Independence Day (Swadhinata Dibas)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Today is 14th August. A very significant day for Pakistan and India. "The midnight's children", according to Salman Rushdie. The midnight they were freed and became foes for ever. Like all other independence day, from 14th August the country is on red alert for terrorist activities, specially after the massacre at Mumbai lately.

"What's there in your bag Mr.?" the policeman stopped Tridiv on the entrance of Rashbehari metro (tube rail) station. The metro station is at the southern part of Kolkata, near the famous Kalighat Temple at Kolkata and named after famous patriot of India. This afternoon the rush is heavy for the metro as the daily passengers and office goers are returning home and tomorrow is independence day, a holiday. The police is on red alert at Kolkata as well. Their are several policemen in front of each gate of the metro station.

He was ready for this kind of question. "Laptop", he answered.
The policeman looked around to his colleague, "Can we allow this?" he enquired.
The other policeman looked through a chart of allowed items in his hand. Then he firmly said "No, we cannot allow this."
Tridiv knew that laptop is allowed, only a formal checking is required. He has travelled with his laptop, each time he had to go home. He tried to convince them.
"Look, sir, this is a harmless computer. My office is nearby. I need to go home at Siliguri. Please sir. I regularly travel with this."
"No, we cannot allow laptops, CDs, DVDs, etc." the first policeman told Tridiv, you better hire a taxi, if you are in hurry.
"Sir, please, Tridiv tried again, please check my bag thoroughly. This is my ID Card, see." He shown them the Identification Card of his company.
"I need to hurry. Sir, please let me in", he requested again to the policemen.
The second policeman felt a little convinced. He took the bag from Tridiv's hand. "OK, let us check", he looked around the first one.

People are hurrying home. There is a long queue in front of the ticket counters. Tridiv stood in front of one after around 30 persons in the queue. His home town is at Siliguri, at the farthest north of West Bengal, and is a 12 hours bus journey from Kolkata. Already four five people are in the queue behind him. Suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder.

"Hey you, what's in your bag?" asked the policeman. The guy is of heavy build. The hand on his shoulder felt very heavy to Tridiv. "Come with me", the policeman said. No way he can get the next metro, Tridiv thought, looking helplessly at the queue, Tridiv left the queue and followed the policeman to a table. An officer on duty is sitting there with two other policemen with him.

"What are you carrying in there?" the big policeman asked. "Laptop sir. I carry...", Tridiv continued with his story. The people are passing by. Some of them are staring suspiciously, as if Tridiv has stolen something.
"The story is good. But Mr. Roy, we cannot leave you now. Not by the metro at least. You are supposed to leave this station immediately." said the officer. We have strict instructions.
"Sir, please, I need to hurry, unless, i shall not get a reservation at the bus. You know sir." Please let me travel for this time. I shall never travel with the laptop in metro again.
"See, young man, the government is in search of some terrorists reported to be here in Kolkata. We are just doing our duties. I can well understand your problem. I am also from Cooch Behar, a nearby district of yours and you know it is farther a distance to travel than Siliguri, your place. Still, I cannot help."
"Well sir,you must be familiar with the laptops." Tridiv tried desperately. "I can show this in operation. I am not carrying anything dangerous."
The officer though something in his mind, and then told, "OK, I can do one favor, you can keep your laptop with us, for expert checkup. I am issuing a receipt to you. When you get back, collect the laptop from this metro station only."
"But, sir, I am supposed to go through the code in this weekend, for the web site I am coding for", he said. "You know sir, how the private company jobs are. If you don't work on weekends, you may loose your job very soon."
Now the officer became a bit disappointed, he firmly said, "See, you have two clear options, either leave the laptop with us and go home, or you may go out of the metro station right now. Which one do you want to follow?"
Tridiv thought for a moment, then said, "Sir, will you please do me one more favor?"
"What?" the officer became impatient.
"Please arrange me a ticket to Esplanade sir, I have lost significant time and missed two trains."
"OK. Sunil, please buy a ticket for him." he ordered the healthy policeman who pulled him from the queue."Meanwhile, Mr. Bhadra, please arrange the receipt. We are allowing him."

They told that he will get the call. The phone rang again, again and again. Tridiv looked at it eagerly. He is sweating. He was waiting for the call for a long time. He tried at least fifty times but the number was not working. The mobile was switched off. He took the phone. Mausumi was on the line. "Talk to Smita", she said, "we are free now." They didn't do any harm to us".

A deep sigh of relief came out of Tridiv. He could not help it. They kidnapped his wife and daughter. The same gang who kidnapped him three days back. Forced him to implant the plastic explosive under the battery cover of the laptop. Who rehearsed the whole drama again and again till Tridiv can not think any longer. They were always behind him. They always followed each and every step of him, at least as long as he becomes a criminal by himself.

The bomb blast will kill hundreds of people. He has to kill hundreds of helpless people to save his family. His life is at stake, his career is ruined. But he loves his daughter more than anything on earth. He loves his wife dearly. He can take any chance. Do absolutely anything to save them. Now, only chance is, all the policemen who knew that the laptop was his, are already dead.

Is there a chance of him to get away with this at all? Even if he is not tracked by anyone for some time, sooner or later, the CID or CBI or Anti Terrorist Squad or any damn policeman will track him down successfully. And his wife? His relatives? They will automatically know that, he is the criminal. He is the one, responsible for the Kolkata bomb blast. His wife and daughter will be hated for what he did. He will be hanged to death, but his family will suffer for ever. He has not saved them. He has ruined everything. He has spoilt there lives as well.

Tridiv felt that a cold grip of terror is starting to choke his throat. He wanted to shout. He felt like dying. He wanted to apologize to all the people passing by, all the souls of the dead people he killed. He wanted to apologize to his daughter, his wife, his old parents, his close relatives, to his friends, to everyone he knew, to forgive him. Forgive him for not being brave enough to die. To suicide, before killing all those people, directly or indirectly. To forgive him not to sacrifice his own life on the day of independence of the country he lives, his family lives, his ancestors lived.

Tridiv woke up. He is sweating. His throat is dry like a desert. The nightmare is over. It is 7 AM on the 15th August. The sun is as bright as it can be. He is at his home place at Kolkata, with Mausumi and Smita. They are still sleeping beside him. Nobody is dead, not at least this time. Kolkata is saved, India is saved. No incidence of blood shading on the independence day.


Steps on stairs (Sirite Pa)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Five more floors to go. Only five more. Each of the floors can be reached by twenty steps on the stairs. Ten of them and he can get to the landing. A few seconds, a few steps and a little rest in climbing. He can stop there for few seconds if he likes, but then need to climb the rest few stairs to reach the next floor. It is around 1:00 PM now. He never mistakes the time. During the long experience in his work, he never looked at the clock. He never wear a watch either. Or, better said, not wear a watch when there is no special occasion, for the work he does, the wrist watch cannot be worn on his wrist.

He is concentrating on the stairs. The stairs are already a bit slippery for the sand and dust on them. The stairs are pretty wide. Three four men like him can ride them at a time. He is panting a bit. Panting due to the restlessness, the lack of air, and the tremendous humidity, normal in Kolkata in these days.

There is rain sometimes, but in the month of June, the humidity reaches it's maximum. The weather is cloudy, air is heavy and hot. As hot as 38 degree Celsius. May be it seems so hot as he is working for long. May because he is feeling hungry like hell. May be because he need to breath some air, need some rest, need a few puffs on his favourite handmade Indian cigarette, known as "biri". Ah! If he could stop now for a while, he thought in himself. Unknowingly he argued against the thought, he is not supposed to think like this. He is not allowed to, he is a worker, in work, and need to finish the work in due time.

He has just crossed the sixth floor. This is his last trip. After this, he will go down to the basement, where they report every morning to the supervisor. The supervisor will take his thumb impression. He will get the pay for today, and will have his lunch. He has will have lunch at a temporary canteen made for them near the construction venue. Rice, dal, one vegetarian dish made of potatoes, brinjals, etc. a piece of onion, two green chillies.He is feeling the crave for that food rapidly growing in him. He doesn't like that food very much but that is all he can afford here. After having his lunch, he will get back home. His wife cooks rice in the evening. They will eat some at night and will keep some in water for the next morning. Early morning, he eats this wet rice with salt, some hot dishes cooked early by his wife and daughter and comes to his work.

He is around 50 years in age. He is not supposed to work here according to the supervisor, as it takes to much of physical labour for a man of his age. He requested, argued and finally got the work. He needs this work as the payment is much better than the normal works he does. As this work continues longer than the works he get locally. As he can earn enough from this work to save some more for his two daughters, one of them is going to be married very soon when the other has been already married.

Seventh floor has been reached. He is in full concentration on the steps. But, he is getting distracted sometimes. His son-in-law has gone to Kerala, a place far from West Bengal, almost 2000 Km. away. He earns better money there. He wanted to take his father-in-law with him, but he didn't agree. The money may be high, but he need to stay with his family. He opted to come to sector V instead. The software tecnology park, where new high rises are being built and for him, the pay is much better than his locality. He is a masonry supply worker, the kind of people who supplies the required materials to the brick layerers. He also knows how to prepare the mortar with cement and sand and water. He knows, how to bind the racks for masonry workers to seat on and work on a tall building. All these things he has learnt from his childhood. All these years he is working for his family. He never talk to the other workers much. They think that, he is a thinker. Well, he thinks but not as a thinker. He never argues with anyone about the present political issues, nor he comaplints about the wage he is receiving and the ratio of work and wage. He never be there in the union meetings and always try to avoid all kinds of controversy.

Only thing he belive about his life is, he is a poor man. And, like other men, he needs to work for the people he is responsible for. Sometimes, only when, in special occasions, he drinks and become a thinker. At those times he finds his life to be screwed up top to bottom and he cannot change his life.

"Nobody can change his life, his fate", he thought. "It's fate, it's God, it's the destiny. The day we born, it has been written on our forehead. No one can change that, however he tries." A deep sigh came out of him. He is feeling really exhausted, as he is crossing the ninth floor and heading towards the tenth. He need to climb the rest of the steps to reach up to the eleventh floor. There the other guy is waiting for him to carry the bag of cement to the sixteenth floor. The work is there at the sixteenth floor. The building is almost finished, so the cranes have been removed from the building. Only way to carry things up to that height is the lift. The two working lifts are meant for the people working in different offices in this building. They are very sophisticated people, so the lifts, in no way can be used for carrying the building materials. So only way it can be done is with the labours, the supply workers.

The man is sweating like anything. The bag has become heavier than ever. With is burning stomach for food, he is feeling a tremendous head ache as well. He is nearing to the tenth floor.

His legs have started trembling. The lack of water in his body due to the continuous sweating for the last one hour has made him weak. He is panting heavily. His eyes are feeling like popping out. It seems that he cannot make it to the eleventh floor. If he can call loudly, the guy at the eleventh floor may come down to help him. He doesn't want anyone to help. No one will help him to carry the load he has in his life, no one ever can. However uneven the war of life may become sometime, he cannot just wait and loose. This is his war, he needs to fight till the end.


Prayer (Prarthana)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ting Ting Ting. The wall clock said it is 3 AM at night. Sudip got up from bed. The bedroom is a bit enlightened from the street light. The curtains are removed from the only window open. There is a continuos buzzing sound outside. It is still raining. The heat wave is a bit reduced with the advent of the monsoons. Sudip felt cold. He got down cautiously from the bed, cautious enough not to disturb anyone. Lowered the speed of the ceiling fan and then looked back at the her wife Sonali and daughter Sunetra. They are fast asleep.

This has been a very tough day for Sonali. The housemaid didn't come today. All day she had to look after every possible household works by herself. She had to cook as well like everyday. Sudip loves food and he loves food cooked by Sonali more than any other food. Sunetra is only three. She looks like a little fairy nowadays. Sonali is good looking, Sudip is more than average. Suntra has received the best looks from both of them. She has thrown away the bed sheet aside. Sudip thought of go in again and put it in place, as it is a bit cold today. Then he paused, slowly got out of the room.

Sudip took out a bootle of water from the top of their refrigerator and entered the kitchen. The window of the kitchen is half closed. A sudden gush of moist wind jumped inside the kitchen. He once thought of closing the windows, at least in the bedroom, but recalled Sonali doesn't like that. "It feels so suffocating. I cannot sleep this way", she always complain except in winter. Sudip drank few sips of water from the bottle. He put that down and try to search for the match box in the cell. It's not there. He gets out of the kitchen to switch on the light.Getting the match box and head towards the other bed room through the dining cum living room.

Sudip has his desktop in this room. This room is smaller than the master bed room in this two bedroom flat they have purchased the last summer. This flat is at Patuli, a very convenient location in the newly built area at south Kolkata. He can easily reach his office at sector V at Salt Lake and can get back within half an hour or so at night. Sudip took out the packet of cigarette from the drawer of the computer table, lit one and sat on the bed. Here also a window has been kept half opened by Sonali. "Gods need air too." She told with a muse when Sudip asked about shutting all the windows. "But my PC!" "Gods will save it, she replied". "You see, gods will save my computer", repeated Sunetra. She always try to keep copying what her mother said. That's how people learn to talk, that's why a language becomes the "Mother's Tongue". The little lady, she always says everything to be her. The other day she was lookig at a car with great concentration. "That's my car" she said. "It's not your's for it is not ours. Everything me and your mom have is yours" corrected Sudip.

"Gods will save everything. My PC, my family and Sonali?" Sudip wondered. The rain must have been stopped. In this room is there is a large picture of Goddess Kali, the goddess who is widely worshiped by Hindu community specially Bengali people. Also one of Lord Ganesha. The God of knowledge with elephant's head. In two other medium sized frames there are pictures of Lord Krishna and Goddess Durga. In a corner self, specially created on Sonali's demand there are several small framed pictures and small statues other God and Goddesses. Sonali worships regularly. Sudip is not a believer. He sometimes had arguments with Sonali about keeping so many pictures of Gods. "This room looks like a average villagers room. These pictures better be kept at the home place. Sometimes my friends come here, and the pictures are so embarrassing. Can we not keep some of them at the bed room?" "No, you can't. In bedroom, the pictures of Gods should not be there according to Bastu Shastra - the Indian home science. We have photos of ours in the dining cum living room".

The cigarette is burning slowly to ash. Sudip canot think steadily. He has gone through vary tough situations throughout his life. He has built up his own fortune from the day he started living with his uncle after his father's death. He later found that his mother could not care for him as she got married and settled very soon after his father's death. All the time of these disturbances, he never prayed to God. A hatred towards this unknown force drive his life in a determination to win out his adversities. He became atheist. The man who has married his mother didn't allow Sudip to live with them. Sudip went to a residential school at 6. Almost at the end of his studies in a college at Kolkata, he lost his mother as well. He was left alone, he remained alone. Even after all these evil happened to his life, Sudip steadily studied in his college to shine in his life. He was really a good student and very soon after he passed out with a Master of Computer Application from his university, he got a job. Again, he had shown to his uncle, aunt, cousin sister, all known relatives and everybody around that he is not lost. He can win without the God between him and his success, even if life gets measurable.

Sonali came in his life like a cool breeze. After his marriage with Sonali, he brought things started to get settled for the last seven years. Now they are happily married couple, trying to build the future of their daughter with good education and other learning facilities. But can Sudip keep everything smooth running if Sonali won't stay with her? He lit another cigarette. No, he cannot bear this. He loves his wife than anything else in this world. She has been the turning point of his damned life. Life has become a bit smooth sailing for him from the day Sonali joined hands with him. After Sunetra's entry life feels like heaven even after the regular tremendous workload, tension and frustration at workplace. And now he is standing at an uncertain corner of life where this golden dream built by them is going to get shattered into thousands of small pieces.

He understood that he is not going to sleep, no way. He slept his sleep for this night. He is not going to office tomorrow, for he is going to tell Sonali and her parents about the truth. The truth, that Dr. Anirban Ghosh has let him know in the evening. Her cancer test has been found positive. The pain in her stomach is no more an average illness. Immediate treatment in a very sophisticated institution with cancer cell only may help her. Sonali will have to undergo a hell lot of pain to fight out this uneven battle. Even her Gods cannot help her or are they the only help for her to win? Or will she loose and Sudip with Sunetra will be lost?

Ting! Another sound of the wall clock let Sudip know it is 3:30 AM. The highway is slowly waking up. Some vehicles have started moving. The sound of rain has been stopped totally. He heard a dog howling from far away. As if the dog is crying. Sudip felt a burning sensation in his eyes. Looking towards the pictures of the Gods and Goddesses, he started weeping unknowingly and started to murmur, "If you are there, please help her. I don't believe in you but she does. She worships you regularly. Please let her beliefs come true. Please listen to her prayers." Tears started rolling from his eyes.


Wind (Haoa)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The bus was running in medium speed. It had no hurry to reach it's destination. It is a bus from the CSTC (Calcutta, now Kolkata State Transport Corporation). This is a medium aged bus. At the most four years old, and the seats inside are arranged for the CSTC long distance service buses. So, it was a converted city bus. Earlier may be it used to run to a destination of 200KM or more, whereas it runs for 10-15KM per trip through the city.

It is a summer morning. Though it is around 9AM in the morning, the environment of the city is pretty hot. The traffic is medium, though the bus is full, like all other buses in Kolkata. No seat was left while as many as 40 people are standing inside this 52 seats bus. People were suffocating inside as the wind is not passing through the windows and is there is no cool breeze, only hot gust coming through the opened door and windows of the bus.

The conductor of this bus is wearing a dust-colored full sleeve shirt on a khaki trousers. That is the uniform of the government bus workers in whole India. While just like the private ran buses, the conductor is carrying a bag of tickets and money, and repeatedly asking the passengers to purchase their tickets. Some of the passengers are listening to his appeal for buying the tickets and paying, while others are just ignoring him.

Madhumita was going towards the south of Kolkata to her aunt's place at Behala to meet them. She has purchased her tickets and was looking out of the window of the running bus. She likes to look at the hoardings for advertisements. Though it has pretty restricted in Kolkata to put hoarding, banner, etc. some hoardings are still there with different advertisements. There are several big hoardings of the political party candidates, who are going to compete in the forthcoming Parliamentary Election. There are three main political parties standing in this election from West Bengal, the state of which, Kolkata is the capital. The ruling party alliance, the main opposition with an alliance and a third party which doesn't have much influence in this state. The ruling party is ruling for nearly 32 years continuously, when the main opposition has done the successful alliance with the other oppositions for the first time in history.

"OK, OK, now stop here." The bus conductor shouted to the bus driver. The bus suddenly stopped.
"What happened man? Why have you stopped?" asked the man in check shirt, who was standing just beside Madhumita.

"Yes, yes, why, why?" queries started coming from other passengers sitting and standing in the bus.
"Well, there is some problem with the left front wheel of the bus. It is loosing air. We need to pore some air it it, and there will be no issue." The bus conductor answered coolly.

This is not a common phenomenon. Almost all the passengers targeted this morning bus to avoid the inevitable notorious traffic jam of Kolkata and most of them were traveling this 15KM distance from extreme north to south of the city in this unbearable hot morning, so, the murmur started automatically among the sociable passengers.

"These fellows are government servants. The VIPs."
"Now that the salary is increasing, they will be more VIP".
"What they do in the bus depot? They are supposed to check all the problems."
"Where is the time? Why should they care for me and you? Political Union of the ruling party is there."

Madhumita heard some discussions as well, while she is least bothered about these. She is around 22 years of age. Working for a call center at Sector V, Salt Lake City, Kolkata. She never wants to know about the political issues and from her past and present experiences she has known that gossiping this way is just wastage of time. People of West Bengal, specially people working for the government cannot be changed. The ruling party will rule and the unions will become more powerful day after day. You want to protest, they will not let you. Here, in West Bengal, everything is governed by political colors. You have a dispute with your neighbor, the political parties will come in to get some profit out of it. West Bengal, the Bengali, will never change. Nothing can change the unwritten rules. Only thing she has in her mind is to reach her destination quickly.

The bus started to move again after poring some air in the left wheel and the murmur stopped almost instantly. The bus have covered almost two thirds way to its destination. Passengers are continuously boarding and leaving the bus. Madhumita just finished talking to one her friends through her cell phone. Things seemed to be normal, when suddenly The bus conductor shouted again to the driver and the bus started running in a off rout.

"Hey, what are you doing?" asked the man in white shirt.
"It is not the proper rout. This is getting far away from my destination at Park Street." the guy wearing the greenish T-Shirt inquired.
"What's the matter. You are going away from the rout." again someone asked.
The bus conductor repeated his old answer. "We need to pour air in the left front wheel".
"What? You should have said earlier. I have important works."
"So, what could I do?" The bus conductor asked.
"Means? Three other passengers charged towards the conductor.
"You must have informed us earlier. We could have chosen some other option."

The bus almost stopped now and some of the passengers started getting off. But the rest of the passengers became furious.

"What the hell do you do at the depot?" somebody asked.
"Don't you have shame? You people being public servants wasting the time and money of people."
"Low class people. Only shouting for the ruling party leaders and getting the monthly salary from the government."
The cursing made The bus conductor angry.
"So, we are low class people, why are you yelling on us. Please shut up", he replied.

That reply added oil to the fire.
"How dare you talk to the public like this. Don't forget that you are a public servant."

The bus conductor realized that whatever these people are saying has truth in it. Even today, while they were having tea at the tea stall near the bus depot, neither the bus driver nor he felt the urge to check the Tyre of the wheels. Only thing they checked is the engine condition, brakes and fuel. But, again, it is a fact that he is an active member of the bus-union of the ruling party and may be elected as the secretary very soon. And these fellows do not understand how much power he may enjoy once he become the secretary.

Thinking all these in this situation and hot wind outside made him hot in anger. And he shouted back.
"Of course I am a public servant but not your servant. Don't talk to me like this, or else...."
"Have it been a private bus. We would have taught you how to talk to public." somebody said. In India touching a public servant on duty may bring a lot of trouble to a citizen. May be he recalled that, but some passengers do not care for the rules.

"Else what?" Three young guys surrounded The bus conductor. One of them pushed him.
"Let me show you", one of them tried to catch his collar.

Madhumita got nervous. She is thinking of getting late and start the bus right now. This is a sheer wastage of time and energy. The three passengers heading to the bus conductor must be members of the opposition party. That's why they want to show the muscle power. Also there is no point to dispute with a poor bus conductor. Only thing they all should do right now is cooperate.

Some other people may be thinking like her. So, one of them said, "Let it go. Let's do our best to start the bus and get it moving. We all are getting late.

"Here, we have an agent of the transport minister." shouted someone from the back side.
"Agent, agent. Tell him to come by the side of the conductor.
"He will report to the transport minister. As we all know, there are hooligans working for him, we will be all punished" someone yelled in mockery.
"32 years we are suffering from you, this will come to end."
"Let the election come, we will show them this time." said somebody.
"Only eating,sleeping, gossiping and shouting for the ruling party cannot save you all the time."

The three young fellows who stopped after pushing The bus conductor, realizing the dire consequences they may had to face. Hearing the verdict and support of the fellow passengers they gathered some fresh energy and tried to push The bus conductor again. The bus conductor realized that the situation is going out of his control and just jumped off the bus to save himself from the angry mob. The driver also vanished in no time.

Madhumita got up from her seat and pushed her way outside to get some other vehicle. She also thought once to protest for the bus conductor and let him pour the air to finish this journey. She understood that, though most of the people she mix with and almost everybody around her workplace do not care for the elections and even do not cast their votes, the surrounding has really become anti-ruling-party. From her elder ones she has always heard only about good deeds of the ruling party. She even casted her vote in favor the ruling party in the last election.But after a few major mistakes of the ruling party to acquire land from unwanted poor farmers for industrialization and being unnecessarily rude to the village people, even some encounter deaths of poor farmers have changed something internally.

People has become impatient and a wind of change may be blowing deep inside their minds. She once thought about the hooliganism the three young guys started. This kind of intervention will increase suddenly if the ruling party looses this time. People will take the rule in their hands and will do something drastic, just to show that, they are powerful too. The same way the cadres of the ruling party does these days. She suddenly realised that there is a high possiblity of a civil war some day in the villages,suberbs, towns and even in this metropolis Kolkata, once the rulling party falls.

She felt the scorching heat of the sun outside and the burning sensation from the hot wind blowing . She felt as if the wind is the wind of change for this state that will burn a lot of things in the coming days.


Storm in the restaurant (Restaurant-e Jhar)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

This is a summer afternoon in Kolkata. At this time of the day at 2 PM the temperature has reached its maximum, almost forty degree Celsius. This has beaten the record of last thirteen years or so. There is no rain for at least five months at a stretch. Like other parts of the city sector V is also burning in this heat wave from Jharkhand. The heat is really unbearable for those who are strolling outside of their offices either for having food or for some unavoidable reasons. Even looking out from a safe corner in an air-conditioned room is giving a burning sensation to the viewers eye. The food, fruits and drink sellers as usual are out on this heat and relentless, as they are habituated to this heat wave for the last fifteen days.

Parthib and Manisha were walking towards "Finger Tips" a reknowned restaurant at this place, to have their lunch. The heat is so terrific that the fair face of Manisha looked reddish which added extra beauty to her look. Parthib could not move his eyes away from her. Manisha generally comes here wearing the normal business suit uniform of the business school they read in. But today being the last session before the final semester, she is going to attend ,she has worn a light blue sari on her. Her hair is pony tailed and she is looking gorgeous in the stone studded black blouse she is wearing. She is an attractive girl of twenty two. Just graduated from one of the famous colleges of Kolkata and looking for an opportunity in the corporate world as a professional like Parthib. Parthib has been working as a trainee at one of the software firms here in sector V.

"Right now, if required, I can die for Manisha", Parthib thought himself. He has proposed Manisha twice in these eight months, once indirectly, a few months back and once directly just three days before. She never said yes, but she never said "no" either and that is the last hope for him. He knows well that this is his last chance. She offered Manisha to have lunch with him today and headed for a nearby restaurant.

Srija was looking out through the glasses of her office. The boy is holding the umbrella on behalf of the girl, while the girl is having her fruit juice. "So funny", she thought . Riddhi has never done such an idiotic move while they are together. He works as a technical consultant for a software company at sector V itself. But, that is a bit away from her office. Sometimes they have planned to go out to eat during office lunch hours, but most of the time, they cannot meet at lunch. Even if they could lunch on the roadside stall a day, Riddhi will never do this. And about the umbrella? He is the last person to carry Srija's umbrella she thought. Is that really a foolish act? Doesn't that so the real love, care and loyalty to a girl?

"Hey, like to go to fingertips for lunch?" Komolina asked.
"Yeah let's go." Srija and Komolina headed for the restaurant.

"Whatever you say, Buchanan should be kicked out of Kolkata Knight Riders. Him, and for him only, we are standing nowhere". Saumitra almost shouted.
"No it is McCullum, with his wrong judgements all the way." Arunava argued. "You move dada (Sourav Ganguly) and you are lost. It is that simple."
Pallab was silent, as usual. He doesn't like cricket much. For this reason or maybe some other reasons, the other two are always making laugh at him, for the last few days. Pallab has started disliking this and brought to their notice, but situation has not improved. He just sipped the glass of cold drinks and asked, "Do you know there may be a thunder shower today?"
"What? Are you telling about the news paper weather forecast? Are they ever true?" Saumitra crossed. "Remember Mr. Goldar? Who was renamed as Mr. Gooldar - the rumour-monger, because of his wrong predictions."
"Google never lies." Thought Pallab himself. There is a continuous forecast from google about this thunder shower, though he never checked the satellite imagery. The gang of three were continuing their talk while sipping their cold drinks. They come here together regularly as they work for the same software company.

The restaurant is almost packed up now. Employees from the nearby offices regularly have lunch here. So, very few chairs have been left vacant for Srija and Komolina. They sat just beside the gang of three and Srija was facing the TV screen.

"Do you know where are we planning to go this weekend?" asked Komolina.
"How can I have the faintest idea of your appointments. I am not interested either." Srija thought. "Nope." she answered.
"Hee Hee, water world. That will be pretty exiting I guess." Komolina seemed exited.
"But, Komolina, Sandip is a married man. Do you think that he will continue with you and leave his family?"
"Of course, he will. Do you know how much he loves to stay with me than the old witch. That witch was once came to me and even dared to threaten me." Komolina sighed. "But I love Sandip and will carry on our relationship, whatever it takes."
"And they must have children?"
"No. They don't have. They cannot have any more. Sandip's wife had a surgery on her uterus."

The couple entered right now catched the eyes of both the gang of three and of the girls we were talking about. The girl in blue sari is really looking beautiful but the guy with him is also very handsome. They looked like a perfect match, as if made for each other. The type of couple who pass like a cool breeze in your face on a hot day like this. The couple headed forward to the corner where there is the last four seater still vacant.

Pallab said, "look there is another forecast coming on the TV."
"Forget the TV see the real cool breeze once. It is more of an eye candy." Arunava said.
"Absolutely right", commented Saumitra.
"Let's move now. Will leave early today." said Pallab.
"Wait man, why are you hurrying. Your Project Manager is away and today is Friday. Relax", said Arunava.
"No, if the storm starts just now, we cannot get back to the office so easily", said Pallab.
The other two continued the leg pulling as they are doing for the last few days. He is getting the message from his two coleuges today. They are no more the gang of three, three has become a crowd it is no more a company.

"See the couple, they really look great aren't they?" asked Komolina.
"Yes. Let's start our lunch". Srija said.
"Right. Please pass me a paper napkin".

Their lunch has been served and Komolina started eating really hungrily.
Srija looked at the TV screen reluctantly. The weather forecast is showing that there may be a very powerful storm over Kolkata in the afternoon. "They always forcast. Then the storms come and by the god's grace, Kolkata is always saved. The storms go to Bangladesh", Srija thought.

With extreme astonishment Parthib noticed that Manisha is waving to a man who have just entered. A man of around thirty years of age. The man was in a T-shirt and Jeans and looked pretty stout. The man walked towards them and without taking anyone's permission joined the table. He has a concerned look in his face.

Someone entered and the few seconds the door was open, cool wind entered into the restaurant. Nobody really noticed that for the ACs their. Nobody even looked out to see what is going on outside. Most of them have not noticed that it is almost dark outside, for a dense rain cloud is covering the whole Kolkata.

The gang of three were about to leave.Suddenly there is a cracking sound of thunder and the storm started. Nobody could get the real touch of the cool breeze as the resturent is air-conditioned. But, again there is a craking sound of thunder. Saumitra and Arunava headed for the door but were stopped by Pallab. "See the storm has started. Let's have some more cold drinks." Saumitra was going to call from his cell, Pallab stopped him. "Don't use the cell when it is thundering", he said. Arunava was totally confused, "how come this could have started, even before half an hour there was no sign of clouds," he murmured.

"Meet my would be husband, Nabin", Manisha broke the ice. Nabin said hello, but Parthib could not here. As if the sound of thunder made him deaf and the sudden impact of the situation made him dumb as well. "I have never said about Nabin to you, as you know, we were pretty busy. He works in IBM, Kolkata". Manisha continued and then Nabin intervened, asked something to Manisha. Parthib was not listening to anything, he is terribly hurt. The sudden strike of the thunder storm as if has hit the core of his mind. He gaped around to get away from this situation, this particular moment. "Why me?" he thought to himself and recalled that Manab, one of his friends had given him the warning. "Don't mix with this kind of a girl. She is not of your type. Your relationship will turn to nowhere." Manab warned once.

Neither the three, nor Parthib can move out now as heavy rain has also started almost immidiately. The sound of the TV and the buzz of the people around has been stopped suddenly as there was another cracking sound of thunder and the restaurant lost power.

Srija felt helpless. She always fear from the dark. She also felt suffocated. Srija tried to look at Komolina and she felt a bit of hetred towards Komolina. "This is one of the girls who demolishes the love made home, the family, the real heaven." Suddenly a question struck in her mind, "has Riddhi really gone to Bangalore to represent his company in the Sun Java Conference or he has gone somewhere else? Does Riddhi also have someone like Komolina, in his eyes? Is this the reason he is reluctant about having a baby? " Srija thought." She picked up the cell, tried to ring Riddhi, there was no reply. The automated voice response said "The mobile you dialed is switched off, please dial after some time." But according to Riddhi, the conference is scheduled from 9AM to 1 PM. So, Riddhi must be free now. She tried again and again but no reply. Srija felt a tremendous frustration and breathing problem started. She is about to loose consciousness.

All of a sudden a cool breeze of air entered into the restaurant. It is around 3 PM now. Out there is absolute darkness at noon. After a long five minutes, the generator has been started and the lights came back. Manisha and Nabin could not find Parthib. He is gone.
"The idiot will not disturb me any more," Manisha thought and a quick malicious smile came in her face. "The fool. Moving a few days with a guy doesn't mean that I am bound to be emotionally attached to him." she thought.

Srija gained back her consciousness. She found her head resting in the lap of Komolina. Komolina is treating her as a baby and nursing her with a wait handkerchief.
"We will have to see a doctor after this storm gets over." Komolina said.
Srija could not reply, she only beckoned to her parse where she had her inhaler. Komolina took the inhaler out and stick that in Srija's mouth. Srija closed her eyes.
"It is the man, who is to be blamed in these illicit relationships", she thought to herself.

The storm gone as suddenly as it came. There is a huge tree broken down on the road. The electrical wires, telephone wires are all lying around here and there. A heavy stream of rain water is flowing over the road as well. The cars and buses are moving very slowly as one side of the road has been blocked by the tree. The rain has not stopped totally but everybody is trying to get to their destinations. Some are seeking for taxi. Some are running for bus.

Komolina, with the help of some other guys around and the employees of Finger Tips, got a cab, helped Srija in and started for the nearest doctor she knew. Srija kept her eyes closed again and though a bit embarassed, felt the contentment of being cared.

Manisha was still having chat with her boyfried at the restaurant. They are not in hurry and planning to go for a movie show at the "Big Cinema".

Arunava, Saumitra and Pallab came near the exit. Arunava and Saumitra looked to each other and together they said to Pallab, "Sorry, we have mistaken and make a fool of you about the storm. We have troubled you for quite some time about your ideas and lifestyle. Please don't mind. Those were just for fun. We are friends indeed. " Pallab felt that their gang of three has become a company again.

Parthib was sitting inside the nearby bus stop. He felt the rain. And felt the tears are rolling from his eyes after such a long period of time. He is not feeling the urge to get back home. He is submerged in deep sense of frustration and suddenly feeling lonely. He suddenly realized that he cannot die for anyone. Not even Manisha. As storms get over, and people comes back to normalcy and brings back everything to their shape, however hurt he has been, he will have to bring back normalcy, for him, for the people around him. He wiped the tears from his eyes and started trying to a get a bus to get back.


The Theft (Churi)

Monday, April 27, 2009

This is 11th April. Three days more and there will be "Nababarsha", the bengali New Year. Every shop has been offering "SALE". Every shop has been overcrowded all over the city of Kolkata, especially those places where there are numerous stall of different commodities on the footpath. On these footpath one will find everything they need, though mainly garments, one can find utensils, toys, sunglasses, glass made materials, CD & DVDs, magazines, handicrafts, photos, and more, and more. As it is a custom to wear new garments on the eve of the bengali new year, the "SALE" is on for garments mostly, and therefore most of the people are attracted into the garment shops. The crowd is mostly of the middle class and lower middle class of people who want to buy something special for their near and dear ones but do not have the financial ease to visit the nearby shopping malls. Those people who can buy something from the branded showroom in this occasion for a reduction of price up to 70% - 80%.

It is a summer evening and the clock at the head of one of the renowned theater at the "HatiBagan" is nearing to 45 minutes past 9 PM. This market is located at the famous five point crossing of "Shyam Bazar", north kolkata. This place is as overcrowded as can be. The five point crossing is always high in traffic and due to the crowd of people roaming and shopping and coming out from the four nearby movie theaters, the traffic is pretty slow.

Shamit was happy today. He is traveling with his family. Though it is around 10 PM and they need to hurry to home, he stopped on a nearby pan thela, a small shop selling pan,cigarettes, cold drinks, etc. He asked the shopkeeper to serve them some Coca-Cola, Sprite and Maaza. His wife Monali likes Sprite as it is color less and their 6 year old daughter likes Mazaa for the test of mango. Shamit and his wife Monali was carrying a couple of carry bags in each hands. They bought the gifts and garments for themselves as well as their relatives.

"The saris we have bought for your mother and my mother are really great. They are of great value for money and also looks gorgeous" said Monali. "And the two jeans you bought from Koutons showroom are really good". Shamit felt happy with these comments from his wife. He visited the nearby ATM to withdraw 4500 INR from his account, the most he could at this month at this time. He thought that the money will not be sufficient to purchase the garments they have planned, he was a bit tensed. Actually keeping one's wife content with the purchases you make is always very difficult. Specially if the wife is a "demanding" kind. But, Monali is a real exception to this. She is always happy from the small purchases made for her husband and daughter than for her own. Shamit nowadays tries to learn the secret of happiness from Monali. Even after a long married life of 8 years for now, Monali is still a wonder to his life. His happy family secret is Monali herself and from his hearts core he loves her very much. After all the purchases they made, Shamit had around 700 INR remaining in his pocket and was in a plan to take a taxi home.

"Dhur sala... life ta hell hoye gelo", Damn it, life has become hell, thought Manas as known as Bete (Short). Though he is nicknamed as "Short", he is 175 cm tall, strong built and very black complexioned guy. Hanging on the rod of the bus he works for and shouting a thousand times the next destinations of the bus he works for, he was really felt thirsty. The "SAIL" is going to be over, but the "malik", - owner of the bus has not offered them the bonus he promised to his staff for the "Nababarsha" occasion. "You people are thieves. You regularly steal the money from the actual sale of the bus and load extra passengers. So, I am not going to pay you any bonus this time. Of course, I shall pay the 'Durga Pujo' - bonus, when its time." He declared the other day. "Why? The other rout staff are getting as much as 300INR from their owners end, why not us? At least pay us the 250INR you promised the other day." argued Bete. "Don't talk mauch Bete, or I shall fire you", the owners last declaration in front of the ten other staff of different bus of the owner was a shock to the ears of Bete. It's not that he is always well treated by the owner. They are all habituated to hear the slangs everyday, but the way BiswajitDa, the bus owner said him about firing him if required, really scared him a bit. Yes, it's fact that they travel with some extra passengers for extra money which they never show to the owner and divide between themselves. It's also true that these days, as there are more passengers, the money is more and they get a better share, but that is a different ball game. If somebody has promised something and is not paying that in time, that is very unethical and a kind of theft.And if he is trying to protest the same, he is not doing anything wrong.

Bete's wife Mini was pressing hard for the last few days to buy some new frocks for their daughter and a sari for her own. With the 2800 INR, Bete gets as his salary from this bus and around 700 INR of extra income is not really enough for these purchases at this time of the month. He got this job only for six months and he had to pay the left out rents for their room to the landlord. Though he can do the purchase on any day, the rest of the month may become very hard for them. Mini works for some houses as house maid and she earns around 2200 INR every month and she has also received some bonus money from her bosses. So, she wants to go out one day to buy the things herself, but Bete didn't agree. "If I cannot buy the things myself, keep your money, I am not going to buy them with your money." that was his viewpoint. He was also against Mini's decission to start working as house maid once again, but finally had to allow her to work thinking of their financial condition. He knew and everybody residing nearby knew that he loves his wife very much.

"Let's hire a taxi." Shamit suggested. "Why waste money the buses are no more that crowded, let's go by bus. Hey, one is coming..." Monali hurried. The helper boy of the bus helped Monali in, he also took their daughter in and asked Shamit to get in. "Dada uthe parun taratari..." get up quickly brother, the bus will not stop. Shamit, with the handful of packets in his left hand, struggled to catch the rod of the bus with his right hand. He was running slowly as the bus started speeding slowly and taking a turn at the five point crossing of "Shyam Bazar". He kept his legs on the last pedestal of the rear door of the bus the helper boy is hanging behind him, and suddenly he felt he is being pick pocketed. He was totally helpless, only thing he could do is shout, "chor chor - the thief the thief".

Bete helped the man in and found the same guy shouting for the pick pocket. Instantly he tracked the right person with his previous experiences. The middle aged man in brown colored shirt, getting off from the bus started walking in high speed towards the five point crossing. His target is to ride another speeding bus and get away from the place. Bete started running after that man shouting "Dharun Dharun ... pocketmar" - catch the man please the pick pocket. Some shopkeepers after their tiring schedule of selling on the foot path were having a chat in front of a closed showroom. They also rightly tracked the man in brown shirt and started following. Finally the aged man ran into the traffic police camp to save himself from the mob. He was instantly pulled out from the angry mob and Bete started hitting him right away. "You bastard. Stealing money." he shouted. With all his anger and might he hit the thief on his face. The thief's face was bleeding from the blow and he threw away the purse of Shamit. Police intervened and the thief was saved from mob violence.

Shamit was totally dumbstruck for a few minutes. He, not only lost his money, but also the ATM cards, some non-reimbursed medical bills, some address cards. He could not decide what to do. Then he heard from the other passengers that some people started chasing the thief and then he realized that the bus has been stopped. "Hey man. This must be yours." the black complexioned guy handed him his lost purse. The man is carrying the bag of money as the bus conductors. Oh, that is the bus helper guy. Shamit started coming out of the shock. "Please check if everything is OK", the man said. "Yes, yes... ", Shamit hurried to find the ATM cards and the money. Monali came beside him.

"Wait", Shamit said to Bete. "You deserve a reward," he offered 350INR to Bete. "This is half of the amount I had in my purse, this is for you." "No, thanks", Bete replied, "Hater sukh to peyechi - I had a hand on the thief. That's enough for me to be happy with." "No, that is from your end and this is from mine, if you don't take this, I shall be very unhappy. Please buy something for your family with this." said Shamit. The other passengers also agreed with Shamit and insisted Bete to receive the money. Finally Bete could not avoid and had to receive the money from Shamit, and though it was not an end of a theater show,everybody around in the bus started clapping for Bete.The bus started to move again. Hopefully, it will be a real happy bengali new year for everybody.


Final Freedom (Sesh Mukti)

Friday, April 17, 2009

The music was low. Light was dim. The bodies were moving together slowly in sync with the music. There is no smoke in this pub as smoking has been banned in public places several months ago. There are people sitting on far tables having an eye on the Dance Floor.

Romita can relax today.

Romita can relax today. She works in a BPO of a reputed company as a "Customer Relationship Manager (CRM)". Romita is 29 around 165 cm tall and has a very attractive build. A few extra pounds but that remains hidden under the business suit she wears at workplace. Her face is sharp and her complexion is a bit on the darker side, but overall she possesses a "sexy" look and she used to enjoy the adoration in the mens eyes while moving past her even in the last summer. Nowadays her boss wants her to entertain him someday and even wants her to go with him abroad. She has to manage this very coolly and professioally. She knows that handling these situations has a lot to do with her career. She has always managed. Though sometimes situation went out of control and she had to find another job for her.

"I had the same dream again."
"So, the same dream ... you mean a lot of hands ...?" Dr. Mrs. Gupta inquired.
"Yes. All men. They are throwing me ... squeezing me ... and punishing me." Romita answered.
"And what was your reaction?"
"I was weeping .. shivering in shame and horror... and woke up."
"Are you taking the medicines I prescribed?" Dr. Gupta asked.
"Yes, always ... or may be I am missing some of them."
"Are you consuming alcoholic drinks everyday?"
"Yes ... I mean no madam. Trying to be normal these days."
"This is our third sitting in these four weeks. The things will certainly improve."

Things cannot improve she knows. She is lonely in this world. Her frustration in this loneliness is increasing rapidly with time. So is her illness.

She is left alone in this world by her parents for the last three years. They passed away in an accident, precisely, a plane crash. She is a passed out from a reputed ladies college at Kolkata and after working five years for other companies, she has joined this company as a Senior CRM. During these years of successful career she has never had a steady relationship with any man. She tried to have a sustained relationship with somebody who really cares for her. But she was fooled thrice by men. She tried to keep friendship with women. She found them pretty selfish and mostly boring. All of the girls around her always are busy with their career, their boy friends, their shopping, their styles and their gossips. So, Romita is left all alone almost all the time. She tried Orkut but that also didn't help. Everybody, specially men want to meet her and to have her. She is all alone even on net.

Romita came back to her appartment at around 9 PM. Tomorrow is Saturday. According to Dr. Mrs. Gupta's advice, she should stay home now, call some friends and go to sleep early. She is not supposed to booze. She actually become very forgetful and missing the medicine frequently. She took up the cell, tried to call Manisha. Manisha workes for another call centre at Sector V, she is Romita's school mate.

"Hey. Where are you? Not coming to have dinner with me? "
"No, ... I am at the 'devils own'... with whom? You guess... No. Not coming now. Why don't you come over here?" replied Manisha.
"Thanks. I cannot sorry. Bye."

Soon after talking to Manisha, Romita took out her car and drove towards "Someplace Else", a renowned pub at central Kolkata. Nowadays Romita comes here regularly on weekends. She only boozed several times while in College, that also with some of her friends on special occasions like Duga Puja or Dipawali. But nowadays she is taking sleeping pills regularly and comes to booze here often.

The guys sitting in the table beside hers are sipping on their drinks keeping an eye on her. She cannot take the eyes keep gazing at her all the time, licking with their eyes. She forgot from when she has started hating men. At first she was exploited by her own private tutor. He took chance and after enjoying Romita, he left for the states. He was an engineering student of Jadavpur University and a known face to one of the colleagues of Romita's father. When that guy left, Romita was sitting for her (10+2) exam and she could not do well from the mental shock she received.

Romita went for college and had to change her subject to commerce though her parents wanted her to study with science . Actually, she was not getting any chance with the science option in the ladies college she preferred to join. Romita met Sumanta in a few months.

Sumanta was around three years senior than her and was an elder brother of one of her friends Sunetra. Sumanta was studying for his M.Sc. (PG in science) in Presidency College and became politically involved. Romita liked Sumanta for his idealistic philosophy towards life. She fell in love. They used to meet at Coffee House, Nandan and Ntional Library. They both were very open in views and several times got involved sexually and even went out together for small excursions with their mutual friends.

It was a summer afternoon when they met at Nandan.
"I got a job at a BPO concern at Sector V. It is an American concern." said Romita.
"So, you are joining?" Sumanta asked.
"Yes. Of course. Who should loose this chance? If you got one what should you do?"
"I shall not join that... how can I work for the concern which is from USA or UK, the capitalists, who rule the world. For them only we have poverty all over the world."
"That's bullshit. My father is working for one such concern. So, he is also helping the capitalists to spread poverty round the world and exploiting them? That's what you mean to say?"

The topic went hot. Very hot and at last they found that they are quarreling for the first time. And finally that arguing continued till she joined the job and that ended their relationship. Romita lost faith in men once again.

May be it all started when Sagnik said no. She met Sagnik at Sector V. She worked for a BPO while Sagnik was a Project Maanger for another company. They met at "Cafe Coffee Day".

"May I join madam?" Romita looked up and found Sagnik for the first time. It was a pleasant afternoon at autumn. The "Durga Puja" was nearby. Romita had an evening shift and was having coffee with two other female co-workers. Sagnik was known to Sulagna, one of her co-workers. Again Romita started a relationship and this time she was very cautious. Everything went well only before the day she came to know that, as she works for a BPO, the family of Sagnik has rejected her for marriage and Sagnik is going to marry some other girl of choice of his family. "A girl from call centre... No, never. They are all characterless. They stay all night outside... you cannot marry such a girl. No way." That is what everybody from Sagnik's family commented.

It's not going to change. Everybody wants to have her for one night or two. No one is going to understand her pains, befriend her in her loneliness. Care when she needs real care. Nobody will take care when she will be ill or old. She is getting older. She needs someone to care for her. No one is there to say "Romi, we are here for you." as her parent's used to say. Romita felt that she needs a long holiday. The real freedom to some place far away where she can not be seen by anybody. No man's eyes will lick her as she feels everyday. She needs to be free. She cannot take the eyes keep gazing at her all the time, even in her sleep. She cannot let a lot of men playing with her lives any more.

This is 1 AM now. She parked the car at the parking place alloted to her company so, noone objected. Romita started climbing up to the 15th floor of this building. One of the highest buildings at Sector V. Her office is here in 6th, 7th and 8th floor. So, no one stopped her at this hour at night. She has her ID on. She reached for the 15th floor with ease. She badly needs some air.Though the AC is on she felt perspiration. No one can get to the terrace. But there is a side window. She opened that. Looked at the night lights of Kolkata all around. She needed more air to fill up her, she took a step forward in air. Now she is falling free ... she is being free.


Returning Home (Ghore Phera)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The cars in this metropolis are really fast. Though they seem to not be getting their ways clear to have a proper pickup during this hour of the evening, still they are rustling forward in every bend like they are in an endless race to get back... may be get back home. Pabitra was wondering if all these cars are running back home as he gets back ... every evening at this hour.

"Airport... airport" shouted the guy beside the driver. The guy must be a security guard .. "escort", they call. Pabitra thought to do the struggle to get in as the rest of guys and gals have started. The door is yet to be opened properly and the "Tata Sumo" became full. Well he will have to wait for his turn. He took out a cigarette from the packet, lit it and started waiting for another cab.

"I have had enough and like to leave." Swaranya said in her last conversation.
This was not new for Pabitra. Their lives are not in sync since the last three years Titli has been born.
"Well this kind of words doesn't suit you. " Answered Pabitra.

"Why? Because you are my husband? You are earning money, that's why? I was doing my job happily. After this pay commission it could have been near to you. " Swaranya became furious. She started throwing things here and there.

"That's not the way. You should calm down. You have high pressure". Pabitra murmured. He and his family had put a lot of pressure on Swaranya to leave her job when she was pregnant. Though the earning was very less as a lower-division-assistant in a government office, Swaranya was happy with her job and the freedom. But one has to sacrifice as he is sacrificing all his pleasures and hobbies for Titli now, Pabitra thought. All for keeping her life safe, smooth and secured.

"Stop this. Don't say any caring words. Who cares for this family? Do you really care? How long do you stay here? Do you know, Titli fell down today from a chair? She has bruishes on her forhead? Have you noticed? No. You haven't, for you live in Sector V all the time. During day and night. So live there and let us live our own lives. We are habituated not to be cared for and like to remain the same, please."

The other day the project manager has given a hint that if performance lags in the product he is working on, Pabitra may have to come to office on weekends as well. There will be no appraisal this year. This is the news from the HR section. And we are loosing clients so a slash in number of employees is likely to happen in every three months, has become the buzzword in the office. Everybody is trying to do their best to survive in this economic recession, so the race is on. This is a kind of musical chair in whole sector V, where chairs are being removed in every stop of music. And anybody may remain as the last person without chair at anytime. Some are directed to other city branches, in some cases, the pay is getting less. In this situation to continue everything in the same manner as today may really become tough tomorrow. So, Pabitra doesn't have the time to think of other things than his career right now. Not after having a rigorous hard working day which ended after 11 PM at night in sheer frustration of loosing one's job.

"Well that's true. I am and trying to live in the virtual world of learning and earning and not like to bother about the outer world. I must survive in this world." Pabitra thought, but said, "Why? Can you not take care of her? Should I hire somebody for Titli?".

"Oh! That's what you have in your minds. You want me to stay at home always, look after the baby and live on your instructions, forever. Right? You are no good than any typical middle class people. Sometimes you will come back home and order me to do the things in your ways, just to show me my position. You all men have the same minds. I shall get back to my parents with Titli immediately. I quit."

"Don't talk rubbish. I don't like to argue at this hour of the day. Go to sleep." Pabitra said. "And go to hell." he though in himself.

That was the last conversation they had. He even didn't see Titli awake the next morning. In the afternoon he came to know that Swaranya has gone to her parent's place with her.

For the last five days Pabitra is alone at his flat at DumDum. The first day seemed great, he enjoyed it in his own way never felt lonely. The second day he felt accustomed to this loneliness and felt happy. At least I can do my works at night and carry on the studies required as there is no one to nag for sleeping early and getting up early, he thought. But from the fourth day Pabitra realised that he is missing Titli more than her mother. On weekends he cannot work for Titli, she always try to remain in close proximity to Pabitra on holidays and doesn't let him work.

Therefore this weekend he is planning to do a lot of tasks together as Pabitra wants to utilize the remaining few days he is alone. He is sure that after the conversation he had with Swaranya and her parents, the things are settling down as the last 4 or 5 times and she will be back on next week end. Only thing is, Pabitra will have to bring her back, which he will gladly do as his purpose will be served in this weekend.

"At last", he though after sitting in the indica and "Aajo ache gopan... ferari mon..." the cell rang and Pabitra picked it up reluctantly. "Hello" ... the other side said "How do you do? Where are you now? Swapnil here." "Oh! How do you do? Sorry I am in a meeting." answered Pabitra in a very flat manner. "Oh! Sorry, call you later". He is not interested in talking to anyone any more today. He is disturbed, really disturbed.

He is realizing what he is missing. He is not caring, not really caring in everyday lives for his Swaranya and Titli and they are getting away. Pabitra has changed a lot. He cannot pay a surprise visit at this hour to Swaranya any more as he used to do on special occasions like in the marriage ceremoney of one of the friends of Swaranya. She became so happy.

The warmth of their mental and physical relationship is cooling everyday, and as a result they are moving away from each other as in the lines of "Mohiner Ghoraguli" "Aro dure... Aro dure... Tumi aar ami jai sore sore". He is missing Titli as he used to feel while taking Titli in his lap ... "feels like heaven" like the famous "Raymonds" ad.

Or, maybe he can. After getting off from the cab at the airport turn, he will have to go to DumDum station. Take the available train and head for "Naihati", Swaranya's place. He will do just that. Change the views of Swaranya towards him. Even if he can come back to attend office tomorrow, he will take a leave. He will move around in Naihati with his family, may be he can hire a boat and travel on river Ganga. That will be more of a "Ghare Fera (Returning Home)" for him. He felt exited. A cool breeze of pleasure went through his spine. Suddenly life started to feel much smoother to Pabitra. "Let me take you far away...Holiday " he started to sing in his mind.

"Bang...." went the tire of the cab and "screeeeeeeeeeech", the driver of the cab lost control and ....


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