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The Bowl by Pooja Gautam © (Word Count 703)

In Short Story on December 10, 2011 at 7:09 am

Walking, running and then walking again. Men on the streets were looking at the willowy figure with interest. Her dress of some soft material looked like hugging her without much interest. From faraway she looked like a lump of cloth floating on the street.
She was out of breath. She leaned on the banister nearby. It seemed like she was trying to gulp down all the air around her. She looked up and closed her eyes. “Isn’t she the prettiest thing you have seen”. “Ohh yes, certainly”. “Why don’t you just leave me alone and go to your fan club outside”? “What a pretty dress, you do have a great taste”.
She opened her eyes and started walking ahead. Fast, as if running away from someone. Or else running towards something.There was a buzzing in her ears. Disjointed sentences, random words, they seemed to be filling her mind and heart. A bubble was blowing itself at an alarming rate in her chest. It restricted her flow of breath. She wanted it to burst. Burst away into nothingness and dissolve all that it held. But it wouldn’t, it kept getting stuck at her throat. Making her head spin.
Suddenly her slippers gave way to hard concrete road. She looked down and smiled for the first time that day. She kicked away her slippers and started walking barefoot. The more she walked, the calmer she felt.
She stepped in a shop. It was full of old trinkets. The kind that have value because they have survived in this perishable world.She liked to look at them. The history they held within their inanimate selves. The way they told a story without the bias of right or wrong, true or false. Eternal listeners are what she thought they were. They didn’t care in whose hands they went. What they cared was to carry their stories safely in their bosom.
She picked up an old bowl. Encrusted with symbols and made of copper. It fit the shape of her small hand. “Ohh your taste is as exquisite like yourself Madame,” said a voice from behind her. She turned and saw a bald head and an expensive suit. He smiled and years of practice made her return it. However, her new resolution made her drop her mask of grace immediately.
“What is this”? “Ohh this is a pre-historic bowl. Excavated sometime back from the depths of a long lost civilization in Gujarat. I was told that it belonged to a King. Notice the symbols? Well they depict a war and the king winning it”. He finished impressively.
“It’s beautiful,” she said in a hushed voice. “Isn’t it now? Much like you,” he said in a flattering voice. “Should I then be locked up in a glass box to be looked at”? “Well certainly not. Although, you will definitely be a piece to appreciate,” he said smiling. “A piece to appreciate,” she murmured under her breath.
She held the bowl for some more time and then suddenly asked, “How much is it for?” “For you my lady only 800 dollars,” he said silkily. “800 dollars,” she repeated. “Only 800 dollars,” he smiled encouragingly. She looked at him and then at the bowl, smiled and pulled out a small bundle of notes from the pocket of her dress. The man counted the money, bowed deeply and started to take the bowl from her hand. “No need to pack it. I will take it like this,” she said.
She walked out of the shop and looked at the strong sun. It made her eyes sting but dulled the voice in her head, “Walking in the sun without an umbrella!!! Next you will be walking barefoot in the mud!” She opened her hair and let it loose. Walking with renewed energy she rushed towards the sea. There it was, blue as ever and frothing at the mouth. She looked at it for second and the flung the bowl in it with all her might. She saw the bowl float for a while and then a wave swallowed it full. She let out a shriek of delight and felt her eyes burning. Sitting there on the bridge, she cried her eyes out.

About Pooja: I am just another storyteller.

Pooja’s Website/Blog: http://aamad.blogspot.com/

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