Monday, July 8, 2013

UBC day 8 -The fire that rages within.

This is also my entry for the IBL at writeupcafe and also won me the IBL Booker prize for it!! Yay!!


The winter had gotten too cold for comfort.

“Let me get this fire burning,” said Sahay, as he walked to the fireplace. “It’ll keep us warm.”

 Bittu sat huddled on the farthest corner of the couch. He was already feeling quite warm in the oversized pullovers of Sahay’s son. This was actually the warmest he had ever felt. His previous winters had all been spent huddled together with Chintu and Motu under one tattered blanket that Jaggu dada had given them. It had just been a few days since he had been adopted by the Sahay’s but he already missed his bosom buddies. He wondered how Chintu and Motu were coping with his absence. Were they missing him too? Jaggu Dada was not the kindest of caretakers but Bittu had always felt at home at the orphanage. He had lived there ever since he was born.

“Ah! Here we go!” said Sahay as the fire leapt up from the logs.

“No!” screamed Bittu closing his eyes and covering his face as soon as the first flame leapt up in the fireplace.

“Are you ok son?” asked Mrs. Sahay gently caressing his hair.

Bittu did not reply. He ran out of the room and hid under the staircase. Mrs. Sahay found him weeping copiously and shivering with fright.

“Oh, you poor baby,” she said pulling him out of his hiding hole. “Did something scare you child?”

No answer. Just a few more sniffles.

“It’s ok. Let me put you to bed. You’ll feel better.” And with that she led him to his room and tucked him into bed.


Two men stood by the door blocking the exit. Two others had pinned his mother down and he saw her struggling to break loose. One of them had covered her mouth with his big hairy hand and held her hands together with the other. A bracelet hung loosely from his wrist, something like an ‘A” overlapping an ‘S” in gold at the center. The other accomplice was pouring some liquid on her clothes. He saw her eyes turn red….very red, before they eventually bulged out and she stopped struggling. There was a collective round of laughter and then the man with the hairy hands took out a match box from his pockets. He lit a cigarette and propped it into his mouth and threw the lit matchstick on one end of his mother’s saree. A huge ball of flame suddenly engulfed his mother’s body and he saw the four guys running out of his house.



An ear splitting scream rented the air and almost jolted the Sahay’s out of bed. Mrs. Sahay rushed to Bittu’s room. He was sitting up, staring in to space, beads of perspiration running down his forehead.

“What happened? Did you see a bad dream?”

He sat like a rock.

“Here, drink some water,” she prodded, pushing a glass of water into his little hands.

“Why don’t you sleep next to him Arun,” she asked her husband.

“No, I’m ok” said the little boy.

“Sleep tight little one, we’ll all go camping tomorrow. You enjoy that.” said Mrs. Sahay, pulling the sheets over him and gently placing a kiss on his forehead.


The forest was beginning to get denser.

“Let’s camp here. I don’t want to go further in.” protested Sahay’s son. “It’s getting scarier too.”
They set up their camps on the banks of a stream nearby while Sahay piled up the wood for the campfire. Bittu watched him nervously as he lit the fire and put on the music. The sight of the fire leaping up and dancing in the gentle breeze was intimidating and Bittu’s face drained of colour.
“No fire...No fire… put it out…put it out…” he screamed waving his hands frantically.

“It’s going to be cold soon, son, we’ll need it to stay warm” he reasoned.

Bittu began sobbing uncontrollably and Mrs. Sahay forced her husband to put it out and suggested that they head back home.

What’s with this boy, wondered Arun, as he doused the fire that had taken so long to ignite. He is just ten, but terribly scared of something. I must find out. Could he have been in an accident? Probably a fire accident?

                                       **************to be cont****************

Read Part 2 here.


  1. :'( :'( :'(
    My dear princess, one day I will have the maturity not to weep like a child while reading heartfelt stories so powerfully expressed like yours...

    1. Awww..I'm like u ..don't worry..we never really grow out of it! at least I haven't!

  2. Oh! Hope the Sahays find out soon about Bittu's fear of fire. Very captivating story, S :)

  3. :(
    oh!! Poor little fellow! so much trauma for someone so young!!

    its heart wrenching!

  4. Will it be continued today? I sure hope so! I like the way you've built it up.
    UBC Day 8 - "When Heavens Turn Gray"

  5. :( :(... will they find out his fear? I hope they do


At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person..deep gratitude for those who have lighted the flame within me!! your comments will be appreciated..

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