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Raghu B

Drama Tragedy


3.5  

Raghu B

Drama Tragedy


Of Bygones And Beyond

Of Bygones And Beyond

7 mins 74 7 mins 74

12.45 am

“Did you eat?”

“mm”

“Have anyone asked you about anything?”

She looked away and returned to the kitchen. 

“Did you eat?” he asked sternly, this time as if he hadn’t heard the last time.

“Yes,” she said feebly.

“Ok”

He changed from his uniform to his nightclothes. As he sat down on the mattress, he sighed. He looked at the hanging photos of gods. He put some ointment to the cut he had on his left palm. 

“Did they give you this week’s money?”

He didn’t answer his wife and lied down on the mattress as if he didn’t hear her. 

“Did you..?”

She stopped. His feet touched her lap. She thought it was unintentional. A few seconds later, he started to rattle his feet on her fabric in a frantic attempt to push her away. Her eyes widened as she looked at her husband with sullen anger. She stood up and went to sit outside.

A couple of hours later, while everyone was asleep, the phone started ringing. It rang four times. She picked it up at the fifth ring. 

“Hello,” she said in her sleepy voice.

“It is the police…”

She kept the phone and took out some money from the cupboard in the kitchen, put on her chappal, and ran to the hospital nearby.

On the way to the hospital, she fell on wet mud by the main road due to her right chappal tearing. She sat up but braced away from the bruise and threw the footwear by the side of the road itself. 

At the hospital, 

“Yes, madam?”

“I want to see Mr. Nair, he had called me half hour ago”

She was directed to the mortuary beside the hospital. 

 “This way please”

The whole corridor leading up to the mortuary room seemed grim to her. It all felt like going in slow motion. The pale and color ridden walls did contribute to the bleakness of the whole surrounding. Every trolley bed kept on the sides conveyed images of the dead that traveled on these, which was the last tragic journey of each one. The place was silent but exuded invisible echoes of howls and cries of the last who were with the deceased. The door of the mortuary room looked simple, with simple rectangular doors that had to be pushed to be opened, but it accentuated to the whole mundanity of life by being so ordinary-looking yet hiding behind it stories of horror and tragedy. 

As the door opened, it reeked of unpleasantness and dead. She covered her nose with the end of her sari and approached Mr. Nair.

“Ayaz, 32, dead with injuries to the head, crushing his skull when he fell into a manhole”

Her face had a trembled look, in shock, as though frozen, a tear had crept out now but wasn’t ready to break free from her eyes. 

“Some sanitation workers found him washed ashore near the canal”

Her fingers twitched uncontrollably as she reached for the sheet that covered his body. She could see the curly hair visible slightly above the sheet. She couldn’t let herself do this. She rushed outside and started retching. She then sat down on the stairs outside the mortuary room and cried her eyes out. 

Ayaz, still as a statue, disregarded, waiting to be disposed of like any other garbage, who only had the opportunity to see his love, after his demise. For all that he wanted was to tell her that he was going away from here, forever with some money he had got somehow.


4 hours ago, premises of a medium-sized corporation

11.30 pm  

“See you, Monday!”

“See you!”

Both of them were saying their goodbyes for the week when, 

“And don’t forget to pay up the interest for last month and the month before. You’ve come to me again, and this is the last time I’m lending you. I think you know what connections I have. I don’t want to make your life miserable”, he whispered.

He nodded in a rather embarrassed sort of way. Hung his head down and held the lakh rupees lend to him in his small bag. 

The scooter he rode was a 15 years old model that he loved but started troubling him these days. He got down from it and tried starting it again and again. The lonely road was the only companion to him and he absolutely quit scooter. He held the bag closely to his tummy, still trying to revive the machine. 

One of the streetlights partially aided him as it frequently blinked but to no avail. Someone crept up behind the tree beside the road and watching him struggling with his automobile. With every blink of the lights above, a step was advanced towards the cash in hand. He held a knife, a pocket one, which seemed like he had no intention to hurt, but only to steal. He had seen the lakh rupees getting into the bag, he had followed along the way and stopped at what looked like an opportune moment. As he slowly crept up on the rather tired man with his scooter, he grabbed the bag but was immediately caught by his shirt collar. One glimpse at the creeper and he slashed the palm of his hand and ripped apart the bag with the money and ran away. The creeper had curly black hair with brown eyes and beige complexion, he wore a traditional Indian kurta and jeans and he was fleeing.

Not a few yards from the scene of the robbery, the creeper slipped and fell into the manhole. While he was halfway into falling down, he held on to the bag in one hand and the edge of a hole in another. 

Sitting down in pain, for some time, he then got up and rushed, leaving behind his troubling scooter, in an attempt to catch the thief who caused him agony. In a few yards, he got a glimpse of something happening near the manhole in the distance. 

He couldn’t hold onto the bag and he sensed someone had seen him and so he threw the bag away which fell into the nearby parked truck. Now, he could help himself out of the hole, but the man in pain had other plans.

In the next few seconds, the following happened. The creeper trying to get out, a quarter of his head and bust on its way out of the hole, the man in pain learning that he had no bag and thus, being even more furious about it. All he did was, he lifted the manhole lid and shut him off from the rest of the world, damaging his skull and letting him flow away into the sewers.

He looked around the hole and whimpered and bawled in appalling distress at what happened and at what he had done and what he would do without the money and everything that’s bearing on him. As he walked home, pacing in big steps, his worry on his mind, there was something that made him grin. He walked, like a man, who had redeemed himself of something, like someone who let his hair down for a moment, it felt like a moment to cherish for him, the nightly cold breeze hitting his face and the cut on his palm.


Now

5 am

She didn’t want this to happen to Ayaz. Nor did she want him to leave. She had talked to him a few weeks ago. He was struggling with his mother being paralytic and sister going through a rough marriage and then a miscarriage and finally divorced, he had the burden upon himself to do something for the family. Something big. That’s what he said to her, last time she called him. She encouraged him to get a job. But he was getting frustrated with the people with money that don’t respect people like themselves. That he wouldn’t harm anyone for money. And that he would take, if ever he could, from the ones that don’t deserve it, like the department store owner who lives on his street. 

She came back home, with thoughts on her mind, about Ayaz, about her husband who was anyway going to find out and question her about him and her, and might even not want to be with her anymore. So many thoughts and ideas and reactions that she anticipated, from her husband, from the neighbors, from herself to whatever is going to unfold. 

She stepped inside her home, closed the door behind her, to find her husband dangling in mid-air from the ceiling. The look on his face was of the man that died content with whatever achievement he had achieved. The look of a man that did not regret anything.

And down she went on her knees, crying. For she had lost not only her past but also her present, unaware of the deeds and desires the dead had for her. 

Did he know Ayaz before and did he kill him knowing who he was? Did Ayaz steal from him knowing who he was?

It’s all questions amidst which she finds herself tangled and helpless, with no answers either from her past or her present.


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