THE HANDICAPPED – A SHORT STORY by NAVAL LANGA

 

 

AUTHOR : NAVAL LANGA

Nothing can be achieved without enduring a bitter fight: this is written on foreheads of Indian men and women. My short story The Handicapped is a story of struggle, a struggle that catches a person’s throat and suppresses voices.  In the present short story I have tried to narrate that how a man, along with his lover, struggles for becoming an entrepreneur. He has to wrestle for acquiring a licence for setting up a small business—the regular odds from establishment. However a the persistent efforts pay, and it always pay. — Naval Langa

 

THE TRAFFIC LIGHTS stopped, a python like line of the city vehicles turned immobile, humming like the groan of an injured leopard. The passage for walking blinked a green light. He turned cautious; girded his loins. On any count it was not easy, for him, to cross the distance between two roads within the stipulated time, thirty seconds. The seconds started reducing. He gathered all the pieces of courage he had and went on almost galloping, in his style. But the people coming from his behind did not wait. They found it urgent to push him aside, making their way through. He could not make it. He fell down in the middle, on a white slash of the zebra crossing itself. Bag in hand smashed. Stampede.

Before he could collect himself and touch the other side, not a safer one but other side, the traffic signal had opened. He was caught in between. Within a few seconds the entire current of vehicles got disturbed. Horns shouting. He lost the sense of time and space. Survival. The survival of life became paramount. Until a policeman approached him, helping, he had experienced the nearest contact with fear. In addition he had known half of the dictionary of abusive words, too. From the vehicle drivers’ mouths.

“O… why don’t people like you sit at home?” Another policemen shouted from a safe distance and proved that he was on duty and awake. However the man managed crossing the road, but not without bruising on his left hand. The legs were safe. The policeman who shouted earlier was still throwing his preferred syllables. Incessantly. He did not heed. Because only he knew how difficult it was to cross the road, for a person having one polio-affected leg. Handicapped.

He did not thank God. He should have. Because he was in the midst of losing something important: a leg, a hand, or even an eye. But he was happy that a copy of the file he had in his cloth bag was in tact, unspoilt. He had painted a picture of his life to come in this file. CONTINUE READING>>>>>


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RECALLED TO LIFE

 

AUTHOR :  NAVAL LANGA

 

I HAD NEVER EXPECTED the revival of my life, in such a full swing. I never expected that I would start learning to live so differently. Till that day the signature my past had put on my life had not faded.

Until that day I had fiercely guarded my heart from letting it out. But on that day I was on a journey, the journey that changed everything that was I. The journey worked like a bridge that has separated my past and what I am today. The train headed on a plain land, after leaving the rocks and the thorns behind.  I opened a side window. It opened like a book that I had read and loved—the green leaves, the green plains. I took the fresh breath and enclosed the green expanse within my eyelids.

The nightlong journey ended with slight fatigue inside and heavy brushing of shoulders outside, on the platform. Ticket collector stood with notable negligence, polishing a brass buckle of his belt. When I smiled at him, at the buckle, and at his blue coat, oily at the collar, he responded with professional apathy. Collection of tickets was a mandatory work, and to smile an optional. He only did his mandatory one. Then the blue coat turned his red-wet lips to spray some remnants of his chewed stuff in a give-me-the-waste box.

For going out of the station safely one would have to avoid looking at station ground that would be emptied and refilled by the whistles of trains, ignore the boiling sea of the people, unlike each other in caste, colour and creed, and sizes of their heads. Then there would emerge some faces, too, standing discretely at periphery, seemingly wearing an aged dilemma over their tense foreheads that should they move left or right. Thereafter one would come out, reaching at the main gate.

I was at the main gate. 

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MY MOTHER’S PENCIL SKETCH

 

AUTHOR : NAVAL LANGA

                    
 THIS IS NOT HIS first attempt of running away from home. First time he did it when he was thirteen, studying in standard eight. He had run to the bridge, but failed to beat the cold that had sent tremors to his spines. 

He had again tried it in first year of college. This time it was for the reason of Sheena. Sanity recovered in two days. Retired hurt. Sheena still lives in the street, in the same house in whose back yard they had passed hot afternoons. Her windows are still transparent, but her big brother keeps hard cloth curtains.

But today is a different day. He determines to be homeless, finally. He has no plans in mind, no weight in the pockets. In his bag he takes a few things. One pair of clothes, one pair of football shoes, and an old photograph of his mother, his dead mother.

Past. The word makes him uncomfortable. Why people can’t live with the past? Though his stepmother, Bijaya, has never hurt him. Nor she has considered his presence as upsetting, despite his poor record in schools and never attending college properly. But that is not enough. She never helped putting off his shirt after he played in rain. She neither scolded him on coming late at night, nor she shed tears when he was ill. His mother, before she died, did all these things.

But today is a different day. Bijaya removed the pencil drawing of his mother. She wanted the space for an embroidered wall-piece. His mother was a drawing teacher and the pencil drawing, a self-portrait, was her work displayed on the wall. For Amit it was like a relief. When surrounded by loneliness, he would go near to the pencil drawing, put his nose on the frame of the portrait, and smell his mother’s presence.

Today the smell is shifted, from drawing room to storeroom.

When caught in a web of worries, people remember their relationships, old relationships. Amit goes to Sheena. Now he can meet her freely. She lives in PG Hostel, as she has got admission in a post graduation course. Amit could not. While giving admission, they consider only the marks, and not the height of the students.

“It’s not a good ground for leaving home.”

“Sheena, I know. But I… I want my own life now.”

“Okay, I will tell my brother to find out some job for you.”

Amit still dislikes her brother’s face, especially his fan-like moustache. But he prefers silence.

 

MR. GOPALKRISHNA IS a well-known lawyer. The city knows him by his talent and the high fees he charges. He loved his first wife, Amit’s mother. He gave her money to spend, but failed to give her time and care when she needed. She died. Amit was in standard five then. There was time when people believed that Gopalkrishna had a soft corner for his secretary, Elena. But they had no evidence for proving the softness. They suspected the joint tours ventured by him and Elena. But they were unable to put hands on the particulars of any hotel bookings they did while on tours. Mr. Gopalkrishna is an advocate. The lawyers are good at destroying the evidences.

CONTINUE READING>>>>>