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When They Spoke
by Arpita Banerjee (Book Preview) | Published On:

When They Spoke is an anthology of stories based on personification. We present to you a sample story.

The November Sky by Kirthi Jayakumar

For the sixth time on that cold November day, the clouds wouldn’t stop standing in his line of sight. Today, his gaze was focused on the hospital. Every day, his reach spread far and wide, enough to cover the span of the earth, and beyond. Each day, he would choose to look at one thing on the planet below. He would spend time just watching, sometimes amused, sometimes sympathetic, but benignly silent, all the time.

Everyone below thought he was blue, until they sent up their rockets with the intent of touching him. Then they went back to their planet and said that he was black. He laughed! As usual, they could not identify the reality. He had no colour. It was just what people perceived. One for this, one for that. One for now, one for then. One for here, one for there.

People sometimes simply watched him. They called it “doing nothing”. More than the azure blue and the indigo ink that he was in their eyes, people admired the puffy wisps of cottony clouds that danced past him during their ‘days’, and the tapestry of stars that appeared to be woven into his body in their ‘nights’. No one realised that he was above all of it; he was, what some said, the abode of the heavens. He really had no end, no beginning, no days, no nights, no limit whatsoever, yet, ironically, these people on earth used him as a metaphorical reference for limits! He was one of a kind, an anomaly if you will. He could walk about from place to place like a minstrel. He belonged nowhere, but belonged everywhere. There was a sense of fluid urgency, a motility that showed power with an inordinate amount of courage. You see, he could go anywhere he wanted to. He could look over spaces as wide as the entire earth, and more. He just watched, though, without saying anything to anyone. He cut his own path, observing, learning, being. He was known as The Sky.

*

One Story

She washed her face at the sink, and looked at herself in the full-length mirror on the adjacent wall. She noticed the new layer that had found itself around her body; a layer called a mother’s love. She saw the gentle arc of her swollen belly, and involuntarily put her arms protectively around it. Her heart was full of happiness – a little being was getting ready for the world. Soon, she thought to herself, this little being will stand in front of me while I bathe and clothe her. Soon, she smiled as she pictured, this little being will consume my entire existence, asking for attention in such beautiful ways. Soon, she sighed, realising the inevitable to follow, this little being will have a mind of her own, a life of her own, and a whole existence of her own. A worm of trepidation found its way into her heart; ready to stay within, for the rest of her lifetime, because a mother she was, you see, and a piece of her heart was given away to the life within her. In place of that piece, a dark fear was about to reside, a worry that would plague her forevermore – a worry that will make her stay up at nights, a worry that will keep a prayer locked on her lips, a worry that will keep her hoping for chances to shield her baby from the world’s dark side; but this worry would grow from the seed of love, nevertheless.

She made her way to the window. It was morning. The sky looked like an artist’s dream; not the usual shade of blue, but certainly a relative of it, and streaked by orange. The announcement was clear. A life would be born today.

*

The Other Story

The middle-aged lady stood on watch beside the bed where the kind-faced old lady lay. She felt a strange sense of urgency…a strange sensation of being on the move while being stationary actually. She was looking at her old mother on the bed. She observed the wrinkles criss-crossing the kind face, each narrating a poignant story from another time, another era, another reality. She looked at her mother lying silently, a mask strapped tight across her face to deliver the oxygen that everyone else took for granted. She looked at her mother lying with the silvery mop of her hair fanning out on the pillow.

There was a lifetime of love to talk about; a lifetime of memories, a lifetime of poignancy, and a lifetime of reality. She clung to straws as she saw her mother wavering like a leaf in the wind; fragile, and in pain, but not defeated. She had seen her mother’s eyes that morning. A universe of love had looked back at her.

Silently touching her mother’s head with her hand, the middle-aged lady looked through the window at the sky outside. The morning was slowly bleeding across the sky. Orange rays were slowly eating into the purple and blue beginnings. A life would make its way out today.

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Author
Arpita Banerjee

Arpita Banerjee

Written: 3 Stories

Member Since: 03-May-2016

Country: India