UMBRELLA: Original Story "Chhata" in Odia By Lipsa Patel, Translated By Anadi Charan Pradhan
“Today too you came drenched in the rain. Quickly change the uniform and dry up your head, dear.” Raghu’s mother said affectionately from the kitchen.
“I shall tell your father to buy an umbrella when he comes in the evening.” Mother continued when she served him the food.
“I shall also go with father to fetch the umbrella,” Raghu told continuing the conversation.
The mother suggested purchasing an umbrella when father came from the office in the evening.
“This is the end of the month. It can be purchased when salary comes next,” father replied. Raghu silently heard his father sitting in a corner. He understands his father’s responsibility – so many liabilities: starting from the groceries to the vegetable vendors; school fees for the education of his brother and sister. He did not feel unhappy at all.
Every day Raghu stares at his friend Gopi’s umbrella. A beautiful one having the seven colours of a rainbow with a strong handle! Many a time he has gone home with Gopi under this umbrella. When he looks up from under it during rain he gets into the illusion of a rainbow arched over his head.
He was feeling delighted to buy an umbrella of this kind when he would go to the market with his father. Raghu thought, raincoat was costly; so father would definitely buy an umbrella. He would keep it with him carefully. He would never share it with his sister. She had a record of losing her umbrella always . Father would be annoyed if the new one was lost.
When father arrived home from office he said, “Raghu, get ready to go to the market in the evening for the umbrella.” Raghu was overwhelmed to hear this. His long cherished desire was going to be fulfilled. He waited for his father after finishing all his homework. In the evening father returned from the office, had a cup of tea and set out towards the market with Raghu.
In the market umbrella of different size and colours were hung in every shop. But Raghu’s eyes searched only for that umbrella with seven colours. Father and son entered into a shop. The shopkeeper showed different kinds of umbrella with great enthusiasm. Raghu asked, “Is there no umbrella with colours of a rainbow?” The shopkeeper could understand and showed one such umbrella. Father examined it. ‘Strong one’, he remarked. The shopkeeper encouragingly said, “Can be used both in the summer and rain. See the cloth. very decent and durable.”
Father wanted to know its price. The shopkeeper said, ‘Only one hundred and fifty’. Father made a little bargain, “Tell exactly how much to be paid”. “Not less than one hundred thirty”, said the shopkeeper.
Father looked at Raghu; examined his purse from the pocket and waited a little. Raghu was able to read the helplessness on his father’s face. Hundred thirty rupees for the umbrella from the beginning of the month would cost heavily on his purse against the monthly groceries. “The price is too high. Let’s go to another shop.” Raghu said to his father showing indifference.
The shopkeeper was calling from behind when father and son left the shop.
They returned home pretending not to have heard the shopkeeper.
Raghu went inside the house silently. There was no complaint from his side. Mother said, “Did you bring the umbrella?” “There was no good umbrella in the market,” Raghu said. “And there is no need of it now, too. The rain will stay only for a month or two.”
“But you yourself were interested to buy one. What happened then?”
As if convincing his mother Raghu said, “Mother, you see, don’t our Kaligaii (the cow) and Gharamani (the goat) get wet in the rain? They don’t need any umbrella, do they? We are also creatures like them. And how far my school is from our home?”
The father observed him from a distance reflecting- when did his son grow so matured!
Raghu entered into the bedroom with eyes filled with tear.
About the Author
Sri Anadi Charan Pradhan, M.A.(Eng), M.Ed, started his career as a teacher in Jyotivihar High Schol run by Sambalpur University. Later he joined in Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti as a Trained Graduate Teacher in May 1989 and after serving in different Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas as TGT and PGT he retired as Vice Principal from JNV Jharsuguda in April 2015. He has a keen interest in literature and he writes poems and short stories related to life and nature.