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 ....


Flag Counter

free counters

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP