ரெண்டு வருஷத்துக்கு முன்னால காலேஜ் 1st yearல கல்ச்சுரல் முடிஞ்சு நைட்டு 1 மணிக்கு வீட்டுக்கு வரயில ஆட்டோல உக்காந்து நான் எழுதுன கதை. இப்ப படிச்சு பாக்கும்போது மொக்க இங்க்லீஷா இருந்தாலும், சுற்றுப்புற சூழ்நிலைய யூஸ் பண்ணி உடனுக்குடன் நான் எழுதுன முதல் ஃபிக்ஷன் இதுதான்
Short story no. 1
Author-Arun Ram Prasanth
Written on: October 2014
It was a cold night as the breeze made my teeth type letters of its own. After a long and hard day at CMC impulse, I was returning to my hometown Dharmapuri in a totally exhausted state. I got down from the bus near the gh and was walking down the road. The road was full of flowers and burnt crackers. There had been some death procession I guessed. Someone had died. I was warned beforehand by my mother that there had been 5 deaths,,,,,,,,5 consecutive deaths and the cause of death of 4 them was still unknown and the last death occured near the vennampatty railway station. A woman committed suicide by falling before the train. The thought itself, her falling and her body thrown into pieces, was haunting. So I decided not to think about it again.
I was hungry. I was searching, in other words, ‘hunting’ for a hotel to quench my hunger. But how can I find a hotel at 1.45 am?????? I was roaming the familiar streets of dharmapuri-the disgusting smell of stored medicines fron the gh godown, the half dead trees by either side of the pathway, and the rugged road decorated with many ups and downs holding the stagnant water from the rain the other night which clearly indicated it hadn’t been renovated for a long long time -at midnight. This is dharmapuri. This is my hometown -an underdeveloped backward area as said by many.
There were many streetlights but thanks to the administrative excellence of the dpi collectorate, only few were working. They were radiating a dim orange light with a slight tinge of yellow. I was walking and walking and walking and walking, as I couldnt walk any more, I stopped. There was an auto stand nearby with a single auto and that too had the driver missing. I went near the auto slowly step by step. As I neared it I searched whether someone was sleeping inside. Nope no one here. Suddenly I felt that someone was standing behind me. I turned in a rush and saw a man -6 feet, black complexion, thick moustache.his smile was terrifying. I was stunned,words stuck in my mouth……..then he asked with a bold voice.
“auto venuma sir?”
I was relieved. I said ok and hired the auto.
The driver started the auto and I sank down in the back seat…………the auto was moving smoothly covering distances in slow paces. Sometime passed and the auto stopped suddenly near the vennampatty railway gate.
The driver became still watching through the front glass of the auto. He was heavily sweating as he was seeing something near the bushes with pure horror in his eyes which I cud saw through the rearview mirror…..I was asking “anna.. driver anna….enna aachu?” He didnt answer…..I was asking again and again…still no answer. Then I shook him….he turned to me with a shudder and asked “enna thambi?”……me-“vandiya start pannungana..late aaguthu…2 maniku ellam intha edathula romba neram nikka koodathu. Erkanave innaiku than oru pombala inga train la vizhundhu sethuruka….apram thappagidum” I said. The driver waited for sometime, again looked through the front glass and then slowly got down from his seat……..he went to the backside of the auto and then was doing something with the engine. Time was flying by. I was standing and watching whatever he was doing………
Suddenly a voice came from nowhere………the voice of a lady laughing hysterically……..there was no one around -‘no one’ except him and me……my blood got chilled….the driver was petrified……and the voice continued. The lady was laughing and laughing……….the driver asked “th……th…..tha……thambi enga irunthu pa sound varuthu…..?????”
I started looking around. Then I saw a house with lights on at a distance…..may be the tv was on in that house…….but may be not………..but I didn’t want to scare the driver……I said
“Athu onnu illana,anga paarunga antha veetla light eriyuthilla?? anga tv oduthu…anga irunthu than sound varuthu…..”
On hearing this the driver was somewhat relieved and continued his work. After sometime the auto started and the travel continued. When the tar road ended, the auto was moving on rough terrain with many lorries standing on either side. And between those lorries three or four women were standing and engaged in chit chat. I guessed that they were prostitutes waiting for their customers. You can see that only at night their business booms. When our auto crossed them, they stopped their giggling and chatting for a moment and were staring at us..the driver ignored them and drove the auto steadily….and again after a few minutes the auto stopped…the driver got irritated and was murmuring to himself “Cha intha saniyan en uyira vaanguthu…..itha muthalla service ku vidanum”and again he got down and was searching for something on the road…I was curious…”enna na ethayo thaeditu irukinga”, I got down and asked… for which he replied “oru chinna kuchi maathiri ethavathu iruntha thaedupa auto start panna venum”…….I was thinking ‘why a stick is needed for starting the auto?’ Then, as I realized that I know nothing about the mechanics of an auto, I remained silent and was searching for the stick……there was no street lights or nothing of that sort….only the light from the moon was helping us…..I went a few metres ahead….and the driver yelled….”venam thambi avlo thooram thaniya pogathinga….paathugappu illa…inga pakkathulaye thaedunga…..”
“Seri na” I said and came back. Moments later he found a small stick and started doing something with the engine at the back of the auto….it started, to my surprise.
Out of nowhere we heard a weird howling nearby…it was a dog I guessed….there was pain and horror in the howling….perhaps a death rattle….then it stopped in a minute or so. We went in the direction of that sound. There, behind the bush, we saw a dead dog with scalded flesh…..it was like as if someone had devoured the dog alive. We were petrified on seeing that. All of a sudden, we heard a voice, this time not aloud but a husky one…..a woman’s voice…it pierced through the air and entered our ears…I felt that someone was standing beside me and whispering something…I was dumbstruck. Suddenly the driver started shouting like a maniac and ran towards the auto. He had seen something. I swiftly followed him….he started the auto and we instantly got away from that place. We were far away now….we had left the barren roads to enter the streets……ohhhhhhhhhhh it was relieving. The driver looked very happy as if he had escaped death. In a way, I too felt the same. And then we reached my house. The driver got his fare from me and started the auto. Before departing, he said….”inimae sathiyama intha maathiri nerathula intha pakkam thala vechu kooda padukka maaten sir…”
I pressed the calling bell. My mom came and opened the gate.
“Ennada Arun thideernu sollama vanthuruka..?”
Me-“Athu onnum illa ma…rendu naal leave athan”
It was a strange and bizarre one hell of a night in dharmapurI I said to myself.