This is the fifth part of the series: The Goregaon Girl. If you haven’t read the first four parts, click the image links below:
When you are bruised by failure, fall flat on your back, at least you will realize whom you have to beat!Tweet
The imageries of the arrow and flag – on Ananya’s forearm, the cover of the book, and Karthik’s locket formed three corners of the triangle. At the center of all this was Karthik, locked as the prime person. His forehead was masked with tiny droplets of sweat with different concentrations of fear, that trickled down his eyebrows.
With a labored breath, he walked towards the person reading the book and made a stuttered and polite request,
“Hello s.. s.. Sir, May I know what is the book that you are reading?”
Hearing his frightful request, the man replied,
“This book is about a community, a story of life and death. Umm, do you want to read it? I have already read this book twice. Besides, this train has a long journey to make.”
Saying these words, he passed on his book. As Karthik held the book, he experienced a strange sense of inkling. A powerful goosebumps across his forearm, something that he never felt before. He started gazing at the details of the book.
The book had a huge title named ‘The Invisible Community’ painted in red with humanoid pictures surrounded by an ancient symbol of a flag and arrow. The novel had a best-selling tag and was written by an author named Rajendran K.
Karthik had this weird habit of taking the fragrance of the book, old or new. He believed that every idea traveled across many human beings to be manifested in this world. Similarly, before even words could captivate a reader, it’s the fragrance of the pages that connects a reader and the author, a blind faith that he believed. As Karthik flipped the pages to take the fragrance of the book, he immediately felt a sense of a bond between the book and himself, a connection explained beyond human words.
Karthik looked at Ananya who was wide asleep. He looks around to find any eyeballs watching him covertly just to be sure he is not being followed. He reads the preface of the book. The following words are the exact words from the book The Invisible Community written by Rajendran K.
The Invisible Community
Preface: Have you ever been locked in a situation where there is no escape? Have you ever realized that you have this one life? This is a story about a community of utopia, a helpless girl Maya, Ravi, a ray of hope in Maya’s life and the beginning of a new life.
About the Writer: Rajendran K is a 24-year-old first-time novelist, whose short stories has compelled readers in a short span of time. Being a South Indian, Rajendran’s stories revolve around the inspiring lives of Chennai. He is a street food lover and a storyteller taking inspirations from the local street corners of Chennai. To know more, write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Karthik looked outside through the windowpane to see the arriving station. It was Guntakal junction, a town in Andhra Pradesh, also the second biggest railway station in South India. Guntakal welcomed Karthik with the aroma of Masala Vadas, the potato bajjis, Neer dosas, and Pulihora (lip-smacking tamarind rice). However, the aroma did not break Karthik’s resolute to read more about the book. He flipped the pages to read more.
Rajendran continued in his book…
Humans have always been in the search of a utopian life. Amidst this quest, they tend to engineer something impossible, blatantly ignoring the fact that deep down we all are human beings, who are imperfect, deeply affected by emotions, and of our surroundings. Such was this community in this highly sacred city of Rameswaram, named ’The Invisible Community’.
As the name said, it wasn’t some other community that you would find in the books, this was unique, not visible to the external world and blasphemous. Here people did not willingly enter by choice. They did after having lost all the hope to reinvent another life for themselves, at a cost they could barely think about – their life.
The community was operated by highly classified people who worked for the government, some perilous scavengers, goons, etc. The community on the outside looked similar to a an 19th century architectural masterpiece, however, nobody knew the reality of what happened inside.
People who entered the community, joined for the comfort of the four walls to stay within. However, once entered and accustomed to following the rules of the community life, then the reality inside starts to creep up slowly. Day after day, your simple essentials are taken away, phones are burnt and your contact to the external world is cut off.
Members are forced to experience physical and mental torment so that they start following the rules of the community. Besides, the members are mandated to teach others within the community, respect, take care of the elders, work on a small scale enterprise that existed in the community, and also reproduce with the existing members so that they keep the community populated.
Imagine yourself living every day in such a community. In this dreaded community, lived Maya, a Srilankan backpacker who visited Rameswaram to explore the untouched and ancient architectures, the Adam’s Bridge, and the very famous House of Kalam. However, the night she reached Rameswaram, her backpack was stolen by a group of bandits. Stealing all the money, her phone and leaving Maya with just her backpack full of clothes and packaged dry food.
Remorse and dejected, she stood on the southern tip of India, on the shore of Dhanushkodi. Watching the waves ebb and crash at the shore, she watched the far-fetched small mass of land from where she belonged, Srilanka. As thoughts of swimming across the Indian ocean started to occur, she suddenly heard a man yell at the top of his voice in the local Tamil language,
“Amma, enga poringa high tide!” (“Hey lady, where are you going, its high tide!”)
Maya being a Srilankan was aware of the basic language of Tamil. She narrated the story of how some bandits stole her belongings and left her empty. After such a horrific experience and her troubled state, Maya didn’t have any place to live. Looking at her pathetic condition, he recommended staying the night in the Invisible Community.
He said in his typical Tamilian toned self-learnt English language,
“Madam, this hotel…people stay… free. They ask … no money. …Stay free.”
Maya joined her palms together as a sign of respect and thanked him. Little did she know that this free stay at one night was going to cost her whole life.
Karthik’s breath hitched as he felt someone’s contact on his shoulder. As he slowly turned, it was the person who gave him the book.
What’s with Maya? Is she going to survive the community? Who is the person who handed this novel to Karthik? Where is Ananya leading Karthik to at Rameswaram?
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