Glaring Shadow - A stream of consciousness novel (Part 6, page 1 of 4)


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Part 6

Humbling Reality

“Relatives are a bother any day, more so when they die. Oh how the goddamn sentiment robs man the freedom to abstain from the obsequies,” he began having wiped the tears that continued to roll down his cheeks in torrents. “That’s how I viewed Raju’s death getting into my car, that sultry afternoon. (He paused for a while as if in repentance). What an untimely death it was for him; well, as if there is an agreeable time for it, saving the ripe old age. Once into the thick of life, how we got estranged; did I shun him or did he avoid me, maybe, as I shunned him, he avoided me. It’s as if the flood of time contours the banks of life in inscrutable ways. If not for my mother’s insistence and Rathi’s pestering there was no way I would have bothered to make that condolence trip. Well Rathi had been my wife before Ruma took over her place; and what a fine woman she was.”

“Maybe man as a creature is callous at the core.”

“Could be,” he continued after pausing for a while as if he was ashamed of his the then attitude. “Entering the house, I was shocked at seeing Devi as the widow; why she had earlier declined to marry me though I was mad of her. When she introduced her teenage children, I realized how much water had flowed down the bridge that separated Raju and me. When their family friends said that he had shaped up his children admirably, I could sense my own failing on that score. They all said in one voice that he had seen life as a source of fulfillment and an opportunity for enlightenment and the prospect of death never bothered him for he felt that it was but a challenge to the survivors. Well he was wont to say it seems that life sees to it that they address its altered realities rather admirably. Won’t the feeling of deprivation give way to the ray of hope in due course? That’s how time becomes the great healer, blunting the sorrows of life on the anvil of habit.”

“The one who snubbed you came to value the man you shunned, how interesting!”

“Why that made me realize what I lost by keeping away from him,” he continued. “As if to stress upon my loss, another said that the beauty of his life was such that he made a huge difference to the lives of others. It was an article of faith with him that service to humanity lies in inculcating self-belief in people. Were Raju to be a celebrity, added another admirer, his biography would’ve been a Bible for humanity. Moved myself, when I told Devi how sad it was to have lost a soul like that, she said that she was fortunate to be his wife for so long, and would’ve still felt fulfilled all her life even if their association was far too shorter. What was more, she said that he had given her enough guidance to go about life that she was confident of seeing it through on her own. You may know that she had rejected my hand saying that she could sense that I might get swayed away by women instead of guiding them.”

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