The short story ‘The Color of Healing’, written by Vinay Leo R, appears in the Shades of Life anthology. It’s a beautiful take on colors and life. Vinay paints a picture with an array of colors – some gloomy, some happy – in the backdrop of Onam, perhaps the most colorful festival in India. I think the choice of Onam as the mise en scene of the story is brilliant.
The story revolves around the ramifications of an incident in the life of siblings Anjana and Akhil. Vinay manages to engage the reader throughout with an imagery that is at the same time powerful as well as very necessary to the narrative. He builds the suspense slowly but steadily and when it is revealed, you are a bit surprised because it turns out quite different from the way you thought it would turn out. It’s one of the things that lifts this story.
‘The Color of Healing’ teaches you that if you stop doing something because it hurts, then the best way out of it is to do that very thing. It’s never easy, and requires a great deal of effort against the wishes of your mind. But that’s precisely what Anjana does – cutting through the cobwebs in her mind, scaring the monster residing in the inner recesses of her brain and giving it a taste of its own medicine.
She does get a lot of help from Akhil. I absolutely loved the bond they shared. Anjana looks forward to Akhil’s company – she sees him as a person who can really understand what goes on in her muddled mind. Akhil does perfectly understand his sister. They work well like Yin and Yang.
Anjana has been characterized as a simple, God-fearing girl who values everyone in her family very much – until her world is turned topsy-turvy for which she holds herself responsible. She doesn’t appear confident to let go until the very end. Akhil on the other hand, appears more sure of himself and his sister. What goes on in Anjana’s mind is equally disturbing to him, but he seems to hold that strength to let go and move on.
Ultimately, we see the vibrant colors of Onam manifested by the marigolds and asters and the colors that hurt Anjana are the colors that heal her.
It’s a beautiful little story where colors of different hues are sprayed culminating in a happy note. I’m giving ‘The Colors of Healing’ by Vinay Leo R a rating of 4 on 5.
Somewhere along the way, I missed a turn;
Of the path of promise I made myself.
The eyes are strained, the words turn dry;
Trying too hard to regain the way.
It’s not dreadful, I keep repeating,
Keep watching, I cheer myself up;
Taking a deep breath now and then.
I’ll find the way by the end of the day,
And keep the promise I made myself.
As the years get on and the mind is clear,
The eyes turn calm and the words gush out;
The hope returns and the path beckons.
Somewhere along the way, I found the turn;
Of the path of promise I made myself.
Written as part of BARaThon Challenge, Day 7
Gowri looked at the unfinished boat and sighed. The boat was to be Ayyappan’s masterpiece – the biggest he had ever built. It was a window to realize their dream of owning a home.
She longed for his presence now. But she knew it was wishful thinking. The cancer had put paid to all their aspirations. Their dream remained just like that – unfulfilled. She looked at her husband’s portrait on the wall as tears ran down her cheeks.
Written as part of BARaThon Challenge, Day 6
Sandhya opened the old wooden box and stared into it. Her mind wandered to the two previous times she had opened it. Life has its strange ways, she thought.
When her son Rohan had called that morning, she had no inkling that he would convey news that her daughter-in-law Vaishali had delivered a baby boy! It was a little too early. She had been extremely happy on hearing it.
She took the red tiny shoes and ran her hands through it. It was the same one she had put on Rohan and she would now gift it to her third grand-child. Two miscarriages had cast a shadow on two lovely shoes many years ago. Rohan had been God’s blessing and today she was ever so grateful she could use all the shoes she had bought in anticipation of her own motherhood.
Written as part of BARaThon Challenge, Day 5
The alien shrugged off dirt from his body. He saw his opponent doing the same thing. They prepared to engage in another duel. The first alien cleverly sidestepped a punch from his opponent who was thrown off-balance by the surprising move. He quickly pinned the second alien down and exulted, “Caught red-handed!”
The referee inspected the hands of the second alien. It was smudged with red mud at several places. He announced: “I declare Glyjey the champion of the annual Catch Red-handed fighting fest of planet Mars. I also declare Dludzin the runner-up.”
The crowd cheered loudly for the winner.
Written as part of BARaThon Challenge, Day 4
A loud sound and the crash of concrete awoke Nabila and Nabiha from their sleep. As they opened their eyes, they were petrified to see their parents trapped in the debris.
“Abba! Ammi!” the ten-year old twins cried in vain.
Their parents were dead. As they looked around, they saw the other casualties of the powerful bomb that raided Raqqa in the early hours of the morning.
“We are all living fragile lives, sister. The world is bombing each other with eyes shut and people like us lose our dear ones. Keep praying.” Nabila tried not to cry.
Written as part of BARaThon Challenge, Day 3
“You’re late,” Dinesh muttered as his wife Priya came home after another hectic day’s work at the hospital where she worked as a senior cardiologist.
“Don’t start again, Dinesh,” Priya angrily retorted. She certainly did not want a fight. At least not tonight.
“This is the second consecutive night you’re late. Not to mention what happened last week and the week before. You always have something or the other come up at the hospital. Do you even know that?” asked Dinesh, not prepared to cede ground.
“I know, Dinesh. There are some things you don’t know. But then how will you? You are always playing that ridiculous game oblivious of what is happening around you!” Priya was now drawn into a full-blown fight.
“That’s not correct. I know what’s happening around me,” a stunned Dinesh tried to defend himself vainly.
“Sadly no, Dinesh. What you don’t know is your father…….your father suffered a massive cardiac arrest this morning. What you don’t know is your mother called on your mobile and on our landline several times and you did not respond. What you don’t know is your mother had a very hard time getting your father to the hospital. What you don’t know is I had to perform surgery on your father which lasted for 14 hours. He will…….he will live.” Priya’s eyes smoldered as she admonished Dinesh for his callousness. Exhausted to do anything, she slumped into the sofa.
Dinesh was dumbfounded as he dropped his joystick on the floor.
Written as part of BARaThon Challenge, Day 2
The dark form seemed to walk towards him reminding him of Darshana. He waved his hand. She did not respond. He waved again. She did not respond. Instead, she abruptly stopped. And prepared to cross the road.
He continued to wave his hand. And she continued to cross the road. He felt as if her eyes darted towards him for an instant. And then, he heard a scream and the loud screech of brakes. He saw a body on the road and spattered blood. As he approached the body, he knew it wasn’t Darshana, but he could swear that the person he saw was indeed her!
And just like Darshana, this girl was robbed of life too. And in exactly the same manner! He stood there, unsure what to do. Sometimes, the truth is stranger than fiction, he thought to himself.
Written as part of BARaThon Challenge, Day 1