The Miracle by Subhajit Ghosh
Somewhere in a remote, nameless village of India lived Ram. Born into a life of penury in the village he rarely came in contact with the civilized world outside. He was around 8 years of age, and went to the village school.
Every day after school he used to walk his way back to home. He used to enjoy his walk along the long and winding narrow path that led to his home from school and vice-versa. When Ram returned in the afternoon, the stretch generally remained desolate. Only a few farmers could be seen working in the adjacent fields on either side of the path. During the scorching heat of summer they too remained invisible.
One summer afternoon Ram was returning home from school as usual. He was surprised to find a stranger resting on a spot of grass along his route. On seeing him, the stranger flashed a smile.
“What’re you doing?” Ram asked.
“Enjoying a rest,” the man replied with a broader smile on his face.
“I’ve never seen you in the village. What brings you here?”
“I am an electrical engineer. I am on a mission to spread rural electrification. Presently I am working in a village in the vicinity”
“Err-it can light up your room in the dark. Now you must be using a lantern for studying or while cooking your meal at home after dusk. With electrification you don’t have to use a lantern and the brightness will also be of much greater magnitude.”
“Wow, that’s exciting! Will you please come over to our house?”
“Ok,” the man readily agreed.
Reaching home Ram introduced the man to his parents. “He is a wizard. He can light up our room after dark.”
Ram’s father began a conversation with the man but he still wore a look of suspicion on his face. Ram’s mother, a shy woman asked the man to feel comfortable and rest a while. She also served him with tea after sometime.
“How much time would you require to light up our rooms?” Ram queried.
“About half an hour.”
“Good. Now you please relax and go take a rest. We have a small room on the other side where you can unwind for a couple of hours. We’ll watch your magic when darkness approaches,” Ram’s father said laced with a tinge of sarcasm.
Ram didn’t go out to play with his friends that day. He was so excited that he hardly could have concentrated on his game. A thousand thoughts crossed his mind.
“Will he truly be able to perform the miracle, or is he just a fraud?” Anyway, that will soon be revealed-
And then the sunset occurred. The man emerged from his room with an infectious smile. He went straight to the main room where Ram studied and slept.
“All of you would have to vacate the room for now. I’ll close the doors from inside. While I am working you can sit in the room where I rested. After I’ve finished I’ll call you.”
Saying this, the man bolted the door from inside and Ram could hear the sounds of the windows being closed. For the next half an hour a pin-drop silence prevailed. Ram and his family were getting quite restless towards the end. However after just half an hour the door opened and there stood the man in the room flooded with light.
“Please come in,” he said. Palpably Ram and his parents were quite thrilled. The man informed, “I’ve used an electronic device where light would be switched on exactly at 6 pm every day. The light would go off exactly at midnight. This will function faultlessly for the next hundred years. You can also switch on/off by clapping your hands only during this interval.”
“How much should I pay you?” Ram’s father asked anxiously.
“Nothing, I liked your son Ram very much. He found it difficult to study at night and so I decided to help…. I’ll now retire and rest again for a while. If you don’t mind, I’ll stay tonight at your place. Call me for dinner….” Saying this he headed towards the room where he was previously resting.
The villagers soon arrived in droves. In a village with no electrification it is nothing less than a miracle. Moreover with no wiring, sub-station installation and such things there is no evidence of anyone having put in any kind of hard work.
“How did this miracle happen?” the villagers wanted to know from Ram’s father. After he had finished narration of the entire course of events during the day the villagers fervently wanted to meet the man. By then many of them had begun dreaming of their respective houses filled with luminescence.
“No, he is taking a rest at present. Please wait for a while till dinner time-”
The villagers did as they were told. They waited patiently. As soon as dinner was prepared Ram’s father went to call the man accompanied by the villagers. After knocking on the door a couple of times there was no reply. Ram’s father pushed the door open, which was unlocked and entered the room. But where’s the man? He was nowhere to be seen. Ram’s father and the villagers began scouring the entire place but the man seems to have simply vanished into thin air.
However, as long as Ram lived, his room would miraculously light up exactly at 6 pm and till midnight there remained an uninterrupted supply. The man was indeed correct in his claim, though no one ever heard of him again.
Cover pic by Tanmayee Deshprabhu.