Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Entry #166

The Eagle and The Mice
by Anupama Chingangbam


The four pink mice lay there in the scorching sun, their entrails showing through their thin skin. Aijaz watched from the distance behind a pile of rocks which was once the house of his friend Hamid.

Hamid was dead and so was his family. A drone had attacked their house one summer morning. Aijaz was lucky. His carpenter father had lost only his hands and his mother only one eye and two grown up daughters.

Sweat poured down his sun burnt neck as he eagerly waited for the eagle to swoop down and grab the mice. His grandfather used to look at the sky for rain, his father for bombs and now he was waiting for the eagle. He had dug out the mice from the ruined library of Chacha Ahmad. He used to play there with Hamid regardless of Chacha’s constant scolding. He prized the leather bound books more than anything. Now all was gone, the books, the library, Hamid, Chacha, even the village. The eagle had been circling round for quite a time now. Aijaz wanted to see the eagle in action and he had ignored the calls of his mother for the past twenty minutes.

A slap in the back of his neck caught him by surprise and when he looked behind he was shocked for a moment. But it was only his mother with one eye missing. He reluctantly went with his mother for lunch.

The eagle swooped down.


(*Chacha is uncle in Urdu.)

(Anupama is a student of literature and writes her blog at www.anupamachingangbam.sulekha.com.)

23 comments:

Laurel said...

Brutal.

their entrails showing through their thin skin

This sets the tone of a life stripped bare. Very harsh and well written.

Aniket said...

The gory portrayal of post war disaster is very well written. Horrific.

Runita said...

well written...theme of conflict between the haves and have not is clearly shown...

catvibe said...

Just awful, and I mean that in a good way. This is just such a devastating situation. Well written, I really got a sense of the generations here.

laughingwolf said...

stunningly powerful metaphors!

yogi e-lib said...

very well written.

Nothingman said...

Wow! That was awesome! I love it.
It's so...real and so gory!

Will you marry me?

N

Bernita said...

Many-layered possibilities for interpretation. Is he a resiliant boy with a kismet attitude or a child deeply traumatized?
Well done.
Only the word "lunch" struck a false and westernized note.

anu said...

Dear All
Thanks a ton for your sincere comments.I ll definitely try to do better next time.Thanx for the support..

(Dear NMan I ll think and tell you.)

RockstarNinja said...

Powerful & moving. The characters nonchalant reaction to the chaos around him paints a jarring picture. I can almost hear the bird & feel a dusty heat.
It drives home the point to be thankful for what you do have.

lena said...

That was some powerful writing here. Indeed a very devastating situation shown, but shown brilliantly.

Craig said...

Really shows the resilience of people and in particulare children. Even though Aijaz is in a horrific situation he has normalized and is even goofing off much to his parents chgrin.

Deb Smythe said...

His grandfather used to look at the sky for rain, his father for bombs and now he was waiting for the eagle.

That's a great line.

pjd said...

echo Deb. That was my favorite part.

Kartik said...

Very poignant! +1 on the favourite line! Lovely writing, Anupama :)

PEOPLE, PLACES, VOICES, FACES... said...

He's leaving "mice" out for the "eagle," huh, Anupama?

Excellent descriptions and I'm awed by your tone--the absolutely matter-of-fact, even unemotionally mundane way he talks about his father's loss of hands (and thus livelihood) and his mother's loss of one eye and two daughters is priceless!

Ranee

anu said...

Dear all

thanks so much for the kind words..

@kartik glad that you liked it. I have been reading your blogs for a while.

@Ranee I believe that the serious kinds should be dealt with simplest of words..thanks for your nice comment.

@pjd ,Deb smythe that one is my fav too:) thanx

THANX TO ALL

Anu

(find my blog at anuchingangbam.sulekha.com )

JaneyV said...

Aijaz was lucky. His carpenter father had lost only his hands and his mother only one eye and two grown up daughters.

This line broke my heart.

Anu - this is a very moving piece of writing. It is its starkness and honesty that make it so powerful.

James R. Tomlinson said...

The backstory is quite tragic, yet you ground it in reality, in the hear and now, when the mother gets the attention of her child. The setting of this story is excellent.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I'm with Janey. Such a heartbreaking line told in a matter of fact tone. This is an excelent look at the ravages of war from so many different angles. Excellent!

Preeti said...

Wow...

Could feel the heat and experience the aridity. could see the devastation and ruins. could see the child maybe aware of the destruction but remotely, superficially... could see the mother moving on with her life and her routines...despite the war and all...

a child at play... yet the piece is suffused with grimness and grief...

do i call this resilience or do i... hmmmn

Amazing, anu... I liked this because it is making me think and wonder...

Aerin said...

I'm pretty sure that's the first marriage proposal in the CoN contests? Can anyone corroborate?



my caveat

Something I Would Keep

Definitely the first line. Stark foreshadowing so grotesquely and effectively done.

Something I Might Tweak

Instead of using the asterix to explain "Chacha" you might at one point say "his uncle" which would not be out of place with "his grandfather" "his mother" etc.

Chris Eldin said...

I was going to comment on how good this was, but now am more curious about the proposal within. Please let us know your answer to Nman.