For An Heir
(Short Story by M. Menonimus)
For An Heir
For An Heir
Narendra was one of my intimate friends during my school-going days. He was a sharp student. We passed the H. S. Examination from the same institute. But, because of their poverty, he was compelled to stop pursuing higher education. During his student life, he showed a keen interest in literature and he was accustomed to frequenting the district library. Now he is a successful businessman. Nowadays though we are busy with our respective duties, yet we casually come across each other either on the way to my institute or in the market. I like him especially because of his honesty and straightforwardness both in speaking and dealing.
Though he does not come to my house off and on, yet if he ever happens to come to my locality he makes an appearance to me. Likewise, the last Sunday evening, he came to my house. Then I was busy in my study room. He seemed something tired as if he had just unloaded a heavy sack of rice from his head. He sat on the chair that lay near the door opposite my writing table. He, inhaling air heavily through his mouth, asked me, “What are you busy with now?”
I replied, “I am busy writing out an article for a magazine.”
He said, “Recently I’ve happened to read a short story by you in the paper. Nowadays, I get little time to read books because of my business. Besides this, I think the standard of literature has fallen down. Despite these, I had read your story to see only how far you maintain reality in your writing.”
I asked, “What is your opinion on my writing?”
He replied, “If you don’t dislike I would like to suggest you be realistic both in your subject matter and style.” Saying so, he gave a mellow smile and asked me, “Have you not heard the rumour of Sushanta?”
I asked, “Who is Sushanta?”
He replied, Sushanta, the wealthy peasant of the village of Chakla, the next village to that of ours.”
Then I remembered him. He was the only son of well-to-do Kayastha (low caste) parents of the village.
Narendra resumed, “I never heed to any rumour. But I will tell you what is true about him because I know every pore of his hair. Listen to it. It may be a plot of a story.” Saying so, he began to tell:
Sushanta got married when he was twenty. His parents selected a bride out of a hundred for their only affectionate son. His wife, Reshmi was very beautiful like that of a fairy queen. The village girls looked at her with envious eyes. After Sushanta’s marriage, his father died leaving behind him a huge property along with four acres of fertile cultivatable land. You know that Sushanta bore a stout, heavy masculine physique. He was also a man of hard-working and kept himself busy in increasing his estate. Because of his riches, he was honoured by all the rest of his villagers. His wife also was very attentive to her husband. In brief, to say, he was the happiest one in the locality.
Days passed by. But he began to feel the birth of a child to him. But his wife Reshmi was unable to bear a child for him. Already twenty years passed by. He became disappointed and one day, after the advice of his old mother he went to a quack who gave her wife an amulet to be worn on the waist. She did it but she found herself as barren as she was before. Then he went to a priest who gave him a glass of spelled water and said, “Drink it every morning for a month, and then you will find yourself to be pregnant. She did it with devotion but found no result. Then one of his neighbours suggested Sushanta go to the Temple of Kamakhaya. The couple followed the advice and sacrificed a pair of doves. Yet they could not get rid of their disappointment. Then his cousin who was a bachelor of science advised him to see an M. B. Bs. Accordingly, they went to the Gauhati Medical College and after examining the two, the doctor declared, “Sushanta has no sexual problem but the problem rests on Reshmi. She cannot give birth to a child because of an internal vaginal disorder which is out of treatment.”
The couple became more disappointed. Sushanta wished to get married for the second time. But the custom of his society does not allow a man to get married for the second time as long as the first wife survives. For want of an heir to his huge property, he began to be more and more worried. Already he trod his fifties. His hair turned to be grey. His masculine desire also got decreasing. Day by day he seemed to be crazy. He decided that he must get a child anyway. He must leave an heir to his estate. With the passing of days, he became indifferent to his duties. He ceased to cultivate his land. Sometimes he thought to divorce his wife and then take another. But he could not do so. He could not imagine a moment without his loyal and charming wife. He thought about how divorced women have to suffer in Indian society! He could not see a woman who was his wife to be an object of despise in the eye of society. Some people advised him to take up a child with another couple. But he wished to get a child by his own semen.
On the morning, after having a bath, he stood in front of the looking glass and noticed that his two cheeks had begun to wrinkle. The eyes seemed to go hollow. The hairs have begun to turn grey. Already, for some years, he had been experiencing weakness of the heart. All these meant that he was on the verge of old age. He became more and more despairing. His heart broke down. He thought of himself to be the most forlorn person ever living on the mortal earth. The madness in him to get a child began to roar violently. Though it was a winter morning, he began to shed sweat. He felt himself to be the most wretched. Then he came out of his spacious room and sat on the bench of his outer courtyard under the coconut tree and closed his eyes. The world seemed to him to be a great void. How much time he remained closing his eyes, he could not remind. But suddenly he came to sense the sound of the horn of a taxi that was passing by the road. He looked at the road and without making a wink he kept on looking at it aimlessly. All of a sudden, he saw that Roni had been passing by. Roni was a widow of a poor village clergyman. She lost her husband at an earlier age, to say, after only two years of her married life. Since then she had been living alone in an isolated house at the far corner of the village. After the death of her husband, she fell into extreme poverty. Her father died in her childhood. Within the first year of her married life, she lost her mother also. Everybody looked at her with disdainful eyes and called her an unlucky widow. Sushanta heard people utter glib ugly remarks about her character. But since some days it became white truth that she earned her livelihood by means of her soft body. It was in a rumour that the young boys frequent her at night.
Sushanta happened to come across Roni many times here and there but she never appeared so charming as she seemed that day to Sushanta. Her two chins were as bent as those of a parrot. Her eyes were as blue as the seawater. Her thigh was like a flat heavy plank of a sal tree. Her hair was as long as the tail of a horse. Her two cheeks were like two pieces of a ripe mango. He kept on looking at her. For a moment, he thought to accost her but already she went far off. Sushanta again fell into deep thought and came to the decision that he would go to Roni and would ask for her favour.
Night fell in. His wife gave him a cup of hot tea. But after the first sip, he put the cup on the table with sound and began to feel tired and weak. He leaned on his bed and then he lay on it. But he could not sleep long. He became restless. He looked at the wall clock. It was at half-past eight. He came out of the house and took to walk on. The sky was cloudy. He thought it might rain. The cold wind was blowing from west to east. But he felt warm under his ‘ari sadar’. The half-moon was covered by the black cloud and it became darker. Pace by pace, he arrived at the inner courtyard of Roni. He thought it was nine-thirty p.m. He found none on the road. He thought the cold wind had driven people to their respective houses. Standing in the inner courtyard he feigned to make a forced cough and called out, “Roni, Roni.”
“Who are you?” Roni replied from inside the house.
I am, Sushanta, the peasant.” He retorted.
Already Roni opened the door and Sushanta went in. He had never been there earlier. She put forward a mura (a tool made of bamboo) and Sushanta sat on it. He saw that though the house was a small one yet it was very neat and clean. There was a spacious bed, an ‘alna’ to keep clothes, a little table and some utensils.
“Why have you been here all of a sudden?” Roni asked him.
Sushanta, taking a long breath, replied, “I have come to you with hope. Please do me a favour.”
“What favour?” Roni replied.
Sushanta began to tell, “Roni, you know that I am Childless. My wife Reshmi could not bear me a child till now. All my hopes to get a child by her have been lost. You know I have a huge property. Already I have taken to bending to old age. Now I am mad about getting an heir to my property. Please, would you bear a child for me in your womb?”
Roni seemed to be startled and replied, “Sushanta, have you turned mad? Do you know Who I am? You should not forget that though poor, I am the daughter of a higher caste. You can sleep with me, you can enjoy me but I cannot bear a child of low caste in my womb.” 0 0 0 For An Heir, For An Heir
For An Heir
N.B. The short story ‘For An Heir’ originally belongs to the book ‘The Prostitute and Other Stories‘ by Menonim Menonimus. For An Heir, For An Heir, For An Heir
For An Heir
Books of Composition by M. Menonimus:
- Advertisement Writing
- Amplification Writing
- Note Making
- Paragraph Writing
- Notice Writing
- Passage Comprehension
- The Art of Poster Writing
- The Art of Letter Writing
- Report Writing
- Story Writing
- Substance Writing
- School Essays Part-I
- School Essays Part-II
- School English Grammar Part-I
- School English Grammar Part-II..
Books of S. Story by M. Menonimus:
- Indian English Short Story in English
- Short Stories with the Theme of Love
- The 12 Best Short Stories Ever Written
- Short Stories by Guy de Maupassant
- The Best Short Stories of the 21st Century
- The Greatest Short Stories of Anton Chekhov
- Short Stories by O’Henry
- The Greatest Short Stories of Leo Tolstoy ..