Fault5 mins 182 5 mins 182
One day sitting at my desk in my study room, I just peeped out of my window only to find the wilted rose beds and parched ground waiting for a drop of water touching their thirsty brims.
My garden was something that was envied by almost every single person in the town. My address could be easily located not because it was an author’s house but because of its well-maintained garden. All thanks to my multitasking Churan (that’s how I addressed him- Ramcharan). A flashback story ran down my memory lane. It is still green in my thoughts……
His simple thought brightened my face and invigorated me. And that day I can hardly forget. It runs the chill down my spine. Even today the question haunts me--why didn’t I intervene?
It has been three years now and no sign of either of them. All those things kept reeling in my mind while I was gazing at those withered plants. A familiar voice called me out.
“Sahib, how are you?” and I was startled. I kept gaping at that figure. It was Ramcharan. His presence took me back to that fateful day. The voice still ringing in my ears…
“Gulabo! Aye Gulabo! Where are you? Can’t you hear me out?” shouted Ramcharan.
Ramcharan was all-in-one in my house. He was a cook, a caretaker, a gardener, a hand to help me whenever I needed it. And ‘Gulabo’—she was his second wife who quietly followed all his orders. I can blindly rely on him for everything because he was that trustworthy.
It had been twenty years now he is a part of my family. His only vice was he lost his senses after gulping in two quarters. He had his own reasons for this. It has been five years now and still, they are just life partners and not proud parents. His first wife left him due to his impotency and this had hurt his ego a lot. So he brought this second wife and started taking treatment to prove his potency but things didn’t fall in place the way he expected it to. So to vent out his frustrations he boozed a lot and abused his wife and life for everything. This is one thing I couldn’t change in him.
Everything went on in routine and I as usual got busy with my new upcoming article. One night as I was engrossed in writing I overheard the fight. Initially, it sounded like the daily activity but then took a nasty turn with very loud voices. I thought of intervening but kept quiet thinking it’s their personal matter and that as an outsider I had no role to play. I heard lashes and sobbing which after sometime subsided and I was relaxed that finally everything has settled between them but had made up my mind to talk to Ramcharan the next day.
The next morning I got up late only to find out that nobody woke me up and there was no tea beside my bed. I walked up to the kitchen to find it deserted. Looking out for both of them I went to their quarters only to see the open door, broken crockery, and a few blood stains on the floor. It did not take much time for me to understand what would have happened and expected them to return from the hospital in no time as this was also a routine practice. I had a few commitments and hence left everything behind and got back to my work.
When in the evening I returned home I could easily figure out that the day ended with utmost silence in the house. Neither Gulabo nor Ramcharan returned to their dwelling. I kept waiting, but my wait this time prolonged too much. I couldn’t sleep that whole night. The next day sitting at the desk was thinking maybe my intervention would have really made a difference.
Today after three years seeing him stand in front of me left me speechless. Though a writer had no words to speak. I kept hunting for words and he stood with tears in his eyes with the same question that I was trying to run away from. I couldn’t exchange glances with him. I somehow balanced myself and tried to hit a conversation when he suddenly fell on his knees and busted out loudly repeating the statement:
“Sahib, why didn’t you stop me that day? I made the biggest mistake of my life. I deceived not only my wife but also myself. I have been a loser in true sense.” And he just walked away. I kept thinking was it really my mistake? Do I really deserve self-punishment for the incident I was not directly involved in? But then what exactly happened that night? Where was Gulabo now? Why am I holding myself responsible?
I brought myself to consensus and turned towards the gate to catch hold of Ramcharan and get the answers to all my questions but not a trace of his presence could be seen. Ah! I realized that it was my conscience that created the imagery of Churan and pinched me to my core.
I returned back to my desk with thousands of such questions muddling my head and not allowing me to rest peacefully. They clung me to the memories that though have wings yet cannot fly and just keep asking- Was it really my fault?