Bachor Sesh (End of the year)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

It is late at night. No passers by can be seen on the alley and the lying street dogs are the only witness. He is drunk today. He is getting back home a little late. As late as he could. Almost running though the half-dark alley towards their home. It's not a home for him. Rather the house made with the semi masonry structure, the tin roof and a small veranda with the only room they have can better be called a shanty.

He has got his salary as the security guard at a nearby residential flat just two days back. He has even bought a new frock for their daughter, Sunita, today. Today was the ending of the stock clearance reduction sale going on in the preparation of the Bengali new year, the Naba Barsha. He actually love to be with his family. He starts every day with a very cool mind, but whenever his friends mention that when he is not around for some days, Malati, his wife, sales herself, he cannot stay away from boozing. If it would have happened so that he can prove something against Malati, he could have been happy. That makes him more maddened more frustrated, and in place of keeping trust on Malati, he always tries to find out a way, to catch her red handed.

Even today before he boozed, he planned to purchase something for Malati. And suddenly came the thought of Malati waiting for her customer, as the girls near the Kalighat bridge (a nearby red light area) do, he rejected that thought. He felt a sudden urge to drink again. "Khanki Saali (Bitch), the day I catch you read handed, I shall murder you.", he thought.

Malati works at the nearby residential flats. She is the main earning member of their family. Sajal was never ever a good and honest man in his life. He has lost many jobs and has started a fresh from the beginning of a new job sometimes after returning from his short terms in jail. Most of the time he was punished in petty cases of drinking and gambling. Malati being at the age of twenty seven and mother of their single child, still looks young and good looking. Younger than many other slum dwellers of her age, and good looking because she maintains her looks. She always heard from her relatives that she was actually from a good family around two generations back. Fleeing from Bangladesh, staying in this slum for twenty years has taught her a lot to accommodate herself against all odds of this life. She nowadays earn much more than Sajal, and tries to drive her family in a best possible manner she can. She sends their daughter to school, even planning to teach her dancing and wants to settle down at a far village from this city full of ominous poisonous people she regularly faces.

Other than her income as a cook and housemaid in different families of the nearby flats, she could have started some secret works parallel. Many of the house maids leaving by them have started these earning though some crooked manner. Malati even was approached by some of them. She always has stayed more arrogant more tough in her mind to fight out these odds. She cannot sale herself in that way to a customer, who will like to purchase her body for his carnal pleasures for some hours. The more she thought about that the more her dreams of staying with their daughter in a village house budded in her mind. In a far away place from Kolkata, where her known relatives live. A village as shown in the Bengali movies, she watches. She and her daughter, and Sajal. Well, if he insists, Sajal can stay, but in that case he will have to leave his bad habits, specially boozing and beating her.

Tonight, Malati has bought a new sari for her and a new frock for their daughter. She even managed to buy small half sleeved kurta for her husband. After all, this is the time when the shop keepers bestows people with their long awaited clearance sale for the year. The last of the Bengali year is the last day of this clearance sale. The next day being the Nababarsha, new year's day.

Sajal entered the room with the packet of frock in his hand. He at first was going to gladly hand it over to Malati, then, recalling the same scene, he just thrown it at a corner of the room.
"What is in it?" Malati enquired.
"None of your business." Sajal replied harshly. "It's something for Sunita."
"So, how much has it cost you?".
"That also not your concern." Sajal replied. "It's my hard earned money."
"Your money counts to our money. You are not supposed to waste all you get as salary on a single evening."
"Why? Can I not buy my daughter something? Why?"
"Because we need to save money. Have you ever thought, how we will live for betterment? To get out of this hell some day? Have you ever dreamt of this? Do you ever thought of your family? What they will eat, what they will wear? No. You waste your money, my hard earned money for drinking that dog pee every night." Malati barked back.
"I shall do whatever I shall think good. If you don't like to stay, leave immediately. Get out right now. I drink on my money, not on your nasty money."
"Is it? Whose property is this? This room is mine. Go get lost. You can't throw me out, I shall."
"Shut up. You bitch. You play around with men to get us money, you whore. Don't say another word, or I shall bit you up."
"Don't you know, your daughter is getting older now? Don't you know how to behave? Who said you such things? I am pure like Sati and Sabitri." (Sati and Sabitri are two famous mythological characters, famous for their honesty and loyalty to their husbands.)
"You behave yourself, you bloody whore. I have bought this from my honest income not from selling myself as you do. Say a single more word and I shall show what I can do."
"Do you think you can? Touch me right now. Show me the man you are. You nasty filthy pig. Your mind is full of shit."

In general, this regular quarreling leads to beating of Malati, sometimes it turns into a savage sexual encounter between them, but today the quarreling became louder over time. While all the other dwellers feel asleep being exhausted from their daily labors and daily habits, they carried on their quarrel for some time. Then Malati went to bed with her asleep daughter, while Sajal slept at the veranda outside.

This is how the last day of the Bengali year for a unknown lower class couple in Kolkata, ended.


me_amitava April 19, 2010 at 11:00 AM  

a nice story from you after a long time....just the end seemed to be a little abrupt....:)

Prasenjit April 19, 2010 at 2:39 PM  

Shankha, It is nice to know that you writing again. Good one boss. Carry on


island of peace April 19, 2010 at 9:43 PM  

loved the new story after such a break.

the life of lower income class people is really very sad.

hooch and poisonous tongues add to their miseries.

wonderful story (was a little relieved that it did not ended in Malati's getting beaten or worse)

Shankha April 20, 2010 at 10:21 AM  

@me_amitava: Thanks Amitava for calling this "nice" though it lacks three things. Speed, Suspense and a good Finish! As you mentioned ... :)

Shankha April 20, 2010 at 10:26 AM  

@Prasenjit: Thanks for the support. I recall, long back in school days, I used to write poems! Have you mentioned about "that" writing here?

Shankha April 20, 2010 at 10:31 AM  

@island of peace: I was really awaiting your comment for your best wishes and "prayer"s for getting me back in the track really helped me to write this.

Thanks for the comment!

Subhasis : The Unexplored Destination April 20, 2010 at 6:29 PM  

Very Touchy ... after a long wait :)
and as U usually offered ur ALL CHOTO-Galpo... it again comes to an end VERY SUDDENLY. Really a bold step and very significant... Tumi Film-Dirctor hole valo hoto instead of Java Coder ....

Shankha April 21, 2010 at 9:59 AM  

@Subhashis: Thanks for the comment Subhashis, I am feeling flattered for you mentioning me "better as a film director than java coder". Well if I could have been a film director, I could have created masterpieces like "Beder Meye Joytsna", "Bastir Meye Radha"... or at the most like Great Mr. Haranath Chakraborty, "Swasurbari Jindabad".

I am and all the Bengali film viewer are lucky that I am not a director and I am happy being a "coder" so no chance of viewing my master pieces in near future!

Subhasis : The Unexplored Destination April 21, 2010 at 10:23 AM  

Shankha da, if u make the movies like "Beder meye Jyotsna" or other boolshit masterpieces like Shiva and Deva also... I assure ALL UR FANs that those movies are not going to be subjects of JOKING for Bengali Films... They would be BEST ADs for our "touchy Matured Realistic" BANGLA "BOI" of Golden Age... Waiting for more masterpieces like "Bachor Sesh" to come... Thanks Man...

Anirban April 22, 2010 at 8:34 AM  

Sundor golpo... shubho noboborsho!

nothingprofound April 23, 2010 at 7:04 PM  

Shankha-I grew up in a working class neighborhood, so I know this scenario well. The men, drinking, self-indulgent, angry and violent; the women, hoping for something better, but stuck and frustrated. You portray it so vividly and heartbreakingly in your story.

Shankha April 23, 2010 at 8:36 PM  

@Anirban: Thanks so much! Will be glad if you read more of my works and comment!

Shankha April 23, 2010 at 8:38 PM  

@nothingprofound: It's a honor to me as you have praised this work of mine.

I enjoy all your works similarly!

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