Friday 15 June 2012

Flash Fiction 2012 Longlist, Chaitali Dasgupta

The Same Old Story – Retold

Six year old Shiv was afraid of monsters under the bed. His friend Bittu was not. But then, he had reasons not to. For starters, he didn’t have a bed to sleep on. He slept on the bare floor which he shared with his family of six. A family he helped provide for. 

He swept floors, washed utensils, ironed clothes – all for a measly 600 rupees a month. Admittedly, he was in better shape than his friend Shiv – who was, well, let’s just call him a healthy boy.
Hamburgers, video games and no play had given him a rotund shape which was slowly but steadily approaching a complete round. Bittu on the other hand had plenty of exercise and barely enough to eat. 

Bittu was also not afraid of the monsters on the street that his friend was so often warned about. For one, he lived with those monsters day in and day out. More importantly he was too busy keeping the monsters within him at bay. The monster that raged when his younger sister was molested and the one that wanted to kill when his mother was being beaten up by his drunkard father.

The one thing that helped Bittu deal with these monsters was his friendship with Shiv.
His own golu who had never been beaten up, whose dreams comprised of Xboxes and Playstations – games that played havoc with Bittu’s mind. Shiv’s innocence was a balm to Bittu’s torn soul.
Shiv’s life was Bittu’s imaginary world – where there was plenty of food, love and peace – a world that became real for the few hours they met everyday. Till the day when Shiv disappeared without a trace. 

That was also the day Bittu lost control of the monsters within him. Shiv was never seen again. And what was seen of Bittu was not him but a monster wearing his mask and Shiv’s Rolex watch.

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