OF MICE AND MEN by John Steinbeck – Book Review

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Of Mice And Men. An apt title for a novel apt to be called the best ever written. It is about two drifters who travel to different places for employment and work and move out for a different place when work in one place is done. Two such drifters, George and Lennie always travel together. Lennie is mentally unsound and keeps getting into trouble and George, incessantly keeps standing by his side and rescuing his friend who never does anything with meanness but just childish innocence stemming from mental instability.

The novella of just a little more than hundred pages paints the characters live to the reader and the same it does to the friendship, companionship and to an extent, apprenticeship sort of relationship that exists between the both. Lennie gets into trouble in a work place and that leads to both of them fleeing to a different place for work and successfully get employed in a barn field. Lennie again falls into a trap there and then starts trouble. The reader is then stupefied with what happens. All the beautifully constructed emotions and feelings between them collapses into void: void of greater meaning.

It is a must read for all those who love American literature. John Steinbeck, Nobel prize winning author, like in all his other books, does some real magic with his words in this one. A true genius.

TRAIN TO PAKISTAN by Kushwant Singh – Book Review

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In the year 1947, while millions of Indians celebrated the arrival of the long awaited independence, thousands others were reduced to corpses in the process of partition of India: formation of Pakistan. Statistical and political accounts show the reasons and figures of the dead. And books like Train To Pakistan show the pain, the grief, the feelings, the hardships that have gone through between the people who were directly affected.

India’s one of the most celebrated author, Kushwant Singh through this novel of his, published in the year 1956, narrated through some peculiarly lively characters that reside in an imaginary village Mano Majra, near the border between India and Pakistan, brings out the real, true and direct suffering of the rural people due to the partition that is remembered today and a bloody period and blot in the Indian independence history. Inter alia, he also gets the reader into how manipulative and unaccountable the government systems such as the police force, the judges and other law enforcement bodies that acted during the period were.

Besides all this, the characters in the book also put forward different concepts that prevailed at the time and still do prevail though not at that degree, like religious superstitions, stupidity, people’s kowtow towards it, and the hot and vengeful clefts it had spawned between other religions. Through characters such as Hukum Chand, a magistrate, ideas of moral conscience, unreasonably unaccountable power and the miss use of the same are expounded. And through other characters such as Iqbal, Juggat Singh, etc., idea about educated people that the rural rustic had and what they really meant in the real picture is explained.

On the whole, it is a book that is a must read to understand partition of India into India and Pakistan and what it meant to people who had to lose their loved ones, those who had to travel hundreds of mile, flee to unknown and disowned places for the life that they held dear and other vagaries that persisted. Kushwant Singh at the age of 41, created this gem of a book called Train To Pakistan.

THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (Part III) final

For part I, THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (part I)

For part II, THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (part II)

 

Virginia’s mind was bursting. After successfully arguing with Miss Gisela about her not going to the wedding ceremony, she found some time alone. Its kind of queer how humans normally wish to spend their last time on earth, alone. But to her dismay, there was not an inkling of loneliness at the time. She felt as if ghosts haunted her; ghosts before which she felt powerless – helpless. She got up from her study desk in frustration and floundered herself into her bed. She got into her rug and looked out of window hoping in madness. She sat there floundering. The window didn’t help.

 

Kristopher read a poem about how love is the most essential thing that has to exist between people and things. The poem he wrote said about if life is a human body, then love is the blood, if life is a plain baked cake while love is the sweet cream that you add and other many analogies. All the people roared with bright smiles on their faces oblivious to what was happening on the other side of the coin. Maybe their smile wouldn’t have evanesced even if they knew. It was now Renea’s poem. She blushed before starting. Tiara must be the only one in the crowd that must’ve understood it was false.

When a woman loves a man, they have gone

To swim naked in the stream

On a glorious July day

With the sound of the waterfall like a chuckle

Of water rushing over smooth rocks,

And there is nothing alien in the universe.”

 

Tiara’s eyes grew large. Her body jerked.

Ripe apples fall about them.

What else can they do but eat?

 

When he says, “Ours is a transitional era,”

“That’s very original of you,” she replies,

Dry as the martini he is sipping.”

For a second, she thought she was going to faint. She pushed herself back to senses. The crowd’s cheer grew even louder for the poem was about Kristopher. But Tiara stood perplexed there amidst all the mayors’ guests. Something pulled her back. Two slow steps backward. It was her legs. She turned around and ran leaving Miss Gisela Smith puzzled in the zest.

 

Viry sat calm on her bed; trying to control herself. At this time, she shouldn’t find any reason to do that, but, that is the point. She sat there by the window, her eyes locked to the snow outside that was falling as if slowed down. Time seemed to be slowed down. As if she was blocked in the second and each moment is struggling into the next and not flowing like they always did. She was motionless for some time and then, took the needle that was on the window and held it in her fingers.

 

Tiara ran to Kristopher’s office. She stood there at the reception gasping for breath.

“No prince inside to barge in today.” The receptionist said.

“I’m coming from the prince’s… prince’s…” she stuttered for breath.

“Marriage?”

“Marriage,” Tiara said, nodding in affirmative.

“Strange.” The receptionist mocked.

“None of your business.”

“You’re right. None of my business.”

“I’m going to ask you just one question.”

“And my answer would be, ‘none of your business’”

“Shut up that abhorable sewer,” to this, the receptionist’s face changed angry, “Where are the letters…”, Tiara still gasped, “where are the letters from Virginia going?”

The pen fell from the receptionist’s hand onto the ground breaking with a ‘click’.

 

Virginia moved her eyes form the needle to the corner of the cotton mattress she was on. She brought the needle trembling to the corner and started to pull the strings of threads out from it. In a minute, the mattress was open and a few plumps of cotton found their way out. A teardrop fell on the opened mattress from her tired eyes, held by a clam and still expressionless face. Another tear. A few tears and then they flowed down her cheeks.

 

The wed had been locked. They married. Flower petals were shot up into the air, people cheered deafeningly and all started getting sloshed; glass after another of wine. The air was interspersed with flower petals. Beautiful, tender petals of Roses, Tulips and Stephanotis were flying all around and people on the ground celebrated with lot of gusto. Bottles of champagne were tossed open. Kristopher and Renea remained blushing while all the youth gathered around them and tried pulling them into dancing to the lilting heavenly wedding tunes played by the best musicians of the village. There was no cap to the mirth here while the same was absent to the sorrow on the other side; of the coin.

 

In tears, Virginia pushed her hand into the opened, wet corner of the mattress and pulled out a bottle… of poison…

 

Anger rushed augmenting through Tiara’s blood knowing Renea’s thievery of Virginia’s poems; she stole all of them: through the receptionist. First thought was to go to the wedding and inform the guests of this treachery. But something told her going to the wedding and making a scene was an absolutely bad idea. But she had to rush and she knew where to, since even before she went to the wedding. She got herself into a horse carriage and harassed the driver to get to Viry’s fast. An hour and a half ride through the spacious roads of the village biting her nails in distress and she arrived. Something felt funny at the house.

 

Tiara slowly pushed the door creak open, breaking the eerie silence. There was absolutely no hint of activity or sound inside. The house was in a mess. Papers were all over the floor and so were Viry’s clothes. A current of fear ran through her spine. She made her way through the mess into the kitchen and ignored all the utensils fallen slovenly on the granite floor. It all looked so unlike Viry, as if the house was burgled. Her foot kicked a raspberry tin on the floor making a small *tang* that seemed like the loudest sound ever, shaking the already trembling body of Tiara. She waded through all the uncouth to Viry’s room. On the bed was Viry as if fallen and frozen in the position with a fist-sized bottle, empty, fallen by her side.

Tiara ran to the bed and fell on the corpse wailing out her lungs to the dreadful thing that happened. She moved her head vigorously as if cursing the Providence, held the corpse tight to her breast and cried… like no one ever, for anyone, could.

 

 

Epilogue

It was evening and the last few rays of sunlight lit the Poppy sea beach. They scorched crimson in brilliance originating from scarcity. The sea made calmer waves. She looked at a family of four, afar, enjoying on the beach. The children were running back and froth in the water and onto the sand giggling those childish little giggles. Those happy giggles… must be bliss to the mother – thought Tiara sitting on the warm, wet beach sand. The sun was descending evenly into the unknown horizons depriving her of the already scant light rays. Her life with Virginia seemed like the day; as if setting into void. As if all those happy moments she enjoyed with Virginia Clarke, all those chirpy laughs and happy friendly talks and shared sadness were fading into the night. Descending down. Half of the orange ball settled down pulling the other. But the sun doesn’t set for good – ever, thought Tiara Adams. None can stop it from rising again. Yes. The sun will show itself again; with brilliance it had never before shown. A new day will be born, like always. Virginia will live… forever… She will be happy…. Where ever she is….

Tiara got up from the beach, dusted her back off the wet sand. She walked back smiling. The crab didn’t stop making its way out of the hole recurrently while the sun had set. And the stars had shined.

 

IT ALL ENDS HERE…!!

 

PRATHEEK REDDY

 

 

 

* Poem “Somewhere Or The Other” by Christina Rossetti

* Poem “ When A Woman Loves A Man” David Lehman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (part II)

for part I, THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (part I)

 

Tiara was waiting in the palatial anteroom along with other few people wanting to visit Kristopher. The other few people also included the Chief Courtier along with his dwarfy assistant. After a few minutes, a guard came from inside and insinuated something to the busy receptionist in denial.

The plump receptionist took her eyes off the papers she was shuffling and announced perfunctorily, “The time for meetings is done for today. Visitors are requested to find their way tomorrow. Timings remain the same.”

The Chief Courtier, disgruntled, got up sulking and walked out in anger mumbling all sorts of taunts. While everyone started leaving with weary faces, Tiara stood there amidst the frantic, observing the receptionist, the guard standing by the door to Kristopher’s speciously magnanimous hall and the people leaving. Ideas after idea stroke her mind impelling her forward to the receptionist. With a pretentious calm look on her face, not taking her eyes off the half open door, she asked the woman, “I am Tiara Adams, one of Prince Kristopher’s closest friends and there is something very important to talk about.” The receptionist nodding in dissent opened her mouth to deny her entry into the hall. In a moment, her mouth froze open while Tiara rushed past the guard into the hall.

Kristopher was slumped back in his chair with his feet on the table, which descended onto the floor on seeing Tiara. “Tiara,” he said with a bewildered look, “You can’t enter like this. I am not open for any talks now.”

The guard uttered in fear, “Shall I take her out of the room, sir?”

“Get out of here you moron” he shouted in rage and turned his angry face to Tiara, “And what’s the matter with you.”

“Don’t play dumb Kristopher. You know what the matter is – better than anyone ever can.”

Trying to control his fury, “Just tell me what it is. Don’t play around” he said.

“Since you fancy pretending so much, let me talk you through it. When was the last time you’ve seen Virginia?”

Kristopher gave an exasperated look and opened his mouth to speak as if to strew the matter with ridicule while Tiara not giving him a chance to, questioned, “Huh? When was it? Do you understand what you are up to at all? You better not mess with Virginia – the best girl anyone could ever love. Oh, how you ruffle that flower in your evil hands” She said with a disgusted angry look. “What for? For she loved you? For she yearned to marry you? Or was it for she spent months together dreaming a family with you? What had she done that you are acting this way with her? She must’ve written a million poems for you by now… only to know you aren’t interested in replying to her with one. I pity that poor thing that thinks you are reading them…” she stopped to take a breath. She turned her teary eyes away from him, brought her hand to her eyes and continued, “That poor thing… do you feel any sort of concern for her?”

“Sit down Tiara. Sit down you. Let’s get things clear now.”

Pushing his hand off her, that tried to sit her, “That would be great of you. Let’s get things clear here and now. Renea Mccullough is a whore. That whore who cheated how many men into love. This time it’s you. That evil…” Kristopher cut her through with a loud growl. “For God’s sakes woman… I do not feel anything anymore towards Virginia. Call me all those colorful names you want. I can’t feel her love no more. You don’t understand that, do you? I am with Renea now and that’s the end of this matter.” he said in a wild frenzy, “We are planning to marry too… So clear your mind of any notions of me seeing Virginia again. Does that suffice you Mrs. Adams?” Repenting instantly what he just blurted, he brought his hand to his face.

Tiara was taken aback. She collapsed into the sofa behind her. She brought her eyes to him, “W-w—w—w-what? W-w—what did you just say?” In utter astonishment, she muttered as if to herself, “This defies comprehension. What the hell did you just utter? There is no way in hell I am going to let you utter such. You will kill her.” Looking back at him, she said with angry tears in her eyes filled with fear, “You will kill her.”

“Look Tiara, Viry is a good…”

“Dare you call her ‘Viry’, you insidious bastard.”

“Tiara”, the prince shouted in defiance stepping forward, “take control of that abhorable tongue of yours you…”

“I think I’m done here.” With the anger burning live on her face.

“Yes, you are. You so are. And let me tell you your presence here is the least wished for now. So make yourself exit before I…”, Tiara exited in disgust before the prince reduced the sentence to mumble addressing her exit, “I call the guard in.”

——————————————————————-

The evening sun was scorching crimson on to the typewriter as she sat in her balcony and typed away seriously. A few birds greeted her from the air on their way back home from their day’s play, worms warm in their stomachs.

“Those worms are dead nevertheless.” Her mind said. “And probably none of those birds wants to fly in that stupid tandem with their leader in the front. Maybe all they want is a free, unrestricted flight.” Beauty was hard to seep for her by now.

Tiara entered the balcony, “What…” she said, pretending to be hesitating, “are you writing?” the hesitation was to find out how Virginia was doing. And the birds flew out of her eyes’ reach.

“A poem.”

Tiara read…

“When a woman loves a man, they have gone

To swim naked in the stream

On a glorious July day

With the sound of the waterfall like a chuckle

Of water rushing over smooth rocks,

And there is nothing alien in the universe.

 

Ripe apples fall about them.

What else can they do but eat?

 

When he says, “Ours is a transitional era,”

“That’s very original of you,” she replies,

Dry as the martini he is sipping.”

“Awe, Viry, you don’t have to do this.”

“So, is that it? His plan? Leave me behind and move forward?”, Viry asked calmly, ignoring Tiara’s comment upon the poem.

“Whom are you talking about, Viry?”

“Tiara…” she took long gasp before saying his name, “Kristopher, who else.”

“I’ve not spoken to him, Viry.” She lied.

Breaking the scene, Miss Gisela Smyth, Virginia’s aunt entered the balcony with bright exclamation on her face, “Tiara Adam! What a pleasure it is to see you. But I have to chastise you for your scarce. Gone are the days when you used to spend most of your day here, aren’t they?”

“Nothing such Miss Gisela. It has ever been a pleasure seeing you. How is your health?”

Miss Gisela spoke in a typical English aunt way, stressing her neck back and sounding as if mocking, affably though, “Look at my girl Tiara, Viry. She’s enquiring of my health. I’m doing fine just as ever Tiara baby. You wait here. I’ll get us three some tea for a conversation.”

Grabbing Miss Gisela’s absence, Viry asked her again, “What did he say?” There was an unusual calm in her face while she asked this. What commotions were rumbling inside is an enigma.

“Nothing Viry,” she replied. After a long silence, “Are you angry with me?” Another bout of long silence. The sun was descending. “To whom were you writing that poem,” she asked to break the silence, as stupid as the question was.

“The poem?” Viry asked looking into the abyss.

“Viry, don’t tell me its for Kristopher.”

Viry turned her gaze away from the missing birds in the sky to Tiara. And of course said the only thing her friend wanted her not to – the only name she wanted herself not to say! – “For Kristopher!”

“Are you angry with me Viry?”

“For what?”

“For visiting Kristopher.”

Miss Gisela interrupted again; this time with some tea and biscuits. The three then indulged in a modest little rapture. Viry, after many weeks has shown her cute smile – for reasons unknown though. Tiara couldn’t help smiling in aroused happiness seeing her friend.

Later, when Tiara rose to leave, Viry couldn’t refrain from calling her.

Tiara turned around in curiosity, “Yes, Viry?”

She said with her eyes locked to Tiara’s face, “I can never be angry at you.”

————————————————————————-

It was a rainy day and someone knocked on Tiara’s door. She put the newspaper aside and opened the door to the rumbling that the raindrops spawned and to a kid soaked in rain. In his hand was a wet envelope. He didn’t speak.

“What is it young man? Who are you?”

The kid’s spirits naturally rose with joy at the word ‘young man’. “Miss Gisela had sent me on an errand to you”, he said raising his hand that held the envelope.

“I assume the purpose of the errand is to give me this envelope.”

The kid or young man as he liked to be called replied sincerely in affirmative. She opened the envelope with the kid before her and skimmed through the matter. But no. She had to give it another good reading; not to understand which she already did, but to digest and presage. Her expression changed serious and she gasped tiredly throwing her hands down. She looked at the raindrops that were hitting the ground outside for a few seconds and replied to the kid waiting for direction. “Say to Miss Gisela that I say yes”, she said in a desultory and dejected way.

With barely any comprehension of what had happened, the kid ran back perniciously away in the rain.

Tiara opened the letter gathering strength to read for one last time.

To Tiara baby,

As you must’ve already known, the Prince has formally proposed to the mayor to wed Renea McCullough. Do not get surprised when I say the wedding date is day after tomorrow itself. The Prince for reasons unknown wanted to put the wedding ceremony in low key. And you know how close the chief courtier is to me. He had sent, yesterday, a formal invitation through a soldier cadet to me. Can you believe? They have sent a soldier cadet to invite me. Now you can’t expect an old woman to go alone to the wedding: to the palace ceremony lawns. So this old woman decided to take you, my baby, along with her. Meet me tomorrow in the evening and we shall plan the day next. Isn’t it a real honor to go to the wedding ceremony of our beloved prince?

With love as ever,

Gisela Smyth

————————————————————-

The Roses and the Tulips freshened the morning air with their faint fragrance while the Lilies glinted the sunshine on their dewed petals. A honeybee levitated all around an orchid oblivious to what was happening on the ceremony lawns of the palace. Miss Gisela along with Tiara just arrived at the place. Miss Gisela, like every other guest enjoyed to the utmost, the royal welcome. Various flower petals were dispersed from the top on to the guests and all had been served the Mango Tart before entering the function: a gesture of honor and respect. But of course, something quite opposite and awful was going on in Tiara’s mind. She could surmise from all that was happening and also her feelings that what awaited wasn’t as sweet as the Mango Tart. It could also be as sour as Renea McCullough, the bride; or as many consider, a c*nt.

The mayor had arrived from the palace just then and all rose in respect. Tiara’s head spanned. It was as if the whole world around her was going into abyss. All she could remember then, were her friend Viry’s immoderate happiness the first time she kissed Kristopher, her ideas about her future with him, the millions of poems she wrote to Kristopher and the hours she spent selecting the best to read them to him in the evening that they spent on the wet sand of Poppy sea beach. And then she thought about the tears she had shed and wails she had wailed when Kristopher ignored her. But she talked gaitily when she knew he was marrying Renea. She was perfectly nimble and agile in her talk after she knew she lost Kristopher forever. Something was wrong. Something wrong was lurking behind the labyrinth of puzzling circumstances Tiara was put in.

While Tiara was eclipsed by these dreadful thoughts, a lot had happened before her on the wedding dais. The bride and the groom arrived to a great cheer from the crowd. All raptured raising their glasses that held 380 year old wine in them. The priest had read the prayers and then was the time for the bride and groom to exchange a few poems. What pursued then stupefied Tiara to devastating levels.

 

For part one, THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (part I)

For part three, THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (Part III) final

THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (part I)

THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD

 

Centuries deep into the past rested a village. And rest it did by the shore with great peculiarity and magnificent size. Yet it is a village ‘cause the “villagers” wish to call it so. It was a very developed village where no horse ever went hungry (forget about the folk) and all the denizens were well versed in English. The mayor Kelvin Pearson (who resembled more a king than a mayor with the colossal power and inextinguishable riches he possessed) is very stern, just like his ancestors, when it comes to tradition that is credited by many to be the fore-player in success of the village. No outsider was ever allowed inside the village, nor did the inmates ever venture out. All the villagers took great pride in being at Hannderberg and never wished to ‘stain their hands’ by stepping outside just like they did not allow any outsiders in.

But what really defines the peculiarity is that this village of ours possesses a poetic magic. The land, the air, the water, the people, their breath, their thoughts, the animals, pet or wild, possess a mystical essence of poetic sense in them. The young and old all converse their feelings and emotions in beautiful poems. People become friends through poems and friends become lovers through poems. Every ear in the village is always docile for a sumptuous feast of poetry. In the air was always a lexical magic working its way into the people’s minds soothing their inner souls and calming their ruffled hearts. The more emotional the poem gets, the closer the people get.

This is a story of ages, ossified as history, long back. Welcome to Hannderberg. Welcome!

——————————————————————-

There has never been that a loud shore in Hannderberg. The waves of the Poppy Sea were booming onto the shore with great rumble; pushing themselves forward thumping the bed. The weather was sultry and the evening sun was descending down the horizon dispersing strong crimson all over the sky. A crab made its way out of its hole for the hundredth time and Virginia observed it every time it came out and went in perniciously. Tired, her misty eyes turned towards the sea. It had been two hours since she sat there on the wet sand.

Tiara came and sat beside her, by the crab that was still continuing its momentary peeps out of its hole. “What happened, Viry?” Tiara asked, “Did he not come?”

“No”, said Virginia Clarke, smiling, with her eyes still to the sea.

Tiara’s expression changed serious – sympathetic. “You don’t have to act before me, Viry.”

Virginia’s smile changed slowly into a wince, her lips twitched and tears welled up in her eyes. “He never comes Tiara.” She said in a quivering soft voice tears rolling by her cheeks, “He never does.”

“Don’t say so Viry. He loves you.”

Virginia turned her face towards Tiara and she had an angry look which was quite rare; angry look as if originating from long suffering, as if from helplessness of her state, “No he doesn’t,” she said, “He doesn’t even care.”

“Don’t utter such abhorable words Viry.” Tiara said with a sense of authority over her friend. “You do know how much he loves you. He used to spend days writing poetry for you… just to impress you. Did you forget all that?”

“Why doesn’t he see me then?” she said with her voice transcending the sound of rumbling waves while a tear dropped down, “I waited on this shore for him to come for weeks – on this shore where he read his first poem to me. What have I done that he ignores me this way. Tell me what it is that I have done, Tiara? Why don’t you do that?”

Tiara Adams, finding no way that could assuage her friend’s sorrow, stared at the quarter set sun while Viry wept with her face in her hands. Beside her were papers filled with Virginia’s poems… To Kristopher…

 

Somewhere or other there must surely be

    The face not seen, the voice not heard,

The heart that not yet—never yet—ah me!

    Made answer to my word.

 

Somewhere or other, may be near or far;

    Past land and sea, clean out of sight;

Beyond the wandering moon, beyond the star

    That tracks her night by night.

 

Somewhere or other. may be far or near;

    With just a wall, a hedge, between;

With just the last leaves of the dying year

    Fallen on a turf grown green.”

————————————————————————–

It was eleven o’ clock in the morning and the weather outside was serene though with not a glint of sunshine. Mayor Kelvin just returned from a hunt in the eastern woods that he enjoyed whenever he was happy; mostly after his administrative accomplishments. His personal maid was waiting in the hall to receive him. “Good Morning my Lord.” She wished fervently, “was the hunt relieving? How many tigers this time?”

Handing his bow to her, “Aaaaah. I was skeptical when Trevor said tigers were scant in those eastern woods lately.” The mayor said, “He was right!” and sat on his plush sofa in the center of the hall.

“Oh, what a coincidence! Good Morning Trevor, we were just talking about you.” The maid said delighted, as Trevor, the right hand of the Mayor in all his governance issues, came for his daily meeting with the mayor to apprise him of issues at hand for the day.

“Good Morning, sir.” He said obsequiously. With no response from the mayor, he began, “Sir, starting with today’s events, the official…”

The mayor cut him in between, “Trevor, where is Kristopher?” he said looking at Trevor with concentration, “When did he decide to abandon his father?”

“He-he-he had been acting quite out of sorts lately, your mayoralty.” He said, “The apprentice wanted to meet him yesterday to discuss few errors in the revenues but he wouldn’t stand him for a second. He just shooed him off.” He then said hesitantly in a low voice as if not to be heard by the maid, “I heard he is busy with a girl names Renea Mccullough!”

“What did you say her name was?”

“Renea Mccullough”, Trevor repeated servilely.

The mayor rose from the sofa and turned against the maid and Trevor towards the wall behind the sofa looking at the photos of six of his ancestors hung on the wall. “Stifling all day with ladies of the country? This is not what Pearsons do. I sometimes doubt if he is not my blood.”

The maid stepped forward, “Don’t think such your mayoralty. He is so young. This is what all young lads of the village do. Maybe he will understand things better as time passes.”

“Are you alright?” the mayor turned around towards the maid and boomed; “Only a lunatic would call a 21 year old a ‘young lad’. Since time unknown, we Pearsons have been proving ourselves to be worthy of governing this village. We rule this vast land because we are unusually strong in our ideals. But this son of mine seems to have none of those qualities.”

Kelvin sat himself back on the sofa and fell into deep fatherly thinking about Kristopher while Trevor and the maid stood before him patiently.

Kevin Pearson lost his wife to Lymphocytic Leukemia when Kristopher was seven. But unlike normal human heart’s tendency, Kevin had shown young Kristopher little lenience. On the other hand, Kevin, by the dawn of his adolescence, had proven himself to be a stunningly quick learner. He had learnt all martial arts of the village at a very young age and had been declared precocious when he understood all governmental principles and could even apply them appropriately. But lately, he had been restless with the work his father had been relegating to him. He started to yearn for freedom from work. The importance and the pride in doing his father’s work that he found once were evanescing now.

 

For part two, THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (part II)

For part three, THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (Part III) final

DELHI IS NOT FAR by Ruskin Bond – Book Review

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The world we live in is the only world we know – the cities. We perceive its beauty as the only beauty possible. You, reading this, probably thinking the place you live in, the urban surroundings, is the most beautiful. But, even in the rustic and idyllic surroundings of villages, lurks beauty – beauty that is not ostentatious like the urban but one, which can only be felt through experience.

Ruskin Bond, in this novella of his, takes us into an imaginary village Pipalnagar, he had conjured through experiencing life in various villages of North India, and into the lives of people who think and act simple, who find love and beauty in the simplest ways and things of poor lives, modest yet fervent dreams. The novella is written in first person format and the first person is a young and poor author of short crime and mystery stories living in the village who’s life is affected in the sweetest ways by the daily perfunctory activities of his, the people’s and the village’s.

The story is narrated in a very terse way giving it a poetic sense. Various characters who appear in the story are poor and humble people who are connected to the village. Inter alia, Bond narrates the nature in a way that makes all the life the nature holds come out freshening the reader. The hills he talks about, the nights, the trees and their each unique meanings, all leave the reader wanting more of the book.

It is a simple story of people who live simple lives but a story that identifies the sweetness and the love that rests calm in those lives. Various daily events and activities are described of these villagers, which the reader definitely has experienced once which don’t fail to make him nostalgic. On the whole, Delhi Is Not Far is an epitome of beauty and love and nature. A book that every person susceptible to beauty will cherish for his lifetime.

An Unholy Disturbance…

The night was calm like water in a lake lonely. But soon, ruffles formed. The water moved. Rippled formed. Drops of water started shooting up into the air gesticulating the ruffle underneath the water. Those waters were received by the Satan. Something extraordinary was in line. A short time was the only thing that was between the evil and the then present. The vagaries were churning themselves in the waters. It exploded. Like something that had been gathering strength since years, it came bursting out of the troubled waters. Into the air rose the mountain king turning the nature, the trees of the darkness, the plants, the water under him, the sand, the whole goddamn earth was in his hands while a crescendo of music rose into the air. The Satan laughed startlingly roaring into the air to the deafeningly gory music that didn’t stop yet to increase its volume. The evil waded through the water. The waters that turned unholy just seconds ago before us tried to catch hold of the devilish creature that was spawned. The music grew louder – unbearably louder while the evil ghost made his way on the land gasping the air of the night that was no more cold due to the devilish music. The land and every thing and being on it too is in his wrathful clutches.

He roared facing up to the sky over the sound of the music declaring his power over everything. Thus pursued, the unholy disturbance.