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.


The curious mind... August 14, 2009 at 10:20 AM  

Nice and simple yet clearly depicting the terror which grips every individual nowadays....

me_amitava August 14, 2009 at 10:24 AM  

Only if this could be the reality .....

agnitrisha August 15, 2009 at 4:40 PM  

fantastic, gripping story. you are a master storyteller..

Nothing Profound August 17, 2009 at 8:12 PM  

What a relief to wake up and realize all this is just a dream. But what would one do if really trapped in such a no-win situation? Let's hope none of us ever has to find out.

Shankha August 19, 2009 at 6:37 AM  

Thanks for all of your comments readers. More will follow, I promise.

Anonymous August 23, 2009 at 8:16 AM  

Marvelous. Carry on with this kind of gripping stories.

Ibn Hanif August 23, 2009 at 1:24 PM  

I agree with trisha, You are not an oridinary writer I also think that you are a master storry teller.

I have also started to wait for the next story from you.

Me too now a fan of "Storybook"!!!!!


agnitrisha September 1, 2009 at 8:01 PM  

still waiting for your next post..

agnitrisha September 7, 2009 at 10:51 PM  

hope you will soon find out some time to share your next post with us.. :)

Anonymous September 20, 2009 at 11:30 AM  

It's a relief to find out it's just a nightmare than a reality.

Jijo Sunny November 25, 2009 at 12:43 AM  

Each of your blog post looks like a Diary. I think you have a good skill in taking readers in your hands using your words.
Keep it up. Keep updating articles with new and good content
Best of luck

Shankha November 25, 2009 at 1:11 AM  

Thanks for all your comments. Actually I waste my time doing other things like playing computer games or gaming on facebook.

Stopping every destructive activities as soon as possible and coming back to constructive me, very soon.

वरुण कुमार सखाजी January 20, 2010 at 3:32 PM  

nice story...really you are good story teller......waiting for some next

Shankha January 20, 2010 at 3:39 PM  

Thanks Barun for your comment and following me! I am just now planning to write a new story.

Jodhpuri suit August 13, 2013 at 11:17 AM  

Wow, that was pretty interesting. Inspiring, as well. Thanks for sharing such inspiring experience with us. Great blog, congrats!

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