Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Short story: A night that was

8.30 pm .Welcome to Cuttack Railway Station. A big sign board is glowing. But there is no glow on Malini’s face. She is fully tired.13 hrs journey extended to 21 hrs. Indian Railway. How India will grow? Irresponsible……She came to reality when the TT asked for ticket at the gate.

The night was unusually dark. Few auto rickshaws are there in the stand.

“Will you go to Buxi Bazar?” Malini asked

“No”, the auto driver slapped a spare answer and left.

This problem happen every where .Auto rickshaw fellow generally don’t agree for small distances. Is it my fault that the station is near to my home? Malini was murmuring in anger. She tried her luck with 4-5 other autos hoping to hear a single word ‘YES’….but….

Sky was not clear due to clouds. Moon was walking slowing continuing the hide-n-seek game as if Malini will ask for help. A rainimagen drop touched her cheek and followed by the 2nd and 3rd. Rain started, If she were at home, then she could have enjoyed the rain, could have danced like mad in the rain, Rain dance always reminds her about the good old childhood, the paper boat,……..She came to station from the childhood by a big horn.

“Mam don’t dream in rain, give me side, the auto drive threw a comment while going.

How to go? Bablu, the young lad in malini’s family, also not there in home. He could come to pick. Bad luck he is at uncle’s home for marriage function.

Oh God…how I will go? The rain is going hand and hand, Ah…The first smell of the soil. Its like someone put an incense stick. She got some faith. At least mother earth is there. She has not changed in giving the same fragrance.

She stepped the 1st step knowing that there will be no auto to take. After Ravenshaw college turning, she took the shortcut to reach early. Road side trees are welcoming her for her home coming. With each step she was entering the memory land, the good old college days. Asmit, Sukanti, Nalini and…..Prakash……she breath a heavy breathe. Why it happened? Why and how can he marry some other girl after 5 years of relationship,……..Let it. May God give him all happiness……………..What is this? No street light. She stepped back for a moment. The pitch black night and the snake dark road. Shall I….go?....else what? Thinking to go back she stepped forward. May be that her mind said. She remembered her mom’s saying. “Remember Hanumanji” when in fear. She did same thing though she laughed when her mom told that first. To her utter surprise, she is strong now.

Dum……, she shocked. A mango dropped from tree. She breathed heavily and started walking bit fast.

Naked road, No one is there. Oh God, Please send someone. Please. How I will cross the next ahead. It is full of people with whom no one would like to mingle with. I should have thought that before choosing the route……

She heard of an auto sound. Yes, an auto is coming form back. She flew her hand like a traffic police asking to stop.

Oh…It stopped, Without asking anything she got into the auto asking to take her to Buxki Bazar.

“Mam, it’s reserved. Sir will go to Buxi Bazar too, if he agrees then I will take”, the driver replied. Malini realized that she is not alone. It is reserved one she thought of getting down…..but knowing the danger, she looked the man sitting in auto with a hope.

He did not reply anything. But slightly moved giving her place to sit, without asking or giving thanks she sat. God is great.

She was poured with thanks. She saw him letting him unknown. Mature face, Small beards,…….Moustache. face is not bad…..can be told good, straight body…..can protect her from danger, But over the top he looks very helpful and sober. Nice guy….like Prakash. No….No…. She should not think like this…….

Don’t know why but she felt secure. She sat in relaxed position. The road is not straight. When the auto turned left, she moved towards the man and her hand touched him. “sorry”, unknowingly the word came from her mouth. She felt shy.

There is no reaction from his side. “Very sober, Malini thought. He moved to his side though there is no space. She felt ashamed, in the same time she felt happy that the person is very sober and at least she can reach home safely.

She thought of talking something to him. But could not get how to start…..thought of telling him “I am grateful”….But could not utter.

“….Mam, Buxi Bazar, where I will drop? The auto driver asked.

“Next lane”, she replied with bit hesitation. May be she was thinking that the journey should not stop, but…. always there is a but…..

“Surylekha lane, and an arrow mark”…indicated that she have to get down now, “I will get down here”, Malini uttered.

He paid the driver, though Malini was thinking to pay, but could not stop him. How she could stop? She does not know his name……

No…No…I have to call him for a cup of tea else it will be indecent. At least I can do this for a person, who came as a Godimage’s Messenger.

“Please come for a cup of tea”, How Malini uttered this line she does not know.

The man stopped for a moment. Turned back and after a pause, “I am Razak Khan, of 3rd lane, hope you know”.

Malini pushed herself few steps back. Shocked Razak Khan, the Gunda….the man who collects weekly money from shopkeepers, the man who beats like crazy the man who is never ever welcomed to anyone’s home…..is he the same?

The street lamp blew at a go…Oh yes, She can now see his face clearly. Yes he is Razak the so called don of the society.

She looked here and there. Is there anyone who noticed that she came with Razak, else she will be blamed……Thank God, and no one is there…..the auto driver?

No, No,…….. he does not know else he could not take the fair.

God saved me……She thanked God.

The illusion of gratefulness vanished by a cloud of hate on Malini’s face. Razak understood and without uttering a word he left leaving a blank.

Malini was busy in scolding herself….how come she sat in the same auto,,, how come…..how come……

She is clear now that, all that is told about Razak may not be true fully, but still she is not comfortable.

She opened her home gate. It is like opening the thought that anyone can be trusted at the dark but in white light…..among the so called civilized people……..We can’t talk what is right. We can talk what is right in a crowd, in a dark path, but in the day light in the society……..we step back to accept the truth……..She was in a whirlpool of thought regarding what is good…..what is right……

She was pulled back from the thoughts when her mom told. “How you came? You know how much I was worried?” Malini knew the answer….She can tell that I came with Razak…….But she simply smiled and entered the room.


Pulak said...

Just thinkin how peoples perception change ....a small mistake can change the whole perception even if you have done billions of good.

Unknown said...

Nice theme.
Well described.. (y)