எனது இரண்டு குறுங்கதைகள் பிரண்ட்லைன் இதழில் வெளிவந்துள்ளன. ஆங்கிலத்தில் இதனை மொழிபெயர்ப்பு செய்தவர் மாலினி சேஷாத்ரி.
‘They fell silent’
Amirthavarshini was the first to notice it. When she was cooking, a large spoon slipped off the stand and fell to the floor. There was no sound. How could such a large spoon fall on the floor and not produce any sound at all? How could it fall as noiselessly as a feather? Puzzled, she picked up another spoon and dropped it deliberately on the floor. Silence. Now totally baffled, she took out the heavy spoon that anchored the tiffin carrier. She lifted it and let it fall from a height. It landed as silently as a drop of water.
Like a curious child, she picked up spoons of different kinds and tried dropping them one at a time. She even went out on the balcony and tossed a spoon onto the street below to check for a noise on impact. Nothing. No sound out of any of the spoon falls.
In utter confusion by now, she half-hesitantly telephoned her friend Vasantha and told her about her discovery. Vasantha was dismissive and uninterested. So what, she asked. But Varshini persistently asked her to try, and so Vasantha picked up a spoon in her kitchen and dropped it. No sound, she reported.
By that evening, Varshini, had checked with her mother, friends in different parts of the town and quite a few others. It turned out that this phenomenon was not confined to her home or even her town. In all the houses, in all the towns and cities, spoons fell noiselessly to the floor. What had happened to all the spoons? Children lose their voices when a viral fever is raging. Did something similar happen to spoons? Or were spoons under a curse of some kind?
The clatter of a spoon falling to the floor is meant to capture one’s immediate attention, like a child’s cry. Why did the spoons lose their voices, what could be the reason? She could not accept it as something normal. When her husband returned home from his office that evening, she shared her concern with him. She also told her children about it.
Their uniform response was: “So what if they don’t make a noise? They’re only spoons. What does it matter?”
There is something unique about one’s relationship with spoons, quite distinct from all other kinds of ladles. After sipping honey from a spoon, for instance, she loved to keep licking the empty spoon. Oh, I wish I could just chew up and swallow this spoon, she would think. Once, on his return from a trip to Pondicherry, her husband had brought back chocolates shaped like spoons. When they were stirred into a cup of milk, they melted to make chocolate milk. “Hey, look, we’re drinking spoons,” the children called out gleefully as they gulped the chocolate milk.
To Varshini, any spoon was like a small hungry girl holding out her hand pleadingly. Does the teaspoon in the salt jar recognise the taste of salt? In the adult world of rice ladles, sambar ladles, dosai ladles… all those ladles with their long handles… spoons are just tiny innocent girls.
That night she grieved for the spoons. Late in the night she even got up and tried dropping a spoon again, just to be sure. Again no sound.
She realised that the small things of the world were beginning to lose their individuality, their voice. When the world is indifferent to so many human voices being throttled, is it likely to care about the silence of spoons?
Poor Varshini, what can she do about this? Except to go to the temple tomorrow and send up a special prayer for spoons.
Selected by mini krishnan and translated by malini seshadri
Thanks : Frontline Magazine
இந்தக் கதை உள்ளிட்ட 125 குறுங்கதைகளின் தொகுப்பு கர்னலின் நாற்காலி என்ற தலைப்பில் தேசாந்திரி பதிப்பகம் வெளியிட்டுள்ளது