The Tale of a Servant

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: True Confessions  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: February 27, 2016

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Submitted: February 27, 2016

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My mother had long been yearning for a servant to help her in the domestic affairs. She had of late been weakened by an attack of pneumonia and needed an extra hand very badly. Both she and father tried their best to get a servant, but in vain. It was not that none came. A few people came seeking employment, but their demands were beyond what we could agree to. Many days passed in anticipation of a good servant until one day…

One day father returned home from office with a small boy of about 13 or 14 years. On entering father told my mother, “Here’s your boy. Mother was taken aback. That boy whose name (as it transpired later) was Roxy, did not seem to possess even the minutest traits as befitting a servant. After a long silence Ma finally asked father, “From where have you brought him? He doesn’t seem to be a servant!” Father replied. “I saw him weeping beside the office canteen this afternoon… thought him to be a beggar and offered a coin. But the lad declined the offer, and instead asked for a job. So I took him along.”

Ma was only too glad to keep Roxy in our house. However, she enquired of Roxy if he had any previous experience. Roxy replied calmly, yet confidently, “No, I don’t have! But I will learn …in a few days.” So from that day Roxy became a member of our household.

We had a spare room in our house meant for guests and visitors. Roxy was allotted that room. He, however, chose to sleep in a corner of that room! He had brought along a tin suitcase. He always kept it under lock and key. Initially, I asked him about the contents but he always put me off saying, “Oh, it’s nothing.”

Roxy became the favourite of the entire family within a short span of time. Besides helping Ma in her household affairs, he was always willing to help father with his daily activities. But more than everybody else, Roxy became my favourite friend and indispensable companion. When at home, I always wanted him by my side. I always pestered him with questions regarding his home and his parents. But he always preferred remaining silent on those issues.

Roxy was an early riser. He would get up before sunrise and would finish cleaning the house and the courtyard before Ma got up. Never did he falter in his routine. It so happened that one night he retired early saying he was not feeling well. But he did not get up at the usual time. It was almost 7 am Ma asked me to wake him up. So I went in. To my utter surprise I found Roxy’s suitcase open and towards his head an open book. Curious, I took the book. I was dumbfounded when I read the name of the book: Uncle Tom’s Cabin! In a fit I ran to Ma with the book. Ma rushed into the room. She wanted to wake him up. But he looked feverish! Immediately the family doctor was called in and Roxy was examined and given some medicines.

When after a few days he recovered, Ma questioned him regarding his whereabouts. Roxy looked blankly at her for some time and then, trembling, asked, “Will you drive me away if I tell you everything?” Ma could not hold back her tears. In a chocked voice she assured him that we would not turn him out of our house. He then narrated his tale. He was from a wealthy family in North Lakhimpur town. Both his parents were highly educated and wanted him to pursue a good career. Roxy was reading in Class VIII. Theirs was a small but very happy family. But the happiness did not last long. An unprecedented communal riot took place in their small and peaceful town. Both his parents were brutally killed. Their house was set ablaze. Fearing for his life, Roxy ran away. He could not remember how he reached Guwahati.

His tale stupefied us all; we could not say anything for a long time. Finally, father broke the silence. “Don’t you have any relatives?” “No, I don’t!” he replied. “If you drive me out, I won’t have anywhere to go!” Father could not reply. Then Ma spoke, “No, Roxy, you will stay here, here with us. You will be one of us.” Since the Roxy has been staying in our home. We are very good friends.

 


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