“The Lottery” a short tale :
The lottery ticket costed him just Rs.5 only. He could not walk properly because of the pain in his liver and also his frail body. With not much to eat and to look forward to in life either, Atharva did not care much about the way he walked. With time on his hand and not much to do except cruising the city in his taxi, he slowly made his way towards the lottery stall. He emerged a while later having bought 2 lottery tickets. The results were to be announced next week. And patiently he would wait for the results, just like all those countless times in the past.
He was at his home preparing to go out and drive his taxi. It was early in the morning when he heard a knock on the door. He asked who it was and the man standing outside answered. He had won the lottery. Being a local lottery thing, the amount was not a life-altering one but would sustain him for a few months for sure. He was happy. Actually the word happy was quite the wrong word. In fact he was elated, for finally he had got a little more money to probably indulge on his addiction. With whatever little he could get his hands on from his relatives or the other local well-wishers who often took pity on him, he did not have much to spend on his indulgence. Often, he would find himself not spending on his food but the liquor was something that was second to air for him.
He had seen everything in life; almost everything. Only death remained so far that he was yet to witness. Now, even this too was near. He could feel it approaching. It was just a matter of time that he would find it knocking at his door. He was all prepared to welcome it or was he? How would that feeling be to leave everything that shackled him still to his memories and free him, forever? He was once a reputed official at the forest guard services and had loved animals dearly.
It was his weak nature and a laid-back attitude that cost him his job and changed the course of his life forever. Initially, he did not care too much and thought that he could secure another job. However, fate had other plans and he finally landed up as a driver. Initially, it was to give his fellow drivers some company but slowly he took to liquor even when there was no one to give him company. The liquor-gurus who taught him the ‘act’ was now feeling a little worried for him. He was getting a little too serious with the ‘act’, now.
He had taken a few gulps of the country liquor. He knew of his condition and the fact that his body could not take the abuse any further. But addiction is an unforgiving game of the mind in which it loses all the reason and logic. The body had given all the symptoms but the mind was reluctant to see beyond the temporary solace of the addictive. He was sitting on the chair with his legs outstretched on the edge of the bed. The pain on the right side of his body was in spasms. His right hands were clutching the area through his clothes. He could not take the pain anymore but the uneasiness that he felt within himself without the intake of the substance was a far more intense pain to deal with.
He was slowly drifting to sleep as the effects of liquor took over his judgment for good. The pain too subsided or was the mind playing tricks on him. He knew he was asleep since he was dreaming. He could see himself on a grassy ground with so much light. The light was not blinding but has a soothing quality to it. He could see many of his relatives even those who had been dead for some time. And suddenly he was not happy. He felt as if he was getting suffocated and clutched his thought in response.
He opened his eyes. All that was a dream. But the feeling was true. He was indeed feeling suffocated. He clawed his throat as he gasped for more air. In that flash of acknowledgment that life was indeed leaving him, he probably must have understood what death probably meant for people. His eyes grew wide in realization as his near rigid body twisted and fell from the chair. The bottle was left just like that with it being a little more than half empty and the glass has toppled over with the content on the ground like a smelly watercolor painting on the floor in an abstract manner.
No 1096783. This was the number that did the trick. Eased him into the journey of no pain-no suffering. Eased him from all those painful self-deprecating and insulting words that the world threw at him. Freed him from the degrading humiliation that the society had heaped on him so often and that he took it all in his stride with a smirk on his face. While those around him took him for a man who cared nothing for the world, little did they understand that it was way beyond him now, to hold on to life?
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