Highly Commended Story - Sxity-Four
“Sxity-Four” by Aaditya Singh, Rustomjee Cambridge International School, India, is the Highly Commended story in the senior category of the first biannual Short Story Contest 2020.
Aaditya Singh is a Grade VIII student at Rustomjee Cambridge International School, Dahisar. His story "SIXTY-FOUR" was inspired by his recent visit to an old-age home. A conversation with the residents there led him to the realization that they just needed some company, someone to share their feelings with. So, he wants to make a difference and enjoy this stage of our lives rather than stressing ourselves over the future and make our relationship pillars stronger than ever.
I was lying on the porch, on a lazy Sunday morning. The weather was fantastic, for a change. Not extremely cold or hot, just about right to make me doze off in a few minutes. BANG! The noise from my door woke me up, it was my father. “Hey Aadi, I am going to pay a visit to the old age home, your mom is coming too, would you like to join us?” I stared at him with a look of dismay and then he said, “You know it would be fun and I heard there is a McDonald’s near the one we are going to, just letting you know.” He knew I would not refuse such an offer and I didn’t. Going to an old age home is not my idea of a lazy Sunday morning, but for food, anything can be done.
As I was sitting in the car, in my mind appeared a train of thoughts about distressing age.
Different people have different fates. Some aged people are fortunate enough to be loved by their descendants, but others are not this fortunate. These unfortunate ones are deposited in some shabby, depressing old age home by their “BUSY CHILDREN” who carry on with their so called busy life in some far distant land, not once did they ask their parents whether they would like it or not…
We were going to this old age home to meet my father’s aunt who like most others of her age suffered the same, gruesome fate. As I entered the old age home, a feeling of uneasiness and unhappiness gripped me. It looked as if this place didn’t receive any sunlight. As we entered, we saw frail, feeble old ladies scattered here and there with long drooping faces waiting hopelessly for someone to come and take them away from this desolated place. These ladies, who otherwise have no one, were ecstatic to see us. They talked to us in such a loving and caring fashion that they reminded me of my own grandmother. This is how much they vied for a little bit of company. I met my father’s aunt and then set out to learn more of this place and its neglected inhabitants.
This house was in a pitiable condition. There were frequent cracks on the wall, the roof crumbling but little did the ladies care about luxury.
Each of these ladies had a melancholy story to relate. My eyes fell on a lady who was seated in a corner. She barely uttered a word. I learnt that since the day she was ruthlessly brought here, she had taken a pledge that she would never open her mouth to converse with anyone. Another lady gave out her heart wrenching howls every now and then. Maybe she feels that these howls may bring back the heartless people, but no one cared a bit for her! At least some of these ladies are visited after prolonged intervals, but most others are forgotten for life.
I noticed that when I left the dormitory, the smile they had were wiped out from their faces and painful gloominess returned. At this moment, a cyclone of improbable thoughts hit my mind, what if I was positioned here? I could not help but think of this cowardly thought. I was in this position; I would rather die than live in such a tragedy. Being alone without money, luxury, material pleasure is tolerable but being denied the presence of people you have spent the brightest years of your life is torture of a separate category. It is truly intolerable!
I quickly realized that my Sunday morning was not wasted after all. Deep in my heart, one section was overjoyed at spending time with these lonely people which I know they will value till their last breath. But another section felt a painful sting of remorse at their wasted twilight years.
As I was leaving this place, I was involuntarily humming this ironical song,
“Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I am SIXTY-FOUR” (The Beatles, 2000).