Bhaskar Chowdhury



Bhaskar Chowdhury


And It Rained That Night

And It Rained That Night

3 mins

Life is like this, Gore Sahib...we see them coming throughout the day and in the night...we just put them on their last bed of fire...we feel no emotion in doing it. It is like our daily chores!"

Haru Dom uttered like a zombie with his eyes fixed on the burning pyre. This was his 6th for the day.

David was looking at the silhouette of a human body in the fire. Rigor mortis had stiffened the limbs and the burning body was more like a bronze statue...a lying sculpture...beautiful though shattering!

He had come all the way from Gothenburg to study the life of Chandals, folks who are responsible for disposing of the Hindu corpses. His research was not about those fashionable ones who work in the electric crematoriums. He met them in Kalighat,

Nimtala or Kashi Mitra burning ghats but somehow was not thrilled that way. 5 years back when he came to Kolkata after visiting the burning ghats of Banaras, he was told by Prof. Banik to visit Birbhum where still corpses are cremated on open pyres.

He came to Bakreswar and met Haru Dom in the crematorium. He was thrilled by the life of Haru's community who deal with dead bodies every day...yes, for a living!

David's life was reborn at a place where life ends.

He started living in Dom Para. His day, too used to start with dead bodies brought by the kins while doing Sankirtan.

He used to leave for home with Haru after the last corpse cremated in the midnight. I heard David is in love with a girl from that community.

" carry on. Here is a friend of mine who came to meet me from Calcutta. I'll spend some time with him and will leave for home in a while."

"Ok, Sahib. Good night."

After Haru left, I asked," David, what happened? Why did you call me last night? Anything serious? Are you all ok?"

"Yes, Chowdhury. I'm fine. Just some questions."

"Please go on, David."

" What do you Hindoos do after a relative passed away? I mean what are the customs after the last rites?"

" Yes...there are few. First of all, after the cremation, the relatives who were at the Samshan ghat, take a bath in the river...and..."

"Wait...step by step...I'll take a bath first in the river."

"Why? What happened? Who was the person cremated just now at the pyre? Known to you?"

"Yes, she was Haru Dom's daughter."

" sad...I am so sorry for that man. He did it himself."

"Yes, I asked him about his feelings. He did it like a zombie."

"Awfully tragic...but...why do you want to take a bath?"

David stood up.

"Let's go, Chowdhury. I'll hear the other customs from you after I take a bath."


David looked back.

" She was my wife. I loved her."

He started walking and I stood there...stoned!

And it rained that night!

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