Death Of Freedom – Short Story
Death Of Freedom
By: Roshan Maniam
I would love to be in Colonial India especially towards its independence. It has a nostalgic feel towards it. Guess I am just influenced by V.S Naipaul’s books. ###
Ram woke up and saw a pair of brown eyes outside his cell door. He got up from his bed slowly. The bruises he suffered still caused him much pain. It was Ophelia. Her pale skin radiated within the dark confines of the prison he had been incarcerated in.
She did not cover her nose from the putrid smell of prison unlike the prison guards. She was still, her expression blank. He figured that she must have waited there for a very long time before he woke up.
‘How did you get in here?’
‘I had to sneak out. I managed to bribe the guards though.’ He could tell that she was breaking up inside beneath that cheery façade that she was putting up.
He averted his eyes from her gaze. Guilt surrounded his body. His face hardened.
‘You shouldn’t have come here. There is nothing you can do now. I was tried in court for a crime and I lost.’
‘Don’t say that… please…’
‘It was my mistake. I shouldn’t have gotten involved in this movement. But then again, I could not bear to see my people being mistreated by the Empire. I could not bear to see my people go hungry. Funny really, how I fell in love with a person from the very race that discriminated us…’ He sounded pensive, disconnected. The prison had addled with his mind.
A drop of tear fell onto her hand. Silence began to creep onto both of them. They were lost in each other’s eyes, realising that this would be the last time they would be meeting each other.
Ram broke the silence.
‘Leave me. Start over. Forget that I had even existed.’ He could barely manage to utter those words. He felt as if a knife had gone through his heart.
‘I would not let you rot and await your death here. I just can’t. How could you expect me to live a happy life without you?’
‘Please… spare me there questions…’
Ophelia grasped his hand through the cellar.
‘I had always believed that meeting you was the best thing that had ever happened to me. Please leave before your father finds out.’
She shook her head stubbornly. A moment passed before her eyes lit up. She scurried through her satchel.
‘I brought you this.’
She handed him his flute. He took it and played Darbari Raga through the depths of the night. It was said that Indian music had a special magic to it. Not a single creature was spared from the melancholy. Dogs howled. The wind blew with increasing strength. The clouds began to weep.
She sat beside him, separated only by the cell wall. She was oblivious to the filth that surrounded her. Ophelia smiled. She had taken poison before meeting him hoping to be reincarnated in a world where race distinction does not exist. Just like what Ram had always said.
Ram smiled. He continued to weave his magic as a testament to their love.