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The story was originally written in Malayalam in 2002 and published in a service magazine. Later the writer himself translated it into English.

Short story: P. Anil Prasad

During weekends he liked to explore remote villages, a new one each time. He was born and brought up in a metro city and never visited a village till he got his present job in a BPO company. One thing he liked the most about the company was the activities of weekend recreation groups. There were a number of weekend recreation groups in the company. Among all the groups, the forest trekking group was the leading one. All the group leaders welcomed him to their group. Finally he decided to join the trekking group. During one of the trekking, it was six months after his joining, they visited a tribal village and spent a lot of time there. The atmosphere of the village and the life of its people attracted him very much. After that experience he was captivated by the desire of exploring villages. Thus he started to spend his weekends alone in villages.
It was one such weekend. That time his destination was a backwater village four hundred kilometers away from the city where he worked. He took the Friday midnight train to reach the village by Saturday morning. The nearest railway station was at a small town twenty kilometers away from the village. The train reached there at six in the morning. From there he had two options to reach the village; by public transport boat through the backwaters or by public transport bus. He opted the boat service with an intention of enjoying the beauty of backwaters and the villages bordering it. He had already booked home-stay in his destination village through an eco tourism group.

When he reached the boat jetty, after a ten minutes walk from the railway station, one boat was getting ready for boarding. In twenty minutes it was filled with passengers, mostly farmers and traders. He got a window seat and comfortably settled there enjoying the beauty of backwaters in the pleasant morning sun. It took fifty minutes for the boat to reach the village. The entire journey felt like a dream for him.

Once got off from the boat, he noticed a beautiful old lady standing near the jetty. She waved both her hands immediately on seeing him. Although startled initially, he also waved hands as a matter of courtesy and walked towards the lady through the white sand filled pathway.

“good morning! Do you know me before?” - he asked with a soft but anxious voice.

“do you think I can forget you?” he bewildered further when she asked it in a strong tone with a sweet smile.

He thought the lady might have mistaken him for some other person or even mad and decided to be cautious.

“I’m new to this place. Are you residing here?” At this the lady pointed towards an old wooden house amidst the coconut grove. Though small and old, it looked very beautiful. While he stood looking at the home the lady commanded:

“come with me” – and she walked towards the home. He followed her in utter confusion.

“what are your children?” – he tried to restart the broken conversation. But she concealed her answer in a laugh.

In less than three minutes they reached her home. The doors of it were open. There were two dusty wooden chairs and a table in the porch. Books were seen scattered on the table. The dust on the books indicated it was not even touched by anybody for long. A water pot was also there on the table. However the panoramic view of the backwater from the portico was amazing!

“please come in” – the old lady invited him to the living room.

He entered the living room and saw her standing before a portrait. A glance at the portrait made his entire blood rushed to his face – it was just like his own image! He stood astounded. After a few seconds the old lady said:

“it is my husband. He was a sailor.”

“where’s he now?” - his voice was usually loud with anxiety

“he went to work three months after our marriage… a few months later his company informed me his ship was wrecked somewhere in the Indian Ocean and nobody escaped...”

When he looked at the old lady with eyes filled with a mix of fear, sympathy and curiosity, she continued with a smile:

“you needn't be afraid...this is more than fifty years old story. Hope you don’t know him...”

“oh my god! it’s strange!!!” - he cried out

“yes my son, sometimes life presents us the strangest of things it has to offer. Yesterday I had a dream…in which I saw him back at home in the morning boat... that was why I waited there...”


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