The Crack (a short story)

The Crack -Chatakh


The pot never says to the potter, “ Why did you leave a crack on my soul? You could have filled me in with earth.” A gentle pat on the rim, mud-caked fingers tracing contours, searching for imperfections, and a satiating smile on the face of the potter says it all.

I saw him enter the school one day when the air was hot and humid, the gaping gate of the red brick school, not wide enough to devour the many facets of thoughts as they lined up in queues to be branded with roll numbers. With dreams in his eyes and holes in his single shoe, a prosthetic leg had a foot of steel.  And then I saw him in my language class. “ Madam humko angrezi bolna sikha dengi ap?” Steely determination was tangible and concrete like his steel foot. I heard myself say- Yes…if you have the willingness to learn.

Subsequently started our saga of learning together – the potter and the pot. The pot teaching the potter, if the clay he was shaping was marred then the pot had the capacity in its core to be shaped into another form. Thus I taught him the skills of communication through Hindi and Urdu.

Once I asked him to participate in a speech competition. “But can I stand for that long? If only…”

“Yes, you can!”

“Will you come?”

“I will,” I said.

On entering the auditorium, I saw him standing, about to begin. And then I heard the word enunciated almost like an echo- “ Ma’am!” It was raining outside. Petrichor emanating from wet mud wafted in through the windows as he spoke.

A thunderous applause. No more ifs in life! We both learned that from each other.

Light enters through cracks.


  • Ghazala Siddiqi
Encouraging Educator

Written by Ghaz@

I have done my Ph. D in Education and have contributed to Materials Development, content writing, and reviewing at various organizations like NCERT, Cambridge University Press and Jamia Millia Islamia University. I am currently teaching English at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.  I have worked as an ELT expert in the Access Micro Scholarship Teaching Program (American Centre). I also work as a Trainer and Program Coordinator for International Projects by World Learning, USA. I am passionate about reading and writing. Besides getting my poetry book published by Writers Workshop, I have also authored course books for Cambridge University Press.


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