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REDEMPTION A Short Story by Nivi


DUSK The day dawned as just another would. The Sun came along promptly as if reporting to a higher authority. The moon began fading away glad that his shift had come to an end. The little dew drops on the leaves started falling off one after another. Everything seemed very special to her that morning. Everything seemed so beautiful, so exquisite that she wanted to ask God how he created such beauty. She made a mental note of it. After all she was going to meet him later in the day. She went through the plan once again in her mind. A plan that has been replaying in her mind for the past 6 months. If only we planned everything so well, she thought, there would never be any failures. “There cannot be any surprises, Is that clear?” Prabhu used to tell her. That was the only thing she remembered when she thought of him. His instructions. Everything was etched in her brain. She would recite the plan if someone woke her up in the middle of the night. She breathed it; it became so important to her that everything else took a back step. She covered every possibility. She thought about every small detail and everything that could go wrong. She played the situation in her mind thoroughly. She remembered playing situations with her Dad. It was amazing how her Dad came in to all her thoughts. Whatever she would think of, her Dad would sneak in and bring a smile on to her face. He would ask her to assume situations and they would play “what-if” questions all day. “What if someone said they will give you 10000Rs if you hurt your friend?” “Wow, ten thousand? Evalo zero Appa?*” 1 “Doesn’t matter, what matters is what you would do? “I will give her a small punch and take the money”. “Adi Kalli*2, at no circumstance is violence accepted, money doesn’t make you who you are, your actions and thoughts do Kannamma3” Her Dad. How wrong visionaries were! How withdrawn from practicality where their thoughts and views! Thoughts don’t put food on the table. Thoughts don’t save you from blood thirsty vultures. And thoughts did not save him.

1

How many zeroes Daddy You naughty girl 3 Dearest ( A fond and affectionate way of referring to a girl) 2


DARK She finished her morning coffee, took a long bath, and wore her favorite saree4. It was a red saree with a green border, her Dad loved those colors. When she picked it up he said “Anything would look lovely on you dear, but this one would redefine lovely” She took everything that was needed and looked at her father’s picture for a while, she dint have to speak to him, and he could always read her mind, more now than ever. She had a feeling he disapproved. But sometimes one had to over step parent’s wishes, because sometimes, they don’t know enough. “You are wrong Appa, I have to do this” She walked out of the house, not bothering to lock it, there was nothing valuable in the house, except her thoughts, and she had them with her, tightly bound. She took the bus and reached the old library she was supposed to be at. She went up to the Tamil literature section and stood near the shelf that housed Ponniyin Selvan5. That was the plan. And she came up with that part, Ponniyin Selvan was her favorite novel. She took the book and flipped through it, the images of the Vandhiyathevan* riding his horse ran rampant in her memory. With a sigh she closed the book and looked at the big clock next to the rack. The man she was waiting for should be here in another minute, as she turned to look at the other side, there he was. He walked slowly without any sense of urgency or pity, signaled her to the nearby librarian’s room. As per the plan, the room was empty. As he locked the room, she opened her blouse and turned her back to him. She had gone over this so many times, that she had lost any sense of shame. Once it was done, he told her so , and turned back, waited for her to button back up . She did and went ahead opened the door, looked back at him. He gave her a half smile that conveyed nervousness and pity. She had come beyond such pitiful glances. She had learned to ignore them. She walked carefully and purposefully out of the library , in to the nearby bus stand.

4 5

A traditional Indian subcontinent dress Ponniyin Selvan (Tamil: ெபானய ெச வ, "The Son of Ponni") is a famous 2400 page 20th-century Tamil histori-

cal novel written by Kalki Krishnamurthy.(Wikipedia)


TWILIGHT “Even after seeing our own people being killed mercilessly how can you not take a stand against them Appa” “You are mistaken kannamma, I am against them, I am against everyone who kills another innocent human being, but I wish not to display that anger by hurting someone else. Is that not hypocritical? An eye for an eye has never been the right philosophy. All the stories which show that in a good light do not show the complete ending. The ending where the people who follow that philosophy die violent deaths. க தி எ தவ க தியா தா சாவா.( One who lifts a knife shall die by the Knife). You have heard of the saying, I am sure. I shall never support violence ma, never” She just shrugged and left home to catch the bus to college. On her bus journey, she took ponniyin selvan and continued reading, she had the last few pages left and could not wait to finish it. Her dad had brought her a copy a year back for her birthday and said “I hope you enjoy it as much as I did” She sure did. She loved it. She was mesmerized with the book, the language. She wanted to visit Tamil Nadu 6. She wanted to see the richness of the places discussed in the book. She wanted to walk the same soil as Vandhiyathevan and Raja Raja Cholan had walked. It was the power of the book. She almost felt like she knew those places. She just wanted to get back home and tell him that it was the best birthday gift ever. When she got back home, she found his remains alongside a couple of others with sand and rock debris all over.

6

A state in India


Certain events are life altering, they change our belief system. She changed her’s. She no longer housed her Dad’s belief system. She had lost, and had lost lots. Her mother, her brother and her grandmother when she was 4 and then her Dad. All to the same war. All in the same cowardly way. All dying not knowing why they died. Everyone leaving her with no closure. Nothing to tell herself why what happened, happened. She waited, waited to move on. Waited for every bit of pain to get wiped off. Waited for time to take its own time to wash away her sorrows. But the time never came. The sorrows were indelible. So was the pain. She felt the need for revenge. She felt that would calm her down, which would give her the much needed closure. Revenge was not exactly what her father would have appreciated. But then he did not have to go through what she did, did he? He did not lose a mother and a brother when he was 4? He did not have to lose his father and face the cruel world all alone when he was 18. He was not her, and she was happy he was not. Some people were meant to be great and her Dad was one of them. Everyone did their job well. The recruiters seemed to be adept at finding individuals who loathed their lives and wanted answers in some form. Preferably in blood. They found her. She was happy they found her. They had similar wants, not ideologically but in terms of blood thirst. She agreed to the plan, it fit her exact want for revenge. It was near a military area and she was glad she was getting her closure. She spent 6 months working with the people about the plan. Everything right from the morning until the attack was discussed in detail. They had a couple of dry runs before the D day. Her instructions were simple. To find a densely populated area and activate herself. Take as many enemies with her as possible. They were never referred to as humans, they were always enemies, or other foul entities. Perhaps it made it easy for everyone involved. All it needed for the plan to break was for someone to correlate them to their own relatives. Thankfully no one did. Maybe because no one had any more family left and no one wanted one too. The pain of losing them was much more than the happiness of being with them. Everything was decided. Everything was on track. All was well in an ironic way.


DAWN One of the men escorted her to the war field. They used to call it that. Sometimes she thought they fought so hard to hold on to their beliefs. They had to reiterate things to ensure that it is all part of a larger scheme. It dint matter to her. She was going to take a bunch of guys belonging to the militia that took her dad away from her. It seemed to be fair to her. Redemption she told herself. The only disadvantage she had in the plan was her death. It dint scare her anymore. It was probably because there was not much living for as far she was concerned. They rode in the same car as they had done the dry runs in. In the same route that they took. It was all so familiar now that she even recollected the shop names that were in her route. Only things that changed were the people she saw. She almost always saw at least one family walking the streets, with smiles on their faces and bags on their shoulders. How can they be so happy, she would think. How can they walk the streets knowing there is a war going on? How can they be smiling? Are they not scared of dying, she would think. Everyone thinks that the worst can never happen to them until it actually does. And then they are not scared about it because then they have already seen it. She had been that happy the morning she left her dad to leave for college. She never thought her life would be broken in to pieces. But once it had, she did not attempt to put it all back. They had broken in to such small pieces that putting them back together neither made sense nor seemed possible to her. She had to break too and take many more pieces along with her, if she ever wanted to make peace with herself. Peace! What a violent way to achieve it, she thought to herself. Her thoughts were broken by the sudden loud ring of her aide’s cell phone. It seemed like he was being given an instruction cause all she heard him say was “Okay, done”. He then turned the car around and steered in a different direction. If she was surprised she took a moment to react. “Where are we going” she asked. “To the military school” he said. Now she was shocked and she reacted too strongly, “That is not what I signed up for” she said to him curtly. “I don’t think you have the authority to decide that” he replied and kept moving. She looked outside her window, thinking what she should be doing. She was not sure if she wanted to do this anymore. Did she harbor so much hate that she was willing to kill children? She was not sure. That scared her. The fact that she did not know. Did that mean a part of her did not care whom she was killing? Did she want revenge that bad? She looked at all directions, as though the answer lay somewhere outside in the road.


She saw the same family she had seen a while back, the father, mother and the son. The son sat on the father’s shoulder smiling away at some joke the father was saying. A family that is still happy even in such times. Maybe they will be happy till the very end. Maybe there are many families that do end up being happy together. But she wasn’t one of them was she? Why could not she have it, the happy family, the mother, brother, father all walking together? What was her fault? Why she was not destined? She thought to herself “Why should I care whether someone else is happy, I never got to be happy. Someone else did not think twice if my life would get affected by their cowardly, callous acts, did they? Why should I be any different”. Something about her thoughts affected her in a way. Some of the words stuck to her mind and would not leave her. The words cowardly and callous kept ringing in her minds. She was going to look away from the family when the kid looked at her momentarily and turned away smiling showing his father something. A moment was all it needed. A moment of sanity to clear things up in her mind. She was not sure if she would ever see her dad if she did what she was going to do. More than anything the last thing she wanted to do was put someone else in the same spot as her years later. She saw that her escort was taking the road along the sea to their destination. A short and lonely route. She called the Prabhu who was in charge of the assignment and told him “No surprises remember” Prabhu heard a loud blast.


TIMELESS “Appa” her eyes twinkled with her smile. “Kannama, I was expecting you” “You are not mad Appa, at what I did” “Mad, why would I be, am proud of you” “Appa, I wanted to meet god and ask him many questions, about the sun, the moon, the trees, about us about everything” He smiled at her and said “Ask yourself Kannama”


Redemption