A Tunnel to the Heaven (Symbolic Short Story: Part I)

John Kolyav By John Kolyav, 4th Sep 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

The concept of heaven varies widely among different religions and political groups. False promises may mislead many. This is the story of a hopeful limping man to reach heaven alive.

Promised Tunnel

“A lame man cannot reach heaven. Therefore I strongly advise you not to join the exodus.”

Sir, I can manage. Please enroll my name also.” I beseeched.

“I’ll help him sir!” Krishna supported me.

“Then it’s okay. But we are not responsible!” He noted down my name and address and gave back the ID card. Glancing once more at my leg, he gestured to the driver and the car moved. Its loudspeakers resumed,

‘Believers please register your names with the captain in this car! Come forward without hesitation! In spite of the government’s inaction we have traced out the promised tunnel. This is the last chance! It opens tomorrow at sharp four p.m. and closes at six p.m. Join the pilgrimage! Escape from the next Tsunami!’

Street children ran after the car and collected the pamphlets flew out.

“He agreed just because you supported me. Thanks a lot Mr. Krishna!”

“That’s okay man! It’s my duty to help you although it was your parents’ stupidity not providing you polio vaccine in time. We are rebels but oppose only publicly and take secretly whatsoever the government provides. How can I forsake you since I’m your acquaintance?”

“No, you are my real friend!”

“How many tickets are left?”

“Eight.” I replied.

“See, it’s two o’clock now. Sell it out fast and get ready for tomorrow! Do you have the white dresses?”

“Yes!” I said proudly. “I procured it three days back. What about you?”

“I have. But, I’ve to iron it.”

“Does the tunnel really lead to the heaven?” I could not hide my anxiety.

“Hush!” He looked around and whispered, “Don’t speak these types of things loudly. Have faith! Doubtful one never reaches. Alright. I’ll meet you tomorrow morning.”

He hurried off.

The car had disappeared and the half-naked children fetched as many pamphlets as they could gather. They handed it over to their parents, who were leisurely sitting and chatting in front of their gutters. Some of them kept those in their pockets while the others tore it away and beat them severely. As their piercing cries were rising I limped away from the by lane towards the busy street.

Crippling creed

Due to the opposition against government’s policy my parents had denied oral polio vaccine in my childhood. That time the opposition’s propaganda was totally against the precautionary health measure. My late parents were hardliners and I am paying its penalty in my middle age.

Everything was normal with me up to high school; then started a fever. Although I survived polio, it left my right leg a mere bone attired in wrinkled skin. I resorted in selling lottery tickets.

The validity of the tickets was only up to three o’ clock when the lot is taken far away, in the capital city. So, I moved towards the bus stop and tempted the bystanders stretching the tickets towards them.

Most of the faces in the coastal district of Kerala were teemed with anxiety, misery and uncertainty due to the low income resulted ever since the Tsunami in 2004. The majority were directly or indirectly depended on fishery. Due to mysterious reason the catch had been running low ever since the Tsunami and the recession added up the sufferings. Still lottery and liquor were not hindered. The former gave them hope for getting up early in the morning to read the newspapers for the result of the lot and the latter provided ‘Dutch courage’ and stamina to confront their partners in bed. My limpness was an added advantage for my profession since it aroused sympathy in some of them to buy tickets from me.

I sold out the tickets in time and went straight to a shoe mart. I bought a pair of excellent sports shoes, leaving a little amount for the breakfast the next morning. While strolling back I was thinking about the sudden change in the events that shook the entire district.

It was with much surprise and excitement that most of the people took the unbelievable revelation of a new religious sect regarding the de novo origin of the promised tunnel. They declared that a tunnel would appear in the hilly area of the eastern district on February 29th since the solar eclipse coincides with the month. They claimed that the event was symbolically mentioned in their holy books and hundreds of people had turned martyrs in its search all along the past eras. But, the present generation only was the real beneficiary of the long-awaited tunnel that leads to the eternal heaven. So that they exhorted people not to miss the opportunity as it was a rare phenomenon after many millenniums.

It was with the modern occultism and fire sermons using super computers and satellites that they could predict the exact location of the appearing tunnel. The government categorically denied the possibility of any such miracle and asked the people to see if it was the hoax of the opposition parties to create unwanted troubles. The authorities warned the tunnel might lead to hell and that the wealthy leaders of the opposition would abstain from it but only the followers are exhorted. Some of the people ignored the official declarations because the present living standard was very pathetic. The majority disbelieved and planned not to leave home.

I decided to join since I considered six days of walking not more troublesome than wandering in the streets everyday with the lotteries. Moreover, it was the first chance to see another district. I had not moved out of my native district ever since my birth.

Rumors started spreading and the tunnel became the talk of the small Indian state. Even if someone dies on the way it was said that one would get salvation and that was the main factor attracted the old people.


In the late evening I took out the pamphlet and read it once more at the kerosene lamp to see if anything I missed. The list was simple and self explanatory with only ten instructions.

1. Seven pairs of dresses; one must be white for the last day
2. The smallest possible bag to pack those things
3. Two caps; one should be white
4. A pair of sports shoes
5. A small oil lamp and a match box (torch, lighter or any sort of electronic item is not allowed)
6. A large towel and a sand clock are highly recommended (no watch or clock)
7. No water bottle or packed food items should be carried
8. Head, moustache and beard must be clean shaven (hairs in other parts no matter)
9. Never turn back in the tunnel
10. This pamphlet should be burnt after reading.

Some descriptions of the journey were also given.

I executed the last instruction and took my supper: it would be the last on the earth.

The loudspeaker woke me up early in the morning.

‘Dear people, we warn you once more! Don’t be tempted! Those who cannot build heaven in their own land how can make it elsewhere? This is the retreat of cowards! Beware of the fraud!’

Although the announcing officials were well aware that those who had already enrolled would not hesitate they were completing their duty as a ritual.

I took breakfast in a small hotel with the last amount I had. Back home I disposed all my vessels and other humble belongings to my neighbors. They were very happy and wished me good luck in reaching heaven as fast as possible.

Other links: http://expertscolumn.com/users/johnsonpjohn



Heaven, Hell, Idukki, India, Kerala, Lame, Limping, Lottery, Tsunami, Tunnel

Meet the author

author avatar John Kolyav
Born in 1963, Postgraduated in 1986. Six novels and four poetry books published. Got three state- level awards for literary works. More details at www.johnsonpj.com

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