AMBER__A CHILD OF DESTINY
By Neel Anil Panicker
He always had his sights on the horizon. As children, while all of us, the rag tag assortment of dozen odd siblings, cousins, neighbours and others of that ilk__ the merrisome flotsam and jetsam that constitute life in a small town in the boondocks of little India were too chasing paper boats on slow moving mud-filled streams, or climbing walls, hurling stones and all other inconsequential things eight year olds do, she would be sitting in her room, devouring books, every single one of them that her father, a bald bespectacled stentorian with a scruffy mustache who worked as librarian in the only English library in the town and a 100 mile radius around it.
There, we would see him, alight from the school bus, and wing his way quickly past us, his spindly legs rushing in to his corner house, the only cemented double story abode, again, in town.
While, we children would be making plans for the next two, three, or even four hours, he, Amber his name was, would be preparing to repair to his quiet corner by the window shielded by thick brown curtains.
Once in, and unmindful of the shouts and shrieks and squeals and laughter that erupted all around him, little Amber would dive and delve deep into the world of letters.
We knew he had read every single book that lies his father’s massive seven shelved bookcase for every Monday we would watch as a small mini truck would arrive from the library and unload a fresh assortment of the old and new books, magazines, periodicals et al.
After all these years that have passed by I still remember having sighted many a Shakespeare, Milton, Shelley, O’ Henry and countless other luminaries whose names still don’t register a bell and sound Greek move in and out of the Warsi household.
It wasn’;t that we, kids, didn’t try. However, all out attempts to wean him away into pour world, the real world as we believed it to be, would be met by a curt, “Sorry, I am busy” rejoinder.
It piqued us no end that an otherwise smart, handsome looking boy of our age was giving us the shoulder and instead preferring to bury his head in something as inanimate as book.
As the wheels of time moved on and several years passed by, and all of us had grown well past being gangly teenagers and were knocking on the doors of adulthood, wondering what trajectories our lives and careers are about to take that we heard the news___Amber is no more.
He was dead.
Shell shocked we were, and even more grief visited us when we learnt that the little chubby faced cutie whom we hated for not being ‘friendly’ was suffering from cancer____a peculiar form of it, so rare that doctors had known he would not survive beyond boyhood.
Amber, it seems, having known that he hadn’t wanted to leave this world a much learned person.
Pity, we couldn’t his sentiments, and busied ourselves in living life while he had his sights far beyond the horizon where the stars beckoned.
I know he is in a better place and the Gods provide him all that he needs and cares for while we below do our time on Planet Earth.
#shortstory #fiction #memories #flashfiction