Featured Post (scroll down for more recent ones)

Voicing Silence 7

Saturday, March 04, 2006

A quick tale 112

Parcel

‘This came for you by this afternoon’s post’, said the elderly neighbour handing her a parcel. She thanked him and was about to leave when the old man said ‘it seems rather bulky’.
‘…’
‘It was quite heavy when the postman gave it to me’, he continued.
‘…’
‘He was about to leave when he found your apartment locked. I offered to take it in for you’
‘Thank you for doing that’
‘Is there anything breakable inside?’
‘No, no’
‘It’s a little late for a Christmas present’
‘…’
‘Unless it’s your birthday or something’
‘No, no’
‘It’s from the USA…it says so on the package’
‘…’
‘Must be expensive. The postage cost’
‘…’
‘I used to send blood pressure medicines to my brother in England. The stamps used to cost more than the medicines itself’
‘…’
‘You look tired. Would you like me to carry the package for you till your door?’
‘No, no, I’m fine’
‘Look, they’ve misspelt your name on the package. Two As instead of one’
‘…’
‘I don’t know how they managed to wrap it so well’
‘…’
‘The package has travelled half way across the world and still not a single tear’
‘…’
‘It must be something very important for it to be shipped from America’
‘…’
‘Are you sure you don’t want me to carry it for you?’
‘No, I’m fine, really’
‘You see, the package must be…’
She didn’t wait for the old man to finish. She sprinted down the hallway to her apartment holding the parcel close to her chest.

**

‘Looks like you were up well past midnight’, greeted the old man as she was leaving for work the next morning. ‘I saw the light burning in your apartment’.
‘…’
‘Must be that thing in the parcel…’
‘…’
‘Listen, why don’t you come home for dinner tonight? Sheela has made some excellent halwa and you can have a taste of that. Yes? Good. See you at 7 tonight’

**

‘Have some more rice. Look, you are so thin…’, said the old man piling her plate with delicately spiced rice.
‘But...’, she protested weakly.
‘None of that. Sheela, serve her some more rotis. Yes, two more’
‘…’
‘At your age, I used to eat 20 chapathis in one go. These days you young people hardly eat anything. So little food, so little sleep. And all that staying up late night…’
‘…’
‘So were you working last night?’
‘Mmm’, she said, thankful for the food in her mouth that stopped her from saying more.
‘And that parcel?’
‘…’
‘It must’ve been work papers then’, he reasoned, more to himself
‘…’
‘But from USA?’
‘…’
‘And the parcel rattled when I shook it. Cannot have been papers inside…’
‘…’
‘Nothing fragile either. It did not say ‘Handle with care’ on top. No papers, no glass…’
‘Will you stop going on about the parcel? Can’t you see? The girl is getting tired. She has to be up early tomorrow for work’, chided the wife bringing the old man’s grilling to an abrupt halt.

**

‘They took Shinde-saab away in an ambulance this morning. Must be around 6 o’clock…’ The watchman gave her details of the hospital where the old man had been rushed to after he complained of chest pain.

**

She was one of the last people to see the old man alive. Around 3 pm that afternoon, his wife Sheela wanted to go to the toilet and for a brief period the old man was left alone in the company of his young neighbour. She bent down low and whispered something in his ears. He passed away a few hours later. They said he looked peaceful, just like was sleeping. Some mourners even noticed a faint trace of a smile on his face. But they dismissed it as a figment of their imagination. They shouldn’t have.

25 comments:

AlterinG Abhishek said...

Some people.....
just dont get it HUH!

Anonymous said...

But, what was in the parcel?;-) ;-)

post said...

what was it?!

Kalthoon tilakji said...

Puriyala.. like Adoor Gopalakrishnan's films

explain please
Did the old man die coz his head burst wanting to know what was inside the parcel?

Boo said...

Excellent one, Ammani. Luved it. You are a genius! :)

IdeaSmith said...

Duhhhh...I didn't get it either but somehow I suspect 'it' was worth getting.

Mahadevan said...

In a normal story,the old man would have invited curses for his inquisitiveness. But his sudden death - that is the stroke of genius.

Anonymous said...

en mandaiyum vedikkudhu :-)

None said...

:) what?

i got a tale up too. chek it out sometime...

cheers!
ramya

S m i t h a said...

:)) :D

Anonymous said...

i didnt get it either!! which is ok, but when others call u a genius bcoz of this story that is when major inferiorty complex kicks in!!!

amit said...

now, can someone explain what was there in the parcel?

Bryan Wilson said...

To all those who ve commented,


U ve gotta b so stupid to ask what was there in that parcel

Anonymous said...

Bryan, it's only a post, the comments here are only about the story by an author, not personal .. so it is not so stupid to ask.

Kalthoon tilakji said...

Well, said Anon
Bryan,
nalla venum

Kalthoon tilakji said...

ok for all those who didnt get it:

He was smiling coz he finally what was inside the parcel
ok, for all those who want to know what really was inside the parcel - it could be anything - a packet of sanitary napkins, an i-pod, a photo frame..
so you just gotta imagine

Anyways! that was splendid, Ammani!
super story!

Kartik Kannan said...

Hi,


I am Kartik Kannan at Sulekha.com (www.Sulekha.com), one of the biggest online communities worldwide bringing together millions of Indians in over 100 countries. Sulekha, may I add is also a global platform for vibrant creative expression where thousands of writers, photographers and artists contribute, share, connect and interact every single day!



I had the opportunity to read your latest blog post. I found it really fascinating, and so would anybody at Sulekha. Which brings me to an offer I would like to make to you to substantially increase your blog’s readership and popularity.



Sulekha is the biggest online community of Indians anywhere in the world. More than 1.5 million Indians (and Indophiles) regularly log in to read, write, record, share, express and interact. By creating a parallel blog on Sulekha Blogs, you can dramatically boost the number of people viewing your posts, commenting on them and connecting with each other. All you need to do is give us your approval (Reply to this mail with a YES) so that we can feed your blog posts via RSS into your customized blog page on Sulekha.



Why you should be at Sulekha


Only Blog Provider to promote writers’ content
Only Blog Provider to have a tie-up with Penguin
Opportunity to be published by Penguin every year
Be part of the world’s best Indian writing community
Get published by DNA ME newspaper in Mumbai every week
Get the advantage of aggressive promotions for your blog on Sulekha as well as partner sites
Monthly contests for different genres of writers




Sulekha Blogs provides services that most blog sites do, and then some. Please do explore Sulekha Blogs (blogs.sulekha.com) and discover how you can connect with perhaps the biggest Indian blogging group anywhere in the world.



I eagerly look forward to seeing you on Sulekha!



Kartik Kannan
Team Sulekha
I blog at www.katchucrap.blogspot.com
http://kartik.sulekha.com

Rubic_Cube said...

ammani
like someone mentioned, it feels like adoor's movie. immense, suspenseful... brilliant. i can only imagine the curiosity of the old man. they are like that. in the old age, when they lose out on the attention of their children, it is only curiosity in the mundane and miscellaneous that get them a little high. neat story!
(reminds of the story of saint ramanuja. while seated near his master's dead body, he promised to complete the 3 unfinished tasks of his master and his 3 folded fingers straightened out)

Lost in trance... said...

there an assumption that this parcel was the only thing that worried him?

:-/

Deepa said...

nice one:-)
Kalthoon Tilakji, engayo poittiye pa.......

Moe said...

I have three interpretations:

1. The girl had received mortal remains of a near and dear one who lived in the US. The curiosity was killing the man. He was happy because of two things. One, that he knew what was in the parcel and two he knew that everyone is mortal, and so is he and he should accecpt that as a part of natural process.

2. The girl was actuallly called upon by Yamdoot (essentially she was the one who was scheduled to die), however, it was not her time yet (really) and the parcel was given to the old man instead.

3. There is no real young neighbor. It is all the imagination of a hellucinating old man who is dying.

Ammani, does any of these match any of your intentions?

Kalthoon Tilakji said...

Assumption # 4

The young lady is a ghost like Sixth sense film's Bruce willis Annan.

That kezhavan is Haley Joel Osment payyan

Ammani, appo needhan M.Night Shyamalan-a?

Rahul said...

please tell me what the story is all about? why did he die smiling?? what was in the parcel? what did the gal whisper?

or the story has a sequel?

Sathish said...

nice one da...

Anonymous said...

It is DILDO!!!!