October 2, 2022

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Short Story: The Builder by Sandra Ramsdam

1 min read

Sandra Ramsdam’s story looks back on the first-generation learners of the alphabets, brought to us by Christian missionaries, and the values of hard work.

It was a poor man’s house by any standards. The small door creaked under the rusty hinges. It led to a small room where the old builder was lying on his bed. A dim light showed his rugged features, a wrinkled face that had seen both good and bad times. An old table was on the left side of the bed, where three bottles of different shapes and sizes with some grease oozing out of their lids, released the smell of balm that was mixed with local herbs and mustard oil and filled the room with that strong odour which reminded me of my grandmother when she was old and bedridden. Besides them, there were strips of tablets, probably vitamins, and an opened Khasi Bible showing a page of Psalm 139. On the right was a small window from where a neighbour’s house could be seen. An old pinewood shelf stood at the foot of the bed, which held a latch tied with old rags to hold the door closed. Some old clothes peeped out from the upper shelf as if they were also anxious to come out after being left unused for quite a while.

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