©copyrights to picture belongs to Nikhil Achu.
The day was on its way to reach its peak. The glittering Sun hiding and peeping through the white old clouds who were moving swiftly through the open sky. Trees and grass were green shining in the light, allure in the wonderful morning. A huge mansion almost being able to touch the old clouds stood upright, grey and shining with happiness. Indeed the bright Sun spread its merry all over.
An old man opened the door of the mansion, warm light left his face beaming.
“Wonderful morning it is.” He told himself. His short white beard shined in the sunlight. Pale skin became paler with the light. He smiled very pleasantly, as he did it every morning. But now he had to get back to his work. The old man went back into his mansion seeking his room. The large wooden furnished room glimmered in the morning, offering a warm welcome. He walked into the room smiling and with a mind full of happiness.
But all those happiness went down when he saw something was missing. His face went dull, his smile faded. Fear filled his eyes. He kept looking on his desk, searched under the table, the chair, inside his drawers. There was nothing. He knew that was not the place he kept it. Still, he had to look everywhere.
“Where is it?” He shouted out loud. His face became red as an apple and a volcano about to rupture. The voice almost shook the mansion, a lady of late forties suddenly appeared at the door side.
“Is there a problem, sir?” asked the lady with a little hesitation.
He barely heard her voice under his temper. The very fine morning was now darkening. The lady moved towards the old man. In the middle, she was stunned by another image to the right side of the room. Her pupils dilated and were gasping for breath.
“Oh!” She walked even faster to the scene. Still in shock. Looking towards a broken cupboard, and peeped over her shoulder to look at the old man then she called out in a trembling voice
“Mr. Sarvan!!” then a shrieking sound came out of Mr. Sarvan’s mouth out of fear that could not be expressed. The lady now was dialing someone on her phone, her hands shivered as she placed the phone to her left ear.
“Police station!!.” She spoke out loud.
It took some time for the police to reach the lonely mansion that was way far from the city. They were sure of the address as there were no other residents on this part of the State. And the name of the mansion suited its location “Lonely Mansion”. The car stopped at its doorstep and a stout man came out followed by another tough looking man, both were in uniforms. They knocked on the door even though the door was open. The lady walked towards them.
“Are you the one who called us?” Chief of the policemen asked just to make sure. The lady was afraid to see two policemen at front door even though she was the one who called them.
“Yes,” she answered them after a short moment “come on, this way” through the living room they climbed up the stairs to a large room that smelt like a library.
“Is this your house ma’am?” asked the policeman.
“No, this is Mr. Jaron Sarvan’s home, I am his housekeeper,” she told them as they walked into the room.
“There,” she pointed towards the right corner of the room, where there was a brown cupboard broke open. The policemen walked towards the cupboard and investigated it. They kept looking around, observing the scene, searching for shreds of evidence.
“When did the break-in happen?” asked one of the policemen.
“I didn’t hear anything, it was perfect yesterday. I saw it when Mr.Sarvan called out today morning.” She was not sure but still managed to give an answer.
“Is there anything missing?” they kept questioning.
“Yes, 50,000 Rs. It was kept safe in here,” she answered.
“Anything else,” they asked.
“Yes, My Pen!” the old man who had a drooping face filled with pain and despair, leaned on to the table with his hands on it supporting his body. He looked at them. The policemen walked towards the old man.
“Good morning, Mr. Sarvan” greeted the chief policeman.
The old man frowned at the chief.“Not a very “good” morning it seems. I lost my Pen.”
“Oh! actually, sir, I asked if something else of value was stolen.” responded the policeman scratching his head, who now thought the old man was trying to be sarcastic.
“That’s what I said. I lost my pen. It was very much valuable to me. You know nothing about it. I left it on my table yesterday night and this morning it is missing.” He felt annoyed by the Chief’s words.
The policemen were not ready to continue questioning him, they doubted his sanity. But they had no other way, there indeed had been a break-in that too on one of the most important people in this Country and a huge amount was missing and of course a pen!.
“Okay, so what kind of a pen is it?” the policeman asked him for further details.
“It is a fountain pen, black in color. It looks old and weighs more than a usual fountain pen.” His eyes glowed with such power and kept on saying every single detail of the pen until the policemen stopped him. They had everything written down and went to investigate around the mansion. The old man went back to the chair near the table.
Several minutes past, the policemen returned. They didn’t look like they found anything. Still, they loitered around the room. Questioning both of them.
“Well we didn’t find much to support your grievance, anyway we’ll report to you if we find something.” said the policemen and went away in their car. The lady walked them out and after they were gone she went to Mr.Jaron Sarvan. He was a popular fiction writer, very popular and a former Member of Parliament. One of the most influential people of this Nation. She didn’t know why he was so depressed about losing a pen. Anyway, that was not her matter to run into.
“Sir, don’t worry. I am sure they will find what was lost” She spoke out to comfort him but he was not in a mood to hear sympathetic speeches.
“Miss Farana, you may go home. Take a leave. I will call if anything is needed.” He spoke in a low desperate voice, that was only a step above a whisper. The man was helpless, she could not leave him in such a situation. That would be cruel.
“What? I can’t leave you in this way, sir!” she was weeping “What if it happens again?” she tried to make Sarvan let her stay there. But he could not. It was not that he didn’t like her, She had been with him for the past 9 years. But now it was time for her to go.
“There is not much to take away from me,” he told her with a pale and cold face, his eyes were red with sorrow, his hands shivering. He slowly walked away from the room. Late that day after making the breakfast and lunch Miss Farana ended her relationship with the Lonely mansion. It broke her heart to leave him like that. But if he insisted, she must obey it.
Months passed by, the old man stayed home. Nobody has seen him out in the city. Even his friends had rarely seen him after the event.
One day the Lonely mansion’s doorbell rang. Its sound echoed through the lifeless walls. It took a long time for someone to answer the door. Then the old man came to open the door. His face was paler than before, all wrinkled and his beard long and snow white.
“I am from the police department,” the man introduced himself to the old man. “you must be Mr.Jaron Sarvan. I am here to take you to the station.”
“Why?” the old man was puzzled by the policeman’s words.
“We have found the burglar that broke into your house,” The policeman replied.
The old man’s eyes glittered like gold. His mouth, helpless to utter a single sound. For a moment it felt the old man was no longer old. Like his younger days stood before him.
“If you could come with me now” asked the policeman to the old man.
“Yes, yes,” the old man, at last, found his sense to speak something. He walked out with the police officer in the dress he was in, not even bothering to change.
“The door, aren’t you going to lock it?” The officer was confused about the old man’s doing. The inspector has told him that the old man may act unusual so to be nice to him. And he did. He went in closed the door and locked it. Keeping the key with him. The old man had already got into the car waiting for the officer.
“Let’s go” he shouted out loud to the officer like a kid waiting to go out for a vacation. The officer had serious doubt on the man’s sanity. Anyway, he got into the car and drove off to the police station.
It took some time to get to the police station, he could see that the old man was restless in the back seat. Smiling and talking to himself. He looked happy and lively. It only took less than a minute for the old man to get to the inspector’s office once they arrived at the police station. The inspector was sitting in his chair reading something while the old man rushed into his office. He was surprised to see the man of that age in such an excitement.
“Oh! You’ve come. I thought you never went out of your mansion” said the inspector mocking the old man.
“Did you find it?” asked Mr.Sarvan not at all bothering about the inspector’s sarcasm.
“Yes, we did.” He asked his assistant to bring in the culprit. The assistant went into a room and returned with a lean and tall man of early thirties. His face was sweating and shabby hair fell over his forehead. The assistant handed a package to the inspector. He opened it and showed the old man the money the tall man had stolen.
“I am sorry, we can’t hand over the money to you now.” Said the inspector. The old man’s face fell, he was very disappointed now.
“Is that all?” asked the old man, not at all impressed on the inspector. “Didn’t you find my pen?”
“No there was no pen, but found all the money he took,” said the inspector with honor.
“I don’t want the money, where is my pen?” he asked the inspector. He stood still, not responding to the inspector. Then the old man turned towards the burglar.
“Where is my pen?”
The burglar looked helpless, he was already exhausted, his body was weak. His mind, all broken down.
“I didn’t take any pen.” He managed to speak.
“Don’t lie,” the old man now became uneasy. “WHERE IS MY PEN?”
The old man flew over to the burglar’s side. With his clenched fist, he punched the burglar right under his left eye with all the power he got. He fell down almost unconscious. The inspector and his assistant held back Mr.Sarvan. First, he tried to resist the officers, but he was old and weary his young days were far behind. They bought him to another room and made him sit there.
“My pen, My pen” the old man repeated to himself his grief. He was crying like a baby. His body was shivering, hands falling down with the loss of energy. The inspector felt so sad for the man. He went out and called the old man’s son, who was now a Member of Parliament.
An hour passed and there came a young, tall and a fair guy with black hair and a cleanly shaven face. His dress shouted out his position. He walked into the office and sat on the chair even before the inspector asked him to.
“Good morning sir,” the inspector greeted the young man. The inspector explained everything to him, everything from the beginning. The young man was patient enough to hear it all even though he didn’t like it.
“Where is he?” The young man asked after a long wait. The inspector asked his assistant to get the old man. He returned swiftly with the man. The young man had a grim look on his face. He was really unhappy to hear all these nonsense.
“I’ll take him,” he said and walked towards his father and held his hand. “And drop all the charges against him and the burglar.” The inspector was bewildered by his superior’s orders. But he had to obey it.
“All right,” The inspector replied. The Young man and his father walked out of the police station to a very expensive car that had a Red beacon light on top.
It was a silent ride. The old man still in the thought of his lost pen and his son who was displeased of his father’s nuisance. Anyhow he tried to keep his patience till he reached his home. They went to the Lonely Mansion.
The car stopped and they both got out. The old man didn’t bother minding his son, walked to the door. It was locked, he searched for the key but there wasn’t. The man searched everywhere for the key. There was nothing.
“What? You lost the key too?” asked his son. “What is wrong with you, huh?” He was longing for this conversation, now his patience ran out.
“There is nothing wrong with me” replied the old man not even turning back to his son.
The young man was angry now, he didn’t come all the way just to hear nothing.
“I had to leave the meeting today to release you,” said his son who was blaming his father for creating inconvenience and for abandoning the Parliament meeting.
“I didn’t ask anybody to release me, I was not the prisoner,” the old man replied calmly and not turning back. His son walked up to him and grabbed over his shoulder and turned him over.
“Look at me, I am getting married next month. I don’t want the world to know that my father is insane and had lost his mind,” argued his son.
The clouds were darkening, the sun was no longer bright and young. The old man’s face darkened, his wrinkles were likes waves in the ocean. His eyes were red of pain and sorrow. He now understood that he was no longer needed for his son. That he turned out to be a burden. But above all, he knew that his pen will never be found.
“I am sorry for what I did, I never thought what it would do to you or your career.” He cried. His son felt sorry for him. He held his father’s hands in guilt.
“No, I am sorry. I shouldn’t have talked to you like that.” They both looked each other for a moment. “Come stay with me, father.”
The old man thought about it for a second. He already knew the answer and told him no. They didn’t argue anymore. Then a police officer came with the key, the same officer who came to call Mr.Sarvan from the Lonely Mansion, as he locked the door and kept the key with him. Later, his son went back to his world leaving the old man to his own world. He insisted on calling back Miss Farana but Mr.Sarvan refused him. And the old man lived there alone for the rest of the days.
Many moons passed by the Lonely Mansion, one day the old man came out of the mansion. Dressed all fairly, like he did in his younger days. He went straight to the police station. The inspector was startled to see the old man in such a dress. He had all the pride and honor that he owned while he was the MP. The old man asked the inspector about the burglar. The inspector first refused to give away the details, but Mr.Sarvan kept to asking him at least his address. The inspector gave it to him. He thanked the inspector for his nobility and loyalty. Then he left. They knew where he would be going. The inspector called Mr.Sarvan’s son.
It was a long ride for the old man to get to the burglar’s place. Yet he enjoyed it. He seldom went for long trips at this old age, but this time the matter was pressing him. At last, he reached a local market that was near the place where the burglar lived. He went to a shopkeeper who was now a little more energetic by seeing a rich man in their market.
“What can I do for you, sir?” the shopkeeper asked Mr. Sarvan very kindly.
“Have you seen this man?” Mr. Sarvan showed the picture of the burglar to the shopkeeper. The man’s eyes gleamed. He knew who it was.
“Yes, Komen. He was here just now.” His eyes searched around the store. “There he is” pointing to the shop opposite to him. Mr. Sarvan saw a tall man with long black hair and a beard, almost like his own but only blacker with a little boy in his hand.
“Thank you.” He told the shopkeeper and gave him 100 Rs. The shopkeeper was delighted and wished for the old man to come again later and ask for some other man. Mr.Sarvan walked towards the burglar. When he reached near the man, he patted on his shoulder.
“Komen?” asked Mr.Sarvan. The Burglar turned back and he was shocked, his eyes filled with guilt and there was a wound under his left eye, that the old man gave him at the police station.
“Yes,” he told suspiciously, he didn’t know why the old man followed him here. Anyway, he knew it was not good. Mr. Sarvan smiled.
“Do you remember me?” asked Mr.Sarvan with a pleasant smile. “I know you do”
“Yes,” Komen felt free when the old man smiled. “Is this your boy?” asked Mr.Sarvan bending towards the child in his arms. A beautiful boy that looked exactly like his father. Towards him, a young woman came who was beautiful, wore a nice and subtle dress. It was his wife.
“Yes, his name is Shegar” replied Komen. Mr.Sarvan kept on talking to three of them very pleasantly. After some time he asked Komen.
“Can I have a minute with you?” Komen nodded agreeing. He gave the child to his wife and walked with the old man towards the bus stop where there were benches to sit. They sat there for a long time silently. Then Komen broke the silence.
“I am sorry. I didn’t want to steal from your house. But I needed money. It was very urgent.” Komen confessed himself. Mr.Sarvan smiled at Komen.
“It’s all right. Everyone steals, I have done it too when I was young.” He went back to his younger days when it was all survival of the fittest. He was born in a very poor family, his father and mother left him when he was a child. Grew up with the kids in the slums. Robbed and did some dangerous things in life to survive the cruel world. The Old man kept on saying things.
“One day I pickpocketed a college professor while on a bus. He caught me red-handed but he didn’t tell anyone on the bus or to the police. He took me to a restaurant nearby and bought me food that I had never ever seen in my life. I was sure he did that because I looked empty.” Mr.Sarvan wiped off the tears that flow over his cheeks.
“He gave me a pen that was in his shirt pocket and told me “You have many choices. Everyone does. Either you can stab a man with this pen, as you can see it is really strong or sell it to someone, it is really expensive or use it for what it was meant to be used for.” I didn’t utter a word. He went away after paying the bill. Several days passed and I gave serious thoughts about it and came to decision, I was going to use it for what it was meant to be used for.” He paused for a second and continued.
“I went to a local school, completed my high school education and got an admission at One of the best colleges in the country. And started to write in a newspaper, published many books, and became the MP. All with the pen he gave me.” Mr.Sarvan stopped when he was out of breath and went back to see all of his achievements. Komen interrupted his thoughts, he didn’t want to, but he needed to.
“I am sorry, It was my mistake you lost the pen.” He held the old man’s hand and wept like a baby. Mr. Sarvan comforted him, they went on talking for a long time then a car stopped right in front of him and Mr.Sarvan’s son looked out through the window.
“Are you coming?” asked the son to his father, like his father used to do when his son was waiting for the bus when he was in college.
“yes! yes!” He was delighted to see his son there. Mr. Sarvan turned to Komen and said:
“I came to tell sorry to you, I never should have hit you. That was not my way. Please forgive me.”
“No! it was my fault. You should not apologize for my mistake.” Komen stopped him from saying anything more. “Listen up, I will find you your pen. I swear.” The old man smiled and nodded.
He told goodbyes to the Burglar and went away with his son.
Many a Sun shined over the Lonely Mansion, one day a letter came in search of the old man, it was from Komen. He opened it immediately and there was a letter with a pen tied to it. His eyes were shining like the sun. His young age returned. Excitement and happiness groped him. The letter said:
“I found it”
He felt really happy that could not be expressed to others.
Years went on like that and one day a police officer appeared at Komen’s home. Komen was frightened to see an officer at his doorstep, you know he was a burglar and was caught once. The officer didn’t say much just gave him a big packet. It was too small for a package. He opened it and found a letter from Mr.Jaron Sarvan’s lawyer. It said:
Letter sent on behalf of Mr.Jaron Sarvan(late)
I am unfortunate to inform you that Mr.Jaron Sarvan died four months ago. His will was read two days before the letter was sent. He asked me specially to write this letter to you along with the part of share that was left for you. If any unclear, write to me in the address provided in the envelope.
PS: The part of the share is in the packet.
Komen was dreadful to hear such a news on a fine morning. Still, he was puzzled for what he was left to. He opened the packet and there was another letter, he opened it and a pen fell to his hand. The same pen he had taken, and returned to the rightful owner, was now in his hand. The letter inside was the same letter Komen sent to the old man. Only there was something added to it.
“I found it”
yes, you have, now it is yours. Remember everyone has a choice. Use it wisely.
Komen’s eyes filled with tears he pressed the letter and the pen to his heart and cried. His son walked to him and asked why was he crying. Komen kneeled before his son and embraced him and cried. He was happy but sad. He felt despair first, now a light shone on him. A new world stood before him. He kissed his son and told him:
“I found my choice, son”. He smiled.