The sunlight was streaming in. the dust highlighted. In a corner lying senseless was a figure. Ruffled hair. Brown eyes half-open. Beaten virtually into pulp, the oozing blood still dark crimson, the floor was a pool. the door slightly ajar, with a push a child walked in. Stricken by the scene he gasped in horror. Taking the unconscious man in his lap, the small child slapped him hard. Slowly he opened his eyes. And he kept staring. Wondering if he was in heaven or on earth. Somehow the face seemed all too familiar. The small boy too somehow with curious eyes looked on and on at the disheveled face. Taking it in all…
The man was nursed back to health by the small child’s mother, and maybe even more by the child himself. With lustrous eyes, he had caught the fascination of the now-in-crutches man. They spent the whole day together, playing soccer, fishing trouts, throwing discs. His mother never seemed to object, and even if she did, the man somehow seemed to silence her with just a wave of his hand. He simply noticed his mother’s seemingly compressed attitude. They spent a whole year together before the man left them. The young child, then only seven, missed him, bawling through his weekends. His mother sometimes consoled him, but not without restrain.
Steadily the young child grew older and stronger. Soon he left behind those childhood memories, now basking in his academics. And he was a state champ boxer too. The girls used to fall head over heels for him. He was getting used to this life. He was the rising star in high school. A bright future with a brilliant mind in place, Could there be anything that could destroy his impassively perfect life? Guess not! Sometimes when things seem too perfect, it’s just that things will start to go out of hand soon…
One fine morning when the sky was never blue-er and the breeze never calmer, the wind was knocked out of him. His mother, who had almost single-handedly brought him up, died of a sudden stroke. He saw black everywhere. Big time into studies, he hadn’t had the opportunity to earn his own bread thereby being financially dependent on his mother. On top of that he had fallen in love and was in a compelling situation whence he had to marry his love at the earliest. He didn’t have a source of income and this fact weighed heavily on him.
He married her. Amidst all the turmoil he couldn’t leave her and his to be due offspring. But he had a problem. A-hell-of-a-problem. He didn’t have any financial background and he was short of money. First the furniture went, then the jewelry. And then came the time to broker a deal for the house. A place where he had so many memories. And also he couldn’t bear to look at his wife’s face and the hardships they were going through. Casting aside his emotional attachments and ignoring his wife’s pleas for restrain, he made the deal. In the end even this did not suffice.
The child was born. It was a son. He held him aloft in his arms and as the early morning rays of the sun cast a narrow glance on the white face, it radiated a glow which looked forever so innocent. That sparkle made his day.
It was afternoon on the same day. In a dark alley sitting cross-legged was a man in torn attire. Surrounding him were three well built men, who looked more like ruffians. They handed him six notes apiece, and in return they received a couple of packets of white powder each. And then they left. And then the sitting man left too, departing for the maternity home. En route he bought a few things from the market, including food and a toy for the new born.
He entered the cabin. The mother cried out in joy, on seeing her husband gone for so long, and immediately called out to the newborn, telling him his dad had come. The child seemed to understand. He responded with a cry, so typical of a day-old boy. The father took him in his arms and caressed him. And then he went back.
The child was now a year old. His father seemed to recollect his own childhood. And he didn’t want his own child to go through the same pain again. But he had to go. If he stayed in town, his family couldn’t even afford a day’s meal. He had to go seek his fortune elsewhere. Leaving behind his sweetheart and his dear son behind. With a heavy heart he set out.
He made his luck. The last 4 years had been brilliant financially for him. He returned home. He hoped for a welcome with a tinge of spring in his steps. He put his steps in the house, which he called his own, but where he hadn’t been for so long. The house seemed to be in tatters. It was dark everywhere. The corridors seemed to be empty. He drew a blank, perplexed. As soon as he was to step out, he observed a poster on the wall. It spelled “WANTED” in bold and below it a snapshot of himself. He realized his pursuits had gotten to his home before him. And the truth dawned on him.
Shaking his head as soon as he stepped out, a shot whizzed past him, rattling the glass panes. His instincts helped him salvage himself from the barrage of shots that followed. In a flash, his colt was out, now and then hurtling against the cops. He was fit and agile as ever. As he made sure that his pursuers was gone, he attempted to get up and found it terribly painful to do so. He had been shot at without even realizing it. With one last fling with the colt, he killed the lawman.
Nowhere to go, he proceeded to the barn, where he had spent many a day in his younger days. Dust and filth strewn everywhere. He couldn’t bear it any longer. Settling down against a haystack he lay down.
It was dawn.The sunlight was streaming in, the dust highlighted. In a corner lying senseless was a figure. Ruffled hair. Brown eyes half-open. The oozing blood still dark crimson, the floor was a pool. The door slightly ajar, with a push a child walked in. Stricken by the scene he gasped in horror. Taking the unconscious man in his lap, the small child slapped him hard. Slowly he opened his eyes. And he kept staring. Somehow the face seemed all too familiar. And then it hit him.
The young child was his, now five. And he recollected that day in his childhood, when the same thing had happened. It’s often said, when a man is about to breathe his last, lots of truths sink in, and there’s a certain helplessness to it. Same happened with him. He screamed out, “Reborn !” and withered into a lifeless body, still in the child’s lap.