Kept in the sole sunlit corner of that vast room, it stands there – mute and silent, watching each and every movement happening around. Throngs of people pass through that lobby daily, some regular faces, some new. It watches them, the weak smiles, certain cheery ones, the lines on the forehead clearly spelling out the tension brewing inside their skulls, the shivering hands, the knuckles gone white grasping tightly to the files, the throbbing nerves of their neck, the bobbing throats as they gulp down their nervousness, typical trademarks of the new people. Taking it all in, it watches everything.
It follows a regular routine. Every morning a stout lady comes to it who carefully picks it up and takes it to a small pantry like room, where she removes the flowers of the previous day, pours out the slimy water, cleans it under the running tap and wipes it with an utmost soft piece of cloth. She later brings it back to its place where two men dressed in similar dresses, and caps carefully place numerous sticks of new flowers in it one by one.
While it gets filled with fresh water and the bunch of new blooms are placed in them, it watches the woman, stationed behind the wide wooden desk bearing big letters in gold saying RECEPTION, right across the place where it stands, comes to it
She is one of the regular faces it watches, also one of the people who come in the earliest. She wears elf like dark framed glasses with her hair pulled back in a tight bun, wearing neatly ironed crisp business formal, it finds her either smiling at the people coming in or making cordial small talk over the phones.
On various occasions it has found her gazing at it and smiling faintly, so faint that it may almost go amiss. Wonder what she thinks about it. After all it’s a simple glass vase. A glass vase, with thick long grooves moulded on its surface, burnished pink in colour at the bottom, the color fades as it rises up the grooves ultimately assimilating with its sheer transparency, with a dark past.
Although nothing is evident from its appearance, it’s tainted. A fragment of the glass that it is made of bears the blood of a martyr, a war prisoner.
It was a long time ago, but it remembers. It was a part of the single light bulb that had hung over the head of that man. He was dragged into that room by two men wearing the army camouflage. He was blindfolded and was bound to a wooden chair, with ropes scrapping into his skin at his wrists behind the chair and his ankles.
Whatever part of his face was visible was smeared with faint black grease stripes and grime. There were scratches and gashes on his neck and hands, which weren’t very old, but the blood from them had trickled a little and had dried up. His head hung low with exhaustion and his breathing was heavy.
It was a small dark room, more like a makeshift room with thatched roof in the middle of the forest, which was under attack. No windows existed and there was just one small entrance. The man had been kept in that room for two days after he was brought in. Nobody had come in those two days.
After two days, a burly man entered the bunk. He brought with him a small three legged wooden stool and a thick iron rod. Two more of his minions had followed him inside.
On receiving the signal from their boss one of the minions brought a bucket of cold water from outside and dumped its contents on the prisoner. The captive had jerked hysterically on coming in contact with the water. That was the start to the 3-day long interrogation that had followed.
The tortures had worsened, but the big man was nowhere near success in extracting information from his prisoner. The prisoner had said or did nothing other than gathering up enough strength to open his bloodied swollen eyes to look at the frustrated face of his tormentor and curve his dried parched lips into a meek smirk, just to mock him.
That used to infuriate the big man. And one day out of the same frustration he had pulled his revolver out from his holster and had shot the glass bulb, the million fragments of which had fallen on the prisoner, cutting him at various places. The bulb was soon replaced.
That was all the glass from the bulb had witnessed. The fragments were the casualties which were later removed and disposed off as waste and had somehow managed to find its way to a recycling glass factory, where with million other wasted glass pieces it was melted and reformed into this vase.
There were million other stories that coexist with that fragment of glass, some of bar brawls, some of road accidents, some of family fights and some of lovers’ tiff. But I chose this story, because I wanted the vase to have this story. Every object can have a story, if you are willing to listen to it, if you are willing to let that object have a story.