The Golden locket
by Bhargavi Srinvasan
It was a bright sunny morning. Arjun was packing up his stuffs getting ready to board his train from Bangalore to Chennai for his summer vacation. Arjun, a class VIII student lives with his parents in Bangalore. His father works in a software giant while mother is a homemaker. Arjun who shares a great bond with his maternal grand dad was exhilarated about his yet another trip to his grandparents’ residence at Chennai.
His grandparents, Raman and Lakshmi, dwell in an independent cottage besides the beach surrounded by a beautiful garden. Arjun loves the serenity of his grandparents’ locality as against his bustle city life back at home. The tranquil air, the melody of the birds chirping in the early morning and the lovely lane that leads to the beach keeps him vivacious and blissful all through the day.
After six and half hours of not so tiring train journey Arjun reached the Chennai Central railway station. He took a taxi to his grandparents home who were waiting eagerly at their doorsteps to welcome their beloved grandson. After a fresh hot bath and a delicious lunch prepared by his granny, Arjun, was wading through the TV channels and chit-chatting with his grand dad describing about his experiences at school that year.
Arjun was always inquisitive to unlock an old store room inside his grandparents’ room every year he visits them, but always is forbidden by his grand dad from doing so. His grand dad who had the keys to this store room preserves some of his archaic personal stuffs that he usually does not share with anyone including his granny. He visits the room all by himself everyday for an hour, locks up himself, cleaning and working on some things. Raman was working as a chief engineer in the water department during the British government and shared a great comradeship with his British counterpart. During his working period he had received a lot of appreciation from the British in the form of material, memento for his good work that he had secured in his store room. This trip, Arjun was determined to unfold the mystery behind his grand dad’s furtive store room which he had concealed from everyone for years.
One night when everyone at home was asleep, Arjun precariously went into his grandparents’ room and very slowly and carefully took the store room keys that his grand dad had kept in his wallet and then returned to his room silently sweating from the fear of waking him up.
Next evening, Raman and Lakshmi left for their daily meditation class nearby and buy some groceries from the market while Arjun was playing some video games on his computer. After a couple of minutes assuring that his grandparents would return only after two hours Arjun
stealthily went into their room. He took out the store room keys from his pocket and unlocked the room. To his surprise and bewilderment Arjun was gazing at the room not finding anything amusing. There were old portraits, some wall hangings, pictures his grand dad had taken with the British, some gold medals and souvenirs, some broken tables and chairs and a night lamp probably his grand dad used for his study. Wondering what was so secretive about all these that his grand dad had prohibited anyone from seeing, much to his disappointment when Arjun was just about to leave the room he tripped against an old trunk kept below the broken table and fell on the ground. He got up, dusted himself,and dragged the trunk from below the table. It was locked. The store room keys did not work and he could not open the trunk. While looking around wondering how to open the trunk he found an old wooden box on the table. He opened the box and found many keys. After trying each of them on the trunk finally luck favored him. He unlocked the trunk and saw a lot of papers, books, some dairies and ... a golden locket. He opened the locket and to his astonishment he found photos of two young couple. One side of the locket was his grand dad probably at his twenties and on the other side was a young foreign woman. Arjun removed the photos from the locket to take a closer look; a small piece of paper fell from behind the photos. It was a letter dated 14th July 1946, pre-independence time, from Edwina to Raman. A love letter to his grand dad so preciously preserved all these years. Status, society, community, cultural conflicts and so many other reasons separated them but the love which his grand dad had on Edwina was eternal and evergreen that he keeps reminiscing every day, reading through the last love letter from her. Although Arjun knows how much his grand dad loves his grand mom, somewhere deep under his heart, his first love, held a special place...
After carefully keeping the letter and the golden locket back in the same place, Arjun returned to his room pondering over his grand dad’s past...
The following weekend after enjoying a great vacation, Arjun was leaving back to his home in Bangalore. His grand dad accompanied him to the railway station. Arjun boarded the train and kept his bags at his seat... His grand dad was giving some final piece of instructions and advice for the rest of his journey. The train started moving and while his grand dad was waving a good bye to him, he smiled sheepishly at his grand dad for unravelling the secrets of his lost love :-)