As a toddler, I needed my dose of story for the night, before I slept. And after a while, I needed fresh stories and didn’t care for repetitions.
My mom, besides being my mom held the super power of being a past student of English literature, fan of Tamil literature, avid book reader, an awesome English teacher. And she also has a soothing voice and is pretty good story teller.
My pestering for new stories made her introduce world classic literature to me as bed time stories. And this went on for years, almost till I was eight or nine year old. By then she handed me books and I let her off duty as my story teller. I still ask for a story once in a while from her, even though I know that, she starts the story by breaking the suspense and yet she keeps the story interesting till the end.
Amidst all those years of hearing stories varying from Indian epics, Tamil classics, Religious tales, moral stories, Shakespeare plays and what not, one story stands out.
Actually it’s a novel. My mom’s favourite novel, “The citadel” by “A.J. Cronin”. Yes, she told that for days, as a series. And I vaguely remember the outline of the story, but to this day, I could see one scene of it before my eyes.
The protagonist, suffers some serious downfall in life and his wife, the love of his life, crosses a road with butter in her hands to meet him back and comfort him somehow. And while crossing she met with an accident and dies on spot, with the butter still clutched in her hands and slowly melting away, unlike her.
The story is good on many levels and for actual story, please get your own copy. I’m yet to read the actual book, and remember again, why the death is a vital and path changing moment for the protagonist.
If I was a good painter, I could draw out that busy road. Since I could just spit words….
For the vision of a lady, in black and white, like the ones in Charlie Chaplin period films, over a track of trams, amidst a fairly busy road, sprawling on the ground, with one out stretched arm with butter, other near a basket of groceries, blood crawling out from under her, lifeless eyes staring, is still pretty vivid in my memory.
Even though I have not read the story, it is one of my favourite novels to date!
So What’s your favourite story of years?