This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 30; the thirtieth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.
“Me ” – I am god. I keep a close watch over everyone on Earth . When you were young your mom may have told you, that I watch every action of yours. But as you grew, you ceased to believe. “He doesn’t really watch everything” , you reasoned. “He can’t, we are so many of us”. But, Let me tell you, your mom was right. I do watch. Each one of you, all the time! When you start a little shop or an office or a home, you spend all your time looking after it. Don’t you? I have made the world – The Earth and all of you. You, are my biggest creations! What makes you think I won’t watch you?
Though I will admit its not always fun. The things I hear, see and know! Whew!!!!
For instance, take the little boy there. The one in pajamas rolled to his calf. Running towards the beach! Looks carefree doesn’t he? Huh!
His name is Manu, lives with his father. A rickshaw puller. His father used to be a hardworking young man with lofty dreams. He left his village to make it big in the city. But the Indifference and hardship he faced, embittered him. Made him an alcoholic. Caught in the cycle of alcohol dependency and frustration his life touched rock bottom. One day in a rage he beat his wife so badly, she died. When sanity returned, he was genuinely sorry for his deed. The body was cremated. No complaints were registered. Given the circumstances, maybe, that was the best recourse. If the father was herded to the jail, what would become of Manu? Who would feed him and clothe him? Even the boy understood this. Its better to have a father, even a murderer than not have one at all. Yet, each time he looks at his dad, he can see the violence, the brute force that lurks just beneath the soft demeanor. Manu, can’t help wondering when the beast will let lose again. Maybe, this time it will devour him!
See, the other young boy over there! The one walking alone with his shoes in his hands. Seemingly, enjoying the splash of cool water on his bare feet. I wish it were so. Actually, he is thinking how much does drowning hurt? How does it feel when cold water enters one’s nostrils, fills one’s windpipe and one’s lungs, stopping one’s breath. He is Arjun. Today, class twelfth results have been announced. And he has failed to make it through. His life bleak at the best of times, now seems to have no more options. No one will really miss him if he’s gone, he thinks. His sister! The brilliant one, was always the apple of everyone’s eyes. “Sonu this, Sonu that”. I have never really existed, anyways. I wonder if they will even realize I am gone?”
Or the two boys just here. The ones having a conversation. You want to listen in?
Shamu: (The tall one, facing the sea) “Give me that money”
Narayan: (The shorter one, with his back to the sea) “I’ve already given you”
Shamu: “Not everything”
Narayan: “I have g….g….gi…given you everything ” (stammering)
Shamu: (Delivering two blows on Narayan’s cheeks) “Liar! You think you can get away with lying to me you scoundrel! Give me everything! right now!” (Takes out a small pocket knife) “Or else…”
Narayan: “But bhai I n…ne…need some. I am hungry and Gudia. I want to buy her something too.”
Shamu: “Am I responsible for feeding your stupid sister. Ask her to collect her own keep. Lazy bones all of you. This beach is my territory , any money you collect here belongs to me. I will teach you what happens when you defy me.” (Slashes him on the arm with his pocket knife)
“Ouch!” Narayan shrieks in pain as blood oozes out. But nobody looks, nobody hears, nobody cares…
Or the family there. Grouped together, at the edge of the sea, right there! Picture perfect! Won’t you say? Hardly! The husband and wife fight. So much, that every conversation in the house runs like a wrestling match. Each player trying to out do the other by delivering the most crippling blows. The children stuff cotton in their ears to block out the insults. Not one comment goes without a tart reply.
Today, they are here to celebrate the little girls birthday. She said, she wanted to go to the beach. What she really wanted, was for her parents to walk happily by the beach, hand in hand! As she had seen in the pictures. Still innocent enough to believe that settings can create love. She thought maybe, the beach had that effect on people – “The love effect”. Maybe the sea will take away her parents’ differences.
No such luck, though. The parents are fighting at this very moment. About what you ask? About the dog at home, or the way the girls hair are plaited, or last night’s dinner perhaps, or the latest movie on the screens! Insignificant – all of them! The reasons, they never really matter!
As the girl looks on forlornly, the parents continue to argue. Each vying with the other, to deliver the most hurtful abuses. As if their life depended on hurting the other. The brother, a little older and already adept at the art of blocking out stuff, he doesn’t wish to hear or see, stands on the side. Amusing himself by digging holes in the soft sand with his toe, to watch the water rush in and fill the space.
Seeing her dream outing turn into a nightmare. The little girl turns about and walks away. The sea beckons her. She knows instinctively that the sound of the waves, the coolness of the water will soothe her weary soul. As she steps in, a bit gingerly at first. The water laps up at her feet playfully. Bringing a smile to her forlorn face. She walks in further into the ocean, enjoying its tight embrace.
She is knee deep, when a large wave comes crashing in. The girl looks up, just in time to see the huge wave engulfing her and throwing her off balance. At first it feels like a game. The one her dad played when she was a baby. He would pick her and throw her up in the air. The wind would caress her face making her giggle. And just when she thought she was about to fall, he would catch her again. She loved it! But, this was no game. When she tried to plant her feet back in the sand, it wasn’t there. She panics! “Mummmmmaaaaaa” “Paaaaaaapppppaaaaa” “heeeellllllpp” she shouts. Just as the sea sucks her in.
There is water all around her. Her eyes sting when she attempts to open them. Darkness envelopes her. And a strange quiet. Just as she is getting used to the calm, she is pushed up again. A burst of light through her half open eyes. “Mummmmaaaaaa” “paaaapppaaaaaa” she manages. But the voice is faint, even to her own ears.
Manu, the rickshaw puller’s son , hears it first. A small sound from somewhere in the sea. He stops in his tracks, looking back. Searching for the source of the sound. A pink something billows on the surface a little further away. He strains to make out what it may be. Just then the wave rises again and the pink billow is tossed further into the horizon like a rag doll.
” Helllllllllp ” “Someone pleeeease heelllllp!” “There’s a littlllle giiirrrrl theeeere” “Helllllllp”. Once he starts he can’t stop screaming. He is no longer speaking for the drowning girl, alone. But also for himself and for all the little children everywhere – abused, victimized, forgotten, ignored, uncared for! “Heeeeellllp” “Someonnnnne pleeeeease helllp!”
Arjun, the young man, the one who failed class twelfth, hears him. Turning to take in the dirty midget shouting incoherently. He looks in the direction Manu is pointing. Large waves are crashing the sea surface but nothing else is visible. “What? What? are you shouting about?” He asks. A bit grumpily! Manu points “Look!” Scanning the sea in the direction of Manu’s finger, Arjun sees her! or rather it! A pink cloth bumping along the sea surface like a doll. Instantly he plunges in. Head first into the water. An ace swimmer, he knows he has it in him to reach the girl in time. If only she doesn’t go any further down shore. “Go tell someone else” he instructs Manu as he swims away.
Manu, a bit calmer, now. That someone has responded to his cries runs to the couple standing at the shore. Absorbed in their verbal match, they still don’t register the commotion around them. “Sir! Sir!” he says, addressing the man, “What is it?” “Go away” The father shouts. Directing his anger on his wife towards the shabbily dressed Manu. “Sir, someone’s drowning!” Manu says. But by then the man has already gone back to his argument. Focusing all his energy to tell his wife, of the many ways in which she makes his life miserable. The wife too, doesn’t pay any attention to Manu.
Ayaan, though, the little girl’s brother, the one digging holes in the sand hears Manu! This was something new! Different than the stuff he heard day in and day out at home! It was actually exciting! He abandoned his little game and came upto the shabby boy. “Drowning! where? Show me!” The boy not used to having people listen to what he said, was amazed at the excitement the well dressed boy displayed at his news. “You wish to see?” he asked ” Ofcourse!” Ayaan replied, un-hesitantly. The two boys ran to the shore line. Careful to stop before the water touched the well dressed boy’s shorts. “There! See!” Manu said pointing out!.
Ayaan, looked in the dark vastness beyond to see a young boy, a man almost taking powerful strides towards the sea. Scanning further ahead he saw a speck of pink tossing on the waves” . Not as exciting as he had hoped. Looking back towards the beach, he searched for his sister, Pinki. He knew, this was a sight she would not like to miss! She will be constantly badgering him to repeat every bit of the story for the next two months, if she didn’t see it for herself. He scanned every corner of the beach with his eyes, for her. Suddenly realization hit! Turning abruptly to face the sea. He looked at the pink dot still bobbing up and down! His stomach clenched, his throat constricted. He opened his mouth to say something. But no words emerged. He staggered, swayed a bit and slumped to the wet sand! “”What are you doing? You will spoil your fine clothes!” Manu couldn’t understand, what had come over this smart looking boy. Didn’t he realize, clothes like this were too precious to get dirty with mud! “What’s happened?” Manu asked again. “That’s my sister!” Ayaan replied. Softly! Almost calmly.
“Oh! no!” They both stared at the water. Arjun, the young swimmer had almost reached the pink speck. The distance and the waves made it difficult to see what was happening. After a few moments one could see Arjun heading back towards the shore. His one hand trailing behind holding a little pink speck. The boys, watched with their eyes glued, as if seeing the climax of a thriller. No one thought of moving, or informing the parents still immersed in their argument, oblivious to the chaos all around them.
Shyam and Narayan, sensing an odd calm on the beach looked up to see the two boys staring intently at the sea. Following their gaze, they too came upon the sight of Arjun dragging in the pink speck. That now looked more and more like a girl! ” Oh shit! motherfucker!” They said. Not having any other words in their vocabulary to express the hugeness of the drama unfolding in front of their eyes. “Well done!” “Come on!” they began to cheer and whistle for Arjun. Discovering a camaraderie with each other in this strange situation. As Arjun drew closer, the claps and cheers became louder and wilder. Manu joined in too. Ayaan though kept quiet.
Finally! The sound of the cheering reached the couple! Turning towards the noise, the wife noticed Ayaan sitting on the sand near three shabby boys. “Ayaan! What are you doing there? ” The mom demanded, loudly. “Come here” But there was no reply. “Ayaan” “Ayaan” . The husband irritated with his wife’s shouting turned around too, taking everything in. Ayaan’s slumped posture, the three shabby boys cheering a young man, struggling to swim ashore. Pulling with him – a girl in pink. “Where is Pinky?” He asked in a soft voice. His wife not yet catching on, shouted “Pinki! Pinki!”. In a flash the husband ran to the sea. The wife too realizing something was amiss ran behind him. At the shore, the cheering had got louder! “Shut up! Quiet! ” The husband shouted. The wife came in, took in the scene and started howling. An eerie screechy wail that instantly quietened everyone.
Now that the swimmer and his load were closer, it was clearly visible that Pinki was not moving at all. She hung like a lifeless weight that Arjun bravely trailed along. Arjun looked tired. His free arm was flailing, his strokes no longer as strong. Shyam mumbled “I can help him” and jumped in. The parents stood helplessly by. “Its all your fault! if only you had been careful” the husband said. “Yes! Yes! its always my fault! you are never responsible for anything”! The woman shrieked back with tears flowing down her face. “Stop it!” bellowed Ayaan. “For god’s sake just stop it!” The shocked parents instantly became quiet. Looking at Ayaan as if for the first time. ” For our sake just stop it! Stop shouting and screaming and fighting with each other” Ayaan said “If you can’t live normally with each other leave, go, get a divorce. Just please don’t put us through this anymore”. Saying this Ayaan burst into tears. “My sister” “Pinki” “oh! Pinki”
The couple went quiet. A strange calm descended over the place. In the sea, Shyam had reached Arjun. Taking hold of Pinki’s other arm, Shyam started swimming ashore with Arjun. The burden now shared, Arjun swam with new vigor. As they reached the shore, the parents ran in. Wading through the water they took hold of the little girl. “Pinki!” “Pinki!” the mother cried “My baby” the father said.
Arjun brought Pinki to the beach and laid her down. She was still. They attempted to listen to her heartbeat. There was none.
This is the part of the story, where I come in. Me – God! The old man, you see in the picture. My hands in the pocket, watching the scene. The dilemma now is mine. What should I do? With a flick of a finger I can grant her life. As someone attempts to resuscitate her she will get up sputtering water and stammering “mumma” “papa”. The mother will be all teary eyed. Thank me ! Maybe even come to the temple today, donate a few coins. The father will be happy too. Hug the kids for a while. They will go home, shaken but happy!For a few days, they will be awed by the miracle that touched them today. But in a few days, a week, maybe a month. Life will be back to normal. Arguments, bickering and nagging will start again. The children once again forgotten. Left to live with cotton stuffed in their ears!
Or should I let her die. The couple will cry for a few days. The mom will not eat. Long forgotten relatives and friends will descend on the family. With so much strange company the couple will exchange only a few civil words with each other. There will be news reports. Other parents will admonish their children to not go near the sea. In a few days life will regain normalcy. The little girl will become a photograph on the living room wall. To be dusted every Diwali! She will perhaps be happier with me, anyway.
And what about the rest. The young man, Arjun. Who had come to take his life but ended up saving or trying to save someone else’s? The Violent Bully Shyam, who discovered he had the heart of a hero! Ayaan, who discovered his tongue and the power of expressing what he felt! How would my decision affect them?
For a moment, imagine you were me. In my shoes!
For a moment, imagine, what would you do, If you were God?
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The story was written in response to the photograph provided as a prompt.