Wednesday, June 22

The Wooden Heart - V

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Sometimes she pulled down heart from its place and held it in both hands. Contemplating on the pattern of bruises underlying the beautiful design, she identified the deep cuts on wooden heart with bruises of her own heart and wondered at the similarity of her wounds and bruises of wooden heart. As though the hand carving this heart exactly knew what bruise was placed where in her original heart and transferred the map of bruises exactly on the wooden heart. 

 A few days later, a gypsy woman came in the town; she called herself a fortune-teller and predicted people’s future for a little fee. There were rumors about her, as usual of a small town, that she possessed magical powers, had control over daemons, was a centuries old witch. And there were oppositions to these rumors, as usual, that she belonged to a gang of robbers, that she was fraud, that she was mad and people were too superstitious to believe in her super-natural powers.

 Young lady listened to all these things and wondered which one was true. One day, gazing at the wooden heart and wondering what it’s trying to say, she thought about the gypsy woman. “I wonder if she can understand what this heart is saying!” She said to herself. “I might give her a try, maybe she could tell me what this heart is saying or at least I’ll know what is true from all the rumors about her.”

 Lady went to gypsy woman with wooden heart. She was sit on a shabby rug with eyes closed in her tent, lady looked around and was disappointed to find no skulls and bones on walls of tent, nor there were queer instrument of magic , nor any large cauldron with talismanic codes etched on it, as rumors told. It was like any tent of typical gypsies, some basic utensils, a blanket and a small chest and nothing more. Woman opened her eyes as she listened to footsteps of lady; a welcome smile appeared on her face. “Come in my dear, what do you want to know?”

 Girl showed her the wooden heart. “I bought this heart from a carnival, it always seems like talking to me but I could never understand what it is saying.”

 Gypsy woman took the heart from girl and looked at it with her old eyes, wrinkles around whom were telling these eyes have seen a lot of this world and absorbed much wisdom from its observations. “This is a beautiful artwork, very beautiful, when does it seem like talking to you? Do you know who carved this heart and etched this design on it?”

 “It’s always talking, every time I look at it; it’s talking to me. Sometimes I fear if I’m gone mad.” Lady said. “As far as who made it, I don’t really know. I bought this from a carpenter in carnival who told me his assistant made this.”

 Gypsy woman turned over the heart over her palm and looked at the pattern of bruises keenly. “This is magic, nay, fantastic than magic.” She murmured. “What do you think of these cuts and bruises?”

 “They are true magic of this heart; they are exactly like of my heart’s bruises. I wonder if the person carving this heart exactly knew which bruise is where located on my heart and how deep it’s.” Lady replied. “Look, how beautifully these bruises are blended in this charming design.”

 “Bruises are vital part of every beautiful heart, my dear!” Gypsy woman replied with a smile. “Only if we could see into heart of people”

 “I wonder why God didn’t allow us to look into each other’s hearts as he allowed us to see each other’s faces.” Lady said. “Was not it very nice if I could see into the heart of person who said he will love me always and then left me for a girl prettier than me, I’m sure I could have timely known that he is not sincere with me.”

 “Heart is like a chest of treasure and treasures are not opened to everyone” Woman smiled again. “If there are gems in chest, there might be people those will envy you for those gems. My dear, envy is a fire that can devour a garden with ripe fruits and turn it into ashes … On the other hand, we might be ashamed of our hearts if we didn’t possess what we other people possessed. From designs and placement of our hearts to uniqueness of our bruises, there is a great wisdom in everything that nature has created.”

 Young lady paused for a while to think and then agreed, fears of all kind caused by rumors were vanished by then. In the muddy and apparently tedious environment of tent, she could smell a pleasant odor of affection and wisdom. “You are right wise lady” She said to Gypsy woman. “Please tell me what this wooden heart is saying to me?”

 Gypsy woman held the hand of young lady and examined it keenly; she turned again to wooden heart and examined it with a magnifying glass. Lady looked all this with interest.

 “Interesting, very interesting” Woman muttered.

 “What does this heart say?” Lady inquired.

 “It says that a person is about to come in your life who will stay forever there and will love you always, this heart says you’ll recognize this person when your blood will spill over his blood.” Woman said, fixing her eyes on the face of young lady.

 Young lady couldn’t stand the brightness of woman’s eyes and peculiarity of the news in the situation we already know she was. She lowered her eyes and gazed on a patch in rug as though trying to decide whether to believe this news or not, it’s not easy to believe in good news when we are used to listen to bad news from fate for too long.

 “How do you know exactly this is what this heart is saying?” She asked suspiciously “Can you give me more detail on this” She had started thinking whether Gypsy woman knew her story or somehow guessed what young lady had endured in near past and readily crafted a story of a good fortune that is common trick of people called fortune tellers to pull in money.

 “How can I tell you how do I know this all” Gypsy woman sighed “Though I’d have liked to tell everyone if I could tell this. If rays of moonlight could tell you how do they know to shine? If waves of river could tell you how they learn to flow? Perhaps then I could tell you how do I know all this but just like moonlight just shines and rivers just flow, I just know this.”

 This was of course not a satisfactory answer. “Can you give me some more detail?” Lady asked. “What if I missed the chance of recognizing him when my blood spilt on his blood? Can you give me more detail on that?”

 Gypsy woman again examined the heart. “Then, you’ll recognize him when he’ll grow flower in your heart.”

 “This is more kind of a poetic consolation rather than a prediction.” Young lady said, desperately “Why can’t you be a bit more clear”

 “I wish I could” Gypsy woman replied more desperately “Look, even the most learned fortune teller can’t exactly tell your fortune. We fortune tellers can just recognize signs of future those are scattered all around us. For common people they are just something part of their world but for us they are very important, as important and recognizable as gold to a goldsmith or iron to a blacksmith.” She put her hand on the shoulder of young lady. “ More wise fortune tellers can translate those signs into easily understandable phrases on the base of their experience but I’m not that wise and can just plainly tell you what this heart, one of signs fate created for you, is saying. If you want to know about things like his name, facial features or fortune, I can’t tell you though I can make a beautiful story for you that will be totally false and you’ll be amazed at finding that you are more prone to believe that false story rather than these simple, plain signs.”

 “Honestly, it’s difficult for me to understand this and consequently, believe in this” Young lady said. “However, thanks for the giving me time. How much I’m supposed to pay?”

 “Just one nickel coin” Gypsy woman spread her hand a very professional way and lady put a few nickel coins on her hand instead of one. “Thanks for being kind to me” She said, took the wooden heart and took the way back to home.

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Monday, June 20

The Wooden Heart - IV

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Carpenter decided to apply polish on the surface of wood. When he was polishing it, a small and sharp nook uprose from a part of fancy design tried to penetrate into his finger. Carpenter, whose experience of years had taught him to stay safe of such nooks, frequent in woodwork, detected it timely and stayed safe of it. He detected a small stain of blood in root of nook, telling that boy couldn’t manage to stay safe of the nook when he carved this. Carpenter had applied polish on the whole surface by then; otherwise he might have tried to remove the stains before polishing. 
He took the heart to carnival next Sunday and talked to many stall holders, hoping he’ll get one bronze coin. For his disappointment, even though everyone praised the fine artwork, no one expressed interest in buying it for more than one nickel coin. After a while, carpenter reduced his expectations to three nickel coins, still it didn’t help him finding a customer.

An unexpected customer came unexpectedly when carpenter had just finished his argument with a stall holder who sold toys. Carpenter failed badly in convincing him that children love such beautiful things and there might be at least one child of any rich man in the carnival who will happily buy this for two or may be more bronze coins. “If there’s any such child, you have to find him yourself!” Stall holder closed the debate with this final argument. Carpenter picked the wooden heart and was about to throw it desperately in the bag full of items shopped from carnival when he listened to a soft and feeble voice. “Are you selling this wooden heart, good old man?”

Carpenter turned to the voice. This was a young, pale-faced lady, not so rich looking by her dress. “Of course I’m selling this beautiful heart for two bronze coins but to a charming and graceful lady like you, I’ll charge only one bronze coin for this.”
“Can I see this?” Young lady asked.

“Why not, in fact this is made for such beautiful hands to hold it. I’m just a middle man whose hands don’t deserve holding if it was not impossible for this beautiful heart to reach such beautiful hands without my help. I’ll charge you only one bronze coin for this, I hope you’ll be agree with me that a bronze coin in no price for such a beauty.”
Girl held the heart in her hands. “This is awfully pretty; look at the pattern of bruises underlying this beautiful design.”

“Oh, this is just because inexpert of my assistant, persons called assistants go mad occasionally, you know.” Carpenter said hastily, he feared these bruises might cause him to lose a customer. “But I assure you these scars have no effect on durability of this gem. Hang it on a wall or to a ceiling and it’ll be a companion of life time for that place, without losing its beauty.”

“These bruises are real beauty of this heart, only if you see them from my eyes” Young lady replied with a sigh. “I can’t express in words how pretty and splendid this wooden heart is looking to me with these bruises, this is a master piece. It looks exactly like my heart; it seems like saying something to me. I wish I had a bronze coin to buy this.”

Carpenter couldn’t understand anything except last words those clearly meant customer is slipping out of his hands. “I think I have demanded somewhat more than it deserves, never mind, business is a matter of calculations and some times it becomes a matter of miscalculations. Only four nickel coins, nay, only three nickel coins for it. It may be still a bit more than its worth but I hope lady’s heart is generous enough to ignore such a slight difference.”
Young lady smiled a meek smile. “This heart is worth more than a bronze coin, if I had a gold coin, I’d have bought this heart for that coin without any hesitation.” She paused for a while “But I have no coin at the time, not even a nickel coin. I have only thing ring.” She raised her hand to show the carpenter. “This is not a very expensive ring, the metal is silver and I don’t remember anymore which gemstone is this. Even if I remembered its name, I’d have preferred to forget it. This is a burden on my fingers now and on my heart as well but I’m not sure if this will suffice as price of this heart.”

Carpenter had estimated the price of ring before lady lowered her hand with ring. This ring was worth many silver coins; forget bronze, many silver coins. He even couldn’t imagine this price for the useless piece of wood in his hand. He became sure that young lady was a either a princess or daughter of a very rich man disguised as an ordinary young lady. “By God, I have never seen such a wise generous lady on the face of Earth. Indeed this heart is worth many coins but only eyes of an art lover like you can guess its real worth, a person of wood and tools like me can’t understand its real worth. I accept this ring in exchange of this beautiful heart.”

Lady removed her ring and put on hand of carpenter who handed over the wooden heart to her. “Just tell me one thing, who made this?” Girl asked when they were both about to apart after exchange of smiles.

“My assistant made this, I’m the carpenter. Look at this heart and guess what master pieces master can make when his assistant can carve such a gem. Don’t forget me if you ever needed any kind of wooden furniture or a window or door for your magnificent home.” Carpenter answered warmly and left.

Young lady belonged to a noble, though not rich family. Her father was a farmer with his own land. He plowed his land and sustained his family for many years before listening from someone that out of world’s all wealth, nine-tenth is given to the trade and remaining one tenth is given to rest of professions. With intention of getting his share from nine tenth instead of from a fraction of one tenth, he bought trade commodities and went to far away countries with a caravan. Years passed since then, his land, home, wife and his daughter, all were waiting for his return, in vain most probably. His land was being plowed on contract, yielding a minimal income and his wife and daughter sustained on that little income.

Young lady believed in assurances of his mother that her father will return one day to marry her with a prince, with enough wealth to arrange a royal wedding that all people of town will remember throughout their lives. She dreamed of return of her father for years, before falling in love with someone and even after falling in love with him. Before falling in love she waited for her father to return and find her the prince waiting for her somewhere, after falling in love she believed she has found her prince and his father’s job is reduced just to arrangements of their marriage. Love made her face more beautiful, her heart more cheerful and her laughter more melodious. She frequently exchanged affectionate letters expressing love, passion and delicate sensations, with her lover. They both lived in world of flowers, butterflies, fireflies, rainbows and stars, they ate from the tree of love and drunk from stream love and dreamed of each other every night.

But her dreams were doomed to crush by cruel hand of fate. Her prince found a lady that could manage to look more beautiful than her with the magic of her wealth. Her prince left her, after a few months of hope and dreams and expectations and a silver ring, everything came to an end. After numerous promises of happy days, her prince left her to cry without making any sound in silence of nights. Since then, she lived a miserable life with a bruised heart having deep cuts all over. Her elegant face turned pale and lifeless, sweet voice turned to a low, hardly understandable murmur and her laughter went away with her presumed prince. Her mother observed and understood all these changes, but waiting for return of her man, she was as helpless as a queen with no country to rule over. She grieved inwardly for her husband and her daughter both and shed tears for both in solitude.

She returned home with wooden heart in hands and an unusual smile on her face. Her mother, who had advised her to go to carnival for some entertainment, was happy to see that smile and welcomed the wooden heart that made her daughter smile. They argued a little about place of wooden heart in the home and agreed upon hanging it on the wall right in front of young lady’s bed.

Heart was hung there with a thin brass chain. Young lady soon became used to stare at this heart for long periods of time. It always seemed to say something, whenever lady looked at this heart, it seemed like saying something but lady couldn’t understand what it was saying.

 (Click here to read next part of this story) 

Sunday, June 19

The Wooden Heart - III

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He picked a sharp knife and made a deep cut on wooden heart. “This is the first cut that she made with her eyes the day I saw her” He made another, less deep mark with knife. “This is the cut of dreams in which we walked together” He felt corners of his eyes getting wet, barriers hindering his tears were moving away, making way for the flood of grief shouting out aloud inside the boy. “This is cut of her contempt with which she raised her hand to show me the diamond ring” He muttered, carving another scar on the smooth surface. First tear snuck out of his eyes, so quietly that even boy couldn’t know of its existence until it touched a corner of his lip and slid down into his mouth, leaving a salty taste on his tongue.

He went on his work. His heart began to speak; each and every scar began to tell its place of existence and boy kept carving all of them on wooden heart. There were scars given by harsh attitude of carpenter and many more by loneliness of life he lived and many more of memories of past those he never knew had left a scar on his heart. By the time boy drew last, deepest line on no more smooth surface of wood, his face was wholly drenched in his own tears and the wooden heart was looking like a clumsily drawn map. “This is the cut made by her words that I shall think about my own status one hundred times before thinking about her” Boy said, and, with all the power that his hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder could afford to spend jointly, he made a very deep cut on the surface of heart. Technically, this was not craftsmanship, heart was already weakened by scars covering it and this cut weakened it to the extent that a little use of force was enough to break it in two parts. However, we certainly know that boy was not in situation where he could pay attention to such technical details.

“Ah, this looks like my heart know.” Boy said, wiping his face with both hands.
But this wasn’t still boy’s heart. There was something missing, something that made boy’s heart looking beautiful even in the mild light of stars. Wooden heart contained all of bruises from boy’s heart but it was not looking beautiful, it was looking dreadfully ugly in mild light of stars.

What is missing? Boy asked himself, raising again the heart before his eyes.

Answer came like a flash of lightening. Heart is not all about bruises, it has its own innate design that made it look peculiarly like someone’s own heart and not like anyone else’s. Each heart in this world has its own innate design and its own scars. The beauty of heart didn’t lie in scars or in the innate design solely, the beauty of any heart is a unique combination of its innate design and its scars.

“I can’t inscribe innate design of my heart on this wooden heart.” Boy said. He knew that, The Hand which carves out design of hearts is so Great and Skillful that human hands can’t do anything except getting together to pray or praise Him when it comes to contemplate on His designs. “But I can inscribe some other kind of design that could suit a wooden heart and make it looking complete.”

But he couldn’t decide how to begin his design, he tried to remember how carpenter etched furniture with beautiful design but designing the furniture and designing a heart are different things. Wiping off his tears again, boy tried to remember if he has ever seen someone else making some kind of design. He thought and thought and though, recalled the past and recalled it, until he went very far back into past. He saw two hands knitting something and two little hands playing with red, green, blue, white and yellow balls of wool. Boy knew both hands well, knitting hands were of her mother and little hands were boy’s own hands. 

“What are you knitting Mama?” His own voice echoed in his head.
“I’m knitting your scarf and sweater little dear” Mother’s soft, loving voice replied.
“Mama, why do we wear scarf and sweater?” Curious little child asked.
“We need sweater and scarves to stay safe from cold. Cold makes us feel bad.” Mama replied.
“Why these balls of wool have many colors, Mama?”
“Because I’m going to make with them a beautiful design for my cute son”
“What is this design Mama?”
“On your sweater, this is a garden with red flowers and a bright sun shining on it. Warmth of sun will protect my son’s beautiful and delicate heart from cold and garden will make him happy. On your scarf, this is a scene of night with big moon and a lot of stars, they ………”

Boy couldn’t recall more than that. The lump shackled in his throat was moving swiftly and was about to blow up any time. “Where are you Mama?” He cried “Your son is feeling so much bad, his heart is being attacked by cold on all sides. He needs warmth of the bright sun you knitted for him. Your son badly and desperately needs your garden of red flowers.” The lump blew up. All the grief locked up in heart ran upward towards his eyes and tongue. “Where are you Mama?” The boys was sobbing and calling like a lost child calling his mother. “Tell me for what purpose that moon and stars were on my scarf, tell me … Look at your cute and dear son Mama, what world has made of him.”

Boy himself couldn’t realize when he picked a carving knife and among sobs and began to carve a design on the heart. Blurriness of his tearful eyes and trembling of his hand, commonly obstacle in the way of craftsmanship, seemed to have control of this design about which boy himself had no idea what it’s going to be. At fine curves of top, it was like the moon he saw from the bridge and the silver column on water’s surface, at the tip below it consisted of fine oriental pattern carved at buggy of lady that day when he saw her first, at the space between both, it was a miniature of embroidery of her dress. The dress she wore when boy saw her first time and the same dress that she wore today. When he etched last line of design and wiped last tear from his cheek, this heart was tuned into a beautiful piece of art, scars of boy’s heart merged into design so naturally that it was almost impossible to discern one from another.

He sat at a log with the wooden heart in hand and gazed at the heart. It was no more a dead piece of wood, it was very much like an alive heart, had it not the color and pattern of wood, anyone could wonder if it’ll start beating any time. It seemed to say something to boy, boy tried to listen to him. But listening to a heart, especially to a wooden heart is very difficult job when your heart and eyes have spilt out all the poison of grief and lightness of relief is turning into burden of sleepiness. Gazing at heart and trying to listen to him, wondering if really this heart is saying anything at all, boy feel asleep. By then, there were not many ticks of clock left before sunrise.  

When carpenter arrived at workshop, boy was in deep sleep. Marks of tears were dried on his face and pieces of queer shaped wood scattered all over the workshop and wooden heart lay right on the chest of boy where his real, bruised heart was beating. This sight made carpenter angry. “What a curse I have casted upon myself by hiring you.” He shouted out, loud enough to wake up boy.

 Boy spent next 2 hours cleaning up the workshop and listening to grumble of carpenter. “I’m going to deduct the cost of all the wood you spoiled from your pay. What a mess you have made all around. What the hell you have been doing all night in my shop. Boy had no answer and even if he had, he’d have preferred to not to answer a person who couldn’t see the mark of dried tears on his face. He just listened to grumble of carpenter and kept working.

 “What is this?” Carpenter shouted. Boy turned his head to see what new trouble is descended from heavens. This was the wooden heart, looking even more beautiful now, fineness of its exquisite artwork looking more clearly in the brightness of day light.

 “This is my heart” Boy replied.
 “What a nonsense, no human ever had a wooden heart” Carpenter said.
 “Only if you happened to have a heart” Boy wanted to say loudly but he preferred to remain quiet.
 “This is a just a big wooden piece …” Carpenter said, and then hesitated for a moment; beauty of the wooden heart was not something easy to deny. It was beautiful, obviously and clearly. “This is beautiful, though you have roughened my carving knives but at least they have given beauty to this piece of wood, yet it’s useless, of no use at all.”

 Boy remained silent; clearly there was no use of arguing.

 “This looks like a locket but it’s much bigger than a locket, size of a hand, it can’t be used as a locket and it’s as good as all other pieces you have spoiled.” Carpenter said “However, I’ll see if I can make any use of it.” He picked a hook and hammered it between arcs of heart’s top. “Now, this can be used as an ornament. One can hang it on a wall or with a ceiling for beauty. I’ll try selling it on the carnival next Sunday; maybe it could earn us a bronze coin and help lessening the burden of deduction on your shoulders.”

 Boy wished he could afford to spend a bronze coin when a good portion of his pay was already threatened. His heart protested intensely, wooden heart belonged to boy and carpenter had no right on it but he preferred to remain silent.

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Saturday, June 18

The Wooden Heart - II

Click here to read this story from beginning. 

This sudden entry startled and frightened the lady so much that she even couldn’t scream, though she opened her mouth the way as about to utter to a loud scream but couldn’t dare to say more than “Who are you?” in a trembling voice almost equal to a whisper.

“Don’t worry!” Boy tried to make his tone as soft as possible. “I just came to say something to you.”

This helped to diminish her fear: “What do you want to say?” She asked.

“I hope you remember me!” Boy began to say, over-optimist, as of his peculiar age when all boys believe that no girl, once casted a glance at them, can dare to forget them. “I’m the boy that was with farrier at that day when …….” 

He told her about his lost heart that he believed was still somewhere around her damsel, probably listening to the story that consisted his own beats. He told her of how he talked of her to planks and logs of all kind of timber from forests, gardens, roadsides and yards of people’s houses. He told her how much empty place of his heart ached and how this ache didn’t let him sleep at many fine nights when sleep is dearest jewel to any worker weary of day-long toil. He told her of dreams he dreamed when some fortunate moments allowed him to sleep.

Lady listened to him silently. By the time boy finished his monologue, she had fully recovered her confidence. “So he is just another of annoying lovers those can’t stop themselves from declaring love with every beautiful and rich girl!” This was her assessment of situation as per previous experiences.

“Look at this!” She raised her hand. “Look at this ring; do you know which gem is this?”

Poor boy was not ready for any such question and he didn’t know anything about gems, he got nervous. “No, I don’t know …” He said slowly when he couldn’t find any other answer.

“This is called diamond!” She said, a sarcastic fury waving in her words. “How much such a diamond costs? Can you tell me?”

“Of course, not …” Boy had no other answer again.

“How can you know? After all you have not seen anything but timber and carpenter’s tools. Listen to me, you can’t even imagine price of this diamond. Even if one thousand carpenters and one thousand farriers work day and night for complete one year, all their income can’t suffice to pay the price of this diamond.” She paused for a while. “Do you know from where this ring came?”

This boy even didn’t speak, obviously he has no answer but even if he had an answer he couldn’t speak. His tongue was dried like sand of desert. He just noticed that lady has worn the same dress that she wore the day boy saw her first. This was a pretty dress with fine golden embroidery, indeed a dress that suited a lady like her.

“This ring,” Said lady proudly “Is a gift from Governor’s son. He’s going to propose me soon and I’m eagerly waiting for that …” She looked into boy’s eyes. “He will be governor after his father and I’ll be most honorable lady in all cities and towns from here to one hundred and fifty miles onward on all sides. Do you think I’m that stupid to give my heart to a chap whose best dress is shabbier than uniform of my servants? Or do you think I can afford to take care of all hearts I’m offered many times by fools like you?”

These were moments when boy found his heart again at the place where he was used to see it. It was a crying out aloud, it was trembling vigorously from an inward earthquake.   
“If I call guards, you’ll spend rest of your life in prison but I’m in a good mood and don’t want to spoil it because of a moron.” Damsel went on.

Boy saw fine little crack appearing everywhere on surface of his heart, like the cracks and chasms those appear on face of earth during severe earthquakes.  
“So consider this to be utmost favor to you that I allow you to go back. Jump out over the wall from where you jumped in.” Lady’s voice became as scornful as it could; boy’s silence and glimpse of a begging helplessness in his eyes had fully assured her that poor creature that crept in to spoil a pleasant after noon was completely harmless.

Boy opened his mouth to say something but he didn’t knew what to say. He opened his mouth and closed again, fine little cracks on the surface of his heart were growing; earthquake was getting more intense and cracks bigger and wider. His head was swirling like a piece of paper swirls in a windstorm and hands and feet were getting cold.

“Before thinking about me again, think one hundred times about what you are and what your status is. So, would you like to go on feet now or do I need to call guards?”

Boy managed to rise on his feet somehow and walked towards the wall of garden like a mechanic toy. This time, wall was 100 times more difficult to climb. To climb this simple height of seven feet, he had to use more power than he ever used to split hardest log in carpenter’s workshop. He climbed somehow and fell outwards like an axed down tree.

He laid there as breathless as a dead person or to say, a dead tree but he was not dead anyway. He could see big deep cracks everywhere on surface of his heart and streams of blood gushing from those cracks. He could wonder at the finding that heart has its own blood, not the blood that it pumps to whole of body but a blood of his own that gushes out when deep cuts are made on the surface of heart. He could learn the fact that while heart bleeds and life drips out from heart with every drop of that blood, ordinary red blood that nourishes the body is still pumped to arteries with same vigor and thus human is forced to stay alive by same bleeding and dying heart. He could wonder why his eyes have refused to spill even a single tear when he has lost his whole universe and when life has became such worthless flow of passing moments. He could do all this, despite being chopped down by fate, he was not dead.

By the time when boy rose up and walked slowly on the road without knowing or care to think where he is going, afternoon was turned into evening and sun was descending down into west. Boy arrived at the bridge of river and stopped there, last rays of sun were glimmering on the surface of water like golden columns of house of God. He leaned on the railing of bridge and gazed at restless water, then at sun, then again at the water and then again at the sun. “This is my heart” He said looking towards setting sun “It’s descending down in river of sorrows and I have a dark night ahead, a long dark night that got no dawn” Then he looked at river. “This is my fate, a never ending flow of sorrows and grief that swallowed my sun and left me helpless to wail the loss at bridge.”

Boy spent another hour there, motionless, leaned on the railing, he gazed at water and then at sky again and again, with an empty mind and a heart soaked in its blood. Sun disappeared gradually, setting darkness free but before darkness could take reigns of heaven, Venice appeared at a corner of sky and many more stars followed her, then moon appeared like a king in court and darkness retreated to dark places it could find on earth, admitting that even in the darkest nights light has a share that darkness can’t take away. Boy tried to fit the moon in altered map but he could not find a suitable name for it. “Well, I can’t understand why moon is here, what purpose it’s serving and what name should I give to the silver column in water that has replaced golden column, but one thing is for sure, it’s a very dark and cruel night. I’m supposed to go home now, there is nothing left for me in this city and perhaps there is nothing for me in this whole world.”

It was early midnight when boy stepped back in his small town. How much world has changed within a span of less than a day, he left for city as a hopeful, excited and cheerful boy and returned from city as a desperate, broken and lost person. On the way home, many times he felt like bursting into tears any moment but there was a lump in his throat and his feeling were tied at their places inside him. Tears in eyes, grief in heart, laments on tongue, all were squirming to get out and sympathize with lost dreams of boy but an invisible hand had tied them at their own places.

He didn’t want to go home but was unable to decide where to go if not home. He roamed about aimlessly and didn’t stop until he found himself in the front of carpenter’s workshop, his day-long home for years. “So is this my ultimate destiny?” He asked himself “Am I supposed to slip wood and swallow down carpenter’s scolding forever?” Of course there was no answer. Only time does know answer of such question and we all know time is a silent worker, it doesn’t like to make noise, just keep working and changing everything , turning questions into answers and answers into new questions.

Without any specific intention in head, boy jumped over wall of workshop. Seemingly carpenter had a hard day without boy’s assistance, it’s not easy to do without a privilege once you get used to it. There were unfinished planks and half split logs scattered around in workshop, even the box of tools was not locked.

There was not much light in workshop. Boy sat at a log with head in hands and began to utter name of damsel of her dreams again and again, without any purpose, like a dying sailor chanting name of destination he wanted to reach at. He wanted to cry. It seemed as if he didn’t cry, his heart will blow up and poison of grief swelling inside will burst out, making his blood and breath poisonous and leaving him dead in the end. But he couldn’t cry. The lump shackled in his throat had still pretty much blocked everything, leaving the grief to swell and swirl more and more at its place.

He rose up and reeled around restlessly for a while before turning to work bench and picking a small and fine handsaw from tool box. He spent another half hour in cutting and trimming pieces of wood aimlessly, making small blocks and arranging them orderly on the bench as though performing a sacred duty. He picked an even smaller and finer handsaw. Then he took out all gouges and carving knives and with them turned rough, curvy and queer shaped pieces of no apparent use. Night passed slowly, pile of queer shaped wood pieces gradually scattered all over the work bench until there was no further space for even a hand sized block.

Boy began to throw all pieces away one by one. “This is the small hut I live in and I hate it” He said, holding a triangle shaped piece in hand and threw it away.
He picked another piece whose shaped have no clear definition. “This is the carpenter and I hate him” He threw that away more violently.
“This is tower of rich merchant’s palace and I hate it” This was a long round shaped wood piece with a cone at the end. Boy picked handsaw and cut it into many pieces.
“This is governor’s son” This piece of wood was by no means likewise a human, boy held this in hand for a while, reluctantly picked the saw then threw it again in tool box. “No, I can’t cut you into pieces even if I want” He said to wood piece “She loves you. You are lucky but at least I can't throw you away like I threw away carpenter but still I can throw you away.” He threw away the governor's son lightly.

Then he picked a piece of wood with smooth and fine curves. “This is my heart” He said. “But it needs to look exactly like my heart before deciding what I should do of it.”

He had never imagined that he can use these tools such skillfully and successfully. He carved the piece of wood very carefully exactly into shape of a heart, a wedge with two fine half-curves at the top, a sleek corner at the bottom and skillfully crafted slopes at both sides.

“But no, this is still not my heart; this heart has a smooth surface and fine curves while my heart has scars, bruises and cracks everywhere.” He murmured. “This heart needs bruises to look exactly like my heart.”

Click here to read next part of this story. 

Friday, June 17

The Wooden Heart - I

The story starts from a carpenter’s shop in a small town where a boy worked as carpenter’s assistant. Carpenter said it’ll take many years for boy to become a craftsman but boy wasn’t sure if he’ll become a craftsman even in a life time. There was no other carpenter in the town and people depended solely on our carpenter for all their woodwork. At one hand huge amount of work kept them busy all the day and boy hardly got any time for rest during daytime. At the other hand carpenter was reluctant to teach him anything for the fear that boy might open his own workshop after learning carpentry and his earning will be divided by two.

Carpenter, a skilled craftsman and praised by customers for his fine work, didn’t let him touch any tool except axe and saw. Axe was almost completely boy’s job since he joined carpenter as assistant, two third of boy’s time in workshop was spent in splitting large timber with an axe. Use of saw was a rare privilege that carpenter allowed only when planks were required in a large quantity for some work. Tools of fine work like chisel, gouges, plane and carving knives were always out of his reach, locked up in a small box. Carpenter took care of them like a father takes care of his children; in fact, he took care of his tools more than his children. Boy always took a keen interest in watching him carving fancy designs on legs of a table or etching something on top of a newly made wooden box but carpenter disliked this and scolded him for being negligent whenever he found boy gazing at him during such jobs. However, boy couldn’t leave this job, there are not too many jobs in a small town and he badly needed the meager wages he was being paid.

One day, boy fell in love. It’s not something strange thing to do for boys, boys often fall in love. The strange thing is, however, that they don’t care to think with whom they are falling in love and what consequences this love may bring, they simply fall in love and then suffer. So happened with boy, he was busy splitting a large log with axe when he listened to a melodious voice: “Please do it as early as possible, I’m already late!” Magic of melody was powerful enough to make boy stop, turn his head and look towards source of voice. Voice came from a fair damsel, as fair as could be possible in dreams of boy. Sat in a small buggy adorned with silver work and velvet curtains, she looked like a princess on a royal tour. She was addressing the farrier whose small shop was right in front of carpenter’s shop, one of horses needed shoeing and she was in hurry to reach somewhere. When Farrier started his work, boy left his axe and joined the farrier. Surprised farrier told him that his master will be very angry if he saw him assisting the farrier but boy didn’t care, he held the foot of horse and farrier quickly replaced the bad shoe with a new one. Meanwhile, boy casted many glances at maid sit in buggy but she didn’t pay attention to boy except an occasional glance that any customer can throw at the helper of a farrier.

When she left, boy found that his heart was no more at the place where it was supposed to be. It didn’t took him long to understand that his heart had left him and gone with the unknown fair damsel. This was a distressing situation, we need our heart in everyday life and absence of heart creates serious problems for us. At first, boy tried to live without his heart because he believed that buggy of fair damsel was the most appropriate place for heart of a boy who can’t afford to dream being himself with the damsel in buggy. But empty space of heart aches much more than any broken, bruised or bleeding heart and boy have to set himself for the search of his heart after living a few days of painful emptiness. He asked the farrier if he knew anything about the damsel in buggy, farrier replied with a no but told him that person on coachman’s seat that day was an old friend of tea-house’s owner and he might ask tea-house’s owner.

Boy went to tea house that evening and managed to get all the information he needed. Fair damsel was daughter of a merchant from the large city nearby small town. Her father was a rich person and was said to be a close friend and advisor of Governor. As per wisdom, boy needed to think only about his lost heart, but as per the peculiarity of age to which he belonged, he started building a tower of dreams where his heart was located a few days ago. One day, when he felt his breath choking with memory of lost heart and face of fair damsel, he took leave from carpenter that was given after an hour long lecture on his negligence, wore the best thing that was available to him in the name of dress and went to the city. It was obvious that guards at the gate of merchant’s magnificent palace will not let him in, so he chose to jump over the wall of palace’s garden and lo, his luck, he landed right in front of lady he wanted to meet to. Damsel of his dreams was busy reading something lying under umbrella of dense leaves .....

(Click here to read next part ... This is just a story, written solely for the purpose of taking an interval from ridiculous seriousness of an imaginary battle ... This is author's earnest request that it should be just taken as a story)