The Sense of Sin


The Sense of Sin

(A Short Story by M. Menonimus)

The Sense of Sin
The Sense of Sin

The Sense of Sin

The time is evening. The morning sun is about to take rest beyond the western sky. The evening yellow light of the sun has fallen faintly in the courtyard of the old man named Harsha Dev. He is a septuagenarian widower. The sound of loud coughing can be heard outside from the street which comes out through the throat of the old man repeatedly at short intervals. He is lying on his bed- once leaning towards his left and then to his right. It seems that he is stirring out of either physical illness or some mental anxiety. For some days he has been troubled in his mind but he is unable to find out the exact cause of it. He always feels feverish and often gives out deep warm sighs. In his family, there are only three members. One is he and the others are Nilim and Juli. Nilim is his only son, now aged about thirty. But he is not at home. After being married he left home for the town where he earns his living by means of driving a rickshaw. Juli is a girl of about twenty. She lost her mother when she was about two years of age. She was born to Harsh Dev in his fifties. She is still a spinster. Juli is the only attendant to the old man.

Night falls on. The poor old man becomes more restless. He keeps on lying on the bed stirring to and fro. His daughter, Juli brings him a plate of sago soup and a cup of milk and says to his father, “Take them, father.”

He replied, “No, I’ll not eat anything. I feel no hunger.”

Juli said, “You must eat something as long as your end does not come.”

He, leaning on the pillow, begins to ruminate about his past and tries to search for the cause of his mental anxiety. He remembers his childhood, his adulthood, and his youthhood and all the scenes come visible in the mirror of his mind. He remembers how he was forced by his father to leave school and how he was sent to the house of Mr. Nripen to work as a page boy. Nripen was a school inspector who came from a well-to-do family. He was happy working in the house of the inspector and the host was also satisfied with his work. He was good and dutiful and did his duty with much care and attention. Later on, he was upgraded to the position of steward. He served the household of Nripen for about thirty years at a stretch. He tries to jog every memorable moment of his life. Once, his master presented him with a new pair of dress, wearing which he got the most satisfaction. In the year of the great flood, his master gave him a bonus of five rupees for taking special care of the fish pond. Thus, one after the other, many memorable events come to his mind. But among them, recollecting a certain one, he suddenly gets startled and again his mental agitation increases. He then comes to realize that the cause of his agitation is his sense of sin that he was compelled to commit about thirty years ago. With the remembrance of it, he becomes more unsteady and restless. Then he determines that he must confess his sin to his master to get rid of his anxiety. He calls out his daughter and says, “Juli, take me to Mr. Nripen. I want to meet him.”

Juli replies, “Father, how is it possible? You are too weak to walk.”

The poor old man says, “I’ll be able to if you help me.” Saying so, he tries to stand up. But his whole body begins to tremble. His daughter says, “Father, it is night now. Wait till the morning.”

The old man gives out a deep, warm sigh and asks his daughter to give him a glass of water. Juli gave him the cup of milk which she kept on the tool earlier. He drinks to the last drops and seems to be a little calm. Already it was midnight. Juli said, “Father, try to have some sleep now. We will set out for the house of Mr Nripen early tomorrow morning.” Saying so, she goes to her bed and sleeps. 

The next morning the old man gets up early and prepares to visit the house of Mr Nripen in order to meet him. He takes his sal stick in his hand and his daughter takes him by the arms and thus they walk on. The house of Mr Nripen was about two kilometres away, about twenty minutes path from their house. But it takes about two hours, as at the end of every furlong the old man takes rests for fifteen minutes. At about eight o’clock in the morning, they reach the house. Going there they meet Mr Nripen on the veranda. He is sitting on an armchair with a stick beside him. He looks senile, weak and decrepit. His eyesight has almost gone. Entering the gate Harsha gives out a cough and approaches Mr Nripen, who looks up and asks, “Who is?”

The old man replied, “I am, your Harsha, sir.”

Mr Nripen gets no problem recognizing him from his voice and he seems to be glad to meet him in such a time and in such a state. Then he calls out Misi, the household maid, to bring in two chairs and asks addressing Harsha, “How are you.”

“Sir, I am well.” 

Then they talk about their household affairs. They talk of their earlier days when both were active and strong enough to fight the world. They talk of their sons and daughters and so on. After that Harsha begins, “Sir, my condition has been deteriorating day by day. All the hope for life has left me. The only thing that I have been aspiring for is death. But when the Angel of Death would show his hand none but only God knows. For some years I have been suffering from whooping cough and dyspepsia.”

“Why, have you not taken treatment?”

“No. Why should I need to take treatment at such a decrepit age?” Saying so, he opens up his mouth and takes up a long breath and resumes, “Sir, for some days I have been suffering from mental anxiety. At first, I could not find out the main cause of that anxiety. But at last, I have found out that it is the sense of sin that I committed while I was in your house.”

Being anxious Mr Nripen asks, “What was it that leads you to sufferance?”

The old man resumes, “Sir, Have you remember the year in which a riot arose in our land between the natives and the migrators?”

“Yes, it was about thirty years ago.”

In that year a she-child was born to me. She was my elder child. When she became three months old, she was affected by pneumonia. I was not in a position to give her proper treatment. The wage you gave me could hardly be enough to manage my family. I did not dare to ask some more from you. But I felt so affectionate to my child that in any way I wanted to get her treated. In the meantime, one day I happened to see a bundle of rupees on your table. Then, despite my unwillingness, I was compelled to take away a ten-rupee note in order to treat my child. But God was not willing to save her. After suffering some days she died.”

Then he breaks into tears and resumes again, “Sir, had I known that she would not get well, then I would never steal that note. Sir, for some days I have been suffering extremely from the sense of sin. Please, sir, forgive me and bless me so that I can have a peaceful death.” Saying so, he breaks forth into weeping again and stands up with labour, goes a step towards Mr Nripen and bows his head downs to the feet of his master.

Then Mr Nripen takes him up by the arm and replies, “No, Harsha, you need not do so. Bhagavan would forgive you, I have no grudge against you, nor do I think badly of you. You were my most trustworthy person. You gave me full satisfaction with your work. I am also sorry that I had not helped you in such a calamity. Please forgive me too.”

Then Misi serves them tea with bananas. After that Harsha takes leave of Mr. Nripen with tearful eyes. On the way, he feels hot as the sun shines brightly but he is calm now.  0 0 0

The Sense of Sin 

N.B.  The short story ‘The Sense of Sin’ originally belongs to the book ‘The Fugitive Father and Other Stories‘ by Menonim Menonimus. The Sense of Sin 

The Sense of Sin 

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

Related Search:


Previous articleThe Refugee
Next articleThe Portrait of A Venture School Teacher
I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here