Writing is one way of liberation.
When you write you literally go beyond your four walls and roof. For sad, depressed or deprived people, it can occur easily as a handy tool to forget realities. Realities are too hard to bear and sometimes, the only solution is to tame them, and charge at them where they don’t expect.
I found writing to be one of those many solutions, to defy realities.
Today, I want to write about a story told to me by my best friend. My friend narrated this particular story long ago. I could remember the story, the cozy room where he narrated, but not the date. Sometimes brain can be deceiving and let one recollects only incidences, but not dates.
I could recall that it was a rainy summer. My friend and I were in a cozy, partially dark room. We could see through the windows the leaves slapped by rain-drops and the sound of gutters burdened up by rain waters. The summer rains in that area were often accompanied by slow whirl-winds that the rain drops have erratic patterns--- they were as unpredictable as rotten mangoes. We sat there, side by side, listening to the drumming of tin sheets and the droplets hitting the grounds.
One strange thing of meeting with a friend who was sealed by fate and life itself was that you didn't have much to say. Why? We have so much to say, but dulled by the realities, and so surprised by how things could turned to, that you just sat there, not saying anything about it. There was just nothing to speak about with so many things to speak about. We were like an obedient child, being advised to zip his lips, because the child has so much to say about realities. That was how my friend and I were, beneath that tin-roofs and the summer rains.
My friend said to me, “Steve! I name a girl child years ago”
I was surprised by the sentence he spoke out. It was so out-of-place, so irrelevant to my pitiful thoughts about him and the roaring summer rains. Any way, I looked at him and said, “Oh! That’s good news. What’s her name?”
He said, as fluent as his mother-tongue, “Lucille Lalzarzo” And he continued, “I think that’s a name that is the purest”
I don’t understand any bit of what the name Lucille Lalzarzo means.
He said, “You want to know how it all begins?”
I said quickly, “Yes”.
I know from reading that true stories are stranger than fictions. Lately, I like stories, films, histories, success and failure about realities. Perhaps, I have discovered something of the mystery of fates.
I smile and said, “Go on, with your story”
He narrated thus…
One hot day, I was hanging around a market which was crowded and noisy. All people I could see were filled with stamina. Shopkeepers were yelling at the top of their voices and commuters were all walking at fast pace. The whole scene was, kind of intimidating and scary to me. You know Steve! To be in the midst of people was one thing but to share their enjoyments was rather a different thing. And they didn’t often come together. One can be disappointingly lonely everywhere.
I walked out of the market and walked towards the main road, planning to catch a vehicle for going towards home. As I looked around, I could see, in one particular junction of the road, people clustering something. They were all quite and serious and looked intensely at something which I could not see due to my distance. The sun was still high up, and I didn't have much good things awaiting me at home either. So, I decided to join the cluster.
I walked up to them and peeped through people. I saw a man was telling a story. The story was so interesting and so true that I was instantly soaked by it. I was trapped by his story and I kept listening.
“What was his story?” I asked my friend.
“Steve! It was a story of a sick man who tried to survive”, my friend answered me, with a quivering voice. And my friend started to narrate the story he heard from a man in that market.
It was during October, a long time ago. Mr. Luke was in training in one city. The training was scheduled to last for 4 months. He rented a small room on the outskirt of the city, somewhere on the boundary between civil and military area. His room overlooked the training lawn of the military.
In the morning, he used to be awakened by the sound of the training and parades of the armies. First thing he would do when he wake up was to peep through the windows, to watch the training armies. He would see them firing across the range, puzzling up themselves to form a queues for their breakfasts.
His house owner, Mr. William Sanders, was a retired army. He spends 40 years of his life in the army and retired. Mr. Luke used to think that he is a successful retired army as he could end up having a house there.
William Sanders was a happy and sad man. When he counted his fortunes, the blessings, and his healthy body, he would think himself the most fortunate man. However, when he considers the future of his son and daughter, he used to be pessimistic and worried. Many times he used to confide his worries and sweats he shed for his children to his tenant, Mr. Luke.
He would say, “If I die, what will happen to them?”
Happiness and worries are an embodiment of a human life. They are here to stay. But one usually considers happiness something of a commonplace and let go-by, unrecognized. It is sorrows and worries that made us to contemplate and drain us down. No one could really understand when it happened to them. For Mr. Sanders, too, happiness and sorrow go hand in hand. But his sorrow would out-weight all the others.
Mr. Sander has a girl grand child, who was a tender 8 months old. She was so cute and sweet, every member wanted to hold and cuddle her. Every morning, she used to be the heroine of the occasion. Same goes in the evening, when Mr. Luke reached home from his training.
Mr. Luke has been staying there for 4 months now. Although he didn’t enjoy his training, he enjoyed his stay, mostly because of the little grand child. When he have the time, he would take her to see places, and would come back home when she cried.
On that day when Mr. Luke was to leave the city after his training, he dearly holds the child and placed her heart beat close to his. Without talking, without looking away, he looked at the military lawn. The most bitter tear drops rolled down his cheeks.
Mr. Luke talked to the soul of the child in his thought. In his thought, he said, “My dear child, today I cuddle you with my strong arms, on my strong breast. And you are sleeping peacefully. You will grow up, and you will change. You will be all the more beautiful than now. Your memories will also change. And changes will make you forget. I will be forgotten, for you may not see me any more. Even if you see me again, you will not believe that I used to hold you, and I used to have strong arms and chest. Today, I hold you, but tomorrow and beyond, my body will forget you. But, you will always be in my mind.
Mr. Luke cried the soberest cry of a lifetime.
Five years passed, and Mr. Luke was struggling with life in another city. He continued to lead his life, with no much success and satisfactions. Everyday, he would measure the meaninglessness of life. When he reached home in the evening, he would measure changes he has been through. And there would be no happiness for him with the changes. The memories of that grand child would appear. She must be in school now. Will she still have her innocent face? Will she remember Mr. Luke, who holds her close to his?
One morning, Mr. Luke received a phone. It was from Mr. William Sanders. It was after many years that Luke hears his voice again. Mr. Sanders said that he was blessed with another grand daughter,, and that he would like him to name her. Luke was surprised and happy, he felt more submerged in the memories of long lost moments.
He said, “That’s very kind of you, to let me name your dear grand child. I will think about names and I contact you when I come up with something my heart and mind is satisfied to”
And so, Mr. Luke named the grand child of Mr. William Sanders, “Lucille Lalzarzo”
My friend looked at me and said, “Steve! I was enjoying and surprised all through that story told by that man in the market”
I asked him, “Why so? It is just another story”
He said, “Steve! But that happen to be my story. That story is real”
I straitened up my back and looked at my friend in bewilderment. I stood up, saying, “How the hell could the story of a strange man in a crowded market could be your story? Anyway, tell me what you do next”
My friend said that he stood up among the people who has listened the story and he pointed his fore finger, firm and shivering at the story teller. He shouted with a voice of certainties and disbelief, all in the same moment, “That is my story. That is not a story. That is real”. And than, to his further astonishment, the story teller, instead of being embarrassed, took a sight of relief, closed his eyes for a while and intensely looked at him. And then, with calm, deep voice, asked him, “So you are the one who named Lucille Lalzarzo?”
My friend said, “Yes, as sure as heaven and hell”
Then the story teller stood up from his seat, and pulled out a realm of wrinkled papers from his bag and showed the scrolls on the papers to the crowd. It was written in pencil, with clear and neat handwriting. He looked at the crowd and said, “That’s the end of the story” and gave those wrinkled papers to him. And then the story teller said something strange to my friend.
“I have seen your Lucille. She is a good girl. And I am also happy to see you. And you seem to be a good man”
The crowd dispersed heavily and slowly. Some still stared at my friend, wanting to know what the story was all about. The story teller, on the other hand, look at him, with deep connections and understandings.
After telling me the strangest of stories, my friend turned to me and said, “Steve! Sometimes, sufferings and pains are stronger bonds and the understandings they yields can be amazingly impressive. They are just beautiful. I kind of, saw the story-teller, leaving the scene alarmingly satisfied”
My friend had concluded his story and the rains have stopped. We sat there, not saying anything, not wanting to say anything more.
At last, he said, “Steve! Its time I should go home. Please pass me the walking stick and show me the door way. I will try to manage the rest”
I passed my friend his walking stick, and helped him get up from his seat. He then slowly walked with his three legs as I showed him the door way.
Beyond my door way, I could see the muddy long lane. The skies are still unsatisfied and are still covered with thick roaring clouds.
And that was what I saw. And all in realities.
Now, I think back about my friend's story. I wander what the hell was written on that realm of wrinkled papers. I find it as something of a miracle, worthy as well as unworthy to think about it. But, at last, after long murmuring thoughts, I settle on one….
"True stories are really stranger than fictions"