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Biryani on the House
by Anuradha Chatterjee (Prose - Short Story) | Published On: 27-Nov-2015

A silent night.  A deserted railway track. Pitch dark; even the leaves refused to rustle. A shrill shriek pierces through all this and I was born. Born right there besides those very railway tracks. The days and nights that followed after that were filled with struggle and pain; yet they were very beautiful. I realized pretty early in life that it was a difficult task for my ailing mother to provide for me, difficult to get me food, yet it was beautiful for each time I buried myself in my mother’s bosom, I felt at peace. The unbaiting sounds of the chugging trains were our only companions in the otherwise friendless life. I had just learned walking and running, my curious mind wanted to explore the nature around our home; as I strutted around, mother warned me not to wander too far. This had become a daily routine, until one day when I returned home after running and playing only to find mother lying dead on the railway tracks. Some ruthless train driver had run over my mother while she was trying to find food for me, if I say ‘My world came crashing down’ it will grossly be an understatement; for all I had in this so called world was my mother – for me my world died that day.

I was barely surviving for it is indeed difficult for a motherless child to live on their own. I was lugubrious, directionless, didn’t know what to do with my life. May be an angel, up in the sky, took pity on me and sent a Good Samaritan my way. He spotted me one afternoon on a playground not very far from the railway tracks. His name was Bilal. His friends addressed him with that name. Bilal came to me showered me with love and affection, and took me home; I didn’t protest, for I was desperate to be a part of a family. I was tired of being alone, the loneliness was killing me. Bilal had a small shanty for a home, but that didn’t disappoint me. He was a nice chap and took care of me, making sure I had a square meal. His love and affection towards me was addictive, I had found a father in him and he in turn got an obedient child.

My life was more or less perfect now, the only thing I abhorred was the circle of friends Bilal had. I somehow got a dismal feeling whenever his friends came over. I could never explain to him why I didn’t like his friends. I had this strange feeling that someday he would choose his friends over me, may be this insecurity stopped me from confiding in him. The otherwise happy go lucky Bilal became irritable, incoherent, ill-behaved, whenever he returned after a night out with his friends. His outings with his friends slowly became more frequent. One evening while I was waiting for him, my worst fears were confirmed when I overheard a neighbour saying that Bilal was under the influence of drugs and his friends were responsible for getting him addicted. I wanted to save him from the path of self-destruction, but before I could think of a way out; tragedy struck my life again. On a rainy night I woke up to some strange noise, to my horror Bilal and his friends were engaged in a brawl and he was being beaten black and blue. The following morning Bilal reluctantly sold me off to a middle aged man, for he was in dire need of money. SOLD me off; I wondered how could someone whom I considered as a father figure and who showered me with so much love, sell me…..I was aghast. I was homeless, more importantly I was orphaned yet again. As I followed the man, I saw Bilal’s eyes filled with tears, we both knew we would never ever meet again.

The man, now my owner; for I had been sold, which meant I did not have right over my own life. My owner had a beautiful house, I could see quite a few people in the house and to my delight there were children too in the house, it appeared to be a large family. As I entered the house, all eyes were on me, the children immediately took liking towards me and sat all around me, loving me and playing with me; the elder’s though looked at me with non-appreciative glances. It was an awkward feeling, I simply couldn’t settle down in this new house, in spite of having children around me. The children never left me alone, we were always playing and singing in our own language; the elderly women served food with lot of love and affection to the children, however when my turn came the food was served with care, I yearned for the love and affection. One early morning, I saw the children rejoice wearing new clothes, they looked splendid. And that very day, instinctively I knew my fate; as I remembered my mother and Bilal, I wondered what the purpose of my life was; was I meant to go through only pain and suffering.  And then slowly it dawned on me; the purpose of my life was to end up on a biryani plate on a Bakri Eid day and make the festival complete. While I breathed my last; the world rejoiced over a plate of mutton biryani.

 

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Author
Anuradha Chatterjee

Anuradha Chatterjee

Written: 3 Stories

Member Since: 21-Nov-2015

Country: India

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