Shomit Sengupta

Shomit Sengupta

“The Secret” is a short story about a young boy who has been kept in the dark about a stunning secret that he accidentally discovers one day…. To read more such short stories, please visit our library.

I gulped down the pancakes and chugged the milk in record time. Then, I dashed towards the lawn where my friends had been waiting. It was time for cricket – a game that me and my brother would play everyday as kids until he decided to go abroad to pursue his higher studies. We hadn’t talked to each other in 7 years; father always said that Karan was part of a top secret research organization in Germany and that his job required him to break all ties with the outside world, including his own family.

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Nonetheless, he would write to us every week and send a basket of my favorite goodies at least once a month. As I approached the patch of grass where we played each day, I noticed that few of my friends were rummaging through the bushes on the lawn’s boundary. We didn’t have wickets and so the objective was to find a suitable makeshift wicket that we could use. Finally, after much searching, three of my friends appeared with a rectangular slab. It was thick enough to rest on its base and tall enough to be used as a wicket. It was the perfect replacement. Teams had already been decided, and so I walked up and took my place in front of the wicket. I was in position. I held the bat close to my body and waited for the bowler to deliver the ball. “Wonderful shot!”, my teammate yelled in delight as the ball soared well beyond the reaches of the fielders and across the boundary. Before taking position for the next ball, I caught a quick glimpse of the rectangular slab before placing my bat on the edge of the slab so as to well guard the wicket. “KAR” read the slab, from whatever little was legible. I looked back up to see the ball come hurtling towards me, only to deflect it with the edge of my bat. Another boundary. My team erupted in applause.

We played on till the Sun was unbearable and our stomachs growled louder than a bear. We headed back to our respective houses. Since mine was the last villa in the long line of independent villas, I had to walk a little further before reaching home. It was chicken curry and rice for lunch, my favorite. Before I would sit for lunch, I would customarily take out the trash. And so, I did. Three people were searching for a tombstone that went missing from the cemetery down the block. The storm that hit our town last year had completely ravaged the North Block – where the cemetery is situated – and as a result, the cemetery had borne the brunt of the storm’s wrath. Few of the tombstones had been displaced by as many as several yards away from their spot. We were among the lucky few who had escaped the calamity unscathed. “It certainly pays to be the last house on the block”, I thought to myself, before disposing the trash in the bin marked “PATELS” and joining my parents at the table.

It was 6pm when I finally woke up. Just one of those days when a nice, heavy lunch intoxicates your senses and you end up sleeping like a stone. As I crossed my parents’ room on the way to the kitchen, I overheard part of their conversation. “…but how did it get there? Do you think he knows?….” They were rather anxious about something. I made myself a quick snack before retiring in front of the television. The main door clicked shut behind me, as my parents stepped out for a walk. Time really flies when you’re watching TV, because the next time the door clicked and opened behind me, it was already 9.30 pm. I turned my gaze towards the door and caught a glimpse of mom rushing into the kitchen with what appeared to be a basket full of sweets. Funny; it was an though she didn’t want to be seen with it. “Karan wrote to us this afternoon”, announced dad, instantly breaking my focus. My ears pricked up instantly. After dad had read out the letter, we assembled for dinner and then retired for the day.

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The next day, I woke up to my friend’s phone call. “Hey! You still sleeping? Get over to the field! We can’t start without our ace batsman!”. It was 11 am, I had overslept. I decided to skip breakfast and join my friends directly. As I made my way through the dense foliage – a shortcut route to the field that my brother and I would often take – I was flooded with fond memories from the time we played together. He was an exemplary sportsman and I would always strive to match up to his level. We were partners in crime, as dad would often say, as we were front runners in landing ourselves in trouble as well as getting out of it; he would strategize, and I would implement. However, seven years ago my strategist left for Germany to pursue his career and I was left without a brother, a partner, and a companion. “Wait till he sees how much I’ve improved. He’ll be impressed as hell!!”.

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I arrived at the narrow clearing in front of the field. “It has got to be somewhere! It can’t just disappear like that”, cried my friend. As I made my way towards the bushes, I stumbled on something and nearly lost my balance. Something was buried at the foot of the clearing, covered by some wild shrubs and gravel. As I bent down to examine the object, I realized that it was a rectangular slab like the one we had used the other day. I motioned for my friends to help me pull it out. With some effort, we dusted off the loose gravel and light foliage from the surface to find the words “KARAN PATEL” engraved on the tombstone.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Kavya Patil

    Nice sir

    1. shomit

      Thanks Kavya! I am glad you liked it 🙂

  2. Vinay

    👏👏👏

  3. Shwetha S Rao

    Very nice!!

  4. Nagarajan

    Amazing read. Keep writing!

    1. shomit

      Thank you for your kind words, Nagarajan 🙂

  5. Anirban Bhattacharya

    That’s a good work, mate.

    1. shomit

      Thank you so much, Anirban! 🙂

  6. Nikhil Vaddadi

    Amazing! Keep writing more of such short stories.

    1. shomit

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Nikhil:) Will surely try to!

  7. Nitish Sharma

    Intriguing…nice read..

    1. shomit

      Thank you so much, Nitish 🙂

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