a writing by Satheesan Rangorath

MY STORIES ---Continue………My First Balloon

Last time I forgot to mention about my first balloon that I saw and owned for a while before my sister forcibly taking it away. When we visited temple festival
My cousin bought me a balloon, which had long tail to hold on and made funny sound when rub on it. He bought two balloons one for my self and other for my sister. I safely secured it and protected on our way back home. After reaching home, I handed over one to my sister, here after I call her name Suja for convenience. .Suja insisted on taking the one that I was holding for my self, which had a pink and blue mixture of colour. She thought mine is beautiful and took it from me. I safely kept away my balloon from her sight, as I could not play with it because of my sprained angle. I went to bed early dreaming prospects of playing with my balloon next day. May be I slept for a while before something as if a firecracker blow woke me up. I could not believe my eyes. My sister was picking up her balloon in pieces as it was blown out. I watched her from my bed pretending that I am fast asleep. I was sure that she would have asked for my balloon if I was awake. I heard her mumbling to my father for my balloon, which I had hidden away in a dark corner. I found her searching for it, but could not find. Next day morning I got up reluctantly as I was sure to lose my balloon. As suspected, I lost my balloon to my sister, who was waiting for me to get up with a recommendation from my father.
Father rightly ordered me to give away my dream, and I had to as he teased me about my studies and my carelessness. He threatened me that he is going to buy me a shepherd’s cane and blanket instead of sending me to school. I was confused and rested my claim. I looked helplessly at my balloon being handed over to Suja, who smartly played with it as I looked on through half fallen tear drops settled on my both eyes. My dream just vanished in to thin air. Rainbow stagnant on my eye drops have just fallen down.

My cousin did not go to school that day, as he was tired of walking from the festival place. My father had already left for school. Maniyettan got up late and started his day slow. I told him about my balloon. He said he would buy one for me soon. And went to his way. I went to my homework and study routine. My cousin was enjoying his day off from school and started exploring the vicinity. I accompanied him after my studies.
We stepped inside the barn house I found him checking all the filled sacks, some of them filled with pepper, coffee, and cinnamon. He discovered a big basket full of dried tapioca
He ate some pieces and gave me a piece too. Then we found out there was basket full of dried jackfruit seeds. He collected a big bag full and walked straight to a place outside barn house where the workers were readying paddy by boiling it with husk for making boiled rice. Parboiled rice is prepared for keeping it for a longer time use. He placed jackfruit seeds on an iron plate and put near the furnace so that it is roasted, then
Collected the roasted nuts and gave me a little. It tasted good.

That evening I heard my father shouting to my cousin as his activity was reported to him by our property owner. My father apologized to Ananthan Nambiar. And settled the matter. Immediately I got a strong pinch for joining my cousin in the exploration. Later in the evening Mani Ettan told my father that, the property owner got angry with him because he had discovered some secret of Nambiar, as he had found him flirting with a woman that he had employed. Anyway, as it was not of my concern I went away to my gloom for losing my balloon.

Days went on in a fast pace. My childhood dreams flew across with full of awe and wonder. Nature fondled me with her splendor. Watching night sky was my favorite
Pastime the entire sky is litter with heaps and heaps of stars. Occasionally moon peeped out of clouds as if to smile at me. Even in those days my imagination reached and spilled
out of my mind. Bliss and wonderful abundance of beauty made me wonder who created all those beautiful objects and creature. In the wilderness of forest, my thoughts flickered with glow of fireflies. They made a beautiful imprint in my heart. I went to bed dreaming those little creatures as fairies.

Since his stay with us, Mani Ettan did not show any improvement in his attitude. His studies were in doldrums. Only relief was that he used to go to school regularly. However, studies were still out of question fro him. He failed in his half yearly exams in all the subjects. He showed no worries about it. My father tried his best by arranging special tuitions for him. He treated it as another burden.

One day when I got up in the morning, I found my father and mother very worried and was reading a note. It was left by Mani Ettan. He had left to another town to join in the
Army. The letter says that he will go to a northern Indian city for training. My father wrote a letter to my grandma about his note and requested her not to worry. However,
Mani ettan left a remarkable impression in my heart. Years later when I met him, he was very stout, was sprouting a big Stalin moustache, and was smoking freely from a Berkley Cigarette tin he carried along. After some years, he came back from the army by taking a voluntary discharge after serving a required number of years. While I was studying in my second year at the college, I heard a bad news about him. He died in a motorbike accident. I went to the hospital to pay my last homage. He was very courageous and Independent in thoughts and action. I pray for him always.

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