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Revathi Raj Iyer


Revathi Raj Iyer – ‘Tempest’



Revathi Raj Iyer




The little boy stared at the kite. He loved red kites. It was his favourite colour. Slowly and painstakingly he ripped the kite into tiny bits until he could tear no more. He carefully picked the scraps of paper and tossed them in the rubbish bin, just the way he had noticed his mother discard the trash; the only difference being that instead of the yellow bin meant for recyclables, he chose the red bin.

Amelia cringed as she nervously watched her seven year old son. Percy never smiled or spoke. He was perpetually restless and just grunted when something disturbed him. That night he was exceptionally quiet and she found this a bit strange. Dr Ramsay’s words stung like a bee. Her life had become a nightmare since that visit.

“Who could say that Percy was not normal? He was handsome and looked like any other boy of his age.” Amelia blew a cloud of smoke in the already polluted room and took a sip of vodka.

“Bitter like my life,” she thought with disdain as she reached out for the chips. It was well past midnight and Percy was wide awake. Being nocturnal was also one of his traits.

“Watch your boy, Amelia and I mean it,” Dr Ramsay had said firmly and she was determined to do so.

Amelia stubbed the cigarette and gulped the vodka.

***

She had noticed the first signs of abnormal behaviour in Percy when he fell off the stairs and did not let out a scream, in spite of the bruises. He was barely three years old and seemed to have an astute will to endure pain.

“Doctor, I am really worried. This is all he does,” said Amelia as she showed a drawing by Percy that made no sense to her. It was abstract and surreal. In the centre was an indistinct figure which resembled a skeleton.

“Hmmm….this certainly is thought provoking. Your boy has talent and in such cases it comes as no surprise to me,” said Dr Ramsay gently stroking his beard.

“What exactly do you mean by that? What is wrong with my boy?” asked Amelia, irritated by his lack of empathy.

“I am sorry to say this but your boy shows autistic tendencies. I also fear that…,”  he paused as if searching for the right words.

Amelia shifted to the edge of the plush leather chair. She had read that children with autism had special talents and they could be mavericks. But there was something else terribly wrong with her boy. She braced herself and waited in silence.

“Truth be told, I fear that Percy also has some sort of a mental aberration which might become a dominant streak over the years. I need to run some tests,” said Dr Ramsay in a matter of fact tone.

“It is a possibility at this stage, but he is a clever boy. That drawing displays hidden talent,” he added consolingly as he noticed the tears that suddenly threatened to gush out of Amelia’s eyes.

“Who is the father?” Dr Ramsay asked as he started making notes in the case sheet.

“Is that relevant? I am responsible for this boy,” Amelia lashed holding back her emotions. He nodded and continued to write.

***

She woke up with a start and rubbed her eyes. Percy was not where she had seen him last. A lump rose in her throat as she sprang off the couch and staggered to the bedroom. She froze.

There he was! Percy stood like a zombie holding a knife with blood dripping on the carpet. Amelia’s legs felt weak and she could no longer stand. She sat down weakly, overcome with fear and helplessness. Percy was smiling and the distant look on his cherubic face chilled her bones.

He dropped the knife and stood still staring at the empty space. Amelia suppressed a shriek as her eyes fell upon their cat doused in its own blood. She felt faint as bile rose in her throat and puked, uncontrollably.

Percy was shifted from home to special care under the supervision of Dr Ramsay. Nothing changed and her worst fears came true. Percy never spoke and with passage of time he started losing his sanity. The violent streak in him became so unpredictable that he had to be given tranquilizers, sometimes electric shocks to calm him down.

“Why was he even alive? Such a useless existence,” thought Amelia. Her visits reduced over time.

***

The footsteps were getting louder. Percy was waiting for his one and only chance. It had to be now or never. The door opened. From behind the curtains he could hear the ugly, fat nurse curse under her breath.

“Are you stupid enough to hide behind those curtains? Do you think I am a fool?” She said as she started to draw the curtain with one hand and balancing the needle with the other. He saw her silhouette and was prepared this time. Past attempts had been a failure but now he knew how to tackle her. He remembered the karate chop that was meted out to him. The curtain drew and in a fraction of a second she fell unconscious. He had inserted that slumber needle into her heavy frame.

He kept running and suddenly felt as if he was afloat, a strange sensation of being lifted high up in the air. Freedom at last! But the gloomy, dark skies seemed to engulf him in the midst of a thunderstorm. He stood still and stared at an object beyond the cloudburst. It beckoned him. A smile rose to his lips. It was a red kite….

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Articles/Discussions


Editorial
Charanjeet Kaur

Conversations
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Rajni Tilak - In Conversation with Anjali Singh

Discussions
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Dilip Jhaveri – ‘Voices from Persia and Ireland’
Kamla Bhasin – ‘Roots of Patriarchy’

Articles
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Kamayani Kumar – ‘Mediating Partition narratives through Visual Culture’
Madhvi Lata – ‘Girish Karnad’s “Naga-Mandala’
Rachana Pandey – ‘Men in Theatrical Performance’

Book Reviews
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Jaydeep Sarangi – ‘At the Crossroads of Culture and Literature’
KV Raghupathi – ‘My Friendship with Yoga
Lakshmi Kannan – ‘Encounters with People and the Angels of Hope’
Pratibha Kumari Singh – ‘A Gift of Goddess Lakshmi’
Revathi Raj Iyer – ‘In Other Words’
Srinivas Reddy – ‘Mahabharata: A Modern Retelling’
Sunaina Jain – ‘The Tree with a Thousand Apples’
Usha Kishore – ‘The Ending of Arrogance: Ksemendra’s Darpa Dalana’

Poetry
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Ashfaqh Hasan
BR Nagpal
Jim Wungramyao Kasom
Leena Sharma
Malcolm Carvalho
Md Ziaul Haque
Nitya Swaruba
Nuggehalli Pankaja
Prem Kumar
Subhasree Chatterjee
Sunaina Jain
Ubaidullah Pandit

Fiction
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Ashok Patwari – ‘Padma’
Bodhisatwa Ray – ‘Kway Teow’
Chaganti Nagaraja Rao – ‘The Donor of Books’
Jindagi Kumari – ‘On the path of duty’
Lopa Mukherjee – ‘Through the lens of a camera’
Niyantha Shekar – ‘Shiva Park’
Rajarshi Banerjee – ‘The Mannequin’
Revathi Raj Iyer – ‘Tempest’
Sharath Suryan – ‘1800 Seconds’
Sridhar V – ‘Simply Baffling’

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