Castles in the air - they are so easy to take refuge in. And so easy to build, too.

आम्हां घरी धन शब्दांचीच रत्नें | शब्दांचीच शस्त्रें यत्न करुं ||
शब्द चि आमुच्या जीवांचे जीवन | शब्दें वांटूं धन जनलोकां ||
तुका म्हणे पाहा शब्द चि हा देव | शब्द चि गौरव पूजा करुं ||
- abhang of Tukaram Wolhoba Ambile of Dehu

There's No Freedom Like That of a Child's Imagination

கடலுக்கு உண்டு கற்பனைக்கு இல்லை கட்டுப்பாடு

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The cure


Dedicated to my sister, who inspired this piece.

He was unshackled after serving three years in chains. He may have been happy to be rid of the iron ring that clamped his legs to the wall, but he had not known any other state of existence. The sores it has caused him clearly hurt.

He didn't know what to do with the puppy that had been introduced into his cell. Behaving like a ferocious lion only caused the puppy to cower in a corner, and stare at him with its limpid eyes. The bloodlust that caused him to take his wife's life, and which kept the others in fear of him, was ineffective against its squeaky whimper. A single blow would snuff it out, but he could never get around to it.

The silly thing sometimes licked his sore feet, and he was at a loss how to react. He threw it a few crumbs from his rations, and it ate them hungrily. It seemed satisfied with its lot, and he didn't know what to do.

Confusion replaced rage as his general state. The sight of that handful of puppy eating chapati pieces from his huge rough hands was a source of amusement to the prison guards. The tingling sensation pleased him no end, but he was not sure whether the compassion he showed it was the right way to behave for a murderer.

The money earned in the jail was now spent on the growing dog. The guards had to ferry brushes, dog biscuits, shampoos and balls to his cell. The result was a rotund dog with shiny hair. He spent most of his time learning the tricks that his cellmate devised for him, or romping with him in the prison ground or sleeping curled up on his legs.

(I intended each paragraph as a separate scene, so that the story progresses as staccato snapshots. Please tell me if this experiment works.)

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