Short Story - The Silent Sentry!

Illustrations: MAITRI DORE
Illustrations: MAITRI DORE

-Gayathri Krishnan

If there was one thing that Gopal disliked, it was the river that ran with a gurgling sound, by the village in which he lived. Gopal’s friends spent long hours at the river. He watched from the river bank as his friends dived into the water and splashed about happily. But Gopal would never join them. He was afraid of water.

Gopal’s father was an expert in swimming and had won many gold medals during the village fairs when the young men of the village gathered near the river to show off their swimming skills. So, naturally he was very disappointed with his son’s fear of water.

‘Swimming is a very good exercise. See, how your friends enjoy swimming! Why can’t you be like them?’ he asked Gopal for the hundredth time.

‘I am afraid of water,’ replied Gopal for the hundredth time.

One day Gopal’s father called him and said, ‘Look, it’s not enough if you accompany your friends to the river and watch them swim. I want you to learn swimming and master it. For a week from now, your friends will teach you how to swim and from the following week onwards you will have to fend for yourself. You will have to go to the river and practice by yourself.’

‘That’s cruel, Father!’ cried Gopal. How can I learn swimming within a week? It might take me months…nay…years.’

‘You can and you are doing it and on your own,’ his Father was firm. ‘You should learn to take care of yourself...my son. And gain self confidence to face life!’

So the next morning, Gopal put on the new swimming shorts that his father had bought for him and trudged wearily to the river where his friends were waiting for him. It took two tedious mornings for his faithful friends to coax Gopal to step into the water, which he did with lot of complaints. ‘Oh, the water is so cold..Brrr…I am going to get fever!’ moaned Gopal one day. ‘Woo...the water is going round and round. Will it wash me away?’ he cried another day. But his friends turned a deaf ear to his complaints.

இதையும் படியுங்கள்:
பதின் பருவ இளைஞிகளே! இது உங்களுத்தான்! சரும ஆரோக்கியத்திற்கான சில டிப்ஸ்!
Illustrations: MAITRI DORE

A week passed by. Gopal felt a bit confident now, but he still dreaded the thought of going off to swim all by himself as his father had ordered him to. Nevertheless, the following week Gopal had his self practice session. He tried his best to swim valiantly, splashing his legs and arms as his friends had taught him.

Weeks turned into months! Gopal had overcome his fear of water! He was quite an expert swimmer now.  However, he could not forgive his father for forcing him to learn swimming. He expressed his feelings to his mother one day. ‘The swirly waters might have washed me away. Father is very mean. He sent me to the river all alone,’ he complained.

Illustrations: MAITRI DORE
Illustrations: MAITRI DORE

Mother laughed and said, ‘Gopal, when you went to swim alone, had you ever noticed an old man fishing by the river?’ Gopal thought for a while. ‘Yes, Ma. I now remember. An old fellow with a droopy hat sitting on the river bank with a fishing rod’, he said.

‘Well, that was your father. He made you go alone to build your self confidence. But he made it a point to follow you to the river bank, without your knowledge, to see that you were safe and sound!’

‘Good fathers do three things: they provide, they nurture and they guide.’

- Roland Warren.

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