Written By Laksshha Khanna (Grade 10)
The hardwood donning my body was hammered by Atul’s father. It was a gift for Atul for his 18th birthday to begin his journey as a fisherman.
For those two years, I was his best friend. He would sail me every day in the murky waters of the local river. He would catch fishes and lay their slimy bodies on my smooth floor, humming songs while lying on his back, soaking in the summer sun.
Fishing, as it would turn out, wasn’t fated to be Atul’s livelihood. At the age of 20, he won a lottery which turned his life around. He used the money to pay for his higher education. From being a daily wage worker, he became a respectable business man.
He barely glanced at me for the years that followed. The dusty storage room became my home. It was quite a jump from the calm green waters of the nearby river. The days went by slowly as I sunk deeper and deeper into loneliness. I lived with the hope that I would see Atul’s smiling face again and it kept me going for quite a bit.
Once he was able to stand on his feet, he bought a new house for his family. While cleaning out the old hut, he found me tucked away in the corner of the storage room. The corners of his mouth turned into a wicked smile as he stroked my groaning body.
He picked me up and brought me out of my hiding place. I was placed on the grassy lawn outside. The sunlight was glaring into my eyes and I felt all my moisture dry up. Before I could think another thought, he pushed me into the river and sat a top my hardwood body just as he used to.
That memory lives on in my mind. The water felt cool against my warm skin, ebbing away all the isolation I felt in the past years. Atul hummed melodious tunes while he skimmed his hand over the surface of the river, reminiscing his simple old days where it was just him and his boat. He was happier now and that made me happy.
After that day, I was fastened in the trunk of a truck and driven away to a new landscape. Strong arms lifted me and pivoted my frame through a wide door, leading to a magnificent house. I was hoisted upon support hooks which lined the side of a wall.
I had never been merrier. Atul had placed me in the dining hall from where I could monitor all the activities that took place in the house. I would never be alone ever again.
Till this day I lie on the same hooks, observing the ongoing activities of the house. Atul occasionally pulls me out from my resting space and takes a joyful ride in the nearby pond. Nothing has changed his persona. He still hums the same tunes, the sun casts shadows across his face as he presses his back on my hardwood floor, carefree.
His son’s 18th birthday is approaching. He intends to hand me over to him as a good luck charm, the one that turned his life around. I am a valuable piece of wood afterall; crafted by Atul’s father, honed by Atul himself and handed over to his son.
Featured Image Courtesy – Britannica