He felt silent. “It was the features and hands that gave him trouble. There was something missing in his figures. That something which can’t be taught.”
“Because it comes from somewhere deep inside you,” Salim whispered. “From deep inside here!” and he pointed to his heart.
The old man looked at the boy surprised. He saw him blush and turn his face away.
“You are right, Salim, you are right.” And then he added with sudden bitterness, “And if you don’t have it here,” he thumped his chest, “ then you’d better go to Agra and mass produce ashtrays for tourists from abroad. Then...” The old man coughed painfully and reached for his glass of water.
“Eat, Masterjee, eat. Everything will be alright.”
After he had eaten, the old man once again took up his hammer and chisel. He worked till late in the night. In the early hours of the morning the chisel fell from his hand, and the hammer dropped to the ground. His old body sagged, falling forward limply. His forehead struck Krishna’s flute and slid down the statue to rest on the pedestal.
“Hai Ram,” he muttered, and sank into a comfortable darkness.
When he opened his eyes, he found himself lying on a cot in his bedroom, covered by a light cotton blanket.
He became silent, but something was bothering him. Though the features of the statue were fine but something was missing which could not be taught. It has to come from deep inside means from the heart, Salim whispered.
The old man looked at Salim with astonishment. He saw that Salim became shy and turned back. The old man said that he was right and then said that if they don't have it in their heart (beating his chest), then they should better go to Agra and produce ashtrays for tourists from foreign countries. He screamed with anger and disappointment; so he reached for the glass of water. Salim encouraged Masterjee to eat something and that everything will be alright.
The old man ate and retook the hammer and the chisel. He worked almost till midnight. On early morning the chisel fell from his hand and the hammer dropped to the ground. His body fell forward and his forehead struck to the statue's flute and slid till his feet.
The old man worked till midnight!
He just said "Hai Ram" and fainted. When he woke up, he was on the cot with a cotton blanket.
Meanings of difficult words:
|Thumped||Hit or strike heavily|
|Blushed||Show shyness, embarrassment|
|Bitterness||Anger and disappointment at being treated unfairly|
|Ashtrays||A small receptacle for tobacco ash and cigarette ends|
|Sagged||Sank or bulged downwards underweight|
|Limply||To walk lamely, especially with irregularity|
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). Term-2 English Standard-7. The Last Stone Carver-Sigrun Srivastav (pp. 109-116). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.