Bachhor Suru (The New Year)

Monday, April 26, 2010


















*****
Though it is a separate story, it is actually the sequel of my previous post, so, would recommend readers to read that first! Thanks!
*****
Being the morning of the Bengali New Year, the shopkeepers will have to go to their nearest temple to get their new budget book marked with holy signs written on them. This is the special day for the shop keepers to start a new year according to the Bengali ritual "Haal Khata", the beginning of the financial year. On this very day, there is a puja of God Ganesha and Goddess Laxmi, for the betterment of one's business and the shopkeepers generally arrange a treat of sweets and beverages for their regular customers, specially for those, who pay back the debt's on this very day. They also presents the customers with a new Calendar of the Bengali year.

Malati works as a housemaid in the homes of such two shopkeepers. So, she had to leave early today, even before her husband Sajal and their daughter Sunita woke up. When she was about to leave, Sunita got up and sat beside her. She was going to say something but Malati put a finger on her lips to keep Sunita remain silent. She hurriedly instructed something to Sunita, her six year old daughter and headed towards the door of their one roomed shanty.


It's his dream place. Just as his wife dreamt for days. They have a small hut near the big pond of their's. The pond reflects the trees around it, mainly his favorite mango trees and jack fruit trees, also the coconut trees they have planted. Green mangoes are hanging from the mango tree while dark green young jack fruits are hanging down the jack fruit tree, here and there. He is sitting beside the pond with a fishing rod in his hand. The fishing rod has no wheel. He can see a far and wide distance from here. A vision too far towards the horizon where the river has moved lazily touching their village on her go. A fresh breeze oozing up from the heart of the river flowing through the green paddy filled fields towards their sweet home, soothing him to the deepest corner of his heart. Sunita, their only daughter is sitting beside him for a long time, waiting for a fish to gulp the bait and to get the fish hunting live. She lost her patience, came near to him. Put her small soft hand on his forehead. He cannot control himself, he is feeling dizzy and suddenly the there is a pull on the fishing rod. He hurried to pull it, but it's too late, too late to catch it, it's gone.

Sunita is very happy today as she received a very unexpected frock for her new year's day from her father. The frock looked nice in her eyes. It has a white body with blue stars inscribed in it, and the skirt is glistening with blue lace ribbons. She is so overwhelmed with joy that she started brushing his father's hair softly with her small soft hand, which she never does, for she fears her father, even if he is sleeping.

Sajal woke up. This is not a normal phenomenon. He never dreams, specially this kind of a sweet dream, and of course he is a bit astonished to find Sunita sitting beside him. He felt overjoyed, the day, he recalled is the first day of the Bengali year, the Naba Barsha (New year). He also recalled that he is on leave today. He slowly got up in a half sitting condition.

Looking at her beautiful dreamy eyes and her skinny structure in the old yellow colored white patched frock, and her velvety black curly hair bunched up over her head in a pony tail, he smiled to himself. No, she is not much different from the dream of his, only, she was wearing a nice dazzling white colored frock, with blue stars inscribed in it, just like the one he has bought for her last night.

"Ki vabcho?" (What are you thinking?") She asked.
"Nothing? Where is your mother?"
"She is out to work. Oho! I forgot. She has told me to give you the glass of water she kept for you, immediately after you get up." Like a scared rabbit she ran towards the kitchen of their one roomed shanty.
Malati is right, Sunita is growing up, really fast.
"Now take this papa", Sunita said bringing a glass of water towards him.

Sajal took the glass from her hand and started drinking the water. This is water with lemon juice. Just the best one can afford to get out of the hang over for last night's drinking.

"Baba eta kine enecho? Eta amar? Tumi enecho?" ("Dad, you have bought that for me? You have bought?") The young lady asked him. She could not belive her eyes. All the good thing she has been offered in her life is from her mother and when ever she wanted to be a bit closer to her father, her mother opposed. She has a developed impression in this young age of seven that, her father is of no good.

"Yes dear. This is for you. Do you like this?"
"Yes. It's so cute", she answered. And then tried to say something but controlled herself.
Sajal noticed that.
"Are you trying to say something more?" He enquired.
"No, no, nothing!" Sunita hurried towards the kitchen again.
"Don't go dear, tell me what's wrong." He said.

Sunita came back in an alarmed face. He fears her father. Her drunken father, who, sometimes, beats her mother. Her mother weeps! Her mother get bruises on her back, arms, sometimes on her cheek. He generally comes back home at a time when she is asleep. He never teaches her when she is studying. He never takes them away from this place, as some of the fathers of her friends in school do. He rarely caress her or kisses her. But still, with her small weakened heart of six years, with the least developed human brain to take up all the complexities of this cruel world, with the best possible courage she can gather in herself, she asked her father the questions that goes on and on, in her mind all the time.

"Papa, why do you beat my mother? Why don't you come back early? Why do you drink?"
And then, suddenly realizing the consequences of her inquisitiveness, she uttered.
"Please papa, don't beat me. I am too small to bear that! Please don't hurt me. I won't ask you such questions anymore."

Sajal is shocked. He just couldn't believe his ears, neither could believe his eyes. The little child, whom he thought, he loved more than anything in this whole world is actually scared off him. His frustration has become endless and all his frustration about losing jobs, not getting proper jobs, loosing his ancestral properties to his relatives, loosing the faith in his wife, loosing the self confidence of getting out of this hell ever, seemed much smaller than this one. The little lady, who has come to their world to enlighten their lives with fresh hope and zeal to live again, for a real good cause. The little one with whom he was happy for so many days when he took her home, spent nights after night sleeplessly to bring her up, fears her? Hates her? He just could not take it any more. Though Sunita struggled to get away from him, he grabbed her, embraced her, put her near to his heart.

"No dear. No. Please don't misunderstand me. Your papa is not that bad, papa will teach you. Papa will not beat mom and will leave drinking. Papa will take you away to the village of mom's dream. I shall never beat you my dear. Please forgive me."

Tears started rolling from both the father's and daughter's eyes, as if cleansing the stain from their long stained relationship.

The new day of the year for them has been a different one but may be their unfulfilled dreams be fulfilled if he can keep his promises for his family. Who knows?

16 comments:

me_amitava April 26, 2010 at 11:02 AM  

the emotions of father and daughter have been beautifully weaved together....

The curious mind... April 26, 2010 at 11:12 AM  

a very optimistic story....in this cruel world optimism tends to fade away....nice story

island of peace April 26, 2010 at 4:55 PM  

a very, very beautiful ending. :)

Shankha April 27, 2010 at 11:11 AM  

@me_amitava: Thanks ! Relationship is becoming the major subject in my stories slowly!

Shankha April 27, 2010 at 11:12 AM  

@The_curious_mind: Optimistic, after the pessimistic end of the last story! This is the sequel of "Bachor Sesh".

Shankha April 27, 2010 at 11:13 AM  

@island_of_peace: Thanks!

nothingprofound April 29, 2010 at 9:38 PM  

Shankha-your story brought tears to my eyes. The father's surprise at learning that his daughter feared him, which is, of course, the consequences of his own acts. The description of the dream, the peacefulness of the setting, was so beautiful. The father, not only woke up from his sleeping dream, but was awakened by his daughter to the possibilities of a new reality.

Subhasis : The Unexplored Destination April 30, 2010 at 10:21 AM  

YOU are increasing our EXPECTATIONs ... Good one :)

Shankha April 30, 2010 at 12:48 PM  

@nothingprofound: I am so happy that you loved this story! Yes actually I wanted to depict the situation as a beginning of a new dream. To begin the new year with the new dream and new realization followed by new course of action. That's what we should all try to do. : - )

Thanks for the comment.

Shankha April 30, 2010 at 12:49 PM  

@Subhasis: Thanks for the comment! Actually comments on your post let you know if you are writing good or bad! That's really important, like a quality control for a writer.

Sashindoubutsu May 1, 2010 at 1:47 PM  

Very beautiful. That's great talent, you're an amazing writer.^^

Chandrika Shubham May 1, 2010 at 8:26 PM  

Emotions are very well expressed. :)

Nice story. :)

A fresh breeze oozing up from the heart of the river flowing through the green paddy filled fields towards their sweet home, soothing him to the deepest corner of his heart. Nice line.

Shankha May 2, 2010 at 11:34 PM  

@Sashindoubutsu: I have no real "talent" compared to the Bengali writers whom I try to follow.

Thanks for the comment, it actually motivated me a lot, to become "better" in writing!

Shankha May 2, 2010 at 11:35 PM  

@Chandrika Subham: It will be a honor to get you as a regular reader of my blog sir.

Thanks for your comments!

jingle June 12, 2010 at 7:54 AM  

http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/2010/06/09/the-celebrate-blogger-of-april-awards/

you win awards in my blog,
island of peace voted for you...
please claim them in my blog.
Happy Weekend!

jingle June 14, 2010 at 1:20 AM  

http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/thursday-poets-rally-week-22-poetry-awards-more/

Happy Sunday!
Some stuff on lower button of the post...Take good care.

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