I cannot keep that place out of mind. And I don’t recognize me when I think of that place. It is always someone who speaks instead of me when I think deeply of it. It feels that the palace comes in to life and speak through me. The darkness of that place pushes me to the darkest place inside my soul where I never have travelled; the depth of its blue I cannot fathom.
This noon when I was waiting for the Commissioner outside his chamber I heard someone whispering asking me to stop and return to the jail. I looked around but saw no one. It had been whispering the plea in monotonous repeated rhythm like chirping of crickets. That place is really a disgusting place turning me to insane soul. I need to find a path to be out of there. I will not return to it.
On the dawn of 24th May an earthquake hits the state. Many of the places had been affected. It tremor was also felt in the city. The met department says the epicentre or the birth place of the earthquake is somewhere near the coastline of Bay of Bengal.
Many properties were destroyed. Many lives were taken. There was no power for two days followed by slowly spreading of power regain for next few days. The newspaper said there was slight crack on one of the wall of Victoria Memorial and the tremor had also rotated the forget-to-rotate fairy on the dome for certain angle.
Sundarban had been also affected with suspected a couple of villages vanishing away. The earthquake had hit the coast with a couple of huge gigantic waves and brushing most of the portion of the coast off its vegetation, its vanity mangrove forest had been affected much.
The earthquake happened at past 4.30 am of 24th May. My ancestral home had been affected also. The roof had broken down making the second floor of the pre-Independence building inhabitable, and also making me paralysed and bound to bed. The doctor had advice me to remain in the bed. That night Anna hadn’t slept with me. She was with her aunt. She was still scared from the last night of the night.
I only remember I was dreaming of the palace. I was dreaming the neta had been writing on some journal as he had came to know he wouldn’t be returning because his protégé had betrayed him by twisting his chalked out plan. Now the protégé is the leader while the duplicate he will be leaving all the earthly possession behind and confessing to his sins will take exile to Banaras. I saw him writing at the early dawn light while a cat with one eye sat beside him, looking at him as he write with much pain. I heard rumble of the sky and the clap of thunder, and my bed was shaking; in that half-asleep half-dozen state I saw a cloud ascending me and its press me under his weight.
Later I collected all the facts from the ones who were in the house that dawn, and I learned I was found later that day when Anna ran up to the debris and started throwing the splinters of the debris with her little hands. To calm her down my brother in law and some of the men started digging the broken roof and discover me. I was not breathing and my heart was not beating.
They took me to the hospital and amidst the chaos they got me a bed. Next day after much running and presenting documents, they got me admitted to this army hospital. I lay there in coma for next two days. And then also I was in the state of memory-loss as I couldn’t recognize anyone. The only thing I remember was the palace and the last dream of it I had.
One or so week later I started regaining my memory. And when I recognized Anna, she was so happy that she started crying hugging me by the stomach. Now as I sat in the study room in the first floor, she slept there, and in the light of the lamp her face looking heavenly. Sleep my child. Sleep.
Today I received a letter.
It was from the Commissioner. He had been informed of my state two weeks after the mishap. I was still there in the hospital and he was visiting the hospital to see one of his relative admitted there. My brother-in-law had to face a fight to reach him. He was reluctant not to meet some police’s relative and share his assurance of not losing the job. When my brother-in-law said the name of the village where the prison is, he was surprised and then agreed to meet me. I couldn’t recognize because that time I had lost my memory. But, that’s all. He allotted and signed a check of hefty sum then and there in the hospital. But, never asked to meet or contact him. My brother-in-law though tried to contact him; he never meet him again. And now this letter. (Cont’d)