An Unsolved Problem – Sam Nilampallil

A Short Story by Sam Nilampallil.

An Unsolved Problem.

“Oh! No. Don’t do that; don’t break it.” Uttered Varky in his dream. Thresiamma, his wife, woke up hearing his yelling.

What is this man saying in his sleep? She wondered. “Hey man what did you see in your dream?  Who came to break your head?”

“That is nothing , Darling. I have had a stupid dream.”

“Is it Yohannan, our neighbor, came to break your head?” She suspected so because  Yohannan  had a fight with her husband the previous week; it was boundary dispute over their land property.

“No no it was not Yohannan but Jayaleltha.”

“Who? The Chief Minister of Tamilnadu ? Why did she come to break your head?”

“She came with a big pick-ax to break the Dam. At each stroke big pieces like the size of an elephant were falling. Seeing that horrible scene I cried out.”

Thresiamma laughed silently thinking of the stupid dream of her husband had. These days he was much worried over the safety of the Dam . The Revenue Officials came to warn the people the other day. They said that if the Dam broke, flood waters would flow over the top of their houses. That means they would all travel free of cost from Idukki to the Arabian sea..

“That doesn’t matter if we two die. Things are different in the case of our children and grand kids. They are young and a long life is before them to live.” Said Varky.

“But my case too is different . I am not prepared to die soon. I want to live longer. If the Dam breaks, I will run to the shelter with my grand children.”

“Suppose it breaks in the middle of the night when you are at sleep. You will wake up when you reach Thodupuzha. Flood water will carry you away on your cot.

Thresiamma was terrified to think of what her husband had said. There is some truth in what he said. Thinking of the terrible situation she couldn’t sleep. She was thinking of some solutions. Jayaleltha and Karunanidhi wouldn’t let to build a new Dam. An Engineer named Viko had certified that nothing would happen to the Dam for 999 years. If so the Dam will break on the 1000th  year. That means it would happen at our tenth or eleventh  generation’s time. So nothing to worry if it happens at that time. But after a little while thought she worried over the ill-fate of her offspring at that time.  She saw them  drowning in  flood waters. When imagined of that misfortune her eyes were filled with tears.

Suddenly she thought of the news she had heard on TV the other day. It was a news about some MPs of Tamilnadu while sitting in front of the Parliament House had a revelation. They demanded  Idukki District to be annexed  to their State cutting off from Kerala?   It was a good idea, She thought. If that is done the  waters of Mullaperiyar would flow only to Tamilnad instead of Kerala; so that we would be safe. She blamed Malayalees who had not as much intelligence as that of Tamilians.

“ Did you sleep already?”  She asked Varky.

But he too was thinking of some of the possible options to avoid the disaster. Protests like Human Chain is not going to give any good result. If we make Human Chain, Tamilians too would do the same in their State. Another option is sitting hunger strike for a few days. But that too is a useless effort. Tamilians who produce enough rice and vegetables wouldn’t believe in hunger strike. Their politicians say that they are ready for a hunger strike if it is after eating food three times a day.

“Can I tell you something?” Thresiamma asked her husband. “Is it a good idea to annex Idukki district with Tamilnad as their politicians say. If that is done we need not fear because the water would flow only to their State when the Dam breaks. It won’t flow to Kerala. What do you say?”

Varky appreciated  his wife’s suggestion  saying that it is good idea. But after much thinking he couldn’t find a solution to the problem. Even though  the Dam broke the water was remaining still without knowing where to flow,  Tamilnad or Kerala. He was in difficult dilemma. Finally he had found an answer. Let it remain there as it is until the decision of the Supreme Court comes out.

Happy to find a satisfied solution to the problem he dropped off to sleep again.


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