A Deadly Blow
Tr. Harish Mahuvakar

The eyes that shaped hillocks, shaped rivers, made green farms, swayed shady trees, felt far flying away bird songs, built rainbows, in the very same eyes came up a desert, flung dry river stones, stretched raw and rough roads, bushes grew up, revealed broken house lanes, and found carcasses eaten up by ants, vertebra, jackals, and stray dogs.
Yes this is the story of eyes. Eyes of Paresh. It’s the matter of since last two weeks. Stared the walls. Stared whether he’s in the chair or on the bed. Ramanbhai had no idea about anything. The tongue that remained still and bitterness spreading over that was beyond any understanding. What he found was his dim face and deep sunk eyes and lax body. Pain had painted his eyes and body and that was perplexing to Ramanbhai. Meenaben no doubt noted his dislike for food, sleepless condition, and anger for no reason. Shock, reaction, deep hurts remained at his bottom of the heart. Meenaben had no skills to understand them and so she tried to get at the end but what she got was the pieces in tits and bits and that shocked her. She too without reason burst upon Paresh first and then her husband Ramanbhai.
Ramanbhai and Meenaben did some exercise: ‘You don’t seem to be well. Shall we go to a doctor?’
-‘Quarrel with anybody?’
-‘Then what’s it? What’s the meaning of your constantly being in the home only? You go out, see your friends, go to a film, do something that you like.’
-‘Nothing I want to do. He lost his mind.’
Both of them became dumb. Wordless- mute. As if trapped in the mid-sea. Neither this side nor that side saw anything. Lost souls but controlled themselves and smoothly he put, ‘Let’s go. We buy a bike for you. Didn’t you wish it my son?’
‘Hell to the bike. Want nothing I told you’, said he and went to the other room. As from the hillocks water flow away so did the situation from Ramanbhai. Couldn’t do anything except being a witness of this. Since many days such were the scenes! New tricks, new techniques, new temptations, new suggestions were flung but Paresh returned them and that’s how they remained untouched to him.
The whole process created a great interest in me. For me he had turned out to be a pure curiosity. Whenever I got time from my yard or window, I had chances to see him. Sometimes I saw him for a while. My mind began to note it minutely. He was turning into a challenge for me. Scrutiny and malignity is the nature of a human being. For this he becomes restless. Situations don’t remain in control. I was also having the same condition. And yet sometimes our wishes unexpectedly turn out into reality. Ramanbhai drew himself to me and that way the threads of the story too came in my hands. He talked of Paresh’s behaviour, of it I knew and yet I listened to him. Actually I wanted to do something for Paresh but now Ramanbhai himself insisted on it.
Now on one side was I and the other Paresh. Let’s now see him – no let’s meet him. I have called him but before he comes let me put a few things about him. He’s a simple and straight forward boy. He’s having an image of a brilliant student but I want to tell you my observation regarding him. In case we may have some solution. Because of constant pressure of education, mental stress may be a reason. Ambitions beyond capacity may be the other reason. And the third one is drawing of his own self from everything or you can say detachment. But out of all these I consider the first one as an appropriate. Will – no will, hard work and all such burden exhausts any one. The heart’s not ready for anything and so the third reason of detachment may seem suitable. And for a while one prefers loneliness. But as far as my knowledge no such great ambitions are at heart neither to Paresh, nor to Meenaben, nor to Ramnikbhai. Of course the fourth one, it’s a kind of fear came upon my mind. The period of youth passes through a slippery road. But such a thing was missing in the case of Paresh. And so the fourth one I had to push away. Then what it could be? What could it be? But lo, Paresh is here.
I was outside on the swing. He stood down-headed. Had sensed something, perhaps.
-Yes Paresh, be seated please. I made him sit with me. ’Aren’t you well? Study going on well?’ He didn’t say anything. Rather he was unable to say anything.
- ‘I called you because my collage has just got a set of Jules Verne books. I know you like him very much. But for you there’s a CD.’ I asked my wife to bring it.
-‘Take this. It’s ‘A Journey to the Center of the Earth.’ You’ve already gone through the novel.’
- ‘Wow! Jules Verne!’ He took it in his hand. I saw, he became happy.
-‘Okay, tomorrow or day after tomorrow you can return it.’ And then he went away. A flash of relaxation appeared at least.
The next day I called him again: ‘Paresh, I’ve brought ‘Gulliver’s Travels’. You may not have heard the name Swift. But you read out this work once. You’ll become a great fan of him. There’s no hurry at all. Take four or five days.’ He returned to his home. I thought I was gaining something.
On the third day he returned to me. Looked very happy. As he sat beside me he said, ‘Oh Uncle, this is a great story. Wonderful one.’
-‘I know it very well what sort of you boys and young people like to read. Is it possible I can’t understand you?’ The last sentence I stressed.
- ‘Well Uncle, if there’s anything like this, give me please.’ He said and turned to go.
- ‘Oh yeah, please be seated. There’s something for you.’
- I went into the home. Asked my wife to serve us tea. I came out with a volume of Ruskin Bond. I laid it in his hands: ‘You must be unaware of Bond but once you start you can’t escape from his bond.’
‘Thanks Uncle,’ said he and stood up to go. But right now it was my turn. I was getting success in my tricks: ‘Oh Paresh, your Aunty’s bringing tea. Take it and go.’
-‘No Uncle.’
-‘Here’s your Aunty.’ He sat down. While we took tea I talked him about Ruskin’s stories. He showed interest and that made me happy.
- ‘Paresh, if you don’t mind, should I ask you something? Recently you seem to be troubled a lot. No school. No tuition. What’s the matter?’
His face suddenly turned dark as if hard wind blew away the lit lamp. Liveliness was gone. He was shaken from within. I noted all this. The eyes were to turn into showering clouds. He remained quiet.
-‘Come on Paresh, be frank, you know me. The college students also frankly talk to me.’ He was still quite.
- ‘You’re hiding something from us. You consider me your friend. Whatever we talk will remain in between us, be sure of it. I want to help you, that’s why I’ve asked you.’
- ‘You won’t be able to understand me.’
Things were to come out now: ‘Okay! You can try. Perhaps I can.’ I laid my hand on his shoulder.
With that he burst into tears: ‘Please Uncle let me go.’
-‘Alright Paresh, you can go but remember that if you keep anything in your mind it will constantly give you pain. If you let out you’ll be relaxed.’ The clouds from the eyes turned into a shower. And then the sky began to be clear: ‘I don’t want to study at all. No benefit. No faith at all.’
-‘Faith? Who are the people you’re referring to?’
-‘Dirty people.’
-‘But who?’
-‘Those who do it. Unwillingly they compel for such things.’
-‘Who are they? ‘Such’ means?’
-‘My teacher. First he calls at home. When he’s alone-‘
He stopped. I had no patience. : ‘When he’s alone...what?’
The burden of his muteness lowered his head. His whole existence became feeble.
-‘Come on Paresh, say it frankly.’
-‘They trouble from the back, Uncle.’
I couldn’t get at that: ‘trouble from the back’ means?
He didn’t say anything but within no time my mind lit with the meaning. I lost my soul. How to bear it? A huge fire ball began to move within. I felt a situation similar to pre-volcanic eruption. I was to let out a cry but controlled myself. Only a light reaction I gave- with a great effort: ‘Oh, no!’ I did it because I thought the real thing would follow. I asked him: ‘Put the details.’
-‘I showed more interest in an experiment. I had many questions. My teacher gave me time for it. It was Sunday. Whole heartedly he was explaining. But then...’
Then he couldn’t say. When I tried hard, a few things came out in the broken pieces. With those things my presupposition turned horrible. Someone with terrible weapons had turned violent to the solitary land. As if wanted to dig out a mysterious thing laid at the bottom of the earth. Deadly were the blows. Within no time a pit was dug. Plenty of insects came out. The soil was painted with cut earth-worms, cut centipedes, and crushed snails. It gave me vomiting sensation. I ran from the place. I looked back for a while. From somewhere blood drops sprang and began to chase me. When I saw it closely I found an eagle flying with its prey of a rabbit’s young one. Then before me rose up the whirlwinds. I saw someone’s pent, shirt, and notebooks flung with the wind. Sand filled my eyes. Perhaps it was the reason that I felt all this. In reality plastic bags and such a heap of wastage were there. I was broken down.
After awhile I found things were coming into an order. Paresh was there before me. He looked strange. I tried to embrace the reality. Stood still and eased myself. Prepared myself. Patted Paresh and consoled him. Showed him the brighter side of the life and filled courage in him. I then sent him home but found myself on a sharp stony way.
Small and big thoughts flooded in me. Sharp weapons and sharp things swung into my mind. From all the possible way I tried them to pierce, push, cut, bruise, and wound that teacher. How to hide this from Ramnikbhai? What alone can I do into this matter? A train of ghostly things stood before me. The soul jumped this way and that way, swung up and down, ran left and right.
For some days, after Paresh’s last visit many things came in my mind. How to give a blow? How ? The option tree shook. New branches to it came up; leaves began to sprout.
While things were like this, one day Ramanbhai surprised me. He came up and invited me to his home. His emotions and happiness poured into tea cups and snake dishes. I was spellbound: ‘Thank you Joshibhai. In your hand is the line of success. You are a magician. Don’t know what magic you have done! Paresh has started going to school and tuition class. That’s why we invited you.’ Very happily I took tea. It was my happiness that finally I had gained something. My I felt relaxed. From the diversion ultimately the main road was picked up and its thrill filled me up. Under the open sky from a broken house wall cried up a peacock.
It was the change then I saw. Friends of Paresh again started visiting him. An assembly would take place. All of them joyously passed time in gossip and talk. He began to behave as if nothing had happened. On a side was regularity, hard work and on the other his openness. But you know mind is nothing but only a mind full of fancy and crazy things, order and disorder. My mind knew all this and noted again all this. Don’t know why and how?
You know the fertility of a mind. Whatever you sow there, it’s sure it will grow. It also happens that sometimes the seeds burn out and at its place comes out cacti and thorny bushes. As a worm in the cotton plant fruit grows up saving himself from all the pesticides and becomes stronger with the time, so does one grew up in me. It began to develop well and stretched itself at its full possibility. It began to feed on my blood. So quickly Paresh adapted to normalcy was a thing that my mind couldn’t accept. I couldn’t bear it really.
Paresh often came late from the school or the class. Sometimes he went out at night. Ramanbhai said he’s up to reading at his friend’s house. During Sundays or holidays Paresh began to remain busy. And all this led that worm grew stronger.
Ultimately I decided to make Paresh my engine and myself a coach. Wherever he went I followed him secretly. I began to note down minutely, each and everything. Noted the details of Sundays and holidays as well. I enquired few teachers also. Did its follow-up. But nothing I got. I doubted my capacity and potential. Had I been really successful? The success itself was mocking at me.
Since the morning the mind had no rest. I took a half day leave from my college. The summer days forbade me to go anywhere. And yet I came out. Reached to Paresh’s school. It was the recess time. Tried to find him. It was difficult to find him in the recess crowds. Well, it was good that I didn’t meet him. Had he seen me what excuse could have I offered? My feet led me to the staff room. I asked about ‘that’ teacher. ‘Just now he has been out to his house. Would return soon. Be seated please. Any work?’ But I didn’t like to be there and so hurriedly left the room. Darted my own self for such a thing. Many vulture ready to peck my heart were taking rounds. I was scared. Paresh is normal now, he’s turned normal, I shouldn’t now involve myself into the other matters- and that’s how I explained my mind. Hadn’t I been successful to bring him on to the right path? What else then you wish? Why unnecessarily you trouble yourself?
I rode my scooter for the home. Anyhow the splits on the heart didn’t come up together. Felt burden of my own self. Was perspiring now. And hot wind too blew as if to burn the soul.
Stopped to an end of a society. Parked the scooter. Eased a bit under a neem tree. Peaceful surrounding, and quietness held the mind. Suddenly in a pull the piece of quietness was torn into two by mynahs and crows. There must be a cat, I thought. But I saw a long snake slid through the shade of a peepal tree. It seemed confused because of movements. To save itself it began to move rapidly. The house before him was nearby and through a crack at the bottom of the door it went inside.
My fear grew. Thinking of the people inside, I ran to the house. Luckily it was locked. There seemed nobody. I was relieved but then the curiosity led me observe the house. Went to its back side. I shuddered with a thought that somebody finding me over here will take me a thief. Yet the claw of curiosity held me tightly. There were some holes and cracks at the windows. I fixed my eyes there and couldn’t believe my eyes!
I felt a cracking sound of lightning passed through me. I was on the verge of losing my consciousness. With folded fists I began to run. Before me were circles and circles in black, red, green....
I was running and running on the hot scorching sand. And Over me were circling hungry eagles ready to attack.

Harish Mahuvakar,‘Ame’, 3 / A, 1929, Near Nandalay Haveli, Sardarnagar, Bhavnagar 364002, Gujarat, India Cell: +91 9426 22 35 22 Email: harishmahuvakar@gmail.com