This is a GUEST POST from my school friend Hardik. An avid reader like me, he shares some of his favourite short stories.
There are 3 stories which have influenced me greatly.
Lohi ni Sagai, Ishwarbhai Petlikar
Translated in English, the title of this story means “bonding of blood”. I came across it in our 10th standard Gujarati textbook. This is a story of a mentally challenged girl Mangu and her loving mother Amratkaki. She loves her so much that she is not even willing to send her daughter to the mental hospital for treatment. When she comes to know that a girl in her village gets cured in the mental hospital, she reluctantly takes the decision. On the trip to the hospital, people comment rudely about her being an uncaring mother.
The next morning, neighbours wake up to unbearable cries from Amratkaki, to find that she too, unable to bear the separation from here daughter, loses her senses. “Amratkaki Mangu ni naat ma vatlai gaya” (Amratkaki too has joined Mangu’s world) – the last words of the story still gives me goose bumps. A true love story.
The Fly, Katherine Mansfield
This famous story was part of our 12th standard English textbook. The boss of a firm receives a telegram announcing his son’s death. Six years pass since then, but he is still unable to weep and doesn’t understand what is wrong. One day, while sitting in his office, he decides to have a look at his son’s photograph. While doing so, he notices a fly fallen into his inkpot, struggling to save itself. He continues dropping ink on it, till it slowly dies. Finally, he lifts its corpse and throws it into the waste-paper basket. He then tries to remember what he was doing before that, but is just not able to recollect.
The moral for me was that as time passes, emotional attachment fades away, and to get over one’s emotions, a person can even involuntarily lose memory of specific events.
The Other Side, Jack Stuart Knapp
I read this story in my 11th standard. A reporter wants to study the life of a hangman. On his interaction with one, he finds out some interesting details. The long serving hangman has never let anyone know about his profession, including his family members. He never enquires into the background of the criminal, considering him as just a number. Just before his next hanging, he is handed over a gold watch by the police constable, as a last wish from the criminal to be hanged.
On seeing it, he breaks down. This watch was the exact replica of his own, none other than the 2nd piece of the set of 2 gifted by his own son many years ago. He somehow overcomes his intense emotions and pushes the switch, as it is his call of duty.