Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Grey Boots

‘It isn't love if you aren't proud of him. Had you ever been? I can’t think of a single instance when you battled for him or contradicted our statements that mocked you rather, him and you as a couple. Was this not inevitable? Is this not just? The years shall unfurl how propitious and wise have been these hours which you scorn for being so dark.How imprudent you could have been to prod into a world which is so disparate to ours and catch an ailment that could have jaundiced the repute!Had you not been a gem and a subject of adoration to many such eyes which find place in the grander niche? It was undeniably a ridiculous camaraderie.’She had been silently listening to Dora with her penitent countenance buried in her palms. Her elbows were pedestalled on the table with a pair of shiny boots resting next to them and she sat muted and engrossed in the thoughts that had been pestering her since her conscience rebelled her desires.

Dora had been a witness to that companionship since it began but it never found a gesture of appreciation from her, ever! They had often communed the most intricate and the surreptitious matters with each other but this never picked much importance to be a topic of disquisition.  It all began when there wasn't much intrusion of the friends, foes and those detested others who were often found in her proximity. A summer’s violent moon, engulfed in its silvery attire had mischievously played the subtle game that day. He had been a soothing companion to her seclusion and despair, which was later pursued by a strong infatuation and then…..which wasn’t ‘Love’ .It would have been strange if it would have happened at all! But it did, violating the conventions that governed the assortment of a perfect companion.
Rose had looked straight into his gleaming eyes and had fathomed the earnestness with which he had asked her to bare her heart. She could have flouted it but she hadn't! Perhaps, it was the virtue of the intellect of a painter that made her succumb to his unseen immensity. It was an obscure corner of a balcony owned by a tea-shop that was preferred by the non –garrulous, self-possessed fraction of the populace. He was a painter at the nascence of his career and she was a corporate professional.  The bounty of richness that brandished her status was quite ungenerous to him. She had been a woman of means while he was mean, in his etiquettes, his attires and every social attribute that defines ‘Gentleness’. Yet, he had picked her curiosity! It was definitely not by mere chance, but by the stars that they shared the same table that day.

They had conversed, though not for long but it was enough for her to be seized. The flippant deliberations had gradually begot a serious tone about the tumultuousness of life, the perils and her. She had perhaps found the most suitable pair of ears which could listen without placing forth a single opinion. She could see his fingers playing with a pen captured betwixt two of them and the rest of his entire body captivated in her words. She had always been a lonesome child then a lonesome woman and  craved for a voice in  her silence.

She was enthralled by the naïve witticisms, the slovenliness and the ingenuousness that described him. Before she could speak more, which she desperately coveted to, he stood up with a jerk, pushing the seat behind and hurriedly spoke, ‘I wonder if I could talk more but I have to depart. I had a friend who was to make a visit and I should have been home by now.’ She made no delay in probing into the purse clasped in her hands and soon they emerged with a small paper which bore her name, a few more details and a number. She rose from the stool to reach his hand that extended towards her.  He stood upright, yet small in his full length while she leaned towards him to hand him the paper. She took notice of the full stature of this man who had amused her with his brilliance and simplicity. He appeared a little charmer, basking in his naturalness opposite to her fine daintiness. He grabbed the paper and he straddled away while her inquisitive large eyes still rested on the receding man.

It wasn't many days yet, when she received a telephone call. It was her ‘little man’. They often conversed thereafter, rendezvoused, walked down those long tedious lanes where they would have rather taken a cab, spent hours waiting for the bus but took to their heels when they saw one nearing. Perhaps, they found solace in each other’s presence except when even the most reluctant eyes watched them with derision while making their way past them on the streets and in the cafes. Their scornful stares intended sarcasm at the unlikely couple. She was tall, slender and refined while he, a petite unkempt imp. How could she have found love in that incongruence? What made her slip her gentle hands into his’? It was perhaps the colors she usurped from the artist that probably explained the affair!
The frequent trysts had progressively found a place in their daily schedules but there was an unspoken discomposure which had progressively got raised. The sarcastic stares and those disconcerting remarks of mockery which appeared insignificant some time ago had gradually gained quite significance. She often appeared quite dejected in his companionship and frequently passed swift diffident glances at the crowd around to spot such ridiculing eyes.
Soon she could feel a faint slackness in her desire to adhere to her little man. It was an enforced detestation. Yet she yearned for him. But wasn't he an ill-fit gem in her solitude? Wasn't severance the panacea to all her woes? She was pursued by a determination to part with him. Ultimately, happiness born of immature whims is ephemeral!
The sudden intimacy trailed by an abrupt avoidance was an unjust affair that had ravaged the normalcy of the poor man. It definitely wasn't an unrequited attraction. The inexplicable avoidance had made him approach her several times to scavenge for an answer but it remained unanswered! He could have never perceived the thought of being disregarded for being that what had enticed her but only when he received a written note, his curiosity was answered.
The note explained their disparateness and her naivety to pursue an unlikely communion. The note was answered by another note. It was the best token of affection that he could have sent. And the last one!
It was a pair of high-heeled, grey boots for men and a note  was attached to it!
The letter read:

Dear Rose,

Love is an inevitable ailment and it finds way through the loneliest of all paths. Perhaps I was loved by your seclusion than by you! The ‘disparity’ betwixt us is an exaggerated explanation to your conscience to justify thy imprudence.  The difference in those insignificant inches and my flawed behavior could probably be a justifiable reason for the separation in your ostentatious niche. Hence, I gift you these pair of boots which cost me all the money that I had accrued over time to procure something precious for you. But love is often less valued than the luster and life! The boots might prove to be a better companion in your solitude than me.

Yours loved,

Dora continued, ‘The idea of severance is indeed an excruciating one, but you can’t consume which cannot be digested!’ She lifted her sunken face from her palms and passed a serious gaze at the garrulous ever intruding and irrefutable friend.  Her hands sluggishly crawled over the surface of the table and grasped one of those polished boots and the crumbled paper and glanced at those distorted letters buried in the folds of the letter. Was it not intense impertinence? But was she not deceitful?
She shot up from the chair with an unexpected swiftness and tucked the shoes into box. The words were rude enough to malign the egotism and the blow was to be answered. She marched out of the room pushed the boots into the bag resting at the corner of the table. Dora stood dazed at the abruptness of her friend. It was rather a sense of accomplishment that her persuasion wasn't rendered futile.
It was after few months when Dora received an envelope. It contained an invitation.

  The honor of your presence is requested at the wedding of
Rose and J.Vimal
The seventh of July
Two thousand and thirteen
At two clock in the afternoon

The Wedding Hall, Street-5
Near Café 9, Gurgaon, New Delhi

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

A friend

Far beyond the cacophony of the bustling populace, on the meandering lanes that lead to the outskirts of the city, dwelt a beggar. The undulating lane overshadowed by an old bridge had been his abode since an unknown time. A small iron chest which contained a bunch of tattered clothes, few match boxes, broken jars and other abstract articles which perhaps had never found any use in the past years had been his few paraphernalia . The bank of the sordid street walled with the massive bridge had protected the poor beggar from the extremities of the sultriness of the tropical summers and the battering monsoons. A patched thick plastic cover that he had accrued from the trashes served as the roof when the rain water seeped down the olden bricks and wetted the soil floor.
He often went up to the yonder town-market and earned a few pennies by doing the odd jobs at a sweet shop. The money made helped him to eke a living for the next couple of weeks. It was his indolence that had consumed his youthfulness and restrained him from working. The dung cakes that he made served as the only fuel to make his meals. He sat himself on a heap of wooden planks infested with mites and relished his meager meals.
An irksome stray dog often came wandering to the estranged beggar and perturbed his tranquil living. He threw at him a handful of his half cooked rice and as soon as it portcullised the last grain in between its canines, he kicked him away. It often whined or barked back but returned again the next day. The dog was perhaps the sole companion in his deprived exile, though unwanted and despised.
The sultry summer had begun to retreat and the squalling monsoon clouds had started roiling the cracked summer fields. Water trickled down the crazed roof of the dilapidated bridge. Water flooded the streets and the old plastic roof had become too old to hold the monsoon water. The nippiness of the sodden air made the beggar ill. He hid himself underneath a tattered blanket and a polythene sheet. However, the unkind rain water invaded him through those numerous holes in it.
The dog strayed around the sick man and whined aloud but he hardly twitched or moaned. His sickness was exacerbated by starvation. The man lay in unconsciousness. The dog too starved. There wasn’t a morsel of grain! The feeble frame of the beggar was too frail to pick him from the illness. The only live object his eyes could perceive was that petulant creature but it too disappeared!
He slowly raised his blanket from his weary countenance and his eyes probed into the farthest corner till which they could see. The dog had gone! He slipped back into his slumber. The clouds ruthlessly poured down and drenched the streets more. He had slept for hours in unconsciousness and hunger. There was a sudden push on his head. He dragged down the blanket from his wizened face. It was the dog. A couple of loaves of chapattis firmly clenched between his teeth dangled from his mouth. It was the only piece of food that he had found. It laid the loaves on the ground and waddled away. After a while the man mustered himself up and nibbled on them. The rains had begun to cease by then.
The ill man slipped out of his wrecked dwelling, wrapped in a dank shawl and made his way towards the town-market. The rains had expunged the fields and the streets appeared as a grave of the dead
remnants. Broken trunks of the trees, heaps of shards, reeking trash and lifeless carcasses of rats and lizards bordered the wet streets. And there slept the annoying dog, dead with cold and hunger!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Page 789

Nikhil's diary had always been a subject of intense curiosity to me. The forceful pace with which he scribbled in it exacerbated my inquisitiveness each time I saw it but his tranquil and grave countenance prevented my nosiness from yielding results. He and I were great friends, yet there was an untold flimsy barricade. He often came to my place to spend his futile hours and sat narrating the agonizing intricacies of his life. At times I endeavored to probe into the pages of his prussian blue testament but it culminated into utter futility and often into trivial wars.
There was a sudden ringing of the door bell this morning. I woke up startled on my bed and stared at the giant wall clock. It was six in the morning. I dragged myself to the door and pushed it open. It was Nikhil. He stood pale and lifeless, shivering and drenched in the winter rains. Water dribbled down his wet hair in thick runnels. It had been raining violently since the last night. I called him in and fetched him a towel.  I told him to wait for a while so that I could get him a mug of coffee. He placed his little bag on the table and grabbed the towel from my hand to dry himself. I returned in a while with a couple of coffee mugs and found him plucking out articles from within his bag. All had been wetted by the rain water. There was a square watch, a drenched kerchief, a couple of cigarettes and that diary. He sipped onto the cup and released a breath of relief. 
Before I could question him much, he interrupted me and said, “I need to leave early. I have some important work to finish so I am leaving these stuffs to dry. Bring these to the office” and he departed abruptly after taking the last sip. 
 As soon as he left, I leapt upon his diary with an elevated sense of victory. Ah I had made it! I ruffled the pages and it opened to the last one. It bore the number 789 and I started reading those scribbled paragraphs.


December 17, 1992

This diary has been an intimate fragment of mine since that year of 1989. It bares every moment of my life and contains a testimony of every single incident that had etched the pages of this sojourn leaving behind its impression inerasable and irreparable. It has been a loyal companion perhaps like a mirror where I stood clad in the naked truth of selfness, unfettered and unmasked. It is an oeuvre which reflects those numerous events that fills the lacuna between the brackets of my life, death and…..after!
 It was a gift from her. I had preserved it, caressed it and wrought it. She had been a concealed secret of mine. How beautiful! How somber! How feminine she appeared draped in her floral frocks! How capriciously she held me captive in her ceaseless charm! How furtively the curls tossed on her shoulders as she treaded those cobbled pavements! I had been intoxicated. We had been the most intimate cohort of each other in those few years. That was an unexplained magnetism and an inseparable amity. We sauntered about in those populated corridors where hundreds of pupils sat themselves in clusters engrossed in their playfulness and sincerity. There was immeasurable warmth of ardor, youth and nascent maturity.
The incessant disquisitions in those galloping hours, the immense desire to possess her and the lurking fervent affection kept me fastened to her. How desperately I raced to catch her companionship despite the monotony of those loathsome studious hours! But despite the intense familiarity, my fears rather my cowardice desisted my confession. Years fled with subtle nimbleness and the unspoken admiration leached deep down into the crevice of time. She was lost and so was I.
It was on the last Monday when I took a bus to that old city to toss those frozen myriad of lost moments. The old friends had decided to meet. The monotonous winter evening sky and the tardy cold grappled every other passenger in its piercing wintry bitterness. My neck stood out through that layered fortification of the checkered muffler and my crest lay buried under a brown woolen cap. The bus stood amidst a little crowd by the side of a narrow sordid street. There were men, women and children gaping at those endless lanes banked by the lofty eucalyptuses.
It was eight by my watch. The tearing honk of the bus disconcerted the chilly silence. I climbed up the bus and waded through the streaming crowd to reach my seat. Placing my bag on it, I threw myself on the soft Prussian cushion.  I slid aside the window pane and a frozen wintry gust of wind stroked my greasy countenance. I hastened to drag back the pane and tilted myself a little towards the back and rested my head.
The swift fleeing lights and the persistently following moon seemed to peer through the pane as I gazed out with my crest on the soft cushion. The bus raced through the city towards the tranquil peripheries of the civilization. It stopped for a while and a flock of people crawled up those steel steps onto the bus. They jostled through the array of the seats and one of them bundled in a wrap of shawls and settled beside me. It was her!
The dimly lit bus showed me her delicate form, ignited in surprise to see me. She sat glaring at me with her brows elevated and smiling. She rained down a buffet of questions and I still gawked at her startled and overjoyed. We were heading towards the same destination to rejuvenate those old memories. I was seized with an uncontainable desire to confess those old buried emotions but the sudden ardor subsided with time.  
There were a few lame discussions on trivial matters and soon she retired to sleep. The pale light of the trailing moon silvered the seats and its passengers as it pushed through the desolate woods of the outskirts.
There was a sudden jerk and I felt a sharp pain. I felt a wet stream oozing out of my thighs. There was a heavy weight on my chest and I gasped to breathe. There was a sudden upheaval and before I could comprehend the situation, the uproar subsided. There were broken glasses on the road and a couple of broken rods dangling from the window. The heavy weight on my chest was her lifeless body. Streams of blood pooled that rugged street. The night stood still. The unkind silence spoke of death. There wasn’t a single living life. They all had died…..even me!
 The diary dropped and I stood dazed. A sudden call disrupted the silence. A sobbing voice spoke mournfully, “I have an awful thing to say. Nikhil Sir passed away in a bus accident last night! None of the passengers survived…..”

Saturday, 2 March 2013

The complexion

The summer dawn was taking over the reign of the dark night sky. The slow chirping of the morning birds accentuated the steady awakening of another summer day. The constricting garrulous rivulets which laced through the rugged contours of those endless equatorial woods fretted the tranquil silence. The rivers had started to bare their muddy beds and the miniature marine creatures swam into deep crevices, where the acrimony of the summer Sun could not usurp the water from those gorging depths. The verdant foliages had been translated into a yard of dry carcass of unclothed trees. It was the onset of summer in the Indian terrains of Sukhpur.
Molu and Daru, treaded through that desolate wilderness in each other’s company in the rains, in the spring, in the early fog of the winters and in every other season that the forest witnessed. They leaped around the woody scarlet crested ‘Palash’ that adorned the mundane pale visage of the summer thickets. They cavorted around, drunken in their innocuous playfulness and ventured into the unanticipated perils of that rustic wood. They talked of the giant mules that the villagers said infested the yonder edges and scampered after the scuttling hares. Molu, like some forest phantom, carried that little girl on his feeble shoulders as if she was his responsibility. He leaped across the lacing brooks from one stone to another, ensuring his precarious foot holds on each of them, with that frail girl clinging to his scrawny back.
Molu had been her keenest playmate since the day she had been his friend. He was perhaps a couple of years elder to Daru. They were sent to the same school in the nearest hamlet. No one ever saw them as disparate beings. They toddled through those bare groves, strewed with the skeletons of the trees and often held grave disquisitions about the patterns of the clouds that fleeted through that clean blue canvas, about witches and magic. Years ambled past with briskness and Molu grew up .Daru metamorphosed into a little mature teenager.  And the subjects of their debate matured as well. They talked of time and people. But the amity stood unwithered and unsullied as stood the summer woods of sukhpur.
Daru often lifted her dark dazed brows to clasp the endless proximities of the infinite sky and wondered how time stroked at everything and translated every single object that the human intelligence contemplated. And the little boy politely interrupted, “Not all Dara. Don’t we stand the same?” and Daru scurried away in her usual gait. Molu could never probe into the reason of her inexplicable sentences. She still remained the same and so was he. Then what was it that time had distorted?
It was another summer then. The trees had been charred to dark timber and the woody skeletons shuddered in the sudden strokes of the warm ephemeral breezes. Daru ripped the dry lean boughs off those dead woody carcasses and tucked it into the massive bamboo basket that nested on her tiny crest. Molu surveyed the other barks from which they could procure more dry branches.  The wind played into the barks and swayed her in its tender gentleness when suddenly she slipped off and dropped on the jagged floor. Molu loped towards her with a rapid swiftness and grabbed her slender hands in his’ to pull up her meager frame but she jerked away. She pushed herself away from that little boy and stared at him with a baffling astonishment and a strange loathsomeness. She picked herself up with a jolt and fled away.
Molu stood speechless in deep bewilderment. 
His curiosity was answered.He recognized that it was just the complexion of the innocent relationship that had metamorphosed in those departed hours.

Monday, 25 February 2013

The Lost Moments

Every moment in our life is mortal. It gradually fades away, disappearing into the womb of past. At times we are seized with an urge to relish the flavor of those lost moments and reconstruct those sweetened hours of mirth. The happy moments which recede from our lives with an abrupt swiftness, leaving behind its evanescent memories, often rise to the surface to moisten our eyes with glistening tears of joy.

We crave to adhere to the charm of that naive happiness and succumb to the hollowness of that lost past, but alas; it is expunged in the deluge of ‘Time’. At times, those departed moments are revived and resurrected in our minds, breaking the shackles of time, wrapping us in its warmth. We live the moments again, but with an emptiness and staleness…..the staleness of time. The non detailed debris are reconstructed and wiped out several times, till the cruel talons of time rips it apart from us and we are left with the wrecked carcass.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The girl in the ‘Prussian’ Sari

The goblets laced the edge of that massive table, clothed in an impeccable white cloth. The multi colored cuisines wrapped in their intoxicating scent appealed every eye to take a glance at their delicious contours. The wine, the mellifluous tune that fragranced the environ and the pageant of those delicate damsels that thronged the corners built a mesmerizing rather an invigorating climate in that massive hall. Gentlemen from the lustrous niche of the society, donned in expensive black clustered around the tables with goblets of wines, all consumed in vanity. They were the businessmen, scholars, socialists and figures of repute who occupied the clichéd podium of glamour and hypocrisy.  They talked of politics, social affairs, food and other grave subjects with intense sincerity and seldom passed serious glances to the giggling bevy. This was the aristocratic populace with the taste of the finest things that wealth could buy.
The wives and the girls flaunted their beauty, conversed of men, their riches and responded to those serious glances with short peals of laughter. It was enticing and pleasantly disturbing enough to allure the pretentiously grave men. There was warmth, elegance and deceitfulness in every single character that populated the raving ambience. But the girl in that Prussian-blue chiffon sari....Was she not disparate from the chuckling flock? She stood with a fine goblet clasped between her slender fingers, silent and observant, at one of the obscure corners near the drinkery racing her curious eyes through that enthusiastic crowd.
 There was a faint smile on her somber countenance and elegance in the tall frame work that she owned. Her voluptuous contour draped in the sequined Prussian cloth made her obtrusively significant in that dry corner. People walked past her without much concern but there was an inexplicable unusualness that held them for moments. They passed glances at her for a while and walked away with abrupt briskness. One amongst those sober gentlemen who had been observing the conundrum from a while, made his way towards her, perhaps to shred the monotony. He quietly stationed himself beside her, and ordered for a glass of wine. The attendant plucked out a fine goblet from that huge collection and poured into it a stream of red wine. He swirled it once with subtle tenderness and sipped onto its glazed edge. His dark dense brows rose up with delight and his stony visage brightened with contentment. He turned towards the ‘Prussian’ lady and muttered, “AhThe wine tastes nice!” She turned her crest with a sudden jerk and looked at him, astonished. The man smiled at her astonishment and replied, “Did I petrify you miss?”  A soft smile smudged the corners of her painted lips and she quietly replied, “No sir. Just a little surprised”.
The food spilled intense aroma and the scent of the feminine perfumes intensified the heaving ambience. The man took frequent sips from that goblet and smiled at the girl intermittently. It was rather a silent imploration to carry out a frivolous conversation. “What do you like the most in food, Madame?” he spoke again. She answered, “oh Sire….I am not a great food lover, still I have a corner for French delicacies.” He shrugged his shoulders and tucked his palms into his pockets, and smiled as if to acknowledge her taste. She talked of wines, people, their places and other aristocracies as she played with her silken overflowing mane that flowed down her delicate shoulders. She detailed every single subject that he started with. The man got entangled in that unvoiced charm and craved to talk more.  He was ensnared by her plainness, her comprehension, subtle humor and her uncultivated sophesticacy. Had she not travelled across the lengths of the globe? Was she not the perfect one to have as a companion? Was she not a woman of deep understanding and learning? He wondered how educated and refined she was!!
There was a sudden rush. The people fleeted towards the dining court. The girl turned towards him and uttered softly, “I have to leave sire…..would you mind...” and before she could close, he interrupted with yawning curiosity, “I just forgot to ask! Do you own a restaurant?? I own one down the Khirpi lane. We call it the ‘Dining Row’. ” The girl smiled back to her and replied, “SirI do not own a restaurant, but I own a small corner at yours’. I am the assistant to your Kitchen Manager.” He stood shaken and speechless as she uttered a goodbye word and walked away with a tender smile. He contemplated his assumption for a while and broke into a smile, mocking at his inevident suppositions.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Mother

The room was plunged in a tearing silence. The somber lifeless corpse lay still on that squalid sheet wrapped in a tattered checkered blanket. A couple of brazenly dressed women stood close near that dead lady. Their grave countenances and the intermittent sighs reflected more of relief than remorse. The doctor quietly left the room with a deep sigh and a sluggish gait. I stood at the threshold gaping blindly at her, tainted story of shattered hopes and a defamed name. One of those ladies walked up to me and uttered in a restrained voice, “She waited for long but she passed away.” I nodded with heaviness and replied, “The funeral…the orphanage would bear the expenses.” And I trotted away.
She was Bimlamati. She often came and sat herself in the rusted iron bench on the garden, and glared at me with an unexplained oddity!! I was sixteen then. I quietly observed the silent conundrum watching the children play. They often capriciously walked up to the lady and gaped at her silence with utter amazement .She caught hold of one of them and amused herself in their rapture. And they made incessant efforts to free themselves from her stingy grip.
Our mother, rather that magnanimous woman who owned all of us often sat beside her, comforting the pains that she tamed. She was one amongst those many distorted beings who came in search of innocent mirth amidst those innocuous smiles, yet there was a silent question stirring behind those inquisitive eyes. I made relentless efforts to take reins over my profound interest to discover the cause behind those curious stares. But they ever remained in the locked cask of curiosity. I often questioned our mother about all the people who came to visit us, and caressed the children with sympathy rather than  affection. But ‘She’ was a disparate being. She silently came, engulfed in deep calmness and spent her hours glaring at the distant emptiness of the garden and her other favorite subject was ‘me’!!
 My Ignorance of who she was and where she had come from, kept me prying into her questioned identity. But all my endeavors were rendered futile. Neither did mother speak of her nor did I. Soon I was sent to a college. The strict norms of the convent and the sudden disclosure to numerous friends, foes and acquaintances left me in deep perplexities. I grew big, in senses and in my thoughts. I was taught compassion and humility. The Nuns took us to the hospitals, slums, and the brothels. The condemnable plight of those impoverished lives left us in tears. The contaminated reputation of those women who decked the brothels of the cities and their maligned luster made us look at them with deep empathy. I was taught to serve. I thought of life and the ghoulish facets. The ugliness seemed to entwine every branch of their lives. Yet they smiled!
How unwearyingly they bore the burden of abhorrence! How hungry they were for acceptance. The orphic pain, the intolerable condemnation stirred every eye that witnessed it! I walked through those infected lanes with a deep desire to help them. I collected chandas, clothes and all that I could procure from the fortunate niche of the society. The convent supported and appreciated my petite efforts to practice what they had imparted to me. Days fled and I was an educated being .And I was portrayed  a poor’s champion in my familiar boundaries.
The ‘Mother’ was on death bed. I was sent for from the orphanage. I left by the first train that I could get to champagram. Mother lay sick and distorted in her little cot. The strong gusts of breath that she blew out evinced the weariness of her life. But the eyes spoke of the same recognized kindness that she possessed for every child that she had mothered.  Being the eldest and the most educated of all, I was asked to take over the reins of ‘Charulata’, (the orphanage) my mother’s dreams. She waved the others to leave. And Mother and I were left alone. The ticking clock, the dankness of the room, the shrunken frame of her body and the oozing rheum from her weary eyes uttered ‘Death’. I was stunned and broken!
She held my palm in hers and stared at me with bareness. My heart sank the more. I sat stiff in awe when suddenly she spoke. “Bimla is your mother”. I was left gawking at her for an indefinite time. I could not question further. The night hours passed nimbly and the next morning she passed away. I was chained in her death and the quoted words.
Bimplamati belonged to that disgraced niche of this sophisticated society where the brutal play of orgasm knits itself behind the veils of urbaneness. She was a Whore!!! She was one amongst those million faces for whom I had been compassionately serving for the last few years. Yet I was filled with detest. How could I be born to her?
She still came and sat herself on those rusted iron benches in those gardens. The children had grown. And there were few more new ones. But the stares remained indifferent. My curiosity to know her questioned identity had been answered. And the consequence was intense distaste towards her and myself. How often I felt to run to her and fall into her arms but how could I? Was she not a whore? Was she not a ruined creature of the populace? Was it not ridiculous to accept that tainted woman and call her ‘Mother’? After all I was an educated woman of this tamed society!