On this day :
1947 Congress investigates Reds in Hollywood, 1774 Congress creates the Continental Association, 1965 Last Volvo PV rolls off the assembly line, 1819 Union General Daniel Sickles is born, 1947 The Red Scare comes to Hollywood, 1990 2 Live Crew members are acquitted of obscenity charges, 1944 Natural gas explosions rock Cleveland, 1827 Battle of Navarino, 1935 Maos Long March concludes, 1944 MacArthur returns, 1973 Sydney Opera House opens, 2011 Libyan Dictator Moammar Gadhafi is Killed, 1994 Burt Lancaster dies, 1853 French poet Arthur Rimbaud is born, 1977 Three members of the southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd die in a Mississippi plane crash, 1803 US Senate ratifies the Louisiana Purchase, 1962 Kennedy press secretary misleads press, 1968 Fosbury flops to an Olympic record, 1964 Relations between South Vietnam the United States and Cambodia deteriorate, 1973 Watergate special prosecutor dismissed, 1918 Turks send British officer to negotiate armistice terms, 1944 US forces land at Leyte Island in the Philippines,

Stories

A Tale of Two Packages

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As soon as the doorbell rang, a change came over Mrs. Sharma. She excitedly ran towards the door. I had never seen my aunt so excited about anything; it was as if the excitement of her forty five years had been produced again in an instant. I was sitting, in less excitement, in the main room. The reason I was at her house was to relish the world class lasooni dal she makes.

She appeared in her blue gown. It appeared as if a hippo was splashing in the water when she jumped up. I wondered why she was so excited; my curiosity had been piqued by then. Was it something rare? Or was it something valuable? She rushed towards the door to open it.

The delivery man was a thin person. Thinner than me, he seemed to me like a minnow in front of the hippopotamus that came rushing towards him. My aunt crashed into the poor man. The package in his arms was there no longer. It had long flown into the air and fallen down the window. Mrs. Sharma frantically searched for the package, before I told her it fell down the building. She was down in an instant. I noticed the knocked out man.

Sanjay was a frail man, and certainly not suited to take collisions with large women. I fed him a little dal, and he was revived at once. His first question was, “Where’s the package?” I told him to relax and check his health first, but he didn’t care. “I can’t lose the package! This is not how delivery boys act!” I thought to myself about how that sentence was framed, but then dismissed any thoughts except those for my aunt.

My aunt presently appeared. She said, “I can’t find the package.”

“What? You lost the package?”

“Shut up! It’s your fault I lost it!”

“Please stop shouting.”

“Why did you attack me? I don’t have insurance!”

“Why did you ring the doorbell? It excited me too much!”

“Mm, this dal tastes delightful.”

It wasn’t the time to be consuming a cooked mixture of pulses and spices, but there was not anything else I could do.

Meanwhile, far away hidden from view a fishy man spoke into a walkie talkie.

“Agent Fishy reporting. Where do I receive the package?”

A gruff voice answered, “Floor six.”

“Sir, which building? Hello, hello?”

The line was cut, and the fishy man had no idea what to do. He headed towards the building closest to him.

Sanjay and my aunt were still arguing, when I heard the doorbell ring. A fishy looking man stood outside, and asked me politely, "Do you have the package?"

I did not answer immediately, and he looked at Sanjay.

“Agent Sunday?” Sanjay must have misheard the fishy man, for he responded with a nod. “Yes, I am Sanjay.”

“What? You lost the package?”

The fishy man now changed his attitude. He dragged Sanjay by the hand, not a difficult task considering his weight, and took him away. I shouted out, asking what the package contained, but the delivery boy Sanjay was already gone.

“Okay Sunday, what do you know about the package?”

“Nothing at all, man! I just had to deliver it to Mrs. Sharma!”

The fishy man felt strange. “As the delivery boy, don’t you know what you’re delivering?”

Sanjay decided to spill the beans. “I am just a budding actor! I substituted my friend, the actual delivery man, so that I could learn how to adapt to different roles!”

My aunt was looking out the window in a sad fashion. She still had not told me what the package had in it, but I cared less and drank more dal. Suddenly, she gave a shout to me. I rushed to her, and she pointed down near a tree. A small package was lying underneath, possibly the same one we lost this afternoon. We rushed downstairs.

In the park, a dog, with nothing to do, found a small package. It was small enough to fit in its mouth, so it did what any dog would do: hold it in its mouth. By the time I reached it, there was no way it was going to let it go without a fight. Mrs. Sharma plodded me on to face the dog, but as they say, even a dog is a lion in its neighbourhood. I tried to tell my aunt that the package could not be saved, when Sanjay came rushing forward. He took one good aim and kicked the dog to the curb.

“I shall deliver the package!”

Finally my aunt opened the package. It contained a beautiful solitaire and a letter. My uncle is affiliated with the army, and Mrs. Sharma seems to miss him a lot. That is why the package was so important to her. It would seem the letter was more valuable than the solitaire.

Everything was settled by then. I never saw that fishy man again. Sanjay became a small time actor, getting menial roles in large films. My aunt remained a happy woman. As for me, I just had some more dal and went home, stuffed and tired.

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