The Oyster

The little boy was rubbing the crayons on his paper for sometime now. Finally, disgusted, he threw them at a distance. Frowning he went up and outside and sat there in the porch. The sound of the waves could be heard from there. He sat there looking towards the direction of the sea though it was not visible from there. His father went up to him and sat beside him.

“What is the matter?” he asked.

The boy didnt reply.

“Tell me,” the father pursued, “if you have a problem, I’ll solve it.”

“Its the crayons” the boy replied, “they have become old and hard. They do not give good colour.”

“Is it so?” he asked.

“Yes” the boy replied, “most of the boys in my class have nice sketch pens, brushes and colours. They make so nice pictures. But I can never make it.”

The father understood. He knew that the cheap crayons got hard very early and it was difficult drawing with them. But he didnt know how to explain to his kid that their poor condition didnt allow them the luxury to buy the expensive colours and brushes and all those stuff for just a few drawing classes. Buying his books and copies, plus his school fee used to take a huge chunk of his little earning. And they had other family expenses too. Only a very little amount of money could be saved and that had to be kept for emergencies. But it was too hard for the little kid to understand the situation.

“Lets go to the beach” he said standing up, finding no way.

In a few minutes the father and the son were among the little waves. Playing with the waves the kid had forgotten about his problems with the crayons for sometime. After playing the two of them started walking on the shore. After a few paces, the father picked up an oyster shell.

“Do you know what this is?” he asked his son.

“Yes” the son replied, “its an oyster shell.”

“Do you know what this does?” he asked.

“Yes” the son replied triumphantly, “our madam said pearls come from oyster shells.”

“Do you know how?” was the next question.

“No” the boy said, “madam didn’t tell thet yet.”

“Ok, let me tell you” the father said, “You see the sand. Sometimes a sand grain gets inside the oyster shells. Sometimes some other very small things, even some sort of dirt gets inside them. Then the oyster works with it. For a long time it works very hard with it patiently mixing with it all its nacre layer after layer, which then gradually forms into the pearl. So you see just from a grain of sand or a speck of dirt, it makes a pearl.”

The boy was hearing with amazement. He couldn’t believe that anything so insignificant can turn into something so magnificient.

“So what do we learn from the oyster?” the father asked. The son looked at him quizzically.

“We learn” the father explained, “that life may give us things that are not special. But it is upon us to work with them hard giving our best to bring out something that is extra-ordinary. The secret of success doesnt lie in the tools but in the minds that use them. Understand?”

The boy nodded looking down. He understood. May be not everything but he got what his father ultimately meant. And just then his father took him up in his arms and said, “But I promise, I am going to work harder and when I have more money, you’ll get all the colours you want. Okay?”

The boy smiled and kissed his father’s cheeks.

© Arindam Dey

Sorry

“Hi”

“I am sorry.”

“I am really sorry.”

“Just talk to me once.”

“I love you baby.”

“Just reached office. Love you.”

“Still angry? Ok, I promise I will never fight with you again.”

“Drink water. Lots of water.”

“Ok. I have to run into a meeting now. Just don’t be angry anymore honey. You know nothing seems good when you are not smiling at me.”

“My God! That was a long meeting. Or may be it was not that long. May be I was just missing you. Checked the phone five times in between.”

“Still angry. Ok. Must be in the shower now. Good! It will cool you down. Haha!”

“By the way you remember the time we took that shower together. Wanna do that again honey?”

“Come on love. Just one smile. One only!”

“Just had lunch. It was so delicious. Must say you cook better when you are angry on me. Haha!”

“Come on say something.”

“By the way, did you take your medicine after lunch?”

“Missing you honey. Pick up the phone once. Come on. I love you. I am sorry.”

“Ok. Its almost 16 hours now that you haven’t spoken to me. Your earlier record was around 20 hours. Remember the fight we had after our 2nd anniversary last December? Haha!”

“Talk to me once. Please. Pick up the call.”

“See, if you don’t reply now, I am never going to come back home again.”
“I have a beautiful secretary here, and I am considering running away with her, if you don’t talk to me.”

“Come on say something now.”

“Ok. Guess what. I am coming home early tonight. And you can start getting ready. I want to go out for dinner tonight. Would you mind if I asked you to be my date? I may have some surprises for my date!”

“I know you are not angry with me anymore.”

“Come on! Ok here’s my next card. I am taking a leave tomorrow. All day, just us. How do you want to spend it? Outdoors? Or…. Indoors?”

“Ok honey, I am off! I am flying towards you now!”

“Started getting ready? Will you be my date tonight?”

“My date can’t stay angry with me that long.”

“I am so sorry. I love you. I love you. I love you.”

“I am almost half way.”

“Come on love, tell me once, you lov

The last chat was not completed yet. The officer looked at all the other ‘sent’ chats once more. Miraculously the phone had escaped with only a minor crack on the screen and stayed on. The driver was not that lucky. The car had been rammed on the driver’s side by the truck. Apparently it had jumped the signal by mistake.

Putting the phone in the packet for later delivering to the deceased’s family, the officer looked once more around the broken, overturned car for other belongings. A briefcase, a bouquet of flowers and a gift wrapped box remained scattered. And with them remained an unanswered message of love.

© Arindam Dey

Telephone

I see you have retired, my old conversation box. But I will never let you go, my friend. Only our yesteryears know what stories lie there in your heart. Countless promises, endless heartbreaks and timeless silences, they are all buried there. And yes, they are beautiful.

Its true, you are replaced today by more sophisticated technologies, less humongous, more smart. But who will ever replace the romance of your mystery. Of identifying that stranger by just a sound. Of imagining a face lighting up by just hearing your voice. Of feeling that tear rolling down between long sighs of silences. Of restless waits for the ring. Of nervous rotations on the dialer. Of ecstatic ‘hellos’. And heartbreaking ‘goodbyes’.

Today you lie there, retired, useless. But I know, you are not dead. When the world is busy somewhere else, I will come to you. I will put my ear to your earpiece and listen once more, the voice, laughters and sobs that I have died to hear for ages now. And I will whisper to your mouthpiece, words that I have chained to my heart for eons.

And even if the world sees us, let it think, we are two old fools busy in our madness. Let them discard us. But we will still have our beautiful stories. Stories that only love could have created and you could have carried. Yes, you will always be special. Rest now, my friend, until we speak again.

Story & Photograph © Arindam Dey

Last Evening

​She sat at the other end of the cab backseat all the way, looking away. Well, we were coming back home tired last evening after a long hard day, and she was angry with me. We were only midway when it started to rain. And by the time the cab reached our area, the skies had broken down completely and the entire place was deserted. She was about to bring out our umbrellas when I told her I didn’t need mine.

“Fine” she replied.

Leaving the cab we started walking, she under the umbrella and me in the rain. I noticed she was struggling to hold it in the wind. I came closer and said, “come let me hold it for you”.

“I am fine,” she was still angry.

“Keep your anger for home” I told her, “let me hold it here. Or you’ll get wet and fall sick.”

“Look who’s talking!” She retorted at the completely drenched me.

Upon some insistence she let me hold the umbrella. Still we weren’t talking. Don’t know what came up upon me, a minute later I started humming, “pyar hua, iqraar hua, pyar se phir kyun darta hai dil”. Stunned, confused, and still angry, she glared at me. But before she could say anything, I added, “kehta hai dil rasta mushkil, maloom nahi hai kaha manzil,” in a female voice, well as far as I could.

She stopped. So did I. Staring at me she remained quiet for a few seconds. Probably making up her mind. And then she burst out laughing and pulled me closer under the umbrella.

“Finish the song” she whispered,”in both the voices as it were. And I may accept your apology.”

Rains continued in the deserted lanes as we walked slowly kicking the puddles, taking a longer route back home last evening.

© Arindam Dey

A droplet and a ripple

It was there, clinging on to the edge of the leaf and was about to fall, fall into the little puddle of water below… The Droplet.

Yes, the droplet was ready to give up and surrender its existence to the little puddle below. But something made it cling on, that little longer. Perhaps a desire to stay that fraction of a second more in company of the green leaf. The same green leaf that held it, nurtured it and was now ready to offer it to the little society of droplets underneath.

What was it? Just a droplet! Where did I come from? No one knows. Perhaps a fog, a dew, an overnight drizzle perhaps from nowhere but it was now here. It existed and existed with a distinct identity. An identity that was now to be submerged into the flow of millions – to be lost.

Reluctantly, the droplet left the shelter of the leaf. All the time it went down, it pointed towards its once safe, soft and sure shelter. And then with a little ‘whimp’ it dropped into the puddle.

Don’t know what strength the droplet had in its heart or what amount of agony or what purpose it set itself to make it so heavy. As it fell, it created a huge ripple all around it. Yes, it was the sign of revolution. It said that it was here to make changes, to transform the society of droplets into the way it learnt intuitively from the soul of the world. To live with a distinct identity. But, something else happened. The ripple it sent around gradually died out and with time, silently the pool of droplets engulfed it. And its existence was lost.

But yes, the water in the puddle never remained the same again. Because the droplet fell, the ripple was created, the mud was churned, and the color of the society of droplets changed forever.

We may be a droplet in the ocean of people, but it requires only one to churn what lies within us and change the course of destiny…

© Arindam Dey

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