Creative Nonfiction

                                                      Word count:1,300



This short story is based on the Prompt No: 2. Write about a date that was so terrible you’ll never forget it.



                                                   WAY BACK


All of a sudden, my companions moved away from me in disgust. They all burst out in laughter. I felt ashamed and lonely. Utter humiliation and fear enveloped me and I remained at the centre of their attraction. I that they skinned me alive. People who passed by grinned their faces in repulsion. My heart was pounding. My head was blazing. It was on 13th March 1955.

I was very much attached to my mother and sisters. When it was time for me to learn to write and read they started telling me of my going to a master for that. In Kerala, that was the custom in the fifties and sixties. A master used to find a house where he used to gather all the needed children for their initial education to write and read.


I was already frightened when I was told that I had to go for my initial academic training to somewhere else. I could not even think of separating my beloved mother and sisters to go for the class. I had to be away from them the whole day. I already started crying for no real reason or rather for a baseless reason. Anyhow that day arrived very fast and I was taken to that place. Because I refused to go they bet me, carried and dragged me to the master. Seeing the other 42                

                                                                                                                          Way Back ‘2’  children I got frightened. But Most of them had my problem of separating from their beloved home. But gradually I came to know it was a necessary evil all have to go through receive education the light.


Within a week I began to like my companions and started going to school without crying. But I refused to write anything. You see, sand spread on the floor for learning to write in front of the children sitting on a line. I was not willing to touch the sand and I didn't want to write with my tender finger on the rough sand grains. The master allowed me to sit doing nothing in the beginning. Gradually the master lost patience with me. The other childre3n were more willing to learn. So the master had no problem with them. Finally, the master came sat in front of mew and asked me to give my pointer finger. He held my pointer and wrote on the sand the first alphabet and he never bothered about my screaming. Till the red ink came out of my pointer finger he made me write with full force and stopped.


It frightened me so much but I saw the other children doing the same work without any difficulty. I started asking myself why I was having such a problem. The following day I was not willing to go to school. Whenever I looked at my pointer my decision not to go to the school and to that master became very strong.


Of course, my mother and sisters started telling me about the importance of learning to read and write. They told me that if I learned to read and write I would be able to read very good picture books and enjoy reading. Like a flash, it struck my memory at that moment regarding something.                            

                                                                                                                    I remembered what I saw while travelling on a train with my parents. I saw many people reading books sitting silently and even I saw some of them smiling while reading. I understood that they were enjoying reading books. So I believed what my mother and sisters said. They also shared with me how they went through all kinds of problems, in the beginning, to go to school separating from their parents and learning to write on sand grains. They also told me how they got rid of all their initial difficulties and enjoyed their study. This challenged me. It started changing my attitude towards the master and my writing on the sand grains. 


The following day morning, I told my sister to take me to school. To my great surprise, the master very lovingly welcomed me and  took my hurt right pointer finger and kissed it saying,” I am sorry Tomy”. It boosted me up and I began to feel love towards him.


“Till your pointer finger is healed well you do not use it to write. If you want, you can do one thing. You can write the alphabets with your finger through your visualization without touching the ground.” The master advised me.


I followed his instructions faithfully. In my visualization, I started writing the alphabets and I used to revise the letters very often. Then a mystery was revealed to me that the best way of learning fast was doing it through visualization and revising it as many times as possible. In a short time, I started shining in my learning. Some of the children could not accept my learning fast and do very well. They did feel in their hearts and they waited for opportunities to put me down. But one of the companions always stood by me and encouraged me.

                                                                                                                   Sulekha one of the girls in the group started a liking for me and I also liked her though she was very dark black. Of course, her look was very sharp. Whenever she looked into my eyes and talked in a very friendly way and smiled at me often, she plucked my heart out. I trusted her as my best friend. We grew up in that friendly way the following days until the end of the year. Our study was getting over there and we had to move to another school to start class one. Only one more month left to complete our studies there and go for holidays. 


Towards the last week in school, my stomach was upset and we had to sit there studying from 10 am to 4 pm daily. On that day, March 13th 1955 when we all left the school at 4 pm I never thought it would be a great memorable day in my life. From afternoon onwards I was controlling my bowls and on the way back home I lost control and it flowed down. Sulekha my best friend I thought she has noticed it and laughed loudly closing her nose. Hear her and seeing her gestures they all imitated her and laughed disparaging me. I hated Sulekha that time and lost my trust in her and it pained me so deeply. They all moved away from me and I was walking at the back on one side of the road and the others the other side. My whole body experienced sticky and heavy. I found very difficult to take any step to go forward. At that time few men came and they looked at me.

“Poor child” sid one man.

“Isn’t he Alex’s son?” another asked.

                                                                                                                    Hearing that, I felt terrible and very low. Somehow, I dragged myself home. When my mother saw me coming home in that pathetic condition, she hugged me and filled me with her love and acceptance with no repulsion. That made me alive again. That scar was terrible and I can never forget that day March 13th 1955 in my life. Today I look at that day with gratitude. The years followed that terrible scan challenged me to take life and transform myself into a blessing to all. That day’s experience led me to become a professional counsellor later to help persons who were enslaved by such oppressive scars in life and to help them face the world better. That scar became a blessing in disguise in my life.

The End



February 13, 2020 09:10

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