About Me

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Sweet September

Vivo Montgomery was not a strong-hearted person. He was told by all and sundry that the race wasn’t going to be easy. The distance wasn’t a short one. Many had trained for days-on-end to stay fit for the competition. Raleigh Montgomery had gone to the extent of trying hypnosis to commit himself to victory. In the run upto the race, many could hear Raleigh M.’s room emitting midnight sounds of “I won, I won… sweet September!”

With the kind of prize in the offing, as declared over dinner by their master, Vivo knew that the competition would be stiff. His very life was ruled by this stiffness, just like that of his siblings. The times were tough. The economy was going through a depression, a depression that percolated to the people on the streets, the bedrooms of mansions, the stray mongrels in the lanes scraping the last of leftovers and the hawks that spread their wings over the fish market at the coast. They were starved for a victory for over a six-month period now. The problems were infinite, the causes for starvation, numerous. A bunch that was always united and at the command of the head of the home, the Montgomerys could get really competitive when it came to the individual. “To Each Himself” was the motto that had been passed on to them through the ages. And with the large brood of Montgomerys, a trait the family carried through generations, the motto was being pushed to its outer limits, stretched until it would change and metamorphose itself into a new breed of competitive instincts.

The race schedule had not been finalized. Some of the smaller, yet, nagging issues needed to be sorted out. An hour, maybe two… or maybe a day, were the rumors being spread around. Patience wearing thin and uncertain about how long they could sustain themselves with these rigors, the Montgomerys were a worried lot.

Two days later, with the lights dimming down and the ravens in the field heading back east, the time arrived. It was the first day of the New Year. Their master gave them the final nod in one reproachful look. He asked them to perform and perform well. Glory was to belong to he who won the race. They put on their racing shoes. Like true marathoners out on a run, they had all lined up behind each other with no set pattern. The first few yards wouldn’t matter, they knew. The fun and exhaustion would kick in only half way through. Only the toughest would last. With the sounding of the gun, they were off. Vivo stuck to his strategy. Let them go forward, he would retain his stamina for the last by which time he knew the rest would have fallen by the wayside… his siblings… unable to complete the tough drill.

Coming to the last of the turns, he could see that apart from him, there was to be some stiff competition from Raleigh. The hypnosis idea worked well. Raleigh almost ran in a trance Vivo thought. Only a man possessed could do something like that. There were others in the fray too. Vivo pulled on the last of his reserves as he saw the finish line. The prize would be his if he could hold on. This was the moment of glory his master had told him. He made a mad dash to the finish line. Meek as he was, Vivo knew he had it in him. Going head-to-head in the last few yards, Vivo found an unbelievable strength guiding him. The vapors emanating from the ground as they stomped it brought newer energy to every sinewy part he possessed. With a final thrust of the head, he completed the race… just ahead of the rest of the pack. The day was his. Only then could he see the grand prize… a cause for suspense and restlessness all these days, it stood there – perfectly oval, shiny and much larger than him. He plunged into his prize with joy, gratitude and tears. His master was right - Glory was his! The New Year had begun on a great note for him.

On the 28th of August that year, the Montgomery couple was blessed with a son. The child in the master's arms seemed to be tinier and weaker than the other new-borns. They named him Vivian Montgomery in honor of the saint who shared the birth date and one other important reason the master could not recall. Whatever it was, the new-born seemed to respond well to the shortened version of the name – “Vivo”.