Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Liberated


Fiction - parable

Vijay was familiar enough with soil and the stones it turns up to realise that he had struck something rare.  It was a tiny stone, a pitch black speck not larger than the tip of his little finger. It turned up from the intestine of the earth while Vijay was digging a pit for the biogas plant.

Anand, the scientist from the village, got the stone analysed in his lab and assured, “It is a rare object.  A compound of carbonic acid and magnesium.”

Anand and his fellow scientists believed that it must be a fragment of a meteoroid that hit the earth millions of years ago.  “Very rare indeed,” concluded the scientist.

Now, it’s plain commonsense that something that’s very rare indeed must be very valuable too. All the more so if it came from the heavens. So Vijay got the village goldsmith to set it on a gold ring.  Vijay wore the ring proudly on his ring finger.

Nobody, in the village, however bothered to pay any homage to Vijay’s ring.  They were accustomed to seeing people wearing all kinds of precious stones on their various fingers, sometimes on all the fingers.  So Vijay went to the city and started holding his hand up, whenever he got the opportunity, in such a way that his ring with its “very rare indeed” stone was conspicuous to those who bothered to notice anything that was out of the ordinary.  Nobody took note of his ring, however.  Instead people began to see him as some eccentric chap who was making awkward gestures to God knows who.

Then Vijay was in need of some good money one day.  He took his “very rare indeed” stone to a jewellery in the city.  He had no other choice.

The jeweller was ready to pay for the gold ring.  The “very rare indeed” stone was worthless for the jeweller. “To hell with scientists,” said the jeweller contemptuously.

Vijay returned home without selling his ring.  A few months passed.  The village grapevine blossomed with rumours that a few villagers were in possession of some rare stones.  It was not only Vijay who had made use of the subsidy given by the Panchayat for constructing biogas plants.  And a few of those who had dug deep in their land had got a piece or two of the “very rare indeed” stone.

Suddenly Vijay’s ring with the stone began to draw attention.  People visited him from far and near to see the stone.  People praised its beauty and exotic look.  People made theories about it.  The stone became a sign of some imminent divine intervention or an omen of impending disaster, depending on each interpreter’s perspective. 

Newspapers and journals wrote extensive articles and research papers about the stone.  TV channels ran live discussions and debates.  The anchor of one such TV show even accused Vijay of perpetrating an unpardonable fraud on the public.  “Prove it otherwise,” challenged the anchor with his indomitable gusto.  Vijay became a celebrity.  Bankers were now ready to lend him loans.  The jeweller who had despatched all the scientists to hell came to Vijay’s house offering a fortune for the ring.  Once a burglar attempted to break in and steal the stone.  Vijay put up a brave battle which drew the attention of the neighbours and in the melee that ensued the burglar made good his escape.  The “very rare indeed” stone was secure, however.

Gods, devils and people walked in and out of Vijay’s life.  Vijay lost his sleep. 

The ring with the “very rare indeed” stone became a heavy weight on Vijay’s finger.  Its weight increased day by day.  The weight became unbearable.  Vijay was sitting on the bank of the river that was overflowing due to the unprecedentedly heavy monsoon rains.  The fury of the monsoon had already been attributed to the “very rare indeed” stones by devotees of all varieties of divinity.

Vijay liberated his finger from the weight of the stone.  He looked at the stone on the ring and smiled wryly.  Then the smile changed.  He threw the ring with the “very rare indeed” stone into the roaring waters of the river. 

When he walked home Vijay felt liberated.


48 comments:

  1. Wow! What a narration! The last line reminded me a little of Lord of The Rings (for no fault of the post)

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    1. I'm glad and even proud you were reminded of the Lord of the Rings.

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  2. This is like one of those moral stories we read out to kids. Narration that keeps you interested and ends with a moral too! :)

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    1. Deepa, I called it a parable precisely because of the reasons you've mentioned. Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Wonderful Story and The narration..I just loved it.. :-)

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  4. Hi,

    Reminds me of the movie "Lord of the Rings".The unique style of narration kept me hooked till the end. The story can be related to so many things in the world.The title 'Liberated' is the apt one for the story.

    Following you for more such wonderful stories.

    MS
    www.stylisharjun.blogspot.com

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    1. You're the second person who said he was reminded of Lord of the Rings. I'm happy to be in good company.

      Happier still that you've decided to be my regular reader. Thank you.

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  5. Very nicely narrated and loved the way this story culminated - in liberation. The title's so apt. :)

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    1. Liberation becomes easy when we realise that the burdens are often our own creation. Thanks for the comment.

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  6. My precious! Very well written. Keeps you hooked.

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  7. Nice story. Good that all my finger were always liberated :)

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    1. Good, Jahid, that you've managed to keep your fingers liberated - life is much easier that way and great fun too.

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  8. a nice read. excellent narration..

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  9. thts indeed an awesome story...

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    1. I would love to pursue more such stories. Thanks.

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  10. :) Your narration is always picturesque!
    Liberation is one aspect of life that has to be taken into consideration more often than we consider 'freedom'! We need liberation in all senses to come out with a better meaning of our lives...liberation from peculiar visions, superstitions, greed, predefined norms...liberation from 'very rare indeed' stone!:)

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    1. Yes, Kriti, I agree with you absolutely. Liberation is multi-faceted thing... The values we attach to certain things come from misconceptions which are the worst enemies...

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  11. Wow. This always happens with us. We first move heaven and earth to get where we want to be. And when we reach there, we are tired and disillusioned. Then, like this stone and the ring, begins the journey of running away from it :) Great story.

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    1. Devils think alike .. Pankti :D

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    2. LOL...I am that devil, I admit :P

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    3. Thanks, Pankti, for your inspiring comment and Jack for your naughtiness.

      One of my favourite writers, Nikos Kazantzakis, makes his protagonist of 'Zorba the Greek' say something like: Liberation is when we can amass what we passionately hanker after and having conquered it, throw it to the winds!

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  12. :) very human,Sir !! everything has optimum limit and then for us the value goes down until we decide to discard.. the Magic Of Maya .. :)
    Owl says so .. inside me :)

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    1. Jack, honestly, I had planned this as an article on how something acquires value. Is value intrinsic? Would the stone have any value unless it had become a centre of attraction of the media, of the public, or of at least some people? What would be the value of gold, for example, if a planet of gold were to be reached by man and gold became too abundant...? Since I found my thinking breaking the limits of logic and entering the realms of fantasy, I decided to write a story instead of an article. :)

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    2. @Pankti .. my owl is thankfully more brainy than RaOwl Baba :) and talks lesser and makes more sense than him :)

      @Sir- truly put ..abundance and lack of it .. defines importance of it and vice versa !! :)

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  13. Sure he wasn't the Gollum? Precious with a piece of meteor? Liked it.

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    1. No, Gollum, Brendan, just an ordinary man with an extraordinary perspective.

      Imagine a few thousands of people who realised the 'truth' that the material worth of anything is so limited that we could dump it in a river.

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  14. I thought my granny was the world best narrator but today I will change my opinion you beat her through and through.

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    1. I've grown old enough to be a grandfather, Athena! :)
      Thanks for the great compliment.

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  15. Wonderfully written. Reminded me of the story of philosopher's stone momentarily.

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    1. Every genuine quest is a quest for the philosopher's stone. But the stone often turns out to be a personal truth. It's no different in this case too.
      Thank you for the nice words.

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  16. Amazing... Very beautifully written...

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  17. A very well narrated story.Parable it is! There are times when things appear small initially, gain weight with time and tend to weigh you down. Better to let go and move on!

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    1. "Better let go and move on!"
      Thanks for the counsel.

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  18. The style, for which you are always known for..
    good one.

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    1. Nice to see you here after pretty much time, Saurabh.

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  19. To be able to take a decision to be liberated is the most important task in life and we tend to make much ado about everything without concentrating on this. We love to be lost in the labyrinth of life propelled by our intrinsic sense of possessiveness. Yours is a deep and incisive piece that makes us aware of our frailties, inspiring us to tread the normal and easy path of life.

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  20. To be able to take a decision to be liberated is the most important task in life and we tend to make much ado about everything without concentrating on this. We love to be lost in the labyrinth of life propelled by our intrinsic sense of possessiveness. Yours is a deep and incisive piece that makes us aware of our frailties, inspiring us to tread the normal and easy path of life.

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    1. I'm glad you could relate to the almost mystical conclusion to the story. Recently a student of mine asked a question, "Sir, will you be ready to forego half your salary since you can live happily with half?" My answer was that at their age the students should dare to dream, aspire high and have realistic and even materialistic goals. A time will come, when those goals are achieved, to think beyond them... This story is partly about that time.

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