The Passion Flowers
The Passion flowers – J.Kaval
(Words 502 )
The special team of doctors at St.John's Medical College finally pronounced its verdict. Ramkumar was terminally ill with esophageal cancer. He has only a couple of months to live. He was twenty six years old. He accepted the truth of his life philosophically and religiously. He resigned to his fate worthy of his faith. He was Brahmin. Luckily for him the monster within was not paining him too much. He discarded heavy medication and sedatives. He devoted his time for reading, meditating and praying. He had no dearth of books at home as his diseased father had bequeathed him a mini library. He decided to read as many as he could before he would bid farewell to the world. For diversion he visited medical college book stall. He soon became familiar with Tulasi the sales girl. She was polite, gentle and good looking. She was twenty. She hailed from a middle class family. She belonged to lower caste.
Ramkumar never asked for her age and caste. He just liked her. His liking gradually turned into loving. He did not dare tell her about his passion for her. He was afraid to disclose her anything about his ailment.
Every alternative day he visited the small shop and chatted with her for several minutes. They often shared a cup of coffee, by-two and a pack of Marie biscuit. She too liked his company and was eager to listen to his musings. She looked for his visit. Every time he bought a book she went inside the store, religiously and beautifully wrapped it and gave him as if she was offering him her heart.
A month passed by like a twinkle of an eye
When Ramkumar failed to show up for a week Tulasi got worried. She went in search of him. The nurse on duty of the ward informed her that Ram has left the hospital ten days ago. She got his address from her. After a couple of days she turned up at his house in an agrahara in one corner of the city. Janaki Ammal his mother received her in his room.
“Amma, where is Ramkumar?” She asked quietly.
After a long while Janaki Ammal told her that he died a week ago.
Tulasi was shocked and sat on his bed. Her quivering eyes noticed shelves filled out with books. She also saw the stack of books on the side of the table neatly wrapped. She found none of them was open. She suddenly wailed hysterically. The bewildered mother asked,
“What happened? Why are you crying?”
“Amma, why didn't Ram unwrap those book packets?”
“Why, you ask”
“I knew he loved me dearly. I loved him twice he loved me. I could not open up in public as I was from a poor Dalit family. I kept my love letters inside the book. He never spoke of his disease. I never knew he would leave me so soon”
She wept bitterly beating on her chest.
Janaki Ammal stood nearby stunned and stony
[Joseph Kaval is a freelance writer since 1960. He writes both in English and Malayalam his mother-tongue. He writes essays, criticisms, book-reviews, short stories and novels. He has published so far 200 short stories and five novels in Malayalam, and around seventy short stories in English. He has published prose and fiction in dozens of magazines, journals, newspapers, and other publications in India and abroad. He conducts classes on creative writing for college students. He edits and publishes Katha Kshetre an international literary quarterly in English from Bengaluru since 1999
Email mail: < [email protected] >
Snail mail = Post Box 9705, Vidhyaranyapura Post, Bangalore – 560097, Karnataka, India.] Visit: www.josephkaval.webs.com