Friday, 11 October 2013

The Lone Matchstick

“A very severe cyclonic storm is approaching  and may hit the coastal districts in two days .”  Declared the news channel.  Mahesh babu picked the phone and dialled his residence number.
“Hello”...Madhvi...did you see the news ?
Arrey ..don’t worry I will manage everything. Just make a list of items required and i will be ready.  After all , if not now then when will I use the power of my  chair ...Ha..ha..
Boasted Mahesh babu. For few seconds he felt like those one in a million souls who are just born lucky . Because in times of crisis if anybody is the boss , it’s the govt.official .
He signalled the peon to come in. Yes , Raghu take this money and go to the market  right now. If someone asks , just say I have sent you for some emergency work.  And ya , first go to my quarters , take the list from madam..and then bring everything as she says.
Ok...  now go..
Like a dutiful employee , Raghu followed his master’s orders and marched ahead , like a soldier marching towards the frontiers on the orders of his senior officer.
In the evening , Mahesh babu returned home . Seeing him , his son came running and hugged him .
Mahesh babu  took him in his arms and kissed his cheeks .
So , what did you learn at school today Subham...asked Mahesh babu.
With lots of excitement , Subham replied  I learnt about types of houses. Pucca house and Kutcha house . Pucca houses are more stronger than kutcha houses. Come sun or rain , we are safe in a pucca house. But a kutcha house may break down , if there is  very severe rain or storm . 
“Arrey..wah” ! you have learnt so many sweet beta... Mahesh babu said and kissed Subham again...displaying his fatherly affection as well as pride.  He thought to himself , if this small chap can remember so many things today , then the day isn’t far when he can remember more complex and critical concepts and secure a seat for himself in a prestiguos institution . He was immersed in his own thoughts when  his wife Madhvi came and pulled him back to real life .
“What are you thinking ?” she asked . Mahesh babu smiled  and said...”Fathers” know how calculative they become about the future .
 “Ok”...leave all that and get freshened up now.
“Alright..alright ...I am going”..
Just then Raghu arrived .” Sir” , I have brought everything Madam ordered. Not just that , rather I brought more than required . Who knows what will be the situation next. Govt has declared high alert . So it’s better to be prepared.  There were so many  people in the grocery shop. Everybody was trying to get hold of the stuff . But I succeeded in bringing first. As soon as I told your name , the shopkeeper made a special packet for you sir. 
“Oh!...Raghu let it be...leave it now and go  home , try to arrange bare minimum necessities.”
“Ok...Sir”..said Raghu and left.
“What is a cyclone ?...Papa” ...asked Subham showing his childhood inquisitiveness.
“Well...a cyclone happens ..when wind blows at a very high speed ,breaking away everything that comes in it’s way . And it may also rain very heavily .” Mahesh babu tried to explain in a very simple way .
“So , will it blow away our house also”asked Subham in a scary voice.
“ dear...your papa has a strong house . It won’t get blown .It will give all of us a secure shelter.  You were saying naa..just sometime back about pucca house and kuccha house. Ours is a pucca house. It will withstand every storm.”
Subham was a bit relieved . But suddenly again he seemed worried  . 
“Papa , then will Kanha’s house get blown away . If that happens then where will they live. They have just one small kutcha house . Kanha was saying me yesterday .”
“Who is Kanha ?” asked Mahesh babu a little perplexed.
“He is our maidservant’s son. Sometimes he comes with her , in the evening and Subham plays with him . So both have become good friends”...said Madhvi .
 This thing wasn’t accepted well by Mahesh babu. He asked his wife ,not to let Subham play with such people .
“Papa..papa...say..naa..what will happen to Kanha’s house .”
Mahesh babu got a bit irritated .”Don’t ask so many questions ..go and do your homework .”
“But..papa”... “ No..just go .” 
Subham left..a bit dejected.
It’s raining continuously since three days. The charge of the  emergency light is about to give up  . Most of the trees in the locality have got uprooted bringing down the electric poles with them. There is no hope of current being restored soon .
“Madhvi..Madhvi”..Mahesh babu called for his wife .” Get the candles ready .I don’t think we can rely on the emergency lamp for tonight .”   Mahesh babu was saying this to his wife , when the light went out ...leaving them stranded in complete darkness .
“ God ..what do we do now ? “ “Arrey...don’t worry just light the candles.”   “But..but”...  “But ..what..Madhvi”... Asked Mahesh babu..concerned .
“There is no matchstick.” “ problem . Light the gas ...and then light the candle. “
“Actually ..the lighter isn’t working . so I was lightening it with matchsticks  How they got over I don’t know .I just forgot to say Raghu to bring Matchboxes that day . In such hurry , I just forgot  about it. What do we do now ?” Asked Madhvi getting worried as well scared ,fearing her husband’s reaction .
Mahesh babu was not able to figure out what to do . He was cursing himself for not having rechecked the items .
And ...just then Subham handed him a match box with a single match stick. Mahesh babu lit the candle. He looked at Subham and asked him from where did he get it .
He replied..” Papa...few days back when I was playing with Kanha , he had given me this as we were making sofa sets for my school crafts project .  When you and mama were talking about matchbox and thinking how to light the candles , I remembered about it . Kanha had given me some old match boxes and one of them had this stick. I asked him to keep that match box with him . But he said ..what will he do with this one stick and gave me back saying I should keep it ..who knows it may help me in some time of need.”

Mahesh babu...couldn’t say anything .He just looked at the candle illuminating his home in the darkness of the night .

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