I am sure that many of the readers of this post might be surprised to see a dead rebel suddenly back in action who preferred to stay quiet even during the worst setbacks faced by the nation in the last few months. Yes, I did see people dying without getting proper medical treatment when they needed it the most. It becomes difficult to blame one particular entity; instead, it’s a collective failure of an entire system that includes both government and the citizens(who prefer to remain the chronic violators of the law).
The icing on the cake was the rampant election campaign by top BJP functionaries during the state elections of West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, and pulling the crowd towards the second wave of coronavirus. UP government went two steps ahead with the local body election and caused the death of more than three hundred & fifty government teachers who were forced & threatened to be on election duties against their will. One of the names in the list includes an eight-month pregnant lady who died along with her unborn baby due to post covid19 complications. Indeed, they could have shown some resentment in a time like this.
And the outcomes for all the stunts performed by the so-called nationalist party are listed below:
Brutal rape, murder, and intimidation of the BJP workers & their family members are among the worst post-election violence the country has ever witnessed. More than fifty thousand Hindu families are forced to migrate their homes and live in Assam as refugees.
The demon of democracy like Ms. Mamata Banerjee comfortably won the election and settled the score with innocent citizens who shown the courage to vote against her.
She has even shown the audacity not to participate in a meeting with the Prime Minister of this country, which is unprecedented. And all that government of India has responded so far is bringing more insult to themselves by targeting a retired IAS officer(previous CS of WB government).
Many of the traitors who migrated to BJP are begging Ms. Banerjee to consider them for reconciliation and accept them back in TMC.
Last of all is a permanent scar on PM Modi’s image. The condition of BJP workers in Bengal & the way they are left alone to face the attacks has filled many hearts with hatred for Modi and his close associates. No other political parties in India have led their karyakartas to this kind of massacre.
One positive thing that remained unchanged during the lockdown was the daily morning yoga session by Baba Ramdev on India TV. His child-like laughter and high enthusiasm gave courage, hope, and belief to a good percentage of Indian citizens that a regular Yoga practice can help them fight the severe implications of coronavirus. One can continue to cherish good health in a difficult time like this. Apart from him on various YouTube channels, there are several other options, but he remained the most credible one.
But, there is one more factor associated with him apart from his popularity of being a successful yoga preacher that he is a man of controversy for some right and some wrong reasons. Irrespective of whatsoever opinion we are having about him, the fact remains that he wants good for the nation and fellow citizens. In one of the old videos in which he shared the stage with the famous late Dr. Rajiv Dixit, who died under the mysterious circumstance after exposing various misdeeds of the Congress government as they provided outstanding benefits to the fifty pharmaceutical companies from the united states like Pfizer, Glaxo, etc. In that video, Dr. Dixit is requesting the medical practitioners of India to prescribe the medicines produced by the Indian companies as an alternative to those produced by the fifty foreign companies.
You like Ramdev or not, but his honest endeavors to research an ancient medical science of Ayurveda to provide an alternative treatment cannot be discarded entirely. I may not agree with some of his statements given against the allopathy and surgical procedure of therapy. My father is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the allopathy treatment, and my family will forever remain indebted to those great doctors. They treated him with utmost precision both at Chennai & Patna(for two different ailments). But, the way IMA tried to intimidate Baba Ramdev by filing various defamation lawsuits is something to be discussed seriously, especially when the freedom of speech is the talk of the town in this nation.
Those shameless doctors(the ones who are holding the flag of IMA) want to have an impunity infrastructure to run their show of shamelessness in this country while having the dirty nexus with politicians, builders, and pharmaceutical giants. I followed the show called “Satyamev Jayate” hosted by Amir Khan during the year 2012. In one of the episodes, one of the topmost doctors openly talked about the malpractices of the so-called gods in a white apron, and an IAS officer spoke about the drug mafia and the threats posed by them. The audacity they are having for filing a defamation suit of Rupees 1000 crore against Baba Ramdev is commendable, mainly when he spoke a truth that is known to everyone. So, what are they afraid of? They are scared of being doomed and getting irrelevant if Ayurveda turns out to be as big as it is supposed to be. They are fearful of Ayurvedic doctors getting permission to perform the surgery.
Recently, there was news about a doctor named Gaurav Bhattacharjee from Assam being beaten like a dog by some Muslim relatives of a Muslim patient who died on arrival due to covid19 complications. As a result, there are some protests going on to have some protection at work because doctors are now afraid of going to duty and raising their kids as next-generation doctors of their families(I am quoting a Facebook post shared by the fraternity). My question to them is straightforward. Who brought them all to this situation? Whom do they find accountable for losing the credibility and the respect which they celebrated worldwide for centuries? It’s high time for the IMA to retrospect their malpractices and look within itself before pointing the finger at any Baba or victim cry for getting beaten by rowdies. One of the doctors complained about politicians not being made accountable for their misdeeds and getting thrashed by the crowd like they are all facing it. I want to tell them that it is all happening in the same country. Recently, a BJP MLA was stripped down by the protesting farmers in Punjab in broad daylight on the street. Like they say that Karma spares no one. No-one!
I may appear or sound a little amateur to many while covering an important topic related to the ongoing protest by farmers’ union against the newly introduced Farm Bill by the Union of India’s central government. Still, the truth remains the same self-revealing that it is much more than a protest against a bill due to some of the reported behavior of farmers’ adamance during their dialogue with union ministers and other government representatives.
Farmers are claiming that the central government led by BJP is fascist,anti-farmer, and has passed the Bill without addressing the real fatalities that the farmers have to deal with on a day to day basis. So, I thought of briefly understanding the three bills introduced by the GOI as highlighted below, and I am still struggling to figure out the flaws mentioned by the agitating farmers associated with it:
The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020:
This Bill allows the farmers to sell their produce outside the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) regulated markets. The APMCs are government-controlled marketing yards or Mandis. So, the farmers have more choice about who they want to sell.
The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance andFarm Services Bill, 2020:
This Bill makes provisions for the setting up of a framework for contract farming. The farmer and an ordained buyer can strike a deal before the production happens.
Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020:
The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, allows intra-state and inter-state trade of farmers’ produce beyond the physical premises of APMC markets. State governments are not allowed to levy any market fee, cess, or levy outside APMC areas.
The Bill also covers the farmers’ provision to take the legal battle related to the new law to a dedicated SDM court, which farmers are also agitating for along with their demands like written confirmation on MSP(Minimum Selling Price) for the produce. The other day I was hearing the agriculture minister, speaking to journalists after having 7 hours of dialogue with farmers, that government is ready to consider the request related to MSP and the permission to fight the case in other courts apart from SDM.
The government’s economic expert Gurcharan Das writes in the newspaper The Times of India that the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) is an obsolete institution from the age of scarcity, meant to protect the farmer but has now become his oppressor, a monopoly cartel fixing low prices for the farmers’ produce, forcing distress sales. He also emphasized the three direct advantages to the farmers:
Defeat the monopoly cartel at the APMC mandi and sell the produce anywhere to anyone
Bypass the Essential Commodities Act and be free to store inventory, which was constrained so far by stocking limits of ESCA.
Open to make contracts and transfer risk to business people in deals made over a crop even before yield is made or met.
In a way, it is difficult to believe that a national party in government will jeopardize its position by shooting a self-goal in today’s political ecosystem, which is hugely competitive by nature. Except for congress and some other dynast oriented parties as they have some other priorities. So, now the question remains the same.
Why are the farmers protesting in the first place by threatening the government to block Delhi’s border from all sides to stop the supply of essential commodities?
Why do most protesting farmers are from Punjab and that too from a particular community? I see many serpents related to the Khalistan movement and urban naxals like Chandrashekhar Ravan(Bhim Army Chief) raising their hoods again by spitting venom against the majority community to create not so soon to be repaired rift between Sikh and Hindu communities.
It has got the similarity with anti CAB(Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019) protests in Delhi, where one community blocked an important link road to trouble other citizens especially by fielding grannies and kids all over, which invoked the Hindu Muslim riot subsequently and as a consequence, innocent Hindus had to lose their lives without anyone losing their citizenship(the prime narratives of those fear mongering). In the Delhi police investigation, the one which they mentioned in the charge sheet, it is stated that all the protest was the staged drama to instigate the communal riots in national capital especially when US President was visiting India. Several have been arrested, including the one who got pregnant during the protest(which is okay as I am a firm believer in continuity of personal liberty and fantasies irrespective of the surroundings).
My biggest surprise is to see the congress party sympathizing with the people who are openly saying that we had punched the bullets in Indira Gandhi’s chest in the past and will do the same with Modi. Such is their wickedness and political vulturism. None of the political parties seemed to debate the farmer’s bill 2020 and draw a logical conclusion. Farmers from Punjab, in particular, especially after getting political backing from some of the opposition parties, seemed to be more interested in showing their adamance as strength to the country rather than sorting things out with the government without locking the horns. They live in a pampered fairy tale after being referred to as annadata(the giver of food). You can hear the pro-Khalistan sloganeering going on along with insulting narratives created to demean the Hindu community. Some of the persons like Yograj Singh and Deep Sindhu are insinuating the narration that the Sikh community protected the Hindu women from being abducted and raped by Muslim rulers. It has been said proudly between the agitating farmers, and none of those jokers even dared to condemn the statement.
Recently, some of the left-leaning idiots and religious fanatics were applauding Diljith Djosanj for confronting actress Kangana Ranaut on Twitter for insulting a mother from Punjab. But, I want to ask those morons that why did that gutter mouth singer fail to condemn the statement given against the mothers and sisters of the majority community of this nation. Finally, I would suggest those separatists and jokers among the farmers to go and read the history. Their 10th guru Gobind Singh was from Patna, Bihar, and most of his followers were mostly Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and Khatris. They devoted themselves to the cause of Guru and adopted Sikhism as their religion. I bet none of those gutter mouth so-called Punjabis had ever read the religious verses of Gurbani and Chandi Charitra(written by Guru Gobind Singh himself), and they are trying to hijack the farmer’s agitation for cheap publicity. I am also surprised to see their shamelessness of self-declared bravery achieved through the community trolling a woman.
And the worst attempt to create the rift is by calling the Hindu devotees as langar wale bhaiyyas, who seek the food from langar Sewa as prasad because traditionally Hindus do not see Sikh as a separate religion and their religious places as a different one. So, it needs to be condemned from within the community loud and clear else; they too will lose the credibilities like the community who call themselves the follower of peaceful religion and assassinate people in the name of that same religion. I request my Sikh brothers and sisters to wake up and look within your rotten consciences by idealizing a slain terrorist as your Saint and forgetting the gurus’ sacrifices against the tyrannies.
Once again, I have comfortably picked up my space of being a fence sitter
and enjoy the show of election at my home state Bihar. Whether you like it or not, whether you admire or criticize, but the fact remains the same that
election in Bihar has always been able to gather the unwanted attention from every corner of this country because it depicts the core nature of customized democracy that we have, and unfortunately it is meant for fools, illiterates, and the radicalized idiots.
I am having a gala time seeing the dilemma of left leaning vulture journalists, who cycled in Bihar to promote Nitish led coalition with RJD and congress, but then Nitish shown his true color of disdain. My biggest delight is seeing Kanhaiyya Kumar(a genius who researched on Africa and wanted to contest from Bihar :-)) shown his desire to do campaigning for RJD, but party workers do not want that seeing his popularity as a traitor(that’s the gift of over smartness) .
Nevertheless, Bihar seem to have landed up into a hopeless situation this time, after Lok Jansakti Party led by Chirag Paswan(son of a veteran politician Late Shri Ram Vilas Paswan) decided to go solo this time, who claims to be loyal to Narendra Modi and arch rival to Nitish Kumar. It’s a situation where everyone hates everyone, and voters will die in confusion about whom to vote.
My schoolbook defined the democracy as something for the people, by the
people and to the people. But, with growing number of incompetent and overtly ambitious politicians have kept people itself in the last of the row in the customized democracy, which is a dangerous game. Someday, there may be a chaos beyond the control of state machinery.
My biggest worry is for the two major segment of the voters that we have in
Bihar. One comes from the marginalized part of the society (often termed as
Dalit by leftists) and the second one is the Muslim community, which always
feels threatened for some mysterious reasons (at least I have no idea about
their fear). Dalits are going to be the real losers this time because their
votes will split due to the havoc created by Chirag Paswan. Surprisingly, every party has prominent Dalit faces in Bihar and all, but then the caste politics will come into picture. So, this time it’s going to be the dirtiest of all the identity politics that we have seen so far.
The upper caste and OBC will mostly vote for BJP and allies because they do
not see any alternatives, which can save Bihar from the mayhem they have seen during Lalu’s regime (and BJP has been successful to ride upon that fear). And, the most interesting situation is with fellow Muslim voters. Last time they were dancing with joy for Nitish when he associated with Lalu, but it turned out to be short-lived. They can’t vote for BJP because they believe its the party of Kafir and blasphemers (I feel pity for Sehenwaz Hussain and Najma Heptullah 🙂 ) . So, they are bound to vote for RJD, which gives them nothing except a fake sense of secularism.
In my opinion, Chirag Paswan could be the best CM option for Bihar. He is
young(in reality unlike Rahul Gandhi), energetic and composed and politically less matured. People of Bihar should try him in the larger interest of the state.
With all the negativity and the hateful rivalry between various media houses in India, what surprises me the most is the coverage of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death and the investigation associated with it. Not to be forgotten by the warrior cops, who is second best known after the Scotland yard police, popularly known as meme police these days.
Yes, the one who helped the judiciary to pass the famous verdict and made the pavement dwellers believe, “Karma is a bitch, and one of the five persons who got crushed under the luxury Land Cruiser of Salman Khan died due to their karma of sleeping over the pavement.” Isn’t that an impressive record?Also, they are the one, who shamelessly working days and night to prove their loyalty towards their newly appointed backstabbing political master in the state, by compromising the justice in Sushant’s case.
And, when a section of media houses are behind them for the suspicious irregularities and ambiguity in carrying the preliminary investigation of the mysterious death of SSR, then out of nowhere, the commissioner of Police has declared it to be a suicide under the state of melancholy. It looks like they are parroting a self-proclaimed psychiatrist Dr. Susan Walker, who revealed some clinical report on Sushant’s mental health in an interview with Barkha Dutta, openly in public, breaching the law to protect the patient’s health-related information.
Twitter is trending with several hashtags like #babypenguin, #SSRwasmurdered, etc. But, it would be interesting to see who is going to have the last laugh after the involvement of legends like Dr. Subramaniam Swamy in the case along with the famous advocate Ishakaran Bhandari, who is also seeking a reply from RCI on registration of Dr. Walker.
The journalists who are questioning the adamance of Maharashtra government for not allowing the cop from another state to carry out the investigation is worrisome. Even the supreme court of India has given a noticeable remark on the act of detaining a senior IPS officer Vinay Om Tiwari by the local municipality body, in the name of Covid-19 situation, but was later released seeing the wrath of the apex court.
I will quote Mr. Tiwari on the overall staged drama by the warrior police, “They did not quarantine me, but also the case.” I mean, why a senior cop from another state was forcibly under the house arrest? What are the facts, which are scaring them off?
Advocate Bhandari says, “Bollywood is a kind of black hole due to the nexus of Police, politicians, and the underworld. Historically, there has been not a single case related to Bollywood, which has reached to any judicial conclusions so far. Be it Divya Bharti, Gulshan Kumar, Jiah Khan, or Sridevi. But, this time, the armageddon seemed to be invoked by the killing of Sushant Singh Rajput. He must be a noble soul, that entire country is outraged else nobody would have cared.“
There are some disturbing facts in the case of Disha Salin-an ex-manager of Sushant Singh Rajput, who died a few days before SSR.
According to self-proclaimed high IQ indexed cops, Disha Salian jumped off the balcony of her flat in a highrise building. The reason stated in public was the financial crisis.
When Bihar Police reached Mumbai for investigation and wanted to look into her case file, then it was found to be deleted from the records of Mumbai police(second best after Scotland yard).
Disha Salian’s body was found naked, and there has been no such record of a suicide case, where a person disrobes themself before jumping off a cliff, balcony, or hanging themself to a fan.
The CCTV of the Sushant’s apartment was working fine till that day, but the videos were damaged or secretly kept somewhere by the Police to blackmail the murderers at a later stage.
The resistance of the Maharashtra government to go for the inquiry by the central agency creates a widespread suspicion in public, and the trolling of Aditya Thackrey in social media is evidence of the same.
Nevertheless, the government of Bihar has filed the request for CBI inquiry in the matter, and they seem to be in commitment to the cause, which their counterpart in Maharashtra is considering as an election stunt. Irrespective of whatever government of Maharashtra has to say, the probe by CBI is nearly inevitable, and many will flee the country like the music directory Nadeem after being named as one of the prime suspects of Gulshan Kumar murder case.
Like many Indians, I too pray for a fair inquiry in the matter, and may the departed soul gets the justice.
Around six that evening, when the doorbell rang, Eshan was busy getting things ready for the evening’s party. Wondering who had turned up so early, he grumpily went to the door. It was Nathan. “I’m here to help you,” he said with a smile. “How much can you possibly do all by yourself.” Holding forward a single rose that had a long, slender stalk, he bowed dramatically. “Congratulations. For now, you could stop being jealous,” he sneered. Eshan knew that the emphatic ‘all by yourself’ was hardly intentional, but it bothered him.
“That’s so kind of you, Nathan. But I am almost done with it and was going to give a bath to Bruno. You can make yourself comfortable if you wish, or else, I will see you in an hour,” Eshan said reluctantly. Somehow, he wanted to get rid of Nathan. He never wanted to invite him at all, but as a colleague, choices were limited.
“Alright, then. I will see you at seven like others,” Nathan said. Eshan found that a deep sigh of relief and went back to wrap up the mess around when the phone rang. It was Laila. “Where the hell are you? I am waiting for you for almost an hour. On top of it, that jerk turned up and was offering his help.” Laila laughed over the phone and said, “I always knew it, he is gay and has some sort of inclination towards you.”
“Oh, really? You are ignoring the fact that he is happily married,” Eshan said irritably.
Laila quickly responded to it by saying, “Come on. Happily married is not something meant for men. And his marriage has always made me feel deceptive. Do not worry. I am almost there and cannot wait to hear more about it.”
Eshan was frustrated to the core and fumed over Laila for those remarks, but before he could even respond, she hung up the phone.
She invariably cherished the heated exchange of words between the two at work. Nathan was senior to both Eshan and Laila at a pharmaceutical company named Pfizer. A couple of days back, Eshan was reported to be promoted at a senior position than Nathan which was announced through email notification by the senior leadership.
Till that day, Nathan exploited every subordinate who worked under him, specially Eshan in particular. He often asked Eshan to prepare the presentation deck and presented it himself to the client without keeping Eshan in the loop. That way, he earned a good reputation among the leadership team, which got him remarkable hikes and promotions in every appraisal cycle.
Even the best of boot-licker ability was of no help, and on the other side, nothing stopped Eshan winning the sympathy from across the board. Getting promoted two-level up in the hierarchy was something that had never happened before within the organization. The hard work of all those years finally paid him off. He got promoted to the position of General Manager for the sales team. Patricia left the job immediately after her marriage because she could not face Eshan any longer. But Bruno continued to be in his life as a symbol of their love. It was a gift to Patricia when she was down with a high fever last year. After breaking up with Eshan, she abandoned the dog as well. Maybe intentionally!
While giving a bath to Bruno, Eshan remembered his girlfriend Patricia who broke his four-year-long relationship with Eshan and eloped with Nathan to marry him. Everyone at the office knew that Nathan took advantage of his position and deputed Patricia as one of her assistants. They used to gossip that he seduced Patricia to snatch her away from Eshan to envy him. That caused a severe loss of reputation for Nathan at the workplace, and that year he failed to receive a single penny of hike in his salary for the first time in his career.
Laila came within ten minutes of their conversation over the phone and took the charge of catering services and checked the arrangements for the drink and cocktails. She had prepared two cups of coffee by the time Eshan took a shower and found it entirely mesmerizing to see Laila in a red gown. She looked fabulous. “So, what do you think? Why did he turn up early today?” she asked while sipping her coffee.
“I don’t know. Maybe Nathan wants to rub the salt over my wound like always or maybe to satisfy his ego by taunting me for being single after he snatched away my girlfriend. By the way, who even cares about the wisdom of a dumbass like him?” Eshan said reluctantly.
“Ah, how many times do I need to correct that he was not the one who snatched away your girlfriend. The bitch never loved you truly and was looking for an opportunity to dump you. She was living with you and worked with you. She saw you being hunted down by Nathan at work on multiple occasions, and you never resisted it till the time she was with you. That certainly made you look like a spineless person who could not defend himself in an adverse situation. She might have attested you a looser in her mind,” She growled.
Now, it was Eshan’s turn to tease Laila. “How could you be so sure? You are not a psychiatrist, and your life is itself a hell. I mean, a lady who herself had more than three breakups all in one year is preaching me about infidelity. I mean, that certainly deserves an applaud. By the way, thanks for the coffee,” he said and was about to leave to get dressed up for the party. But she was not going to give up that easily.
“I may not be an expert and might have suffered a couple of more breakups than you, but I certainly know about a woman slightly more. You are forgetting the fact that she was a close friend of mine before she dumped you and fled with the favorite foe. We had many great conversations, and as proof, I know a lot of secrets, which she told me about you.” She said that and looked at me with a tilted head.
Eshan preferred to put the conversation on hold and walked towards his room. She followed him there. While combing his hair, he asked, “What secrets did she reveal to you?”
“Don’t ask me. You can ask her directly as she too is going to come today.”
He was about to faint hearing that. “What did you say? Is she coming over to the party? That’s not possible as I did not see any sign of her when Nathan came at six.”
Laila smiled to see his uneasiness and said, “Let us wait and watch. She texted me in the morning today. And why are you getting excited about it? Maybe she is coming over to check on Bruno. She often misses him.”
“Huh, let her come. Bruno will bite her ass off. The boy is eagerly waiting to avenge his master.” Eshan said while slipping into his pant carelessly.
“I know. Even dogs are insane in this house.” And she burst out in laughter saying that.
Eshan grabbed her in his arms and locked her lips into his own. For a moment, time stopped in between their mouths, and then he slowly kissed her neck. She too embraced him tightly as if never to let him go. Laila was the only hope left in Eshan’s life. She provided the required solace to him after the betrayal from Patricia.
“Leave me else I will remain unstoppable throughout the night in case you pour any more romance in me. We have guests to come,” with that Laila managed to untie herself from his grip. She loved Eshan insanely from the very inception of their friendship at work but silenced her emotions seeing Eshan’s love for Patricia. Soon after their breakup, Eshan proposed Laila for marriage but she asked for some more time citing the reason for the ongoing treatment of her mother.
Quickly after the bell rang seven, guests started to assemble at Eshan’s house, and soon everyone started enjoying the ecstatic combination of champagne and lobster along with a soul-nourishing Jazz that was being played over the gramophone. Eshan had a great collection of music albums. He traveled across the world with the sales team to have a great collection of wine, scotch, and folk music.
He was overwhelmed to see Laila playing a perfect host at his house and while he was overlooking at everything from a corner, someone kept her hand over his left shoulder. “She blends naturally with your house. Isn’t it?” It was Patricia, who looked elegant like always in her long black dress. “I hope it doesn’t bring much discomfort to you seeing me here,” She said while picking a glass of wine from the tray. For a moment, Eshan was not able to utter anything as words simply did not find a way to emerge out of him. There was a magical radiance present all over her face.
“Is she expecting a baby?” He murmured to himself.
“Did you say something?” She asked which made Eshan think whether she can still read his mind.
“No, I did not say anything. In fact, I was so captivated by your magical presence that I could not hear anything you said so far. I am sorry about it.” Eshan was having no idea how to continue the conversation with her.
“Oh, really? Am I still so desirable to you or is it just a fling of yours?” she worded it again in her usual style of questioning every intent around her, making it complicated for others to answer.
“Ah, I had always been a great admirer of beautiful women and you know that. As per me, every woman is desirable irrespective of her relationship status. Now, for you, the answer is no because you are married to one of my colleagues, and I can be anything but not a wife poacher,” Eshan knew how to handle her tantrums. Both knew about the worst secrets of each other.
Laila was keeping a close eye at them and her concern was the irritable character of Eshan. It was easy to break him specially by a witch. But the moment she started to walk towards them, Nathan stopped her and asked for a dance, which she politely refused.
“You are forgetting that even though Eshan got the promotion, I am still your boss and I guess this is the first time I am asking you for a dance. You should oblige me today,” He said giving a devilish smile, but unknowingly got on her nerves.
“Why don’t you ask your beautiful chirping wife for the same? Or maybe it is your personal ambition to try charming every woman in Eshan’s life. Trust me, I am not among those bitches who can be inspired to taste the filthy stinking tongue of yours. Now, please go and settle off your butt somewhere else. I got a lot more people to oblige,” Laila gave it back for all the trauma she and Eshan had to bear due to Nathan’s superiority over them at work. But the shameless creature continued smiling even at the worst response.
On the other corner, Eshan could not say no to Patricia for dance, but before they could even start, Laila came and joined the duo. “Hello dear, I was telling it to Eshan that you look more natural and insidious to this house,” Patricia said to Laila.
“That’s true. Because I do not have any hidden agenda with me. I genuinely love him. By the way, how is your life with that jerk husband of yours? Looks like he is still trying his luck with other women.” Laila was in no mood to give it up that day. Seeing Laila in such a fit of anger, Eshan decided to go along with other guests. “Let me see what all they need.” He said and left.
“Laila, my sweetheart. You know adequately how desperate he is and still questioning me. Unfortunately, both turned out to be the same.” She said keeping Laila puzzled with her last statement. “Anyways, you tell me. How is your mother and when are you guys planning to shift here?” Patricia tried calming down the annoyed Laila and it worked.
“Not anytime soon. Mom is going to have her last session of chemotherapy in this week itself and then most likely she is going to be discharged from there. All my savings are gone behind her treatment and so I need some time to restructure my life before I get into marriage and all,” Laila shared her feelings while sitting over the railing and covering her face with a face towel.
“Don’t overthink in such matters. You are simply doing great and every mother wishes to have a daughter like you,” Patricia was looking for something while encouraging Laila with her kind words. Somehow Laila found it to be metaphoric.
“Where is Bruno?” She asked Laila.
“Might be in the basement. That is where I saw him last before the party began.” She responded reluctantly.
“I think I shall go and look for him. Would you like to join me?” She said and started heading towards the basement.
“Sure. But, let me get some food for him.” Laila said. She picked up a torch and the packet of pedigree for Bruna. While they were on the stairs itself, they heard someone moan while making love in the basement in between the constant barking of Bruna. Patricia signaled Laila to remain quiet and slowly started moving down the stairs.
Finally, they reached the basement silently, and Laila lit up the torch. It was Nathan and Eshan sleeping over the floor in a semi-nude posture.
She continued to hold me tightly for almost 20 minutes and sobbed without a break. I was not having a clue about how to sublime her pain. But, then I whispered into her ear, “Are you serious about crying your heart out for a gutless person, and that too at a marvelous place like this? Moreover, I am still a stranger.” And guess what? It worked.
She rubbed her head on my chest and said, “Thanks a lot for taking the garbage out of me! It was stuck over there for quite some time. I will never forget your help, and I am not going to leave you now as you don’t even look like a stranger to me.”
“Hey, come on. Don’t scare me now. Just ten days back, I had a terrible breakup with my girlfriend. All this while I never cared about it, but today I am feeling ashamed after seeing you mourn for a story, which failed some two years back. I mean, are you kidding me? Either you are insane, or I am heartless,”
She gave a weird look to me, but then unleashed the magic, through her splendorous smile. “You don’t need to worry about it, Mr. Software Engineer. Neither I am insane, nor you seem to be heartless. Forgive me for ruining your evening like that. And, allow me to compensate for all of it by taking you for a boat ride.”, She pointed at a point meant for the jetty ride.
“That’s not boating. It’s a kind of public transportation, and you are simply ignoring the fact that its winters and we may freeze to death during such stunt.”
I guess she did not pay the heed to whatever I said and dragged me to the counter. Luckily, it was closed. “Now, what? I hope you do not have a plan for a filthy tram ride because you will never be able to compensate such stupidity.” I said while sipping the rest of my drink from the pot.
“Now, You being rude!”
“No, I am not. I am exhausted and may doze off like a horse in standing position. I need a place to sit and have something to drink. Maybe at a family bar, not a pub or disk.”
“Well, then I guess I know a place nearby. But, the treat will be mine.”
I was in no mood to argue a lady about who is going to pay the bill. Guess what? I always knew the answer :-). So, I hopped in a taxi with her, which took us to a place near Naya Bazar. In between the crowded market, she held my hand like some newly crafted love. For a moment, I felt the shiver in my body and tried to unlock myself from her clutch, but couldn’t.
Finally, we reached a vintage bar, most probably the one from the British era. Ugly looking from the outside, but inside it was decorated beyond my imagination. A band of music was playing Jazz at the center, and an elite group of people was celebrating it.
We got a place meant for the couples in particular, and she ordered a plate of pomfret fry and a bottle of red wine. After the waiter served us the wine, she raised her glass and said, “For the freedom to have a drink with a stranger, who got a pair of sad eyes over the happy face.”
“Now, you are judging me,” I said in a way to protest, but deep within my heart, I was quite amazed to see all that was happening from the last few hours. It was certainly an experience to live.
“I am not judging anyone here. I am a criminal lawyer, and my eyes can see things, which can remain unseen for years. So, what’s your side of the story? I mean, you mentioned that you had a terrible breakup a few days back.” She asked comfortably, but I mistook it as some kind of interrogation.
“Well, it’s nothing that sort of drama or emotional vengeance kind of story that I have. It’s just an ordinary thing which happens to any Tom, Dick, and Harry in India. So, forget about all that, and let’s live the moment.” I tried to avoid that awkward conversation with her.
She poured some more wine into my glass, looked straight into my eyes, and said, “Trust me! I won’t judge you. I just want you to get liberated with even a small ml of pain that you are holding with yourself.”
Before opening up, I calculated the risk associated with it and found it to be none. Seeing the time constraint, I was not sure which part of the story to begin with, but Patricia was interested in all of it.
“Well, here is the thing. There was a girl named Alisha, whom I met during a friend’s party, we exchanged our phone numbers. She was studying architecture at Pune University and had plenty of time to talk, and me being a professional had to manage time, but I liked talking to her.”
“You liked talking to her, or was it some sort of loneliness?” She interrupted in between, showing a typical behavior of a lawyer.
“I guess it was my loneliness because recently my flat partner had shifted to Amsterdam, for an onsite project. That created some vacuum, which got filled by that girl. So, nevertheless, one Friday, when I told her that my parents are seeing a match for me to marry, she mentioned that she has fallen for me.”
“Now, you are talking.” she interrupted again and served a portion of fish fry on my plate.
“I avoided talking to her for a couple of days and submerged myself totally into my work at the office, keeping myself sane. She kept dialing me day in day out, but I did not pick it up. One day, she turned up to my office, and with a lot of difficulties, I prevented a scene from getting created. Finally, I asked her about what she wanted from me. She told me that she was finding it difficult to live without talking to me.”
“And then what did you do?”, She had that smile over her face, which usually indicates that a person knows the rest of the story.
“I did nothing. I simply told that even I needed companionship, but was not in favor of getting into a relationship with a girl who was seven years younger to me and still not done with college. But, finally, I succumbed to all the mental pressure due to crying and those sad inventions, and that way unleashed hell upon myself.” I was done with my story and had no further desire to continue it.
She said, “Now, let me guess the remaining part of it. After you accepted her proposal, she might have shown you the real face. Violent, stubborn, demanding for expensive gifts, movies, dinner at non-affordable places, etc.”
By that time, I had it clear that the girl I was talking to all the time was a genius. I smiled at her and said, “I told you, at the beginning itself, that I got nothing new to share. An ordinary person with an ordinary story.”
She took hold of my hands and said, “But, you still got to tell me about the breakup part.”
“Yes, that is something which may interest you. In the initial few days itself, I realized the loss I caused to myself, and it was going to cost me dearly. So, whenever I tried to get out of the relationship, Alisha created a ruckus. Finally, I had to involve her father into it and explained to him that she threatened to commit suicide in several instances.” I went silent for sometime after saying that.
She said, “Then what happened?”
“Her father understood the gravity of it, and he helped me out to get rid of his daughter. He warned her daughter about breaking up all the terms with her if she continues to traumatize me emotionally. As a demo, he cut off on her finances.”
“Lucky you! Now, let’s go. We got to catch our respective trains.”
I felt like waking up from a dream. I even forgot for how long I was sitting there in that bar? I asked the attendant about the bill. He said politely, “Sir, it has already been paid by mam when I served you.”
“But, when? I did not see it.” I could not believe that I did not even notice her paying the bill.
“You are drunk, my stranger friend. Let’s go. We already got a taxi waiting outside.” She said. This time I allowed her to drag me out. I felt so light after sharing the story of that witch to her.
It was 11.15 PM, and we were back at Howrah station. We got our luggage back from the cloakroom and rested it at the waiting chair near the display board. Her train was at 11:30, some 30 minutes before my train, and so it was already stationed at platform number 3. I assisted her with her luggage to her compartment, which seemed to fill with college students.
She requested one fellow passenger, a girl, to look after her stuff, and came at the gate with me. It was time to say goodbye to each other. She requested for my phone, which I gave instantly. She dialed her number from it and then returned my phone. A long siren, signaling the train to depart.
I shook my hands with her, and before getting down from the train, I said, “Sorry, I was drunk in the last minutes at bar and might have blabbered something out of the blue. You had been nice to me throughout the time, and I sincerely thank you for that. You are a beautiful woman, and..” Before I could finish it up, she gently kept her hand over my mouth and kept looking into my eyes.
The train started to crawl, and I quickly got down from it. I waived in bye at Patricia but saw her typing something on her mobile. So, I turned back and started walking towards the other side. My phone beeped for the message. It was an SMS(short message service) alert from an unknown number. I quickly opened it up, and my heart pounded severely after reading the message, which said, “I love you too… Patricia”.
I looked back at the train, which had the last compartment visible from there, but slowly disappearing in the dark. Irrespective of whatever I was thinking then, my soul simply came out in the open and laughed out loud at me.
The story goes in the backdrop of post-independence era when freedom to India was something new to cherish. In those days, I used to work as an accountant for the last emperor of the Mithila region. It was 29th of July,1954, when the first misfortune ever known to me hit the kingdom. I was at the animal ward of the royal hospital when I was informed about Bhagwati, which Maharani was supposed to know in the absence of the King. So, I quickly rushed to the palace and looked for her everywhere.
After the constant hunt for an hour, I finally saw her entering through the main door of Maharaja Sir Kameshwar Singh’s library. I followed her over there and stood at the door itself as no one was permitted inside except Maharani Kam Sundari and some extremely trusted maintenance staff.
‘She stood by the palace window, tall and still, gazing absently at the blurred distance. She had two choices: both unattractive, out of which, she would have to take a decision…’
After the initial few moments of hesitation, I finally knocked on the door.
“What is it?” She asked firmly without caring much to look at me.
“I am sorry, Maharani, but there is an important message to tell. Trust me, I have already considered it more than a hundred times before bothering you.”, I wanted to say it all at once, but every word seemed to be exhaustible.
“If it is that urgent, then do not wait for any further to tell me, and then, please leave. It looks like rain is going to be relentless till morning, and you must reach your home before it gets too dark to see.”
With the best possible verbal techniques known to convey sad news, I said it all. She turned back and looked into my eyes. I bowed my head and was about to leave, but she asked me to wait.
“What has happened to her?” She further interrogated.
“I am not sure Maharani, but after verifying the autopsy report, Bhagwati was found to be poisoned last night itself. Doctors did their level best to revive her, but it all went in vain. I have asked them to send the report to you by tomorrow morning.”
She took a deep breath. Then instructed me to leave and went back to her position at the window.
“Shall I send the telegram to Maharaj?”
She pretended not to hear anything, and I then preferred to leave without troubling her with any further stupid questions.
Bhagwati was a beautiful female tigress brought up by the great King himself some five years back as a cub after her man-eating mother tigress was shot dead in the nearby jungle. It was a gift to the King’s third wife, Rani Kam Sundari, who was not happily married to the King because he was an elderly and twice married man, and as a result, she spent most of her time in solitude.
The arrival of a tiger cub changed the chemistry between the two, and it was well-taken care by the Queen herself who decided to name it “Bhagwati.”, which shortly became the symbol of pride for the princely estate of Mithila along with its unmatched beauty of forts and temples.
Things never remained the same for Mithila in the post-independence era as one of the most flourishing princely states of India doomed forever. The government decided to snatch away significant powers from the King, who was once the head of All India Association of Landlords, a member of the constituent assembly of India and a prominent member of the administrative committee of Banaras Hindu University.
That evening, on my way back, I kept on thinking about all the possible suspects who could poison a beautiful animal and dare to face the wrath of the King. It smelled like a much bigger conspiracy for a small servant like me to understand. On top of it, the mysterious silence of Maharani. What was about to happen? Maharaja was out to Delhi to attend the monsoon session of parliament.
The next day Bhagwati was cremated with state honor in the backyard of the palace. Maharani Kam Sundari was sobbing inconsolably while the other two queens were sharing some lighter moments with their servants. At that moment, it was evident and straightforward to understand why the King bestowed his love towards the youngest queen and deplored the other two.
She kept the pride of Maharaja in every aspect. She studied the old secret scriptures preserved in the library along with ancient architecture to design the famous Raj Kali temple as per the King’s wish and got it constructed under her own supervision. Her excellent reputation among the royal families and politicians was an outcome of her intellect and dignity, which she carried in her work.
That day, I could not control my emotions, seeing her cry. So, I went to her and said, “I will find the killers and will bring them to justice. Bhagwati was not merely an animal; she was the pride of our great Mithilanchal.”
Maharani asked me to accompany her till the sandalwood garden along with her trusted sepoys. I followed her there. In the lowest possible decibel of her voice, she gave precise instructions to the head of security, and they all dispersed in different directions to kill anyone found spying on her in any way.
“I have something important to discuss with you, Ram Sevak, since you are the most trusted sevadar(servant) of Maharaj. There is a ploy by someone from inside the family to put Maharaj’s life in danger. The killing of Bhagwati was just an indication of the power and advantages that enemies have. I wanted to tell you that I got only two miserable options at this juncture of my life. Either to accept all the horrifying things as my destiny or to kill everyone behind this conspiracy.”, She said.
With limited understanding of politics, initially, I tried to compile everything in my semi-literate brain and then asked, “And who do you think is behind all this? I mean, do you suspect anyone in particular?”
“I suspect everyone and most likely the queens because an ignored and powerful woman can burn the entire lineage to ashes, and we got two such burning souls in the palace. They hate me equally to an extent where they will not even mind murdering the King to ruin my life. But their significance is limited in the game, and so we can think about them later.”
I heard everything keeping all my senses awake as being trusted is one of the many challenging responsibilities a man can handle. Maharaj’s life was undoubtedly more precious than anyone else I knew in the state. I thought of confirming the killers of Bhagwati because it was vital for me to know that who could murder a tigress with the name of a much-worshipped deity in the region, and for sure, it was never considered a good omen in those days.
“It could be anyone. Trust is hard to keep these days. Even the daily suppliers of meat are under my suspicion, and I have already set up a team to investigate it silently. Whoever did so will meet a similar kind of fate? So, for now, focus on how to evade the danger lingering on Maharaj’s life.”, She said, interrupting my thoughts.
“I am a tiny person with limited education, and so I can’t think much like a detective. You tell me what to do, and I will not disappoint you. But it is essential to know who the real enemies are and by what interest they would like to murder a king who spent his entire life serving the humankind.”
She stayed silent for a moment and then whispered, “Have you heard of Shyam Nandan Mishra?”
“Yes, Maharani. He is one of the freedom fighters from our region and a famous congressman.”
“As per my information, he is the one behind this conspiracy, and the reason is pretty simple. He can never win the election from Darbhanga till the time Maharaj is alive, and he is desperate to go to Lok Sabha. You must be knowing; he is quite popular within the royal family and servants, and a lot of them are secret admirers of him. He has promised them all a gratifying job through the central government of the congress party. I hope you can connect the dots now.”
I heard everything loud and clear, but still was not convinced by her convictions. As a loyalist, I had to believe in everything that she was saying, but what bothered me that even if she was lying, Maharaj’s life was still in danger.
I tried to reason with Maharani, but she was confident in all that she said.
I knew Mr. Mishra and heard his speeches during my college days. He was a learned man like our King, who himself was the big supporter of democracy, unlike many in royal families. Mr. Mishra was in jail for almost 41 months and remained sick for a very long-time post-independence. He could be everything but not a murderer or a conspirator.
I guess she read my mind and thus spoke, “Look, Ram Sevak! I may be wrong, but at this part of the time, there is no one else who could be suspected based on the information I have. If you do not agree with me, then you are free to continue with your work. Think that we never had such a discussion, and I assume you will maintain the confidentiality of it.”
“You certainly misunderstood, Maharani. I do not see any reason for suspecting your words. It’s just my personal view about Mishraji that made me reason you, and I am extremely sorry about that, but then I want to understand how are we going to foil their plan?”
For the first time, she smiled and said, “It is getting late now. We will have a long hour of meeting and discussion tomorrow at my palace. You will get to know about the plan. Please be there at 9 AM sharp.”
That night was proved to be the longest one in my life. I could not sleep and vowed to kill any secret wisher of King’s death. Around ten years back I had to kill a British coup for putting Maharaj into a dangerous fight with malicious intentions. Later, I fed the body to vultures residing next to the railway station. Except for King and his personal bodyguards, nobody else knew about it, but that night I had the gut feeling that Maharani knew about it.
The next day, I reached the palace on time. She had organized the meeting at a secret chamber attached to her living room. The latest ammunitions were decorated on the wall, and in very dim light, her face was shining like a river on a full moon night. Upon her instruction, a white paper was laid on the wooden table. She took an ink marker and started writing things in English. Basically, she was laying out a plan.
“1. Ram Sevak will go to meet Shyam Nandan Mishra today evening at his residence and will engage with him in political discussions.
2. During that timeframe, Mohan Singh (head of security), along with his two associates, will secretly explore Mishra’s room to collect any sort of communication (letter or telegram) or personal diary.
3. Ram lochan Singh will spy on both the queens and their sons for the next five days. Make a note of their activities and visitors.
4. Nobody will allow any kind of letter or telegram to be reaching to Maharaj, which talks about the painful death of Bhagwati.”
She turned to me and asked me if I had any questions, which was none.
As per the plan, I went to meet Mishraji at his residence near the congress party district office at Hasan Chak. He gave a warm hug to me with the same generosity of college days. I touched his feet and asked about his health conditions.
“It’s all good now, Ram Sevak. Sugar is under control, but poor me can’t have the sweets to eat. You say. Got the news about Bhagwati but could not come to meet Maharani Kam Sundari due to election campaigning and all.”
I could not say anything because my eyes were trying to grab a glimpse of a treacherous man in him, but it was nowhere to be found. His simplicity was still mesmerizing, and the hidden socialist in me got into conflict with a loyalist.
He ordered two cups of tea from a nearby shop and then enquired about my family. Apart from Maharaj, he was the only one who would care to know about the miseries of a poor man.
“Ram Sevak, I always wonder that how come an educated person like you has opted to work as the slave of a kingdom. It is democracy now, and people like you are required to establish democratic values in a great nation like ours. I know you are burdened by some unwanted favors of King, but self-respect is equally important.” He used the same old philosophy of socialist movement to break the hold of aristocracy.
I was not delighted to hear all that, and so my quick reaction to him was like, “Sir, I had been a great admirer of your noble words from my college days itself and did arrange chairs for your rallies. You always dared to speak against Maharaj in many instances, but he always considered you a friend and never ever spoken ill about you.”
“So, why do you think kings are displaying the act of mercy these days? Especially when they got the rich legacy of slaughtering anyone in the name of honor and false pride? I will explain that to you. It is because even the Britishers were afraid to mess up with revolutionaries and freedom fighters. Do you think your King can afford to win an election by retaliating against a freedom fighter? Never in this life.” He smiled with his last statement giving a gentle pat on my shoulder and left for a walk with his party members.
He was very rationale and not a person to argue with, but still, he remained cautious while choosing his words. I was left with no further notions about him, but I was still on duty. I went on the other side of his unguarded home to look for Mohan Singh. It seemed like they were all gone leaving me alone in the darkness.
The next day, early morning, my son rushed into my room and almost dragged me out of bed. I furiously slapped him hard, but he looked so traumatized that I could not take any further action against him. I went out of my door and was astonished to see Mohan Singh weeping at my door. I could not understand anything at that moment. My wife got some water for him.
“A brave son of Rajput crying like a baby. What is the reason behind such pain, my friend? We both are childhood friends and work together for the same master. Tell me what ill has happened?” I asked Mohan about the well-being of everyone I knew common between us.
“Everything is over, my friend. We both had been used as the clowns in a dirty game, and sooner or later, karma will catch up with both of us. Last night I assassinated Shyam Nandan Mishra along with his four-party members as per the order.” He said with tearful eyes.
“You killed whom?”
“You heard it right, my friend. I killed the great freedom fighter along with his men on their way back from Raj ground after you two had the conversation.” This time he could not look into my eyes.
“And who ordered that murder? Maharani Kam Sundari?”
“No, my friend. It was our Maharaj who ordered me to do so. You know I cannot take someone’s life without his orders. Yesterday after you left the meeting, Maharani dialed the phone to Maharaj and made me talk to him.”
It was still not making sense to me. But I further asked, “Then what’s the need to cry. You have followed your dharma following the instruction from the King himself.”
“Because he too is dead, my friend!!” He said, interrupting me.
I heard it like a thunderstorm and was not left with the courage to affirm that. Did I hear about the Maharaja Kameshwar Singh? I looked at my wife, my son, and others, and their bowed heads confirmed what I heard.
“But how is that possible? I had received his telegram day before yesterday, which stated that he will be back in 7 days. Is this a kind of joke?” I was yelling at Singh.
“I do not have the strength left in me to explain all that to you. You can go and hear it yourself at the radio station. They have already made the announcement about the King being deceased at the official residence in Delhi.” He said, keeping his hands on my shoulder.
“Let me go to the palace. Maharani must be in distress.”
He laughed out loudly, hearing that, which I found quite rude.
“She has gone to registrar office to file the nomination for upcoming elections, my friend. Today is the last day to file it. We need to go to the aerodrome to receive the dead body of Maharaj. So, let’s go. It will be there at any moment.”
Maharaj was given the last rite with state honor in the presence of the first president of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, along with other senior politicians, and the name of Shyam Nandan Mishra will remain buried in the pages of history.
Mr. Paritosh was deboarding the train at Jamshedpur Railway Station, and I was thrilled to see the scope of an uninterrupted conversation till Howrah. Her generous smile was indicative of her being able to read my mind. Or maybe the childhood inability to suppress the devilish happiness was getting prominent with age.
I offered my assistance to him with his luggage(the demon was actually carrying hell lot of it), which he could not refuse seeing no one else to help.
“All the best my friend.” He said the moment before the train started to move and I was still at the gate.
I was taken aback. I mean what exactly he was wishing me luck for. To carry forward his failed legacies of the single-sided fascination towards a lady who was traveling alone. I went back to my seat with an internal quest and a much lesser enthusiasm to talk to her.
There were many who deboarded at Jamshedpur leaving the compartment semi vacant. So, I chose to sit on the side lower birth rather than the usual one which made me sit face to face with her. She looked at me a little puzzled as if she wanted to read my thoughts again, but I was already in a deep state of melancholy.
Soon, I started enjoying the scenic beauty from behind the glass window. There were kids playing cricket in an open ground adjacent to the railway track in the twilight, some of them were flying kites by holding the string with one hand and their pants from another one, and running carelessly in muddy water.
“Do you mind if I sit over here?” I had no idea about when she came over there. The fragrance of her perfume was so maddening that I entirely forgot all that I was thinking and for how long I was sitting over there in the corner. I quickly wrapped up my legs to make space for her without speaking anything.
“Are you alright?” She initiated the conversation.
“Yes, I am fine. Thanks for asking!!” The soul-nourishing fragrance was making it difficult. It was like I was surfing over the waves of some musical random thoughts.
Perhaps, it was discouraging. That’s what I thought, but in contrast, she seemed to enjoy reading my thoughts.
“I am really not sure what causes the sad state of your mind but all I saw today was the impact of your dry humor. People literally got down the train without completing their journey.” And she burst out in laughter.
I too wanted to laugh but was quite unsure of those remarks. It became difficult to decide whether my attraction towards her was simply an outcome of the law of nature or was it the byproduct of a bachelor’s desperate mind who recently had a break-up? My subconscious mind was able to read those questions profusely.
I continued my conversation with her, “Are you talking about the king of cheap jokes from Jamshedpur, who made you smile with heavenly PJs? I am really sorry for your loss in case you are missing him so much.”
“Maybe I am celebrating your presence more than his absence,” She said shrugging her shoulders off.
“Oh really. Then why do we even need to talk about him?” I guess my question was valid.
“Come on. At times you need to encourage boys for their efforts and he was doing quite okay to impress me. But your witty response against the stereotyping of your native state was the real show-stealer and I secretly gave you eight marks out of ten,” She said with her tight-lipped smile.
“Oh, I am so overwhelmed. I know it may sound insane but I did not get the chance to ask your name. And what you do for living apart from commemorating boys who show interest in you?”
“No, it’s my bad that I forgot to mention. My name is Patricia and I am a Criminal lawyer by profession at Pune district court. Precisely, I worked as a public prosecutor at Bombay high court till last year but then had to settle down in Pune.” Then we shook hands but this time her expressions were different.
All that I thought about her turned out to be wrong. She was not a college-going girl and was into a tougher profession. Before I could say anything, the train entered the platform at Howrah Junction. It was 7 PM then.
“So, you must be here in Kolkata to visit your parents,” I said.
“My parents stay in Mumbai with my elder brother. I am traveling to Durgapur to attend the marriage of a colleague. I have a connecting train at 11:30 PM.” She said.
“How about you? You must be heading to Patna if I heard it correctly at that time.”
“No, actually my journey will end in some 100 KMs before Patna. It’s a small town named Kiul. My father works there at an establishment of Indian Railways. I too got a connecting train at 11 PM.” I replied before putting my books and laptop back in place.
One of the co-passengers(a granny) requested me to assist her with luggage as her son was stuck in traffic. So, I decided to wait along with her at the platform until her son turned up. To my surprise, Patricia stayed there too. Soon, an elderly person came and the granny introduced him as her son. We said goodbye to her and walked towards the food court.
“I badly need a cup of coffee. Would you like to join me?”
“I am not a coffee person but can accompany you in case you change your mind to have lassi(sweetened curd) instead of coffee. I know a place near Howrah Bridge. We can keep our luggage at the cloakroom and then walk till the bridge.” She was defying all the laws that girls follow traditionally. Nonetheless, I was enjoying every surprise related to her. There are times when life serves you more than your appetite.
We kept our luggage in the cloakroom like she mentioned and walked over the crowded street. She took to me to the famous shop of Ganguram Halwayi. That was the best lassi I ever tasted. Even today, it is difficult to forget the essence it had due to the rose petals and it was served with the creamy layer of cashew nuts, almonds, and white butter in earthen pots.
She requested the shopkeeper to parcel it as she had no desire to have it in a crowded shop. In the meantime, I bought two chicken rolls from a nearby place.
After a few minutes of walk, we two were standing in the middle of the sidewalk of Howrah Bridge facing the breath-taking view of river Ganga(known as Hugli over there) having our share of lassi and chicken roll. The evening breeze was soothing and the river was shining blissfully. I had been to Kolkata before but never had the chance to be there. I wanted to thank her wholeheartedly for giving me such a beautiful evening, but she was gazing absently at the blurred distance.
“I assume you been to this place before,” I asked casually sipping my lassi.
She looked at me in a weird manner making me realize that I played the wrong notes unknowingly, but I corrected it before it was too late. I said, “You don’t need to answer that Patricia. It is actually none of my business.”
Her anguish melted away instantly seeing me apologetic. She said, “And you don’t need to contradict yourself, my friend. It doesn’t suit you. There is nothing wrong with asking the right set of questions with pure intentions.”
That was a big sign of relief else I thought it was all over.
She further continued, “Yes, a couple of years back I came to this bridge with my boyfriend. He subsequently turned out to be a spineless lawyer who could not stand for anything significant in his life. On the other hand, I certainly lagged the required level of maturity to identify his real self and went behind the deceptive outward appearance. Many boys and girls fall prey to such a facade due to inexperience and the necessity of love. I hope I am not playing the victim card.”
I had no idea how to respond to it. Being emotionally vulnerable can be very challenging and I too had my lessons in a hard way. But seeing a lawyer repenting a sin like love was surprising. Maybe I wrong once again. They too are humans with 10 ounces of heart and a lot of pain filled into it.
I still do not remember the source of courage that day, but then I asked her if she wanted to give me a hug. With some initial hesitation, she kept her lassi aside and embraced me tightly in her arms as if never to let me go, and cried inconsolably.
I was falling short of my breath while running over the bridge at Pune railway station to catch up with Duronto Express stationed at Platform number 2. It was about to depart at any moment, and for the first time in my life, I was about to miss out on a train. Unlike an IT guy, I pushed everyone aside who came in between, and finally made my way to coach number A2 before the train started to crawl.
That was an inaugural journey for Pune-Kolkata Duronto express, which kick-started as a prestigious project by then Rail Minister Mamta Banerji to provide a premium alternative to passengers who traveled within the rail routes that connected the capital cities of India. The train was neatly decorated like any unfortunategroom in India. But, I was happy to see the much-needed elevation of the services in trains although it was temporary in nature.
The train had already picked up the pace and shortly the refreshment was served. All my fellow passengers were extremely delighted to receive the evening snacks, which turned out to be delicious in every possible sense. And while I was totally engrossed with the delicacies on my plate, someone asked me politely if I wanted to have some more sweets. That was the time I first saw her.
An unprecedented beauty with a blend of kindness in every word spoken by her. She must be in her early twenties and a college-going student. My tender mind started calculating her age along with the possibilities of her having a boyfriend. She seemed to be a complete marvel created by lord Ganesha himself. A beautiful set of eyes carefully placed over the innocent face that shined like a snow-clad mountain range of the Himalayas in a broad daylight.
I was so mesmerized by her presence itself that I even forgot what she was actually talking about. Yes, it was absolutely worth running for, over the railway bridge to catch a train if one knew about her being a co-passenger. In fact, it was even worth dying for.
And before I could even answer, someone spoke in between interrupting the uncontrolled rhythmic wild imaginations of mine, “I guess I can have it”, he said. I looked for the intruder, which turned out to be a malnourished person sitting next to me. He appeared like a die-hard desperate Romeo in a constant hunt for a Juliet.
I gave a gentle smile to him without uttering a word, which might have happened subconsciously as a result of attending long hours of frequent grooming sessions at the office. Else, the ghost of a Bihari residing in me wanted to tell, “Haan toa fir tumhi kha lo saale manhoosh. Tumra baap toa kabhi laddu dekha nahi hoga ii janam me (Yes, you can have it, my ill fated-friend because even your forefathers might not have had the occasion to savor the sweets in their entire lives.) “
Sooner than later to be realized, they started conversing with each other and she was giggling over the most sub-standard jokes that can ever be ever heard, which further made it suffocating. Like an evident looser, I got up from my place and went straight to the never again to be seen a well-maintained loo, and lit a cigarette. In those days, it was my way of repenting a sin.
With mixed thoughts, I returned back and settled myself on the upper birth and started reading a novel. She too was reading a book titled PS-I Love You. Certainly, not my kind as my inclination was more towards Munshi Prem Chand kinda stories. Before I fall asleep, I heard her talking to someone angrily over the phone. Must be her boyfriend, I thought.
That night passed uninterrupted and I continued dreaming for long hours until woken up by the service guy for tea and breakfast. Mr. mal-nourished was back in the game of impressing the pretty lady, with his cheap tricks of praising every single word spoken by her even when she spoke about someone else. Not sure why, but I seemed to enjoy being jealous for the first time in my life.
I went down and sat near the window and continued reading the half-read book. They were chattering about their professions and then suddenly out of nowhere, he asked me, “So, you too work for a bank?”
“Even worst. I am a software engineer at an American MNC.”, I said suppressing my urge to kick his ass. The ghost in me was getting back in form.
“Oh, that’s great. I work at HSBC, Pune. Felt like I saw you somewhere in the head office at Kalyani Nagar.” He was not letting me get rid of him, so I decided to unleash the hell upon him.
“No, I don’t think so. I never met you or anyone like you before, at any stage of my life.” He seemed to be offended, which I surely wanted to.
She was hearing all of it silently and with clutched hairs, she looked more stunning and desirable. I avoided my level best to look at her. I had a feeling that she did not like me being rude to that guy. So, I chose my words carefully and avoided being resentful. Soon, I realized that every other boy in that compartment was passing nearby my seat to have a glimpse of her beauty.
For a precise moment, our eyes met each other and that was a breathtaking moment. I felt the tickle in my heart like a common protocol of love at the very inception of it. “Looks like you too are from Pune itself.” She spoke to me for the second time and I had no choice left other than addressing her, face to face.
“No. I actually come from Patna,” I said precisely assuming her to be a Bengali girl as they are known to have a beautiful skin, eyes, and hair.
“So, how long you had been working in Pune?” She wanted to know more about me, and I wanted that conversation to be eternal.
“It’s been nearly nine months and I am in love with it. I find it quite serene unlike any other developed city in India which are mostly chaotic.” I said cautiously.
“You need to find peace and harmony even in the midst of a cacophony of chaos,” She said with her pretty generous smile over the face.
With that one statement of her, I was able to estimate depth of her thought process. I could not believe my luck for having a beautiful girl seeking interest in knowing me. Even I wanted to know more about her, wanted to talk a lot, but then the guy sitting next to me interrupted again.
“Arrey Sir, aapne toa apna naam bataya hi nahi(You did not mention your name)?”
“Maybe it is not worth sharing for.” I was literally struggling to suppress my frustration but somehow managed to smile. I cursed the soft skill trainers from the core of my heart who made me so tolerant.
“Oh, come on. Every name is worth sharing. By the way, I am Paritosh.” He shook his hands with me without my consent.
“Paritosh. Such a unique name.” I said.
“Are you making fun of me? It’s a common Bengali name.” His broad teeth with black gum made his smile horrible.
“My name is Nilesh Ranjan.” I wanted to cut short that conversation with him as much as possible, but he was not giving up and I was losing my sanity.
“Dada aap toa Bihari hai. Aapko to UPSC dena chahiye. Hoye ki nahi?(Brother, how come you are in another profession. Afterall, Biharis keep chasing the dream of UPSC)” There he overstepped the line which protected him till that moment.
The outspoken ghost residing in me already took the charge of it and said, “With that kind of computation, you should actually be a lower division clerk at some Marxist, Leninist, or shitty communist party offices in Bengal.”
Everyone in that compartment burst out in laughter. He was devastated. From being a woman charmer, he found himself transformed into a snake charmer and I won the long-surviving battle against him.
She too was grinning cheerfully. The train was about to reach Jamshedpur station, which was a technical stoppage. Mr. Paritosh decided to deboard the train.
“But, you were supposed to go till Kolkata. Why are you getting down here?” She enquired.
“Actually, I belong to Jamshedpur itself. I had no idea that the train has got a stoppage here as well. So, it is better to get down here.” He said with a sad face.
In between all the negativity that we had in last couple of weeks through main stream or social media, let’s talk about some of the positive attributes that our beautiful nation is imbibed to. In a time like this when an entire country is locked down, there are some restless soul who are performing their eternal duties 24*7 without a blink. In the next few paragraphs I would like to highlight some of the ecstatic moments that nation has witnessed so far.
Today on 5th of April, 2020, when India is going to stand in solidarity fr the second time with our war like heroes at 9 PM to show the unity that is not very often shown and always stays deep within our hearts, I would like to pen down my thoughts for this great country in words through this article.
I am not undermining efforts of anyone, but let me start with the services rendered by our policemen so far. Some of the photographs that is being shared on twitter are enough to narrow down the prejudice against the cops at a significant level. I saw people tweeting a statement that nation will always remain indebted by the sacrifice of those khakhi wearing heroes. To make it more expressive let me share a picture from Indore where a policeman is looking at his daughter while having his food from a safe distance.I kept staring at the picture for few minutes when it popped up for the first time
We often forget about their personal lives and keep cribbing about misdeeds of few to blacken the face of entire force. In one of the episodes of the famous TV show ‘Satya Mev Jayate’ hosted by Amir Khan, the living condition of ordinary policemen was shown. The pain and agony they live with cannot be expressed even with best competency of a person with words. Still the kind of duty they perform is unthinkable by many of us. One part of their duty is to perform the last rites of all the unclaimed human bodies at their own expenses. At times duties like that can cause serious issues with a person’s mental and psychological health. I got to know about this during my discussion with a sub inspector of Police from Jamui district of Bihar.
Let me share another picture of a cop who slept in between a barricaded road and that brought tears in my eyes out of compassion because I too had a moment like that couple of times in my life during the treatment of my father.
12 years back when my father was operated for the removal of his left kidney in Chennai at a famous Railway Hospital (Perambur). Like many government hospitals nothing was provided for the attendants of patients to rest upon specially when the patient was in ICU. I slept on the floor of hospital outside the ICU by keeping few sheets of newspaper as a replica of a bed sheet cover. Surprisingly, I never had such a peaceful sleep again even on the beds of five star hotels. Not sure of the reason but today when when I see that policeman in the picture, I envy him for the kind of fate he has got to serve the nation under much more unprivileged conditions than me. He is doing the same thing for a much bigger family at a much lower cost. He has raised the standard at a very unreachable heights. My two lines for them.
राहों की तो जाने दो साहब,
आप हमें सिर्फ मंज़िल बता दो !!
Yes, we as a citizen of India should always remain indebted to people who are working days and nights in the best of their capabilities to serve the mankind in these tough times. We should pledge not to forget their efforts to contain the spread of virus in our good times once the danger of COVIDE-19 is over. In next topic I will try to cover the stories of our health workers. Till them stay home stay safe.