Saturday, March 04, 2006

A quick tale 112


‘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.


AlterinG Abhishek said...

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

Anonymous said...

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

kay said...

what was it?!

Anonymous 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?

Anonymous 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 :-)

Houseowner said...

:) what?

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


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!!!

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous 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.

Anonymous said...

Well, said Anon
nalla venum

Anonymous 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!

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Rubic_Cube said...

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?


D LordLabak said...

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

Anonymous 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?

Anonymous 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?

Anonymous 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!!!!