Mirage of Life

The child talks to him , exclaims the mother , shocked and perplexed at her kid’s notion of infusing life into a pale yet young iron strip – detailing his recent discovery to the father.Why did you bring it home , don’t you have other things to play with? The child explains , it was lying idle in the midst of the dark gloomy rood , stamped by a thousand wheels and feet , the shine had been shadowed by rust , which lingered on it like a newborn unites with its mother . To the child , it seemed possible to put this rusted strip to some good use. The child’s intuition tells him , nothing in nature is redundant , everything has a purpose to serve in this big ‘bad’ world ; once spotted , it can’t be left to hellish glory , his eyes dazzle by the shine of its imagination. No, kid – disrupts the mother – that’s just a piece of outcast iron strip , not fit enough even to bolster a skiff , let apart bigger uses ; shattering his glass of imagination. But it talks to me , do you know that , it dreams . It’s just a matter getting accustomed to it mom , he is family . No he’s not , you are not playing with it , I will throw it back to the place where it belongs – presses the mother , throttling the child’s dream to infuse life in the iron strip .Tears silently rolls down his fluffy cheek , expressing his defiance of mother’s disapproval . Let him deal with this , comforts the father , he is just a kid , he is yet to know the world . I empathize his dream mom , someday he wants to become something useful , someday he will be one among us , he dreams to be with a piece of northern wood , he loves the wood .
Meticulously the child places his friend in his dad’s workshop , then searches for a sandpaper . You will be a nice ‘something’, friend – your dreams would come true , someday , I will hold you to live your dreams ,someday you would be useful – but you are not ready yet , don’t rush , don’t jump to conclusions and don’t break the mirror you look in to judge your improvements . This sand paper , explains the child , would clean all the rust which has shrouded you in the years of your disrespectful living , you are born in the same alley as I am , you are my mate, trust me ,confides the kid – I know you better . The child could see the strip merrily nodding , his ambitions get heightened , its shine comforts his teary eyes. Someday, it would be somebody , he would be family – breeze of optimism flags off the child’s journey . He recalls the day when it was thrown amidst the dust , the other household deems it as redundant , everybody tried their own ways to make it something useful , beat him up , tried to shape him suiting their needs . The child could read his past , the strip is expressive yet submissive – he breathes to set the mast high – they have a journey together . He knew his friend is in love.
The stip looked deep into the child’s eyes . The northern wood he knew would make him complete , useful , he believed . Now it pains a bit , scavenging the rust off him , the child diligently is onto the task . I feel less heavier , I feel clean , why are you so kind to me – he questions the child . I’m not being kind , I’m being considerate to you , I hate seeing you throttled by the world – breathe easy now , I will restore you to glory . I will get you your mate – the northern wood . Do you know where she lives? By the corner of the alley , stands the tree – one of its branches kisses the roof of my previous home . Get her , the frailest subbranch – we will happily live ever after , we will be all yours , always yours. The child could fathom , the wood weeps , not ready yet to be united with the strip . Give her time , she will be all mine .You are not too sure about her , are you? Exclaims the kid . She is off a different tree , and you are born in the womb of mother earth . Did your read her well , she may just want to be off her tree , crossing boundaries . But I would like to be with her – I love her , I promised , weeps the strip . When I gazed at her , she coloured green , I had waited more than just long to be with her . The child sighs , unsure of what to be said , concerned , his little dotted lines of eyes end up being almost together , his brows sweat , he assures himself . If you insist , yes ,but let her smooth up a bit , the piece of northern wood watches as the child walks away – let me rest for the day , I’m tired too .
At dinner , he justifies .What are you trying ? He would be of some use mamma . Dad , can I use your workshop , can I ignite his senses , and make it of some use – will you be upset about it ? No , absolutely not , this sounds interesting , nods the experimental dad .Will he misunderstand me , will he be the same , if I do this to him ? He loved the strip , will being united with the northern wood change his perception about me , will then ‘he’ , now ‘them’ understand me – sleep drowns his heavy but soft eyelids .
It wouldn’t pain – but why did you make up with her so soon , you are not ready yet , you should have given her time , resolve all differences – although I love to see you together , exclaims the child . There were no differences , he sounded heavy .
He readies the strip to go under the hammer , ignites his senses before that – assures of infusing life . It silently sighs , northern wood doesn’t budge . As the hammer descends for the first time , a chilling pain cuts the silence , the strip , it knew the child is dreaming life with him . Northern wood gazes with distrust ,whispers something . At the second descent , he vociferates loud enough – be patient ,you will not be stamped ever. Northern wood nudges the strip about something, its louder than a whisper this time – the child did not get the intention clear . His mom beckons , its time come upstairs for breakfast . You would be coming too dear with me , we will be family . He knows its final time. The strip’s gaze is affixed at the child’s eyes as he descents the hammer , the life infusing dose . Shrill and deep – it pains , he feels something cut deep into him .The child senses his warm blood oozing out , his own fresh blood , the strip and the wood had tripped him , life bleeds out of his finger , the red turns dark, darker than life .
He wakes up , soaked and drenched in sweaty fear . Looks at his finger , he had escaped .Walking down to his father’s workshop , he reacts silently to what he sees . The northern wood had left the strip for greener pastures , it just wanted to break free . Now the strip is just a piece of scrap .The child throws it back to the gusty muddy road , watches it get stamped by the wheels and the feet .
The mirage of life had evaporated .
* This story was published in the Wordweavers Annual Magazine, November 2012 *
  1. soumyav says:

    a thought provoking and intense article!


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