Mohan Subramaniam's Stories

The Mendicant

The fever singed his whole body. Delirium was enveloping. Patterns alternated inside his head. White. Black. White. Black........... Floating above the silky white clouds. Through the black void of space. Powdery white peaks. Bottomless black hole........... “Go to Rahim bhai and get his potion. Only he could save you”, his co-beggar warned. He hauled himself up the steps of the mosque. Did he see the patterns again? White. Black. White. Black........ He spotted the silhouette of Rahim bhai yonder. A wave of relief engulfed him before he passed out, content that he would live to see dawn again. .


Same spot. Same time. Same rag-tag khaki trousers and white shirt. Dripping nose. Intent face. Gazing straight ahead at the ocean, he could see a few catamarans riding the waves and struggling to cross over to the placid deep. No returning boat. Two hours passed. He turned back and started walking away. He knew that his father would return some day. Till then, the brandy bottle he emptied and threw away before he sailed off would remain on the same spot. No wave would touch it, nor would any beach urchin. That day would come. He would wait..