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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Our good old minister

Kailas Nagar is a peaceful residential colony in the developing suburbs of Thrissur, Kerala. People belonging to the so called middle class lived there. People with permanent jobs, steady income and timetabled lives. And since they had to leave for jobs early in the morning, they could not afford to stay up late in the night except on Fridays and Saturdays. That day was a Sunday. The time was well past eleven in the night. Unsurprisingly, all families had retired for the day. Well, all but one. The two storied green house, the third one to the right, housed the young and handsome Manu Madhavan and his family. Manu was a tutor at a renowned school in the capital city Thiruvananthapuram. His long distance job demanded that he would be at home only during weekends. His family included his father Madhavan, mother Radha, and his newly wedded wife, Akshara. The wedding was only a week ago. Not a very lavish affair, mind you. The majority of the week that followed was spent in visiting the relatives. Relatives from his father’s side, mother’s side, her father’s side, her mother’s side…there was a whole lot of relatives. A week had gone real fast. In fact he had not got enough time to actually talk to her. To know her more. And tomorrow his leave would end. It was an exam season, and the school could not extend his leave. Reluctantly, he was packing his bags for the late night train. She was sound asleep, obviously tired after all the excitements. He badly wished to simply spend some more time with her.


                ***


‘Why did Ebenezer Scrooge wish that Tiny Tom live? Explain in about 150 words.’
What a ridiculously stupid question that was, thought Kaveri. Anyone who has read the Charles Dickens classic ‘A Christmas Carol’ knew very well that the stingy miser Scrooge had a change of heart after all those visions shown to him by the ghosts. Kaveri threw her textbook on her table. She was a class 11 student, and her final exams began the next day. English was first. Kaveri loved the stories and poems in her textbook. She hated it when she had to study them for exams. Stories was meant to be read and enjoyed, not answered. Nevertheless she had to take her test the next day. The time was already midnight, and she was not halfway through the portion. She was tensed.
‘Only if I had a bit more time’, thought she.


***


The famous Shri Chithira Thirunal Hospital, situated in the capital of Kerala did not distinguish between days and nights. Over years, its walls had seen through lots of blood, horrible causalities, major surgeries, sincerest prayers, heart wrenching cries, and tears of joy. That day was no different. The intensive care unit of the hospital housed an octogenarian. He was admitted that evening after he complained of severe heart pain. A sizable crowd waited outside, apparently to inquire about his well-being. The person was a popular political figure in the state, one who still mattered when it came to policy making. Currently he donned the hat of Education Minister of the state. Despite the media calling him heartless, the fact was that he actually had one. In the quiet of the night, his heart decided that it had faced enough pressure for a lifetime. The time was up. It quietly stopped beating and came to a rest.


***

‘Hello?’

‘Hello Manu sir. I am Kaveri. Sorry to disturb you this late.’ Manu was her class teacher.

‘That’s alright. What’s it Kaveri?’

‘There’s some news that our honorable Minister has passed away.’
Manu had just spoken to the Principal regarding the same. Right from the beginning he knew why she was calling him.

‘You’re right, my child. Our good old minister passed an hour ago. How tragic!’

‘Definitely, sir. I was very shocked. Poor soul.’
There was a brief pause, and she continued.

‘Well sir, some of my classmates called me to know if the exams would be held tomorrow.’

‘The principal had phoned me. Classes would be suspended tomorrow in respect of the deceased soul. You would have your exams on Tuesday.’

‘Alright, sir. I would inform them.’

‘Use this extra time you got to prepare better.’

‘Yes sir. Night.’

Manu had stopped packing when he heard the news. He was not a great follower of the leader. Some say he’s good. Some say he’s bad. Manu did not know. Manu did know that he was old. Wasn’t old age a good time to die? He did not know. He looked at his beautiful wife, sleeping unawares. Quietly he undressed, and slipped into the comforts of his warm bed on the cool silent night. 

A few hundred kilometers away, the table lamp at a sixteen year old girl’s study turned off, and a tiny green light indicating she was online on Facebook turned on.

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