Orphan by V. P. Gangadharan
Short Story

He is born to an unknown mother.

It implies a blatant denial of parturition to offspring, a crass refusal of rational identity from a progenitor, making of an anthropoid creature void of ‘in-your-face’ societal stamp, called for human race.

It’s a patently senseless act of surrender by a traditionalist – an abysmal plunge of brazen status into brutality. It spells nothing less than a grossly frenzied anatomic evasion, dropping a notch further down to an odious sin by a cold-hearted woman.

Laid like a turtle egg on a sand strip, found on a piece of landscape was a pervert’s squalid, secretive tale in its physical existence; a throbbing chunk of mass, breathing, begging full-mouthed for breast milk, crying in the typical core language of babies.

But, there has been a little life’s throbbing sustained, deprived squarely of a breast-fed infancy, devoid of an entitled cradle of childhood, damned to a good-for-nothing adolescence and dumped into a poverty-stricken adulthood.

And, hustled into a dystopian future of society – bereft of reason, human value of real life and an encrypted code to name a mother, one to be spat in the face now.

Survival is deemed nature’s way for him in the shape of a human being nurtured by, and thanks to, many a loving, helping hand – a maturing course, akin to a cryptic dissemination of destitution.

Despite the furtive denial of parenthood, with innominate belongingness, an uncouth soul has been growing up weathering all the ill-treatments received from so-called superior humans. But, even with his naturally acquired crude manners he doesn’t want to keep others in harm’s way, rather due to the shyness of his own desolation; as if God is alive in the being of a wretched man.

Having grown into adulthood, perhaps responding to an inner urge unbeknownst to him, he is up for it and starts following the trail, an inquisitive search of one’s genesis out of sheer human instinct to imbibe the surroundings and its conjuncture – love, care, wisdom, compassion and help, odium, egotism and harm, all poured into it.

His communication, save for a few whispers to himself is almost silent.

He never cries. Maybe he is content.

He smiles at everyone, which may be related to some rudimentary enlightenment and flickering of inner joy.

He begins vaguely hearing unidentifiable voices, the innermost ones coming from his own emptiness.

Slowly but surely, it appears the emotions get cracking on him with an indefinable unease and discomfort emerging from an invisible vacuum.

He starts wondering why many of those human eyes are staring at him. Some of those breast-fed kids occasionally throw stones at him and those grown-up men chase him away for no obvious reason.

Often, he grips his unkempt hair and pulls it hard, rubs the beard with his rugged hands and mumbles. One can only guess that he started raising queries to himself in quest of his identity, along with many other queries that have no answers:

“Who am I, and where did I come from?”

He never sought out even a squeaky bed to lie upon, for he was content with the God-given wide open space. He has been sleeping rough under any form of shelter.

He loves the bush, the endless space, the sky, blue or grey, the sea, quiet or wavy, the air, breezy or stormy and the terrain, plane or plateau, all that vastness under an azure sky, the unbridled freedom and quietness, the glorious solitude, where life revolves mutely around ever-changing seasons…

He has no notion of knowledge.

Therefore, inadvertently, rather unorthodoxly he inherits nihilistic credos and becomes an unconventional mortal. Nescience of convictions has innately turned him away from all beliefs, beyond belief.

Thus, he doesn’t belong to Muslim – Sunni, Shia, or Kurd – faith.
He doesn’t know what Christianity – Catholic, Protestant, or Anglican – is.
Nor does he know about Hinduism – Shaiva, Vaishnava, or Brahma.
– All that the so-called superior humans claim.

He knows nothing of those prayers to the Lord, of Commandments, of quotes from the Bible or guides to the Quran, let alone the Bhagavath Geeta’s path of virtues, the eternal reality of Soul’s immortality, or its individual consciousness – the Infinite Glories of the Ultimate Truth of all.
– All that the so-called superior humans claim.

No one bothered to teach him anything.

And there’s no way he could learn Archimedes’ Principle, Pythagoras’ Theorem, Trigonometry, Algebra, or Calculus.
– All that the so-called superiors claim.

Instead, he spent twenty odd sodding years focusing on the sounds of birds, chirps of crickets, moos of cows, barks of dogs, and all others in naked nature in a myriad voices, following everything everywhere like a hermit without an intelligent spirit.

He doesn’t know even to ask: “Who am I…?”

Who is there to come forward saying mea culpa against the convictions?

Whoever with a fertile womb fled from her newborn ere without planting even a kiss of maternal love…?
Doubtless to say she would eventually stumble and abysmally plunge into hell!

But, what’s the point? When he has toddled into a life, he had no one to ask him: “What would you want my babe?”

And, no one to hear his baby-talk: “Catch me a dragonfly, mum…”

There are none to warn him with, “Don’t do that, son,” nor one to sing the praises of, “well done, my darling…!”

Scrawny and weedy, he is found everywhere cutting an ignoble figure, hanging around with droopy shoulders, as if in perpetual apology for his own existence where the mundanities of making a living and raising a family does not prevail – Merely a material testament to the intricacy of procreation.

He has no sentiments, no traditions, no culture to adhere to, no idea of ideals or principles, and no trepidations, and fervour, except for unsated appetite.

You find no traces of tears in his face, but spasmodic giggles!

If at all, maybe he cries alone for, right as rain, he is a full-blooded human being.

We call him an orphan.

Orphan without a human name!

Alann De Vuyst

V. P. Gangadharan: I write stories in English for local publications. Some of my stories have been published in Muse India a reputed online literary journal published from Hyderabad, India. I had been a founding member and the chief editor of a literary publication called Kerala Nadam, in Sydney.

I have got published an anthology of Malayalam short stories, ‘Vishwasangal’ by Prabhath Bookhouse (2003). I had written a number of stories, which were published in some of the main stream weeklies while I was living in Mumbai before I left for Australia as a permanent resident pursuing my professional career as an engineer.
I was the winner of Delhi Literary Competition held by Delhi Literary workshop in which I had bagged first prize for my short story Vishwasangal (Beliefs) The same story had won the first prize for the competition held by AITUC (2002), during their Silver Jubilee celebrations held in Kozhikkode. I won Ashraf Memorial short story competition in Singapore. I was the winner of Kottayam Literary Organisation’s short story competition and also the winner of short story competition held by Rashmi Publications, Kalkutta, India.

I am an Australian citizen. I am a justice of the peace in the state of New South Wales.

Alann De Vuyst has started his artistic career in his childhood, started living experiencing places differnt from his native Belgium and continues paint as well as to travel the world and to learn more about it. You can see more of his artworks here.