A Cry in the Wilderness

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A Cry in the Wilderness

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(A Short Story by M. Menonimus)

 

A Cry in the Wilderness

A Cry in the Wilderness

A Cry in the Wilderness

During my university life, Guwahati was like my home city. Though my temporary abode was Jalukbari, I often went to Adabari for marketing. On the right corner of the turning where the police point stood, there was a small shop from where I purchased my necessary items as –tobacco, blade, soap, surf, paper etc. The shopkeeper was a handicapped youth of fifteen. One of his hands was useless. His name was A. Rahman and he was from the Barpeta district. He came from a very poor peasant family. After passing the H. S. L. C. Examination, he came to Guwahati in search of a job. First few months he worked as a page-boy in a hotel and then with much difficulty he rented a small shed house where he opened a little shop. Despite the existence of many big and beautiful shops, some of the university students liked to frequent his shop because of his good, amicable behaviour. He lost his mother some five years ago, his father was ill and thus he was compelled to be the only earning person of his family. He said that in opening the shop, one of his friends who was a vegetable seller, assisted him.

After passing my M. A., I took my engagement in a venture school as a teacher. But with the passing of time, my financial condition began to be worse day by day, year by year. Though sometimes I felt some necessity of going to Guwahati, yet I could not go because hardly could I manage the travelling expense.  Hence after about a dozen years, I could not but had to go to Guwahati for an official purpose.

When I reached Adabari, it was ten in the morning. I felt hungry but suddenly I thought that first I should meet A. Rahman the shopkeeper and hence I turned my feet to the police point and then cast my eyes to the spot where his shop was. It appeared to me that all had made a drastic change within these twelve years. And to my surprise, I found his shop nowhere. On that spot, I found a new concrete building used as a godown. Then being disheartened, I went to a nearby tea stall and drinking a cup of hot tea I went to my rendezvous.

Going to the university, I found that the university employee staff was on a strike and hence I had to delay a day to get my purpose fulfilled. I decided to stay in a hotel for the night. I had hardly enough money, so I looked for a cheaper hotel and went to Beltala where I met one of my cousins who were working in a garage. He offered to stay the night with him. I accepted the offer and spent the night in a shed house.

The next day at eight o’clock I left my cousin for the university. At Beltala Chariali I was waiting for the city bus. No sooner than a few minutes passed I happened to meet A. Rahman the shopkeeper whom I looked for at Adabari. He was carrying a sack of rice on his head to a nearby godown. To my surprise he saw me first and unloading the sack from his head he accosted me with a smiling face, “Sir, where have you been from so early in the morning?”

I replied, “I came here yesterday for an official purpose. Yesterday I searched for you at Adabari but I could find you nowhere. What is the matter, friend?”

Then he drove to the veranda of a nearby building. We sat face to face on the concrete bench. He began to say, “Sir, I lost my shop about ten years ago after only two years of opening the shop.”

“How have you lost your shop?” I asked. 

He then gave out a sigh gaping up his mouth and began to tell:

“Sir, you knew that I came from a very poor peasant family. And after passing the H. S. L. C. Examination I came to Guwahati and within a year I opened that shop with the financial assistance of one of my cousins. By means of the shop, I could manage my family somehow. Step by step my business seemed to be rising up. Hardly could I spend two years then one day a group of terrorists came to my shop at night and gave me a letter and left me with the warning that they would come a week later. In the letter, they wrote”

‘Dear comrade,

You are asked to contribute five lacs of rupees to our revolutionary organization within seven days. Hope that you would co-operate with us without any excuse.’

Next week they came again to accept the subscription. I was not in a position to collect even ten thousand rupees. I told them how forlorn and poverty-stricken I was and entreated them to save me. But they did not listen to any word of mine.

They threatened me saying, ‘No excuse will be done. You must pay the said sum of money; otherwise, you must leave your soul. You have been given a second chance. We will come next week either to take the said amount of money or your soul.’

I became dumbstruck and could not find out what to do. After the suggestion of one of my well-wishers, I sold the shop along with my other belongings and paid them the sum. How destitute I became then! I thought had I died it would have been better!

Then being destitute of everything I took up the job of a porter and since then I have been doing the job and making my livelihood.”

 In the meantime, the city bus arrived at the nearby stoppage. I said to him, “Friend, it is ten o’clock. I must leave you here.” Saying so, I ran to the bus. After getting into the bus I peeped through the window and saw that he was weaving his hand and was crying out, “Sir, come again. 0 0 0

 

A Cry in the Wilderness

N.B.  The short story ‘A Cry in the Wilderness’ originally belongs to the book ‘The Prostitute and Other Stories‘ by Menonim Menonimus.

A Cry in the Wilderness

Books of Composition by M. Menonimus:

  1. Advertisement Writing
  2. Amplification Writing
  3. Note Making
  4. Paragraph Writing
  5. Notice Writing
  6. Passage Comprehension
  7. The Art of Poster Writing
  8. The Art of Letter Writing
  9. Report Writing
  10. Story Writing
  11. Substance Writing
  12. School Essays Part-I
  13. School Essays Part-II
  14. School English Grammar Part-I
  15. School English Grammar Part-II..

Books of S. Story by M. Menonimus:

  1. The Fugitive Father and Other Stories
  2. The Prostitute and Other Stories
  3. Neha’s Confession

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Menonimus
I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.

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