Written By Amar Sneh
Whenever Anil is lonely and in pensive gloomy mood, the old memories surround him and he feels neither he could forget his native nor he could completely adopt and belong to his new foreign land; thoughts up surges, “Where all those things of my childhood had disappeared, those people of simplicity, openheartedness, community feeling, sense of belongings, close intimacy, that simple lifestyle, all those small lanes, those old houses with big open yards around where all have gone. It seems it is lost and vanished for ever.”
Anil went places and seen life almost all over the world, but he could never forget his childhood buddies, his simple sober parish, where he had spent his golden days of childhood. All through his life he had one wish that he should meet someone from his native from where he was uprooted. He kept trying in desperation to get some contact and alas! One day he got phone number of Mr. Mahendra, his childhood chum from an Indian tourist visiting the country. Anil became too anxious to hear his friend’s voice.
The next day Anil called up and when he became assured that his childhood buddy, Mahendra was on the line at the other end, he forgot every thing in the fit of joy and got engulfed by Mahendra and Mahendra only as if he discovered a goldmine.
Anil: Hello! Am I speaking to Mr. Mahendra Paliwal?
Mahendra: Yes! Speaking
Anil: Mahendra means that snoopy and snoozer
Mahendra: What! What snoozer? Who do you want to talk to?
Anil: Oh! I mean that chatter plaguing —- O! Ho! That Sita nani’s ——
Mahendra: What rubbish is all this!
Anil: Hey! You a licker of clotted cream, is It not enough?
Mahendra: O! — Ho! ——oh! You stealer of clotted cream —- You are still alive? My god! I just can’t believe it —– Hey! Buddy —— Q! Ho!
Anil: — Buddy you could recognize me after laps of thirty years. —-
Mahendra: How could I have forgotten you, I have yet to recover two Anna from you; every time you used to give excuse that you would ask for it from your father — You bloody liar.
Anil: Oh! Father passed away without paying your two Anna.
Mahendra: Oh! Dual condolences —–
Anil: Buddy you have not changed at all like dog’s tail; bloody incorrigible crook!
Mahendra: Hey Buddy! Your memory is worth praising —– but tell me from where are you calling?
Anil: From Singapore, after I roamed and moved in many countries, I settled down here. Ok ! just tell me how is my sis-in-law, Sharmila?
Mahendra: Who ?
Anil: You fool! I am talking about Sharmila — –
Mahendra: Oh! — there —-Yes —- that —–that is doing fine, oh! You are talking about town-hall tower —-oh that got ruined in storms and now there is but a place left where she-buffalo is reared —— thank god! —– my skin is saved —- you would have got me killed —-you idiot! She was keenly listening to our conversation, but seeing me puzzled she went to the other room.
Mahendra: You boldly fool —— your sis-in-law —Renu! —- you idiot this is India, here romance and love all this is confined here in novels, stories, poems and in films, but in reality Romeo Juliet are hanged to death by their own parents and the society; thank god I was saved else you could not have been talking to your dear – friend like this today.
Anil: Any way; just tell me are you contented and happy? What are you doing? How are you placed? Are you still staying in the same old palatial house, where we used to play in the childhood? Are those trees of neem, rose-apple, mango they are all still there?
Mahendra: Buddy I am an officer in the government service; one daughter got married and the other daughter is studying, she doing her masters at university. —-Yes! We have forgotten the palatial house which is the stores of your memory. The property got divided in four parts; the trees were cut and its roots were burnt by poring acid, else shoots grow and they prove detrimental to the walls of the building. Folks of many generations lived under the shelter of those trees.
Anil: It is really very sad. You might be remembering a boy — I believe Mangtu — oh! That leader — do you remember him —leader? —-
Mahendra: Yes! –o! Yes! That Mangtu, who used to climb the tree —-
Anil: His father used to ask him to descend and then from the tree top he used to pester his father with condition if his father would get sweet Jilebees for his friends and him then only he would descend.
Mahendra: Then sweet Jilebees used to arrive and Papaji used to feed him and then he used to come down from the tree.
Anil: How we all used to enjoy in those days; by the way where is Mangtu these days?
Mahendra: Long back he migrated to London and settled there; even his younger brother followed him there, but his mummy and papa stayed back here alone. Both the brothers had come here to attend the last religious rite on the death of their mother and went back; the poor old father is staying here alone. Some days back I visited him since he was keeping ill health; he was so very happy to see me; he did not allow me to leave soon; he kept talking to me for very long and in the end he wept on his pathetic state in which his sons have left him when he needed them the most.
Anil: Poor fellow brought up these boys with elbow grease; he was a small fry; he was working as a fitter in a small workshop. Barely had he made both ends meet, but without fail I used to hear his call in the morning, “Come on get up guys, I kept bread butter and biscuits for you.” And see he is left alone here in the old age; no one to take his care — it is too sad.
Mahendra: Hey! This just nothing; do you remember Advocate Tarachand?
Anil: Oh! You mean the one who once became the chairman.
Mahendra: Yes! Exactly the same gentleman I mean. Both his sons used to study in our school; now a day both are practicing law. God knows how they managed to get the death certificate of their father, who is still alive and grabbed his entire property. Years have gone by the case is pending in the court of law. The father is near fag end of his life putting him on hiss’s mettle to prove that he is alive and that the death certificate is a forged one.
Anil: What the hell are you saying! He being alive and he is still not been able to prove his own live flesh and bones.
Mahendra: Forget this buddy; it happens only in India. In this country majority of people are dead, whom we see alive all around us. Tarachand is one amongst them playing in cursed destiny’s hand; he has lost his heart. Homeless he wanders; most of the time he is seen sitting on a bench at a small tea stall and after the stall closes he sleeps there on the patio there.
Anil: Very strange! Advocate Tarachand reared and fostered his sons in most lavish lifestyle; a chauffeur driven car used to leave the boys at school. —— Buddy there used to be one journalist who used to threaten people —– where is that funny character?
Mahendra: Oh! You mean that journalist, who was doing reporting for a very third graded news paper and used to blackmail by printing weird, uncanny material. That fellow once wrote about illicit relationship of Dr. Panda with his daughter-in-law; finally he took ten thousand rupees from Dr. Panda and gave condemnation and guilty verdict on the next day in the paper.
Anil: Yes! Yes! That bloody fellow used to do any nonsense
Mahendra: Hey! Do not speak aloud about him. —– shu —-shooo- Mr. Anil that fellow is minister now.
Anil: It is really amazing from pauper to toper and to minister. —– Buddy there used to be one blue blooded prince, Kishan from the new parish?
Mahendra: Gentleman now that parish has remained no more new; it has become old. —– Oh! If you listen to prince’s princely deeds activities you would faint. This prince used to bring white Pomeranian, Cocker Spaniel and other foreign breed dogs and used to color them and sell them to opulent people in big cities. By selling these colored dogs he made a big money and purchases big palatial houses and then one day he disappeared after selling the property at high appreciated price. One of the houses his father did not allow him to sale. Out of the blue his father received a threatening phone call from an anonymous person demanding ransom money worth five lakh rupees with a message, “If you want safe return of your son, Prince, then keep the briefcase filled with rupees five lakh under mango tree on the top of the hillock and your son shall be released tomorrow.” Poor father did as directed to save his only son’s life. Recently it is learnt that this was a game plan of Prince himself to recover money from his father against unsold property. They say he is found at Goa.
Anil: It seems that In India and in the neighboring countries princes are the same all over. —– Anyway – Tell me! Could Mishrilal accomplish his zest for supernatural power?
Mahendra: Dude! Mishrilal paid the debt of nature; it is not known if he attended the supernatural power, but his disciples say that he relinquished his body at his will. The other side of the coin is that his disciple wanted to confiscate Mishrilal’s hermitage, so he poisoned him and took possession of the entire land, which is spread across in four acres; the marketing skill of this disciple turned out very profitable as the quantum of offerings have increased tremendously. Lured by beauty of a female disciple of Mishrilal, this fellow married her.
Anil: This shows that the spiritual reinvigoration in India is on its way to touch its zenith. —- just tell me —- how are mummy and papa? Your mummy always used to tell, “Anil you are falling in line with Mahendra, you are stepping into his shoes now; please be careful you might get zero over zero marks in examination like him.”
Mahendra: Buddy! mother used to shout and scold, but your absence even for a single day used to perturb her and she used to be enquiring after you, “Has Anil not come today? What’s the matter with him?” Just some days back someone asked her, “Your second son is not seen now days?” At this query she had tears in her eyes. She remembered you a lot and missed you too, while she gave heartfelt blessing to you. Your whereabouts were not known —- Anil —- mother passed away and after six month Papa followed her.
Anil: Mahendra! Every thing changes so fast; is it not? Since long there is a lingering thought that I should spend my last days there; I feel very much lonely and unaccomplished; life seems incomplete.
Mahendra: Anil! Please full stop to this very thought of settling here. Do not even let this thought come to your dreams that you shall have a peaceful settlement here. The image and impressions of this parish you have stored on your psyche has totally changed; it has not remained the same. People here would rest only after separating us in just three days. My brothers, whom you too have fondled in their childhood, now meet me either at police station or at court of law. First the brothers turned my neighbors and from neighbors they turned now to my foes. —– my friend Anil do visit me here, but do not think of staying back —— do come—-meet and go back. —–Hellow Anil – Hellow – Hellow — Hellow Anil —It seems the phone got disconnected.