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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Euphoria

Fiction. Euphoria is the story of a neglected child who grows up a wasted youth. An incident in the village makes him flee. On his journey he experiences life as it is and returns homes several years later entirely a changed person.
‘PLUTTT..’ went the pebble in water as Baboo stared at the waves it made in the lake. He had always enjoyed this scene_ the waves drifting apart from the centre and vanishing at a distance. He too wanted to disappear, just fade away like the waves. He had always been fascinated by this small lake the river formed at this place on the village’s boundary and it was his favourite hangout every time there was a scene at home. It was another rough day. Baboo had received a sound beating from his father in the morning for insisting that he didn’t want to go to school. The previous evening he had broken his leg as he fell from the tree trying to pick the apples. Fazloo, the land owner had spotted him from the Dera and was rushing toward him at full speed. Baboo had been expert at climbing tress but this time his foot slipped in confusion and he had landed on the right leg thus breaking the bone below the knee. He had been unable to complete his home work and feared that Master jee would punish him for his negligence.
‘You can tell Master jee that you had an injured leg and so you couldn’t complete the work because of pain, he’d let you go’, had said his father as Baboo left home dragging himself on the crutches. But as feared, Baboo received a slap in the face from Master jee and ended up on the ground two feet away.
‘I’d see how you completed your work had you got a broken leg the previous evening’, Baboo was lashing at Master jee in his imagination.
Then back at home he was severely scolded by his mother. The plate had slipped from his hand and broken into pieces as he finished his lunch. Baboo threw another pebble in water and watched the waves as they disappeared at a distance.
Time went by and Baboo was now a grown up lad. Life was the same as it always had been. He saw a similarity between himself and the river_ both were going on and yet both of them were static. Unlike expected, Baboo had done well in studies but it didn’t make much difference. He had to hear a lot at home having wasted all his time. He was such a wasted youth, he thought, a worthless being that no one cared for. At times he questioned his existence, why he was alive and what was the purpose of his life. But the pebbles always gave him some hope. ‘Everything has been created for a reason’, he thought of pebbles that he had been throwing in the river for years in order to enjoy seeing the waves. He had a round pebble in his hand. These pebbles looked so beautiful, he thought. They were round, smooth and multicolour. He was impressed by the designs that different colours made on them. He then threw it from a leaning angle and watched it with excitement as it jumped twice on the water’s surface before it found its way down. The river was his friend, he thought, it had never hurt his feeling and rather it always consoled him. Seeing reflection of the moon in the river had always been fascinating, especially it was amazing to watch its distorted image getting back to normal when he made waves in water and also was great to see the sun set behind Chaudhry sahab’s villa located on the other side of the river. ‘Some day I would ask for the hand of Chaudhry sahab’s daughter’ Baboo told himself.
The river had a story of its own. It had changed the lives of many. Several people of the village had made their fortunes by finding precious pearls from it. It was said that the river originated from a place near the Black Mountains, that one of the mountains was a solid rock rich with precious stones and whenever it rained heavy on the mountains some of the stones would flow into the river. But the Black Mountains had always been shrouded with mystery. Everyone who set out to look for the Black Mountains either returned soon disappointed or never returned, except one man who had gone there a long time ago but returned empty handed and only lived to tell the tale. The river, however, had never been that kind to Baboo who always thought that the pebbles by the river side had taken some qualities form the pearls of the Black Mountains and that’s why they looked so beautiful to him. ‘I would go to the Black Mountains some day and make my own fortune’, thought Baboo.
The villagers had a way of their own. Baboo had never been favourite with them. Some considered him a vagabond while to others he was a haunted fellow, a psychic. His childhood friends left him one by one but all this was least that Baboo cared for.
The sun was setting behind Chaudhry sahab’s villa. There was a great noise at the villa and in curiosity Baboo thought to walk around a little and find out himself. When he reached near the villa’s gate he saw several fingers pointed at him. Someone had stolen Begum sahiba’s precious necklace and Baboo was named the culprit because he had usually been spotted near the villa at nights. In confusion Baboo ran toward his home but just as he entered the door he was welcome by scornful eyes of his mother and a hatchet in his father’s hand. The news had spread like fire and everyone was out looking for Baboo because Chaudhry sahab had promised a reward for anyone who captured Baboo alive or brought him dead. Poor Baboo was on the run with the whole village running after him madly. He took to the river, kept on running at full speed and never looked back. Just when he passed near the lake he looked at Chaudhry sahab’s villa for the last time, he could imagine the hatred his love of life had for him right now.
Baboo had reached the forest now and was exhausted. He was already quite away from the forest and was not being chased any more. In utmost disgust he thought of the options he had. There was certainly no turning back as the people of the village were thirsty for his blood. He had nowhere to go. He thought of the life he had lived_ useless. He had never done good to anyone nor did anyone like him. He looked at the river and told himself that he was heading for the Black Mountains. ‘I shall make my own destiny’ Baboo told himself. Ever since he got a broken leg it was the first time that he had run so fast and the pain he felt reminded him of his past life which was all pain and no respite. ‘Why would someone deploy a bomb to kill a fly?’ he thought, ‘they could have told me to leave the village and I would have readily done that.’
It was getting dark already and Baboo wanted to cross the forest before the night fell. He had found a good long stick to help him walk and it could also be used as a weapon if the situation so demanded. He was able to find an old pouch that he filled with pebbles he could use to ward off the animals. He had also picked some apples from the forest and he wasn’t much worried about food, it was enough for the next few days. He increased his pace and as he left the forest behind he was the farthest from home he ever had.
Baboo had been walking for several months now. He crossed one forest after the other and even though staying by the side of the river could be risky at night when the animals came there looking for water he didn’t prefer to leave it lest he should lose his way. First there came a series of forests that put Baboo in fear of being attacked by wild beasts and then the forests vanished all of a sudden. For the whole last week he had been passing through wild shrubs. His stock of fruit had also finished and he had eaten nothing for the last two days. By the evening of the second day he was hardly dragging himself. He would wet his head in water and it soothed him a bit. But things were beginning to get worse. Baboo had been bitten by a snake and the Baboo who was hardly dragging himself a while ago was on the run now. Soon he started feeling dizzy and was lying flat on the ground as he closed his eyes.
Baboo opened his eyes and found himself lying in a hut being tended by an elderly woman. Right then two young men entered the hut and told him that they had gone fishing and found him by the river and that his wound had been taken care of just in time or he would have already been dead by now. Baboo wanted to tell them that he had no soul and was worse than the dead but he couldn’t speak a word.
For four days, Baboo remained flat on the cot and was able to stand only on the fifth day. He was given good food and tended very well. He came out of the hut to walk around a bit. The village wasn’t too far from the river but it was the first village that he had seen since he left home. ‘I travelled alongside the river and maybe I have left several villages behind’ he thought. What surprised him was that he didn’t get any staring looks from anyone. He returned to the hut in the afternoon where the inmates were waiting for him on lunch.
‘Who are you and where are you heading to?’ asked one of the young men.
‘I am a traveller and I am going to the Black Mountains.’
No one in the village had ever heard of the Black Mountains. Baboo told them of the pearls that the river brought with it; they came from the Black Mountains. But they didn’t know what pearls were worth. What was a stone worth if it only reflected a particular shade when put in the sun and had no glow of its own? Wasn’t it the same as all the other stones at night? To them the river was only a source of life. It brought them fish and gave them water to drink. ‘The river flows pure water through this village’ thought Baboo. He had been extremely impressed with the people of the village and the way they had treated him. ‘How could one so much hated by his own be so heartily welcomed by the strangers!’ he asked himself but couldn’t find an answer.
He had remained in the village for a whole month. With his wound cured and his energies restored he planned to move ahead. He was told by his guests that he would come across a deep forest on his way forward and that the forest was haunted by wild spirits. They gave him a sword saying that he might need it some day. Baboo filled the pouch with food and removed the stones he was carrying in it. ‘Why did you keep the stones in there when you were always travelling by the side of the river as you had said?’ asked one the young men. Baboo didn’t know the answer. His hosts prayed for a safe journey as he left their hut. He knew he would have loved to live and die here were he not looking for the Black Mountains.
For six days Baboo had travelled the vast plain grounds and had not seen a single tree that bore any fruit. It occurred to him that had he not been bitten by the snake he would never have seen that village and would have died of hunger. ‘Pain can sometimes be a blessing in disguise and we are too simple to understand the ways of life’ he told himself. On the following day he reached what had been called the haunted forest. At a distance he could see the river disappear in the wild forest. He was already occupied with fear.
For four long days Baboo had travelled through the forest. The trees were so long that the sunlight didn’t reach the ground. For once he had been attacked by a group of hyenas and he had climbed the tree to save his life. ‘The sword wasn’t of much use’, he thought. Extremely horrible were the nights in the forest. Many a times he had been awaken by the dreadful shrieks of an owl. He would spend the nights on the trees and travel in the morning. ‘I should have arranged for something to burn fire at nights’, he lamented his negligence; he didn’t want to be bitten by the snake again. Week after week he travelled through the dark forest. There were no wild spirits in the forest as he had been told. ‘We usually associate apprehensions to the tasks we want to avoid. It is not the difficult task that restrains us it is our fear that plays its tricks.’ For once his way blocked my monstrous shrubs and he thought what he would have done without the sword on that day.
The light brought with it the sight of a mountain range on the horizon. The river was flowing as usual and so was Baboo. ‘These must be the Black Mountains’, he told himself as he increased his pace. ‘Reaching your destination isn’t much of a task once you have seen it.’ He had reached the Black Mountains.
Baboo had walked through wilderness throughout his journey but nothing gave such a deserted look as did the mountains. ‘There was something queer about this place,’ a sudden shudder had run fear through his spine. He noticed that the river had narrowed down here and it flowed faster through the mountains, ‘the journey downward’ he told himself as he moved ahead to look for its origin. As he crossed the first mountain his eyes caught hold of a valley, it could be called the most colourful place on earth. But as he reached there he was gripped by deep sorrow. He felt it hard to breathe. There were human skulls scattered all over and right there shone the precious gems. ‘Poor beasts!’ sighed Baboo as he picked up a gem and looked at it, ‘Only one of you was enough for a man to make his fortune but they all travelled to end up like this.’
‘Did you travel all this way to see this? Could you not try and find a pearl in your own village like the others did?’ the river asked him.
‘Ah, the human race!’ he sighed as he removed the pouch from around his neck and as he did that something fell in his feet. A pebble had remained in his pouch since the time he thought he had emptied it. He picked it up and looked it as he felt a sudden pain in his heart. The pebble looked so beautiful. It reminded him of his past; his village; his home the lake_ they all seemed so beautiful to him as he looked at the skulls and the rusted swords lying everywhere. He compared the pebble with the gems lying in front of him and couldn’t decide which of these had more value for him. The look of the scattered skulls made him hate the human race and he imagined himself a hawk flying sky high but the hawks preyed so ruthlessly, a thought occurred to him. He imagined himself as wind, but realized that it was always on the move and it could never stop at one place, so miserable was its life. He took himself for a candle that lighted the whole room but found that the room was the darkest where he himself stood. He took himself for the candle’s flame and saw how he had attracted a moth, killing him dead. Then he imagined himself as the monstrous mountain but found that snows covered it all over in winter and killed whatever life there was. He imagined himself as the bright sun but found out how much a traveller in the desert had despised him for he had dried water in the only oasis in the desert. He imagined himself a desert but found out that he nourished too many venomous snakes. He thought himself as a moon-lit night but only to realize how he had been a trouble to the strayed sailor of the boat for he had created monstrous waves in the sea. He imagined himself as many things and was never satisfied. Baboo wept as he realized how life had made a fool of him. He had been created the best that he could be, and he realized how he could have easily avoided all that he had been through. ‘My people wanted to kill me but I could always stop to clarify my position and I could also win the love of my parents, they were never my enemies’, he kept on weeping for a long time as he seemed to have understood the ways of the world. ‘I shall make my own destiny’, he was resolute. He picked his pouch and filled it with as much gems as he could carry. He was heading back home.
Many days and nights had passed. Behind him the sun was rising as its rays fell on Chaudhry sahab’s villa. As he reached the lake he saw an old man rushing toward him from the other side of the river who came and fell in his feet weeping.
‘Rise, old man! Why should you weep?’
‘Forgive me son for what I did to you. You may not recognize me but I could never forget your innocent face all these years’, said the old man as tears rolled down his wrinkled face. Baboo had now recognized Chaudhry sahab. ‘Two days after you left the village, the sun of God’s blessings set on me. I found out that my wife’s necklace was stolen by our own son. When I scolded him he took control of everything and had us all thrown out of the house. He sold the villa and moved to the city.’
Baboo took Chaudhry sahab to the villa. Begum sahiba had passed away a long time ago and now Chaudhry sahab lived with his daughter in the shed that was once the dwelling of the animals. ‘Do not worry Chaudhry sahab, I am your son’, said Baboo as he looked in Chaudhry sahab’s eyes.
The door was open. Baboo still remembered the last time he had entered it. There on the cot he saw his father. Life had spilled out of his eyes and they could not see the light any more. Right then his mother came out in the courtyard and saw what her eyes had longed to see for years. She could hardly say a thing.
‘No one could ever understand you son, even us_ your parents. It is such a pity we ruined your life. I always questioned God why He had kept me alive but today I am happy to get the answer. But we can never forgive ourselves for what you’ve been through for the fault of ours.’ His father said sobbing.
Baboo sat in the knees of his father and told him that everything was always his own fault, that every person is himself responsible for what happens to him. ‘Sometimes we have to let go what has happened and look at what lies ahead of us.’
Things had changed a lot since his return. Baboo made the best use of the treasure of the Black Mountains. He bought back Chaudhry sahab’s villa and restored its possession to him. Fazloo, the land owner from whose garden he stole apples had died; Baboo gave his son a pearl telling him that he had picked too many apples from his garden and that he felt sorry for having been too late to beg pardon. He had planned the construction of a new school where Master jee would be the Head Master. Master jee was strict but he taught well, he thought, ‘I could tell him to be lenient to kids as punishment would do them no good’.
It was another evening in the village and Baboo was sitting by the lake once again but with all the contentment there could ever be in his heart. He had a pebble in his hand that he threw in water; it made waves on its surface. The waves drifted apart from the centre but he knew that the waves didn’t vanish, they were always there and he could create them whenever he wanted to. So much fascinated was he with the sound ‘Plutt.’

5 comments:

Zealous said...

Fiction, Close to reality with an awesome story. But I think that this story you made in a little hurry. I don't mean to discourage you but my point is that He achieved success in a very less amount of time with not much struggle. S

Secondly I guess a little mistake, hopefully you would agree. In one paragraph you mentioned it was difficult for him to differentiate that which one is pebble and which one is gem. And in the end he was distributing all the gems to his village mates, cannot understand....

But this was a perfect story which an impressive quotes very close to Alchemist. But are really impressive and I am 100 percent sure that Doctor should not be a neglected child, He should keep his stuff high and let the world know of his quality.

But you told me that you are present in more than one characters I don't think so, Whats your point?

Note: Off the record.. What about the daughter of Chaudary Sb, where she went.. what about the dream of the Baboo? Is it incomplete or may be there is a second part, in which

Baboo reborns or something like that?

But I want to know about the daughter?




Anyways it was worth of reading, and as comparison with my story. I would say no Match.
Best of luck, and keep leading the tack.

Regards.
Talha
Anfield Man

Zealous said...

Sorry if you are confused. NO match means that your story is far better as compared to mine.

chutzpah said...

There are some errors in typing and grammar ; kindly review it. For example, you have used (_) where (-) is required or (‘ ’) where (“ ”) is needed. You need to improve the grammatical structures/expressions. Check up the spellings of trees (“tress”) for an instance. This all shows that I’m cynic.
While you are writing a short story, always keep in mind the age of reference---I mean the age group of the children for whom the story is being written. The length, theme and use of symbolism clearly pleads that this story is not meant for not-school-going children. Only a child in secondary or higher secondary classes can make something out of it. I have observed sudden shifts in the narrative like:
“The river was his friend, he thought, it had never hurt his feeling and rather it always consoled him. Seeing reflection of the moon in the river had always been fascinating, especially it was amazing to watch its distorted image getting back to normal when he made waves in water and also was great to see the sun set behind Chaudhry sahab’s villa located on the other side of the river. “Some day I would ask for the hand of Chaudhry sahab’s daughter’ Baboo told himself.”
In this paragraph, you are philosophizing elements of nature (if you really know that you are actually trying); we suddenly feel a jolt when you switch over to the natural soothing to human beauty for which we mercilessly find no allusion in the preceding paragraphs. You have tried to mystify the story in case of “the Black Mountain”. It is not bad but this would make it a complex read for the growing kids.

You should not have quoted your own comment on your own story in the very start. It restricts readers’ interpretations.

Fiction. Euphoria is the story of a neglected child who grows up a wasted youth. An incident in the village makes him flee. On his journey he experiences life as it is and returns homes several years later entirely a changed person.

I have a lot to comment but it has always been easy to criticize than to create something.

Sniper said...

Mr. Zealous, you said.."But I think that this story you made in a little hurry. I don't mean to discourage you but my point is that He achieved success in a very less amount of time with not much struggle."

Let me clarify the point..If a thing is said in a few words, it doesn't mean that little is said. Sometimes, a few words contain a lot in them. Imagine a journey like this for your own...months of travelling all alone with no signs of humanity, nowhere to go, walking toward nowhere, forests and wilderness and you will agree that success didn't come so easy. Right?

Again, you said,"Secondly I guess a little mistake, hopefully you would agree. In one paragraph you mentioned it was difficult for him to differentiate that which one is pebble and which one is gem. And in the end he was distributing all the gems to his village mates, cannot understand...."
But you, my friend, are not yet grown up enough to understand its meanings. Your time will come :-)

As I said, some traits of my personality are there not in charachters only but in non-living things as well, but not necessary for you to know if you couldn't find it;-)
Lastly, ch. sahab's daughter's end has very well been told of. When Baboo looked into Ch. Sahab's eyes and said that he was like his son, he meant something. Get it?
And the story has its end, there is nothing like a second part to it like those foolish Indian and Hollywood movies. It all ends here..

Sniper said...

Dear Chutzpah, I agree with the grammatical mistakes you mentioned. Let me make it clear that I am a writer and not an editor. If ever I shall write a book, you'd be my editor, this should give you honour as much as it should give me.
Secondly, the story was never written for the children but for the grown-ups, and the philosophical elements have been used keeping in mind that point of view.
Lastly, I left my own comment in the starting lines to make things simple for the simple minds. I share my writings with a lot of people with simple minds, lot simpler than you and me...I mean simple enough not to understand the philosophical elements and mysticism.
Cheers.

-Author.