Monday, August 24, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
The ‘10 meter X 10 meter’ cell caged the vermin of the society, along with them was Rajeev, a senior accountant of a brokerage firm. Amongst the bloodiest criminals of the city, Rajeev uncommonly stood at the doors, holding the iron grills. His face was stiff, eyes were motionless and transfixed, and there wasn’t a hint of any emotion except the guessable shock. However, he was not shocked. The clutter of the cons failed to distract him, for them he was in his own world. Cons chatted about many things, from daily sodomy at the bathroom to latest policewoman in the jail. But Rajeev was in his own world, he listen nothing. He was in a lonely field with broken earth, encapsulated by a dumb silence, watching the bioscope of life, as the moments passed like frames.
A stout youth wades through three buses to reach his destination. He has just graduated, it is his first job. His father has promised that after he has saved enough, he will further pour some more for his further education. As he enters the air conditioned room in an old creaky building, he is welcomed by the array of computer screens and clamorous uttering of numbers and codes. He is a junior accountant, to count up the days trades, he was told by the owner. Six months down the line he has saved enough, he is sick of the same daily routine. He asks his father for pouring in. You are settled now, his old man replied, now this is your profession. The things go black and white, and the frame changes.
A baby is bought into a big house. The baby grows up to a young boy. But with each year of growing up, big house becomes seemingly small, the open verandahs gives way to closed doors. Soon the boy find himself in a smaller house with six members, but still can’t call his own. The teenage slip in and there is still no dwelling that can be called own. The brat becomes a man and the man gets married but still he owns no roof. The caravan moves on. The things again go black and white, the frame changes.
An opinion is dictated and the helpless man has to obey the injunction. He will be married against his wishes. He has to live with a woman he doesn’t like, so does the woman. He gets married. The things reconcile, in the small house sprouts apparition of a family, few years pass. The man takes a walk from the office to the bus-stand; from the bus-stand he will take a bus to his home, a home where he has a family, his family his home but not his house. He sees his wife in a car, he waves, but there is someone else there, they look happy and gay, they kissed. The glass shatters, the arguments builds up, the accusations and abuses fired from each side. The woman walks out of the house. A single stroke of hammer breaks the sacred thread that would have bound them for ages. The things go black and white, the frame changes.
An inebriated man rambled along, sniffing at the corsage around his wrist. A moll touches his head and he responds by kissing in air, he keeps walking to the way of twinkling lights and enmeshed voices. The soliciting blossoms passing uncanny remarks welcomed him to their dens. The man feels like king, he slips into one dungeon. The red light ceased to signify termination, it now signified initiation. Pleasure grips him and binds his body, he is lost. He wakes up under the bridge; the corsage is gone, so is his wallet and watch, he walks back home. The things go black and white, and the frame changes.
Man sees his old man dying, he coughs and there he goes. The man can hardly walk to complete his old man’s final journey. He rambles along. When his father is reduced to ashes, he comes back home. He is alone now, his mother died years ago. His wife now divorced. He searches for a bottle and gulps its contents. He is alone now; he gulps again and crashes into the bed. The frame changes, nothing black or white appears.
A man argues with his landlord. He has missed three months worth rent. The landlord serves him a verbal warning, pay up, he said, or leave. The man surrenders into his house. He is enraged, he pours a half for himself, and gulped it at one go. It was half past dead, the man walks to his landlord’s house; he knocks at his door. ‘Who is this’, the landlord scorned before things turned red for him. A glass bottle crashes into his head, pieces of glasses piercing into his skull and then to his brain. A woman screams, two children cried. Breaking into the house the man stabs the woman with the broken bottle. He takes the children and smashes their head to the wall. The things turned black, white and red, but the frames have disappeared. Rajeev sees the cell.
There are thirty inmates packed inside, which each has something to tell, each with a murderous history. Some were looking at him, few with scorn and few with lust. But why? Why are the things turning bright? Why he can’t see any inmates? What are those red silhouettes? Why have those encircle him? Why are those coming towards him, with their hands straighten to grab his neck. No, it can’t be, how can they be here? Aren’t they dead? No, leave me alone, leave me. He falls on his knees, and screams out loud.
He wakes up blinking his eyes to the old rickety fan hung in the ceiling. He can hardly move anything, even his head. His legs, his hands, his body seemed belted to the bed. His head was strapped to something, his mouth being stuffed. He cannot speak. He was surrounded by people dressed in whites, they seemed doctors and nurses. He wants to talk, he is thirsty; he tries to turn his head. His body stiffens, a strange sensation ran throughout his body. He hasn’t felt it before, he felt drowsy. When it stopped, saliva flowed from his mouth to his cheeks. He can’t feel any pain or feel any sense. He is a vegetable now.
An old man loiters throughout the neighborhood. His face covered with beard, his body covered in rags. He hasn’t taken bath for ages. He doesn’t remember anything. The only thing that keeps him busy is seeing the cars passing by. He survives on the food thrown in the road. Hard to believe that he stayed here once, carrying a name called Rajeev, an accountant. He walks clumsily, he eyes are dry. An urchin throws a peel into the pavement. The old man steps on it, he slips on the pavement, striking his temple down on the hard concrete. It was all black, till corpse was cleared by the municipal van.
© Tarun Mitra
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
He placed the cigarette between his lips. But before doing that, he made it sure that he is in a secluded corner, still out of fear his eyes rolled here and there.
Come on! Whispered his friend, you are the only one the gang left. Do it, come on.
He lighted up the match. But he couldn’t garner any strength to ignite his fag. What if anyone saw him? What if his stink get caught in home?
Ouch! The heat seared his finger. He scratched the second one.
Hurry up! We have the Chlor-mint. No one will get to know anything. Just ignite this shit. Look how many times I have done this. Have anyone came to know about this?
With a trembling hand, he placed the fire on the tip. Seconds later it burned.
He was gasping for breath, his face has turned red. His eyes almost blood shot. He just came to know how it would feel in the gas chamber. The history lesson his teacher taught today. How can grown up inhale this shit. He wanted to throw it away; instead he gave it to his friend.
He smoked it smoothly; he must be an expert, he wondered. He is thirsty now.
Water vendor was standing nearby, rupees one for four glasses, he drank two rinsed with two. No trace should remain.
“Only this much!” remarked his friend, who was having his chlor-mint now. He wondered how he can be so unperturbed.
A blue colored Maruti went past them unnoticed.
They take their buses to their homes.
He ran straight into bathroom, ignoring the calls of his mother to have the water first. He rinsed and rinsed again; he took a bath. He had his lunch quickly and retired to his room.
He studied whole evening. But he can still smell the odor. He only went down to have some tea. He came back into the room again.
It was 9 PM, dinner time, time for the family.
He went down for the dinner. But not before convincing himself that the odor existed. He took his chair in the dining table
How was your day? His father asked.
It was fine, he replied.
Anything new, he asked again.
Hell! Do I smell, does he know it? Oh no just his normal course of question; Nothing new, he replied.
Are you sure, he replied again.
Now what on earth is he getting at? Have he seen me? No, not possible, secluded corner anyway. Yes dad, he replied.
Alright, he returned.
His palms were sweating, Did he knew it? Did he smell it? Or has he seen me? Not possible, more than hours now. How can be it?
Son, eat your food, why are your playing with it.
Oh! I am sorry.
He finished his dinner and went to terrace to get some fresh air. It has being a terrifying day for him, he was feeling like criminal. Does his dad know it? Has he seen him smoking? If he has, then what will happen? Will he be beaten up? Or thrown out of the house? What should he do now? Jump for the terrace? Yes, it is the best option. Or is it? It will certainly be painful, people will forget. But what after he recovers? No, again. Has he told the mom and entire family? Or will he disclose it in the front of the entire family in his presence? Will he humiliate him? Or will it be my birthday gift? His mind wandered through the strings of seamless thoughts.
Care for one?
What? He replied, turning back, he was stone cold.
What? Cigarette? I do it to you every time, his father replied.
N..no, I don’t smoke, he stammered.
Not if I don’t know, his father replied looking straight into his eyes.
He knew it, he has seen me; he felt like crying. Please don’t tell anyone, please, I beg you, I won’t do it again, I swear. He begged, clasping his hands he felt on his knee. Desperation was evident in his face.
His father smiled. Get up, now, he said. No I won’t. Holding his arms, he made him stand up.
I was there, only you failed to notice, rotten luck of yours, he replied.
What is he saying? He thought.
His father continued. I took up smoking when I was of your age. Your grandfather only figured it out when I got my first job. He can’t do anything then. I was smart. And most importantly I didn’t get caught. The entire incident has lesson for you.
That I should never smoke, he replied.
No, no it is not like that, now just listen. Our life hinges on the choices we made, choices which can be good or bad, depend upon perception. But whatever it might be, the choice should be our alone, and ultimately nobody should have any say in it. Because, once you give in to others you become his slave, you become paralyzed. You can’t take you decisions then. Then everyone has a say on you, and at one time you get frustrated, to such extent that you complain you don’t have any control over your life, nobody listens to you. But it is your own making, your own choice, a choice where you let others have a say over your affairs.
He was listening, trying to grasp each and every word.
You do something it’s your choice; you must have a reason for it. But don’t make ridiculous promises that you won’t do a thing because someone said you so. You are an educated person, you can easily deduce the reasoning behind any act, and one need not be Einstein for that. Smoking is bad, we all know, but the decision is upon you. It is your life. Was making a first try your decision? If it was, then I am proud of you and if it isn’t, it is just a suggestion, don’t do it. Take your own decision. One day you will be maintaining a family, and then what will you do. Look out for friends, holding poll for daily household decisions. But ultimately it is your life. I don’t mind to see to smoke or drink, but all I want is that decision should entirely be yours. And secondly, you know the history of Greece, Athens and Sparta to be precise.
Yes, I do, he replied.
For Spartans, stealing was not bad, but getting caught was. So whenever your ass gets blown up somewhere, make sure you don’t get caught. Because even if you know you didn’t do it, you will be blamed for it.
He was trembling now, but he was able to grasp the words his father said.
Now let’s get some sleep.
Putting his hand around his hands around his shoulder, he guided his son to his room.
© Tarun Mitra
Saturday, August 15, 2009
As I began to write this article India has already slipped or slept into its 63rd year of existence as an Independent nation. While writing this I am not at all concerned about the nation and all its woes but the people and generation which will drive the nation into its next evolution. The purpose is not to give any sermon or to cry hoarse about the state of affairs, but they are simple thoughts that are bothering my mind to last two days. It has no whatsoever bearing on anyone’s or everyone’s particular act or acts but just the abstinence which makes me bother.
August 14th has greater significance in sub continental history, because on this day the brightest jewel of a limping empire was cut to size on the basis of its contents. However for this year, the 2009, it happened to be ‘Janmasthami’ or ‘Shri Krishan Janmasthami’. I am not going to explain what this Hindu festival is all about, just google it. But yes, what I feel is that people especially the younger lot are losing the interest in it, only if you leave the traditional ‘puja’, there is seldom any interest in it now. Just rewind few years back, say, 1995, as a 10 year old kid I knew the fervor with which we use to celebrate. The whole of streets used to be full of ‘jhankis’ (tableau) created by the kids, using everyday toys, cars, chalks, soil etc. These tableaus used to describe the life of lord Krishna. A lot of creativity used to flow into this, along with a lot of colors. It was not possible that you miss a street where there has being no ‘jhanki’ at all. But today, in my own colony where I’ve being living for past 22 years, there are only few of them, easily countable on the fingers. What is it? Lack of interest or lack of support, or is it plain old ignorance and attitude, let the other do it. I still cannot fanthom the answers.
August 15th is Indian Independence Day, for many it is just a holiday, but for crazy people like me it is much more than that. Again let’s get back few years, say again 1995, on this day, it was my typical routine, get up early, watch the Independence Day ceremony being telecast live from Red Fort, pester my father to buy kites and see him fly. Kite flying is a science and art, science because getting it fly involves the principles of science, an art because learning to maneuver it and outmaneuver others is nothing short of an art. I never really mastered it, rather I never mastered it, I used to do some ancillary jobs attached to it. But I still liked it, and I still like it. A month before the Independence Day, the sky would be full of kites, of various sizes and shades, competing against each other, for the mastery of sky. But today I can only see few and that too far between and that too on Independence Day. Have we forgotten this art or we have gotten ourselves some really new priorities or Xbox or Playstation has an electronic version? Heaven knows.
The change might be for good or might be for worse. But whatever it should be for, it should not erode our creativity, our competitiveness and our belief in future. It has taken us a long time to shed the habit of saying ‘nothing can happen to this country’. Just don’t let it re-grow it.
These are just my thoughts and all of you are entitled to have your own contradictory view points.
© Tarun Mitra
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
“Hey girl wassup” Maddy typed as he saw Vinita’s status in Office Communicator turned green.
“Me fine, you say, heard that your project got approved, congrats” She returned, it was the beginning of the normal office day for her. After her team meeting, the first thing she does is to greet her friends over the Office Communicator.
Maddy, Vinita, Kunal and Vinay work for same software company. They passed out from same college and were selected through campus itself. Since they met in their master’s they’d been great friends. Maddy, shorter for Madwesh, Kunal and Vinay were school mates, for their bachelors they went to different colleges. They jacked up again for their master’s were they met Vinita, Manju, Suniel, David and others to make a great team. Only Vinita, Kunal, Vinay and Maddy were able to garner offer letter from same company. Albeit, Vinita was in different development centre maintained by their company.
“Yep, that stuff got approved”
“So, what next now”
“Well, I know that I will complete this. But I am still not satisfied. I am feeling frustrated with this fucking IT life”
“Well Well Well! It seems Mr. Romeo is running out of girls”
“No it’s not like that I think I have dried up now. After that idea nothing new is coming in my mind. I worked on it for last 6 months and the shit got approved now, after 3 months of its submission. Still, I will be bossed by other on it. Bossed on my own creation, man that’s crazy. I am lonely I am contemplating suicide, do you have any better idea. Death without pain.” Maddy typed casually.
“Hmm…I can give you some ideas, cynide…difficult to obtain, hanging…umm..Painful, accident….requires guts and you are out of it….others they are costly”
“Know what…I know one thing quick and cheap; mercury!” she exclaimed.
“Now where the hell can I get mercury?” he inquired even though he knew where.
“Moron, the thermometer”
“Oh! Thank you” replied and turned his status to invisible.
“Maddy…where are you…are you at home…hey that was a joke you know” she scribbled as she saw the status changing.
“Hey you there…don’t take it seriously….that was a joke….mercury is dangerous don’t play with it…Maddy are you there.” She typed apprehensively, fearing the worst. She has always being a meek person.
“Maddy….you there…..hey plz delete that chat…plz plz plz” She typed almost begging to her desktop.
“Here I am” came the reply.
“Thank God..Where were you?” She took a deep breath.
“To fetch thermometer”
“Maddy…I am in no mood to joke now…and keep it from where you have got it….that is DANGEROUS” she typed furiously.
“Vinni..You know..Mercury more or less looks like silver…but it is liquid…chemistry never fascinated me..but I think I have missed something…such a beauty…a liquid metal…defying properties….defying life….Good Bye and thanks a tonne.” He replied and logged off the communicator, he had a huge day ahead. He just could not be distracted by one of his pranks. He went about his work.
Vinita, on the other hand has lost her all taste for work. She began to pace in her cubicle. She tried reaching Maddy’s cell but it was unreachable. She shouldn’t have given that idea. She cursed herself for uttering that idea. She called Vinay.
“Vinay..Vinnie this side…yaar tell me is Maddy alright…have u seen him in the office..Where are you?”
“Hey Hey Chill! One by one” replied Vinay. “I am at office, no I haven’t seen Maddy and I don’t know whether he came to office or not. Kyun what’s the matter? You seemed worried.”
“Vinay, I don’t know how to tell you this, I stupidly suggested Maddy the easiest way to commit suicide, he asked me and I spoke like a parrot and then he logged of. You people are school friends, can he do any such thing..please yaar tell me I am worried.” She said with her voice almost breaking.
“Relax! Don’t worry..no he is not going to do such thing, if he has such intention he will let me know first. Chill I will talk to him. He might be playing a prank. It’s usual for him. Don’t worry you get back to work I will talk to him. Have you tried calling him?”
“Yes I did, but his cell was switched off”
“He might be working on core or probably sitting with client. It’s his old tactics whenever he is busy. You don’t think over it now. Go to work, I will talk to him.”
“Please do yaar. Chal got to go, bye, please talk to Maddy and let me know.”
She’d almost used all of her morning thinking about Maddy and his presumed suicide attempt. Her mind vacillated between Maddy and after effects of his action on her, after all she is the one who suggested him the better way. She took a quick lunch and settled down from her work. She has a lot other things pending. Soon enough she forgot all about the problem of Maddy and his suicide. She went home late and after having her dinner she went to sleep.
It was 1 am in the morning when her Cell Phone rang.
“Who is this?” She asked supinely.
“Vinnie! Vinay this side. What did you actually tell Maddy?” a grim voice from the other side replied. She was bestirred from her slumber.
“What happen Vinay? I told him what I told you in the morning?”
“You shouldn’t have suggested it?”
“What happened can’t you just tell me” she felt like crying.
“Till now nothing has happened but can’t tell, he is still not picking up his phone”
“I am coming, where are you” she stood up and reached for her purse.
“Wait! I think I am getting a call. Don’t come now. I’ll get back to you.”
Bathing in sweat Vinita couldn’t believe what she could have done. She went to kitchen to have some water. She cannot sleep now, the night is too dark. She sat down at the kitchen.
She never knew when the sleep overpowered her. It was 5 am when her cell again rang.
She woke up feeling like a thousand volt electric shock went through her body. She picked up the phone.
“Vinnie! Kunal, just listen now, come to Maddy’s house by 7 am, we’ll be there by 7 only”
“But what…” she tried to ask but by then Kunal had disconnected the phone.
She thought she should take some tea. She put the sauce pan over the gas and poured in the ingredients and put them to boil. She began to imagine things. What did Maddy do? Did he really?
Did Maddy? No, no way. Otherwise I won’t be called to him home. But did he try? He survived Mercury, that’s unbelievable. No, are they trying to pin point the blame on me. Shall I go? Would I be caught? No way, they are friends; they won’t conspire against me, why they would conspire against me. They know me very well and so do I. But why would he be doing. And why they’re framing me. Yeah! I told me the way, but that was a joke, isn’t it. Will it be a police case? Then what…
Her chain of thoughts were disturbed by the stink of the gas, apparently tea boiled over and fell over the gas. Now, she’d to clean the mess and there would be no tea for her. She drank some water and went down with cleaning.
She was at Maddy’s home at 7 am sharp. The front door was open; she slipped in and went straight into the room. There was an eerie silence in the house. She feared the worst. She went straight into Maddy’s room.
The room was dark, though she could observe some silhouettes; she couldn’t just make out who they were. Fear has already clipped her lips. “Maddy, are you there” she whispered. There was no response. Now she stood at the door, trembling, petrified; she was sweating and breathing heavily.
She gained her consciousness after few minutes. The first thing she saw was two beaming, clean shaven faces wearing the colgate smile. They were Vinay and Kunal. She was in the sofa and Kunal was sprinkling water on face.
“What the fuck is it?” She shouted, still trying to grasp the things.
“Nothing, but pure fun” came a beaming voice, it was Maddy, she knew it was Maddy. The jerk was in his bed.
“Well….were to began..Actually yesterday after you called me up, I called Maddy and he explained me what has happened between you and him. Maddy was feeling feverish therefore he didn’t come yesterday. But he was working from home. When I called him up about his apparent plans that you told me he burst into laughter. Let’s play a game he said and explained me what to do next. I in turn explained Kunal. I and Kunal called you from our homes. We only came here half an hour before you. The trap was set and you walked in” Vinay explained while trying to prevent his laughter eating out his words.
Vinita began swearing furiously, this only made them go ga-ga. After a while propriety was restored.
Maddy spoke,” C’mon yaar, I was feeling feverish. That’s it and you provided some laughter medicine. Now pass me on that thermometer. No, not suicide, I need to check my temperature now. It’s what doctor told me.”
“You don’t have any limits” Vinita said. She was smiling now, having shredded the last signs of anger. She passed on the thermometer to Maddy.
Maddy placed the thermometer beneath his tongue and lower jaw. He keeps it there for a minute usually. Kunal and Vinay were still smiling, so was Vinita. And for Maddy, it was usual for him, he was equally notorious for his pranks during his college days. He has only being able to keep his reputation intact.
Maddy moved his hand to replace the thermometer. The thermometer cracked in his mouth.
© Tarun Mitra
Monday, August 10, 2009
The local train trundled into a momentary halt, Pooja aged 34, disembarked from the wobbling wagon. She was in Delhi now, after spending an entire day at her eldest brother’s home. It was half an hour journey for her. A voyage she undertakes thrice a year, at holi, rakhi and deepawali. A travel, she sometimes think, she shouldn’t make at all. But this was rakhi, she just couldn’t miss it, for the last eight years since her brother left his paternal home, she hasn’t miss a rakhi; for her it was just ‘mechanical’. She made her way out from to station to the over-bridge above the station, waiting for the conveyance to her home.
The lights of the nature was dimming, honking of vehicles only reinstated her worst fear, the traffic jam, now she would be late for home. But why she is worrying, she thought. She stays alone and has nothing new to catch. Why in the hell would she be hurrying herself? To kill the time she began to survey other women in the road, embarked in every mode of transport; they were in their best trousseau, in their best form. She once had that fine skin, and bright complexion; which have made men go mad and women envy. But she is long past her prime now; envy has being replaced by disgust and madness by concupiscence. She bended over the railings of the bridge and unzipped her purse, she reached for her cigarette and lighter. She took out one and lit it, taking a deep puff; she began to contemplate her life.
She was the second of three siblings, only girl amongst two brothers. Her parents were government employees. Being only girl, she was the apple of their eyes, her both brothers loved her dearly. She grew out to be beautiful woman, one simply cut out of the rest. She did her masters and found a job with a brokerage firm. Her eldest brother was an engineer and her junior brother left the country for studies. Life was fine for her. But for one day when.
“What?” throwing her cigarette, she harked back at two guys who were lustily staring at her. Her reflection was just interrupted by the whistle of a train; this is when she looked back.
Her salvo invited the attention of other people waiting to get back, one of them was a sepoy; he was with his family. He gave an angry stare to the guys who just decided to walk back. He nodding his head he winked at her; everything is alright, he might have said.
She again searched for any conveyance, better if she’d bought her own car. But driving through holiday traffic only made her shiver. She pulled out her second cigarette and return to her thoughts.
She was married when she was only 24. It was an arranged marriage. The right age of marriage if her parents were to believe. She was happy; the guy she was marrying was a lawyer by profession; he was smart and seemed caring. It was remarked that on her marriage day, she looked the best, could have broken many hearts. She went smiling all her way through the ceremony. But it was the only time she saw all her family together, for the last time.
It was the first night of their marriage when the truth presented itself. ‘I am a gay’, her husband disclosed. At first she didn’t understand what he meant, he might be playing some of his legal jokes on her. But when he explained it to her, that he and his friend are having an affair; her world fell apart. Within next six months both her parents died.
She could have filed divorce the second day after her marriage itself, but she’d thought of her parents; what will they go through when they will come to know about this. After their death, she again delayed it, this was because her elder brother was engaged; he would be getting married within next twelve months. She doesn’t want to devastate his life with her own problems.
She had decided to endure, she went about her life. Her office and house, it was not her home now. She later discovered that her in-laws knew about it, but they’d thought things might change after his marriage. Things didn’t, and she became their punching bag. She could have lived that life, living under the umbrella of baseless taunts, but for the day when her husband gifted her to his partner.
“As per IPC with the permission of the husband, a woman can sleep with another man; so go on soul mate,” the inebriated man sputtered.
She resisted it, she fought back. But both of them were drunk, then held her and injected some medicines into her. She doesn’t know what happened afterwards. She woke up next day, with marks splayed over her body; she could only imagine what would have happened. She wanted to complain, but something stopped her. Next week her brother was going to be married. She decided not to pursue the matter anymore.
The matter pursued her, next day of her brother’s marriage; the whole act of debauchery was repeated again. She had it enough, she wanted to complain now, she wanted for everyone to know, she wanted help. But to her horror, she found that her husband has already filed for divorce. She was accused to be insincere to him. She was accused that she had relations outside the scope of her marriage.
The ember seared her fingers. She jerked her hand throwing away the butt. It was dark now. She might have missed few buses. But she was deep seated in her past. She got out the third cigarette.
Never in her 25 year old life till then, she’d ever smoked or drank. But she did now, she was stranded alone. The accusations ran deep. Her younger brother was the first to abandon her, declaring that he has no intention to come back to the country. His elder brother wanted to help her, but his in-laws forced him a rethink. He has a wife to look after. Fearing that case would drag on for years, she agreed to the divorce. She was thrown out of her in-laws house. Since everything was mutual, she was denied any compensation or alimony. She returned to her parent’s house. But within two weeks, her brother left it to her. He apparently didn’t want to share his home with a libertine. But blood cannot be simply washed by water, he extracted a promise; she will meet him during the festivals. He wanted to ensure at least she was alive. She was on her own since then. Every day of her life, she was a convict of morality. But she survived. She survived the social dejection, daily taunts and immoral stares. She could not just kill herself for what she knew she isn’t.
It was not that for her that she went to her brother only during the festivals. She went there when her bhabhi needed some assistant in her childbirths. She loved to meet her nephew and niece. It was only them who made her thrice a year visit more memorable. Only because of them she looked out for it.
It is for them only she undertakes the journey.
She was startled by the fingers which pulled out the half finished cigarette out of lips. She turned to protest. But instead she said, “Brother!”
“So! My little sister is waiting for someone.” He said.
“No, I was just going over some old thing. What makes you come here?” she inquired.
“Answer to a question is never a question.” He replied, pushing a file on to her hand.
“What is this?” she asked.
“Well you forgot that I haven’t given you any gift today, so this is it.”
“What! Do you want me write that house in your name? It’s always yours brother, just give me few more years, maximum two, I will move out.” She replied showing dry emotion. Her emotion ran dry for last nine years now.
“Do you have divine eyes? Have you read it?” he retorted.
“See, its dark now and secondly what worse can there be.” She shot back.
“All right, now can you see?” he said as he place the torch of his mobile over the thick file.
She began to read the contents. It was some judgment, it contains name of her husband and his partner. Feeling dizzy, she couldn’t decipher the rest.
“What is this?” she shouted, angry at reading the name of her tormentors.
“This is a Mumbai High Court Judgment.” He replied calmly.
“It states that your ex and his friend has being convicted of on many accounts and has being sentenced many years in prison. Apart from huge fine they’d to pay now.”
She gave him a puzzled look. She seeks the answers for the questions unknown.
“I have never told you this but ever since I left the home after your divorce, I have being pursuing these two guys through my sources. I died the day when I was unable to provide you justice on your divorce. People laid each type of allegation on you, even though they were false, I couldn’t help. I came to know about the facts later. The facts you didn’t tell me because you didn’t want to ruin my marriage. Your husband was a gay, he gave you to his friend” he said this line making an angry fist. Taking a deep breath he continued, “I came to know about this from my lawyer friends, he used to brag about this in his circle. I wanted to kill him but I can’t. Therefore I pursued him, them to be specific. There were few things that they’d done with their clients; few graft cases and few cases of cheating. Things only got exacerbated. I only pursued them, putting my lawyers on the payrolls to help the public prosecutors. And this is the culmination of 8 years of hard work.”
She looked at him, disbelieved, she said, “Why? What about your family? It must have cost you.”
“You are and have always being priceless for me, when mom and dad first bought you home, they put you in my cradle, this is your responsibility now, they’d told me. How can I just run away from it. I was bound, tethered by circumstances. But I was never weak. I know what you have gone through all these years. And believe me I haven’t had a good night sleep, till my lawyers gave this in my hand. I could nothing to prevent the injustice done to you on your divorce, but least I could do this. And for the family, your bhabhi was at first hell bent against it, till she came to know the truth. Yes, she was cold towards you; smoking doesn’t goes well with her. But still she loves you. You were the only one who sat by her side for nights during her childbirths. You are the only person who is liked by her children. She doesn’t like you because what you have done to yourself, she knew you before our marriage. But for her and for me you are still my little sister, beautiful and caring, just victim of circumstances.”
She looked at the contents carefully, she felt as if her whole life was hitting her face. She had gone dumb for moments. Tears began to roll from her eyes. The fog has shed itself. She slithered on her knees. He helped her out, putting his arms around her.
“Happy Rakhi dear sister, let’s go home now.”
© Tarun Mitra
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Waiting for the verdict,
but the sentence is already given.
The jury recited,
I shall never be forgiven.
Sitting on the corner
In my life’s cell.
I waited as I perspired
getting the hell’s bell
I wake up in the morning.
I got my ablutions done.
Grandfather clock was ringing,
I waited for my turn.
As the Hangman prepared his ropes.
I walked to the podium.
My counsel came running by.
“Stop!” he said, there was a pandemonium.
“There has being a plea”, he said,
while catching his breath.
The jury has decided that
Death is delayed
for one more day.
© Tarun Mitra
Saturday, August 1, 2009
After more than one year I am again trying my hands in poetry. It might not be perfect, or good enough, but at least I can console myself that I tried.
It was a gust of the moment which made me write this piece. The subject went around my head and at last I was able to produce something.
The dreadful stink filled the room
as the people huddled at the door.
Two bodies lied naked
with their hands tied on the floor.
The guy’s parts were severed
and the girl’s body showed signs of plunder.
What had happened last night?
The people wondered
I was there last night.
When they entered their room by force.
They undressed the guy
and stripped the girl.
Then tying them up they took them to
the middle of room of their very home.
They taped his brows so that
he could see
as they plundered his girl
one by one
she cried she shouted she moaned
but deafness had clouded their eardrums
and they stopped only when
foam spouted out of her mouth
Then they took the guy on
as they drew their
knives, guns and bars
they put the bar between his arse
as he hollered in pain and despair
they dismembered his parts
one by one.
He cried he weltered he panted
he bathed in blood for long
and when he breathed last
they left the room
whistling a song.
Haven’t they wondered a little?
When they plundered the girl
That she once tied a silken string
around their muscular hands
with full of tender love and devotion.
And now they repay her tender
with their luscious plunder.
Haven’t they remembered that?
Not so long
they played with this guy
all day around
and treated him as their own brother
had there being any trouble.
As the guy and girl breathed their last
They sure have wondered
What they wrong have done
To love and killed for it
The heaven is sure for them
But as their elders say,
That their love was bitterly wrong.
They might be from different parents
but their ancestors were one.
They say love is blind
and they don’t two hoots to their ancestors
they died centuries ago, they countered.
And their love is now
As I now stand on doors
with people around me
seeing them being killed for honor.
Their little room being painted red,
with their blood, by their own.
I, who was always there
with open eyes, ears and mouth.
I forget to use my senses then.
As I was scared.
I, the society, must be blamed
for being a meek spectator.
© Tarun Mitra