Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A handful of ash..


Sujoy was glancing through the headlines when the phone rang. He grabbed it without wasting a moment.
“Fire in Green View apartments”, he shouted, “prepare to leave”, he concluded peremptorily.
Everyone changed to their fire-suits and gathered the necessary paraphernalia hurriedly but without panic. They were used to getting such news. It was a routine job for them.
The scene at the site was heart-rending. The stark black fumes against the azure blue sky seemed like gigantic monsters looking out to engulf everything around. The fire was fierce, very fierce. Sujoy immediately ordered his troupe to get to work.
 Sujoy, a young lad of 24 was son of a fire-fighter himself. Every time he saw his father, he was awestruck by his philanthropy and dare-devil attitude. After all, imperilling one’s own life to save many other lives is in no way for chicken-hearted. His father died during one of his rescue operations. Despite his mother imploring him repeatedly not to join fire-fighting department, he chose it as his career, as his reason to live. Whenever, he went for such operations, she waited for him with her heart in mouth. He was an adroit fireman adorned with awards umpteen times.
He and most of his men were striving hard to control fire on tower-4, the epicentre of this catastrophic flame. Rest of his associates were making more or less futile attempts to fight fire and rescue people on other towers. Sujoy was discernibly upset about the paucity of men under him and a severe dearth of fire-fighting equipment.
Fire on tower-4 was finally under control. The structure had blackened incorrigibly but most of the people inside were evacuated and given first-aid.
Meanwhile, the situation on other towers aggravated further. The satanic fire enwrapped them brutally. The skies echoed the strandeds’ bloodcurdling yells. Sujoy, for the first time in many years, felt helpless. He did lose hope somewhere deep down but vowed to keep trying till the blaze extinguished or till his body got charred beyond recognition.
Tower-5 was burning furiously. There was little chance of anyone still being alive inside. Carrying out rescue operation on the next tower seemed to be a more feasible and pragmatic option to him. His men immediately complied accordingly.
The shouts of people subdued and the ambience grew more forlorn. The conflagration had ebbed away a bit. The palpable lines of anxiety on Sujoy’s forehead eased off a little but didn’t vanish. He now rotated his head for a quick inspection of the site when his eyes met a pair of hardened, emotionless yet beautiful, incredibly beautiful eyes. Those shiny orbs!!!  For a while, they took him to a different world altogether. A glistening drop of tear rolled down those eyes suddenly making Sujoy aware of himself. Through a sordidly burnt window of tower-5, looked out a young girl. Despite the soot all around, she had a glowing snow-white complexion which stood out in contrast against the dark, gloomy surroundings. Her raven- black hairs were tied up loosely in a pony.
She stood there transfixed, with sea-like serenity on her face. Sujoy winced at the sight of her charred left arm but she showed absolutely no signs of pain except for the marks of dried tears on her cheeks. Even after noticing Sujoy, she didn’t cry out for help to him.
Sujoy was making incessant attempts to douse the fire but his eyes occasionally strayed towards that lady. That woman who made him feel something he never had felt before. He knew if he didn’t take an immediate action, the blood-thirsty fire would soon make her its victim. However, he had to finish the task in hand despite his heart longing to rush to her and save her against all odds.
An enraged puff of fire blew across the window where stood she, the girl with whom Sujoy seemed to share an inexplicable and enigmatic bond. It was a persistent puff and very soon took a calamitous form. Every inch of Sujoy’s body ached. His vision was blurred by tears that welled up in his eyes.

Tower-6 was soon freed from the claws of sinister fire. Sujoy raced as fast as he could towards tower-5. He was about to enter the ablaze building when one of his comrades tried to stop him. He threw him to the ground and yelled impertinently-“Stay away.” Shocked by his irrational behaviour, some of his men clutched him tightly making him unable to break-free and go inside. He was about to order another rescue operation anticipating a miracle when the tower collapsed.

Hours later, Sujoy stood there, shaken and devastated. His eyes forgot to blink. His heart was suddenly bereft of something. In front of him was a huge stretch of ash. He picked up a handful of ash and gazed at it as if some magic spell would bring it back to life. He pocketed it and headed for his home where an anxious mother awaited her valiant son.


2 comments:

  1. gud one.....nice and crisp

    an alternate enting to it wud be people holding him tightly and chaining him back to his bed in a mental asylum.....the result of a mental trauma or sumthing like dat.. ;)

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  2. @ashwin sir: yeah..then a movie would be made out of it in which Salman Khan would be seen donning a weird hairstyle again :P

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