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Short Stories
Poornachandra Tejaswi
       " IT is perhaps a law of Providence that certain ailments should visit everyone at certain points in their lives. I am saying this because, seeing Ramesha's strange condition, people said, 'Ayyo, he was all right till recently' ..."
       People of Hatthur are a somewhat detached lot. They seem to have transcended desire, anger, pride, jealousy and all the rest of the vices. It is a matter of great wonder that they yet manage to have children. And they all thought Ramesha had turned rather strange of late.
       "In the bus stand, he either stands rooted or sits glued for hours! What strange disease has seized him?"
       "It's the school which has spoilt him. Who knows which dirty bitch has cast a magic spell on him?"
       "Come on, he hasn't sprouted a moustache yet, and you say he is already mad after girls. Really, you should talk more sensibly."
       "O' my Lord, don't say that. You don't know about the boys of these days. They see films and all that, you see. They don't wait to come of age or anything else."
       "Anyway, you better shut up. What if your words reach his mother's ears! A son is all that the poor thing has." People spoke in a hundred different ways.
       Ramesha didn't have a father. His mother had brought him up all by herself. She had some four or six acres of land in Hatthur. Since Hatthur was surrounded by thick jungles and flanked by two streams on its right and left, it did not have a government road. Though people had lived there for generations, the village had not even been marked on the government map. People of the village paid no tax or levy. The government would not sanction even a paltry coin to the village in its budget. No one went to the village even to ask for votes. No politics was possible in that village of just three or four houses.
       If one got off the bus on the Mangalore Highway, and climbed up and down the hill range on its right, somewhere beyond was Ramesha's village, Hatthur. Perhaps, the village got its name because one had to go up the hilltops to reach there.
       There were thick jungles for miles on both sides of this highway. But for a few vehicles that occasionally plied on the road, not a single soul could be seen on that road. Ramesha had to wait there for his bus every day to reach his school which was far away.




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