Monday, August 29, 2016

The mystery box

   When I was a child, I was very close to my grandfather. We were a big joint family. My grandparents, their three sons and their families, one aunt who was yet to get married (of whom I have very little memories before her marriage) and countless relatives who visited us all the time, were too many people for us as child. So many things to do, so many events all the time, so much people altogether. Of those so many things to do and so many people to hang around, I was particularly very fond of my grandfather. I liked the things that he did, the way he did it. As a child I thought of doing things like he did when I grow old.
      He had many peculiar things like the old wooden radio, which was more than thirty years old but still was in perfect condition, a table clock with brass keys to keep it running (I liked the sound the clock made when I turned the keys so much that I fought with my sister once when she tried to do it) or wooden bed with large box storage where he slept. 
          Of all those things I liked his bed the most, a wooden bed of about three feet in height, one door to open the storage, locked with a large iron lock the key of which my grandfather always kept tucked in his waist. When you pull the door by the handle of the lock, it makes little opening in middle, through which you can put some paper, money into the mystery box.  He never allowed anyone to open it, never allowed anyone to sleep in his bed. It was a mystery for us as child, what was inside that box. My grandfather was a retired driver in a govt. office, he bought a mini truck from all the money he got when he retired. There was a driver and a handyman to drive the truck, with one of my uncle overseeing them. But it was my grandfather who kept the book and managed everything. In the evening when the truck returns from the daily business and everything was done, he would pull the door, put the money in his hand into the mystery box through the little opening. I always wanted to see what was inside it .
               I had never seen him open the box until that Sunday. The previous night was very peculiar, something which I have never experienced all my life. All the male adults were arguing about something very loud, my father was shouting, grandfather was shouting, uncles were shouting. All the females were holding each other’s hand and were crying. We were so scared, we did not know what happened. Some neighbor brought all the kids to their home, and said we would be having dinner and sleep at their home tonight. All the kids except me were happy to have dinner in some other's place, they didn't have any clue that something odd was going on.

 Still loud shouting and scolding was audible from our home, I knew something terrible had happened. We slept there that day. I was scared, I wanted to run my home, sleep in my grandfather's arm in his box bed, to hear him chant the name of Lord Krishna hundred and eight times as he always did. I wanted to feel safe , I was scared and alone.
           On Sunday we were home, none of the adults where speaking loudly, everybody was sad, felt like somebody had died or something. After a silence lunch came the moment that I was waiting for my whole life, as a surprise. My grandfather called me, locked his room, shut the windows and opened the lock of the box. He invited me to help him and go inside the box. I was scared again, for the second time in two days. I mean that was the moment I was looking for, but when it came I couldn't gather the courage to look inside it, leave alone going inside. Grandfather smiled at me, " Are you scared my boy, don't worry. Everything will be fine, I am still here. Just go inside and help this old man. " 
             He hold my in his arms, put me inside the box. I couldn't open my eyes, only thing I remember was the crying the hundred and eight times the name of Lord Krishna.


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