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Voicing Silence 7

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I ask, you write 14

Here's a long question to start you off in the new year.

Ramanathan’s coming, said Amma not taking her eyes of her brother’s letter. On the 22nd, she added once she had finished reading. Ramu mama was Amma’s youngest brother who left for America back in the early ‘70s. You had only seen him once in your whole life and you were a toddler then. He threw you up so high in the air, Amma told you once, you hit your head against the ceiling.
What happens then?

As always, please keep the stories short and post them in the comment section. Thank you.


Falstaff said...

So that is where the dream comes from. The one where he is climbing into thin air, shimmying up a rope of emptiness while the faces of strangers stare up at him, their amazement a kind of gravity, pulling him earthward. And he goes on climbing higher until he can climb no more. Something is in his way, something he cannot get past. And he wakes with the feeling that he's been banging his head against something, though he's not sure what.

And now it turns out it isn't him after all. He hasn't been climbing, he has been thrown. And by a stranger, a man he's never met. He feels something falling away inside him. He looks across at his mother. "Did he at least manage to catch me afterwards?", he asks.

monu said...

that was beautiful falstaff

tripleR said...

i wonder will ramu mama be able to throw me to the air and catch me at this age where i am 6 ft height..

barbi said...

heh wats all these happening?
is it a story writing contest?
i wud like to particpate too. wat do i have to do?
konjam sollunga plz

Usha said...

She squinted hard to read the letter properly, her glasses with square frames stuck at the tip of her nose.
“Amma you really need to get new glasses. Why won’t you let me get them for you?”
I was exasperated and I asked her knowing she wouldn’t let me.
She shook her head and nodded absent-mindedly.
“When he left years ago I never thought he was coming back. He didn’t even come for your marriage Radha. You have a cousin by the way, he is a year old.”
I tried very hard to remember Ramu mama. I recalled patti’s house where I had spent many summers including most of my childhood days. The sound of milk boiling distracted me. I rushed to the kitchen.
The next few days sped in a flurry of activities. My son was leaving for the States to start his dissertation.
I was clearing the garbage in the backyard I heard a car speed up our road. It was a misty morning in the month of December, the pious month of Maargali. I tugged the saree closer and walked to the front porch.
“Radha?” the person in front of me was dressed in neatly ironed clothes. He looked perplexed.
“Yes? You must be Ramu mama?”
He was smiling in a practiced way, and I hollered for amma to come out.
I went to check on the tea and came back to find them seated on the swing in the balcony.
“Do you remember the last time you saw Radha she was only two years old? You threw her up and couldn’t catch her?”
Ramanathan looked at her, “Akka that was so long ago.” He smiled almost to himself, his eyes buried deep in thought.
“I have a daughter now, Poornima. When I held her in my arms the first time, I remembered Radha, and remembered the terror of holding a toddler, and the joy of it. I fear for her safety, and yet she is the one who makes me feel safe.”
Both sat contemplating for a long while. At that moment I sensed Amma forgave her only brother for his years of absence.

apu said...

Varattum, I thought, let him come. I will show him that spot on my head which is fast becoming a bald spot. Let us see what he has to say about it.

The next few days, I cleaned out the weeds in the garden, I wiped the fans clean, I even washed the loos. Mother was thrilled, she thought I was doing all this for Ramu mama. She didnt know that I was just keeping my hands busy, or else I would start fiddling with my hair again. What if the rest started falling too.

Ramu mama arrived, banging his head loudly against our too short door frame. Ouch, he said, and rubbed his scalp tenderly, to expose a bald spot the size of a small dabara. I beamed him a smile.

Shyam said...

Ever since amma told me that Ramu mama was coming back from, I’ve been as high as a kite. Ramu mama’s been a constant presence in my life, albeit from another continent.

To tell the truth, I don’t really remember Ramu mama throwing me up so high in the air that I hit my head against the ceiling. I was nearly 3 years old then, so I’m informed. What I do remember – or maybe it’s just my subconscious that remembers – is that lovely feeling of flying through the air unsupported, arousing in me a lifelong fascination for anything that could fly.

I guess you can say that it’s thanks to Ramu mama that I discovered my life’s calling – planes and flying. His support and encouragement from across the world saw me through to becoming an aeronautical engineer. And always, all through my life, in all my dreams, I’m flying. Free as a bird, to coin a new phrase.

I don’t know why I never dream of falling, why my subconscious doesn’t realise that my physical self is earth-bound. Because in real life I can’t even walk, much less fly. I’ve been paralysed from the waist down since that fateful day when I “flew” for a few seconds. I live life in my wheelchair… and to tell the truth, it’s a fantastic piece of equipment, an all-singing, all-dancing, state-of-the-art affair thanks to Ramu mama. I can do almost anything from my wheelchair – except fly.

Saumya said...

Excellent story Shyam