Manual Staffroom (A Short Story of Death and Suspicion)

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  3. Death is Inevitable: A Buddhist Short Story
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Her child, her only child, had suddenly died. Go to this man. People say he is infinite compassion. If he wills it, the child can revive. Go to this Buddha. The woman came with the dead child, crying, weeping, and the whole village followed her — the whole village was affected. He must bless the child so that he will be revived, resurrected. Many disciples of Buddha started weeping. The scene was so touching, deeply moving. Everybody was still. Buddha remained silent.

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Leave this dead child here, go back to the town, go to every house and ask every family if someone has ever died in their family, in their house. And if you can find a house where no one has ever died, then from them beg something to be eaten, some bread, some rice, or anything — but from the house where no one has ever died. And that bread or that rice will revive the child immediately.

You go. The woman became happy. She felt that now the miracle was going to happen. She moved from one family to another, asking. There is not a single house — not only in this village but all over the earth — there is not a single house where no one has ever died, where people have not suffered death and the misery and the pain and the anguish that comes out of it. By and by the woman realized that Buddha had been playing a trick.

PDF Staffroom (A Short Story of Death and Suspicion)

Her behaviour with the child is despicable, as her adoptive sister had left the child with her in trust. She wished to run away. It fills me with revulsion, as it did the child. I'm talking of the child's response to bring out the abnormality in Begum Jan. I said, "Having married her, Nawab Saheb deposits her in the house as a piece of furniture.

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And he himself is gay. Begum Jan was withering away. And then she entered into a relationship with Rabbo. What happened then? She regains her health and sense of humour. Her skin gets a pink glow.

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She is pulled back from the brink. Can a relationship, which gives life to a dying person, be unnatural or abnormal? Normality is contextual, culture and time-specific. It's a construct. Homosexuality was considered abnormal throughout the world until two decades back. Now seven countries have legalised same-sex marriage.

Death is Inevitable: A Buddhist Short Story

It might someday be legalised in India too, who knows. They did not bat an eyelid while I was speaking. They had disengaged their hands. Both were leaning forward on their desks — their eyes riveted on me. Their cheeks glowing and an invisible smile playing around their eyes.

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Both of them looked so beautiful at that time. They had an aura like the saints in pictures have. Or was it my worked-up imagination? I was carried away by my own rhetoric. I admired myself, when I spoke with fluency, and force, and felt the total engagement of my students with my lectures. As a teacher I felt exhilaration, but this time round, I had been irresponsible. I had succeeded as a teacher, but failed as a guardian. I had put a hush on the whole class. The duo slowly regained their consciousness.

There was a sparkle in their eyes. I had done the damage, I guess. The bell rang, and, smiling benignly, without answering the question, I walked out of the class. I didn't stop them.

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I ask myself repeatedly: why? At some level, I liked the tender oneness of their bodies and souls. They had merged into each other. It was difficult to tell who was who. Each looked like the other, or as usual was I imagining it?. Was I being altruistic? Or was there a voyeuristic motive? I was all mixed up and felt no guilt. But that was then. Now it's different.

The Egg - A Short Story

I saw them entering the junk-room, in which broken furniture and other useless items were stored. This room was always open. It was unlit generally, because no teaching was done here. I immediately knew why they had gone into the room. They were absent from the class. On my way back, I saw that the door of the room was still closed.

I paused in front of the door and felt like knocking on it, but moved on. I wish I had. She collected good pickings every day, both in cash and kind, from the tutorial rooms. With a dusting rag in hand several times in the day, she would suddenly kick open the shut door of a tutorial room and surprise and frighten lovers. She would then pounce on the boy and the girl, often caught in a compromising position. Her appearance was so sudden, and her figure so forbidding, with her pock-marked dark wide face, that the lovers were thrown out of their wits.

Sometimes, ruthless as she was in her business of improving the morals of the young generation, and incidentally also supplementing her income, she would prevent them from zipping up. At times, she seized crucial incriminating evidence, that is, the condom, to scare the life out of the pair. Having disposed of her victims, she then used the condom for amusing some prurient elements in the office and also to gain leverage against the Principal.

She would go from table to table holding aloft her trophy and giggling all the while and saying, "See what is happening in College? Once, she held up to him and showed him the semen filled condom and said gingerly: "Do you expect me to clean such rooms, which are littered with condoms?