Friday, August 26, 2011

The Man Who Would Never Speak

There was a man in the village named Sadharan.

The man was peculiar enough to justify a short story about himself, if not a novel.

He was so peculiar that every living being in Sadharan would pay him a visit at least once a day.

They would go to him with their myriads of problems.

"The rain is not enough for crops" - they would say.
"The cows are not giving enough milk" - they would lament.
"My neighbour stole vegetables from my field" - a farmer would complain.
"I do not like to study" - a girl comes.
"I cannot play good enough" - a boy mentions.
"The milkman delivers water" - everyone complains.
"I am not considered honest by others" - the milkman complains.

And so this list would continue, every day, month after month, year after year.

The man would never speak.

Only listen. His parents never remember him talking since he grew more than 2 feet. His friends never remember him talking since they cheated him one day. No one could coax him to talk.

His last recorded question or speech was - "What is your problem?" in a soft voice. He asked that to a regular milkman coming to his house.

The milkman, himself a soft-spoken man, was suffering from his back ache, rude customers, low income, naughty cows and weak memory. He spoke of his problems, for a complete hour. And to his astonishment, he left a happy man. His back ache was not less and his cows did not delivered more milk from next morning itself. But, he was happier. Thereafter, he would spend at least an hour with our hero.

The man would not speak. Just listen.

Soon, he became the person hearing all kinds of problems in Sadharan. Every one of the complainers returned a happy person.

This went on fine for years.

Until, a beautiful little girl visited the man one day.

The onlookers wondered what can be her reason to visit the man. She is little, adorable and had a ever smiling face - at least as smiling as our never speaking hero. She pushed the crowd with her soft small hands, came forward and asked in a soft voice to the man.

"What is your problem?"


2 comments:

  1. Very curious story! Knowing the silent feature of our honourable Prime Minister, it was easy to understand what's this all about. But while reading I was very curious to know whether he at all speaks in the end or how does this short story end. And at the end of the story I am left confused. You took so many words, created so much suspense to ask what we all want to ask him. :-D What is your problem Dr. Manmohan Singh? Why dont you speak up?

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  2. @Rajdeep,

    The end is left for interpretation. If I would extend this to a longer short story, I would let the girl hear all the villagers' problems thenceforth including our hero turning voluble. Then again, it is what I think.

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