Short Story: Wreck

08Feb07

He walked into the wreck, stepping carefully over the debris. The dust of eroded wood was strewn all over the floor. There was a pungent smell of spoilt food and something else that smelt like dead rats. The cockroaches were alive and moving, just as only they could. He moved carefully, bending and sliding beside the hanging rooftops, so as not to disturb the spiders that had now made it their home.

He stepped into what once was their living room. There was nothing as living in the room though. But there still were marks where there was the teapot, the television stand and the television itself was lying close by, now with a hollow at the spot which used to be the cynosure of all eyes in the house for everything from soaps to sports. A few newspapers lay beside the newspaper rack. He bent down and picked one, holding it between his thumb and forefinger and gently blew the dust off its top. He coughed, but that wouldn’t stop him from bringing it closer to his eyes to read the date on the newspaper. February 8, 1986.

With the newspaper held gently between his fingers, he went into the kitchen. A thin stream of sunlight was sneaking in through the overhead ventilation, which was now just a hole in the wall. The sunlight scattered the dust particles moving around in the kitchen illuminated by the beam of light. Tyndall effect, something reminded him from the back of his mind. Light scatters dust, or something like that. He had learnt in schooldays, sitting at that very spot. And there were some utensils and plates. All rusted unused by time.

Time could be so cruel, he thought. If time had a heart, it would know to differentiate the good and the bad, it would retain beauty where it should, it would rust only the bad, it would… His thoughts were interrupted when his eyes fell on an open book in an adjacent room. He skipped his thoughts and quickly stepped closer to read the title on the page. Indrajal Comics. The Phantom series. February 6, 1986. The best memory of his childhood was his waiting for Indrajal Comics that was delivered to his home along with the Wednesday newspaper.

It was then he realized that he was standing in his room. His room. His comics. His toy train. His crayons. Everything he saw in that room were his own. They were a piece of himself. His childhood lifelines.  Things he would never have parted with on any day. Except that – he ended up parting with all of them. He opened his shelf. His shelf. And there, staring out at him from the dull white wall, was a black and white photo. A man,  a woman and two kids. And an animated say-cheese smile. His heart began pounding hard. He dropped the newspaper he had been clutching all the while and ran his fingers softly over the photo. His 10-year old face smiled at him.

Next morning, he sat with his coffee and recounted everything to Reshma, as it happened, moment by every tiny moment. Just then little Rehan Junior walked out of his room rubbing his sleepy eyes and moaning the way that only kids could. He quickly cut short his words, looked at their son and said in that baby voice he always uses with their son “Look who’s waken up. Happy Birthday little master”. And displaying all of his bright milky teeth, his 10-year old son smiled at him. An animated say-cheese smile.

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5 Responses to “Short Story: Wreck

  1. Hmm.. so they had a baby?

  2. 2 Shanae

    Awwww…You write about the past more than anything else…I can’t help but wonder…. :)

  3. Another wonderful episode in the ‘Rehan-Reshma’ saga. Indrajal Comics, Physics & the study of light … and a great depiction of an old, wrecked house filled with memories. Wow !
    Keep their saga flowing, chief.

  4. 4 Akhila

    btw, was his visit to the old house a part of his dream? or he was thinking about it in the morning and telling his wife about it??
    Anyway, all your stories leave u thinking and wanting more :)

  5. 5 anjali rego

    I am a journalist and I am working on a story. Do you know about groups that like to read and exchange Phantom and Mandrake comics. These comics were a rage in the 80s and are published even today. currently, vendors tell me that these comics disappear as soon as they land at their shops. There are collectors in Mumbai who have trunkful of these comics and who refuse to let anyone know that they have it. Im trying to locate these loyal fans. Btw, they call themselves Phans. So do u know anyone? Pls reply asap on anjalirego@gmail.com


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