At first it just seems to be a dirty rotten cloth that was red in its own days as a rose should be. But now it’s just the dull orange one like a monsoon clouded setting sun. The rope that attached it once was a shoestring; knots at various points and chewed or slashed at points. At appearance it’s not an impressive one; its look some artefact that my insane dead grandfather had guarded in the old nylon bazaar bag.
Out of curiosity I opened by scissoring out the rope. The fold of the wrap was not so nicely done. A hurried hand, or was it a disinterested hand, wrapped it. The unfolding reveals a stack of papers that were brittle to the edges and corners, and the remaining portion, the body, seems to be dried after being getting wet or damp. The smell of camphor suppressed the old wet and dusty mushy odour of the papers.
Before he breathed last, my grandfather summoned me and asked me to handle this bag of him. The bag contained of nothing except few old tattered clothes, an old cigarette tin from his war days, few old coins—one paisa, two paisa, char anna and all that—in an old sewing cylinder container, and this stack of papers.
He had collected this idea of his grandson being a researcher and a historian that he would take interest in the belongings of his grandfather’s bag. And he was not wrong. When I looked at those pages, I sensed Dadu’s insanity to safeguard them. When I was a boy of ten or so, it was him who imbued this interest of history inside me and made me addicted to the habit of reading. If I close my eyes I can recollect those times when he used to let me sat down in front of him and used to tell stories from the war and his life as in charge of some prison whose name I cannot recollect now.
The last few years were tough for all of us. He was suffering from complicated case of memory loss. Doctor suspected it Alzheimer’s but it was not so. He used to remain seated in this royal arm chair clutching on this nylon bag most of the time. Sometimes he refused to recognize us. When he called me to his death bed that afternoon, we were surprised because he called me by the name he used to call me in my childhood—Indiana. Yeah, after the famous character Indiana Jones.
I will not elongate this prologue. Here are the stories that I had to rewrite from the original ruined manuscript. Some pages were lost, some writings had got smeared and ineligible to read. Some had starting not ending and some just the opposite. I had left out some of the stories due to these scenarios.
Sometimes some portions cannot be read as bug had eaten the words or the damp had claimed them. I have used ellipsis in those situations. Hope they will not disturb while reading as they had me both the times—while reading and while writing.
And another interesting fact of the papers was they were written with pencil—sometimes the words were in red, sometimes they are blue, and sometimes they are just hazed gray of black lead (making me to fill in the blanks to make a complete sentence or word).
Otherwise they are presented as they were written and arranged as they were there in the papers.
How does it feel to kill one man?
You just grab his neck and pressurize on the mid of the throat. But, what if I said that you just need a trail of atavistic traits to channelize your urge to kill one?
The moon is shining in full bloom and silver. The shadow of it is trespassing through this small rectangular window. The corroded iron rods casting there shadows on this stone floors of the cell number 2811.
The man next to my cell was a teacher at some village school. He was arrested for letting his students read from Ananda Math. Before he goes he passed me this handmade copy and this pencil—two sides, red and blue. Where he was taken I don’t know. I also not sure of him has being alive.
Today I listened to the guards conversing. Somewhere in Japan a plane crash had claimed the life of Subhash Chandra Bose.
They are thinking to free me. But, I know they will keep an eye on me. On second thought they just need one or a body to claim they had captured a terrorist and had killed him while in the chase. I do not know what they have planned for me (Cont’d…)