Celebrating Independence -continued
by Usha Madhuranathan
Short story - continued from page 1
15 Aug 2007
A creature of habit, Mukunda woke up at 5.00 am and set out for his daily walk. He returned by 6.00 am.
As he turned the corner, Mukunda was greeted by a totally unexpected sight. Many people had gathered near his house!
Worried, he rushed to the gate. And what did he see?
Colourful streamers running from the roof top to the compound walls. His old friends dressed in Gandhi topis, Nehru Jubbas and Khadi paijamas, gleefully waving small tri-coloured flags. With their grandchildren, 5 – 25 years of age, similarly dressed.
A cheer of ‘Happy Independence Day’ greeted Mukunda as he entered the compound.
Near the gate was the Sampige plant under which Mukunda and Girija had spent many an evening talking. A life-size photograph of the two of them together adorned the seat. A photograph they had never posed for. Vincent had created it merging two separate photographs of his grandparents – given to him by Vedanta.
On the Jaggali (parapet of the house) were arranged Mukunda’s Charaka and his Diary. Venkatachari’s Walking Stick. The Satyabhama costume from his Yakshagana days. The Bhagavad Gita he read every day. The khadi garland Girija and he had exchanged on their wedding day. The Tamra Patra that the government had
awarded him for being a freedom fighter.
From the nearby tree hung the various news paper articles about Mukunda that Lakshmasaani had lovingly collected and preserved all those decades ago. The gejje (anklets) she had given Mukunda on the day of his Ranga Pravesha were tied nearby – they were making a lovely tinkling noise as they swayed with the breeze.
In the middle of the garden was erected a flag post with the Indian flag waiting to be hoisted.
The blinkers fell from Mukunda’s eyes. His grandchild, who he had written off as an impertinent brat had actually been anything but that. He realized that Vedanta, in sending Vincent to him, had actually demonstrated his affection towards him – he had ensured that in his final days, Mukunda would not be alone.
The fact that children and old people alike were gathered this morning, celebrating the spirit of independence gave birth to a new hope in Mukunda.
Like a 20 year old, Mukunda eagerly tied the anklets around his ankle and danced about it glee singing “Vijaya Vishwa Tiranga Pyara”. And as he pulled the rope that unfurled the flag, ‘Vande Mataram’ filled the air with its beauty and simplicity, joy and hope… ****** P.S: This was the third best story in our Short story contest conducted in Nov.2012