Red Blue Gray: Day 8 and 9

When the moon shines on the bed in the full moon night it made remind of my mother. It made me remind of a night when I was a boy, we—me, Ma and Chutki—used to sit down at the veranda. Chutki was then only two or three years old and me five or six. Ma had been telling a fairy tale of a prince and his army trying to free a kingdom from the grasp of a company of outsider barbaric tribe. Chutki had been lying in the lap of Ma listening to the story with wide opened eyes with thumb inside her little mouth, and me also lying with my head resting on Ma’s knee. It was a summer full-moon night; the breeze was blowing from the Purnima; it was one of the small distributaries of Ganga flowing through our village.  This night was the last time we were together. Chutki was suffering from continuous fever; it was third day into her illness. Two days later she would leave us for the heavenly haven. Ma would follow her two months later on a new-moon monsoon night. The story she told us that night still I remember, and later when I grew up I understood the hidden verse of the tale. She had been telling us the history of our country. The prince and his army are we—the revolutionaries, the freedom-fighters; the tribe is the British while the kingdom is India. Last few days this bit of memoir is haunting me. Though I cannot recollect faces of Chutki or Ma clearly, but, I can reminiscent of this night and few more where a woman is sitting with her daughter in her lap and her son resting his head on her knee. The moonlight bathing them away while the trees dancing in the breeze throwing their silver hazed shadow on the wall and floor—dance on the edge of the veranda…Is it this cell or is my time is near?

Today the guard said its sixth month here. The time is really passing quickly like a mountain river in the late spring. If this journal was not there then I don’t know what would have happened. Few days back I heard the news. Johor is no more. He had suffered a massive heart attack while working in his office. Now it may be the time for me to go. The tiredness is increasing with each passing days. That young doctor had visited few more times, and for that I had been taken out at the veranda. He injected few times stating they would help me to sleep sound. He also passed on some tablets to the guard to give me after each meal. The tablets always keep in dazed state not letting to read or write.

Johor was the only friend I had when I walked into the life of being a politician. Before that when I was a revolutionary, I had heard of him. He was to me the prince from Ma’s fairy tale whose kingdom had been captured by a tribe. I do not remember when we first talked or when we first meet. It might have happened in one of the meetings when President of each zone was selecting a young man to take forward their ideology and thoughts and principles; their idea of swaraj in the proper way. There were five zones—the four direction and the centre. I was selected from the east while Johor was selected from the centre. I came into his pleasant personality while I was visiting his zone. We shared lots of thoughts and most of the time ends up with same conclusion. It was this rally where the police attacked us and arrested us. Johor had been injured at his forehead from the lathi charge; I was also injured. I had broken my right hand. After some days in a hospital we were brought here in this prison. When I couldn’t have my meal, he used to feed me. We were kept in the same cell. The reason was to sneak on our talk. But we never talk of the fight or our ideology there. At the night when everyone was deep into their sleep, we used to whisper to each other. Later I came to know I was chosen for the torture cell, it means this cell. But, before that happened the intervention happened and we were freed. Then we met after a year at Delhi at a conference. In that one year we have been in contact through the letters and notes. At Delhi we started working together. The British termed as the two brothers while other conferred us the title of long lost brothers. When I resigned from the post of the president of the renovated old wing after the split, very few knew of this, we sat down at a meeting. He tried to persuade me to withdraw the resignation. But I was steadfast of leaving the political scenario and became an ascetic like Rishi Aurobindo. Then that crash happened followed by the independence. Johor was made the Prime Minister of the state.

Once back in Tibet monastery he came to meet me. One dark night I had Johor as a visitor. We sat face to face but never had shared a word. We just kept looking at each other for five minutes he was there. We just share the silent between us. Johor was the only true friend I had in this life of mine. I never blamed him for staging the act of the plane crash to make me dead. He had done that because he knew if he hadn’t done that then someone would have taken the chair of the Prime Minister. He had to earn the trust of the people of the party. Sometimes, though, I used to get angry at him for the act. But, that was what makes us human—emotion it was all.

I had the nightmare. This time, last night, it was a tantrik. Sitting on my chest and chanting mantra. The cat meanwhile sat beside my arm. He had both of his hazelnut eyes and looks much younger than now. I was lying on some liquid surface. I wake up by a thunderclap that seems to be had strike nearby. The wall of the cell had shaken for a bit. Now it is raining torrentially. The muffled sound of the downpour can be heard with frequent claps of the thunder. There may be a storm raging outside.

Last night I had experienced this singular event. I was awakened by a clap and then I felt something on my chest. There was nothing on my chest. When a flash falls, at the light I saw a man dressed in red loin cloth. Again when the flash flashed i saw he was wet from head to toe. And water was dripping from him. Another clap when clapped I woke up and found there’s no one. It was a dream that I had seen few nights back and last night. (Cont’d)

By Sangbad

A poet, an author, a reviewer--in one word I'm a literaturist (means one who is trying almost everything that Literature is made of). My books are available at Amazon. I'm a Bengali, born and raised in Kolkata, West Bengal.

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