Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hide and Seek

The big wooden almirah was the favourite hiding place for James when he played hide-n-seek with his brothers and cousins. It was one great place to hide….Mundane and non-descript at a corner in the big bedroom at the old house tucked amidst the thick foliage of tree at his native in Neliampathy. He would climb inside the biggest cabinet and lock himself up…. waiting until he could hear someone unlucky getting caught in the game…Once he closed himself in the almirah, the silence and darkness inside would heighten the thrill of the game. There was a small crevice inside the almirah through which he could see what’s happening outside…The power to see when others could not see you…he really relished that…But otherwise the brief moments inside the almirah was to crawl on top of the neatly ironed sarees inhaling the scent of cuticura talc which seems to linger always in that part of the room…A deeper sniff he could even smell the perfume which seems not to have worn off from the heap of clothes inside …

“mone.…James ee …go and take bath”

He could hear mom shouting from the kitchen…damn it….now of all the time, he sighed.…

He crouched silently inside the Almirah ignoring the warning from Amma….

It seems that Anto had finished counting and was already searching for them… Freddie would definitely be hiding behind the door in Ammachi’s room…and would easily be caught soon….He smiled satisfied with his own better calculations in choosing a much safer spot to hide…After all his cleverness and astuteness were known in the family….Thomas might be hiding under the bed in Appachen’s room….And as always his younger brother Philip would be in the same room as himself behind the huge suitcase….But no one was safe and secure as James himself…

It had been more than two minutes and seems like everyone was still safe in their places so far…

James relaxed a bit and started exploring the almirah….He could feel Appa’s watch and wallet somewhere….He could feel a bunch of keys hidden somewhere under the sari’s….But he kept them back soon for fear of creating any noise which might attract Deepu into the room…Through the little crack he could even see Philip cowering almost as if he was trying to hold his breath like Jerry hiding from Tom….he chuckled thinking about it..

Appa was sitting in the hall watching television with a friend of his… They were drinking something called whisky and talking loud….Appa sometimes become very happy after drinking or sometimes very angry….James wondered what kind of a juice was that anyways…..

What was that sound!!

James could see Deepu walking in...one step at a time…James held his breath…though each step he took inside the room did not make even a whimper of a sound, James felt each a thunder….Deepu was looking under the bed and was checking the bathroom as well….James could see Philip but now crouched, like he was doing number two…And then Philip started walking towards James …

Eeshoyeee…he will open it now!!!

That’s when Amma came into the room and scolded Deepu for making a mess outside in the garden earlier in the day….Deepu went out of the room in a hurry and James could finally breathe…


Now Appa was shouting at Amma…..He began chuckling watching Amma getting scolded for him not taking the bath….

Amma was in a hurry as James could see her hurrying to the kitchen after cleaning up the bed…On the way Amma shouted again…

“James ee…Go and take bath…I ll get angry at you”

But then there was someone who was angry at her too….Appa was furious that beef fry was still not ready…And James heard Amma running from the kitchen to serve him the goddamn beef….He could smell it from here…and James was getting hungry….

Now Appa was in the room…His shirt was unbuttoned and an unlit cigarette was loosely hanging from his lips…He took a matchbox from the table drawer and left the room…

Wait…James could hear someone shouting….

Yes…Thomas has just been caught…He wanted to tell Philip but he seems almost frozen behind the suitcase….

It was almost 5 minutes now…James was sure Thomas and Freddie had been caught…but he waited…

Amma came to the room again and she was exhausted it seemed…And Appa came again into the room….He lighted a cigarette and was walking back…when Amma stopped him…

“Could you find James …He has still not taken a bath…and I have got work in the kitchen”


Appa’s eyes were red now….James was quite worried dad would search for him soon…But instead something else happened…

“Who me…” Appa moved closer to Amma and asked mocking at her…

James had seen Appa getting angry before…But this was different…….

“That little weasel is your son….the liability you bought along… Don’t expect me to be his Dad when I am not…! “…..Dad hissed at Amma in front of his eyes…

Amma slumped on the chair and James could see tears trickling down her eyes…and a desperate attempt to fight back sobs hidden inside for long…..That was a sad woman who was slaved to exist… a resigned existence enclosed in a shroud of a untold past ….Amidst all ado he saw Philip running out and fighting with Deepu…Over the shouting, through the crevice James could see Amma wiping of her tears as Dad went away…but the tears did not stop… Deepu was shouting that the game was over as everyone was caught….and saying James need not worry about searching others for the next round…

But James was worried….Worried that he found himself…and nowhere to hide from the truth…With closed eyes he reclined his head to the little crevice…it was pitch dark anyways.…

The game was over.

35 comments:

Nithin Rajan said...

Great story Mathew, and very well written. Keep writing.

scorpiogenius said...

Nice one Mathew :)

Small Talk said...

Ohh its such a touching story !!!
I knew in the beginning itself tht thr is goona b sad ending...I was just praying tht u dnt kill James out of suffocation on sumthng...
Very well written....

fridy said...

hey Matt...good one ....it was touchin...

Jaz said...

very nice...is it a real story?

Happy Kitten said...

nice story.. well written....never knew how the story would go....

Nona said...

Interesting and sad twist! Nicely written!

Ashwadhy said...

Brilliant piece. Didn't expect the climax.Short and neat!

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

Right from the beginning, the story was so gripping. It was so touching and tragic in the end. Yet, I think it was the perfect way to end. It tore my heart though.

Venkatesh A.R. said...

now that's the reason why I keep visiting your blogs man. you are a great narrator and writer!

Ashwathy said...

omg!! brilliant work!!! literally took my breath away!..
fantastic writing, dude!

Prasoon said...

Nice this was but well, stick to humor coz thats what I expect of the blog. here you gave me a shock. sigh!

potpourri4mysoul said...

Profound! I could almost see them all in front of my eyes!!!

Reminded me of Midnight's Children by Rushdie. There's a similar scene in it.

Radhika Ganesan said...

couldn't anticipate the end...i thought the kid would die...

AR said...

Beautiful piece of writing!!!

mathew said...

@Nithin
Thank you..and thanks for visiting this blog…

@Anish
thank you!!

@Small Talk
Ayyo…that will be too much for me to write!!

@Fridy
thank you!!

@Jaz
Thanks…and no its just a figment of imagination…

@Happy Kitten ,Nona, Ashwadhy
thank a lot!!

@Swapna
nice to hear that from a writer itself…yeah…probably the mood of the writer reflects what he writes too..

@Venky
thanks da…

@ Ashwathy
thank you….

@Prasoon
yeah…Its just that I prefer to have a eclectic mix in what I write….but humour sometime later sure…

@potpourri4mysoul
oh is there a similar incident in the book too…interesting…see great minds think alike!!!

@Radhika
nooo....i am yet to write such bad endings….

@AR
thank you..and thanks for visiting…

Cris said...

Gee I began reading it thinking this was another funny story
You managed to say so much in such a short write up! Kidu Mathew!

Heera said...

hey mathew...

well written but sad ending ...

Heera

Annie said...

A great cause is expressed in one sentence in a game story. Many a time the game between parents end where the kid's agony starts. Truly touching. Congrats!

thomas said...

Oru Padmarajan style okke varunnathu kaanunnu ;) (too late to read i know; net usage restrictions, sigh!)

wanderlust said...

Wow!! You sure do have a way with words!
Keep writing, Mathew.

anishthomas said...

hehe cool one :) ...post reminded me my childwood days :) (hide nd seek part)...ahmmm those were the days.
Love the achayan backdrop.The twist in the climax was unexpected :). Feel sorry about james kutty....
between superb naration mathew,just loved it

Thulasy Mary Elizabeth said...

Mathew,
You can surely pursue some writing career in addition to what you are doing right now.In a long run, writing will pay you off sure.I feel so.Good Luck......!

Nanditha Prabhu said...

BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN STORY ...!!

sujata said...

what a brilliant narration, very racy and the twist, i wonder how james dealt with that info later

Jackfruit said...

Hmmm ... there is definitely something about children ... they make tragedies even more tragic... nice one ...

N said...

Nice story. well written...what I was thinking (wierd I know), if he really understood what did appa tell amma...(I am asuming he is very small in age as he is playing hide and seek with his friends).

Arun Meethale Chirakkal said...

Mathew, beautifully written man. Absolutely beautiful. I really like the ending as James finds the truth about himself and his haplessness as there’s no where to hide. Keep it coming.

Poornima said...

Very gripping story.really touching.
didn't expect the ending..

Enjoyed reading your blog.Been reading it for quite a while.:-)

wanderlust said...

Check my blog, there is something for you there :-)

Shrutz said...

Poignant. Sob.

Jyothsna said...

Neliampathy....close to my native, brought a smile. Well written, and the scene never left the cupboard!

mathew said...

@Cris
thank you..;)

@Heera
hmm…endings aren’t always happy anyways isn’t..

@Annie
nice to hear that from you..thank you…

@Thomma
err….papettan…wow!;)

@ wanderlust
mucho gracias...;)

@Anish
thanks a lot da…;)

@Thulasy
that’s some serious encouragement…thanks for the motivation..;-)

@Nanditha
thanks a lot chechi..

@sujata
probably he came in terms to it…after sometime…

@Jackfruit
so true….

@N
thanks a lot..;)
yeah….i think kids nowadays are more intelligent than much before…and hey I wouldn’t mind playing hide and seek even now!;)

@Arun
thanks a lot dude..:-)


@Poornima
thank you…and thanks a lot for reading this blog..

@ wanderlust
that was such a pleasant surprise when I saw it…thanks a lot..

@Shrutz
:-(

@ Jyothsna
I have not been to the place…saw some pictures recently..they are quite mesmerizing…

Usha said...

i wanted to go give him a beeg warm hug!

well written Mathew.. btw, I was worried all the way while reading it, fearing he doesn't get locked inside or something.. n at the end it turned out to be something else. :(

SilenceKilled said...

Beautiful!