The Butcher's Son.

He stands at the corner of a tin shed, beside the only wall of the otherwise open shelter where the goats and broilers are kept. He wears a stained lungi. He is not more than twelve and the first strands of a fledling mustache have just started appearing above his upper lip. He does not know his tables, alphabet or even his national anthem.
Yet he is learning his trade well. He catches chicken from the cage with unsure hands but locks their wings with a deft twist of a finger. Once his brother finishes weighing the bird, he transforms. From the adolescent, still unsure of his bearings, he becomes the hardened executioner. Quietly, he twists back the throat of the fidgeting fowl and takes it out of public view by lowering it into a large plastic drum before slitting its throat with a couple of strokes of a blunt knife. The dying bird is dropped into the canister to reach its eventual destiny coloured in its own blood.
The butcher's son cleans his hands, not looking at the bird even once, not bothering about the stains on the wall, but then he takes the apron off and looks at his new spotless lungi. A few red dots appear, quickly spreading out as they are soaked into the fibre. The butcher's son is devastated, it was his new lungi. He couldn't hide his tears, its not everyday that he get a new lungi. He is still a kid, but then, he is the Butcher's Son.


Sujan Dhar said...

really nice...not a crib post after a long time...

its not nice just because of that...:)

Debarati said...

I agree with Sujan. This is one of your best pieces...exquisite in its details. I really liked the part where you say: "A few red dots appear, quickly spreading out as they are soaked into the fibre." A good example of the 'grey' you so like :)