Short Story

Vasu Pillai was a voracious reader. He used to read anything and everything he came across. Reading was such a passion for him. He was even prepared to "beg borrow or steal" to get something to read. He would walk any distance or wait for any amount of time to secure a book or a magazine. Vasu Pillai had no aim in life other than to start a library and reading room.

It was from Divakaran, Sankaran Muthali's son, that Vasu Pillai learned about the public library in the city. Vasu Pillai became restless. It was at that time that Vidwan Achuthan Nair married the daughter of Madhava Kurup the local money lender. So Vasu Pillai befriended Achuthan Nair and impressed upon him the need for a library. Vasu Pillai's untiring efforts started bearing fruit. A Committee was formed and a General meeting was convened. As insisted by Madhava Kurup Achuthan Nair was the guest of honour. Sankaran Muthalali and Madhava Kurup also addressed the gathering. Vasu Pillai proposed a vote of thanks. After much debate the library was named "Vijnana Chandrodayam Library and Reading Room": Several Committees were formed to raise funds, to locate a suitable building and to organize a drama to mark the inauguration of the Library. Prominent people became Chairman and members of the Committee. Vasu Pillai did not however bother about Committees. He went about doing all the work. Vasu Pillai located a small hutment which he thought would be suitable to start with. He went about from house to house collecting bamboo and palm leaves. In about a fortnight he collected enough of materials and along with that, much of insult also. People asked him "What will you get if you start a library"? Vasu Pillai said "It is not for me that I start a Library". "Then why can't you do something worthwhile"? They quipped.

Nothing deterred Vasu Pillai from his dedication. He himself thatched the roof of the hut, did all the repairs. He some how secured a soft-wood box and stalked his own meagre collection of books and magazines. He put up a board written with a piece of charcoal. Committees met many times to draw out the programme for inauguration. Vasu Pillai was not involved in the collection of funds. He was delegated to locate a suitable VIP to inaugurate the Library and to make physical arrangements. The inaugural function proved a success. Vasu Pillai expected that the balance of funds collected would be entrusted to him for procurement of books. Vasu Pillai took the initiatives and summoned a meeting of the committee. Nobody turned up. Vasu Pillai was left alone.

In the meanwhile for some time the Library was taken over by the literary renaissance group headed by one goonda named Govindan. The library was then the platform of the "fighting literary men;" those who fought for the oppressed class. Vasu Pillai did not react, his only concern being the survival of the library.

Time passed by. The library slowly started growing. Membership increased so also the number of books. The library secured Government aid and now it is housed in its own premises. Vasu Pillai continues to be the Secretary. The same Vasu pillai humble and perhaps unaware that he is a great architect of a noble movement. Aren't there many around us like him?

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