And The Entire City had Fallen. ..

A Story by Yashvi Gada

(Yashvi Gada is a student of Std. VIII. She serves in the Ministry of External Affairs in the School Parliament at Shishuvan.)

Mimi Chan’s excitement just couldn’t be controlled. Her father was finally returning, after 6 long months of work outside the country.

The house was buzzing with chaos. There were many preparations to be done, and her father would arrive in the next hour. She clacked around, wearing her new shoes, waiting for her father.

She waited, half an hour passed, and there was no sign of him.

And all of a sudden everything was very bright, so bright, that Mimi was almost blinded. Almost immediately after the light, came a force so powerful that her entire house was blown apart, and her heart stopped beating.

She was dead. Her mother was nowhere in sight, and her younger brother seemed to be crushed under a wall, but it could have been a doll.

Just after this, a train stopped at Hiroshima, from where a man stepped down, just one man- well built, wearing his best suit a black and shiny one, with an eager look on his face.

He walked out of the station, humming one of his favorite childhood songs, when all of his dreams fell crashing down.

His entire city had fallen, all of it, just gone…

Then he sat on what was left of the bench outside, thinking that if he had gotten here earlier, at least they could have died together.

The boy who stopped looking like his face

By Snehal Vadher

(Snehal taught English at Shishuvan. He now works with The Pomegranate Workshop and teaches Creative Writing at St Xavier’s College.)

There once lived a little boy in The Land of No Mirrors who wandered day and night, from the dense coniferous forest in the north to the icy riverbed in the south, and if you chanced on meeting him while you were passing that region by, but never entering, you would want to ask, “What are you looking for, friend?” or “Have you lost something, son?” And as soon as you asked the question the boy would disappear—you would hear clearly the gurgling of the river, which in the outskirts becomes a slick stream of silvery fluid sucked by the sea—you would see the swaying of the pine tops in the wind (they would look like a giant, invisible hand caressing dog’s fur) and some tiny creature—a fox or a beaver—would come out of the forest, appearing to you nothing more than a black spot in the distance. But the boy would have gone. You continue your journey northwards, to The Town of Voices, where you search for a place to spend the night and with that heavy rucksack you lugged all the way, almost without stopping to take rest, you hardly realise it is night until a kind lady has offered you bed and warm onion soup by the fire, which is now and then showing vestiges of its former life in the coals. You tell this woman—whose age you cannot fathom: it could be anywhere between twenty five to fifty years—about the boy you met on your way and she would listen with her large glistening eyes and believe every word you utter until your spoon clinked with the china bowl, when she would politely excuse herself and wish you goodnight. You would toss and turn inside the blankets—their freshly-laundered smell too strong in the quiet of the room—where the light from the half moon, streaming through a window just above your head, would let you keep your eyes open and fall in and out of your thoughts until they became part of a dream. In the dream, you meet the boy once more, but this time you have journeyed into The Land of So Many Mirrors and this time, it is the boy who asks you a question, “Why have you come back?” he asks, in a manner that conveys his indifference to your answer, which you try to formulate in different ways, beginning sentences and letting them trail off into incomprehensible phrases like ‘o deer rain’ or ‘running off…the blue’s stone.’ You would soon awake to the meowing of cat inside your room and outside there would be bright sunshine and a clear sky, making you want start on your journey soon, a feeling that the delightful breakfast the kind lady would serve you would only strengthen, especially the raspberry compote which she made herself using wild berries. A song or a tune that went with the rhythm of your walking would quicken your pace and birds of various kinds, none of which you would have seen before, would keep drawing your sight further into the trees, sky or rooftops, as you approached The Town of Celebrations, where you would be surrounded by people awaiting your arrival and laughter and kisses would make you forget to give one or two gifts, which would lie at the bottom of your rucksack, and someone would have made your favourite curry.

Someone Let Me Out!

By Arushii Nadar

(Arushii, a student of Std. X, wrote this story for an anti-bullying, pro-sensitivity campaign at Shishuvan last year. We dug it out from our well-kept records.)

Today was another one of those days where it was actually a relief to go to school. There was just so much tension at home; the silence was drowning me. There was a lot of glaring and frowns exchanged by my parents, completely ignoring me. Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I left the table in a huff, leaving my cereal uneaten, not that they would even notice. At home, I was an invisible nobody. At least at school, everyone knew me, so what if they knew me as a ‘bully’? Everyone knew me, and that’s all that mattered.

It was a relief to let loose my frustration and anger on someone else; to be able to feel in control of my life, something that never happened. There was nothing else that gave me the same feeling of control; trust me, I’ve tried. But then I gave up. I was always going to be invisible if I didn’t do anything. This was the easiest option, which served two purposes; made me known, and gave a chance to express my anger.

I became addicted to it; the feeling of power and control was the thing I lived for. I was addicted to it, as many people are to drugs. It’s bad for you, you know it, but you still don’t want to stop. If I stop, I’m going to drown in myself. All the insecurities, fears, anger, jealousy, which I had so carefully stored deep in my heart, would well out and overwhelm me.

I’ve lost myself. Lost the purpose of my life. I just feel so trapped in my own life.