The writing on the Hand
The Author, in the beginning, felt guilty. Out of the guilt, a story was born.
Fireman Ragav’s dog started barking at something. Ragav ran to the spot. He saw the hand of a person. He looked around for the body but could not find it. He noticed that something was written on the hand. Before he could read it one of his colleagues cried, ‘We have a survivor!’
Ragav got busy pulling out the survivor.
Fabien looked at his face in the mirror. There was an invisible void, an abyss, flashing like a torch that spit darkness instead of light in the centre of his face. It was himself, his own face. He hated the figure he saw. He wished that he had died a week ago when he narrowly escaped from a road accident. He had committed a great sin. If his mother was alive she would kill her son for what he had done. If he was another person he would have despised the person who committed the great sin. Fabien rewinded to the past and watched his sinful act again and again. If he was to die now he would certainly go to hell. He felt like he was another person. He took his old photos and looked at them. ‘They are not mine.’ he said to himself with distain.
Fabien took a long walk on a road far away from his place. ‘I know the difference between the good and the bad but still…’ Fabien’s thoughts began to work as an evil torturing machine. He tried to stop thinking and concentrate on his heart beat. When he was not successful he started concentrating on his breathing. It was a waste of oxygen. ‘What if someone had reminded me? What if someone had stopped me? What stopped the Angel of the Lord who stopped Abraham from killing his own son from stopping me?’ he began to think again.
He wanted to get distracted very badly. He decided to notice the huge bill boards. He saw a model wearing jewelery. He saw a sumo wrestler posing for a marble company. He saw beautiful models in graduation clothes advertising a college. Everyone has something invaluable to sell. He did not wish to be a buyer. He saw a board that read ‘Zion Tattoos’. The board pointed at a small shop that was sandwiched between a big restaurant and a silk sari showroom. Something forced Fabien to enter it.
The face of the owner reminded him of his college days. The owner had used a lot of hair gel and had coloured the tips of his hair brown. He had pierced his eyebrows with a silver arrow. He wore a white tight T-shirt with the comment ‘Ladies Only’ written in pink. His sleeves were so short that it revealed a tiger tattoo and a vaccination mark.
‘Do you want a tiger or a dragon?’ he asked.
‘Just words.’ replied Fabien.
‘I know to tattoo an Ohm that looks just like God Ganapathi.’
‘No, I just want you to write something on my forearm.’
‘The name of your girlfriend, eh?’
‘No, just write- Do good. Love everyone. No evil deeds.’
Fabien liked his tattoo very much. He was so obsessed with it that he used to read it repeatedly. It looked like this-
NO EVIL DEEDS.
Fabien had an accustomed habit of looking at his watch often. People would say that it was his watch that controlled his life. After the tattoo got into his hands his watch lost all its attention.
There was a great change in Fabien’s character. He started talking to everyone and helping his neighbours whenever there was a need to do so. People started loving this man whose name was not known before.
Fabien organized a small society that collected funds and helped the poor. Fabien became more popular when a news channel did a documentary on his society. When asked what was the secret of his success Fabien politely showed his tattoo. Fabien had many fans but this did not destroy his humility. He got married and lived a normal family life
Once when Fabien was all alone in his room he looked at his tattoo. It had been nine years since it had changed his life. He began to talk to his tattoo-
‘I don’t know how to thank you. You are like my guardian angel. If you had not come to my life I would have been no one. But, wait…’
Fabien now thought of the only sin he had committed in these nine years. He had forgotten to thank the tattooist. Fabien wondered how he could have forgotten it. He decided to meet him. He took out the gold medal he had received from the mayor and decided to give it to the man who had changed his life.
‘Nine years is a long period of time. I don’t know if I will identify the man. Would he have changed his job? Would he have migrated to the Middle-east?’ Fabien wondered.
When Fabien saw the board titled ‘Zion Tattoos’, he was filled with joy. He noticed that rust had eaten half of it. His enthusiasm was shattered when he noticed that the tattoo shop was replaced by a barber shop. He spent a week trying to locate the tattooist.
Fabien looked at the face of the tattooist. He looked very different from the person he had earlier seen. He had a grim expression on his face and did not wish to communicate with Fabien. He was locked all alone in his cell. A year after the tattoo incident he was arrested for rape. Fabien saw in his face the same expression of guilt he had seen in his mirror years ago. Tears began to roll from Fabien’s eyes. Fabien began to narrate his story. The tattooist looked as if he was not listening. The tattooist finally gave a sigh when Fabien gave him the gold medal. The tattooist began to cry like a child. The jail authorities got disturbed and asked Fabien to leave. When Fabien turned back after a few seconds the tattooist was still crying without making any noise. When Fabien went he smiled and reflected, ‘Finally I have done something good.’
When the tattooist returned from jail he went straight to his friend’s silk sari showroom. His friend took him to the basement and gave his tattoo box. The tattooist decided to tattoo his forearms with the same words he used for Fabien. He heard people screaming but this did not stop him from tattooing his forearm. The showroom was on fire. People ran without knowing what to do. The locals tried to put out the fire but to no avail. Finally Ragav and his men came to the rescue.