Ungshungmi Rungsung hails from Manipur and has studies studied Computer Science and Mathematics. He is an avid reader of philosophy, blogger and loves poetry. A creative person that he is, Ungshungmi enjoys graphic designing as his hobby.
Please enjoy his winning entry in OWAQ’16, The Story of Leo.
“So you will live the rest of your life in mediocrity, eh?” Emma taunted her brother who said nothing but went quietly into his room. Her face flustered with anger as she busted into his room and shouted at him, “All this while sitting around with your big dreams, where have you gotten in life? Who will look after mom and dad? When will you come to your senses, get a job and start contributing your lot? When will you start being responsible?” Emma got angrier as her questions were met with a silent hurt expression on her brother’s face.
“Answer me, you dumb wit!” Emma raised her voice.
“I just want to be who I am.” Leo replied.
“Arrghhh!” Emma groaned. “You think about it, young man. I can’t talk with you any longer without exploding any minute!” So saying, Emma stormed out of the room.
The relatives had visited today to tell the good news about their son who had just been promoted as manager in a multinational company. Leo’s parents struggled to maintain a straight face, holding back their disappointment as they thought of their good-for-nothing son. Tears welled up in Emma’s eyes as she saw the look on her parents’ faces. They were not from a well-to-do family and had struggled to afford them education. They had sacrificed and suffered enough. And all Leo did was squander his life away. Or so everybody thought. That enraged Emma and she decided to straighten him up.
All his life Leo wanted to be a writer. He found his freedom in pouring out his heart and mind typing and clacking away on the computer keyboard in his room. At night he would read and think and write. It was not the adulation or the thought of becoming a celebrated author he desired. No, it was the thoughts that went into writing. He knew the power of words. He wanted people to know what really bothers him, what really need to be done in the present decadent society. It drove him mad!
Half an hour went by and there was a rap at the door. It was his mother.
“Dinner is ready, Leo.”
“I’m not hungry, ma” Leo responded.
“Now don’t be too hard on yourself. And never mind what your sister said. You do what you have to do,” she continued, “But you also have to realize that your friends have gone far ahead of you. That’s all I have to say. Now come for dinner.”
“In a moment, ma” Leo replied and sat down on his bed.
All this talk of job and career suffocated him. He wondered why everyone was in a race to ‘find a job’, ‘become someone’, ‘settle down’ and what not. He was tired of the rat race and did not want any part in it. Deep down he knew what he was doing. He knew it was his calling to bring words alive and speak into the hearts and minds of people. It was time to change. And he was ready to sacrifice everything. Except that it was the constant battle between his poor family and his passion that saddened him.
He remembered a conversation after college with his friend Selma.
“Leo, what is your aspiration in life?”
“I want to write, Sel. I want to let people know that powerful thoughts and words can change the world. That there was Plato and Aristotle, Marx, Newton, Einstein, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Bronte… that they were immortal and their thoughts still live today.”
“Well, Godspeed Leo,” Selma had said then. “But you must also make a living, don’t you? All these talks, where will it lead you?”
“I know,” Leo mumbled. “But you can’t kill a spark that has caught fire.”
Awkward silence ensued and moments later they both parted ways.
That was three years ago.
Leo grew tired from his thoughts as he lay down on his bed. His eyes grew weary and his stomach growled, yet he didn’t move from his bed. As he closed his eyes to sleep, a thought kept repeating in his mind:
“Sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning…”
#1 Does justice to the theme, A Nosh of Life. The undying spirit and will of Leo to not let go of his bite of life amid all the pre-defined norms comes out real nice.
#2 A fair attempt on the perception of people on pursuing writing as a profession. Not so extraordinary plot. Everyday normal story: appreciate the effort.
#3 It says, “tired of the rat race”, but Leo never participated in any. The story is of a character but fails to show even a minor transition in the protagonist.
Read another of his winning entry from OWAQ, The Purple Lilac.