Friday, June 5, 2009

The Touch





Today is a day of luxury for Satya.
And thus landing in Dhakuria more he hold a wide smile in his lips.
For some days a break from all the worries.
A bit of relief.
A bit of signining in to life again.
And thus he brought a brand new packet of Gold Flake from the shop and then started walking.
Satya passed the Djhakuria Durgabari and took the station road.
It would take ten minutes to reach his home. Home is a wrong word, actually it is a mess. He originally comes from a remote village of Murshidabad..a mapless place. Though he did his schooling from a village school, his higher secondary done from Burdwan College butwhen it came the turn to do graduation Satya opt for Kolkata..like every village boy he love to be in Kolkata and remove his tag of a ‘village boy’ and be a 21st C citizen.
Satya stopped. Had he really able to become that?
He don’t know. But still he smiled. The only thing he knew today that he is holding in his hand his first salary of Rs 3000, of a small job of DTP Operator.
It means a lot to him.
No more buying things in lending..no more half ciggarretes..no more changing doors in running bus, tram for skipping ticket..no more hearing slangs from people who will get money from him.
Satya lighted a brand new cigarettes. Money gives happiness. Thus Gold Flake never tasted so good earlier.
Satya thought how to spend the salary..he has to give 500 to the Mess owner..he has 1000Rs in due..then he have to give another 500 to Kanaida..the road-side hotel where he is having lunch each day each night..then for his convenience cost may be Rs 600.. he have to send 500 to home..and then..but Satya stopped..because as he is calculating the amount of money is gradually becoming less and less. There is a lot of time to think about the money he thought..today he would only relish that he has now Three Thousand rupees in his hand. He took out a fifty rupee note from his shirt pocket and smelt it.
What a beautiful smell of earning his own money!
Satya has reached the level-crossing.
His mess can be reached if he goes straight.
But he always took the short-cut.
And that road went parallel to the rail lines.
He started walking through the muddy road beside the tracks.

Evening is slowly gripping in..sun has set..only in the west a splash of purple is still visible..pieces of clouds floating..birds clattering as they fly their way back to their nests..within the slums smoke is rising..the numerous nucleated families are ready to prepare their cooking..naked childrens running in playing recklessly over the tracks..slangs which locally known as ‘Khisti’s is coming to Satya’s ears at regular intervals..women wearing torn clothes spreading their wet underwears over a string hanging from a tree..a dark girl wearing red lipstick and cheap but glossy sarree went out from a slum and went towards the market..one loafer kind of boy shouted.. ‘ Ore Kelo..dak sala maltake..’..two cycles went clinging..Satya knew them..they are fish-hawkers going to market with a fish bucket..the cheap stalls are opening up gradually all bearing all the necessary goods..the soil beneath the feet of Satya trembled..train is coming..far away he saw the yellow light of the signal turned green..the clicking sound of the level-crossing gates shutting down..noises of rickshaw,cars,buses sounding in full volume..scenes of a busy evening of Dhakuria..
A gentle wind blows.
Satya closed his eyes.
Something has fallen in his eyes.
Again the wind blowed.
With a maddening sweep.
The signal of the train sounded.
Evening has lost its natural colour.
The light of the local train bisecting the dark evening.
The Evening is broken now in shades of colours..one of light and behind that everything in dark.
The train has left the station.
It can be seen now.
There it is.
Satya stopped to pass the train otherwise he would be adored more in dust.
And as soon he turned front a cold thunder went through his veins.
An old woman looks like a beggar is standing on the rail tracks, the same track in which the train is coming.
And the train is in quite a proximity now.
Satya closed his eyes for a moment.
But he opened it soon in screams coming from all around..the slums..the level crossing..the rickshaw walas..the drivers all sides..
But all in vain.
As the old woman on the track hardly moved but pecuiliarly forwarded her hands as if to hold any support.
In this twilight also the thing became clear to Satya.
The old woman is blind.
She can’t see.
What would Satya do now?
An answer would take a minute.
He don’t have that.

Satya start running among all the screams panics and within a second reached the tracks caught hold of the old woman and pushed him aside and himself jumped also and the train whitewashed them with that light.
Satya’s pulse is running fast in excitement.
The old woman has fallen on the pebbles beside the tracks.
She was still searching for a hand and shouting ‘Ke re? Ke?’
Satya after a while caught her hand and took her at the corner of the road.
Now the old woman touched her face and said ‘ Ke re? Runu naki?’
Satya kept silent.
Again the woman asked , searching all over his face ‘ Tui Runu naki? Ki re?’
Before Satya could say anything a crowd crossed the tracks and came to them, and two boys came and hug Satya, ‘Dada, apni satyi darun kaj korechen?’(You have a done a bravo work!)
One of them said to the blind woman, ‘Masi, katodin bolechi sandhaybela bhikhe koro na..’(I asked you not to beg in the evening!)
Many people are coming towards Satya..Satya is a very introvert person..thus he quietly slipped away saying he is in hurry..
When he reached near the mess, Satya found that he is hungry and today he felt like having a Roll.
He went to the stall and ordered one, and then put his hand in his pocket for bringing out his money bag.
Satya got stranded.
There is no money bag!
His pocket is empty.
Satya strated running.
It surely had fallen on the tracks.
Within two minutes Satya is on the spot, he managed a torch from the road-side stall and searched throughout the rail tracks but there was no money bag there.
One boy came and said, ‘Are dada , Apnii sei Hero na!’(Hey, you are the Hero!)
Satya nodded and tried to smile.
‘Ki hoyeche dada?’
Satya told him about the moneybag.
The boy searched and said that it has gone definitely and there is hardly any hope of founding it.
Satya himself is also realizing the truth.
‘Dada, apni ato baro akta kaj korlen ar dekun apnary..ai janya sala ajkal ar bhalo lok janmay na!(It is a pity that such a thinh happened to you!)
Satya helplessly left the spot and started walking home.
His hunger has increased double but he knew no more roll.
The world has broken into pieces before him.
He has only a fifty rupee note in his pocket and that he has all for this month.
Again a burden of loans.
Again lending money from colleagues.
Satya’s world has not changed at all.
He came back to mess, for rest but can’t.
He came out and went for the dinner at Kanaida’s Hotel.
Kanaida saw hm and said, ‘Ki aj taka debe to?’
Satya said ‘Aj noy akno maine paini..’
‘Maser das tarikheo maine paoni..ami ki a janme takata pabo?’(Will I ever get my money back?)
Satya said quietly, ‘Paben’.
‘Tahle ar ki jao boso..oi Kanchan 2no tabile akta machbhat de..’(He ordered for a meal.)

Satya feeling empty took the food without a word.
Then came out.

Night has fallen on the streets of Dhakuria.
Satya went walking.
He doesn’t feel like to return to mess so early.
He went on roaming.
Droplets of rain is slowly falling..almost a drizzle..wind blowing with a maddening hush..roads wet..trains passing..the light of the signal changing colours now and then.
Satya can’t understand himself.
He is feeling down but not dejected.
There is something which is making him happy.
Is it the heroic work? Is it the hopes of spending 20 days more for the next salary? Is it the rain? Is it the wind which has a solitary tune in it?
What can be the reason?
Satya went on roaming.
For the answer.

And while roaming through this night Satya once again felt that he is very alone, very lonely.
He is still a boy of village trying to create his own identity in this metropolis.

Satya thus always roam alone..in holidays in Babughat..where he gossips with the Majhi..sitting on the shore of the Hooghly river..often traveling in local train and dropping in unknown villages..watching farmers sowing and reaping crops..
Sinking himself in the rain..buying cheap books from the footpath of College Street..watching movies sometimes..reading poems..writing diaries when he feels..
Satya is alone..really alone..

Satya came at a spot and stopped.
It is just behind the station.
On the Verandah of a broken thatched roof house that old woman is sleeping.
She is trembling sometimes as the winds touched her.
Satya sat below her feet.
And slowly he realized that why he is still happy.
Satya smiled.
Winds came and swept him.
Crushed him.
Grains of rain making him wet.

Satya stood up.
Saw once again the face of the woman.
And then started walking.

Among the ripening night, dark streets of Dhakuria Station, a bit alone, a bit lonely Satya within this vast city has found a motherly touch in the hands of an old woman
…. who is nothing but a beggar.



---------------------------------------


1 comment:

Miss(ing) Shakespeare said...

Very nice! Thank you for your comment! I was touched. I see that you, too, follow Quaint Murmur. I don't even know her and I feel like I've met her. I'll be dropping by again to read your posts!