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Aberration (standard:Psychological fiction, 1289 words)
Author: Ashok GurumurthyAdded: Mar 19 2005Views/Reads: 1997/1074Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A young boy exhumes the past and tries to make sense of it.
 



I find that I was seven when I moved here and have but faint
recollections of home. It was quite small: two rooms, I think, a 
kitchen and a drawing room, but, whenever I try to ascertain how one 
part of the house led to another, I become confused. There was a bed in 
a certain corner which I am certain was mine and a rather narrow path 
that I often took and which led to another room. It is difficult to be 
sure that the other room was also in my house. The mental image I have 
of the house, on occasion, becomes gory and I hallucinate, hearing 
people screaming as if they were on fire. 

On the way here, Father, I remember, kept telling me that I would feel
lonely at first but would get used to everything soon. What I remember 
of those two or three days when he and I stayed here—after which he 
left me to return only on two occasions, both short visits and within 
the first three months—is that he was quite upset and very sympathetic 
toward me. Several times he mentioned, or at least alluded to, his 
unwillingness to leave me here; he left me here all the same. Whenever 
a classmate spoke highly of his father, I would be reminded of mine. 
One of them even told me what an unworthy son I was being to my father, 
but Father was a scoundrel. 

Although I have often been reminded of them and Grandmother, I do not
actually resent the estrangement; for I now have made good friends with 
Solitude and should be deeply pained if I were taken there again. Even 
this friendship started only a year ago, when I stopped going to 
school. In school I had, I can safely say, many friends, among them 
also my two pet dogs. Unfortunately, none of those two dogs is alive. 
But they really had no right to live longer than they did. At first 
glance, dogs seem to be faithful and thankful creatures and attract our 
sympathy. The truth, however, is that, to them, humans are of interest 
only as sources of food, and anybody who gives them food becomes their 
friend. Cats on the other hand are rightly suspicious of us no matter 
what we do; they may accept food from us but are none the friendlier. 
It is then a matter of individual judgement whether superficial love 
and fulsome gratitude and its expression, instead of polite thanking 
implied in the ungrudging acceptance of them, are the right return for 
alms. 

The past one year has given me more free time than my little hobbies can
help me while and the reason for my writing this account is partly my 
craving some activity and partly my desire to put my thoughts together 
so that they make sense. I am naturally led to wonder what is happening 
around me. Why I was sent here is a mystery. And that I have been 
locked up in this room while others continue to go to school is no less 
puzzling. 

I suspect that in reality I recovered from both changes—leaving home and
leaving school—rather quickly, even if old memories haunt me; perhaps 
they were figuring on my quick recovery, whoever took these decisions. 
When Father said I would be living here alone without him, in a new 
school and a new home, I had thought that adapting to the new 
conditions would be difficult, but it is hardly an exaggeration that I 
thought of home only because I felt I was supposed to miss it. The days 
would go smoothly, there being nothing to impart any sense of longing 
and no poignant memories to be evoked, and when after a considerable 
length of time I would think about them I would feel obliged to feel 
lonely—to oblige Father, that is. 

The same thing I can say of the expulsion from school a year ago: they
informed me of it and gave me this room in the adjacent building, which 
tallies with my conception of a prison cell. For two days, I remained 
preoccupied with the thought of, and fear of, the future and the 
emptiness it would undoubtedly have; only two days because I realized 
in good time that the only frightening consequence of that severance 
from social life was dread of consequences. One day was followed by 
another and that by another. As I sat grappling with the new situation, 
time fled. Also, a plainclothes doctor would come every day (the same 
person every time) and engage me in aimless conversation for an hour, 
usually, and sometimes more. But he stopped coming after about five 
months, when I think he thought I had recovered sufficiently from the 
change. 

All was going well: I had forgotten home, my old room, school, and
everything past. If it had continued like that, I would not have 
written this; but it did not. The day before yesterday, the attendant 


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