The Shattered Vanity - contd
by Prarthana Gogoi
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After taking dinner, Jodu lay in his bed without chatting with his wife, he seemed lost in thoughts. Stealing his sleep, a dream takes him to a beautiful place, riding the scooty with his daughter on the back. Jodu moved towards a hill and they fell down from the cliff. When he shouted at his wife, he heard some noises coming from his shop. He saw a huge fire breaking out from the fireplace of the sweet shop and the flames like a roaring lion cradled his shop and house to and fro.
He shouted, "Help me. Help me. Fire. Fire." His wife and younger daughter also woke up at his mad howl and hiss. They were also wailing at a high pitch voice and able to save only some valuable belongings, and the gold ornaments, the most prized possessions of their life. There was smoke everywhere.
The neighbours came and shouted, ,'' What a waste! Pouring water and water as fast as they could, the neighbours trembled at the sight of inferno that burned the houses and shops to ashes. The fire station was far away.
Crying like a mad man he blamed himself, why he had built so many shop, why had he made his shop and the entire site a messy one. Instead of leaving his ashen shop, he sat down on the road like a defeated warrior and remained awake till morning.
The next morning the whole site seemed like a graveyard. Jodu walked on the debris, sometimes touched the burnt naked things that scattered everywhere. The dry, ashen debris mocked Jodu and his hard work, his moulded life and fortune. There were ashes and ashes everywhere. At night Jodu dreams of a new shop, in hallucination he saw his father looking too old with a bald-head smiles to him broadly. Slowly the smile turns into a giggle.
The coconut trees with their bare ashen stems still stand on the edge of the pond and a bamboo house with a thatched roof stands proudly alone in the one acre land. And some grass grows in the barren land washed by a virgin rain. ***