Selected Short Stories Featuring Cockfight
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I reminded of the heady wine of the intoxication when my hair was pitch black, when I felt the eagle within me poised with two flexed wings encampassingthe whole universe. Then this darkness seeemed to me the envy of all colours. I then struck my head on any lampost that vaunted it forth to others in the intoxicated lot or the blind, "I did away with him. They say that blood poured down the skies. An outcry rose, "It is dead, it is dead". That Nimrod verily was I who threw the sling. That drugged one,too, was I who struck his head against the lampost.
But that terrifying darkness no longer remains which, besides led you astray. I now perceive on the other side of the wall I feel like giving a call, "Who is there on the other side of the wall? But i am afraid, all aquivc-r that this very voice might ring back from the other side. I myself will feel helpless to say who I am. W hat on earth shall I say? How do I know who am I; I never had so keen a sight as to find myself and what if my query echoes from the other side, what will be there for me to say?
A blindish smile very likely might be playing on my lips because I relish keeping turning in my mind of my bygone days, and my brows might be tremulous with fear because I have come to regard those acts sinfull which I commited when I was Nimrod. Gracing the throne of Egypt I stood loftier than all others. My i eason has taught me that there is nothing like sky. I stood towering above all because the hills and mounds were far away.
To tell the truth there was no need for me to throw a sling to the skies. This not withstanding. I threw the sling to the skies to bring home to not a few Abrahams that I could do even this. And then, for the first time, my brows were atremble when blood poured down from above "If there was nothing there, what died then? Waters of the Nile, made incarnadine turned the ridges and banks scarletlt being gory all around, the trembling on my brows augmented still more. This something, who knows what is bleeding but alive, or who knows whether it is really bleeding. It is just likely that my eyes are jaundiced and things seem to them of a colour they are not.
Kings cannot afford to reveal their real thoughts. Nimrod could ill afford to take Abraham at his word. That is why I raised the cry that even if there were something, there remains nothing new. Abraham was at bay. Nobody had believed him, however much he had tried. Sculptors from various countries came and began to fashion many designs of their workmanship. I yearned to secure for myself every possible comfort, so that no worm or insect could make its appearance there. I moreover wanted to make it sound-proof and I put such stone blocks in constructing it as resisted the heat of the blazing sun.
The artisans were all praise for my sagacity as the pearl-eyed parrot kept on crying'. The worms and insects might attack if the grave gave away. Besides, if the grave was not sound proof, my wails might reach the ears of the wayfarers outside: the fear that hell-fire might make the stones hofiprompted me to make a fortress of the crypt.
The fear had made its appearance from the very day when I had thrown the sling to the skies and the blood had poured down. Age after age, I grow new skin like a serpant and doing again what I had tried myself in the ages bygone. In each new life, I believed in good faith that I had done something entirely new so new that I had never done before. Jn every age, I threw a sling to the skies and struck my head againdst the lamp- post; recognizing in every age the only colour which according to my lights is the crown of all the colours The thine happened, but did not end there.
The story remained It remained because Padmaan was left with her children, with whom she was in a confrontation, unexpressed though. In case somebody asked Padmaan or her children why you the mother and children are so tilted they would not be able to reply; they would get a tongue tie for want of words. But there it was, no doubt The tale runs like this that sometime back, Madanvaar and Padmaan were reading together.
The books then contained true stories written by the outstanding men. The stories had been made into films shown in the cinemas after changing their names. They would look at each other with amazement and wordlessly convey to each other. Did you understand this? I understood all there is to it. That day, the skies got, as it were, clear and it was cloudlessly sunny. The birds trilled so profusely that deafness took leave of the deaf; as if the very breeze honeyed their lips and the crescent moon shown bright on their foreheads.
The true stories of the lofty men were shown in the film and these were, then, the true stories of Madanvaar and Padmaan also. There they promised to act upon these stories and after some time, they fulfilled the promise. But on the very day they fulfilled their promise, there blew a storm. It got overcast and thunders deafened even those who had no such malady and, what is more, it stopped dead what little sprinkling of honey there was in the breeze within the confines of the thick jungle. This was another truth that had run amuck. This one, like a horrible giant, was giving out peals of laughter in every market place and made its existence felt with thunder and lightning.
The truth of these elderly men pilting against each other were spitting fire and raising an uproar. Their truth was different from those recorded by the lofty men in their books and far removed from those presented in the films. Though the thunder-stormy expression of their truth struck fear all around, Padmaan and Madanvaar held the truth fast to their bosom undiminishingly bright in the raging storm.
It is not so easy to keep tne flame going in a hurricane. If you do that, you have to awaken those senses which ordinarily are slumbering. At times, you have to tap those energies of whose existence you are not even dimly aware. The new awakening in their senses gave them a new furbish. They felt themselves on the top. They do beat each othei unremittingly with their branches as the storm rages, but they plop fall down if struck at the roots. It was astonishing that their fathers had not at all taken thought of the root. No sooner was the secret revealed to them than Madanvaar cried out, I will make my father understand that all truths have one truth.
So saying, they felt glad and gave cheers as if they released gaudily coloured butterflies in the air. The storm passed and there was no need to keep the torch from being put out, but with the passage of time, the torch got forgotten and life revolved round the kitchen and the bath room.
Their branch, too, blossomed with flowers time and agian, but just like all others; there being nothing like a wonder in that. The feeling had rendered the flaming torch meaningless, which to keep aflame they had frenziedly taken up the gauntlet thrown by the hurricane. Now they no longer went to the Aims because both of them had perceived that on the day they had promised to act upon the truth in the cinema hall, they were deluded. While watching the film, they had wept for they had felt that their truth and that in the film were one and the same. By and by, it had dawned on them that the truth in the film was a delusion, for example, Dev Das in the film is in fact a person, named Dilip Kumar, nay, not even that, but Yousuf Khan.
Then also what they show in the film, is not even the truth of his life, nor is it true perhaps of the man who is actually Dev Das. Some inner bitterness of Madanvaar and Padmaan was besides leaving a bitter taste in their mouth. It was because of this that they seldom talked to each other. They had promised that after felling down the trees, they would guard the root so that one mighty sprout emerged and become a lofty spruce. But there was no purpose then as the hawk had already escaped their hands.
They same viper was stinging her bosom also. How would the story end? Who knows what turn the fickle time would hike! They, too, moved on at a pace proper to youth. It was all clear and sunny for them. The breeze spread honey on the lips and the bright moon shown on their foreheads. Their truth was new and bright; that verv truth which the lofty men had written in their books and the film makers presented in their films.
Madanvaar and Padmaan were anxious. Padmaan on her part also tried to bring home to them the falsehood of their truth and wanted them to own the truth which had formely belonged to her father and now to her. The confrontation had created a silent turbulance in their surroundings. This confrontation put on layer after layer and nobodv knew which vein to take. Madanvaar passed awav and Padmaan got released. She had a mind that she woul bring them close to her with love and sift the fact from fiction so that ice was broken and dark clouds of confrontation were dispelled.
Then one dav. The children lifted her and brought her to her conclusion as they deemed fit. Some said That she died close on his heels because other love she bore him. I was afraid that you might come empty handed even today. It cost me four and a half rupee. But Shah Mai was althogether unmindful of that; she simply was experiencing the boundless joy on feasting her eyes on it.
A string was tied to its legs and it strained much to pace about. It by turns pecked at the string and seemed to take stock of its surroundings. Janna Bitsh called out from her window. Shah Maal was in feet burning for her showing herself. Shah Maal fixed its age somewhat arbitrarily. They do not bring this sort to the city for sale.
Then the thing remains that no one buys here even such a sort so dear. Here, the stray cocks will do. She replied? You better fill its crop. After her departure, she with a smile playning on her countenance pouted her lips and continued gazing at the cock. Jaana Bitsh owned five hens and a cock while Shah Maal owwned hens only. Jaana's Bitsh cock would once or twice a day hop off and jump down into Shah MaaTs compound.
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Shah Maal, as she had no cock of her own, would take it a godsend. It was a differrent matter, however when Shah Maal left paddy or some such thing to dry up in the sun, its presence then was an eyesore to her as a stuck like the leech. It could not be prevented frrom scaterring grains pell-mell, much as you tried to scare it off. A fortnight back she had been driven crazy like that, she had come to execrate it loosing all restraint Jaana Bitsh , showing herself at her window, had bandied back witha taunt "If that be the case, why do not you buy a cock of your own?
If you are so fond of it where it suits you, why should a few grains of rice wrench away your life in the bargain? That very moment she pestered her husband to buy a cock. Jaana Bitsh, too, from then on kept a vigil on her cock lest it should fly over to Shah Maal s. Ghulam Khan had with one pretext or the other, dilly-dallied for a fortnight, but could not help buying one from a dealer at Maisuma for three rupees.
The one that Shah Mall owned was white snow-white, dazzling white to be precise. As the day wore on to a close and everyone went asleeep, Shah Maal, lying abed suckling her babe, the entire weight of her head falling on her elbow supported a pillow, she was in the heart of her hearts thinking of the cock How handsome he looked to her now, underscribably handsome. Shah Maal held her breath. She pricked her ears to make sure if she had not misheard.
But no. As the cock crowed the second time, life as if slipped out of her. She, all of a sudden sat up in the bed and called her husband to get up. Here, listen to me! We are not to give a morning call to people to be awake for Ramdan fasting! Shah Maal got angry. It turns out to be an evil portent. This prattle about portents! So saying, he tucked himself up under the quilt. Shah Maal.
Ghulam Khan wasted no more time and took to a sound sleep and did not wake up till his wonted hour at seven in the morning. All other cocks brought good tidings of morning light, wheas this ominous creature is possessed by devil when it is night yet. Otherwise come what may, nothing would have stopped her because she would take it out on Jaan Bitsh for many days to come by hurling her taunts via the walls and the fences. As she remained under the shade in the corridor, the cock along with the hens made off to the compound. Seeing this, Shah MaaTs heart sank within her. How loathsome it was to her eyes!
The cock fanned out its wings and flexed them with relief It spread a wing fanwise and amourously made four to five rounds arounds each hen. What has be fallen you! Do not even look around for shame. They flocked straight to where she was. The cock, too, got a hint and followed their track. She just cast off two handfuls of rice towards the compound. I am the white cock. If only you cross over to this side you will know whom you have to deal with. It would not do to show your fists from the other side.
If only it were to give up its ghost so that Jaan Bitsh does not hang on to her window. Instead of shooing if off, howwever, she flung a sod of clay to hit its head, but it missed it It only frightened it to hop up with a cutock which made Jaan Bitsh crane out her neck through her window. What has the poor crreature done to you?
Only the cock does not let the hens approach the grains. Why at all should you kill it? The sort of cock I had set my heart for he had not yet come by. Now somebody has given his word to procure such a one at any rate. She deemed it meant to go indoors instead of listening to something unplatable she might say. Shah Maal put some embers into the samaavaar ; but was all the while taken up in the cocks quandary. Samad Khaash was still there and said from over his window. Get it here, I will slit its throat But rest assured, I will also partake of it in the evening at yours.
Shah Maal replied with a smile as she made for her home. She was pleased with die prospect thatjaan Bitsh will no longer be able to put her to ridicule or else day in day out he would be the butt of her shafts. Shah Maal, as she entered the compound after her return, witnessed a strange spectacle. God alone knew what the hell they had raised and lifted quite a clbud of dust As if that was not enough, Jaan Bitsh was gloating over the spectacle eccasioned by this fight Shah Maal imagined Jaan Bitsh was happy with the thought that her cock would come out the victor, because it looked something of a bully by its stout frame.
It had besides put to many a cock in Hie mohalla. Jaan Bitsh's cock was red while that of Shah Maal was white. The small downy feathers of their necks bristled erect in rings. Their heads trembled with rage and their feathers as though let off electric currents. Their bodies elongated and their tale feathers spread out They were face to face with outstretched necks, spitting around fire and swooping upon each other unanounced, raising 56 quite a tumult with their beaks. When Jaan Bitsh saw Shah Maal making an entry in the compound, she sat all the more at ease in the window.
To Shah Maal it seemed that she assumed importance. But it is all the same to a rough street-tramp to give and take hiding. Let there be no mistake however, it will make it take to its heels just as it has made all the cocks of the mohalla eat a humble pie. She was repenting over the turn events had taken.
Selected Short Stories featuring Cockfight
She suspected that Jaan Bitsh had on purpose let her cock cross over to this side. Jaan Bitsh fastening herself dost to the window, was expectingly bobbing her head, where as Shah Maal by turns grew crimson and then ghastly pallid. May your beak fall to pieces.. Jaan Bitsh bandied back. Shah Maal grew desperate, over-wrought as she was by many a foreboding right from the previous night; she might have served so fitting a repartee that even Jaan Bitsh could be silenced.
The inner battle might have mounted to vituperative recriminations and execrations, but alas! One of the cocks left the arena all of a sudden. Shah Maal perceived that sweat exuded from every fibre of her being. Her face was so to say blackened with soot. Jaan Bitsh, however, as a face saving, had the cheek to pretend that she had nothing to do with the broil.
Do not kill it. Shah Maal said giving a jingling rotatory shake to her silver ear-rings. But it should give a stiff fight. Such indeed was the sort of cock I was after. This does not mean tibat such an incident could never have occurred in Zaji pathir. It is at present a meadow where many shepherds dwelling in their hutments, raise dock upon flock. But there was a time when six thousand men and women peopled it and there were five grave yards there to inter the dead.
It's said that was a happy and prosperous habitation. She had miscarried seven times, and this can alone was born without any mishap, and that too after trying votive rags at many a shrine. So saying, she had gone unconscious. People did not so much as feel for the son, as they felt for her who had nobody to rely on, save God. They somehow or the other brought her and herself and carried her to her hut. During the day, many a neighbour, one after another, brought her tea and rice, but how could she take anything, over-wrought as she was by the bereavement She only stood gazing at the walls and the ceiling, and kept heaving sighs.
Some of her neighbours remained there with her to cosole her and share her grief, but as each of them had to support a household, left, leaving Saal Dyad alone, smarting the wounds that her son had left her. As her tormented soul got no solace from all this, she made for the grave-yard to give vent to a wail or two there. It was quite late and all had gone to sleep. One lost one's breath and could not find one's bearing in the pitch dark around.
No one else perhaps could have ventured to leave out of doors at this hour, but Saal Dyal could not be kept from this; in her bereavement she stood lonely in the graveyard, wringing her hands and beating her breast. The graveyard was quite some distance from die last house of the village. Saal Dyad had fumbled her way to the graveyard by sheer guess.
Meanwhile, the moon also had begun to rise from behind the hill, letting forth a scanty light which had not made any perceptible difference to the darkness. As she was about her son's grave, she perceived something like a human shadow rising up and coming down there. She stood astounded, wondering who could be there at the grave in the dead of night Her heart was heavily pounding, and her eyes wee fixed on the grave.
She even perceived the shadow' s naked waist upwards and a white hanging sheet waist down. She did not venture to move forth, but her inner pain prodded her nimbly on to her son's grave. There she found it half open as though it had given way under the rain. Some took it to mean that some house had caught fire, still others thought that some burgler had broken into some house.
All the people were, however, agreed that something untoward had occpred and some came out of their houses. All, without exception, rushed to the site of the uproar, bearing lighted tapers. About five hundered people gathered there in no time. Breathlessly, Saal Dyad recounted faithfully all that she had seen. The corpse was no doubt there, but mother-naked, stripped ot the shroud. All the people there were at their wits end, unable to understand what had come about, who had opened the grave, and what became of the shroud. The wild boar would have devored the corpse if it had dug it up.
The corpse is there all intact, only the shroud is missing. Shroud thief? Sweat of shame began to ooze from every pore of their being; everyone looked to the other dumbfounded. God forgive us! It is unbearly shameful. Then the people raised a furore. When as many as five hundred moutiis give rein to their tongues all at once, it is impossible to make out what each has to say.
If per chance there is some wit m what somebody utters, it sounds no better than dog-barking, shorn of its meaning, or no more than bleating of sheep. Or is the grave to be closed as it is. It is not proper that a man is sent to God mother-naked. Saal Dyad implored with her folded hands! Leave the case for God to decide. At long last, decision was arrived at to cover the grave.
The night meanwhile came to a close and the cocks were crowing their calls at the small hours. All of them left for their homes, over taken by fear and terror. That day nothing but the issue of the shroud-thuef was talked of by the people of Zeegypathir. Men, women and children, all were pailed through fear. Every mohalla of the village tried to fathom the mystry that who among them could do this, but they could not catch hold of any. Gradually, this became the basis of much discard and skirmish because whoever enquired of anybody about the issue, he would fall out with the very man who made the enquiry.
When these queries began to affect their mutual relations, their good neighbouring conduct and fraternity as a whole, everyone began to take thought why he of all the people should confront others. Why to get embroiled; let even the bones of the dead be stolen, for aught should I care, he thought. They suspected this on seeing the grave next day tampered.
Cockfighting in Bali: A relic or a right? | Coconuts Bali
They opened the grave and found he corpse mother- naked. The people of the village kept hurling curses on the shroud thief, and he on his part went on robbing all the five graveyards, stripping the dead bodies of their shroud and putting the graves in form again. It is a bit of plain speaking that anything, good or bad, attached to any person, ultimately becomes a part of his habit.
By the same token if it is attached to a nation, the nation adopts it as a form of its custom and usage. In this way, when all the dead bodies of Zeegypore, men and women alike without exception, got robbed of the shrouds, it by and by became a custom with them, then nobody got agitated on this, nor did anybody show any kind of fear.
They got used to speaking and hearing of this for two decades. However, they would visit the grave-yard the next day when they intered there any dead. These four sentences were at the tip of the tongue of everyone thare at Zeegypathir, you would be greeted by these words correct to a syllable for it had assumed the form of a ritual like giving the last bath to the dead, and burying the body.
After about twenty years, the out cry that the shroud thief having been found out spread through-out the length and breadth of Zeegypathir. The elderly people thanked heavens for the curse having ended, for those born during these twenty years and grown young, neither the shroud thief nor the theft of the shroud had any sensation of significance.
They merely for the sake of wonder ran to Surapore were the esposure had taken place. That is why when Saal Dyad came jointly along with a crowd, the youngsters were not touched at all as she gave out her piercing scream. They had grown accustomed to her shreiks right from their childhood and had mimicked it umpteen times, just for the fun of it. But those who remembered the times when she gave it for the first time, felt their healed wounds came into life again.
The shroud thief, Ghana Baabi, came to be known as Ghana Mokul thereafter. His locality Suripora got so thronged with the people that one got the impression of a fair at some big shrine. Everyone tried to make his way forward to get a glimpse of Ghani MokuTs face. But how many could be shown it after a thousand or so had already seen it; it being; moreover, improper to keep him open to the gaze on the bier any longer.
Nobody whatsoever could have got an inlinking of what and who he was if he had not made the confession in his will. Ghana Mokul in his statement at the death bed had confessed that all along life he had robbed the people of their shrouds. He was now repentantly mortified and would like to be buried mother-naked so that God might forgive him his sins. The people, however, did not abide by this, thinkng it improper to put him into the grave without a shroud, regardless of what he did, answerable as he was for this in his grave and hereafter. They thought ir proper to bury him like the other people, that is what humanity and religion demanded.
Ghani Mokul was buried and people as a matter of habit cursed him with hell in all measure. They felt relieved at having been rid of a big calamity. This evil tiding spread like a wild fire in the length and breadth of Zeegypathir. Once more there was a rush of people at the Zeegypathir graveyard. Some people set it down to angels holding people accountable for the good and bad deeds, having thrown him out of the grave, a sinner as he was.
Others put this down to the anguished sighs of Saal Dyad who had particularly screamed there at the graveyard whether there was nobody to see what a havoc the monster had worked in the graveyard. At last they came to agree on one thing that it had been some rascal who avenged himself on Ghani Mokul for his shroud- stealing after his death. They first hurled much abuse at the wrong doer, but then took counsel that Ghani Mokul be put back as he was in the grave.
He was very much in the grave. As this was not enough, two or three more dead bodies buried the day before in another graveyard, lay exposed outside their graves in the same manner. A new monster was on the rampage there, who threw the dead out of their graves. He no doubt divested the dead bodies of the shroud, but naked by no means did he leave them. Then onwards, the people showered blessings on the former and cursed the new culprit with all the abominations of the hell. This is not so simple as to ask your granny to set a booth plate for you".
He lifted a cigarette packet and remained silent. He lighted a cigarette and puffed out a thick whorl of smoke upwards to the ceiling, which gradually thinned out and spread throughout the room, leaving a foul smell in its wake after dissolving indistinguishably in the air. I am not worried about its flesh and the skin; it might as well be devoured by a dog, for aught I care. The problem with me is which side did its head point to. What is a man worth after all without the head and the brain, being the place where all the conceit was stuffed?
I, on the contrary, have drawn my sustenance for the last thirty years from my police service. No such tricks to me. I could easily believe this. One could not save oneself from even one such worm, but then sandwitched between two such creatures, one could not but take thought of ones obseqies and last rites. The worm is after all a worm; if it sticks, it sticks fast. You might try your utmost to detach it, but come off it will not.
This in fact was the plight in which the corpse was caught in between the two worms. I had just got wind to the matter curiously, but was not aware of its depths, that is why I was trying to get to the bottom ol the thing, nothing else. Neither was I a Punch to deal out justice after hearing the case, nor could I wash myself clean to the matter, even after being aware that caught as I was between two veterans. It was I who could get the slip. I perceived that he got flattered, because his neck got a tilt, a smile played on his lips, a devilish gleam glistened in his eyes.
This lasted only for a moment and his brows screwed narrow and showered fire. I blurted out, without in fact knowing him. I asked him with a view to make the things clear. He got a bit vexed, "They sneak into the police when they do not even get a filing after begging; they have no brains at all, yeh maamle ki nazaakat nahin samajte.
Strangely enough, he tells me after file man had left, that it was a man on horseback who informed that the corpse lay near the Chinar tree at Poshi Marg. What can you say of such man? You understand? How on earth did you leave that man without knowing from him who he was and wherefrom he hailed? What if he had murdered somebody, why? It is possible. A thaanedaar has to consider minute details. Our records are foolproof. So saying, he burst into an uproarious laugh. I too, on my part felt like laughing, but I took counsil with myself, poor me, this man I laughs for what he knows best, why to get embroiled.
With a touch of hospitality. I also picked up one and puit that into my mouth. It was so sweet No doubt about that! His brains will merely get addled. When has he been able to think that he will think today? We are on our guard. He moved his head with an air laying bare the whole mischief. Hardly had I heard of the corpse lying near Poshi Marg chinaar tree, I along with my whole staff ran there. It took us some time. Our thaana is not a ramshackle of a scavenger's hut like that of Khaanpore, it has a vast jurisdiction. The moment we reached there, lo and behold! He was already there along with a few of his rickety constables.
Caliph of the Tricksters
The corpse stood there near the chinar, magarhum sub badmaashi samajh gaye We at once got the hang of the mischief. But whom do they think they would hoodwink? As for that, I am too clever for them. He took another grain of sugar and gave it a mighty crunch. To my mind the corpse belonged to one in whose territory the corpse lay; it woul ip-so fac-to be his headache.
That is why I asked with some measurable perplexity. It was there on the demarcation line of the two thaanas. We were duty bound to go there and so were they, ham koyi ghalat boat nahin kahen ge n. He lifted his neck and looked owl-like outside the window where a couple of police men were beating somebody. I could also look there clearly. I asked ingeneously. He returned with a hint of sarcasm. I said. I got lost, it did not at all enter my head. He had talked of the head before also, but I had taken it casually then. I asked. The issue had in fact come up before also, but I had not noticed the nicety of it then.
This spawn of the devil. I have understood all the devilry. He had got the head of the corpse turned towards his direction so that he might bring the corpse under his possession. One thing yet remained to be clarified. The dispute arose and I do not care who hoots for it kaagaz khud bolen ge The matter drags on as it is. It occured to me, if the corpse were possessed by an evil spirit Happens so, not improble. It might rise and straight leave for its home. It will rot How long after all What matters really is towards which side is the head lying. It was not that she bore me a grouse, never, we suffered from no privation or want True it is that we were not rolling in wealth, but we managed to Uve well.
She possessed all that middling house-wife would resonably like to have. But I would at the same time think if that would not augment her grief further. In the twinkling of an eye, sometimes her thoughts would wander, one never knew where, and got lost for a moment If during this state of mind I tried to rouse her, a faint smile would creep over her lips and instantly vanish. I therefore, did not venture to ask her anything. I always yearned to unravel the mystry, season or out of season.
It was really bewildering that occasionally in her abandon,! Whenever, I tried to ask her the reason for this, she either side- tracked or would say, :It is out of love for me that you worry for nothing; I am fit as fiddle. There is nothing wrong with me". This too was a lie, and I could no more swallow anything of it I began to believe that she was driving me crazy by saying anything but truth.
Meanwhile, Nika was born to us. How chubby! Every shade like his mother. But whenever, I saw his mother, I was horror-stricken. Her bloom was missing; what blight has overtaken her! What evil eye has afflicted her? I wonder. One day, brimed over as I was, I contained myself no longer. What is it that you are taking to your heart, and for what? But Bimla did not so much as lift her eyes. In fact, I did not want to give utterance to it at all because I too.
To be frank, it was out u- place; I should not have laughed. I wanted to talk warily and circumspectly. Fqr a long time she wistfully fixed her gaze on me that my legs cowered beneath me. But I was determined to make her speak the truth. Nika was fast asleep in his cradle, emitting sounds from his running nose. On hearing this, there was no doubt my wnoie oouy for shame. A freshness and a new current of life ran through body. The s tiffn ess that was there gave way to relaxation. It because of such piquant gestures and talk of her that my love her never assailed by doubt.
Why are you so despondent? She said after a pause. This is not a thing fit to be said to you". On this she was roused again and a smile appeared on her lips. I continued with some uneasiness", you swear on my life! Speak plainly, I can search him out". I rejoined. That is why it vexes me". She said. So saying, she fell to ruminating again. My patience brimmed over, but in spite of that, I told her with some coaxing.
My voice betrayed me. Bimla seemed very far remote from me, in spite of her close proximity, she was not with me at all, as if all these years of married life were a dream or an illusion. I felt my body as if entangled in prickles. If she ran her fingers into my hair before, how delighted I felt, but now it looked as if ants were swarming throunh my hair. I scratched myhairbymy fingers and said to her. My manner of speaking was altogether altered; it did not realty come from my heart She too, probably understood it.
But the answer did not he with me, it rested with somebody else. I was at my maatamaal mother's parental house for I had been invited there on a ceremony. I had asked my maternal uncle to buy me a satin dhoti, but he had found no time for it I had to leave for my home the next day. I prepared for leaving for the market several times during the me go out of the doors.
I left without their leave in proper make-up in a shilvaar kamiz. The time I left for the market to buy the dhoti, it was quite clear, or may be it might well have been over cast at some places, I do not know for certain. Having the dhoti purchased from the market, when I was to leave for my maatamaal, it began to rain in torrents. I passed my understanding how the clouds had gathered so thick. There on the Bundh, you could quicken your pace. I set off almost on a trot, but the rain overwhelmed me still more. Meanwhile, I saw a man walking with an umbrella overhead; he was almost my age.
As he neared, he stole a look over me under his umbrella. I took hold of the umbrella, but I felt ashamed of my selfishness. He, on his part too, did not enquire where and how far I had to go. He was some paces behind me. From his foot steps I could gather that he was eight to ten paces behind me. My dhoti was spared of rain because of the umbrella, else it would have become a wet rag. I clean forgot him till I reached my maatamaal and entered the door. I was inwardly cursing myself that my aunt and dyad would make it hot for me and subject me to dressing down and scolding.
Worrying thus, I went upstairs where my uncle, who had already returned from his office told me to shift my clothes as he saw me drenched through and through. I left an umbrella there in some corner and entered the other room to shift my clothes. Several days after this incident, our marriage took place It was an entirely new world to me then.
And then I left for Ladakh with you And it was quite true. I had been transferred to Ladakh and Bimla had accompanied me From there, I was sent back to Baramulla. She was much pleased when she saw me there for two days and two nights. I asked her with a smile. I was sitting by my Dyad, who ruminantly turned over the events of her youth, and my aunt was in her kitchen.
As the rain drops began to beat on the tin root my aunt rushed out from the kitchen very infuriated. She at first looked at her mother-in-law, and then, looking through die window, gave a nod to her. I kept looking alternately from my aunt to Dyad. My Dyad asked her, raising her eye-brows. I got in a fix. I asked both of them. I got up to look through the window and they burst out laughing uproriously.
I grew more suspicious that there was something fishy; I felt somewhat odd. I noticed that Dyad was somewhat scandalised. Listen to what I say, the boy, you see there, has been coming there for several years. Whenever it looks like rain, he suddenly makes his appearance there at the lamp-post, as if waiting for someone. He neither talks to anybody, nor replies to anything if asked.
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Your Maama dear, to whom my life be sacrificed, too, saw him umpteen tmes stock-still transfixed there. He thought. I, just nonchalantly, assented to what Dyad said. Dyad said wondering. Now, not until we shut our compound door and switch off our lights, this son of a mother will not budge from there. He does it only when he is convinced that we are asleep. Her talks made me lose of my composure. Getting up I looked through the window again.
There, surely enough, was a young man standing by the lamp-post Who he could be? Sinister premonitions crossed my mind. I went to the room below, just to ward off my suspicion, and slammed the window shut. This sound made him look up.. I was at my wits end to recognise him at once. My legs cowered beneath me. I almost was bereft of my consciousness; my feet began feel very heavy.
There was a simmering sensation in every fibre of my being. I felt everything around aflame, and a multitude was running to put the fire oft I also felt a water-fall rushing down my ears and I feared that it would wash me down, or the fire might turn me into ashes. I was totally unsettled.
I at once climbed up the stairs to the attic with my heart pounding within. I was there after five years rummaging for the umbrella. The Granny saw me doing this and asked me what I was looking for. I ran up to the topmost attic where rummaging here and there, I found it hung up under the ceiling. It was as if I came by a treasure. I shook dust off it by die hem of my dhoti. Much perturbed, I climbed down the stairs and reached the compound gate. He approached the gate and his deep breath plunged daggers through my soul even when I was behind the door.
I cursed myself for having asked him for that umbrella and putting that luckless man to so much trouble; I rather loathed myself for this. I am really ashamed of myself". What was he then anxious for, was a query rising from within me. But I did not want to get to the root of the thing. I struck a little bit bizarre that he should have been anxious for the umbrella. Then, for whose sake and for what had he been waiting for so long?
I reflected feeling restless. I thought how could I ask her for what had he been waiting for all those years. I could not so much as utter a syllable for a pretty long time. At long last, I looked outside the door, but there was no one there! One turn to the left, another to the right, one more behind, and then this way, and then have a look in the mirror, the grography of your face is completely transformed. The truth is that so long as you have a tie round your neck, you seem somewhat distinguished. Your ownself and the things around you look fascinating and pretty. You may not have a farthing in your pocket, but the external get up hides your penury.
People take you for an affluent and wealthy man, but the wearer of the tie alone knows how agonising it is when you do not have the petty amount to buy even a beetle leaf. I too, wore a neck tie one day But the adventure is such as bears no recounting. However, since you are no strangers, it will be no shame to open my breast to you.
Well, listen then. One day, sitting in my office, it occured to me why I do not wear a neck-tie, when some of my friends drawing lesser pay than I do wear it Am I in any way inferior to them? This idea possessed me and then, one day I bought a guady tie. I had got my suit dry-washed and I made up my mind that I would go to my office only with the tie on henceforth.
How could one resist a temptation like this. In the next morning, I wore the tie on a shirt got washed and pressed by the washerman. I tried to probe in my mind, was it after all a good thing I did. But then the idea of even those friends of mine drawing lesser pay, yet wearing guady ties, assered me.
And then I walked on like a man of consequence, with my hair brushed up, my pants meticulously creased, and my boots shining bright, till I reached Badyaar crossing. There, my eyes fell on the edge of the drain. It was a two-rupee note lying there and I felt tempted. What a cupidity! The moment I caught a glimpse of it, I changed my colour. Untill then, I had walked calmly and unperturbed, but there, a natural break of my legs.
I looked around and found everybody engrossed in his round of work. But then, as nobody was noticing, there was no shame to pick it up. I moved two or three steps forward, but retraced reaching the place where the note lay. I delberately let fall a piece of paper from my pocket near the note How my breast pounded! From my toes up I got as cold as ice. Jahannam : A young man pays a ransom for his kidnapped father, and waits at the morgue for news. Font of Youth : A man discovers immortality, alone. Four Degrees Above Freezing : A detective questions a man who found a chilled corpse.
Fallstaff : Sir John is the King's man. Check Out : A former killer-for-hire hides out after being unable to fulfill a contract. Fainting Game : A man becomes obsessed tracking the deaths of several young boys. Murder on Holiday : While on holiday, a serial-killer's activities lead to the birth of Jack The Ripper's myth. A Life In Porn : A man records and relives little moments with the women in his life.
DID Have : Four personalities in the same body reflect on the death of the fifth. And note I didn't go for the obvious 'willing' joke. PWI : An astronaut fights with his ship's computer about his habit of getting drunk while piloting. Baby Back : A pregnancy re-kindles a failing relationship.
Cockfight : A rooster, irresistible to hens and humans alike, upsets the pecking order. There are no reviews as yet for this recent release. Be the first to write a review after reading your copy. About the Author. Nicolas Wilson is a published journalist, graphic novelist, and novelist.
He lives in the rainy wastes of Portland, Oregon with his wife, two cats and a dog.