Sunday, January 6, 2013

The suffering beneath the silence

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 35; the thirty-fifth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is "...and the world was silent again"
Guru climbed the steps of the railway station with a little hope. A little more left out of the much he had. He lost his belief in things he had once thought would be for him always. He moved reluctantly to the ticket counter. There was no queue. He went near the counter and bent down to see the lady working. She appeared beautiful and simple to him which are the qualities he adored in a girl. He moved away from the counter to avoid conversation with someone; known or unknown.

He descended the steps to the platform. He stood at the edge of the platform to check if any train was arriving.

"Hey, don't stand near the track. Stand away from it."

Guru heard the voice but didn't respond. He didn't like to.

"Excuse me, sir!"

His eyes remained pinned to the track.

"Are you deaf?"

The peevish police gently pushed the man to face him. He turned around to find a railway police personnel. He starred at the police for a long time only stopped by the same question.

"Are you deaf?"

"I was but I am not."

Saying this he moved away from the platform to sit on the bench. "Are you deaf?" This question echoed in his mind. He didn't wish to recapture those events. But the question reverberated in his mind flooding it with obnoxious thoughts.

He had spent more than 3 decades of his life in mere silence. He was born healthy, all fit and in a perfect condition. Disaster entered his life in the shape of Rubella, a type of measles, at the age of 10 and it cost his hearing. He became hearing impaired. He felt that the world was silent. The world had been silent for him since then. 

He was found by the panchayat workers near a garbage bin on a bright summer morning in a not-so-famous village. He was around 5 years and wasn't deaf then. Since then, he ate whatever he got, lived where ever he could gain access, did whatever work he could do. Everyone around him made the best out of him for free and life was not easy for him. But he moved on happily.

Circumstances changed when a work broker came in a truck to the village advertising about the works in the city on a daily pay basis. Previously, people had gone in the similar way and came back with a good fortune. They didn't amass a luxury yet the price for that city work was more than they could ever imagine in that village. A lot of people boarded the truck with dreams for their future. Guru had always aimed of working in a city. The word 'city' made him eager to join the party. He expressed his wish to the broker but the broker hesitated for a second. He hesitated because of his impairment but his assistant said otherwise. He later motioned him to the truck after a few words with his assistant.

He, like everyone else, landed on the city with a great hope. Contractors from various sites handpicked the people and after a few hours everybody vanished except for Guru. None of those contractors chose him. Guru scanned the entrance of that land of rubble in the hope of a contractor. The broker left the boy alone with his assistant and left the place. That assistant ensured the broker that the boy would be taken care of. He took the boy to a bully.

"Dei, who is this boy?"

"Sahib, An orphan. Perfectly suitable for the job!"

"But his characteristics tell us otherwise!"

"Sahib, none will come searching this boy!"

"But his physical form doesn't suit our requirements!"

"We will make him look like one sahib!"
Both giggled. Sadly, Guru was admiring the sight of a squirrel and didn't look at them to understand their conversation. He knew lip reading and was on his way in mastering it. The sun wasn't on the side of the boy. It was dark; the sun hid behind the clouds in fear of what he was about to witness.

Guru gave a loud cry. Unexpected, the assistant and the bully gave deathly blows to Guru. They twisted his ankle and elbow. He cried in agony and became unconscious unable to bear the pain. When he woke, he found him wrapped with bandages and lying on the steps in a railway station. What made him cry was an aluminum plate which lay in front of him. He was given a job! He was given the job in a city! He was given the job of a beggar! Of a beggar! A beggar!

Though he didn't do the job of begging initially, he eventually gave in. He motioned his hands and begged for money. But what he got was scornful looks, curses, spits, slaps, beatings and very rarely money.

“Sir, please help me. Help me to get a meal.” Guru begged.

People passing by his side used to criticize him.

“Sir, these people are wealthy and they even have a good bank balance.” and they will giggle.

“I am not assured of even a single meal per day!” Guru would reply.

He accepted all for a single meal for he was helpless. Everyday two or three came with the bully around mid night to collect all the money and provide him the meal. He had never touched the food without crying. He learnt to hide a small amount for himself and he had never used it. The only gain was that he mastered lip reading. Yet the world had always been silent for him.

Years rolled by. His ankle and elbow injuries got better. He didn't stay on these steps but did his job in the train, the platforms and sometimes other places but every night he would return to the railway. A few weeks later, he spotted a small boy sneaking around the station and stealing things from people. Guru knew it yet he waited to be catch him red-handed and the day came. Guru caught the boy when he was trying to break open his (illegal) savings. 

"Who are you?"

"Vasan. Leave me! I will never touch yours again."

"I am not going to leave you. Why are you into this?"

"I thought that you were deaf. Are you cheating people?"

"I am deaf. I know lip reading and I am not a mean person like you! I did not choose this job but was forced to do this! Are you? Are you forced kid? You aren't."

"I too am not. I am not mean. None gives me a job because of my father's death sentence. I had no other relation except my dad and he too was hanged to death a few months back and here I am stealing to console my stomach."

"I will offer you food. I will provide you money. Will you be honest? Will you be straight-forward?"

"I don't know who you are, old man but this is too much generosity! You need not offer me anything but I shall take myself! Goodbye!" 

Vasan left but with a little change in his heart. He was abashed by his act and the man's offer. He could not return to him but he wanted to. His pride didn't allow him to return. But later he often visited that station to see the old man secretly and would return. Soon these visits lead to conversations between them. They became friends and a little more than that. A father and a son. He always waited for his arrival like a child waiting for its father. He wanted him to be his son. Guru badly wanted Vasan to drop his egregious job and go to a school. But Vasan didn't like being helped by him who was already in a bad situation.

"I am not accepting any help from you my dear old fellow. You already have enough troubles."

"So are you going to pursue your little special work?" 

"No, I will stop this soon. Wait for a big fortune I'm going to make. And together we’ll leave our jobs." 

"That's what I am at. Don't attempt what you are going to! I don't know what it is about. But I am pretty sure that you are risking it."

"I am not going to risk myself. I am not gonna take any help from you and I have no other go!"

"Tell me about the fortune you are going to make."

"Wait and see for yourself! Tomorrow morning, you will know." 

Guru didn't sleep the entire night in fear of the fortune Vasan is at. He prayed to God sincerely for the first time to save him for he was the only person he ever liked. He started to live his life with a meaning after the introductory chapter of Vasan. His life changed after his arrival. He moved away from the railway station to a hut where Vasan lived. The next day arrived with a bright sun shining on his face and he woke with a jerk. He noticed the absence of Vasan next to him on the floor. He searched for him in the surroundings. 

Guru chided Vasan for leaving unannounced and he went to the railway station; his usual place. He looked deeply anxious about Vasan and his fortune. He opened his bag which was stitched several times to take out the aluminum plate. Suddenly a guy called his name. Guru looked around to see Sara approaching him. Sara too was a beggar; a turned beggar. 

"Guru, I saw Vasan today morning." 

"Oh Thank God, I have been searching him from morning." 

"Oh, don’t thank God! Curse him!" 

A wave of shock passed on Guru's face. He became anxious. 

"What happened to Vasan, Sara? What's the matter?"

"I saw him with the bully in the morning! Sara told me that he was leaving the place for a job the bully was offering and requested me not to inform you about this. I advised him not to go with bully but before that..."

"Sara, tell me!"

"But before I could finish my sentence bully slapped me and ordered me to shut my mouth and they left."

"When was it? What time?" 

"It was 5 hours before! I could not reach you for my disability! Do something about this!" 

Tears welled up in his eyes. He didn't know what to do. When Guru asked bully about Vasan, he just grinned. Guru didn't look at him but the words reached his ear. Shock. Jolt. Tremor.

"You can never find him, Guru. Give up your search."

"What did you do to him? You didn't give him a job! Did you?"

"Did I give you a job? Same for everyone." 

He had a little hope that the bully would have sent him to work. But he proved him otherwise. He had never believed his ears for they had not helped him anytime. So he looked at the bully again and he found him telling the statement. "Same for everyone."


The blaring horn of the train brought him back to his senses. He moved slowly to the train. He would never rest at any place before finding him. He heard the horn so easily and was surprised about his hearing sense. But the only grip of his life was lost and the world was silent again.

P.S: My school mate Sarguruvasan died recently in a bike accident. Stay safe with your bikes. May his soul rest in peace. I used his name in parts in this story in his memory; Guru, Vasan, Sara. We all will miss you our friend. 
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Introduced By: Muthu Kumar, Participation Count: 02


  1. Very touching story. And these things have been going on forever, wish we could stop it.

    1. Thank you :) Recently I witnessed three people against an old, physically disabled beggar started beating him with a big stick in night. Thankfully people came in and stopped them and asked for the reason. They told that the old man had been drinking and pestering the people. But I wasn't sure and even if it is true, who are they to beat this man? Shouldn't they inform the police or the railway authorities? Wish things change.



    1. Haha :D I am happy that you came back for finishing it :) Thank you Menachery :)

  3. This is only your second post I am reading and totally awed! I wish we could stop it!

    I am glad you picked this topic to write on!

    1. Thank you :) Let us hope every bad thing stops in our society and act towards it! Glad you liked it and hope to see you more here :)

  4. I was reading eagerly till the end . . such things happen in the society . . true ! very well narrated . .

    1. Thank you Maliny :) Glad you read it till the end :) Wish such things never happen!

  5. Quite a poignant tale.

    And my sincere condolences on your friend's death. Its difficult losing someone close to you.

    1. Hmm yeah, that was so much shocking and sad. Thanks....

  6. Touching, emotional and so heart rendering. So well written- that it makes the eyes moist !!! A good lesson for all of us to care about each and everything around us… And to never take anything for granted no matter how rich or poor one is....Loved this!

    1. Hey thanks a lot :) If you care for others, you will be cared for :) point taken mam :)

  7. Could not take my eye off till the end..heart wrenching ,emotional post..

    Losing a friend means to lose an entire world..May your friend's soul rest in peace

    1. Thank you Odyzz! Losing a friend is much more disappointing than reality!

  8. An emotional poignant tale. good post. i know how hard it is to lose a friend. may his soul rest in peace. all the best.

    A Rat's Nibble

  9. Oh, very nicely portrayed! I am sorry about your friend- and that's a beautiful tribute you gave him. Good luck :)

    1. Thank you Guria :) Happy you read it till the last :)

  10. Good story Harikrishna. Liked the flow and content. Poignant, the world of the deaf. All the best.

    BTW, how do your replies show with in the comment?

    1. Thanks Madhvik! For the comments, select "settings->posts and comment" and in that under the comments section, select "comment location" as "embedded" and it goes!

  11. Very touching ,emotional. At first when I read, I thought it was going to be a Tamil movie but when I went on reading , I realized that this was too good. A simple ,lovely narration which intrigued me till the end. I guess somewhere in between Sara's and Guru's conv , you have messed up the dialogue. I just thought of letting you know. Brilliant Work Hari. Very emotional bit!

    1. Thanks for the compliment Solitary writer :) I think its all in place. I don't know where I made that mess, I couldn't find! If you can, tell me! Thank you a lot :)

    2. "I saw him with the bully in the morning! Sara told me that he was leaving the place for a job the bully was offering and requested me not to inform you about this. I advised him not to go with bully but before that..."

      I guess the first dialogue ends at the excl sign?

    3. No the entire thing is dialogue! The mistake is that the name should have been "vasan" instead of "Sara".. got it :D thanks!

  12. Length was certainly an issue but it was a nice read in the end.


Time to hear yours, please

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