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The Lesson ‘The town by the sea’ is a short story by one of the most prominent Indian writer, Amitav Ghosh. The Story is about an emotional and inevitable calamity. The director searches for his dear ones lost in the flood. The Director was in Port blair on 25 Dec 2004, on his way to Delhi. Travelling for official reasons, he had left his family in Malacca. He spent the night in Haddo Circuit House which stood close to the water.
The next morning he felt the earth was shaking and floor of his room heaving so he ran out to save himself. At that time he received a call from his wife in Malacca, Car Nicobar. He cut off her call and decided to call back later. He grew anxious when he came to know that the Car-Nicobar islands were low lying islands.
He called the government office at Car Nicobar which had satellite phone and was informed that Malacca was badly hit and there was no news about his family. In the afternoon he came to know that his thirteen year old son had been found clinging to the rafters of a church.
The Inevitable Calamity
The family home had been swept away by a huge sea wave. His wife and daughter could not be traced. The director managed to come to Malacca. He searched for his wife and daughter among the rubble but found only some of their possessions. The director returned to Car Nicobar with his son.
The Tsunami had been peculiarly selective in the manner of its destruction. When they reached the mins of the circuit house they found a mound of house hold goods and the director found his suitcase. The director only took his slides.The director told the writer that his wife was an English teacher at a local school, but wanted to leave, the director could not get a transfer. He felt that she could have achieved many things and he had Med to give the opportunity.
He pointed to his daughter vinceta’s paintbox but did not pick it up and said “What good will it do? What will it give back?” The Writer wondered himself, being a husband, father and human being, what he would have done and felt. Would he have chosen to forget the past? He found that the answer, to the question was a matter of expressing the innermost sovereignty of ourselves because nothing remained to cloud our vision.
The Need to Escape
The writer was surprised to see that there was no insecurity when the director opted to abandon his wife’s and daughter’s possessions. He must have found some comfort in the knowledge of an impersonal effort.
The writer felt that at such moments, words seem to be useless and nothing is valuable other than to act and intervene in the course of events. Even thinking, reflecting and writing about it seems insignificant and wasteful. The next day the writer recognised that the director had mounted the most singular and most powerful defence he would ever witness.