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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Short Story - Chronicles of Latika

Guys!, Here is short story that I published in a book few days back.. Wanted to share.. Please please comment and let me know if I should write more or quit totally!!

Chronicles of Latika

Baba, I want to become a scientist one day, I want to know the reason behind all the things I see. Masterji taught that everything we see is related to science. Said Latika, cooking rice on a chulah for her father, Monomoy. I know dear, I have faith in you that you will be well educated one day and make this village proud. Can you see that star beta? Asked Monomoy, pointing towards a star in the distant sky. That is your mother, watching and blessing you from sky. When you become a successful woman, try not to forget to look into that star beta, that will guide you to the right direction. Latika’s eyes were filled with tears.

Monomoy and Sakuntala lived a peaceful life in the village of Mandul, sixty kilometers interior from Bankura, a district in Bengal. A farmer by profession, Monomoy worked hard to meet both ends needs every day, but the love he shared for his wife helped him to erase all the pain he had on the field. Sakuntala trained herself in making incense sticks, which she sold at the village market.

Their love was blessed by a baby girl after three years of their happy married life. Sakuntala named the girl Latika.

You know why I come to school? Asked Latika to Manu, a fellow classmate. Why? What could be the reason apart from getting a meal? I care only for that. Said Manu. I come to learn. I want to learn everything you know. Latika said, eyes glowing. My baba says I will be successful one day, and for that I need to learn. Did you finish the homework Masterji gave us yesterday? Manu suddenly realized he was in trouble. I… I… totally forgot to do the task. Masterji would kill me if he finds it out. Have you done it? Asked Manu panicking. You speak as if it’s the first time you forgot to do your task. Take these. She handed him a note. I did your task for this final time. Next time, please be serious. Believe me, you don’t want to remain jobless when you grow up. Scolded Latika. Okay, okay… You always speak like my grandmother. I will do the task form next time, you see. Manu sighed. Hey, I got you these green mangoes that I collected yesterday. It was fun.Manu smiled while handing over the mangoes to Latika. Well, thanks. But don’t expect I will do your task again for these mangoes. Stated Latika. You go to hell… groaned Manu and Masterji entered the classroom.

Latika was never deprived of love and kindness from both of her parents despite several attempts by Monomoy’s sister-in-laws to make them feel guilty of not having a boy child. Sakuntala never cared for much about what people had to say. She loved her family and had trust in God to keep them safe. When Latika was 7 years old, Sakuntala decided to send her to the village primary school. This led to an outbreak of cold rivalry between Sakuntala’s sisters-in-law and her. They did everything possible to stop Latika from attending school, but Sakuntala was stubborn in this matter and she made it her goal to educate her child, no matter how adverse the situation became. They will talk and keep on talking, but for how many days? Even they will get fed up of the same topic and leave us alone. Sakuntala used to say. And they prayed for brighter days to come.

Brighter days did come, though the meaning was more literal than metaphorical. The village suffered from a drought last summer. The effect was so severe, all the water of the ponds and wells dried up in unison leaving the great mass of the village waterless. Monomoy lost all his grains and his field dried up. The summer seemed to last forever, and the villagers began to get sick. Dehydration already caused death of more than a dozen of them already in the second week of the drought.

Sakuntala got sick. Dehydration, said the doctor at the local clinic. Lack of water has made her sick. Only cure is water, you see. Said the doctor. Monomoy knew he didn't have the cure, nor anyone in the village had a single drop of water. Only thing he could do is pray for the rains to wash their worries off. But, the situation worsened as the drought entered its fourth week. Sakuntala got sicker everyday. There was nothing Monomoy or Latika could do to revive her health. Even Latika began to have symptoms of dehydration. Sakuntala knew her fate and started to spend most of her times with her daughter, while Monomoy went in search of water. She shared her childhood memories with Latika and they laughed and got emotional at different turns of their discussions. One day, Sakuntala asked Latika to stay beside her and not to leave her side. Sakuntala said, Look Latika, I need to tell you something. I am going to die. Latika looked at her frozen. I tried to raise you in the best possible way that I could. But, you have to promise me that you will never quit your studies and make this village and your father proud, Latika nodded, tears rolling out of her eyes, I want you to understand that no matter how bad the situation becomes, your father will always protect you and I will bless you from the sky. She looked pale and breathed heavily. This drought will end soon. Latika stood still. You will be okay mother. God please don’t mean to take my mother from me. Please God. She looked in the ceiling offering a silent chant. She could hear her mother drawing her last breath and there she stood, eyes closed, too weak to cry. Sakuntala was dead.

The land was dry, and there was no sign of water for as long as is visible. The landscape reminded Latika of the drought in her village that took her mother away. You should rush with the soil sample I reckon, said Manavendra, we don’t have entire day to stay here. He headed towards the Lunar landing Research Vehicle. Latika concluded her thoughts and collected the samples and studied patterns for the rest of their stay on the Moon. After remaining about eighteen hours on the moon’s surface, they finally returned to their main ship, the Chandrayaan-III. Dr. Latika Sen is the honored astrophysicist in the team and Wing Commander Manavendra Sen was a trained pilot. This was first manned mission to moon by India.

Latika looked out the window of the Chandrayaan-III, she could see the blue planet, also called earth. How ironic, Latika thought, people die in this planet full of water due to lack of water. She looked into the black space outside, she could see the stars as clear as she would have never seen.

She pointed her finger at a close star and told Manavendra, whom she called Manu, Look Manu, that star is my mother, and the next one is my father. Manu smiled and held her affectionately in zero-gravity.

I came the closest that I could, maa, baba, hope you can see me clearly. It’s your Latika.


  1. Very Nice article Akash! You should continue writing, you write really well...
    However I would like to point one thing: if you love writing you should do so, others approval and dis-approval should mean nothing.

  2. Thank you so much madam, means a lot.. :)