting he did so as he was unable to manage his personal apprehensions.

Was it true; I don’t know, but it’s true what he said to his sister in consideration of the majority and what we witness?

"Your destiny is decided with what you do or don’t do at certain phase of your life".


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