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“Grand pa please ask your friend to give me some money”, dragging the 60 year old man , Kanak moved towards the ‘Puja room’ a place where array of picture of deities fixed in ornate frames decorated the wall. Lord krishna, Lord Rama, the powerful Hanuman... and many more with different names and powers. But for Kanak the only person with super powers,  was her grandfather.

Grand pa had told her as well as showed her how he could bring out crisp currency notes from his empty shirt pocket . This was a little game between Kanak and grandpa. Both would go to the ‘Puja room’ and Kanak would ask loudly with folded hands and eyes shut whatever money she wanted and it would appear in the  grand pa’s shirt pocket instantly. What Kanak never knew was that grand pa wore a cotton vest under his shirt with a secret pocket. The moment Kanak would pray with her eyes shut, he would transfer the money from the inner pocket to the shirt pocket.

Kanak , an eight year old stayed with her parents in Calcutta. She always waited for the vacation to start to be with her superhero in the sleepy little town of koraput. She would admire him working on his black Remington typewriter. “ Click , click ... ting‘ the small bell would ring at the end of the paper and he would move the handle from left to right. Hours together he could type, which were some note sheets for his clients. What was his job , Kanak never understood and only heard people calling him ‘ a tax consultant’.

His office was located in the house itself along with a little library. The book shelves were made of brown teak wood and big heavy volumes of commercial tax books were labeled and arranged neatly. ‘ Reader’s Digest’, ‘ Time magazine’, comics of Phantom always attracted her. In one corner there was a turntable and lot of LP records with the familiar monogram of the dog with words ‘HMV’ written on them. He would play the music ranging from classics to pop songs. Kanak was always fascinated with the record player, the moment the diamond tipped stylus touched the groove of the black round disc and she would dance like a naughty nymph.

Early mornings were wonderful. Kanak would tag along with her superhero for a walk. The lovely green fields along with varieties of birds and the little pond filled with red, white and purple water lilies was a real feast to kanak’s eyes. Grand pa would carefully pluck few lilies for her using a long bamboo pole and present it to her. On their way back , they would visit the little village temple and the priest would offer Kanak a ripe banana but Kanak would never share her lilies. The lilies were not just flowers for her but a silent adoration of her superhero. Half way when she would be tired he would pick her up and smartly placed her on his shoulders and walk as if he was carrying a pretty butterfly. For Kanak it was a thrilling experience and she felt she could touch the soft rain clouds hanging low. The green fields appeared like a carpet welcoming the queen Kanak.

During one of the walks, Kanak saw some urchins jumping into the Well located  in the middle of the rice field for irrigation. She wondered how one could jump in the deep water and still survive. Before she could share her thoughts, her superhero climbed the small wall of the Well and lo! He Jumped into the waters. She was hysterical and started shouting and tried to peep into the Well. No trace of grand pa. She started crying uncontrollably and felt her entire world was shattered. Suddenly, two strong hands grabbed her shaking shoulders. She lifted her tear face to see her superhero standing with a huge grin and dripping clothes. She hugged him so tight that the urchins started laughing loudly. Later Kanak learnt that grandpa as a kid was trained in jumping into the Well like any other boys in the village and was an expert swimmer.

Julius, an ash grey German Shepherd was grand pa’s pet dog always following him wherever he went. Kanak liked Julius but was also jealous of him. She never wanted to share her superhero’s affection with anyone.

She would imagine her superhero in Phantom costume, Julius took the place of’’ Devil’ the wolf and the black Royal Enfield was ‘Hero’ the horse. But she would never allow grandma to take the place of his girlfriend Diana rather she reserved the place for herself when she would grow up.

Kanak would never leave by grand pa’s side even in the office. She would act like his secretary sharpening the pencils, bringing coffee from the pantry. Sometimes would sit in the revolving chair and swirl as if it was a merry go round.

Whenever grand pa visited them in the big city where her father worked, she would be so excited to see her superhero driving his grey ambassador car and taking all the children to the zoo, the race course grounds and of course treat them with ice cream without bothering about the expenses.

Kanak wished she could forever stay with her superhero. She couldn’t imagine him having a dozen children and lots of grand children like her. He was the only earning member of the family but still managed to live in style . Of course, only superheroes could do that. He was the only person from the family, first to visit United States. His photographs in front of the Niagara waterfalls was a treat for her childish eyes. She was thrilled to have a wax figure of the Statue of Liberty as a gift from him.

She wanted to grow up fast to be with him and be his all those beautiful women companions like Christina, Marbella, Diana ... but silly girl never knew her superhero –‘the ghost who walks’ became the ghost not to be seen anymore and only his green emerald ring and few old comics were handed over to her as his legacy when she returned from the university.  All the while she was made to believe he was around from the letters neatly typed on his Remington typewriter and signed and posted every month for Superhero doesn’t visit hospitals, doesn’t suffer from dreadful ailments and doesn’t break the heart of his fan.

Holding the ring in her hand she simply murmured "My superhero is the “ The Ghost who walks” , “The Man who cannot Die” either in my  dreams or memory..."

July 03, 2020 10:24

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5 comments

Karen Mc Dermott
12:51 Jul 09, 2020

I liked "the moment the diamond tipped stylus touched the groove of the black round disc and she would dance like a naughty nymph"

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Osagiede Best
06:01 Jul 09, 2020

Even the stretched descriptions didn't make me lose interest. Simple and touching.

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Siri Ch
10:38 Jul 07, 2020

What an imaginative story !! 👏👏👏

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Gm Sreenivas
04:37 Jul 07, 2020

Detailed description in your forte of simplicity, made me see all the characters live as if I was also in the scene. And at last paragraph has left the reader with emotions and plenty of variation and feelings of Kanak unlike lived happily therafter.

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04:32 Jul 07, 2020

Very nice and heart touching storey

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