by Pratik Mitra
Little Bittu had long been suspicious of his new neighbour. His parents would make fun of him if he had bared his heart. That was why he confided that to his pet cat Gollu: that neighbour was a monster. Not that the middlle-aged man was exceptionally tall or his eyes were red or his canines were as scary as knives… The man named some Mr Sharma seemed to be quite harmless like Bittu’s cat. Though mostly reclusive the impression that one could form from a few pleasantries he exchanged was that of a peace-loving guy. So Bittu had to help him from judging him in front of his family. Be the inhabitants of his locality of his own family the discussion regarding Mr. Sharma would be little. And so the time passed as indifferently as it could making little Bittu too forget all about his so-called scary neighbour till one yawning afternoon a colourful kite fell onto Mr. Sharma’s roof. Though completely ignorant of kite-flying Bittu did have a fondness for catching and collecting them. He was with his parents on their rooftop. He looked morose that he couldn’t get that kite. Both his father and he thought the wind would carry the kite to his roof. But suddenly the kite would take a swoop and fell on Mr. Sharma’s roof. His parents told him not to lose heart. In fact, his dad would go one step further by calling Mr Sharma. As it was expected Bittu nobody responded. The dusk started engulfing the surrounding. Suddenly raindrops lazily began to dance on the kite. Further heartbreak for Bittu as the kite was made of paper, unlike those fancy plastic kites. Rains would certainly damage the kite more.
“ Why is he a recluse? Why doesn’t he have anyone with him? One more person could have saved the kite…” Bittu mused and then with a heavy heart he went downstairs with his parents.
Neither much happened in Bittu’s family nor in the locality. But the time had to fly ignoring Bittu’s occasional tantrums for fancying this and that and not getting them…
One particular afternoon when Bittu’s home breathed of boredom due to indolence, a calling bell was heard. Grandpa’s poor eyesight and poorer memory couldn’t help him much in recognizing Mr Sharma? What was he doing? He never used to socialize. Bittu knew that. He was watching him through a keyhole. Then his other family members joined to greet Mr. Sharma and it was informed that the latter had come especially to meet the youngest member of the family and that’s Bittu of course. Hearing this Bittu intended to hide behind His father’s legs. Mr. Sharma shook hands with him and gave him that colourful kite back to him.
“So kind of you!” Bittu’s mother said. Mr Sharma reciprocated with a tender smile. What nobody noticed was that it was that same kite of yesterday pulped by rain. How could it become anew again? Bittu wanted to let that be known to others. But they were busy being formal with the neighbour. Did Mr. Sharma read Bittu’s thought or why would he wink and mime him as if to read something on the kite. Then he left. And the rest of the members teased and criticised Bittu for suspecting Mr Sharma for no good reason! HE WAS SUCH A THOROUGH gentleman! All agreed.
Bittu went to his room. The kite was left in the dining hall. People soon due to their everyday hurry forgot all about the kite. Bittu came home from school late attending a karate class. Karate had indeed made him feel so confident and brave. He was already dreaming of being the next Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen and Tony Jhaa. But the presence of the kite in his room unsettled him a bit. He was wondering who could bring that wretched thing here? When he was about to throw that kite out off the roof he saw something written in red on the kite.
It read: YOU ARE RIGHT ABOUT ME. I DID HAVE A FAMILY. I’M LONELY AGAIN. DON’T WORRY THEY DIDN’T FEEL THE PAIN.
Being totally freaked out, Bittu looked out of the window and found Mr Sharma staring at him from his window. He was smiling but it didn’t look welcoming to Bittu.
About the Author:
Pratik Mitra teaches English besides writing. He writes both in Bengali and in English. His works have been published in different magazines. He’s also fond of reading books and watching films. He resides in konnagar, West Bengal.