December 24, 2008

The Red Sky

I peeped inside the umbrella shop to make sure if it was still there. There it was. My gaze was fixated on the red umbrella spread out at the right corner of the shop. It was broken by the sudden drizzle. I could feel the rain droplets kissing me. I pulled myself away from the shop with much difficulty and started walking towards the backyard of the Mosque which I called home. My Ammi swept the mosque grounds and managed a meager sum everyday in the form of alms from the generous souls. It was hardly enough to cover ourselves. Two square meals a day was a luxury. I cursed my stars for this pathetic existence. The grey clouds were transforming into a dark shade of black. I had barely anything to cover my body and to think I had been salivating at the thought of owning that red umbrella!

It was then I noticed that crumpled piece of note falling out of his pocket. I pounced on it and ran in the opposite direction. I could not believe my luck when I checked my catch. A 500 rupee note! I walked straight into the umbrella shop like a person possessed. It cost me my entire loot.

I spread out my red umbrella and walked out into the street. The sky was no longer blue under it. I could feel myself soak in the color of the sun. I reached home and screamed with joy. The red umbrella was such a misfit in this little hutment. I called for Ammi. I saw the rice soup she had prepared for me kept in a corner, untouched. I felt a twitch in my stomach. Here was Ammi who saved every penny to feed me. And here I was who had succumbed to his temptations. I wanted to hug her for loving me so unselfishly. I walked out of the hut only to find her lying still in a pool of water. I shook her. I felt her pulse, her heartbeat. Everything was eerily silent. She was dead. I collapsed besides her. She had been starving to feed me. My tears went unnoticed in the rain.

I placed my red umbrella besides Ammi while laying her to rest. It was the least expensive gift I could give her in return for the most supreme one she had bestowed me with-the gift of life.

Word count: 400 words

(*image copyright: Soze/flickr)

(The rain gods were a lil difficult to please...he took a extremely sorry for the delay...was stuck up with work and was hard pressed for time...was not sure if would be able to pen one down...wanted to...desperately...given the fact that this contest has had great participation from could i miss out on the party...stretched myself today...and the rains from kerala have lashed the lounge...cheers! will be back to comment on all stories that i all make the lounge rock friends...a big five for all of you here! Rock on!)


  1. brilliant story twin...really...very touching...
    best things come in d end!!

    though d title n d craze for d umbrella reminded me of d movie 'the blue umbrella'...but den..urs ws entirely diff..

    n though i havnt really read all rain stories posted here..but i hav no doubt urs is d best b'coz i liked it so very much...

    very differnt too from all othr rain stories posted..majority being love n pain types...

    dis ws truly amazing..loved it! :)

  2. thanx twin..just posted whatever i could conjure up in an hour....i had thought of something totally different and while penning it became something poles apart....the story shaped itself rather than me shaping it :-)

  3. No words for this Sandeep... It's the best.....

    After reading the post it took me ten minutes to come back to normal.... I was so immersed.. No exaggeration.. really...

    Got the best at the last..!!


  4. Some things are better unsaid ... Even words fail to say how much i was touched with the story .. and i agree when you say, we never shape our writes.Its vice versa thats true :)

    Brilliant write !

  5. @arjun

    oops...that is the best comment this story could have got...glad to know you liked it bro...i conjured it up in a hurry and as i said...wrote with no particular plot in mind...the story shaped itself...thanx :-)

  6. @pretty me

    its raining comments...just replied to arjun's and ws surprised to see a new one pop up in the meantime..he he...thanx a lot yaar...and yaa...birds of the same feather flock together...thats why we have such amazing talent with us here...i seriously have no clue how this story shaped up to be very just flowed...had no clue if people will like it or not..but my fears have been laid to rest now :-)

  7. From your reply to the comments, I can safely say that brilliance never sees itself in the mirror..

    It was amazing.. We were waiting for you to post something and there we have it :D

  8. @rashi

    wow...i just hope that this piece was worth the wait...glad to know that you liked it....and that brilliance and mirror bit have the potential to become a full blown post in itself yaar...could have only come from a psychology exponent...he he...cheers

  9. Last night, I wrote a story titled "the red umbrella" only to open WL today morning to see a post with the same title. My story is pretty similar, except that it's the mother's birthday, the kid wants to gift her an umbrella because she works very hard and often comes home drenched. He's walking towards the store to buy it when he stumbles upon a 100 rupee note. He buys it for his mum and gifts it to her on her birthday!
    Anyway, why did you change the title from "the red umbrella" to "the red sky"??

  10. brilliant brother........i dont need to comment about ur work as i presume that its brilliant........after reading this i really felt good .......temptations ......and mother son ka relationship she starved and all.......t hanx brother

    very touching work

  11. @neha

    i have to admit one may sound strange but our thought process is eerily similar...before penning this story i had decided on a particular plot the day we launched this contest...all along i had thought of weaving a story on that theme...only to find one fine day that you had already posted the muthu story...strange naa! but its true...the only difference was i had planned a brother-sister story around umbrella...when i stumbled across your story, i had to change track and wrote one without a plot in mind...a new one again around an umbrella...only to find now that you had also thought of something similar..he he...strange! but true...great to have come across someone who thinks exactly like i do...oops...thats such a rare and strange coincidence...but true!

    regarding the change from "the red umbrella" to "the red sky", i realized after reading priyanka's comment that it would be percieved as something similar to "the blue umbrella" by ruskin bond...i changed it to "the red sky" coz i thought it would capture both the phases well...first where he has the umbrella and the sky turns red for him. Second when he is burying his mother and the setting sun is painting the sky with a flourish of gold and red, capturing his state of mind. Dont you like the title? Should i go back to the original one?

    Cheers O mirror image :-)

  12. @ste

    hey...come on yourself are such a good writer...keep me in that league only....its very comfortable here...glad to know that you liked it....and thanx kyun bol raha could i afford to miss out on an initiative which has seen our baby become the most sought after...thats precisely the reason i took time out to pen this one despite my choc-a-bloc schedule right now...the pleasure is all mine bro...merry christmas in advance stephanie anna...cheers!

  13. lovely personal fav amongst all the ones here

  14. hayay mayraya Rabba!


    It was good, but not Very good, me a little disappointed you know!

    something could have happen na...
    like see this:

    the umbrella was right there, in my wildest of fantasies i have pictured myself holding that red umbrella in my hands and humiliating the skies for not having enough force to wet me! I yearned for a time when i would be able to hold it and feel supremer to the skies, would feel big.

    it was so captivating i reconsidered myself standing in the middle of the ground with it, i was busy ogling it when a women screamed near the other end of masjid somewhere near the blue square, where children play basketball, i hated women for screaming, that took me back from my reverie, cursing that voice i turned back and hit a sahab who was busy counting his money, he looked up from his ordeal and sweared. I hated myself then, for being low enough for people to easily spit on me, for being poor to not able to buy that umberella and for everything else.

    i pretended that i hadnt listened to what he had said and bowed my head down, a tear fell and then i noticed something, a crushed currency note that had fallen from his pocket, a reimbursement nature did to me, for the hurt that i had been through....

    and lately he'd find that his mother was the one screaming being hit by the basketball she couldnt keep balance and fell on the floor, her head would hit a jadded rock, and would bleed to death!

    irony of life.

    But then i know about the word constraint - sigh! i cant blame you all you know!

  15. @ Neha, wow its alright, our muses meet somewhere i believe because i have been comming up with the ideas only to see that they're already been taken by others !! :)

  16. @ashwin

    oh wow...thanx bro....glad to learn that!

  17. ya..n replyin to ur

  18. @islex

    oops...sorry to disappoint you version was awesome...too good...the way you describe things...have always been a fan of the way you original version of this story was 800 words...descriptions and creating verbal landscapes have been my strengths which were crippled by the 400 word limit islexxxx...cut down on the descriptions yaar...cut down to half...maybe that is the reason...its not always that i disappoint you islex...nahi? he he..for a've you been? got busy with work yaar...have a lot of reading to do here...

  19. lol. its okay post a real version on your blog i also want to read that!

    and no, you never do :)

    enjoy working :P what else can i say :P

    same here :( loads of reading is piled up but then i see a positive side..

  20. the positive side was that it is an off tomorrow, so i can read and prolly write another story i have been drafting for ages!

  21. *sniff* *sniff*

    sob sob.....islexxxxxxxx ko pasand nahi aaya...sob sob.....

    *looks at the last comment. Takes the hanki and wipes his nose*

    need an editor.....offers his services... ;-)

  22. yeah i have drafts of two stories.

    one me and rash will be co-writing inshALlah

    other ... you can if you're free enough?

  23. *sniff* *sniff*

    smiles :-) ........i would love to....honoured....ab zindagi main aur kuch nahi chaahiye..yey yey yey!

  24. gud Balu.... the story is amazing...and inspite of the effort you might have put... it looks like an effortless narration....

    A true storyteller... that you have always been...

  25. a master-piece by the master himself... this one literally brought tears to my eyes.. beautiful story, and beautiful ending (as usual, a sad ending... lol...) lovely flow with just the right amount of words and emotions to it... am your fan as always... you rock!!!

  26. woah mann ...brilliant ..guess that's why u waited so looong eh? ....This should be published ...really .....

  27. @ruchi

    thanx for the appreciation yaar...true storyteller...he he..yaa...for all the stories i cooked to become the gossip king right? he he...


    ohh yaa...sad ending..cud not go into the desciptive mode here daa...but tried to extract the max out of 400 words..and dont call me a master and all yaar..there are so many masters happy being a student ;-) sorry for making you cry everytime you read one of my stories...i will make you laugh from now on...he he


    oops...thanks bro...glad to know that you liked it so much...cheers!

  28. @anurag

    he he..didnt wait for that reason yaar...was buried in work...kept on postponing penning this story for a new day...and then when i realized that only a day was left, sat and wrote this keeping the work aside...he he...sorry bro...wont be among the last ones to post the next time around*(*Conditions apply-provided relatively free from work)...cheers!

  29. wonder if she'd have been happy if she were alive, and had to get that umbrella as a gift.

    I think she'd have probably lived had he to get the umbrealla earlier. but the means he used was wrong..

    Guess its showing human vulnerability. Good one :)


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