Thursday, September 4, 2008


A small river was flowing near a small town which always got water from the fountain generated elsewhere in the nearby mountain.

That was a wonderful location. When the town was under a good leader who really thought for the people, using manpower planted trees on the bank of the river both sides. He did not forget to make small benches on the bank for the people to sit there and spend their leisure, to forget their sorrow in that wonderful environment, to enjoy the beauty of nature. Perhaps he was a lover of nature himself.

The benches were made up of wood. In a constructive manner they were constructed by the magical hands of some carpenter. They were attractive. Several benches were there, separated at a certain distance from each other, so were the trees. People used to come there in numbers when the trees were at their young age and the benches were in a good condition. Due course of time everything is ruined, so was the condition of all the benches but one.

It was a broken bench. It existed longer than others. It was near a tree. The tree and the bench were very close to each other, having almost no distance between them. When the tree was planted, the bench was also set there. The tree was small and at its childhood. The tree grew larger and larger in size but the size of the bench remained the same as it was. But they grew older simultaneously. They were friends. In summer the tree covered the bench with its shadow, it protected the later from rain, in winter it spread all its leaves in the bench as if it was telling a story to the bench, in spring it rained flower on the bench and birds came to talk to them. They grew older. People had stopped coming there except a few. The broken bench listened to the song of the river with its friend the tree. It thought its time was nearer, that showed the broken state of its body. All the other benches were ruined completely. He was the last who had survived longer.

He remembered his past and knew the future as well. The trees with thin branches and thinner were the leaves. Green were the leaves, the benches were colored green and green was the grass. Only not green was the water but crystal clear. Filled with glory, sorrow, happiness and joy was his past. When the benches were made, once the leader had occupied him. The man glorified him. He once told, “The benches under the shadow of the trees are very nice to sit. In the wonderful environment, river flowing, trees on the bank of it and people sitting on the bench and listening to the babbling sound of water along with the chirping of birds, make it more beautiful.” The bench was very much delighted when he heard the leader saying so. He thought,”Really it will be wonderful.” The leader died soon. He was very sad hearing the news from the people who came on morning walk. He calmed himself thinking, “Everyone who comes to earth goes one day, only leaves his memory. I will have to go some day. Nothing on earth is certain.”

The bench called his past days to his mind.

An old couple used to come on morning walk and sit on him. They shared their happiness and sorrow there. They sat on him when they were tired. The bench was very happy seeing their happiness. One day the old man said to his wife, “You know….”


“Our son has written to us.”

“I know that, but I don’t know what he has written.”

“When his letter comes I grab that from the postman and read first and then I give you.”

“But this time you didn’t give me. Has he written something odd?”

The old man didn’t answer this time. He was watching the water flowing and was listening to the chirping of birds.

Having got no response the woman told, “You look very sad. What is the matter?”

“He has written that…”the voice of the man became faint. He could not speak more.

“Why don’t you tell?” cried the wife, she was eager to hear.

The old man’s eyes were tearful. “Our son has married.”

“Crumb! That is the matter and you were not telling me. He has done a very nice thing. He has the power to judge and take decision. And when he is coming?” She told being delighted, “Wipe your tears away.”

He thought,” When you will hear your eyes will be full of tears and they will never get dried again. How shall I tell you?”

“Oh, I cannot wait any longer. Tell me.” said the eager voice of a mother.

“Listen, our son has not visited us for a year and….”

“But he has been writing to us week to week.” interrupted the wife.

“Yes, but listen. He got married before a year and he is telling us today.”

Now the geography of the woman’s face changed. Tears longed to come out. She could not help herself and two drops of tear came out of her eyes to her dry chick.

“And he has a son and writes he can not take care of us any more as he has more expenses towards his wife and son. Moreover, he is not going to visit any more.” The old man finished with a great sigh as if he had finished a challenging task. It was indeed a great task for him.

“Oh god what happened!” exclaimed the unfortunate mother in a weeping voice. “It would have been better if we had no son.”

“We brought him up from an infant to a suitable young man, perhaps to see these days.” The man told in a regretting tone.

They sat the whole day there in grief.

The bench was the silent witness of their conversation. He felt sorry for the old couple. He was also very much sad, only he could not express. He thought,” God has better not made me a human. Really human beings are not to be trusted in any respect.”

They were still sitting on the bench with tears flowing down front their eyes. Some of them fell on the bench. “Really the tears are very hot,” thought the bench. The sun was on the head and they paced towards their home. From that day he could never see them again. “What would have happened to them?”

About another incident he thought a dreadful incident. When he started thinking, his heart beat faster. Children used to come and play at the beautiful spot, making it more beautiful. The children sat on the benches, ran between them, climbed up the trees, whirled around the benches and played. The children went near the river without any fear, although they were forbidden by their elders. They even dared to enter into the water and splash water on each other. Above all the funniest thing for them was their paper boats. They brought larger papers, sat on the benches and made paper boats and put them in the water. The paper boats traveled some distance in the water and the children ran parallel to them on the bank.

The bench was very much delighted. He also wanted to join them. He wished to be a child and play with them to enjoy the childhood. But he remember about the old couple, still the children were innocent.

A heavy rain, the river got one day. The bench had bathed a lot. The water flow was more than before. The children came to play in the evening. Among them was a little boy. They started jumping, moving around and finally came to the paper boats. They put their own paper boats in the water and ran along the bank to find whose boat travelled longer. The little boy had also joined them with his boat. He observed that his boat was about to sink. He was new there. Being a little boy he knew less about river and he entered into the water. No sooner he put his legs in, he was flown away by the strong current of water. The other children started shouting but no one dared to get into the water. The bench was dozing. Suddenly he got up by the noise. But what would he do? He could do nothing for the children who he loved and the boy was flown away. However the boy was rescued by fisherman. The boy was handed over to his parents. The bench was then happy, but the next moment he feared something. The reason for his fear was that the children might not come any more. And that happened very soon. The children were forbidden to go to the bank of the river. The parents did not let them go although they longed to. The bench was very sad. He could hear the voice of children no more. He was very sad, indeed, losing his little friends. No one understood the feelings of the heart of a non living. That became a memory for him with a used to….

The trees were at their usual place, so were the benches. They were already ruined. The weather had withered them all. But this bench survived a little more. Due course of time, it was broken at one side. The cow boy sat on him and watched his cows. Sometimes he slept on the bench in summer in the shadow of the tree. The bench was moving towards its old age. He was as grave as a church bell. People hardly came to the bank of river. He was alone as if forbidden to the society. The cool breeze touched his body. The sun put its ray on him. The shadow of the tree hugged him. The rain washed him. But he was silent as grave.

The broken bench then started thinking about how his body got the broken structure. That was a very nice spring. There were flowers on the trees, birds twittering on the trees. The time was good for picnics and people came to the bank of the river to enjoy the beauty along with feast. Young boys and girls, for them picnic had a high value. There were several groups of them, came for picnic to enjoy. There were two groups, one of boys and one of girls, who came for picnic from nearby towns. They moved among the trees. One of the boys, a handsome one saw a very beautiful girl. They talked to each other with their eyes. “Hi,” the boy started, “What is your name?”

The girl replied, “Dimple,” and smiled.

“That is a nice name and when you smile there is a dimple on your face,” the boy gave the complement.

The girl wanted to know his name.


“I am with my friends on picnic. So do you?”

“Ya. Do you like the place?”

“It is a lovely place, indeed.”

“Would you like to come here tomorrow?” the boy wanted to know.

“I think,” the girl gave a short answer and went away. The boy stood there. He was delighted.

The next day he waited there and she came. They talked about themselves, their family and many more things. At last they loved each other. They frequently came to the place, sat on the bench, talked to each other and their love was going on well. The bench was delighted seeing their love. But his body, his legs were rapidly becoming weak and weak.

But a group of jealous boys could not bear this. They trapped and called the girl to the place one evening and there was hardly anyone other than the group of boys. The girl came but did not find her lover and waited for him. He did not come but the jealous boys. They were four. They gathered around the girl. She was astonished. Before she could understand anything they tore her clothes and she was completely naked, as naked as water. They raped the girl on the bench and he could not bear it and broke down from one side and at last they threw the girl into the river.

“How horrendous they were! More than beast.” thought the bench. He hated mankind from that day till today. “God has better not made me human, such beastly things they can do, I hardly imagined.” Suddenly black clouds covered the sky as the boys had gathered around the girl. It thundered and a lightening fell on the bench. At that very moment it started burning vigorously and it thought,” My time is over.” It said good bye to the evil world and only ash was left there. The silent witness was dead.

chinmay kumar

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