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The Ghost In The Tree
A fictional narrative based on incidents from the childhood of Swami Vivekananda.
Gitanjali Murari

Naren looked out the window. It was a perfect day to play outside. The rain drenched street shimmered under the bright sun, a cool breeze bringing relief from the summer heat. He ran down the stairs into the courtyard and just as he opened the main door, his mother called out. ‘Naren, it will rain again… stay inside…’ ‘Ma, I am tired of staying indoors…I am only going till the saptaparni tree…if it rains, its thick leaves will protect me…’

Standing under Shibu’s window, he threw a handful pebbles at the glass. Shibu’s head peeped out, a smile breaking on his face. ‘Come to the tree,’ Naren told him. ‘And bring the others too…’ They all gathered soon, the tree’s blooming flowers glittering like gems against the wall of a big house. ‘So what game are we playing today Naren?’ Shibu asked. Naren swung up onto a branch and considered. ‘Hmmm…let’s pretend we are tree dwellers…the ones on the low branches are the subjects and the one to reach the highest, is the…King!’ There was a mad scramble, each boy trying to climb higher than the other, each one wanting to be king.

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September 2019