Submitted into Contest #49 in response to: Write a story about a person waiting for an answer to a question.... view prompt



Waltair was not paying much attention to the discussion going on in his class room. A small poetry about a ‘Boy on the burning deck’ was being explained. While others were busy paying attention to the teacher, who was discussing various aspects of the poetry, Waltair alone was sitting disinterested and aloof. Teacher noticed him and questioned. In a very stern voice he asked “What are you doing there eh? Stand up. Look at me and answer.”

Waltair said in his low tone that he never liked any poetry or story with tragic ends. He said he was busy coining his own version of this poetry into one with a happy ending. Teacher termed it as his arrogance and did not approve his action. The whole poetry even if it was a tragedy, was all about a boy’s strict obedience to his father’s words. “You cannot change the poetry. This is what is in your textbook and is your syllabus for this year. So, keep quiet and pay attention in the class.”

One of the boys in the class was very sportive. He stood up and requested the teacher to permit Waltair to recite his new poetry. The teacher on second thoughts, yielded to such mild deviations. “Come on. Waltair. What does your poetry say?”

Waltair narrated his poem. He did not change the central theme of the original poetry.

“The boy stood on the burning deck waiting for his father’s orders He was as obedient as you told in your poem. The only difference was that there was no warship attacking his burning ship. The other ship which came close-by was there to help and rescue the inmates of this burning ship. His father was busy transferring people from this burning ship into other ship. He sent his colleague to fetch his son standing on the deck. The helper asked the boy to cross the fire and come over. The boy stood firm. He refused, saying his father had ordered him to stay there. If he moved away, his father would not be able to find him. The helper convinced the boy saying that his father was busy and would finally wait in the other ship and meet him there. Anytime the burning ship would wreck and sink. The helper jumped over the balls of fire, lifted the boy and literally ran. He threw the boy into the hands of other volunteers. The boy could rejoice now in the reunion with his father.”

The teacher appreciated his positive approach. But he warned him to concentrate on studies first, leaving his flight of imaginations to his future.

Waltair came home and told his parents about the poetry class and his contribution of twist. His father Samuel hugged him and praised him for not changing the boy’s character in his twisted version. A happy ending came when he was rewarded for his patience and obedience.

Waltair saw that Sachin was coming to them. He said, “Uncle,I  am waiting for being included in ‘under nineteen’ group of cricketeers. A new team will be selected for the tournament. I am patiently waiting. Will I be rewarded for my patience?”

Samuel said, “Hope for the best. Keep hoping.”  

Soon after, the topic changed. Samuel received a phone call asking him to report urgently at the headquarters. As a military officer, he was required to rush to Kashmir border area and lead a contingent of jawans. It was reliably learnt that an intrusion of militants already entered into our area and were likely to attack the base military camp. Samuel was known for his ability to take right decisions and lead his unit to victory. He went off on duty. Before leaving, he told Waltair, “Keep waiting for me. I will be back. We shall rejoice our reunion and celebrate it in a big way.” “Yes. Daddy. I will be waiting for you to return victoriously.”

 Waltair had a friend by name Mrudula. She had lot of flower pots in her house. She had a good knowledge of her plants. When she saw Waltair coming to meet her, she readily welcomed him and took him to show her Brahmakamalam (Epiphyllum Oxypetallum) plant. What a fabulous flower it would be, when it bloomed. Normally the plant takes about two years to grow to produce a flower. Such a long process requiring such a long wait! Mrudula eagerly showed him the buds. She was waiting for them to bloom. A big gigantic ten-inches sparkling white flower. It was worth waiting for. She told him as soon as the flower would unfold its petals and start blooming, she would capture them on camera. Waltair had little knowledge about flowers. But he always enjoyed her enthusiasm. He wished her well.

He saw his mother talking to neighbour’s daughter Kamini. A campus interview was going to be held in her college shortly. Kamini wanted some guidance and useful tips to face the interview. Hence the counselling from his mother. On the scheduled date, she attended the interview. Now she was waiting for the result. She was waiting with her nail-biting tension.

All whom Waltair met recently, were waiting for some good thing to happen. First Sachin, then Mrudula then Kamini. He said, “Not only these people. Even me too. Daddy told me to keep waiting for him.” His mother acknowledged. “Yes. Even our housemaid Jaanamma, is eagerly waiting for her husband to get a job in hotel Grand Snacks. You see, in a few days’ time, they will be telling you their success stories.” After a pause, she added, “Including your daddy.”

“Yes mummy. Let him come. We shall go to hotel Grand Snacks and celebrate our reunion.”

Soon, things happened to others’ delight.

Mrudula came and showed him, her recent posting on her Facebook account. A video footage of her Brahmakamalam flower.

Sachin came. His joy knew no bounds upon his selection into the ‘under nineteen’ team and wanted this to be conveyed to Samuel. Sachin would be seen on TV, in their live telecasts. For him a new leaf was turned.

Waltair’s mother told him that Kamini came long back and gave her a box of sweets which said everything about her success. She got selected. Even Jaanamma’s husband … his waiting also ended. He was already in his job as waiter at the hotel.

Laughingly she added, “Your uncle Victor got his rail ticket, a waitlisted one, now confirmed. He is coming here. All whom we knew got what they were waiting for. Now it is our turn. We are waiting for your daddy. He must come home safely.”

Waltair said, “Daddy will come. Surely will come. I am waiting for him.”

 For Waltair, boy on the burning deck was alive to rejoice with his father. Mother believed, “They also serve those who STAND AND WAIT.”

Both mother and son are standing and waiting …, for Samuel  

Let us pray that they will unite very soon and rejoice.

Prayers never go unanswered. Life is worth the waiting.

July 10, 2020 20:48

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Deborah Angevin
08:42 Jul 16, 2020

A well-written one! I loved the unique naming on the characters! Would you mind checking my recent story out, "Orange-Coloured Sky"? Thank you!


18:19 Jul 17, 2020

Thanks a lot for the complements. Thanks again.


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Nandan Prasad
05:04 Jul 14, 2020

Hey, what a sweet story! It puts across a powerful and important message too. The little details and the people waiting inbetween are well-told. Overall, a very well-written story! Also, would you mind checking out my stories if it is not too much trouble? Thanks and good luck!


18:20 Jul 17, 2020

Thank you very much for your nice words. Thanks again.


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Paul Malionek
14:32 Jul 16, 2020

I appreciate the positive message you are underlining that patience is a virtue. With that said, I was hoping for some conflict within Waltair's story. Maybe writing more about his relationship with his father would help make the message hit harder. With everybody else in the story getting what they're waiting for so quickly, maybe it would be stronger to show the troubles, or maybe the amount of love Waltair has for his father. I think you have a great start to the story. It could use some more context in my opinion. I hope this comment is ...


18:23 Jul 17, 2020

Yes surely. I was conscience of word limitations. As you rightly pointed out, a little more elaboration was needed for the boy's emotions. Thank you so much for your critical appreciations. Thank you again,


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