I stretched my arms and yawned aloud, welcoming the warm oranges and deep yellows on to the horizon. Blues and blacks gradually disappeared into the background. Birds were chirping, with hope. Breeze was gentle and subtle. The green paddy field around me is the only world I know, with Ramu and silence being my only friends. I am immobile and cannot be moved due to my curse – my size. The world calls me a mountain. I am heartless and devoid of emotions people say and I like that. They see no change in me since eons and have concluded – a mountain has no emotions that tug at its heart, hence cruel. I am grit to them, nothing else. Who cares what they think? What do they know anyway?
I took a deep breath of the first enchantment of fresh air – a mix of mud and manure. This is home. I have been here since I was born and will be here for eternity, if I protect the secret and keep it close to my chest.
Ramu walked towards me with his usual gentle smile as he approached. Here comes the whiner, I thought rolling my eyes and let out a sigh.
He looked at me with eyes drawn close, obstructing the rays of sun piercing them with his right hand held above his eyes saluting the mighty power of nature. His left hand was holding the edges of his dhoti. The puny man stood before me ready to take me on. I smiled viciously at his vulnerability. He tried to look into my eyes, but I was mighty for him. Like always, when he is angry at me, he went around me trying to gauge my size, cursing. He came back wiping the pearls of sweat on his forehead, defeated and said, ‘If you were not here, I would have farmed even this acre and would have had two square meals a day for my family. But, who can fight fate?’
‘Why are you always in such somber mood? You spread such negativity? It irks me,’ I said.
Ramu looked at me with a mix of placidity and anxiety dripping from his eyes and said, ‘You would only know if you were human! My wife has been sick for long and I see no signs of getting her medical attention. I need money for her treatment. My son has settled in the city and got used to luxuries and don’t want to return home. He fears his identity would be haunted by my poverty, reeking of earth. I feel helpless. She is all I have. In an attempt to save her, brushed my shame and pride aside and called my son asking for help. He sent me some money and washed his hands of the problem.
‘And now it has come to selling my land to save my wife. I hate you now more than ever for being in my fields and in my life. If you weren’t here I would have had a better life.’
Should I reveal the secret and save his life? I had a moral and ethical dilemma, as I can save Ramu but will have to die for him instead. Am I ready for it? I remained silent unable to decide one way or another.
That was the last I saw of Ramu. Days turned to weeks and months went by, but Ramu didn’t return. I was worried-hapless for my friend.
After six months I saw Ramu walking towards me. He abruptly grew old with most of his hair turning grey, a long beard kept unkempt covering most of his face, eyes drooping, clothes stinking of foul smell – an amalgam of cheap liquor and marijuana.
However, I was very happy to see my friend. ‘How are you doing?’ I inquired with suave of my heart swell. He came and sat by me running his hand over me and said, ‘It’s all over. I am finished. You ruined me once and for all. I came to see you one last time and tell you how much I hate you.’ He continued his accusations spouting venom trough every breath he took.
I was stunned at his reaction and my heart cringed for the first time for a friend. His words pierced my soul sending chills through my entire-being. Am I that merciless? I wanted to stroke back and comfort him but my curse created a barrier. I quietly listened to all his accusations with my held down in remorse.
Gently I ask, ‘What happened?’
He started weeping like a child, flooded by memory of yester days! Tears streamed down his lifeless eyes painting his pale cheeks black. He looked like the epitome to the definition of a loser. He said trebling with mixed emotions of fear and anger, ‘I cannot fight it anymore. I just want to destroy you.’
‘What? I am your friend,’ came my meek defense.
He calmed down after a while and said, “My wife was ill as you know. As an attempt to save her, I was ready to sell my land. I advertised it in the paper and a gentleman came to save me. He paid me double the amount for the land. I was astonished with the offer as he wanted both the acres. I wondered what use is a mountain unfit for agriculture! Nevertheless, I jumped at the offer, both out of necessity and greed. I was paid handsomely for the land, but even after losing my land, I couldn’t save my wife. And now I seek vengeance,’ he said running towards me with a spade and stared scraping me bit by bit.
‘I feel dead inside for selling the land, my only means for my daily-bread. And I will kill you today for destroying me,’ he said.
He worked like a maniac, wiping sweat of his brow increasing vigor with every attempt, skinning me alive. He was panting as he stepped back for a moment, looked at me, caught his breath and came right back at me. His attempts recurred until he was exhausted, while I was a mute spectator.
He then fell to the ground kissing the earth kneeling. He wept aloud as his body experienced waves of tremors, shaking. He seemed like he just lost his mother and his best friend at that very minute.
I felt choked from breathlessness. The feeling was novel to me and I was deeply sorry for him, but let him cry and vent. Later he lay on the ground looking at the sky change to blues and blacks and slipped into deep sleep, as he was fatigued from crying.
Following morning vehicles arrived as a caravan. A man dressed in Navy-blue tailor-made suit got out of his black Mercedes Benz and walked towards me with recklessness. He didn’t seem right to me. I woke my friend on the ground.
He didn’t move. I tried to revive him with my futile attempts as he lay still. He was no more. I was aghast.
Tears rolled down my eyes for the very first time in the history of my creation. I lost my friend protecting my secret. I am really cold-blooded as the world calls me. I accepted their verdict as I see validity in their argument. I deserve to be shunned for infinity. I am selfish and naïve to think I could live forever. I tried to stop my tears but they revolted against me flowing as streams drenching my friend, soaking him wet. I touched him without moving an inch and realized if I wanted, I could have been his solace. But, I didn’t. I kept repeating to myself – I should have revealed the truth to him and saved him from such wrath. I am an evil-propeller with no empathy for a fellow being in nature. I should die and I am glad these people are here to kill me. I deserve nothing less. I accepted my fate with both my arms as I prepared for my demise. I looked at my surroundings – green fields, chirping birds, smells of mud and fresh air. I knew they would die with me. I spread my arms and pulled them close and decided not to let go. ‘We will die together,’ I assured them.
Silently we looked at all the men working performing various tasks. Some men were measuring the length and breadth of me, some scaled my height, while others got ready to drill me and blast me.
I looked at the man in the blue suit as he instructed his crew in a screechy voice, ‘This is my pot of gold. Don’t cut based on the terrain but cut it according to the sizes to market.’
My secret is finally revealed to the world – I am a mountain of Granite, an expensive building material, one of the rarest kinds – Blue Sapphire.
A series of blasts echoed with resound for three minutes and everything crumbled like a cookie soaked in milk. Nothing is forever. Death is the only reality for both ordinary and extraordinary men alike!