|Aberration (standard:Psychological fiction, 1289 words)|
|Author: Ashok Gurumurthy||Added: Mar 19 2005||Views/Reads: 2082/1105||Story 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 Click here to read the rest of this story (43 more lines)
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