Friday, February 1, 2008

A rose amidst the thorns

Sakthivel always sat alone while all his class mates played boisterously during the lunch recess. A young boy of twelve, he was always found looking forlorn. He was good in studies and very well behaved. The teachers liked him. Even Arun his close friend had no clue for his strange behaviour When asked for the reason, he just kept mum. Arun and Sakthi used to walk back home after the school.Sakthi’s house was near and as soon as they neared the house, he used to run inside. Never once he had taken Arun inside his house. Arun had seen Sakthi’s dad and brothers on many occasions outside the house.Arun never took a liking for them somehow. He could not tell why he disliked them but he knew instinctively they were not good.
One day Arun saw Sakthi with a black eye and swollen jaw. It appeared that he must have cried a lot. He would not utter one word when asked. Arun gently persuaded him to confide promising him secrecy. It was then he learnt that Sakthi’s dad and brothers were evil men, had no steady jobs and earned money by wrong ways. They invariably drank in the nights. His mom used to get beaten daily. He hated them and wished to run away from them along with his mom
He was beaten that morning for being a witness to their torturing a man mercilessly. The poor man was wailing in pain and telling them that he did not know what they were asking him. One of the brothers saw Sakthi peeping through the window, dragged him and beat him up till his mom rescued him. Sakthi told that he had seen young boys kept in custody bound and blindfolded in an attic till they got money from the boys’ parents.Sakthi said he had no courage to die though he wished to and was afraid that he too may become a wicked person if he lived in that house. When he asked Arun whether people can survive if they fell from third floor, Arun scared him telling such people turned into ghosts.
Arun met his teacher during lunch recess and expressed his fears about Sakthi.The teacher called him when alone and gently ferreted out from the boy the happenings. The boy told him that he hated his father and brothers but was worried about his mom. His said the people in the neighbourhood despised them and would not talk to them. They thought even his mom and himself were bad like others in the family and he was terrified by the thought he would also be branded a wicked man when he grew older.
The wise teacher consoled him telling his fears were unfounded. He told him that everyone knew Vikarna the youngest of the wicked Kauravas was a good natured person not given to evil ways like his siblings. Likewise a beautiful rose blooms in all its beauty amidst the thorns. People do not reject a rose simply for the reason it is found amidst prickly thorns, rather they go in search for it. There is no way that he would be termed wicked. He promised the boy that he would try to resolve his problem.
The teacher met the correspondent of the school that night itself. It was a school conducted by a mission with hostel facilities where poor boys were admitted without payment. The teacher convinced him for admitting the boy in the hostel .He thought of telling his parents that Sakthi was a bright boy and the school wished to make him a topper. He felt Sakthi's dad and brothers would agree considering it a good riddance. The teacher was happy about the solution.
The next morning when the school was about to commence they discovered Sakthi's body on the rear side of the school. He had evidently jumped from the third floor in a state of depression. The teacher was badly shaken and Arun was full of remorse that he did not grasp the significance of Sakthi’s question the previous day. It is another matter that the wicked man and his sons were soon nabbed for abducting and keeping in illegal custody a young boy for ransom. While they did time in the jail, the woman was employed to help in the hostel.

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