Brick by brick…

Brick by brick, Arumugham had seen the house take shape. It wasn’t a big house, nor was it in the hustle bustle of the city. It was in their village, far away from the annoying honks of the vehicles, and the pointed gossip of the neighbors. She hated that. He had thought otherwise, but now, he was beginning to hate that too.

Theirs was a love story that no one wanted to hear. Their families hadn’t wanted any part of their lives. She was an upper caste girl, and he but a construction worker. She did not belong to their family, they had said. Their hearts had not melted even when the couple had had a baby girl.

She was soft skinned like her mother, soft-hearted yet adamant like her father. She grew up far away from comfort, but to her, nothing was as comfortable as the room they had. Arumugham had named her Mridhula, for her softness.

“I want a house in our village. Not a big house with lots of rooms. Just a small one, with three rooms… one for me, one for appa and amma, and the last one, that’ll be for thaatha and paati when they come. They don’t now, but you wait and see. They’ll come. They’ll give me sevai and pongal, feed me with their hands. And they’ll tell me they love me,” she told anyone who would listen to her.

Today it was that dream of hers that had taken shape. Even the village head had been invited for the gruhapravesham. She stood outside, welcoming everyone who entered the compound with a smile. She was happiest to see her thaatha and paati come too, after every other guest had left. She had run behind the house, so no one would see her cry. She saw them put the sevai and pongal on a plate, and she wiped her tears and went back to the front.

“Kanna, vandhu sappidu da,” she heard her paati call, and saw her approach. But she couldn’t go. And neither could her paati find her.

A breeze had picked up suddenly, and she saw her amma and paati cry as they went inside the house. Arumugham’s eyes were wet too, but he walked across the compound to where she stood.

“Appa is sorry, Mridhu. Sorry he couldn’t keep his promise to keep you here till this day,” he whispered, as he picked up the last, unused bricks and sheltered the earthen lamp that was lit for her soul, making sure the breeze wouldn’t snuff out her light.

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was first held in 2010. The challenge is that we have to post every day of April, except on the four Sundays. April 1st is a theme with letter A, 2nd with letter B and so on till April 30th which will be Z themed. This year, I’m planning to do short pieces of fiction (not a series), or a poem based on a word with that letter.

To write 26 days in a month on a theme, a moral support is quite useful I feel. This year, I’m taking the challenge along with my friend Bhavya. We’re writing on the same themes each day, and giving each other the themes on alternate days. Day 2, the word chosen by me was BRICK, around which this story was written.

Sevai and pongal are Indian dishes. Thaatha and Paati are Tamil words meaning Grandfather and Grandmother respectively. Kanna means Dear, used to call someone fondly. Vandhu sappidu da means Come and eat.

(2nd April 2014)


Poetry & writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

68 thoughts on “Brick by brick…”

  1. Aww..very touching.
    An attempt made in the last to save the earthen lamp’s light says that all so powerfully 🙂

    Loved it!
    Brick by brick you’ll soon make a palace of beautifully woven words for the world to live in and love!

  2. Touching narrative, Leo. The idea of the brick protecting the little one’s soul, well, I guess that’s the whole idea behind the concept of lighting lamps everyday for the lost souls….. yet another one from you that’s sure to tug at the hearts !! 🙂

  3. Vinay the tale was so poignant! I read it twice. I could feel the pain of Arumugham, his wife, Thaatha, Paati and especially Mridhula. What can I say but, Bravo!

  4. Relatively shorter than the stories that you generally write, it left me in a mixed state – whether to appreciate the writer or whether to be sad because of the story. It was sweet, sad and it left an ache in the heart…. 🙁 But loved how you played with emotions here… Loved it!

    Society, status and such trivial things should never be the reason families don’t accept their child’s choice of a spouse – that is what I firmly believe.

    • My next one is a bit more shorter, Ishi 😉 😀

      Yes. I think so too da. Tears families apart, and some things are missed by the time they are joined back! 🙁

    • Yes. I went for the sad ending 🙂 Wasn’t sure till the end how to end it, but glad you liked the story, Kajal!

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