Red Blue Gray: Day 25

For the first few nights I could not sleep. I used to remain awake so that I do not dreamt of the tantrik or I do not hear the voice. Whole day I used to remain busy in the procession and speeches to ask the youth to stop the violence. But, as night used to crawl in I can hear voices, and if I fall asleep like that of dozing he was there standing at the brink of my thought.

After a few days I surrender to him and that was the start of this amusing conclusion. I increase the rate and quote it to the artist. He accepted it and on the thirty-second day of the fast he had a heart attack. You have read that report I can deduce so I am not going into details. The day it happen the tantrik was standing at the edge of my bed and smiling. Oh I now recollect there was a cat also with eyes of varied colours. No, I do not remember what colour they were or whether they were a hole instead of the eye on one side of its head.

As you know there was no contact between him and me. Slowly it stopped. After a week he came out of his coma, he declared his retirement surprising all. And after a week with frail health he journeyed to Banaras. But on the way some unknown assassins killed him in the train and thrown his body from the train while crossing over river. Though, you and many know that he had disappeared on the way to Banaras. The story spread as I had said. He had expressed the wish to take the exile.

When did he died or whether he was alive for long I cannot comment on that. Sometimes when I think of those days nowadays I think I have sinned. The man was a devil; he might have this plan making another devil out of me, or it might be just out of compassion he had brought me up. Sometimes I also think on the reason of him remaining there not returning back. I was scared that he will return and will do something devilish. But, no he never returned. The last letter I received from him was few days back of that 19— earthquake. He was pleading to bring him back. He was ready to promise on remaining anonymous entity in my life. He was also complaining some cat that used to keep an eye on him and also of some dream that of a sadhubaba. And yes he also had mentioned this some sort of journal that used to make him write and that journal used to come alive by drawing his blood.

No, I do not have that letter. I have shredded it with my—this—hand and had thrown them into the fire at the fire place.

Chapter 2

[The following is a transcription collected from the old files of a mental hospital. The name of the patient was Horen Joseph Bagchi, and he was admitted in the hospital for few months before he killed himself by putting a naked electric wire between his teeth.

The file came to my hand when I was speaking with the psychiatrist of Dadu. I was discussing with him all the happenings I knew of till then and was asking for his opinions on these happenings. He is an old man and had seen and treated lot of patients in these thirty-five years of his doctor’s life. On learning the name of the prison Dadu was jailer of, he remain seated for a while closing his eyes, and then asked me to visit him two days later. And on that day he handed me this transcription to me.]

When I came to this prison, the country was still under British. Two years later the country would be getting its independence. The day I arrived were few days later of the last jailor being found dead in that corner cell. He was a torturous and devil in man form. His dead didn’t disturb anyone; but everyone was relieved. The rods, the shackles, the all other means of torture had been removed in the last few days. And I was appointed there in the guard of a young freedom fighter. He used to hum patriotic songs and sometimes used to look vacantly at the walls. Sometimes he used to talk to someone. There was also this priest of some local temple. He was there because he had asked a memsahib to leave her slippers outside his temple. His fiancé was there also and he cursed him and brought him here. This sahib was a policeman at that jail who was also ardent admirer, and only one, of the last jailer, whose name I cannot recollect now. This had happened the day before I arrived there. The evening the old priest died, he had said to me to arrange some puja for the cell because a devil had came there and he was boarding there. I laughed at him and said I do not believe in all that. The old man also smiled and said to me that no one will believe that the presence but he will be there and it appease would never get satisfied. The devil needs blood and it had let in one of his dearest thing in that cell. I told this to the young jailer and he laughed at me and said the old hag had scared me because the priest was a freedom fighter and being vowed of non-violence he had been scaring through his words.

The dead of the priest was a surprising one. He died while meditating. And the strangest thing there was a tom cat in the jail premise. It was also found dead in the corner cell the following day. The revolutionary had kept mum on that; we discovered the carcass when the foul smell started emitting. I remember its one eye was missing. The revolutionary on asking and some beatings smiled and said medium need to be sacrificed for the greater good.

The next night as I was sitting there outside the corner cell on a stool I felt an eerie thing. It was as if there was something or someone that was roaming around. It was knocking on the rods of the gates. No one had heard it, I came to know next day, and it was only me. I do what I don’t. I randomly started peeping at the revolutionary. But, he had slept all night soundly. When the morning arrived, it was only then, it was discovered he had died. Now I could recollect I had seen a shadowy figure at the stair case last night. It was when I had dozed for a while and opening my eyes I had saw it. It was standing there as if waiting for something to happen or someone would come and meet him there. See, my hairs on the hand had stood up. I was scared like this that day. I could recollect now. I had forgotten of it.

The cell was then left vacant as the third floor was because number of fighters had lessened down. This all had happened when I have been there already for two years. The independence as the jail got a new jailor. His name was as far I can recollect something Das Gupta. I was given the option to get a transfer to the city. But, I was so attached to this jail that I declined and remain behind with two other just-joined constables. (Cont’d)

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