The instruction now though stands on no-stand. The order that the letter carried was to kill the spy. The higher official ordered me to make the death look like it’s an accident not an intentional event. Now, I understand what they had said in the telegram on that day when they said—FOLLOW LETTER (STOP). I had thought that day they were saying to follow their instruction to bury him. Now I got it. If there’s something call coincidence then it is this I think. Though I don’t know how I could have make that death happened if it was needed. I am not a killer. The spy had somehow made my heart soft for him. It might have happened that day when he was brought into office when there was this storm. The way he was behaving that day that have might made my heart soft.
But, the letter not only carries the instruction to kill that spy; it also carried a news. We are going to have a new guest. The letter didn’t say much. It only said that a man of high importance going to be here for next few weeks. He needs a hideout.
There was also money sent with the letters to make the liveable cell clean and clear. It is more than needed. The extra was bribe to remain quiet on the matter. I had asked Qasim to bring in some people from the village to clean the corner cell. That was the only cell where a man can live safely and comfortably. It only needs a coat of paint and the bed needed to be changed. The person whoever he is will though face problem. There are no amnesties like electric fan, noise of radio and so many things of the city.
I am thinking on this person of high importance. Who can it be?
The politics haven’t changed a much. The man of importance had reached here. He is a renowned politician. This hideout he needed to protect himself against the movement that was going on in the city. He was once known for his social works. At the line we have met once when he came with the Prime Minister to look on us—the soldiers—and also boosting our pride and courage, that are needed for the war. He will not recognize me because I am just one of the lots of soldiers so didn’t bring up that memory.
Few years ago he had got caught with an under-age girl in the bed. The girl was found to be one from one of his home. On investigation it came out most of his home for the distressed girls ran this racket of smuggling girls to the neighbouring countries and to foreign. Further investigation brings up another racket of smuggling off human body parts to various parts of the world. In the end, though, he was proven to be innocent while some other business men and some of his associate got convicted. Regarding the girl, with whom he was caught, the girl accepts him as his husband. He had married her not knowing her age he had said by taking oath in his God and mother’s name.
I know all these because I was one of officer who was appointed in one of the three teams that was form to investigate on these matters. At that time though we had never came face to face. I was new then in the force and the seniors used to make me and few others to run the errands like chasing a suspect or keeping eye on the suspect or if anyone needs to be got kill because he or she might let out some information. Though I was never order for the last one but if they had then I couldn’t. I am done with the killing and blood sheds in the war.
This man had grown by the belly. The glass he wears is of golden frame while some of his teeth are enamelled with gold plate. He had brought in two men with him—one is his cook and another is his batman to carry out all his orders and whims.
Now is my leave. I am on holiday. Neta sahib had taken over the jail. He roams around the prison. On the second day of him here, that is last day, he came to my office and said to go away. He sat in front of me and looking into my eyes said,
“Hey officer, go away to your shed. There is no need to dance your tail here at my feet. I hate the four legs at feet. Get up and go away.”
I want to shout at him, but I cannot. Someone I felt had pressed his hand on my mouths. It was cold and damp.
He stood up and said, “I have dreamt for long to live in a palace where there will be no chaos, no humdrum of the city. This silent is what I liking a lot. And your presence in this solace of mine is like a bit of stone in the rice. Go away. Do not return till I went away after a month, and do not come here till I call you.”
The hand removed from my mouth when he went out of the room humming an old song. I looked behind and saw nothing. Or, I might have seen a shadow following the leader. Something likes that of a cat not of a man.
He is crossing every limit as I heard from one of the villager who came to visit me to stop this nuisance. He had been sending out his butler and one of our constable, the villager said it was the mid age one, so it might be Raghu to bring in girl or woman for him. The villagers had thought it was me. I have changed my heart and now acting like that of the last jailor who was Das Gupta. The woman or lady was not saying anything. He have threatened them I know to kill not her but his husband or his child or his father or anyone close to her. This young villager at first had come to kill me. He showed me the knife he was carrying. It was made from polishing a stone to shimmering.
He had followed the girl and the two men last night, and had also peeped inside the jail. Like other he thought it would be me. After finding the truth he came to me. I asked him why he didn’t kill him. He said,—
“No one can defy the Bibhuti Baba. I had seen him there at the corner with Bijli. He is preparing him to be his next scapegoat.”
And after saying this he asked for the permission to leave. I found he was ashamed on his saying and was all of suddenly feeling a discomfort—he was looking around again and again. I offered him a few paisas, but with folding hand he denied that; I offered him roti which he refused and ran away leaving his stone dagger at my feet. Now the dagger is lying on this small reading table.
I am journeying to city tomorrow. From there for few days will go and live with my children till this man is here. But, the names Bibhuti Baba and Bijli are saying me to remain here because it just seems this need to be known. At the same time I am missing my children. In this holiday I will also visit the headquarter presenting my application to declare this place as ABANDONED and will ask for a transfer, and if they deny one of them I will leave the job then and there at the moment the denial will happened.
The bags are pack. To catch the evening train I need to leave now. It’s almost eleven kilometres journey. At morning I visited the prison. A woman came out as I entering the premise. I saw Joseph sitting on the bench near to the gate. He looked at me and I looked at him. He just seems to be tired. We talked a few regarding the state. I let him know my plan. He smiled and blessed me. Qasim and Raghu had got bought out. They most of the time remain with the neta sahib. I am leaving the diary here. Don’t know whether I will come back again. This diary will remain here to document my days here. (Cont’d)