Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Maize Seller

A bunch of burnt bricks.
A background of green trees.
A vast blue cloudless sky.
And a dozen of maize.

Tuli surveyed the place before she sat on her marked place over the dusty ground. Yes, the place is same. There the white spot on the branches of the tree. There the numerous pebbles, there a wrecked useless radio-set, and there far across the trees the pond.
Tuli sat down after a silent prayer. She don’t know whom she is worshipping but anyway she everyday prays.
For sale of these dozen maizes.
Sometimes, specially in winters a no. of dozens. It is very hard for her, a fourteen year girl to reap the maizes from the claws of Geetamasi, Khantamasi and others who are daily dealers of the maizes.
It is raining for some days.
Summer is about to take a twist and the monsoon is arriving. The clouds are flocked with grayish floating clouds, winds blowing a bit irregularly. Tuli sat and waited.

Cars are passing in high speed. Two ambassadors lowered their speed towards her but passed in a hush.
Tuli knew it is expected.
Now it is just twelve. Now a hardly car stops.
It is generally in the afternoon after two that maizes are sold.
Tuli felt happy that the weather is rainy now, her sale would increase today, hardly people like to have maize in a scorching heat. But once it rains it is a different story.
Though Tuli has managed only twelve today.
How can she?
Her brother Taataa is ill today, she hardly had scope to reach the dealing place of the market early morning,when she reached only this dozen was remaining.
Taataa didn’t went to school today.
The fourteen year girl thought a bit.
She needs twenty rupees tomorrow for giving Taataa, the school fees are in defaulter for last three months, if tomorrow she didn’t pay Taataa would be thrown out from school.

A sharp wind swept throughout the Ruby bypass.
From the western front a big towering cloud is galloping.
Rain is about to begin.
Tuli’s frock started waving in the air.

Looking far Tuli found that the world around her has turned grey.
The sky, the houses, the green fields, the ponds, the walking people everything is grayish.

And within the next sweeping wind Tuli went away from present.
She shivered a bit.
She is afraid of clouds.
She is afraid of this dark colour.
The nightmare popped in front of her eyes. The day when her father, a hawker died in police lathi-charge, protesting against ‘Operation-Sunshine’ was dark like this.

One year later when her mother eloped with Kashida that was also same dark, grayish day. Tuli came running home from school and found her mother has gone.
Then the whole world changed for Tuli.
Her house went, they became homeless and ultimately she took shelter in a broken
unused house. Now also she is using that same house.
Where else she can go?

Another splash of wind and the rain began.
It was accompanied with a furious storm.
The whole bypass got hazy within seconds the potholes of the road soon filled up and overflowed, the pungent smell of the Dhapa swinged in the air, the clouds in the sky coming swimming in.
After half an hour Tuli left all hopes of selling the maizes.
Until the rain stops not a single car would stop.
And the rain signals no indication of stopping soon.
Tuli took all the maizes and returned home.

And she got alarmed to see that Taataa is shivering in the splashes of rain and wind.
Tuli tried to cover all the broken windows with newspapers but water is soon droving away everything.
Tuli touched Taataa.
Taataa has very high fever and he is groaning in pain.
Tuli got puzzled.
What would she do now?
The rain is still falling and not a single piece of maize is sold.
Tuli started giving strips off water over Taata’s forehead.
She changed it again and again.

It is around evening that the rain stopped.
And Tuli sensing that Taata’s fever has slightly decreased ran outside again with the maizes.
She needs medicine.
And that twenty ruppeees.
She have to sale this dozen maizes.
She came running towards her spot.
Gathered the burnt bricks.
And then kept the maizes with their layers open.

But she had no luck today.
For the next one hour not a single car stopped.
It was almost eight Tuli felt seeing the colour of the sky.
White clouds are sailing in the violet sky as an uncherished dream.
Tuli prayed again.
For selling the maizes.
She is becoming restless at the same time.
How is Taataa?
Will she ran for a moment and look on him?
But what about the medicine?
Without medicine how will Taataa spend the night?

Paradoxed Tuli wondered what to do as evening slowly slipped into night.
The weather is looking gloomy again.
Wind very silent.
Sky sliced with clouds.

And at that very moment an ambassador stopped and from it two persons jumped down.
One person took two maize in hand and asked ‘Kto?’(How much?)
‘Char taka babu’.(Four rupees)
The person looked towards another person anthey talked something within eyes.
Then the first person said ‘Sabgulo nile ktoi dibi?’(What is the cost of this dozen?)
‘Sabgulo nbe babu?’(You will take all?) Tuli asked almost in a voice of disbelief.‘Ha’, the person smiled.
‘Bol ktoi dibi?’
‘50 taka babu’?(Fifty Ruppees)

And to Tuli’s wonder the person took out a fifty rupees noteand gave it in her hand.
The note trembled in her hand.
The person said, ‘Tbe toke pouche dite hbe.’(But you have to send it in a place)
‘Kothay?’ Tuli asked.
‘Ai samnei, tui garite uthe ae!’(Quite near, you come into the car)
Tuli shivered.
She know these languages, these looks,
Geetamasi always talk about these, about how she earns 100Rs a day sometimes!

‘Ki re chal’ The person came a bit forward.
A splash of wet wind struck.
Tuli thought for a moment of Taataa, his medicine, his school fees.
She needs money for everything.
The night is again filled with stitchy rainy winds.
The dark bypass has hardly any light.
Cars and trucks running in a hush.
The person hold Tuli’s hand, ‘Kire chal?’(Lets go)
Tuli once looked at the fifty rupee note.
Then she walked.
The person opened the door of the car.
Tuli stepped in.

After one hour when Tuli came back home her body is filled up numerous pains.
But still she ran towards Taataa.
Yes, Hec has again got high fever.
Taataa is unconscious.
Tuli soon gave her the medicine.

Outside it is again raining.
Tuli slowly lied over the floor and closed her eyes.
But she can’t.
She jumped up.
And sitting again looked towards the face of Taataa.
The colour is returning on the face.
Tuli went towards him and spreaded her hands over his hairs.
Beside Taataa lay his maths copy.
Tuli took it in her hand and opened it.
In all the pages there are right marks and comments written ‘Good’.
All the sums are right.
And in all the class test Taataa scored ten out of ten.

Tuli is going through the pages unconsciously, she is thinking of her own school days, she is also very dood in maths, she also scored full marks.

Suddenly Tuli felt a hand over her shoulder.
And she heard ‘ Ki dekchis re Didi?’(What you are seeing Sister?)
Tuli seeing Taataa coming in senses hugged him tightly
and said, ‘Kicu na re, kicu na!’(Nothing)
And then all her pains, came out as cry.
Tuli is crying, in one hand she is holding Taataa and in another hand his copy where Taataa has scored ten out of ten.

Outside rain is falling torrentially.
And through the innumerable cracks of this broken house waters are pouring heavily, from everywhere.
A drop of water failed on the sheet of paper.
She rubbed it.
Again another drop failed.
She closed her eyes and also the copy.
She did not want any spot in any sheet of this copy.
And also in the life of his little brother.


1 comment:

Little Girl Lost said...

Your prose never fails to take my breath away...
come read my short story...