The First Stone


©Amar Sneh

Prelude…                     

First StoneThe story I am narrating is of eighty out of hundred people; it might be possible that their looks and life styles differ, but there seem some close relation of their subjugations, compulsions, and helpless oppressed conditions, but then you might ask a question, “are remain twenties foes?” How dare I can call them foes, since they are the ones called as high-familial, noble, high-born, polite, refined, respected, and elite in the society? Whether they are crowned or uncrowned, their behavior, thinking and attitude have remained the same high and mighty.

It is said that the twenties are blessed with a boon that their sins, bad deeds and atrocities keep automatically transforming into virtuous and pious deeds; yes! Even after this if some sins are left untransformed then there is a provision kept for them by the almighty to wash away their sins from birth to birth for ever just by taking a dip in the holy Ganges. The habit and practice of committing sins and atrocities should remain intact and the spirit should remain undeterred, yet another provision is made available for which once in twelve years dips in Ganges at the holy occasion of Sighasta & Kumbha assemblages is sufficient and thus the license gets renewed.

It is said that the eighties keep suffering punishments and its consequences for the sins they commit; impact of retribution is instant for eighties, while for twenties, perhaps retribution seems just a myth. It is not that these eighties do not follow the ritual of holy dip in Ganges for renunciation of sins of their previous incarnation, but contrary to this, the poor eighties get glued and laden with the sins of twenties while taking holy dip side by side with twenties and the eighties remain unchanged in the same category of eighties; perhaps the poor are not aware that the provision of redemptions is meant only for the special class of twenties.

Twenties do not change at all; they are like robots, sans emotional, sans humanity; you can make them out in the crowd with their robotic behavior. It seems that they are blessed with a mysterious power that while dying they give rise to ten more robots and these new born robots stand erect dusting their caps and puffing air of arrogance and exuberance as if in this world all the riches, all the amenities of pleasure and the wealth of nation is their own, which is meant for them only and they are the rightful heirs to this dynastical treasure.

Seal of Patriotism is embossed on these twenties. They are somehow dragging the nation with their egotism of royal ness in the glitters of twenty-second century as if the remaining eighties are all enemies of the nation and they are striving to pull it back to fourth century and strangle the progress. Gentleman as if, the political power, the industries, the commerce and the entire administration of the nation is their domain and their own private limited business concerns. Under the banner and slogan of country’s own local produce, “Swadeshi”, they have been producing substandard, adulterated, duplicated cheap products and are forced upon common man to the extent that unfit for human consumptions are forced to be consumed. They only shout the pretentious slogan of Swadeshi, but for them they depend and use all imported standard stuff. Their children get education in America or European countries and settle their, while these people make use of their own country only to snatch and loot as much possible to keep their money out and safe in foreign banks.

These eighties are also not blessed low and scanty, they too have proliferate blessings; we must be thankful to the Almighty for his scientific genius for the creation of this mysterious gene of eighties capable of dying and living simultaneously and surviving alive in this deathful conditions. In this special species called as eighties have a special gadget fitted in them by virtue of which they have a strong tenacity to tolerate and uphold the menace of this large democracy of our country; this gadget seldom fails and keep the dead alive till the last breath awaiting the announcement of the next election and while in the election rally some favorable commitments by the leaders if fall on the ears that makes their unseen tail to waggle and once again the gadget recharges and starts working as ever before.

In last few years more than twenty-two thousand textile mills and factories are locked out. Due to heavy industrialization, artisans of cottage industries in large numbers have already been thrown out of jobs with a result there is an abrupt bloating of the unemployed population, which has merged into already existing large population of eighties and has reached a mark of 80% of the total population; poor are barely hand to mouth and to some even this is denied; barring these twenties, people are compelled to live in poverty and large number is thrown below poverty line, they are deprived of bare necessities of living.

You should not be surprised to know in the financial capital of our country i.e. Mumbai 80% of its population alone dwells in slums. In this country three fourth of population are defecating on the roadsides or on open grounds or harvest fields or some hideouts near their own hutments. This is an irony where three fourth of population is leading such a miserable life, there tones and tones of grains in the granary are wasted and thrown out as a damaged and spoiled grains, but are not distributed to the poor because if the agricultures produce are well distributed the prices in the market will crash down and with this fear utilizable resources are drained but eighties are not fed; what a shameful governance and administration. What kind of democracy is it?

What a fate of this country. Elite and intellectuals by obtaining dozens of NOC and various permits, which are available at throw away price anywhere in any government department, pronounce it as a true great democracy in the world. It seems exploitation, helplessness and compulsions of a common man may give rise to a big revolution one day. The last century had gone awaiting an opportunity for the same.

Finale…

indian-poverty1A robot held a truck on the check-post and with pretence of extra alertness inspected the loaded contents inside the truck; a Jeep of an officer reached the spot, the driver of the truck gave two currency bills of hundreds (Two notes of hundred rupees)to the officer, who looked at him sternly, though in the heart he was overjoyed at the extra income but driver felt that the office is not pleased with the booty so he gave yet one more bill and the truck was released happily without proper checkup and the truck drove away.

Money going to government till has gone to robot’s pocket…Driving away of the truck was a testimony of the great tradition of this great country, where there was a compulsive national slogan, “My country is great” (Mera Desh Mahan) painted at the rear of the truck and all public transport.

After a while the greatness of the nation and the truck disappeared at a distance. There was a lull for a while then the robot contacted his superior robot on the wireless and parked the Jeep in the middle of the road. A speeding truck was seen approaching at a distance; the truck slowed down and pulled the truck close to the Jeep. A man alighted from the truck and took the robot aside; well what they talk was not heard but the man handed over a wad of notes to the robot and went back. His truck left exhibiting again the greatness of the country.

The truck went further and after a while left the main road and turns on to an unsealed road and slowed down. A man sitting next to driver saw one eighty waiting impatiently for a passenger-bus; the driver stopped the truck near the bus-stop and called the eighty close to him. This poor eighty was waiting since long for the bus to go home; some days back only he got a new job in a factory; he was returning home; this poor eighty, who failed in an attempt to stop a bus, which went pass him some time ago, that created a panic too with an apprehension that his family must be waiting his return in hope of some food, which he buys back to feed them. The driver gave him an empty can and said, “Do not worry, I shall drop you wherever you want, but you first fetch water in this can for the truck radiator….go…I say go… get the water first.

The eighty with a hope and consolation of reaching his destination went in search of water, but could not find any water hole nearby, so he went further ahead and madly started looking for the source. As the eighty went away, the truck reversed and disappeared on a slope nearby into the bushes. One covered small car was rolled down the ramp from the truck; the car went speedily on the highway in the direction of railway station, while the truck came on the road and traced back the path speedily and vanished.

Struggling for nearly fifteen to twenty minutes, the eighty with great difficulty spotted a water hole near bushes; with a sigh of relief he started running towards the place where the truck was parked but to his dismay the truck was not seen around anywhere. Night started falling and in hope to find the truck, he started running with the water can in his hand looking out for the truck; there were number of cars passing by but who would give him lift to his destination, so he kept his search on for the truck in that wilderness with a hope that he might find the truck somewhere on his way.

Suddenly there was a hubbub, siren echoing police vans were running to and fro. There was extra alertness in the police movements, the check-posts on the highway were sealed off, some areas were cordoned, the stranded motorist in the traffic jam were all gossiping about bomb blast incident.

That small car parked at the railway station had such a powerful explosives packed in it that with the blast nearly half the station was completely destroyed; many cars parked near the site were thrown up and fell on the ground totally smashed; four bogies of the approaching train were also thrown out and all the bogies were derailed; there was an utter chaos; hundreds are dead, mutilated part of the human bodies were scattered all around; human flesh spread across, floors and walls had blood running on it. There were echoes of wailing and crying in distress, shouting and crying of wounded in dire stress of pain; oh! A very fearful site; ambulances, firefighters, a big police force with lot of volunteers helping the wounded and trying to save life of those trapped in the wrecks of the train.

After the incident security personal of all squads of police are very carefully and with extra alertness are inspecting minute details on the spot; all cars are being intercepted for thorough checking; security personals are not leaving any stone unturned and are checking the belongings of people returning from bazaar, even the potter carrying his earthen wares on the donkey back is also checked and inspected; a strict and rigorous interrogations of standers by are being conducted by police officers effect of which was seen even on the donkey of the potter, it started braying aloud this sounded as if the donkey is complain to Allah.

In all these activities of interrogations, inspections and surveillance all people are stranded and trapped. Police constables are busy identifying the dead bodies. Paparazzi of press and electronic media are competing with one another to catch glimpses of salable pictures to their agencies; news reporters are creating yet pitiable ludicrous scene, they are droning like big black bee into the ears of the wounded survivals by asking them unanswerable questions; they are more bothered for the first to broadcast competition than the pathetic state of sufferings of the survivors. All the departments of police force is in full swing to find out the source, the type of explosives and devices and also trying to establish the relation with previous blasts; various companies of police squads of various disciplines, like Boarder Security Force, Rapid Action Force, Bomb Squad and all other security personals are scrawling out like ants running out forth from ant-hill.

Police, politicians, news reports are stretching their imaginations to reach plasticity. Political leaders from various parties have thronged the site. It is a golden opportunity for them to exhibit their extra love for their people and to demonstrate their patriotism, so the politicians in their patriotic attire of starched-stiff white Gandhi-cap are holding political meetings, slinging mud on the ruling party and their allies, while doing so they are pretending their deep concern for the victims, trying to win their hearts by sympathizing them. To impress and win over the crowd; without deliberation a politician of opposition declared that they would force the ruling party to resign from the parliament; they would not let the parliament function; he further announced, as protest for this misfortunate event a call for all India Banda (one day strike by keeping every thing closed for a day) and all wheels across the country would be jammed (No vehicle to ply on the roads) and nationwide mourning would be observed etc…

The fear stricken eighty is very helpless seeing the hubbub, ambulances were rushing carrying the wounded, doctors are treating and nurses are busy dressing the wounded; police enquiry and arrests have shattered him completely to get away from this horrifying site, he was trying to sneak into a ram shackled house in the remote, at that moment a police squad spotted him; seeing him in distressed and alone at that remote suspicious place, they suspected him and started their usual stern interrogation; the eighty gave all the narration of the chain of events he underwent; listening this their suspicion grew stronger; police arrested him as a suspect and sent him to the police station. For police department the arrest of eighty was an added feather in their cap.

The next day headlines with his photograph appeared in all the newspapers; twenty four hours TV news channels were unwarily hyping the story of police break through in the bomb blast by flashing his clips on all the channels; overnight this innocent poor eighty became not only national but international famous personality. In the police remand during third degree interrogation, they beat the eight black and blue; the disgusted eighty admitted and accepted all the charges and offences levied on him, though the poor soul never ever heard of the term called terrorist but he kept accepting anything and everything before merciless beating of police. Like sticking of gramophone pin on the record, helpless eighty was repeating his story verbatim like parrot to any and everybody with or without asking that he got new employment at a factory; he was waiting for the bus at the bus-stop for a very long; The last bus did not stop and he was in dismay; a truck halted before him and the truck-driver offered him a lift but not before he could fetch water for the truck radiator; on his return with water can the truck vanished.

With his evidential narrations and the circumstantial evidences the police began their investigation. The police got very important evidence that from the very spot as described by the eighty in his narration, the truck went onto unsealed road in hidings and the small car rolled down over the ramp from the truck and the police could tress the tyre marks of the small car; this cleared the doubt and the connection between the truck and the small car got established. After the facts of eighty’s story got confirmed, he became a very important person. Now the police are investigating his contacts with foreign agencies; during investigation police is repeatedly asking him his residential address; what address could the poor give? The factory where he was working previously had a lockout, since two years he remained unemployed that is why he had to leave his small room where he stayed with his family; due to scanty earnings the entire family had to live on the footpaths moving from one site to another trying to evade the menace of police and the goons but sometimes bribing was unavoidable; days in days out wandering in search of some job; sometimes someday some daily waged job used to feed his family. After he found the new employment with a great difficulty he could manage to arrange for a small shanty in a slum and today he was to pay for the shanty since he received some payment from the factory. With the apprehension that the police may start torturing his family members, he kept giving vague addresses to police but because of this suspicion grew deeper.

Two days have gone by, the eighty has not returned home; his wife, Bhagga, is very much worried and anxious; untoward thoughts are tossing and crossing in her mind but she is trying to control her emotions; where could she search him out, she had no money on her; children at home are very hungry, there is not even a piece of bread or a drop of milk to feed the young one. She herself is in tears bearing the burnt of the circumstances, but consoling and encouraging the patience of her kids by saying, “your father must be coming anytime now with lot of eatables, be patient we all will have food with him.” Poor Bhagga is broken within, goes out to a nearby small eating shop in shanty narrating her plight, listening to her the shop owner out of kindness gave her some eatables to feed her kids on two three occasions, but now she feels awkward to go to him again, though her kids are dying of hunger; they have kept their gaze with wide opened eyes on the street in the hopes of return of their father, the feeder.

Just sometime back she over heard that a terrible bomb blast took place at the railway station ripping and damaging it leaving hundreds dead; hearing this the first thought that struck her mind was if her husband….No! No! She shuddered for a while and then consoled herself oh no! He went for his work to the factory and he goes to work taking a bus. People suggested and advised her to go to police station to make enquiry there; poor Bhagga gathered her courage and somehow went to the police station but no one heeded her, looking at her soiled and murky condition no one even bothered to entertain her and listen to her; she being a small fry no one took any cognize of her; the poor was beating the air. At the police station the entire police force was engaged in security arrangements of ministers, chief minister, VIP, and VVIP personalities visiting the site. Bhagga tried all possible ways but in vain, she never ever realized that she was looking for a needle in a hay stack and the poor helpless soul returned sobbing distressfully.

On returning to her hut she faced yet another disastrous sight, she shook in her shoes, the slum dwellers are forced to evacuate the area. Demolition squad of municipality with police force and demolition workers with monstrous bull-dozer are razing the shanties to ground, they are plundering the area, trying to confiscate dweller’s belongings; those offering resistance are beaten up; the demolition squad lift up the heels against these helpless people; there is hue and cry all around; shouts of agony and distress, wailings are up in the air adding more pathos to the pathetic plights of these poor people; dwellers are running like hey-go-mad carrying whatever possible belongings they could to save and spare it from the bulldozing, they are running as if there is an attack from the enemy nation; shocked children are crying, some are helping their parents in removing their belongings from the huts. The entire area lay devastated in ruins.

30poverty5Deserted and thrown as a waste by the rich is all what these poor people carry to adore their huts which are like a dreamed palatial abode for them; in the laid down plan to clean and decorate the city, slums all around city is getting cleaned up by raising them to ground; who would listen and understand these poor, there cry is a cry in wilderness. Some days back only the election are over, now the politicians are gone too far from their voters, their constituency and very far from the promises they have made in election rallies, they will turn up to these poor after five years when the next election is due, this is the biggest  irony of this great democracy of the world.

Where should these people find a place between the earth and the sky of this nation; it is a very big question mark…!!! The democracy, the nation’s constitution, the leader community of this nation, the humanitarians, the rich moving in the imported cars, the religious leaders, who speaks high of religion in all their deliberations at the religious congregation but staying in tall air-conditioned skyscrapers tell us where these poor, helpless, distressed people should go?…..tell us!

Bhagga is desperately searching her own kids, crying out their names till her strength could support her; the loss of sight of her kids have deepen her grief, like mad she is looking for her own pieces of flesh; she is now tired to reach unconsciousness.

She is gazing in a trance with dead quietness of this devastated site of hutments, where once she dreamt of settling down with her family, she busted in tears and starts praying god in that utter confusing state, Oh God! Keep me alive and safe; my kids…oh! Where they have gone….where they must be? Murmuring this she is barely gathering her strength though very feeble due to starvation for last two days, her throat is chocked; she is praying all the time Hey God! Keep me alive for my kids….where they have gone? How they must be doing without food…..Oh God! If at all you want to kill, kill my kids in front of my eyes….I cannot imagine and tolerate their plight if I am gone. Oh! Even my husband has not turned up till now….. Where all have gone???

Her kids with fear and intimidation of the demolition squad have fled the terrifying site to hide themselves under a bridge on a dirty open drainage stream; the water is running with a gush, the flow was torrential. Her eight years old elder son, Kisan, has descended underneath the bridge and held himself firmly by resting his feet against a stone; in the beginning he tried to drag his younger brother also there, who is just a year and half, but left him on the culverts of the bridge anticipating the risk of fall. The gushy flow of the stream was so strong that Kisan with fear of fall leaned on the wall. The younger one is crying helplessly and he is completely exhausted almost unconsciously lying on the culverts. Kisan is desperately is trying to come out, but he is trapped there, a little slip may result in the fall and he would be flown away. He started crying out for help, but there was non nearby to listen to his cry and help him.

Kisan is trembling in fear since he is exhausted; his strength to keep him erect on his feet against the stone is withering; he felt as if he might give up anytime now. People from the terrifying aghast site of devastated ruins are driven away by the tyrant demolition squad, they are not allowed to sit there or even stay at the site with an apprehension that that if not driven away, these people might stay on there. In the end where should they find their homes? Where should these unfortunate to go? Right since dawn these people have not had a single drop of water; they are running from pillar to post trying to save their belongings, some who knew the last date of evacuation notice have already removed their stuff, but those who failed the bulldozer raised their shanties with their belongings. Empty handed these poor are cursing their fate. With their women folks, old folks and kids they are forced away; they were sitting there in the scorchy sun but that also is not permitted. What a justice of humanity could it be called?

Bhagga felt as if her death is nearing her closer and closer by moment after moment; somehow she gathered her strength and courage left in her and called over with full might, Kisha…n … Ki..Sha…n, hearing her call Kishan responded in relief, “Ma! I am here hiding underneath the bridge and Chottu is also here. She started running, god knows from where she gathered her strength; Chattu also sprang up listening to his mothers call; finally she made it and embraced her kid with all her love and satisfaction of finding them.

Bhagga somehow managed to pull Kishan out from his hidings underneath that bridge. Kishan was half dead with the foul gases of the drainage and the strength he wasted in keeping himself erect against all odds. Bhagga caressed her kids in her motherly love and for a moment she forgot the world in that overwhelming joy of finding her kids.

poverty-2Near by there was a big main pipe line running to the city and water was leaking through the joint like a fountain; she washed their faces and cleaned them and gave them water to drink; they felt fresh after drinking water since for two days they even did not have a drop of water.

After gaining some consciousness, Kisan’s first anxious query was where about of his father. What answer could she have given, she herself was totally unaware but somehow she pacified Kisan by telling him that his father must be coming. Suddenly her eyes turned towards the devastated ruins of their hutment site and she remembered all her belongings were there when she left for the police station; she kept asking Kishan about their belongings but Kishan had no strength left answering her but feeble voice broke Ma!….food….I am very hungry; he was almost fainting since he had not a single granule of food for last two days; for so many days non had full meals, even the younger one is dazing with blank eyes that scared her and she summoned all the courage for her own kids of her flesh and blood; she sprang up with velocity of electric current and thought if she has to keep her kids and herself alive she must act now.

At a distance she saw a colony; there were number of bungalows and row-houses in that colony; she started in the direction of thee colony, dragging and pulling her kids with all her might.

In this situation of crises she forgot all about her lost belongings, she has forgotten everything of this world; pacifying and consoling her kids she kept going towards the colony as if an ambulance rushes carrying patients in the emergency.

She is appeasing, soothing and comforting her exhausted kids saying, “Please be patient oh! We are nearing the colony….hay! I am sure someone would definitely help us…I know my sweet little ones are hungry… just a little more and we should be there….oh! Colony! …. See it’s so close now, saying these words of consolation poor Bhagga is nearing the colony, she is mumbling to herself, where must be my husband? Leaving us all in this hysteric plight… had he been here with us would we have suffered like this….boys have so more courage…now it is a little further….

As soon as she entered the colony she stared calling for help at the first bungalow, but there was no response so she knocked the door of second bungalow, a lady emerged forth, seeing them she felt that they are beggars, she got wild with rage and shouted at Bhagga, Go Away! How the hell you dare knock the door…Go! Else…..

Whatever small courage she had till now has withered away, she thought she would give up trying now to save her and her kids lives since she tried at two three more bungalows to get something to eat but in vain; she was shouting urging honestly to them to save her kids, they are dying of hunger and that they had not gulp a single grain for last three days. she requested them to save them so that the god would bless them and she would make invocation and supplication to god to keep their kids healthy happy, and wealthy. Please give some food to eat my kids are hungry…..

A big car entered the complex and a fat rich lady stopped the car as she was approaching her porch of the bungalow to park; she stared at Bhagga and her kids, hurriedly she parked the car in the porch and walked out; Bhagga with a great hope repeated her request to her but there was an adverse reaction from this rich young lady.

Hey! Be careful! I know you people very well! Stop this drama now! You people are scared of hard work and do not want to earn honest bread. Merrily asking alms suffice your purpose. Begging alms, stealing things and producing children is all what you people do…get lost from here….hey you! Go….get out.

Another lady standing in her balcony saw this episode and she added her reaction, “the country is not progressing because such people. I tell you… one day I went with a foreigner friend to shop, these people created a scene by begging and touching my friend and started harassing by crowding us; several times I shouted at them to go away but they did not heed to me.

The two elite ladies got busy in their usual gossips of high society matters, each blowing own trumpet. A servant unaware of his mistress’s unexpected arrival since normally she does not remain home during this hour brought some chapattis and cooked vegetable to give it to Bhagga since he heard her earnest cry. When the mistress saw the servant with food, she lost her temper and scolded the servant, “You bloody fool, who asked you to bring the food for them? Oh! You have become very munificent, a pious donor. In rage she snatched the chapattis and threw them to the dog sitting near by; the dog smelt it, but did not eat, it moved away from there, which Bhagga noticed while going away. Like a movement of a speedy electric device when switched on, Bhagga whirled to pick up the chapattis and vegetables. The mistress asked thee servant to summon the watchman.

Look! How she is trying to prove her side; this is all nothing but a show; it is only a dramatic act; these bloody people create a scene during day, but with intentions of watchful eyes to observe every thing around and in the night with those tips their men folks carry out thefts.

Bhagga ran away out with her kids with a joy as if she got a big treasure; she was about to leave from the main gate of the colony, the watchman chasing reached near her; Bhagga held the food tight to her bosom; the watchman shouted, “while I had gone for a pee, you bloody took a chance to sneak in, you know, I had to bear with those harsh scolding and rebukes from the landladies”. Bhagga dragging her kids went away with a joy of winning a fortress.

Now she must arrange to get some milk for her younger one; he had but a small morsel of Chapatti; poor child only feeds and endures on milk, sometimes only eats soft rice or biscuits. He is not keeping good health since for several days he has not got milk. Bhagga to get some milk went bazaar ward. In the scorch of heat he is in unconscious state; Bhagga thought if she could request any doctor to help her child, who might show mercy to treat her child free, but for milk if she gets some coins from somewhere.

There was no other alternative than to ask for alms, so she kept her unconscious child lay on the ground in front of her and started begging for alms. Passersby threw some coins on the child; she collected some and gave it to Kisan to get some milk and now she awaits Kisan’s return.

There was a heavy traffic on the road; a car stopped near Bhagga, The lady peeped out and recognized Bhagga; she started telling her friend in the car, “hey! Look the same lady is now here, what an actress she is; here she has created another scene, look how she has trained her young child, even the child is acting as if he is going to die, see….see how the child is panting and gasping for breath, all but a big drama…these beggars are a cheat, they are wonderful actors”. Bhagga was in deep agony, her child was dieing, she in distress was waiting for Kisan’s return; Kisan came running with hot milk in a broken glass and told Bhagga, “Ma no was giving milk for two rupees, so I took out five rupees note from the pocket of a stander by and brought milk for my brother…take this Ma and give it to brother. The conversation was overheard by the lady sitting in the car, she walked out of the car and slapped Kisan with that the glass of milk fell on the ground; she started abusing and kicking Kisan; she rebuked, “Oh! You are pick-pocket; let me take you to police; meanwhile the traffic started moving, there was honking of horns and the lady had to rush back to her car else she might have killed Kisan and the car drove away. Bhagga lifted her eyes off her dieing son and looked at the lady; she had aggressive resentment in her eyes of blazing and smoldering down the entire world, but for dieing son she smothered her anguish; she was totally helpless in distress; she was restless in agony. Also the situation is otherwise a portrayal and reflection of helplessness of masses in general of this nation; there was no strength left in her to cry out or no tears left to sob.

Kisan hurried picked up the broken glass, which had some milk and poured it in his younger brother’s mouth. With the drops of milk falling in his mouth, the child opened his eyes; Kisan shouted enthusiastically, “Look Ma! Brother opened the eyes….Yes! I shall get some more milk for brother….Yes! I shall….the child wanted to say something to his mother, but in those last moments of his journey, he had no strength to utter a word; his opened eyes were catching glimpses of his mother and brother in his camera, which ran out.

It is misfortune that till date there is no such film-lab in this country to process and make positives of such films; the negatives wreck, spoil and get destroyed with man’s life.

Though terrorist organizations have taken the onus and responsibility of the bomb-blast, but police department was bent on proving there seriousness and alertness, they were not prepared to acquit the eighty; who under pressure accepted all the charges framed on him.

As a matter of fact the eighty had no address of his own; the poor fellow in anticipation of getting the roof in that slum left his family there in that locality; his wife and kids in great hopes kept waiting for his return there near the slum, which was demolished and devastated sometime ago. This was all what his address was. He never wanted his family, which is already tormented by his absence to face the atrocities of police enquiry; with this sole reason he was not disclosing his address to the police. He loves his wife and kids and was very much perturb imaging their plight since he could not return to them; they all must be anxiously awaiting him; god knows how the family must be managing without money. He thought his wife mush have gone berserk and crazy waiting for him in that helpless condition; all these thoughts were so disturbing that in toady’s police interrogation he gave up and finally he discloses his address, thinking that he might be able to see his family.

The suspicion of police grew stronger than ever before since they thought that someone is secretly providing him tips here in the custody, otherwise why should he disclose his address of the slum locality, which was razed some days ago, while he was in police custody with this police extended his remand and now a third degree tactics of police interrogation is used to extract information from him and he is now labeled as hardcore terrorist.

The real culprits, who have pronounced the responsibility of this bomb-blast are enjoying freedom; neither they have been arrested nor there is any enquiry set up for them; in spite of the acceptance of killing of hundreds of innocent lives, loss of property worth millions of rupees, creating a situation of terror and panic in the masses, treachery and treason against the nation, the police is barred from taking any action on them since there is an apprehension that the opposition parties might take political mileage of the situation, thus in this politics of vote banking the real culprits are  freely moving about with pride of their achievements of goal, while contrary to this poor eighty is beaten harshly every now and then so much so that he might even die in the police custody.

From the current investigation regards the eighty, it was learnt that he was engaged in a textile mill as a foreman; after lockout in the mill, the owner sold out the mill on an appropriate opportunity and went to America. The new owner got housing quarters vacated from the employees; employees lost the jobs and the roofs. Around two hundred mills were shut out and thousands of mill-workers were left homeless, jobless and hopeless. For a very long time the eighty had no job and only some days back he got an employment but unfortunately this incident took place. All the facts of the case is before the police now, but they have already declared the eighty as hardcore dreaded terrorist; the police officer are already apprehensive and perturbed with a death of a criminal in the custody and now the health of eighty is worsen.

What police could have done…one day in news papers there was a headline that the deadly hardcore terrorist escaped from the police custody and that there is a likelihood that the terrorist flee to some other country.

….More than five years have gone by there is a natural definite change occurred in everybody’s life as we normally observe. The helplessness and the time has put on a changed makeup of eighty, it appears like a rusted container lying in the corner of ruins, which is so soiled and damaged that it is beyond repairs; the injuries were running sore; he had fractured hands and legs, he got left over crutches of a dead. Leaning heavily on the crutches he used to limp to & fro from one end to the other of a street, where there were wayfarers.

lj_2012_03_India046Sometimes he forgets begging alms, while his eyes relentlessly keep looking at the faces searching in the crowd with a hope that someday he might find his wife and kids. Everyday the hope takes a birth in him and dies off, but the innate to keep living in man forces him to live again.

Might that with this innate Bhagga might have been forced to live. While making her livelihood more than earning bread she has earned numerous diseases and her condition has worsen to the extent that it is doubtful if she could survive. In the red-light area of prostitution, she was counted as a cheap whore; when the signs of venereal diseases showed up on her body, she was thrown out from that place; she is no more fit to earn her livelihood. What could have happen of Kisan? He became a vagabond and used to spend days in and out with the tramps and vagrants at the railway station; yes! Sometimes he comes to see his mother.

Today there is a countrywide strike and everything is closed; under such circumstances citizens do not venture out and the situation forces the beggars, vagabonds, and homeless to railway stations since that remains the only source to get some leftover food from the passengers and some alms.

Homeless children reach out from behind a fence as they wait to collect free clothes at a local charity in the northeastern Indian city of SiliguriSuddenly there broke out a panic as train halted on the platform; some passenger rushing out from the bogie and are assaulting some one; they were shouting, “Bloody thief, you bloody bastard! All assembled are beating him and even the passersby are not sparing a chance to fulfill their duty, they too are beating the culprit. The culprit is now in a very bad shape and shrikes, listing to the scream one woman rush to save the culprit; she lay flat on him to save the blows all the while she was asking for mercy and earnestly pleading the crowd to spare the boy. Standing a little far, the eighty was watching the hubbub; he began panting and felt as if he is beaten; a thought surged his mind, if his son might be alive, he must have been grown like this boy. Suddenly his heart craved for the boy with affection and felt love for him; leaning on the crutches he walked near the crowd and held his crutch across the boy urging the crow to spare the boy, saying, “Please leave him now; he is a small boy, you all have beaten him enough, so spare the poor boy now”; the train blew whistle and the passengers ran back to their respective bogies and the train left.

The boy was beaten so badly that he was almost comatose and the woman was also totally exhausted; the eighty took out a soiled water bottle and sprinkle water on the boy’s face and gave some water to the woman to drink; while they regained consciousness, the eighty told the woman, “Please take the boy away from here, else police may create yet another scene and they would trouble you people more”. The eighty held the boy and help lifting him out of the station; the sun was blazing hard; they brought the boy a little away from the station under a shadow of the tree.

The eighty curiously kept watching the boy and the woman and his mind felt semblance of his wife and son, could they be his lost ones, but he observed patience for a while and then murmured, “My son also must have grown like him; his name was Kisan”, hearing this the boy and the woman shook in shock and the woman in great joy of relief said, “his name is also Kisan; he is my son”

The eighty started gazing at them with curious astonishment and said, “If I am not wrong, is your name Bhagga?”

“Yes! I am Bhagga! Oh! What happened to you, you are totally distorted saying so Bhagga embraced him tightly with all her might and love for him; she turned to Kisan and said’ “Look son! Hey! He is your father”. The cruelty of time and the ruthless circumstances have brought them together once again under a strange state of affairs, where they met as strangers since the time have changed them all, yet! Intimacy of kinship acknowledged and recognized the deep relation. They all held one another together tightly; Bhagga was sobbing and she uttered, “Hey God! You brought us together under such conditions and such bleak miserable circumstances.”

Kisan kept embracing his father and wailed out, “Where were you?….. Where did you go leaving us in this misery? You have seen today, how badly people beat; there is not a single bone of mine left unbroken; they hit very badly with wretchedness. Mother got similar merciless beating in the red-light area of prostitutes; sometime the police thrash or the people beat; this world mercilessly lash; you know had the glass full of milk not have fallen on the ground with that blow on my hand, my brother would have survived, he kept floundering of hunger and died of days starvation.

The eighty became dead numb and speechless; suddenly in a fit of anger with smothered pyre out bursting, he threw aside his crutches and lifted a stone and with full strength in him he whirled it on the running local train, which was passing by as if he is taking a revenge of this nasty society and its atrocities and of the law and order situation and poor governance of this nation and of the democratic values full of double standards people and that of culture and civilization of this nation and even of the history and the religion which make the common man a eunuch and cowardly. This is the first stone to proclaim revolution against twenties; this first stone of eighty is a declaration of war.
DD

♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣

This Story is Published in “Kathabimb” “Outlook” “Navneet” and “Nai Duniya”. Its Translated in Marathi, Kannada and in English.

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