Story Of A Man Who Moved A Mountain (FICTION)
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There are people who say love can move mountains. This might not be physically possible, but Dashrath Manjhi, also known as the ‘Mountain Man’, came quite close.
In one day of his life, his wife fell while crossing a nearby hill and hurt herself seriously. She needed quick medical assistance, but that wasn’t possible due to the hill that isolated their small village from the next town.
Tragically enough, his wife died from serious injuries before Dashrath could do anything about it. It was the night when Dashrath Manjhi decided to carve a small path through the mountain in order to give his village easier access to medical assistance.
It was an ambitious plan and he was heavily ridiculed for it. But after working for 22 years with the greatest determination and willpower, a path was carved into the hill.
Even though he was initially mocked and ridiculed for his mission to give his hometown easier access to the nearby town, he finally succeeded.
His life’s work helped to reduce the distance between the two towns from 55 km to only 15 km so that never again such a thing would happen.
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“Michael, can I have my pen back?” the lady politely asked, her hand outstretched. Her pointed, PO relished nails blood-red against her pale skin.
The room paused. The air-con was cool in here and, if you really listened, you could hear it breathing through the hidden ceiling fans like some ethereal vent from another, cooler dimension. A darker, less human dimension. Outside a car hooted and inside there was crypt-like silence.
“Sure, sure,” Michael said, sighing, “I think we are done here. Anything else I need to sign?”
The lady’s lips lifted upwards and she flashed her teeth in the poor semblance of a smile. It was more like what the prey of a vampire might see in the last moments of its life. The air-con quietly breathed more chill into the crypt-like chamber and he held his breath, knowing full well what was coming next.
“No, Michael. Nothing else. The divorce is now full and final. Congratulations.”
“Buddy, I think you’ve had enough,” the gruff, grizzled barman grunted at him and waved him away.
Michael shook his head. The bar’s eerie light was spinning as he tried to place himself again. It was under a bridge and damp here. Or humid? A fan was whirling above like some torture device while the sulfur from the filthy toilets lingered in his nostrils.
All he wanted to be the whiskey on the back shelf but there was a troll between him and it.
He flashed another note and the barman shrugged, grabbed the bottle, and poured him another drink. His stubby, grubby fingers clinging to the bottle like it was too small and otherworldly for him to understand.
The sulfur in the air was overwhelming, perhaps it was coming from the troll?
“Sure, OK, buddy, but this is your last one and then I’m gonna call you a cab and you’re gonna go home to your wife.”
>> Michael snorted at this and then giggled at snorting.
He had forgotten to take off the ring. Her ring. In all of this nightmare, he had not looked down at his hands and taken off the damn ring.
He pulled it off, clattering against his bony finger, and offered it to the barman who shook his head. He turned away and stomped to the other side of the bar where a couple of witches were cackling and loudly drinking.
“Of course,” he mumbled to himself, “Trolls don’t like silver. No silver. Not good–”
And that was the last thing he remembered that night under the bridge in the troll’s dingy bar.
"must’ve snuck in last night with his old keys…trying to make a statement? Or was it anger? Probably both. All I know, is…” the voice drifted in and out of Michael’s consciousness, “…you know how it was when you were young too?”
The speaker paused and Michael turned to the voice. Light immediately flooded into his skull and the world rushed in!
>> He sat up promptly and groaned.
“Hey, Michael, you up? About time,” said the speaker behind him and he turned to see Death; an overbearing skull towering in endless black robes and surveying his room. His mom was lurking in the back, shaking her head as mom’s do when their children are in distress.
>> “I’m dead, aren’t I?” he mumbled, trying to rise.
Death laughed like a thousand graves moaning, “Yes, my boy, you are dead. Have you learned your lesson?”
>> Michael sighed and nodded his head.
Death sat down on his bed, his bones creaking like a thousand crypt door at midnight, “We are not like everyone else. They don’t always accept us amidst them. If it helps, I can tell you when she dies?”
“Dear, don’t do that! That won’t solve anything,” Michael’s mom and Death’s wife piped up, her Valkyrie accent strong as ever, “Just let the boy be. At least, he can’t feel the hangover. Probably drank the mortals out of alcohol.”
And it was true. Michael felt fine. A normal mortal would have been dead but, then again, Michael already was.
“It was all just so-so-so…” he struggled to find the word, “Disappointing. It was just disappointing, Dad.”
Death smiled but, then again, skulls only ever do that. Michael smiled back, his skulls taking after his father’s. They looked sadly at each other, unchanging immortals in an ever-changing world.
“There will be other mortals, other times and other chances at love,” Death said, patting his son’s leg, which sounded like a thousand skeletons dancing, “I waited a long time to find your mother but I did find her and we are very, very happy now. look, your mother gave me you, so you see, things do have a way of working out.”
Michael nodded and rose from his bed, or, at least, tried to. He toppled onto the floor quite confused. The bottom of his leg was simply not there!
“Don’t worry, my love,” his mother cooed, retrieving his fibula from where it lay atop a smashed, torn up framed-picture of his ex-wife, her glowing, life-filled lips contrasting to his bleached, white skull, “Let your Dad help you pop the leg back on and then come down for breakfast.”
Michael nodded and sighed, “Thanks, Dad. Mom. I really love both of you. You don’t mind if I crash here for a while? She also got the house…”
Death’s skull grinned, sadly, and he patted his boy. Eternity was plenty of time to learn the pain of loss. He knew that all too well. But, eternity was a long time, and his boy would get over it.
It is good to sometimes look at the past and reminisce about those days in Mauritius during the 80s and 90s and wonder how from a very modest lifestyle, things have evolved over this short period of time. From the mere black and white TV to 3G technology, the road has been long.
But behind this marvelous realization, there are also stories of broken dreams of a generation trapped between their ambitions for success in life and their emotional love, romance, and sacrifice. This is my story! A story of some joy, sorrow, and lots of regrets.
It’s quite funny that when you’re young, you anticipate that you have your whole life ahead of you and that the world is full of opportunities and experiences just waiting for you to find them.
But the tragedy is that most of us spend all our life here on earth waiting for this happiness, but in reality, we may be wasting our precious life by waiting.
I think it’s important that, as humans, we should sometimes stop and think: where am I now? Do I live the life that I wanted? If most people did think like that, there would not have been so many sad cases like mine. But who am I to lecture to others about this! I’ve been lonely for so many years that I had a lot of time to think about my life.
Unfortunately, it is too late for me to change the past, but sometimes I just wish I could go back in time and start all over again.
In my youth, I never thought that I would someday be sitting here in such loneliness and waiting for time to pass by.
I’ve spent the last seven years here on the 4th floor of my apartment, far away from my home country, viewing the busy streets and the skyscrapers’ lighting at night. I know that I may have to spend the rest of my life here as I don’t have any interest in going back home.
Anyway, I have nobody missing me in Mauritius.M y past memories keep on haunting me, ruining my daily life.
I think we are all prisoners of our past; my past started some 15 years when I first met my love.
I still remember when I first cast my sight on her as she was entering the office where I used to work. Although others may have only seen her looking more like a traditional religious type of person, I could feel the beauty of her eyes that attracted me; I could feel the aura of her personality.
I was in love and I could hear the songs of innocence in my ears. As I watched her, I realized that she was the most captivating person that I had ever met. In that moment of silence, I could feel that my dream, which I had so long waited for, had finally come true and that I could finally live my life and it would last forever.
During the period she was with me, I could feel my heartbeat against my chest giving me the best moment of my life. I had someone at least who loved me, cared for me.
I still remember the pleasure of sitting by her side, listening to the ghazals on the radio, or talking about the poems of John Keats, the novels of Thomas Hardy, and the Canterbury Tales of Chaucer. We dreamt of Venice and Istanbul. We used to laugh a lot together.
I still remember all the dreams that were mine, all the infinite opportunities that had lighted my world brighter, all the days spent with my love, which seemed endless as if they would last forever and that tomorrow would never come.
I would stay up late in the night talking to her on the phone and sometimes during the moment of silence I could hear the sound of her breathing and I would dream of her the whole night.
It was the moment during which I felt so perfect that I could not have lived a better life. I remember laying my head on her lap letting the warmth of her body makes me so comfortable.
I could stay forever to hear her soft voice, to see the glinting of her eyes; her hair would twirl around my face and there was nowhere in the world where I could feel so happy. My life had suddenly become full of flowers, songs, and all the ingredients of romance.
Everything seemed beautiful. I loved the time of life during which we were together and promised to spend the rest of my life with her. I had never been in love before, but I never thought that this would eventually end in heartbreak.
Although at that time I was just a junior officer in the organization and my future career didn’t seem so bright, we were very happy together. However, one day I told her that I was going abroad to finish my studies and start a new career in the USA and would come back soon.
I told her that this move was important for our future and that we would need to sacrifice our then present for a better future. That moment was heartbreaking for her. She had full confidence in me but she could not hide her tears.
Since that separation, I worked hard day and night in a foreign land with the obsession to be successful in my profession. Times went fast. I got promoted but did not have the courage to stop and return to my love.
On the contrary, I encouraged her to finish her studies in London and promised to join her in a year –which I never did. I still remember her saying “you know the value of something when you own it but you know the value of someone when you lose her”.
After the separation we lived worlds apart, she was busy with her studies, battling her own difficulties alone while I was concentrating fully on my career. As days, months and years went by, I grew older and when I looked back at my life I couldn’t tell what useful things I had done in my life.
If I have to die tomorrow, nothing could prove that I ever existed. I really feel very sad about it and I often think about all the opportunities I had, and how great a life I could have had.
But oh no, I chose to waste my life on nothing but my career and here I sit in my apartment not knowing how long I have to be here.
Now, when I think about it, the fragility of words spoken when we together echoed in my ears mocking me for my trivial existence today.
All my dreams that could have been realized never saw the light. All the possibilities that I had considered were shattered forever when the dark cloud of the storm came. The happy moments went so fast with a promise never to return again.
When I think about the past moments and the very uncertainty of tomorrow, I feel very depressed and see shattered darkness everywhere. If I have to die tomorrow, the last thing I would like to see is her eyes.
Many tragedies fell on my love story as I watched my dream die and my heart gets broken far too many times.
Sometimes I like to see her photos and follow events on her Facebook profile; as I allow my thoughts to wander, I wonder what could have happened if life had been fair with us.
Surely we would have had many days spent in endless passion, many sleepless nights, much laughter, lots of smiles, and maybe tears also.
As I think about all these my heart finds no peace with myself as if the universe is laughing at me for my trivial existence.
Today, in my solitude, I come to realize that tragic stories don’t just happen in movies.
In our quest for material wealth, we may be left with just past memories and that it is better to make time for our loved ones. Actually, real love is when we struggle until the very last moment just to tell her how much we love to live life without any regrets.
As I realize this, I just want to fall on my knees and beg for her forgiveness for all the tears that I have caused her and for breaking all our hopes and dreams which were so dear to us some 15 years ago – so I am writing this article to say sorry for the Broken Dream.
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