Short story 7: The smile that cried


The flames got trapped in the enclosure at the crematorium. The body that went into the oval platform came out as a pot of ashes back to Arth’s father. All mourned and everyone cried even after the rituals got over. His mother was still squalling. The ladies gathered around her were trying to control her but somehow she had lost her senses that day. Arth’s uncles, his friends all lost their control and were bursting with tears. Each crying one was trying to console the other and failing at it. It was 23 year old Arth Shrivastav who had lost his life. An accident took place the night before when a truck lost its control and hit the divider crossing to the wrong side, hitting a bike driven by Arth’s friend. Arth was on the back seat and to the harsh tragedy of life, the truck hit the back side of the bike, saving his friend and crushing both his legs. His head hit the ground hard which lead to his death on the spot. His family rushed to the hospital with a hope, which got crushed the very moment they saw him. No one slept that night. By next morning all close relatives reached for the funeral rites.

Now, they all are moving back to their own world. But Shrivastav family will no longer be able to live the same life again. Arth’s dad; Alok Shrivastav is standing outside the crematorium. He has remained silent since the night. He saw the body of his child and went to a stage of numbness. He performed all the rituals without speaking a single word or giving out any emotions. Everyone has left now; the relatives are urging him to return home. He is taking small steps, slowly moving towards the car. Millions of emotions are going on in his mind. He has lost his support, his successor, his dream, his pride, all in his son. He don’t know what he will do in that house, which was made home because of Arth. He is not able to realise for whom he worked hard and earned all his life, for whose better future he saved. He is not able to believe what has happened. In 24 hours he has actually lost his entire life. He feels like a living corpse. His power of thinking is destroyed. Somehow, Arth died taking both his parent’s souls. The car reaches back to their house and each step towards that place is making him think more. His wife’s tears are still not stopping. The door opened and as he moved inside, found a smiling photo of him playing with Arth, in the hall. Staring the picture, he breaks down. He realised he lost himself in Arth.

What the flames and ashes could not do, was done by Arth’s smile.

@ramta jogi


Picture courtesy: Ravi Upadhyay

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