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The Blue Dotted Umbrella
by Jasti Victor
7/21/2010 / Short Stories
"Oh My God,"
The loud shout shattered the early morning peace. Startled, the fifteen year old Joshua Leonard who just stepped out of the bathroom after a bath, reacted "Granny" and rushed out to the dinning room, from where he heard his grandmother, Martha Rajkumari's painful cry.
"Gran what happened?"
Seeing her lying on the floor, Joshua tried picking her up but left her, when she cried again in pain, "No leave me alone."
"You hurt yourself?"
Seeing her grimace, Joshua looked around, and saw his grandmother's favorite wooden chair lying on its side and some vegetables strewn around. She must have slipped or stumbled and when he looked again at her, she said, clinching her teeth, "I think I sprained my ankle"
"Should I call Ernest uncle?"
"No, just get me to Dr.Sheba."
"I'll call an ambulance."
"No, no, don't. Just get me an auto."
"An auto, granny you know we won't get an auto here near our house. I have to go all the way to the main road. Why don't I take you in our car?"
"No, till you get your license you won't be driving the car," said Martha firmly shaking her head.
"Granny, it's very early for a policeman," paused Joshua before saying sarcastically, "And granny, do you think a policeman will be at our colony, at nine in the morning? And it's drizzling."
"It's not the question of you getting caught for driving without a license, but for you be a good citizen, and a responsible Christian. No driving. And that's final."
"Grandpa was at least reasonable, and allowed me to drive inside the colony and upto the supermarket."
"Josh, no arguments please get me an auto."
Shaking his head, Joshua got ready within a minute and was about to step out, when the light drizzle turned into a heavy rain.
"Take an umbrella"
"Granny you will ruin my reputation. What will my friends think? First you won't allow me to drive the car, and now you want me to get you an auto and above all you want me to take an umbrella? Eeek."
"Don't eeek me. Just do as you're told."
"Bossing around, no wonder grandpa went early to the Lord."
Martha laughed, "Josh you know who used to boss around. It's your grandpa."
Shaking his head, Joshua opened the closet and looked for an umbrella.
"Gran, these are all old and big."
"Josh those are your grandpa's."
"No I am not taking these big umbrellas; instead I'll wear a windcheater."
"No, Josh, listen to me, take mine. You will find it in my shelf."
Joshua after rummaging picked two.
"Gran, which is better looking."
"Take the blue dotted one."
"It's so sissy."
"Josh, it's beautiful. Just hurry, and before that we'll pray."
"Oh my God, granny, I am not going to a war."
"It doesn't matter. Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for the wonderful sleep and a beautiful morning. Jesus cover Josh with your blood as he goes out to get an auto. Be with him, we ask this in your name. Amen"
Gingerly stepping out unto the street, Joshua looked out for any sign of the neighborhood boys, and finding none, boldly walked fast unto to the main road, through the many by lanes of the West Marredpally, an old residential colony, dating back to the time when the British were ruling India. His grandpa, the late Stanley Joshua Norfolk, a well accomplished physician, bought this house in the forties after he got married to his grandmother Martha Rajkumari, a teacher in the famed St. Ann's High School, just opposite the colony. Having worked there for over thirty years she was very popular with the students as well as the teachers. She was the epitome of what teacher student relationship should be. Her forty feet high Christmas tree in front of her house was visible from the main road and at Christmas it was the most decorated one in that area. So as the saying goes, amongst her students and well wishers, Martha madam's tree and treats are a must for a jolly good Christmas.
Joshua Leonard Norfolk's father, a cardiologist is the only child and his mother is a physiotherapist, and both work in Washington. Joshua will join them after his schooling, depending upon Martha's willingness to settle in USA; otherwise he had to complete his college education only in Hyderabad.
He was about to cross the main road, when he spied a car coming from the opposite direction towards him. Stopping for the car to move on, Joshua was surprised to hear a woman's voice from the car asking him, "Are you related to Martha teacher?"
Stunned, not knowing, how she knew, that he was related, he nodded hesitatingly, "Yes"
"I have been searching for her house for more than hour. I remember only her Christmas tree but now you there are more than half a dozen."
Seeing that Joshua was hesitating, the woman asked her again, "Are you in a hurry?"
"Yes, in fact I am looking for an auto rickshaw for my granny."
"Don't you know that the auto rickshaws and taxis are on a flash strike from today morning," said the woman, "If you don't mind I will drop her in my car, wherever she wants to go."
Nodding, Joshua sat in the car and within no time reached his home.
"Gran, your former student Navaneeta had come to visit you. She had offered to take you to the doctor."
"Who? Navaneeta? OK, let her in."
Navaneeta, dressed in jeans and a white T shirt, walked into the dining room.
"Madam, remember me? I am Clara Navaneeta."
"Oh Clara. Yes I remember. You are in my '96 batch?"
"Yes, but that was nearly fourteen years ago?"
"And you are the one who presented me with that blue dotted umbrella."
"Yes, and because of that blue dotted umbrella I could locate you easily."
"Where are you now? And what are you doing?"
"I am married, have two daughters and stay in New York. I had come for a short visit and am going back today."
"How very nice of you to visit me."
"Madam, you wanted to go to a doctor, come I'll take you."
"Take rest, no walking around please," explained Dr.Sheba, "And keep that leg on a stool for long as possible. You can take this wheel chair and return it afterwards."
"We'll buy the prescribed medicines on the way," said Clara pushing the wheelchair.
"Clara, you were Godsend," said Martha, holding her hand, "Just imagine if you had not come I would have,had a tough time reaching the doctor."
"Martha madam, I just saw your grandson with that rare blue dotted umbrella, and somehow guessed that it must be my present to you."
"Joshua what did you tell me in the morning when you went in search of an auto," smiled Martha, "That you were not going to a war. Josh, God looks after you, cares for you. He even cares for a single strand of hair on your head. So pray, and you will receive blessings from unexpected source."
Glossary: Auto rickshaw - Called tuk-tuk, trishaw, auto, rickshaw, autorick, baby taxi
It is a motorized version of the traditional rickshaw or velotaxi. It is found in
many Asian countries, as well as in African and some parts of Egypt.
Victor Jasti lives in India and is passionate about writing short stories based on the Bible and real incidents. He also writes Christian fiction and poetry. Five of his poems were published in Temporal Currents compiled by an American author, Ms. Christine Tricarico.
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