Short story

Pigeons fluttered their wings somewhere in the roof. Spreading dust and their poop in the air. Filling the beams of light, coming through the holes of the broken roof, with dancing particles. Lying in the dusty bed he kept watching as the particles zigzagged in the light. It was his favourite pastime since he was a kid. After a long time he was indulging in it. Watching the particles exit the beam of light and new ones entering. He started blowing air at the light beams. Disturbing the almost choreographed pattern of movements of the particles, into a more chaotic one.

He had nothing much to do. For there was nothing to do. No lights, no network and no Wi-Fi. And miles away from civilisation. His life was in a way sorted out. Aftera tumultuous period that drained his emotions and put immense stress on him, he was at peace with himself and the world. Rather he had accepted what was thrown at him and stopped questioning it. Well, as any aggrieved party says, “ what wrong did I do?” He had stopped asking that question now. Rather he had realised its futility. He had realised albeit bit late, that nothing what one receives, gains, loses or suffers is directly proportional to one’s efforts, sacrifices and way of thinking. It’s a world with no balance. Not in individual life nor in collective lives. Life is just like random movements of dust particles seen in a light beam.

But he loved being at this old house once in a while. Especially when he felt overwhelmed with world. Solitude is the word, he used to convince himself. And peace of mind. That was in abundance here. No phone to ring, no anxiety inducing TV news, no one to nag, no demands made of him by anyone. All that he had left back. Hundreds of miles away. He had bought it dirt cheap, from one client of his, who was in need of cash urgently. He used to come here regularly and planned on renovating it. Adding electricity and other worldly comforts. But then had decided against it.

For few unguarded moments, he let his thoughts wander Life is not only about hope. It’s also about sincere love and a little of expectations and a little of giving and receiving that comes along with it. For in doing things with love, one rises far above, than can be reached with efforts alone. There’s a radiance to life that glows even in the darkest times. But when that connect is lost, for whatever reasons, hope loses its meaning. As these thoughts started rambling in his mind, he brushed them aside with resolve. He had come here to avoid thinking. He wanted to put a stop to this useless exercise. And he had realised this would be the best place for it.

He fooled around with the dust particles for some more time. Taking his mind away from the disjointed thoughts. After sometime, he got up to relieve himself. The ramshackle washroom was like the house, without any amenities. No running water, a door which didn’t close properly and broken glass panes on the windows, that gave a view of the greenery outside. Natural way to do the most natural thing, he muttered to himself.

Water he had got along. In huge cans. There was a river cum stream nearby. But carrying water from it was an arduous task. He usually avoided doing that. What’s the point of working hard, when you have come here to relax. Anyways his needs were few even regarding water, now that he had come to peace with himself and the world.

As he was arranging the coal, twigs and dried leaves, in an archaic and rusty stove, he started whistling a tune, after a long time as far as he could remember.

The dry twigs used to burn rapidly and within seconds. Leaving the coal untouched. Making a lot of smoke that filled the already dusty room. With the suns beams crisscrossing it gave a ghostly appearance to his dwelling. He smiled at the idea. A light twinkling in his eyes for a moment. After a long struggle, he managed to light up the coal. And placed the teapot on the stove. His work was done.

After the tea was ready, he poured it in a mug and went and sat on a huge boulder just outside the house. Ahead was a patch of green with a few big trees randomly placed. After which the land dipped into the stream which was not visible and beyond which the land again rose into a hill that was part of mountain range. All a very familiar yet a fascinating sight, to sit and watch till the arrival of night.

As the day began to darken and the sky fill up with stars he got up and stretched himself, getting out of the laziness that had enveloped him. Now to cook a broth, he thought to himself. One last task before retiring for the night. A single pot meal. Adding everything from carrots, potatoes, chillies, garlic, coriander, salt and a few more things, to boiling water and let it stew. Later on he decided to boil a couple of eggs to complete the meal. He was going to serve himself a two course meal.

After finishing the meal and doing the dishes he surrendered himself to the bed. Tired as he was. Lying on the bed and reflecting on life, he didn’t realise when he fell asleep. Back home he had to struggle to sleep and take help of medicines or alcohol. The latter was most preferred. But then it had its own consequences.

There were a bunch of sounds that continued throughout the night. Of trees rustling against the walls of the house and the roof, wind gushing into the house through broken window panes and holes in the roof and the sounds of birds and animals in the woods. But he didn’t hear anything of that. After a long long time, he had fallen into a deep sleep from which there would be no arousal. No sound would wake him up, not even the rising sun the next morning. For he had planned everything and cooked according to the plan. His last meal.