Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Tailor's Box

When Abdul took measurements of his customers, he secretly measured their age too. Decades of sewing clothes had taught him how the human body decays with time.

Years ago when the rich landlord had brought red silk for making curtains for his house, Abdul saved enough material to tailor his daughter Abeeda’s wedding dress . He hid the dress in a box which he opened on the day she got married twelve years later. Abdul invited everyone to the wedding, but the rich landlord.

Kasim, the butcher was invited too. Kasim’s daughter Sakina was Abeeda’s friend. Sakeena eloped with Kasim’s assistant and came back home five days later at midnight, bruised and beaten. Kasim took her to his slaughterhouse and lynched her. Her body was never found.

The whole village had eaten Sakina bit by bit the next day, at the price of a cow’s meat. Abdul knew this because he got the bone which matched the size of her hand. He puked, but he kept quiet.

A few months before the whole village ate Sakina, Kasim had come to Abdul to get his trousers loosened. Abdul found a lottery ticket in his pocket and hid it in the same box in which he hid Abeeda’s wedding dress.

After a week when the lottery winners were announced, Kasim’s ticket won a petty sum that wouldn’t buy anything more than a good meal for two. So Abdul took the ticket to Kasim, expecting a good meal as an appreciation for his honesty. Kasim shut the door on him and swore that he will tell the entire village that he is a thief. But Kasim didn’t do that; he just stopped going to Abdul to get his trousers loosened.

Abdul was happy that Abeeda didn’t elope. If she had, he would have given the red silk dress to the rich landlord and hid Abeeda in the same box in which he hid the dress.

But she didn’t elope and she got married and nine month later she gave birth to Suleman.

One day when little Suleman was sitting in the mud, Abeeda asked Abdul, “Papa, will you make a dress for my Suleman’s funeral. And keep it in the box in which you hid my wedding dress”.

“Yes, I will.”

Abeeda looked longingly at her Suleman and asked Abdul in a trembling voice, “Papa, how tall will my son grow?”

“Taller than me.”

Abdul was right. Suleman grew up to three and a half feet, a good two inch taller than his grandfather. And when Suleman died an old man, shrunken by an inch, they took the dress, which Abdul made seventy years ago, out of the box. It fit the dead body perfectly.

The box remains empty since then.

12 comments:

Sucheta said...

WOW.
Brilliant, brilliant. Morbid, yes. But brilliant.
Except this one typo: abdul kept quiet, not quite!

Please blog more often!

BrownPhantom said...

Arggghhh
Corrected the typo now.

Thank you very much Sucheta :).

S said...

Why so morbid? :-|
The story was very interesting. And it wasn't a looong write-up; that made it even better.

But at the risk of sounding stupid, I shall still confess- I didn't understand the story :( care to explain?

Neha said...

Very crisp, but didn't get the message :(

Vinnie said...

dimaag ki bhatthi gul!

what genre of writing is this????

Nikita Banerjee said...

I loved the story. Very touched. It is different but an interesting read.

Jackfruit said...

hmmm that was interesting ... :)

Vicky Dada said...

What a coincidence! The way you wrote this story reminds me of the way how God created human head.

No beginning. No end. Just take a few random things from here and there, put them together in quirky fashion (which end up becoming thoughts), leave a lot of loose ends (which end up as hairs) and finally thrust the thing into the face of the world.

Morbid, Murky.. Mogambo Khush Hua!

Krishnan Ravi said...

Awesome story. The cannibalistic twist was superb and the mother's wish to make a dress for her son's funeral is new to Indian fiction. Would love to read an expanded novel.

BrownPhantom said...

Thank you all :)

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Siddhartha Joshi said...

You have a knack for telling a story :) Each one keeps the reader engaged till the end...completely enjoyed this one!