Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Tree Of Knowledge- A Short Story

The only time Bhalu thought that it was okay to stay back in the fields was when he was expecting Rewari to come his way. She was a beautiful girl. Her sun kissed cheeks, those eyes that crinkled as the sun stared openly, her lips dry with walking all day to reach the school only to come back dragging her feet behind, her legs tired of walking for five kilometers to reach home. But he liked that she stopped by his field for a drink of water. Sometimes he even had fruits that he hid from his father's sight. Those ripe mangoes were just right for his Rewari. Though she didn't like talking. Only those blank stares when his eyes went inadvertently to her breasts. The only time he actually got a closer view to them. But her school uniform just made it impossible for him to actually imagine them any further.
Image source: UNICEF

"Why are you so late today?" he asked as he pulled out the earthen pot for her to drink.
"Baba said, I can't go to school now".
It was upsetting to hear the news. She already lived far away from his fields. Now she would never come his way.
"You should insist then if you really like going to school".
For the first time she looked at him, than through him, "Why didn't you ever go to school?"
School wasn't for him. Even his parents knew he was dumb. But he was good at farming. He worked very hard for it.
"I like being a farmer. And the fields won't take care of themselves".
"I am going for high studies to the city. It's the tenth boards and I really want to take it".
That sounded too intimidating for him.
"And then what do you want to do?"
"Maybe apply for a job. Depending on what I am studying. I like math".
Too complicated for him. But at least she was smiling at him. He smiled back. Is it the right time to hold her hand?
"Do you think we could be friends?" She sounded eager, "I like that you want to know what I want".
"But I want to be more than friends...", he couldn't stop at being just that, "I want to marry you".
She dropped the water, "And stay with you as a farmer's wife? What about school?"
"You can study after marriage".
It was a lie. She knew that. But at least he was desperate enough to do that.
"I have to go".
He stopped her by holding her arm. It wasn't supposed to be a tight hold but it hurt. Surprised by the move, she wriggled out of it.
"You have to answer me now".
"No! I don't want to marry an illiterate like you".
She didn't look back.
She just ran. Ran like her life depended on it. Talking to boys wasn't encouraged in her village but she had always looked forward to some rest on her way home. Now she was afraid to even go to school. The one place she loved. And what will happen from tomorrow anyway? Her father would marry her off and her life would be finished.

The next day she sneaked out of her house determined to attend her exams. It was her ticket to freedom. The boy's village came on her way but he was missing. She sighed with relief and wondered why the tree was so crowded.
The boy's lifeless body hung from the tree, his color blue and his shabby clothes torn of his body.

"He was depressed last night and just disappeared into the night", was what she heard when she tried to eavesdrop.

Before she could reach the school, her father was waiting for her. His face red with anger and some other cousins looking equally peeved. She hung her head and before she could say something felt a blow on her head.

"You will listen to your father". "You are a woman, A woman listens!"
And the last she thought that crossed her mind was the puppy love of the boy who gave up his life because she broke his heart and maybe she was soon going to meet him soon.

As per Copyright act of 1957 


  1. Sonia I am impressed.. You written sooooo well :)

  2. Nice Sonia :-) very well narrated :-) Keep up the good work my dear...

    1. Thx Archana. Ur comments are so appreciated! And i love ur haikus...

  3. an interesting read.....a woman for thought indeed.....

    1. Yea. Our society is that way. But i had no answers to this one.


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