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  I Slept....  
by: Purnesh Konathala   

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A Battle of Angels and Demons was raging in the skies. The downpour was terrific. The sound of the Rain was Disturbing.... Uncomfortable........ Painful............ Excruciating. Life seemed a Disturbing, an Uncomfortable, a Painful, and an Excruciating journey. Because the most we do in Life is: Sleep. And I could not sleep.

The Rain is a Farmer’s Boon. My paddy fields are full and green. In a week the reapers will commence their job. Soon, I’ll be back in business….after three months. My son, Ravi, along my side. He is good at the mathematics involved. Sankranti is soon on its way. I’ll invite Siri, my daughter. The second woman in my life. She is in the city with her engineer husband. And I’ll buy new clothes for Ravi, Siri and the first woman in my life, Bharati. My other half. It’ll be an enjoyable festival....

I closed my eyes. All I saw was Them, my Family. The Good Days Ahead. The thoughts made me gradually get into sleep. And at last I Slept.

I do not know how many hours, but...I Slept....fighting against the Disturbances, Uncomfortable ness, Pain and Excruciation.

I do not know after how many hours, I was Disturbed again….this time, not by The Rain, but Weeping….a grievous Weeping....as if something important has been Lost....as if something Bad Happened.

I opened my eyes to see my new Usha ceiling fan. It isn’t doing its job. The sun was already doing his job. His rays were already in my room. May be for a long time. I realized it was conspicuous because I always woke up before the sun began his job and his rays entered my room. Everything seemed still. I noticed Sadness in the Silence around. What I did not notice was that I opened my eyes without struggling, after many hours of sleep.

I turned around to look into Radhika, my daughter-in-law. I was a happy man when my son agreed to marry after a long persuasion. Radhika cooks delicious payasam. I was always in high spirits whenever a ‘payasam occasion’ came. She is the one who is keen on my dosage of medicines. She is ready with two white tablets and a glass of water every night before I sleep. I felt Siri return. But why is my second daughter looking so sad….as if a telegram came from her village that Her Father expired.

Ravi turned away from me. He was looking out of the window. His shoulders drooped and his hands just hung down. I was sure he was not involved in his arithmetic. Or is he counting the Black Crows!

Beside my bed was my other half looking at me. I heard that God made Eve out of Adam’s rib. I always felt Bharati was made from mine. Thirty years ago, Time made us one. I still find the charming face of my bride. I still find in her my beloved. The caring mother of Ravi. The sweet mother of Siri. This time, I found in her something else: tears, flooded in her eyes. And she was sobbing. Disturbing me from my Sleep. I could not stop myself. I wanted to ask Ravi. But he was still counting the Black Crows. Further, I had no hopes on the sad face of Radhika.

I asked my wife,“What happened!” The Silence continued.

I asked louder. But....

My frustration began to show its style and I sprang up shouting,“What happened!”

I shouted thrice. And to my astonishment, no one heard. But last thing I was astonished about was that even I didn’t hear myself.

And before I decided between my deafness and dumbness, I found the fifth Body in the room. Lying on the bed. My bed. Where I laid and got up from, just a few moments ago. It was My Body. My... Dead... Body.

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