July 30, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Short Story: Burning Alone by Annapurna Sharma

2 min read

Annapurna Sharma gives us a glimpse of the harsh realities of life at close quarters through this heart-wrenching short story.

Today is Sunday. Today is his funeral. He died two days back. 

I completed a third of my life. That is, if we lived an average of seventy five years. By ‘we’ I mean every member in my family. It’s a family tradition – my grandfather often boasted about the wish and resolve of his ancestors to live a long life. Did father not have that trans-generational tooth of longevity or the sensitivity to live? Did he not want to take care of his family and his extended family? He didn’t/ couldn’t make it. You can blame it on the novel virus or his breathing troubles or profligacy or the lack of an inner wish factor. There is a certain sound of pompousness about the word ‘profligacy’ and so was my father.  

On Friday the hospital called to tell us about him. It was only five in the morning and I couldn’t read into my mother’s certainty when the nurse said he was no more. Ours is a large family, an extra large one by today’s standards. Five sisters after me, youthful and unsettled, their inner feelings constantly shifting to my mother via an invisible conduit, making her more unsettled than she already was – she had multiple times spoken to herself about this insecurity. His death was a relief to her. 

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