Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The death of a lame youth

My elder brother had a club foot (foot twisted downward and inward) by birth. As the foot was at a sharp angle to the ankle he had to walk on the outside edge. As he went barefoot along the pebbly road (our village did not have a surfaced road) he suffered all the time. I can still see him walking (5 kms) to the college barefoot along the pebbly path grouping for smooth spots to place his club-foot. He never complained even when his face contorted in pain. He weaved bamboo mats at home and was malnourished eating whatever  tapioca and gruel he got as his share. He was determined to compete his degree and get a good job. The entire family pinned its hopes on him and he grew up a responsible youngster with no vice whatsoever. Not very intelligent by birth, he had to study hard just to reach average levels. He confined himself to the house, the college he studied (the long up and down walk was an ordeal) and the village. He had no square meal, perhaps in his whole life-time, and had not even gone to a city. He had no time for anything; after college he hurried home to work in the evening and study at night by the kerosene lamp.
The rector of my seminary told me one cloudy morning : "Your brother has met with an accident and you may go home and come back may be tomorrow."
I never knew what had happened but as I approached my rustic village I started feeling very sad. From afar I heard the church bells tolling announcing someone's death. It was very cloudy and drizzling. Was nature sad too at what had come to pass?
A few people stood there gloomily around my house. There was a deathly silence, the jack fruit tree's branches seemed arching down over the tiled roof as if to protect the hapless inmates. When I reached the road in front of it, I saw blood mixed with mud in ditches. There were tears in my eyes and it started to flow copiously. I could not openly cry; even my brain seemed dead. My poor brother who had suffered all along his 21 years, had met with a bus accident just in front of our house (he fell from the front door when he he alighted as the bus started too soon and the back wheels ran over his head killing him instantly.)

The body was taken for post-mortem. Mother, father, my brothers and sister were all sobbing and lying down here and there unconscious. His body was brought home all stitched up towards afternoon and I could not dare to look him. It was soon covered with the coffin pal and taken for burial. The next day morning too the sun was rising up as if nothing had happened. But our world seemed to have ended once and for all.

If there is a loving God as I was made to believe can He be so cruel?
Later on I came to understand that man created God and not the other way round. Whatever it is, the dreams and the life-long hard work of a poor guy had ended once and for all. Nature did not seem to care.          

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