|Creative Writing Competition 2012 India|
|OBJECT||Any Jewellery – Necklace, Ring…|
|THEME||Dream/Fantasy of a Teenager|
The tower clock in the busy Rajapura market entrance pointed to five in the morning. Gazing at the clock high up above his head there stood Vishal, a boy of fourteen years. He was clad in a dirty white shirt with drooling pockets. A basket full of gooseberries was his product on sale for the day. Anyone seeing him for the first time would have never left the positive smile spread on his lips from being unnoticed.
Vishal entered the market with the basket loaded on his head. The daily routine of this teenager started at five in the morning at the market. He had to sell his load before he starts to his house for preparing himself to reach the school. One or two gooseberries back in the basket would mean a lot to him. In a sense it would be a major leap back in his effort to make both ends meet.
The teenager headed towards a corner in the market. He had a sentimental attachment with that particular nook of the bazaar since it was the very place in which his father also used to sit for selling gooseberries. Now he is no more. Vishal’s father surrendered to tuberculosis and left for heavenly abode before four years.
“Are your exams over?”, asked Pournami, the jasmine flower seller by his side. She was only twelve but always nursed a crush on Vishal.
“ No. I have Chemistry exams today.”, reciprocated Vishal and scanned the entire market. He was not in a mood for loose talk since he could not waste time charted for market sales.
The entire market was got more and more busier. Voices of bargains and offers clouded the bazaar air. Stinking baskets of fish and meat were getting unloaded from one end. The decayed vegetables and tomatoes crushed by the heavy truck tyres had started to emit the ‘natural’ smell of a market.
“2 kilo gooseberries.” A female voice interrupted him from his scanning mode.
He looked up at the potential buyer. It was a middle aged lady carrying a little kid on her shoulders. The kid seemed to be naughty for being disturbed from sleep. She was busy playing with her Mama’s chain that glittered in the rising sun.
“ Leave it..baby”, The mother warned her and tried to take her hands off from the chain. The effort was in vain and the kid was immediately back with her work on the chain.
In the meantime Vishal weighed two kilos of gooseberries, packed it and gave it to the mother. She managed to take two ten rupee notes from her purse and gave it to Vishal. She had a difficult time to take the notes from her purse since one of her hands was occupied with the kid.
“ No…Maam,…It is thirty rupees for two kilos.”
“ That’s enough, beta”. She started to leave with the gooseberry pack.
Soon after her exit Vishal noticed that something was shining inside his basket. He peeped at it without taking it out from the basket.He understood that it was the ornament that the lady had worn. Due to the kid’s manipulation it should have fallen apart.
The screeching voices of the turbulent market shuddered him.Vishal became blank for a moment. He again looked at it to confirm that it was not a dream. Yes… It was an expensive diamond necklace. He had seen similar type being worn by celebrities. He had seen such rare pieces in Jewellery advertisements. So he was in no time back to action. He hid it inside the gooseberries and started to leave the place.
By the time some others also had come in for gooseberries. He took utmost care not to distort the part that concealed his treasure. After they left he took his basket and started to move.
“Where are you going?” asked a wondering Pournami. “ There is still a lot left in your basket.”
“Today I don’t think Lady Luck is going to bless me.Let me change my place and see whether some progress will be there.” He didn’t wait for Pournami’s reply.
His destination was the haunted and dilapidated palace on the deserted nook of the bustling bazaar. The place was utilized by anti social elements including drug pushers. Daylight being hostile to them the spot remained empty during the day. Used beer bottles and remnants of the previous night’s vulgarities failed to make an impact on Vishal.
He covered himself behind a big pillar and unloaded the basket. Then he took the precious piece in his hand. Shivering from head to foot he examined the necklace thoroughly.. Eventhough he is seeing it for the first time he estimated its values to be a six figure amount. Lakhs and crores was something his mental reasoning could ever think of from ignorance.
A conflict raised in his mind…What to do with the ornament?….. Several options unfolded before him. He was unable to stick on a decision. One option would be to sell it..But there was obviously nobody in the Rajapura area who deals with such expensive products. Moreover whom could he believe?
Another better option would be to go to Ramanathpur town, roughly hundred kilometers away.
He would go there and sell it. Once he gets the money in his hand he could utilize it worthfully by taking his mother to Ambedkar Centre for Tuberculosis and cure her of the dreaded disease. He did not want his mother also to leave this planet in the same way as his father. With the remaining amount he would construct a not so extravagant house to protect his mother and young sister Kaveri from sun and shower. Again…….if there was balance amount he would invest it in some secure business in the same bazaar….His calculations skyrocketed to nowhere.
Suddenly a negative flash uploaded in his mind. If the police catches him….His mind now got busy in reeling the vicious scene. He would be handcuffed before the whole public including his mother and sister. He would have no other options other than to cut a sorry figure in front of his infactuation, Pournami. The wail of his sister together with the tearful eyes of Pournami shook him like a tempest. A movie buff by nature Vishal has seen such emotionally packed scenes in old Hindi movies. He didn’t want to be a real part of such a visual.
The second much more safer route was to gift it to Pournami. She would jump with joy and hug him for the gift. But she was not mature enough to estimate the value of such a costly affair. He visualized that scene also. Jasmine flowers would be showered from heaven and a duet shall ensue. But the romantic episode may take a drastic turn if something goes out of the control. If so Pournami will be booked by the cops and she would be prisoned for no fault of hers. Hence that option was also dumped.
Should the unconditional love of a girl be sacrificed before greed for money…No, never…He concluded.
Still there was an option left as to entrust the valuable with the police. Sometimes they would reward him for his honesty. But that too would be too foolish.If the police takes the necklace for themselves and convicts him. His rough and tough image would be tarnished.The necklace would also be lost.
Or shall he hand over it to the owners itself? But he knew nothing about them. The lady and the kid was absolutely new faces to him. Is it possible for anyone to remember the hundreds of faces that ply in and out of the bazaar? Obviously no would be the answer.
It was not long when another thought capsized his mind. How much hardships would that lady have taken to buy such an expensive gift? How many years must she have spent to earn it? How much must she have longed to wear it?
“I would never progress in my life if cursed by a lady. I won’t be the reason for the sufferings and tears of a lady.” Vishal determined to leave things in its own way. He immediately wrapped the necklace in a waste paper that lay on the ground and stuffed it in his trouser’s pocket.
Vishal returned to the bazaar to see that his place was occupied by some other merchant selling coir products. Pournami who was intact in her own place came running to Vishal once she saw him.
“ Where have you been Vishal anna…A lady had come asking for you.”
A lightning blaze took hold of Vishal.
“ Who was that?”
“I don’t know. She told that she lost something and had to check with you whether it was lost near you. I think it was something valuable since she was crying. But I didn’t bother her by asking what the thing was and make her more sad.” She continued .
“ Yes…she gave me her phone number and asked you to call her once you come.” Pournami took a bit of paper from her undeveloped cleavage and extended it to Vishal.
Vishal clutched the paper and proceeded to the phone booth. He didn’t hear what Pournami muttered from behind. His aim was to call the lady and hand over her possession. His mind jumped with joy at being honest and the golden words “Honest always Pays” heightened him to ecstasy.
The alarm bell rang five o clock. Young Vishal got from sleep thoroughly horrified. He looked all around. He could not see the busy market streets nor the telephone booth. Pournami was not around him. He searched for the necklace in his pocket which too was missing. Instead, there lay the Chemistry equations book besides him. He was reading it the previous night when falling asleep. Before he got back his senses that everything was a teenager’s fantasy he heard his mother shouting athe top of her voice,
“ Vishal.. It is getting late..Get up.. You lazy.. Are you going to the bazaar after all the sales closes down.?”
Vishal wasted no time to pack himself up for the market with his load of gooseberries. On the way he laughed loudly in his mind thinking how his ‘Juliet’ Pournami would react to his last night’s dream.