KNOWLEDGE VERSUS LOVE
KNOWLEDGE VERSUS LOVE
Sujay is preparing himself for appearing in the Joint Entrance examination. His higher secondary exam was held two weeks ago. His focus is to score high and get admission in Kolkata Medical College for MBBS. Today he is coming back to his home late from his coaching class as one of the senior-most coaching staff detained him and his other class-fellows in gossiping. Sujay is thinking about how he would explain about his late arrival to his grandfather Shyamsundar Chawdhury who is a disciplined, punctual man and famous for his high personality in the whole area. He is all in all in their family as well as the village and so strict that neither his parents nor any villager have the courage to open their mouth standing in front of him.
Sujay has observed his mother's hopeless condition several times as and when she stands before his grandfather; she gets so feared as if a Royal Bengal Tiger of Sundarban forest would nab her throat at once. In comparison to his mother, he is nothing but a little mouse to him. Sujay thinks, today immediately looking at me he will certainly ask, "Why so late? Where, when and why did you go after attending your coaching class? Who did you accompany? During that period what did you do? Together with your friends what food have you eaten? Why not take permission from me before going to attend the coaching class….?"…Get lost; what does he think about me…no matter, I know that I've not done anything wrong. Am I a prisoner in Central Jail! My sleep has gone thinking the whole day about the exam which I've to qualify in the first attempt, but he is not bothered about me. Today I dare to tell if he asks anything; I'll say, "I've enjoyed eating a variety of fast foods sitting in a restaurant along with my friends." He may feel anything; I'll not bother him.
There are so many villages in West Bengal where sufficient electricity supply and road connectivity for conveyance are not available properly. The name of the village where Sujay resides along with his grandfather Shyamsundar Chawdhury and other family members is Gobindapur. In the village, his grandfather is the most eminent and powerful man. So every villager respects him and abides by his decision without any hesitation. There is an old big house at the south-east corner of the village. Gobindapur carries the old tradition of the Chawdhury family. Sujay goes ten kilometres away from his village by bus to attend his coaching class at Shivrampur which is a small town. He travels from his house to the bus stand every day, which is located in the north-west direction by bicycle. There is a big pond called Sonalidighi in the middle portion of the village. This pond is very useful to the villagers because of its huge water resource for bathing, plantation and multipurpose uses. Most of the villagers, basically gents, used to bathe in the pond day time. There are few families belonging to labour and poor classes beside the Sonalidighi. They earn a mouth just two times. Most of the ladies belonging to poor and labour classes use the pond in the evening or after sunset in order to hide their bodies in darkness as they cannot afford sufficient clothes due to their poverty.
The Sun has sunk in the depth of Sonalidighi saying good-bye to all tiny tides after kissing them with its golden rays. Now, in the evening of a full moon, the moon is very eager to embrace the little tides by spreading its silver lustre over the moving tides of Sonalidighi. The ladies of bushes surrounding Sonalidighi are ecstatic with joy and laughing in aquatics and swimming in Sonalidighi. Sujata is sixteen years old, black colour, good-looking face, youthful and attractive, and is swimming enthusiastically in the Sonalidighi along with her female companions. Suddenly a portion of her sari leaving the upper portion of her body starts floating rhythmically on the pressure of waves of Sonalidighi. The full moon was waiting just for that moment, without further delay hurriedly spreading silver ray on the tousled body and face of Sujata for blowing her mind towards the unknown world of reverie. Suddenly the eyes of Sujay are fixed on the face and windswept wet body of bathing Sujata in Sonalidighi.
At the very beginning of his youth, the first love of his life invites in the form of Sujata, mesmerized Sujay fails to paddle his bicycle and gazes at her wet face and physique. Suddenly looking at Sujay at a glance Sujata does not understand why Sujay belonging to a royal family is gazing at her! Accidentally gets looked at some portion of her sari leaving the upper portion of her body skipping ahead maintaining rhythm on the waves. She thinks Sujay stand for this reason! With great fear and shyness, she quickly sinks in the water; after a while coming near to the edge of the pond she puts up her head slowly from the water and notices Sujay has stood like a statue at the same place. Sujata thrills in passion feeling strange attraction for Sujay and starts thinking with a down head about the unexpected attraction of Sujay. Water is rolling down from her wet hairs through cheek; she is looking like a statue of black stone which is wet in rain. Sujay has lost his sense and he does not know why he is standing beside the road. Leaving shyness and fear Sujata turns her head up, looks at the face of Sujay with fear mixing with shyness and romance; she becomes hesitant and further giggles asking, "What happened to you?" Sujay looking at her blackface, white teeth and wet white sari on her body in the light of the fool moon becomes amazed and feels in his mind is she inviting him to enter into the garden of her love. A strange wave of love touches his heart to raise the warmth of youth.
Reaching home Sujay couldn't fling off from his mind the scene of Sonalidighi where Sujata sinking her body in the water up to west covering wet sari giggled looking at his face. So many times he tries to forget the memory but her innocent face and sweet smile appear in his mind repeatedly. He fails to understand whether it is furore or blooming of first love in his core. The phenomenon of bathing Sujata, embellished by full moon peeps in his mind, again and again, being mesmerized he feels the beauty of Sujata is the best in the whole world which stimulates and invites him to enter into the palace of love for romance with her. Gradually Sujata's love nestles in his core silently; feeling bizarre attraction with her, he decides to return home from his coaching class at the same time regularly with a view to get a look in the bathing pose of Sujata.
Sujata being the only daughter resides in a tenement house beside Sonalidighi along with her parents; they have neither good housing nor source of earning for living comfortably. Due to poverty, Sujata was compelled to drop her schooling while she was studying in ninth class. Getting up early in the morning she is to go regularly to the house of Banshilal Sarkar, a landlord of the village, for cleaning their house and washing utensils. After completing her job in the house of Banshilal Sarkar she has to work in the field all day long on daily wages basis. In order to get some relaxation to clean the whole body, Sujata jumps into the water of Sonalidighi regularly in the evening and swims half an hour to refresh her weary mind. She eats her dinner having boiled rice along with little vegetables or Khichdi (Hotchpotch) as early as possible after bathing. Next, goes to her bed to sleep along with her parents on the uneven floor spreading a coarse mat made of palm-leaf. It is the special feature of love that never blooms in the heart keeping in view of the time of clock or wealth or eminence; so she sleeps holding the sweet memory of Sujay in her core. In profound slumber at mid-night enters the kingdom of dream, furnishing herself princess and Sujay as a prince in fantasy for meeting each other in passion. Suddenly she laughs; her mother Sailabala pushes her telling, "What has happened Sujata?" Her father Nimay Dolui turns to the right side in slipping and answers, "Nothing happened, your daughter is dreaming a sweet dream."
Sujata jumps into the water of Sonalidighi after working the whole day long in the field with repeated throbs of strange fits of passion and further keeps vigil on the road beside Sonalidighi. Stepping down from the bus Sujay paddles his bicycle and thinks 'would Sujata swim and wait for him today in the water of Sonalidighi!' As soon as he reaches near to the pond he stops cycling with sudden impetus throbs of strange attraction of Sujata mixing fear and romance. Looking at the water of Sonalidighi he observes today once again Sujata is standing in the water up to her waist looking at the road with curiosity. For a while, both Sujata and Sujay make conversation with their eyes looking at each other without saying a word. So many questions like pieces of the cloud are floating in their minds for dropping on the ocean of love, but they fail to open their mouth for speaking to each other. They feel excessive excitement of blooming youth for quenching thrust of adolescence getting close together. For a while, they have forgotten their existence looking at each other. Other ladies who are bathing in the Sonalidighi become confused looking at the silent activity between Sujata and Sujay. All of a sudden, all become startled hearing the blowing horn of a motorcycle ridden by a teenager for getting a side on the way where Sujaystood. Hesitating Sujay quickly takes a turn and rides his bicycle without saying anything for return to his home; Looking at Sujay, Sujata begins chuckling standing in the water.
Sujata and Sujay both wait a whole day long for meeting each other in the evening beside the road of Sonalidighi; they cannot stay without meeting at least once daily. One day Sujay dares to ask, "Sujata, which class do you read in and what is your name?" Sujata can't comprehend what she'd say to Sujay! She says nothing due to her fear and shyness. Sujay asks again, "Why don't you say anything?" Sujata feels very inferior and poor in caste and wealth in society in comparison to Sujay; as he belongs to an upper class and royal family who is well known to everybody in the village. She is not fit for him; in the society, his family members are called rich whereas they belong to the poor and lower category in the society. So she fails to reply to him.
Sujay: He asks politely, "Tell me please, in which class are you reading? What is your name and where are you living? You are looking very pretty to me; so I come here every day by cycling, at the same time for getting one look of you only. You know, I can't stay without meeting you at least once in a day."
Sujata: Being amazed holds her mouth by two palms and further whispers standing in front of him, "What do you say, Sir! You are so rich, but we belong to the labour class, we have to work at the houses of landlords for cleaning their utensils and houses. Next, we are to work on the fields for earning very little, just two times bread only. Now I don't go to school; I left the school after reading ninth class because of our poverty."
Waves by right hand towards hundred meters away from her, a thatched house covered by fencing of bamboo and thereafter says in nervousness, "We stay in that thatched house, my name is Sujata, I mean Sujata Dolui. I bath and swim every day in the evening in this pond Sonalidighi. Of course, I can't stay like you without seeing you once"….tells chuckling, lowers her head a little with shyness slowly.
Sujay: Looking at her face with great admiration tells to gulp, "Will you bath and swim in 'Sonalidighi' in the evening regularly? I'll return from my coaching class every day at this time for looking at you swimming in the pond."
Sujata: If you are pleased looking at me bathing and swimming in this pond, then I'll be waiting in this water every day in the evening for you only.
From that day Sujata is bathing and swimming in 'Sonalidighi' daily in the evening without any gap, even in winter and rainy season too. Today's weather is too cold to bath; furthermore, it is raining the whole day long. Due to heavy rain, most of the villagers feel better to stay in their houses and keep them abstained from going outside their houses. As there is no work in the field Sujata is confined in the hut whole day long along with her parents. In view of less raining in the afternoon her father moved out taking an old umbrella to reach at the house of his landlord for getting some loan for cultivation. Her mother left her alone in the hut has also gone a few minutes ago to a nearby house where she is to work as a maidservant. Sitting beside an oven made by mud, Sujata decides not to sink into the water just for today due to heavy rain and cold. She notices through a little window no one is seen bathing or swimming in the Sonalidighi now; suddenly recalls the words which she told Sujay once. There is no wrist-watch or wall clock in the cottage; Sujata presumes that time is over and she has to bath and swim at once in the Sonalidighi otherwise Sujay would come and wait for her. Even though too cold and rain she descends into the water slowly and stands at the particular area of 'Sonalidighi' looking at the road for the arrival of Sujay.
Due to heavy rain Sujay did not come out of home and absented himself from coaching class. In the evening, he along with his parents and other family members were enjoying together in eating hot fritters (a type of fast food) and gossiping sitting in their dining hall. Hearing the ringing tone of big wall clock Sujay gets shocked and notices the time is 7 PM; being surprised feels hammering in the core, stops eating his half bitten fritter. He remembers his commitment given to Sujata a few months ago; keeps two fritters (snacks) in his pocket hidden silently, making a trick tells his parents that he has to go immediately for collection of some notes for his upcoming exam from his friend Akhilesh who resides at the end of their village. Taking an umbrella along with torchlight he walks as fast as possible to reach the edge of 'Sonalidighi'. Darkness has covered the whole area of Sonalidighi, continuous raining and cold have compelled all the villagers of Govindapur to be cramped inside the four walls. So, nobody is seen outside the house in the village. Reaching the road beside 'Sonalidighi' Sujay does not see anybody in the whole area. He stands at the particular place from where he meets Sujata regularly and further torches on the water. Nothing is visible in darkness; suddenly he hears a sound in the water; quickly torches on the spot and notices someone like a shadow is coming forward towards the edge of 'Sonalidighi'. Immediately torchlight focuses on the shadowy body and he identifies Sujata, is trying to ascend from water. She comes forward near to him slowly, stands in wet sari shivering all over. Her body is as cold as ice and she cannot say anything. Immediately throwing the umbrella on the ground he holds her right hand tightly, pulls her within his arm's reach at once and further hugs her tightly. Shivering Sujata says in trembling voice, "Sir, have you come here for me only? I've been waiting for long time standing in the water for you." Being emotional Sujay undresses his shirt hastily and begins to wipe her wet hairs by two hands; getting a touch of his body Sujata becomes thrilled and passionate. She feels inexplicable joy and excitement holding his body tightly. In consequence of constant touch of her body with Sujay her shivering transforms into warmth slowly; Sujay quickly finds out two snacks from inside his pocket and holds before her mouth politely. Sujata bites one snack and whispers, "Do you love me so?"
Sujay: "I need nothing except you, you're everything in my life."
Gradually the topic of deep relation between Sujay and Sujata and their secret affairs spread everywhere in the village like oil on water. One day hearing the fact from villagers, Shyamsundar becomes fired with rage, calls immediately with gravity his son Shivsundar and daughter-in-law Uma Devi in his room and says, "My very young grandson Sujay has gone to the dogs due to indulgence of both of you. Being parents you never watch where your son is going or what he is doing in the absence of you. I think you are not ideal parents of Sujay. All villagers are sitting and telling me Sujay is a black sheep in our royal family. Even though you are parents of Sujay but so slapdash that you don't know he is out of his depth."
The result of Joint Entrance Examination will be out within a few days, but Sujay is not aware by the slightest hint that what type of mesh bedded by his father and grandfather together for his marriage. They have finalized his marriage with Adhunika who is an only daughter of great businessman Sukamol Banerjee of the nearby village looking at their family status, wealth, culture and education. In addition his grandfather has threatened to the parents of Sujata telling their daughter will never meet Sujay in future otherwise they will be deprived of basic facilities through village administration which is governed by him. Father Nemai Dolui warns his daughter Sujata severely and directs her not to meet Sujay hereafter. He also advises telling, "They are very rich men; Sujay will suck and eat your blood and flesh of youth first and thereafter quenching his thrust of corporal desire will throw you on the street giving allegation you are nothing but a prostitute. Then you would have no option other than to commit suicide or living as a prostitute in a brothel."
Sujay comes to know from his mother the entire fact just before one day of announcement of his result. The news of his marriage with Adhunika brings to him like a bolt from the blue. Now Sujata is little matured; Sujay goes to his ancestral garden far away from his residence along with Sujata where an old house is surrounded by mango, guava, coconut and many other trees. They sit under a mango tree and Sujay discloses everything to her in detail. Those who are not educated, we call them fool; although they are not really so fool but simple and innocent. Unfortunately sometimes, we count them in the foolish category by mistake because of their simplicity. Even though they have no academic career but their sense of duty can touch the highest peak of humanity. They are greater in the field of humanity in comparison to them who have digested many pages in the name of the degree in colleges and universities.
Sujata: Sir, you so reach……we can never stand beside you being counterpart; but, I have to see you happy always. It will bring a majestic peace and joy to me if you stay in happiness marrying Adhunika. Now I'm telling the words of my core that I'll not stay away from you for a long time. So it is my earnest request which you will accept giving me a chance to serve for you. Please, you promise me you will accept one request of my life, I will demand nothing more in future. Now tell me do you agree with me?
Sujay: Okay, I promise that I'll fulfil your demand.
Sujata: After your marriage to Adhunika, you will need a maidservant for the cleaning of your house and washing clothes and utensils etc. Don't be worried, I know how to clean everything as it should be. You see, I'll swipe courtyard, wash all the garments of your family and utensils leaving after a meal. Please promise me that you'll give me a chance to do this work for you. I'll be satisfied thinking I've got a chance to provide my service to you and your family for your joy and happiness.
Sujay: Can't say anything in response to her speech; feeling excessive grief and sorrow says mildly, "Okay, I promise."
Sujay passed with a high score in Joint Entrance Examination and selected for getting admission in MBBS. With great excitement and joy while he is coming back to his home from town suddenly a truck pushes his motorcycle from the back. He along with his motorcycle scatters on the road; Sujay sustains a major injury at his ankle and lower portion of the leg. Immediately he is shifted to a nearby hospital by the passer-by for medical treatment. His life is saved but the injury is so serious that his bone breaks into several pieces which are seen vividly in X-Ray report. The treating doctor advises with grief to amputate the lower portion of his leg as early as possible having no other option for recovery except replacing it with an artificial leg.
Sukamal Sarkar is informed about the incident of Sujay. He comes to see him in the hospital and discusses with the surgeon about the injury of Sujay. When he is ascertained that injury of Sujay is everlasting, he sends a message to Shyamsundar rejecting marriage to her daughter Adhunika with Sujay. He informs that he will never accept a cripple being as his son-in-low. Lying on the bed in the hospital with plaster on right leg Sujay feels alone and starts thinking how he will live whole life like a disabled person! He will not be able to walk like a common man. Every day a number of family members, friends and relatives come to meet Sujay in hospital and they solace him to do his best job after discharge forgetting the injury. Sujay thinks lying on the bed how and when the way of life becomes changed nobody can imagine. The time for visiting in the hospital is over. A Nurse enters into the ward of Sujay to close all the windows for the rest of the patients at night. Suddenly she tells in low voice, "So many people have come to see the patient whole day long but that girl is totally different. In spite of my several caveats, she is still standing outside the room conniving at my caution for getting a look of him. I have rejected her repeated requests telling the patient is now taking rest; perhaps the girl is not educated and fails to understand the norms of this hospital….." Hearing the words of the Nurse in low voice 'the girl is not educated' Sujay feels repeated hammering in his heart. Forgetting all of his pain and sorrow, he steadfastly sits on the bed and eagerly requests the Nurse to allow the girl immediately for a few minutes only. Looking at his face the Nurse becomes surprised and says with confusion, "Okay, please wait." She comes out from the ward for calling the girl.
Being embarrassed Sujata enters in the room morosely wearing an old but dry cleaned sari, binding hairs tightly by a red ribbon, using lamp-black on both eyes deeply, polishing cream on the face to remove little bit of her black colour stands near to the bed of Sujay and looks at him confusedly. She rolls on his plaster on leg slowly by her soft fingers and asks to gulp politely, "Sir, had you sustained serious injury?"
Sujay: Looking at her innocent face surprisingly replies, "Yes, I sustained a severe injury, so that a portion of my leg will be amputated by the doctor and an artificial leg replaced soon."
Sujata: Oh My God !!!…..no….no….never you should amputate your so beautiful leg. Could artificial leg made by wood be so useful? It will never be so functional like the real one.
Sujay: Tell me, what shall I do now? There is no other way rather than amputation of my leg as advised by the doctor.
Sujata: Why not my amputated leg be replaced to you? Please, you tell the doctor to amputate my leg immediately. Of course, my leg is not so fair like you and having a little smell of soil as I work in the field the whole day long daily. Listen to me, you should not waste time; tell the doctor to cut my leg at once.
Sujay: Eyes filled with tear, tells swigging, "From right now you never call me Sir but call me by name. I wish to know will you not suffer after amputation of your leg?
Sujata; "Wow….why shall I suffer! I shall be staying in happiness always looking my leg affixed with your body for your service, but why are you crying? Sujay…..really you are a fool…..you can't understand……"
Shyamsundar was looking everything standing aside. He comes near to Sujata, keeping his hand on her head says politely, "I don't know what Sujay has understood, but I've understood this much that the meaning of love is to sacrifice for wellbeing of beloved without any expectation from him or her, otherwise love is nothing but a word only. Sujay has passed the Joint Entrance Exam for MBBS but you have passed the Joint Entrance Examination of love. Do you know as to why most of the families are unhappy nowadays? The reason behind unhappiness is our egotism. When couple will say each other leaving egotism, "I will live for loving you and not for myself" then married life will be peaceful. One day you will be the bride of our grandson Sujay. As you are ready to sacrifice yourself for the sake of your love, then it is not so difficult for you to memorize a few pages. Now you have to promise me that you will do something for me and Sujay. My belief you can do your job properly as your age is not over.
Sujaata: Being embarrassed asks with confusion, "Please tell me what shall I do?"
Shyamsundar: You should qualify for the degree of PhD.
Sujata: What is PhD !!!!
Shyamsundar: Sujay will convince you how and when you will qualify PhD.
Sujata starts learning beside study of Sujay for MBBS. Gradually she completes her Graduation through college, Post-Graduation from university and PhD. She stands joyfully holding the certificate of PhD in front of Shyamsundar and tells enthusiastically, "Knowledge is greater than caste, religion and richness, notwithstanding love is greater than all. By virtue of love, you could spread the message of peace and unite all inhabitants in the world, but nor by your knowledge or wealth. "