The Earth Tiler- A short story (part-2)

To read (part-1) Click The Earth Tiler

Walking down the the road I arrived at the village of the learnt man. It had been months since I heard of him.

A deadly disease had spread all over the country. All the cities, towns, villages, shops, schools were closed. The ruler of the country declared it an epidemic. This disease was the most deadly thing ever that had ever arrived at the village of the learnt man.

The disease spread by mere contact. All means of transport were shut. Due to the epidemic I had to wait for long at my place of work before making a return journey to my home. It is long after now that I am returning my home. And way back lies this village of the learnt man.

It was going to be dark. I have to spend a night in learnt man’s village. I started my journey in late afternoon and had wasted a lot of time due to continuous checking of passengers for any symptoms of the deadly disease. It was almost an hour that I have arrived in the village and I was roaming around to find Shelter for a night. Usually it wasn’t a difficult task. People here are very generous. They offer their own house and food for the needy commuters like me. I had heard of their hospitality at my work place. But unfortunate this time I might not see it with my eyes. The villagers are terrified of the epidemic and resist in letting in an outsider. It was long enough when I finally found a little colony of small cottages that villagers had built for outsiders and commuters. Food and water along with comfortable bed was provided. Despite of the fear of epidemic the villagers had maintained their custom of hospitality.

The cottage was warm and safe. Another man was already inside. Sitting near the fireplace probably waiting to talk to someone. When he saw me coming his eyes traced the path and beamed at me. I felt as if I was going to fulfill his long awaited desires.

As I ate and drank I saw the cottage man through the corners of my eyes. He was watching me closely, waiting for chance to start a conversation. And then he found his chance. After I was done I wanted to relax near the fire. I sat near the warmth. It felt good and comforting.

“It has been a tiring day for you” said the cottage man plainly. His tone was obvious to understand. He didn’t want to know why I was tired he just wanted to get me in the conversation.

“Yes a bit.” I replied simply. Maybe deeper inside me I too wanted to to talk to someone after a day long journey filled with traveling and fear. Fear of the deadly disease.

“No cure has been found till now and so many lay dead. It is such a grave year”. In a melancholy he started. I didn’t want to talk about death and fear right at the moment. I was too tired to talk about it. I already knew how devastating the year had been till now. Falling incomes, closed markets, death, disease, despite good crops no earnings because you couldn’t sell them when markets are closed. Unemployment, rising crime hopelessness and despair all around. And adding to the woes no cure for the disease was yet found.

The cottage man was a keen observer. He read the raw emotions on my face. I guess everyone was tired of talking about the gloomy situation this year has bought. Yet no one had anything else to talk about.

“Do you anyone in the village?” The cottage man quickly changed the subject. And a strange streak of excitement ran down my spine. I wanted to know about the learnt man. What happened to the learnt man who became and earth tiller and who is rumoured to get back on his feet.

“I heard of a learnt man. Last time I came in the village he was tiling earth. A gentleman told me his story about how he left his fortune outside and settled in the village for the love of his teaching.”

All of a sudden the eyes of cottage man sparkled. Maybe I touched upon a very interesting topic. He started narrating savouring pleasure in every work as if reciting something very close to his heart.

After getting devastated completely. The learnt man fought away and undone what the thunderstorm did him. He was successful in building the school he aspired. His father helped him out in managing to get the school.
Though some mild family turmoil had creaked into their house like any other ordinary household. The learnt man was all set to start over all again with his work.

Gathered a few students and asked his team of wise men to join him again. He started teaching again. It was only a little while that the epidemic broke out. Students were locked in thir homes. Some members of the wise men team couldn’t travel to teach. Source of income slashed down and the learnt man was left all alone once again.

It is the Just who has to give the trial.

I felt my heart melting. Already the learnt man had enough trouble and the destiny was playing hide and seek. The man left everything for his passion of teaching and few months back he lost everything that he had in a thunderstorm and now this epidemic was destroying what was left with him.

“What did he do then?” I asked in an inquisitive note. Forgetting all my tiredness. The cottage man looked equally interested but replied in a gloomy voice. The learnt man broke a bit this time. His spirit started setting down. He had owned a debt which he somehow managed to pay in monthly installments. His saved fortune reserves started declining. With no one to encourage him or console his soul. He looked disheartened like never before. The family turmoil worsened the situation. The ladies of the house though aware of the learnt man’s fate couldn’t resist themselves at throwing tantrums at each other. The ladies were elite and well educated but the couldn’t stand each other.

I wondered in my head. Mother and Wife. A man always gets grind between the two most important women of his life.

Meanwhile when everything looked dark the daughter of the wise men never dropped her smile. Some how her smile lifted up the spirit of the learnt man. The innocent smile encouraged him to and rise and set aside the darkness within and embrace a fighting spirit. Parents can do anything for their child’s smile

One day when the wise man was wondering about his fate his daughter told him in her little squeaky voice. “Daddy I love the new building you got but I don’t like playing there all alone when will you get me friends to play there?” These words moved his father. Although his little princess was too small to understand what the situation is going on and what the fate has bestowed upon his father. Yet she asked the right question “when will I get her friends” I need to get her friends I need to get my students back. Without teaching young minds I am nothing more than a moving carcass.

As if a dead rose to life the learnt man with his indomitable spirit started a brainstorming. How can I bring normalcy to life. How to fight the odd. How to achieve what I aspire. Think! Ponder! Brainstorm! Devise a path. A clear path that will lead to what he aspires.


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