Thursday 15 August 2013

Flash Fiction 2013 Longlist, Sourav Paul


Vidyut bhai said that very often. I don’t know on what theory he based that idea of his, but he thinks that it is best kind of information he can provide to anyone.”Life is a game,” he blurted out again as we were walking down the pavement beside the busy streets plying with the heavy traffic heading towards his home after our afternoon meals. This is one of those after-meal storytelling sessions where he narrates bit of the adventures he has gone through in his eighty years lifetime.

Vidyut bhai had told me tons of stories about the various adventures he has undertaken in his lifetime. The story about how he fought a tiger single-handedly or maybe the story about how he learnt to swim after falling in the Ganga Ghats and endless others. It’s been a year I am having this story listening sessions with this person, whom I met at the mess.

He is quite a personality, tells intricate stories but you have to walk along with him while listening, as his restless mind but old and tired body does not allow him the time gap for sitting down. I on the other hand am highly adventurous but lack his experience in this field.

On that day he told me a very peculiar story, peculiar due to the expressions he gave, and due to his eyes which looked more tired that day. “LIFE IS A GAME”, he started, telling that sentence for the third time that day.”You don’t know when it will start and when it will end, but you will always find that it goes on and on like any game, winning and losing does not matter ,it’s the playing that matters the most. Did I tell you about the story how I became ME, how my life took the vow of being an adventure biography?”

I simply shrugged my shoulders in denial; it’s something I am very much curious to know. And so he began his long story. How he had met a sadhu in the Ghats of Varanasi, who inspired him to go on a pilgrimage to the great Mount Kailash. How he crossed the difficult paths of the pilgrimage, bathing in the Manasarovar Lake and offering himself to the great Lord Shiva. Afternoon drifted to evening, but his story went on and on. Finally, as the sun sets on the western sky, the story ended. His stories were never quite interesting and I listened to them only to pass my time. But that day it ended in a peculiar note like it started.

“Manasarovar Lake falls en route to the pilgrimage, the pure water of the lakes cleanse all souls who bathe in it. It is a calm lake but it is a powerhouse. It is the origin of three of the greatest rivers of Asia. Just think about the power residing inside that lake.”

“Mount Kailash, on the other hand, lies in the centre with six mountain ranges surrounding it creating a lotus formation. The formation depicts the power that one has inside oneself, just waiting to come out. The mountain is the house of the great Lord Shiva.”

“Feeling this power and strength all around gave my life a purpose to live to its fullest. LIFE IS A GAME. LIVE IT FULLY AND PLAY ON cause you never know when it will come to an end. The power is inside you, it’s within you, bring it out and prove yourself to Mother Earth.” He gave more suggestions about living life and told it in a way like there’s no tomorrow. His face seemed ultra exhausted and fading at the end of the tale as we reached his home.

The next day when I went back to the mess, Vidyut bhai was not there. So I simply thought of going over to his house. It was locked and the neighbours told me that Vidyut bhai had passed away three days ago. I could not believe my ears and ran away from that place as fast as my legs could carry.

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