Neha’s Confession and Other Stories

(A collected of Short Stories)

 

 

 

By 

Menonim Menonimus

 

Internet Edition by

www.menonimus.com

 

Neha’s Confession (a collection of English Short Stories) by Menonim Menonimus,

Published by: www.menonimus.com

Email:menonimus@menonimus.com

 

First Published: 2019

 

Price: Rs. ……………… /-

 

D.T.P. by Adid Shahriar

 

 

Contents

The Terrorist

The Three Youths

A Philosopher’s Statements

A Troop of Revolutionaries

Two Neighbours

Teras of Wonder

For not Being Loved

Neha’s Confession

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity

……………………………………………………………………………….

 

NEHA’S CONFESSION (TEXT)

 

 

The Terrorist

 

 

Last Monday, after being taken my bath and having food I was about to leave home for an urgent appointment and at that mean time a white Maruti van arrived at my gate and two young men: one about forty-five and the other was about thirty, got down the van and approached me with a customary salutation. The one wearing black long pants and yellow shirt accosted me and said, “Sir, I am Prasenjit, the editor of the Frontier News and we have come to have an interview with you. Please, sir, give us some time.”

Nowadays I am often troubled by the journalists and it is not because that they trouble me asking questions without rhyme and reason but that they sweep away some precious moments of my time. So on unavoidable circumstances, I usually have taken to meet people on Sundays and hence I said to Prasenjit, “I am ready to leave home for a seminar. You may come on the following Sunday after 9’clock.”

He said, “On the coming Sunday we will come again and if I fail to come, one of my colleagues will be sent. Please give us an interview for our Frontier News.”

I replied, “OK. But may I know your questionnaires beforehand so that I can make preparation?”

He found out a file of paper from the folds of his flat notebook and handing that over to me said: “Take it up, sir.” And then they left me.

I gave a quick glance over the questionnaires and found that there were seven questions. The first four questions were asked about my writings and career. The fifth and sixth questions were done asking views on the contemporary world literature and the last question was asked seeking my opinion on the political success of the present government.

It was an autumn season and the next Sunday appeared to be a bright day. The sky was free from any speck of cloud. The East wind was blowing softly. I got up from bed very early as I had lots of chores to be pursued. Usually, on Sundays, I either read a book or keep busy in writing. But that day I was busy till it was almost 8.30 a.m. checking a manuscript. When I was about to get up from my study, suddenly two young boys around thirty came direct to the door of my study room and said, “May we come in, sir?”

I, turning up my head towards these unexpected intruders, replied, “Come in.”

One of the two youths was wearing jeans and spotted a yellow shirt. He looked smart, intelligent and agile. The other boy looked simple and he was wearing black pants and a blue shirt. I gestured them to sit on the chairs in front of my study table.

I usually take an hour especially from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. to get me prepared for the day. Within the hour I take a bath and food and just after 9, o’ clock I meet previously appointed people.

I asked the smartly looking boy, “Your introduction?”

The smart boy looking at me replied simply, “I am Hemanta, a terrorist by profession and I have been operating my activities through Frontiers News. The editorial board has sent me to have an interview with you.”

I was surprised as I have heard none even not one who is really a marked terrorist to be introduced himself as a terrorist. So I asked him, “Why do you introduce yourself as a terrorist?”

He replied, “I am sorry that you, till today, are unfamiliar with this term.”

I asked an explanation for that. Then he without a lest hesitation began to say, “I hope that you would not disagree with me that a person who spread false news, rumours or concoct stories in order to create dissension, riots among people; who suppresses up the truth to instigate groups of people against one another and by doing these earn his livelihood is called a terrorist.”

In this sense, I am a terrorist. I have been doing the same thing for the last five years.

I asked, “As you know this, then why have you taken up the job of a terrorist?”

He resumed “I had a long hope from my student life to become a journalist and hence after taking Post Graduation in English literature, I had taken a diploma in Journalism and eventually picked up a job in a news channel as a reporter. But as long as I provided the news channel authority with facts and true events so long my collected news was neither published nor was broadcasted. Though some of my collected news was published yet they were edited in such a manner that the real truth got vanished from the fact. For examples: in the recent communal feud in the northern tribal area more than two hundred people were killed intentionally but we were compelled to broadcast that only twenty have been killed and other twenty were wounded. Thus when a woman is raped we show the seduced woman in the news again and over again, but not him who seduces her. Again in our news, a bicycle thief is exhibited with much hatred but when a governmental official engulfs millions and millions amount of public money we remain silent. And if in any interview the interviewee’s views go against the governing authority then we deviate him from his point by switching off the electricity connection or create interruption by asking such questions so that he falls in embarrassment and get his mind deviated.”

Then I took the questionnaire in my hand and said, “In the seventh question of the questionnaire you have asked for my views on the political success of the present government. And if my views go against the favour of the government then what will you do?”

He replied, “Please sir, we hope of favourable views of yours on such political matters. And yet if your views seem to go against the government then we must edit your words and phrases in our own ways so that the disfavourable phrases get omitted. Or if it becomes not possible then we would cut it short showing an excuse of lacking times.”

Then with some disgust, I said, “It seems that you have been trying to turn me into a terrorist as you are, isn’t it?”

He replied, “Sir, why do you hesitate? Please try to become a terrorist. Then you will have everything. You will get food to eat, fine clothes to wear, a fine house to live in, and a car to run on. We will get a costly sofa in place of these plastic sets of chairs to sit on.”

I replied with my eyes closed, “I am not willing to give you an interview. You may leave me here.”

Then I felt my throat to be suffocated and my whole body to be trembling and my feet to be numb. I came out of my room to breathe in some fresh air but I saw that the sky had turned cloudy as if a hail storm would ensue to cleanse the filth of the earth. 0 0 0

 

The Three Youths

 

The principal characters of the present story are three youths named by Akhil, Bhadra and Asha. They all have their particular hobbies which have differentiated them from the rest of the people. They belong to the great city of Kolkata but they are not known to each other.

Akhil is a youth above twenty. He is a bachelor of arts from Siliguri University. He is a youth of medium height always wearing black long pants and blue shirt. He bears a fair attractive complexion. After taking B. A. he becomes a freelance journalist and earns a good amount of money by fits and starts. In society, he is well reputed as a queer sort of fellow as he bears a strange hobby of helping -either monetary and physically- people in peril. The half of his earning, he spends, on helping the afflicted, poor, beggar and he always seems active in defending people against atrocity. Whenever he goes he looks for people in peril and runs to them with his helping hand.

Bhadra is the second character of the story. He is a youth about twenty or so. He bears a pink complexion and heavy body but strong enough to lift a hundred kilograms of weight easily. He always wears a jeans pants and a black shirt that looks him something wayward. His look usually dreads the children. He appeared four times in the Matriculation Examination but failed each time pathetically. His queer hobby is that he likes to make fun with the acquainted young girls and with the unacquainted, he is very severe and likes to tease them and if the opportunity avails he tries to rape them vehemently. For this strange hobby, he had been to jail several times.

The third character of the story is a female one. Her name is Asha, a student of Philosophy, reading at Calcutta University. She is a fair smart girl of twenty-two. She likes to wear pants and shirt like boys. She bears a mole at the top of her nose which adds a peculiar charm to her beauty. In her outward attitude, she seems to be coquettish but in reality, she is a girl of honest character. She has a queer hobby to be joked at and insulted by the young boys. She is masculine like bold and likes to face any challenge with audacity. She likes to wander about here and there at night without any company with her.

One day she paid a visit to the seashore near Sundarban. She went to the less frequented far offshore and roamed about for more than two hours singing her own way like the wild finch. When she took to her return journey on foot, the sun was about to set. The cold sea wind was blowing. She took the way which was less frequented by people because she liked to be extraordinary in her outlook from the rest of people. The road was lonely. There she hardly came face to face with a pedestrian. In such a moment her hobby of getting teased or insulted by a youth wakes up in her. She thought within herself, “What a romance it would be if a youth follow me and tease me or try to rape me in such a lonely way!” Thinking of it she felt a sensation in her entire body.

The whereabouts of Bhadra lay there. He was then on the evening walks and was roaming about for avail an opportunity to catch hold of a young girl. And fortunately, he happened to notice that a girl was walking ahead towards him. He gazed at her and found her to be his worth victim for the night. He also walked ahead towards her with a heart swelled up with emotion.

At the meantime, Akhil happened to be there as he was on his way home from seeing off his friend in the port. He was walking on leisurely mood because he liked to take walks along the solitary road in the late evening. As he was walking ahead he thought that if he would get a chance of rescuing a girl in peril. He felt a heroic sensation in his heart. Just at that moment he threw his eyes ahead and saw that a robust youth has been wrangling with a girl. He had been trying to unclothe her and forcibly holding her towards him. Then he saw that the youth was trying to embrace her and the girl was trying to defend herself from the claws of the rogue. Seeing so, Akhil made a shriek within him and ran on with all his speed towards the spot.

The sun had already set under the western horizon and it became dark. The tempo of the cold sea wind seemed to be increasing and the dry leaves of the trees at the ridge of the street heard to be ringing in the wind.  0 0 0

 

A Philosopher’s Statements

 

Two-thirds of the members of the Youth Club are present in the evening gathering. It has almost become a fashion of the youths to gather in the cosy hall of the club every evening. As per the rule of the club, every boy and girl of the locality from fourteen till thirty years of age are the general members of the club. But it seems that it is the monopoly of the boys only. No girl is generally seen in the club except on some special occasions. In the Register Book, the names of a hundred young boys and girls have been enlisted. But only ten to fifteen members seems to be its active members as they hardly keep absent from the everyday evening gathering.

Today about twenty-five members are present in the gathering. But why they have gathered there none can say for certain. But it is true that the gathering provides them with a means of passing their time in gossiping and sometimes it becomes the platform of expressing the whimsical opinions of the youths on the contemporary socio-political problems. Out of the twenty members, only five are married recently and all the rest are bachelors. In the gathering there are college students, two teachers, two singers, a poet, an artist, two farmers, a philosopher and the rest may be called dilettantes. Among the gathering, there is a married man near thirty who has earned the reputation of being a good match-maker and he is so called by the nickname ‘Mr. Match-maker’ and under his mediation already a dozen young boys and girls have entered into the holy marriage bond.

Bablu the secretary of the club, seeing Mr Match-maker, gave a little smile and said to him, “Welcome, you seem to be irregular in attending the congregation, isn’t it?”

He replied, “Yes, I am busy in match-making programmes for which I get little opportunity to attend the daily gathering.”

“Well. You know that most of our members are bachelors. I request you to get well matches for them.”

The match-maker replied, “I am ready. May I ask you who among the congregation are eager to get married?”

Bablu the Secretary stood up from his chair and addressing to the congregation, said: “Please stand up who are thinking of getting married.”

Then about a dozen among them stood up. The match-maker asked one of them who was a farmer, “May I know what sort of bride you like to be married with?”

He replied, “I would like to get a girl as my bride who is beautiful and skilled in household works.” 

Secondly, a young boy about twenty-two who is a poet expresses his desire to be married with a girl who is charming, and artistic in nature.

There was a singer who replied, “I wish that my wife must be attractively beautiful, sweet-voiced and suitable for fashionable society.”

There was a professor of literature who express that he likes to be married to a beautiful, highly educated smart girl born of reputed parents.

There was a shy, melancholic young boy about twenty-five who had been looking for a worthy match for him for the last few months though he could not meet his luck, stood up and said, “I wish to get a good looking wise girl enough to understand me as my wife.

Then the Match-maker stood up and said, “Everybody gives preference to the physical beauty of a girl and then passes for other qualities. But in reality, only thirty per cent of marriageable girls are beautiful then what will happen to the rest of the girls? Would not they get married?”

There was a young thinker, who by nature spoke less, stood up silently and said, “Every bachelor has a weakness for a beautiful girl but hardly have we realized that beauty often beguiles us. A man’s happiness and peace of mind depend not upon his own merit but on his wife.”

Among them, there was a school teacher, who has got his job recently, stood up almost with a protesting mood and said, “How beautiful figure beguiles us? I ask an explanation for it.”

The young thinker stood up and began to say, “A beautiful girl becomes conscious of her beauty only when she hears people talk of her beauty and when she becomes conscious of her beauty then a sense of pride began to be awakened in her which she thought to be her unique property and then she uses her sense of beauty as a means (instrument) to influence on her spouse and if she sees her spouse to be indifferent to her beauty (the cause of her pride) then she becomes psychologically rebellious against her spouse which undermines the inner peace of the couple.”

After saying this he swallowed the saliva and resumed, “If a man wishes to be happy in his conjugal life then he must appreciate his mentality. Here to say that on the basis of the mentality (personal way of outlook towards life) humankind may broadly be divided into three types: first, people of simple mentality; second, people of complex mentality; third, people of compound mentality.”

Then he stopped and turned to his left and then to his right as if to feel the response of his listeners and then resumes again to explain the already mentioned three types of people. He went on to say:

The people of simple mentality generally like to take horticulture, agriculture or any other productive activities as their occupation. Especially the peasants, farmers, wage-earning labourers are the people of simple mentality. They seem to be content with what they have. They are the people of limited ambition. They always like to lead a physically busy life. Their married life may be happy with the girls who are less educated, hardworking and skilled in household works. They prefer young girls below sixteen to be married with. For them, beauty in women is a secondary thing as they give preference to the physical ability of a girl.

Secondly, the people of complex mentality comprises of poets, singers, sportsmen, actors, artists, musicians, politicians and people who like to follow any light fine arts. They are the most peculiar and protean type of people in society. They are highly ambitious, wayward and obstinate to their personal whims. The chief aim of their life is to draw the attention and praise of people towards them by their arts and aesthetic creativity. They suffer a lot- both physically and mentally- in life because of their struggle for drawing admiration from people. While marrying a girl they prefer highly beautiful, smart, flirting, fashionable girls ignoring the merits in them. They use their wives as a source of entertainment and only after passing a few months they begin to think of their wives to be hackneyed and eventually they become indifferent to their wives and consequently peace of their conjugal life breaks down into pieces. The frequency of divorce between husband and wife is higher among this of people than that of the rest two classes. They can never be happy in their conjugal life. Some of them only pretend to be happy to avoid public censure and criticism.

Thirdly, the people of compound mentality are comprised of thinkers, philosophers, scientists and explorers. The class of this type of people is indifferent to the material glory and peace in personal life. They have neither any ambition nor any longing for earning reputation. They are busy with community life. They are not satisfied with the existing dogmas of life. Their main objectives of life is to think out some method or ways for a better human society full of mutual peace, happiness, communal unity, common welfare etc. They are full of patience, charity, magnanimity, fellow feeling and other humane qualities. They get married for physical needs. They are indifferent to the quality, beauty, education, ancestry etc. of a girl while marrying her. They think of men and women simply as men and women. They see no fundamental difference between an educated girl and an uneducated girl, between a young girl and an aged one, between a physically charming one and an ugly one. As the people of the second class, they also cannot be happy in their conjugal life with their wives. It is because they are less inclined to material gain and more indifferent to the personal happiness of life. But as the outlook of the womankind is solely materialistic so they cannot be happy with such a type of man. Here it is seen that as this class of people are characterized by some noble qualities as magnanimity, patience, fellow feeling, etc, so they try their best to be happy with any woman they marry. But it never happens. They may only be happy with the women who come forward willingly being fascinated by the noble qualities of a man of such type. The woman who comes forward willingly to be married to such a type of man remains most obedient, submissive to her husband in any circumstances and thus she loses her personal identity.

After listening to his explanation, the image of my wife came to my mind and I came to appreciate myself that I am neither a peasant nor an artist but a philosopher and then I determined not to struggle in vain to be happy with my wife anymore. 0 0 0

 

 

A Troop of Revolutionaries

 

Arup was my classmate during my High School life. He was born of wage-earning parents. His father Sanjib managed his family by driving a trolley. Arup as a student was a mediocre one. But after passing the H. S. L. C. Examination, he was put to work because of his father’s untimely death. Since then the burden of the family fell on his head and hence he had to make an end to his further studies. Since then we seldom met because he had to stay away from home for earning his livelihood. He is now about forty years old. Last Monday he accidentally came to my home. I was happy to meet him as he was one of my intimate friends. But he seemed happier than me by meeting as he embraced me by the throat.  During our school days, we often walked together to the river bank enjoying the wavy waters of the Great Brahmaputra.

I asked, “Where have you from all of a sudden as a surprise?”

He replied, “I had been in Dibrugarh for the last ten years and have come home last Sunday.”

I asked again, “How about your children?”

He replied, ‘By the good grace of God I have three children: one son and the other two are daughters.”

I asked, “Have you got any new experience in that new place?”

He made a pause and then with a little smile said, “Yes, I have remembered a queer experience there.”

I asked, “What is that?”

He said, “Would you like to hear?”

“Yes, if you like to tell I would hear.”

Then he began to tell, “I worked as a manager under a Bengali contractor who worked in the P. W. Department. His name was Suvash. He was a fine man who took every care of us. Once he was in charge of constructing a bridge. Then he was in need of some plain wood to be used as pillars. He made an understanding with a forest official and took permission to collect some pieces of wood form the forest. One day he sent me along with twenty labourers to the forest. We took necessary tools and instruments to cut trees and for carrying away the logs we had taken a truck with us. At the time of our start, he warned us not to be afraid of the revolutionaries who used to stay in that forest in temporary tents in order to operate their revolutionary mission. We started our journey to the forest in the morning and about ten o’ clock we reached our destination which lay at the foot of the Himalayas. On the way, we met with wild deers, bears, boars and monkeys. The more we penetrated ahead the deeper became the forest. After reaching our destination, I put the workers to hewing some mature teak trees.

Just a furlong away from our working place there was a gang of some revolutionaries who lived in a huge tent. Then a member of the revolutionaries came out of the tent and after being asked I showed him a sealed note of paper given by the contractor. Seeing the note he said, “Keep up secrecy and make haste in having your work done and see that you return before it is noon.”

I assured him that we would try our best to have our work finished within the prescribed period of time. Then he went back to the tent. Some few yards away from the tent I saw that some cadres of the revolutionaries were sitting in a circle on a flat hill under a pear tree. They were talking to each other. I thought they were gossiping. They were five in number. All were wearing the dress corresponding to the uniform of the C. R. P. F. of India. All of them seemed to be above forty. Among these five there was one with a long moustache, stout body and bluish eyes. I guessed he might be the leader of the band. Another was a tall fellow with a plain face and a sharp nose. He sat face to face with the boss. The third one was a short one. He bore flat nose and yellowish complexion. The fourth one was characteristically an unfamiliar one as he had a short beard and he seemed to speak little. The fifth one was comparatively young one as he seemed to be agile and active.

To quench my curiosity I went some steps ahead and sat in a relaxed mood under a teak tree about sixty to seventy feet away from them. They were talking among themselves in a carefree mood. I was attentive to what they were saying.

I heard the fifth one asking the fourth one, “Comrade, why have we gathered here?”

“I don’t know.”

The third one replied, “We are here because we had to be here.”

“Well, well. You are right, isn’t it?”

“Maybe.”

Then the second one, all of a sudden, looked at their leader and asked, “Sir, what was my original name?”

“Why?”

“I have forgotten, sir.”

“It must be looked in the register.”

The second one said, “Let our names go. Curse on the names! Let us think of the day. When the day will arrive at 1 p. m.?”

The leader replied, ”it is a very new and complex question. Our commander in Chief may know it.”

“Then what was the name of our country, sir?”

“I had not memorized it though during my school days our headmaster emphasized on memorizing it.”

The one who sat next to the boss of the congregation said, “I have heard that the name of our country must be either Bangladesh or something else.”

“Well, well, you bear a good memory. Thank you, comrade.”

Then the fourth one asked addressing the entire congregation, “What were the main objectives of our revolution?”

The third one replied, “Why?  Have you forgotten? I remember that to eat, drink and sleep and to do revelry was our objectives.”

‘It was one of our several objectives but what was the main one? He asked again.

One of them replied, “I can’t say.”

Another said, “It is a silly question. Why should we need to know? Let us kill and live.”

Then the Boss of the five shrieked our suddenly and replied, Yes, yes, I have remembered. It was freedom, freedom.” 

“Freedom from what?”

It has been kept a secret from us. Only the president and perhaps the Secretary of our organization know it.”

The fourth one said, “Perhaps, freedom to get effaced the name of our state from the map of Asia!”

Then one of them with a disgust said, “Let us leave them here and think of our breakfast. When will our breakfast be ready?” 

 The Boss said, “At 2. p.m.”

It was fifteen minutes to two. The sun was shining brightly. My labourers seemed to be sweating and tired. In the meantime, a woman of about thirty came out of the large tent and walk towards the tree. One of them, looking at her, said, “Look, our sweetheart is coming. Perhaps our breakfast is ready.”

Then the Boss said, “Why do you call her ‘our sweetheart’? At day time she is our mother. And at night when we sleep with her she becomes our sweetheart.”

“Yes, sir. Excuse me.”

The woman came up to them and said, “Dear comrades, you may come in, the super is about to be ready.” 

Suddenly one of them looked up at the tree and seeing that the tree was full of ripe pears, yelled out like a wild dog and said, “Look at the pears. How deliciously they would taste!”

Then the boss ordered the fifth one to climb up the tree in order to pluck off some ripe pears for them. All the rest pushed him up by the hip and with the help of his comrades, he climbed up the tree and reached the top of it. There were many ripe pears around him. But he seemed to be indifferent to the pears. Then the others who were standing under the tree gaping their mouth up began to yell out, “Comrade, give me the ripe one, and give me the ripe one.”

Another began to cry up, pointing to a red one, “turn left and pluck off that and throw that to me.”

But he began to swing on the branch of the tree like a baboon. His comrades began to shout at him but he seemed as if he was deaf and forgot why he climbed up the tree.”  0 0 0

 

Two Neighbours

 

The characters of the present story of mine are two neighbours. The name of the first character is Suman. He is about forty-five in age, and melancholic in nature. He comes from a poor peasant family. Like other few boys of his locality he also trod the floor of the school and had read up to ninth standard but because of his extreme poverty, he had to stop there pathetically. He seems to have a good interest in poetry as he in occasion utters lines from Rabindranath, Shakespeare, Dante and Donne. He has no fixed course of work as a means of earning his livelihood. He chiefly depends upon the generosity of his old parents and young brothers. He likes to wear loose trousers and half shirt and he always wears a dog-like cap on his head. People often mock at his back calling him a philosopher. He is accustomed to talking little but likes to think more. He often seems to wander about in the public road and lonely boulevard.

Raman is the second character of the story. He is about forty, a naive poor peasant. He also went to school but withdrew himself after he passed the seventh standard. He is now leading a life with scanty income earned by means of ploughing land as a sharecropper.

One summer evening Suman was roaming about in the street leading to the market. The day was so bright and hot. The trees along the street were standing silent without shaking their leaves at the least. The pedestrians were going and returning from the market. Suman was walking ahead without least sense of where he is going to. At the meantime Raman, a neighbour of Suman suddenly met with him and looking at the melancholic face of Suman asked, “Friend how are you?”

Suman lifting up his head from the ground retort, “Why have you asked me? “How are you?”

Raman being something embarrassed replied, “Because you are one of my neighbours. Besides this, you are an honourable man of our locality.”

“Why? I know that one of your brothers have been suffering from typhoid, your mother is suffering from gait pain, your father has been lying on a bed being suffered from headache, your younger son has been suffering from back pain. Have you asked them how they are?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“They are so for a long time.”

“What have you done for them?”

“I did something. But now I am unable to take treatment of them.”

Looking at the swelling pocket of Raman, he asked, “I have seen some hundred rupee notes in your pocket, give one of the notes with the promise of not paying back.”

“No, I cannot give you as they are counted for a purpose.”

“Then what is the gain of asking me: How are you?”

“Please Pardon me, I am sorry for asking you about how you are.”

“Why pardon?”

Raman said, “Please leave me for the day. I will never ask you the same question in the days to come.”

“What does it mean?”

It means that if you simply replied, “I am well or I am not well. Then …..”

“Listen to me,” says Suman, “No one must say that he is well or bad as long as he does not know the conditions that well or bad.”

“Do you know the conditions?”

“No.”

“Then never ask anyone: how he is.

“Please let me go. I have to do marketing. The sun is heading towards the horizon.” Raman entreats.

“Wait for some time more. You would get enough time for marketing. But I think I would be able to make you think: what is good, well, happiness or bad.”

“Please, we will talk about some other day. Let me scot-free today.”

“You may go but I say that never ask anyone as long as you do not know the conditions that keep one well or bad.”

“Well, thank you.” Saying so, Raman walked on with long stride towards the market.

Then the sun looked like a deep red ball on the west horizon. 0 0 0

 

 

 Tears of Wonder

 

It is a story with a difference. Adil is the principal male character of the story. He is about fifty wearing long pyjamas and a long kurta. He bears a long beard and short moustache. The hair of his is on the verge of turning into grey. He looks as simple and innocent as a naive village peasant. In his right hand, he always bears a bead of the rosary which he keeps on counting with every word he pronounces. He especially keeps on uttering the most glorious name of God with his every breathing. He speaks so little and seems to be on meditation even when he is on a walk or at his work. People say of him to be a saintly person and through the years he has earned the fame of being so. He seems neither to have any worldly passion nor has he seemed to be hankering after any worldly glory. People often go to him with the hope of getting blessed by the touch of his holy hand. He always seems to keep his look downwards and if he ever looks upwards he did it only to praise the omnipotent creator of the endless sky with its wonderful objects.

The other character of the story is a female one. He name is Miss Nashiketa, a daughter of a village peasant and she is as naive as a donkey and as docile as a rabbit. She is a girl of sixteen- fully bloomed as a piece of rose. She is of medium height. She bears a tone like a nightingale and when she utters a word the wind makes an echo of it. Her hair is as black as the skin of an adder. Her forehead is as pretty as the mother goddess Durga and her complexion is like that of Helen or Sita. Her nose is as sharp as the nib of a fountain pen. Her thighs are as fleshy as the hips of a custard bull. Her two breasts are like a pair of red pomegranates. She is as shy as the beloved of Andrew Marvel. She seems always to be in a smiles mood though she scarcely makes a gap of her lips. She is gifted with a pair of tiny eyes like that of a mouse with the tint of seawater. She lives in a poor peasant village with her parents. By the side of the village, a river has been flowing silently. The river provides the villagers with necessary water. It is, to say, the only resources of water for the poor villagers. The village women and girls fetch water in pitchers and carry them home on their waist.

One autumn evening the girl, Nashiketa was on the way home carrying the pitcher of water on her waist. She was wearing a simple sari that the Indian village maids are generally accustomed to wearing on occasion. The sun was shining brightly. The sky was as transparent as a piece of glass. The mellow west wind was blowing eastward. The wind was touching the black loose hair of the girl softly. The late butterflies were flying over the autumn flowers. At that very moment, Adil, the only male character of the story happened to walk on by the street. Suddenly his eyes fell on her. He seemed to be startled and kept on gazing on her like a statue. The beads of rosary fell down from his hand, his mouth that always kept on pronouncing the holy name of God seemed to become dumb. He seemed to be looking at a supernatural being or a strange animal that had been brought to a zoo recently from the Rain Forest of Africa. He gazed and gazed and after a while, it was seen that flow of tears was coming out of his eyes like the rain of summer. The shy girl, Nashiketa being fear-stricken, looked at the man and said in anger, “You look so a saintly man but what devil have caught you? You are gazing at me like a hungry lion gazes at his prey. Have you no shame? Fie!” Again seeing tears at his eyes she asked, “What passion makes you shed tears?

Then the saintly man replied, “Dear daughter, pardon me. I have been staring at you not being passionate to you but in praise of your beauty. You look so much charming and beautiful that you seem not to be born of a human being but a creature created by the very own hand of God. And I wonder how beautiful the creator might be who have created a being as beautiful as you! And my tears that have been coming out of my eyes is the tears of gratitude to God for His all-powerfulness.”   0 0 0

 

 

For not Being Loved

 

Pritish is one of my neighbours. He is a youth of about twenty-five. He has got married two years ago. He has inherited nothing except poverty from his parents.  He was the eldest son of his parents. The name of the youngest one was Rakesh. He had left the village since he was twelve years old and now, it is heard that he lives in the city of Guwahati and have got his temporary establishment there as a coolie (porter). Pritish is a labourer by profession. He has the ability to do lots of work as – sometimes he drives a rickshaw, sometimes he works as a helper to a mason, sometimes he works as a page boy in a shop, sometimes he steals the gadgets in the market sides. He married Miss Nima who is, even after two years of their married life, still underage. She has to wait three years more to arrive at the age of eighteen. Though she is under age she looks outwardly as a matured girl of sixteen or seventeen as her physical structure is strong and robust.

Pritish, within this span of twenty-five years, has acquired lots of experience of life. In his boyhood, he was a good, calm boy and he associated less with the bad boys of his age. He lost his parents at the age of ten and since then he had been struggling to stand on his own feet.

At the age of eighteen, he became addicted to wine and gambling as a reaction of receiving a bad beating from the market people as a consequence of stealing something from a shop. Another day he experienced a badly ear-twisting from a passenger while he made a wrong course of his rickshaw and made a minor accident.

He usually returns home at about ten p.m. and arriving home he usually engages in quarrelling with his wife as a reaction of his drinking heavily. Sometimes he beats his wife who in turn begins to cry loudly till the remaining hours of the night. Consequently, his neighbours get deprived of their sweet sleep and for this, his neighbours hate him. They even think of driving him, with his wife, away from the village. Though his wife gets beaten and rebuked by his husband at night, yet at day time she seems to be hale and sound and she associates with a smiling face with the other neighbouring women.

In the next village, there lives a saintly man about sixty. He is poor but respected by all irrespective of caste and creed. He spends most of his time praying and meditating on God. He has also made some disciples whom he imparts divine knowledge and teaches the lessons of a moral and simple happy life.

One day Pritish went to his that saint, being persuaded by one of his associates. Going there, he prostrated on the feet of the saint and begged, “Please take me as one of your disciples and bless me with your holy touch.”

The saint then replied, “Come tomorrow morning after taking a bath with soap in the river.”

The Next day Pritish did accordingly and went to the saint. 

The saint took him as one of his disciples and taught him the basic lessons of a good life and since then he became a changed man. He ceased to drinking, gambling and beating his wife.

No-a-days he returns home earlier and after his super, he isolated himself in a corner of his house and spends his hours in meditating God. He becomes so calm and quiet that people can hardly realize that there lives a couple. 

His neighbours, now, begin to have good sleep for not being disturbed by the loud sound of crying of Miss Nima at night.

But one morning I come to hear that Miss Nima is bewailing with suppressed sound. 

To curb my curiosity, I asked Miss Nima, “What has happened to you? Have you been beaten by your husband?”

She replied, “No, nowadays he does not beat me but I am crying because he has ceased to love me.” 0 0 0

 

 

Neha’s Confession

 

Mr Avishesh has been lying on his sickbed for more than six months. He has taken voluntary retirement before time from his post of Directorship in the State Health Department because of his illness. He has seen many reputed doctors but he gets no remedy. Now all the day he keeps lying in the bed. The last prescription of the doctor was that he must keep in rest. His robust body has gone emaciated and he can hardly stand up. Moreover, for the last three years, he has been suffering from dyspepsia. The little morsel that he eats gets out of the throat through vomiting. He knows his last is near. His wife Neha has been attending him like his shadow. Neha is fifteen years younger to him. She looks very beautiful but melancholic in nature. Form the very first day that he got her in marriage she has been serving him very obediently. But with the passing of time, he grew harsher to her. First, he got his employment as an assistant Director but after only three years he got the chair of Chief Director and hence his attitudes towards things and people began to get a drastic change. It seemed that the proverb that says “Power corrupts a dishonest man very pathetically” holds good to him. During his Directorship, he enjoyed almost boundless power and in collaboration with the Departmental Minister he filled up many vacant posts taking a huge amount of bribery. Since then wine and women became his sole sources of entertainment. He, in his sick bed, reminding of all these past misdeeds, sometimes became restless. His wife Neha came to know all his debauchery but she bore all these with closed eyes and dumb mouth.

Neha’s careful waiting upon makes him ashamed of her presence. What an injustice had he not done to Neha, the poor woman! He never thought that one day he would be as helpless as he is now. It is unbearable to him that he is now an object of sympathy. 

His two sons are well established and they have been abroad for a decade. Once his first son who is an engineer in the U. S. A. visited him but returned after only seeing him. 

Day by day his condition has been deteriorating. It is not that he was not admitted to hospital but the doctors suggested that it is better for him to stay at home as he has little hope of getting recovery form is a fatal illness. He also realizes that his end is imminent.

One evening he calls his wife Neha and says to her in a faint voice, “Neha, it seems that I would depart the mortal earth very soon. I had done much injustice to you, Neha. Please forgive me.”

Saying so, he casts his eyes to the garden through the window and feels the smell of the bloomed roses which he planted himself some years ago. The sun is heading towards the west. The bright light of the sun falls on the basement of the window and he feels hot. Then he gaps up his mouth and Neha gives him a glass of cold water and he drinks it with labour. Then he asks Neha, “Would you forgive me?”

Neha replies, “Why do you say so? God would forgive you.”

“I had been very cruel to you. Please forget all this. Have you any demand over me?”

Neha replies, “I have no demand over you. But….”

“What is your ‘but’?”

Neha resumes, “I have something to confess to you that has been eating away my peace of mind for the last twenty-five years.”

Avishesh looks at her eyes and asks with anxiety, “What is that Neha?”

Neha says, “I hesitate to reveal but I must confess. Hope that after hearing my secret you would forgive me.”

Avishesh with a low voice replies, “Have your saying, Neha. You would get my forgiveness.”

Then Neha begins to tell: Our religion teaches that the bond between husband and wife is a holy one. After marriage, both should remain faithful to each other throughout life. Likewise, I tried my utmost to love you from the very beginning of our conjugal life.  The first two years ran on happily, but when you got a promotion from an assistant to the chair of the chief boss you seemed to become indifferent to my demand. You became addicted to women other than me. What can be more insulting than this for a wife? I wept bitterly. But with the passing of time, your attitude also grew harsher to me. Then I lost all my hope to be happy with you. Thence I determined to take revenge on you for this. I thought, “If a husband can have sexual relations with the women other than his wife then why a wife would not?”

Then only for taking retaliation on you, I, one day, gave away my flesh to a man other than you and consequently, I got pregnant by him and gave birth to our second child.

Saying so she looks at her husband and asks, “Would you forgive me? I committed the sin only for once in my life as I found no other way to console myself for being betrayed by you. But now this sense of sin has been taking away my inner peace of mind. I hope that this confession would light my agony. Please forgive me as I have forgiven your betrayal to me.”

Then she looks at her husband’s face to feel his reaction. She sees his eyes to be half shut, and face emotionless as if he is in deep sleep. Then she comes out of the room and looks at the sky and sees that the Sun has already reached the extreme west scattering its yellowish light to the long horizon. 0 0 0

 

 

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity 

 

Mrinal was one of my classmates during my High School life. He came off a peasant family. We passed the H. S. L. C. Examination from the same school in the same year. From his student life, we know him to be a boy of very sensitive mind. He is very sympathetic to the poor street children and often talked of them and determined to do something for their betterment. But after passing the Higher Secondary Examination he was compelled to stop pursuing higher education because of poverty. Then as a means of livelihood, he took up screen painting as his job and by means of it he has been getting well.

Before taking up his job he underwent an apprenticeship course and developed his skill in this field. Though he was shy in nature, he even did not fall back in getting the pleasure of love-making with girls. But all his affairs with the opposite sex were temporary.  Once he met a beautiful girl named Rina who lived at out-skirt of the nearby town and fell in love with her. 

Nowadays he has taken to enjoy an evening walk off and on with Rina. One evening he, along with Rina, was roaming about and was in a tete-a-tete with her. By the by they took a turn to a new road which was under construction. Going ahead they met some child labourers who were grinding the hills to be used as macadam. All the labourers were under fourteen. Suddenly his mind took a change and he began to think over the matter of child labour. He knew well that to use children under fourteen is a crime. The children seemed to be poverty–stricken as they were wearing dirty pants and tattered shirts. He felt that the hammers they used were heavier than their age. He became more and more sensitive to seeing the plight of them. He suddenly forgot that Rina was with him. He began to notice the way the children were working. The time was late at noon. The sun was leaning quickly towards the west. The hot wind was blowing. All the time Rina was kept standing under a little banyan tree near the road. Mrinal lost within himself as if he was trying to think out a new law to be enforced against the authorities who used the children as labourers instead of sending them to school. His heart filled up with sympathies.

All of a sudden he heard that a child among them has burst out with whistling casting an oblique look at Rina; someone began to wink at her; someone began to recite a verse of an amorous song.

Seeing this, Mrinal got exasperated and said addressing the child labourers in disgust, “You deserve the job of grinding stone at the roadside, the bastard, the rubbish.” 0 0 0

Posted in Short Story.