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HARSH TRIPATHI

Drama Thriller


2.8  

HARSH TRIPATHI

Drama Thriller


The Duo - Yuyutsu

The Duo - Yuyutsu

35 mins 135 35 mins 135


Akbarabad….means the largest district of the largest province of India. It was located at almost 100-120 kms. east to provincial capital Lucknow and it was at the junction point of Awadh and Poorvanchal regions. The people of Awadh considered it as a city of Awadh while the Poorvanchali people regarded it as a city of East Uttar Pradesh. Its population was around 43 lakhs in 1993-94. In ancient times the city was called ‘Ganga Prayag’ as it was situated at the confluence of mighty and sacred rivers Ganga and Yamuna. In medieval times, the name was changed as Akbarabad. From then the city has been known as Akbarabad for the centuries. Recently in 2018, when after securing victory in assembly election Rashtriya Shram Shakti Party came back to power after a very long time, it changed again the name of the district as ‘Azadnagar’. It was named after the great freedom fighter and revolutionary Shri. Surya Shekar Shukla 'Azad' who attained martyrdom in a gun-battle against the British forces at Company Bagh garden of the city during freedom struggle days. He was a respected member of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. Renaming the district as Azadnagar had been a major point in the party manifesto for a long time and when the party got power again, it happened soon.

Though older generations, which have also a sizable chunk of youth population still prefer old name Akbarabad, saying that they love this name as it brings an old-world charm, a unique identity and freshness in mind and tongue too. Some other people are not liking the renaming and say that this is not more than a political stunt. They counter that renaming does not bring any significance and the Government must address the basic and fundamental problem of the city, both in letter and spirit. Also, some sects strongly advocate renaming.


Anyways, there are always supporters and critiques of any decision taken by the Government.


Everything associated with this largest district of the largest province of India was unique. Akbarabad’s political and historical significance was immense. It was the epicentre of all important political developments during the freedom struggle days. Nehru's home district was Akbarabad. India's leading political figures frequently visited Akbarabad during those days. The city also hosted many important sessions of both the Muslim League and Congress party in which many historical decisions were taken. After independence, this clout of Akbarabad increased further. Nehru ji continued to be elected as an M.P. until his death, from the Phulpur Lok Sabha constituency of this district. After that too, Akbarabad remained very important and MPs and MLAs from Akbarabad continued to hold very significant portfolios in both Central government and provincial government from time to time.

High Court of the province was located in Akbarabad, so many reputed lawyers, judges and Chief Justice too lived here. Public Service Commission of the province was also located here along with the Police Training and Administrative Training Academies of the province. Akbarabad University was established here in way back in 1860 and it was one of the oldest and most prestigious universities of not only the province but of the whole of India. It was an institution where thousands of students per year from East U.P., Bihar, and West Bengal flocked in to fulfil their dreams and to shape up their destiny along with that of the country. Not only University but the city was home of many reputed Degree Colleges, two prestigious Engineering Colleges, one renowned Medical College, three Polytechnic Colleges, where thousands of student came every year and studied. Akbarabad was on top of the list of the places where retired persons always wanted to settle after the service. One can gauge the clout of Akbarabad just from the fact that the city had given 3 Prime Ministers to this country, along with dozens of Cabinet ministers and countless IAS, IPS, PCS officers. In 1993-94 Akbarabad consisted of 4 Lok Sabha constituencies, Akbarabad North (Phulpur), Akbarabad South, Akbarabad West and Akbarabad Central. 8 Vidhaan Sabha constituencies were distributed among those Lok Sabha seats. Mr. Vindhyeshwari Prasad Pathak was the Member of Parliament from Akbarabad Central Lok Sabha constituency.


If one terms Pathak ji as a legendary stalwart of the contemporary Akbarabad politics, certainly he would be not at fault. He won Phulpur Legislative Assembly constituency thrice in a row and was appointed Cabinet minister in provincial Cabinet twice. Then when his party decided not to field him for Lok Sabha elections, he revolted against his own party and launched a completely new outfit Rashtriya Shramshakti Party with the help of his close and trusted aides like Krishna Prasad Mishra, Babu Ujjawal Singh etc. He contested Lok Sabha elections and won it. Since then there had been no looking back, and he had been winning continuous 4 Lok Sabha elections from Akbarabad Central Lok Sabha seat. In this process, he was appointed Cabinet Minister berth in Central Govt. Cabinet twice. This time too, the offer was there but he declined it due to health reasons. His astute political acumen and foresightedness made it possible that his party came back to power in the largest province of the country. Besides it, his party managed to be an alliance partner in the ruling coalition government at the centre twice in a row. Pathak ji was an expert who could count on a flying bird, as He already sensed the upcoming times of coalition governments, both at states and centre. The party was also performing better with every election in neighbouring provinces. It means that any political party did not matter to him. If he would have resigned from this party and contested elections as an independent candidate or as a candidate of any other party, he would have won that too. Ruling party or opposition did not matter to him. Every party's leader, be it a newcomer or veteran regarded him in high esteem and always wanted to be in his good books. 


Pathak ji put in so much hard work, only then he managed to reach at such heights. From the beginning, he kept himself very focused upon the issues related to farmers, labourers and the poor. He continuously portrayed himself as a tirelessly working leader for that marginalized section of the society, and in return, he enjoyed full trust and faith of this class towards him. He won assembly election thrice from an established party and it was never easy to form a new political outfit, to contest Parliamentary election and to secure victory but he managed to pull the things off, only because of the belief that the vote bank which he had cultivated over the years would never desert him. It happened exactly the way he wanted. He formed a completely new political party named Rashtriya Shramshakti Party and He won the Lok Sabha election as the candidate of this new outfit too. By naming his party as "Shramshakti" he clarified the political leanings of the party. He had been continuously raising the issues of farmers, labourers, and the poor even it hampered the prospects of his own party some times. Political Party never mattered to him and he just wanted to be the undisputed crown king of Akbarabad politics and it was only possible with the help of that uneducated, rural, marginalized section of the society. It was actually, not the truth that he had feelings of compassion and empathy towards this section of the population but it was simple electoral mathematics, it was pure political foresight and acumen. Farmers and the poor formed a major chunk of the voters and as per the Indian electoral system, the first-past-the-post system, if somebody would have managed this chunk of voters, he or she would have surely grabbed the power. Pathak ji ,in his whole political life, applied these very mathematics to the perfection, with complete authority and astuteness and the result was that Pathak ji was really the undisputed crown king of Akbarabad and East U.P. politics. He imbibed wholeheartedly the definition of Politics given by the great Aristotle that "Politics is nothing but it is an art to capture and to sustain the power. That's it."


There were 4 members in Pathak family. Pathak ji himself, along with his wife Rajini devi Pathak, a daughter Geetika Pathak and the black sheep, the headache and the biggest worry of the family, his only son Vaibhav Pathak. He was pathetic at study, could not get admission in any Degree college of the city, leave the University alone. Then he completed his Graduation, a second division B.A. from distance education. He was not a young gun for sure, but his activities and conduct was such that his legendary father had to request with folded hands umpteen times, to so many people, to cover him up. A son is always a weakness of the family, after all. A person who dares to conquer the world feels helpless in front of his own son. Pathak ji was not an exception. He used to call many times to the Akbarabad Police Commissioner, used to send messages to the various Thana in-charges, used to call S.P., Akbarabad frequently for delaying the investigation work against Vaibhav in so many incidents. Gambling, drinking, prostitution, money extortion, creating nuisance in broad day-light in bustling markets, to threaten the people using his father's clout like "Do you know, who am I?......I am Vaibhav Pathak, son of Pathak ji…….i will strip off your skin, you son of a bitch!!...", to enter forcibly in University premises and causing trouble there, even in Girls hostel and creating havoc, to consume and smuggle the banned drugs, these were the problems causing by his own son which Pathak ji had to encounter every now and then. That guy was master of all those evils. He managed illegal sex racket too in some University hostels and in some hotels of Akbarabad. Pathak ji was well aware of this too. Many of his friends were working as high-level officials in Lucknow and neighbouring districts. There they worked under the supervision of senior officials and their families so they were not able to satiate their lust and carnal desires. Therefore they used to call him and he arranged girls for them in University hostels and hotels secretly. Because of the stature of Pathak ji, no one mentioned Vaibhav's activities to him, but behind his back every one used only cuss words and derogatory comments for Vaibhav. He was the one whom everybody hated to and among the haters, leaders and party workers of Shramshakti Party were prominent. Interestingly, Pathak ji knew all these things. Vaibhav considered party workers and leaders who came to meet his father as only servants and many incidents also happened there when he called some party worker to bring his shoes and put them on his legs "O you son of a bitch!!...my shoes are there inside the rack, bring them to me". Opposition leaders frequently targeted and embarrassed Pathak ji due to deeds of his son, then Pathak ji reminded them about their personal, friendly relations and tried his best to pacify them.

Pathak ji had to suffer a lot because of his son but Vaibhav remained completely unaffected of it. Pathak ji arranged some businesses for him and married him to a very decent girl Beena Sharma from Kanpur so that he might focus upon his income and family,and shift the attention from his evils but he could not do even that also. He used to come home late at night in an inebriated condition, he used to beat her hungry and thirsty wife mercilessly, abused her, even after marriage he continued his late-night rendezvous with other women. His wife frequently complained to her parents who in turn complained to Pathak ji and his wife but the result was a big zero. Within just 3 years, his wife was fed up with him and left the in-law’s home with her 2 years old girl for her parental home in Kanpur. She had been residing there for the last 3 years and was working as a school teacher. Beena was in touch with her in-laws and frequently called them but she did not call even once in the last 3 years to her husband and irony was, even her husband did not care about it. People were surprised at him that was the person aware of the existence of his wife and daughter?


But mother Rajini Devi Pathak never considered Vaibhav as a guilty. He was her only child and it mattered the most to her. She always considered Vaibhav as a would-be-MP from Akbarabad Central Lok sabha constituency. She always ignored his mistakes and always found faults of other people for his misdeeds. For example “…no, no…Vaibhav does not drink now. Maybe some old friend would have offered him so he could not refuse, and that too once in a month or two…” , “Vaibhav never Gambles…people are running after him unnecessarily just because they can not digest his successful business. They are blaming him". She always tried her best to defend him every time. Even She held Beena responsible for the troubled marriage of her son, "that girl was not good…. I do not know what Pathak ji saw in her,….she always chatted with the friends of her husband gleefully while threw anger and tantrums to her own husband…..tell me, is this a proper conduct of a married woman?....and some petty issues, one or the other, frequently crop up between a husband and wife in every home, this is the reality….is not it?.....tell me a couple which does not face it…..and even if he slaps you sometimes in anger, does it matter this much?....is your ego larger than your family?.....he is your husband after all, does he not have even this much right over you?....you are a woman, you should have tolerance….you should be a large-hearted person. The Almighty created women after so much of thoughts….our society and religion have laid down some conduct and principles for women, after putting so much of thoughts…..does it mean that you leave your in-law’s home?….that too within just 3 years of marriage?.....and after all, you have delivered a baby girl, not a baby boy”.


As much as Pathak ji was angry with his son, he was very happy with his daughter Geetika. Geetika too was pretty much like that. People were observing a glimpse of Pathak ji in her. She was an outstanding student, completed her education from Akbarabad University. She had completed four-first class degrees, along with a superb M.Phil. followed by an LLB from Akbarabad University. She was regarded as an assertive and successful lawyer practising at Akbarabad High Court and at District Court. She used to write columns in newspapers. Not only this, she frequently visited in rural areas of her father's constituency, along with him. So the people there knew her and especially farmers, labourers, widows and even children put forward their concerns to her frequently. Her influential persona, oratory skills and very simple, down-to-earth nature, dignified behaviour and conduct her a darling of masses. Pathak ji, his party workers and other leaders liked her very much, but mother Rajini devi and brother Vaibhav were always against her. They never liked her, and this feeling was mutual. They had a very tensed and unhealthy relationship. Geetika never liked talking to them. Pathak ji was well aware of this. He married her off to a Nandan Agrawal, the only son of a real estate gaint of UP, Mr. Ratan Agrawal and the mother-son duo objected on it too. They said that their objection was at the inter-caste marriage, “Brahmin ho kar Baniya ke ghar shaadi kar di (you married her off to a Baniya caste, despite being a Brahmin)”, but the actual reality was something else. Their objection was there because of the huge wealth and financial clout of Agrawal family in the state and Geetika was going to be their only daughter-in-law. Pathak ji was a sharp-minded, a shrewd politician. He always garnered votes from the marginal class of the society, the poor and advocated their causes but when it came to marrying his own daughter, he opted for the only son of a wealthy business family. He, of course, thought about Geetika's life after marriage, at her in-law's home but he calculated also that for party funds there would be a permanent source of a decent amount of money. Such was his foresightedness. Geetika and Nandan were completing their 3 years of marriage, with their 2 years old daughter Aruna. As Geetika was also looking into most of the works of Pathak ji’s constituency and her in-law’s home was in same city, she also spent significant time at her father’s home too.


Krishna Prasad Mishra, who was affectionately called as “Krishna babu”, was the most trusted lieutenant of Pathak ji and earned blind faith of the latter. Pathak ji treated him perhaps more than a younger brother. He befriended with Pathak ji since their University days when Pathak ji was nothing more than a youth leader. When Pathak ji was elected second time as an MLA, and got a Cabinet berth he managed to send Krishna Babu to Legislative Council as an MLC. In the next Assembly elections, Krishna babu contested from Meja Assembly constituency of Akbarabad and secured a victory and entered into the assembly with Pathak ji. When Pathak ji revolted against his own party for a Lok Sabha ticket, Krishna babu fully supported him and they both formed Rashytriya Shramshakti Party. Then Pathak ji contested from Akbarabad Central Lok Sabha seat leaving the Phulpur Assembly constituency vacant for his dear Krishna Babu. Since then both of them had been winning the Akbarabad Central Lok Sabha seat and Phulpur Assembly seat respectively. The organizational abilities of Krishna Babu were beyond any comparison, so he was given charges to strengthen the newly formed party in different provinces and he handled the responsibilities beautifully. He never opted for a ministerial bearth and always worked with dedication for the organization. It was the reason, that party was performing quite well in other regions too. In the newly form Cabinet after the last election, finally, Krishna Babu agreed to be a minister.

Krishna Babu had a son named Vijay raj Mishra. Vijay grew up in pretty modest settings, and was very good at study right from the beginning. He completed all of his studies from Akbarabad University. He bagged first class Graduation and Masters form Political Science and International Relations, followed by an M.Phil., and then a Ph.D. from that very subject. During Ph.D. he also earned the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship. He was also elected once as the Vice President of Akbarabad University Student Union and he was famous in the University campus for his in-depth knowledge, oratory skills and strong ability to debate and discussing the various issues.


Vijay was actually influenced by the leftist ideology and felt compassion and empathy towards farmers, the poor, labourers, disabled people and pensioners. He always thought to do something significant for these groups of the society. He used to go with his friends and Shramshakti party workers, in remotely located rural areas, listened to the problems and concerns of the rural population, noted them meticulously and after thorough research, presented the study and outcomes to Pathak ji and Krishna Babu. He frequently wrote articles in newspapers too. Pathak ji and Krishna Babu were very happy with him thinking that his work would definitely strengthen the party in those areas and eventually the party would garner more votes and more power. The party was reaping benefits of Vijay's hard work. Pathak ji used to think many a time that why Vijay was not his own son. He used to joke frequently with Krishna Babu “Krishna Babu, kuchh achchhe hi karm zaroor kiye honge aapne jo Vijay jaisi aulaad mili apko (Krishna Babu you must have done some good karma so that The God bestowed the son like Vijay upon you)”. The party workers and leaders always looked up to Vijay as Pathak ji's worthy successor. Krishna Babu himself wanted it internally but he never expressed to anyone about it even a bit, even in some lighter vein. His sharp mind always reminded him about Vaibhav, Pathak ji's own son. Thinking that, Pathak ji would naturally prefer his own son to continue his political legacy, rather than Vijay, Krishna Babu remained tight-lipped and he used to evade the question.

But Vijay was a different person who was almost detached from such ambitions. More than the party's image, he was interested in the welfare of marginalized and weaker sections of the society and it continued to churn his inner conscience that's why made him restless. He did want to get married and Krishna Babu termed his decision as impractical, unsocial and utopian. He frequently reminded him about marriage and its importance and clearly showed his unhappiness during arguments with Vijay "Why not marriage?....what is the problem in getting married?.....do you think that the married persons can not be successful?....or are they fool?.....look at Pathak ji, look at me, your own father….are not we married?...and listen Vijay!!...if I and your mother had not married, certainly you would not have existed. If not for me, at least think about your mother's deteriorating health. She wants to see her daughter-in-law, and why only she, for that matter?....everybody want to see getting their children married and their happy family life. What is the problem in that?....we are of course not an exception of it. We have also right to see our happy and complete family….why you are denying it?” Actually, Vijay’s mother was suffering from a serious heart ailment and She wanted his marriage very soon. Krishna Babu had picked the daughter of one of his old friends, Mr. Surendra Mohan, for Vijay. Her name was Chhaya. Vijay was not ready for marriage first but after marriage, he decided that he would be fully loyal and faithful to his wife and family and live a happy married life as lakhs of the people in this society live. After his marriage, his mother had gone soon. Vijay and Chhaya had a 3 years old daughter too.


Chhaya studied from Lucknow University and basically was a materialistic and ambitious woman. She was not getting the simple living-high thinking, idealistic views of her husband. In her student life at Lucknow University she befriended with some students who were very much like her and later, some of them attained top positions in leading MNCs, some of them excelled in their family businesses, some of them left India and had settled abroad, while Chhaya was married to Vijay who was not interested in such materialism altogether. So Chhaya was frustrated and depressed. She agreed for this marriage because Vijay was the rising star of Shramshakti Party. He was regarded as the popular, promising, young leader of the state, and he was the son of a four-time MLA, a senior, respected leader of the party and the terms between Mishra family and Pathak family were too good. But what She found in Vijay after marriage, was completely opposite of her thoughts, so She was not feeling good. Her pain increased manifold whenever She heard about the life of her college-mates. Out of this frustration, She frequently argued with Vijay behind close doors "Have only you taken the responsibility for the upliftment of those poor people of remote villages?......people count their benefits, they make huge money for them and their families out of Politics and they live a happy, luxurious life with their loved ones….please look around, look at anybody….look at that duffer and idiot, a good for nothing Vaibhav Pathak, and then…think about yourself. Vijay, you should aim high and push further, I promise whatever help I can, I will, but you should change your thought process and beliefs. You have a wife, and a daughter today, who will grow up…..tomorrow we will have another child too…..you should think like that. How long will you suppress yourself under the baggage of your lofty ideals and principles? They actually, do not have any value in these times. You should talk to your father that your name should be forwarded as an MLA or MP candidate and that too, very soon. Otherwise, you would be lagged far behind those rascals and idiots like Vaibhav Pathak and others like him , despite all of your academic brilliance and hard work for the party”.

Vijay countered “Chhaya, I am doing my work diligently, each and everybody in the party, including Pathak ji know this quite well. Pathak ji and other people know this perfectly that people like Vaibhav are neither doing anything nor they can do anything for the party. I will definitely get my due one day, its just a matter of time. You should pray that I may continue my good work further. As far as the working for rural masses, marginalized sections of our people are concerned then I will say, I do not do this for any reward from the party, I am doing this only for my internal conscience and satisfaction. I feel myself as a content and happy man by doing such work. Its just a coincidence that Krishna Babu is my father. I might be a child of some slum-dweller, then I might not even pass the eighth standard, leave alone University, Ph.D. and Fulbright. What I am doing, as they say, maybe this record is being kept with God….people say that there is always delay, but not deny, so definitely I will get one day what I am worthy of. I will get my due in due course of time. This is my truth when we have a daughter, and it will remain my truth even if we will have another daughter too". Thus Vijay always left Chhaya speechless.

Chhaya was feeling frustrated with this philosophy of her husband. She argued further "Vijay, how innocent you are?....how it is possible?.....you are in this bloody, dirty politics Vijay. You will have to crush somebody's head in order to rise further otherwise somebody will crush your head. Look at Pathak ji for a while…..had he not revolted against his former party and had he not formed a new political party, what would have happened? He would have remained only an MLA till now. Now look at him, he is a four-time MP from City Central, he has enjoyed the Cabinet ministerial bearth at the centre twice in a row. His party is the ruling party in this state and his name works, be it at Lucknow or Delhi. You should definitely think about it. I am not saying that you should leave the party or the work you love and enjoy but what I am saying is that the party should realize your hard work and your worth. There may be some people in the party who do not want you to rise further……and if anyone can make money, he or she should definitely make it….there is no problem in that. There is nothing wrong in making money for the person himself and for his family. Everybody does this, be it Pathak ji or whoever…..you should be practical at least”.

Vijay replied “Yes, I am practical and that’s why I am working for those poor people. This is the very vote bank which has made Pathak ji invincible…….those poor people and farmers must be heard…..this is a democracy and those poor people are actually the masters. Nothing can be done without their support. Chhaya immediately countered "O.K.,….then will you tell me how many sons of other leaders visit those far-flung areas to inquire about the problems of those poor people?......how many times that Vaibhav pathak have visited there? Vijay replied "It does not matter to me what other people do….I don't want to be embarrassed whenever I look myself in a mirror. That's it!!"    


A frustrated Chhaya asked this to her father-in-law, Krishna babu “Papa, you should counsel him for a while. I don't have any objection toward his work or ideology but he should be aware that he has a family, a wife and a daughter…one always need money, but that is one thing. The main point is he is working tirelessly for the party and party is reaping benefits of it. Now if a person works with such dedication,the party should reward him certainly. Party should think about the future of this man. Party must offer him an assembly seat or a Lok Sabha seat…..he is thinking that the party would notice his work and dedication and he would be rewarded for sure, while the reality is starkly different. The reality is that this is a bloody, dirty politics…..no one is interested in your benefit without his or her own interests. People don’t even offer “Namaste” to somebody without any interest. Vijay does not understand this thing. Papa, you have a voice in the party….please forward Vijay’s name for an Assembly or Lok Sabha seat.”


These were the things which had been troubling Krishna babu for long, but he never mentioned this to Pathak ji. He knew this perfectly that be it his own party or any other party, there was no such hardworking, popular youth leader as his son was, and contrary to other sons of other politicians, Vijay was highly qualified, and was very active in almost every constituency of Akbarabad. Krishna Babu indeed desperately wanted that party itself should initiate Vijay’s name for Assembly Elections or Lok Sabha elections but he also knew very well that Vaibhav, the son of Pathak ji, was also there in contention and if Vaibhav would be sidelined somehow because of his activities and public image, Geetika would give a very tough fight to Vijay. It was a utopia to think that Pathak ji would give preference to Vijay over his own children Vaibhav and Geetika. It was also a truth that many leaders would approach Pathak ji for their own children, and Krishna Babu was never that kind of person. He did not approach Pathak ji even once, neither for himself nor for Vijay. He himself got ministerial berth very late in his carrier and Lok Sabha seat was still a dream to him. In such a situation, how much he could push for Vijay in the party , that was a big question. Being a father, he knew quite well his son Vijay that he would also not approach himself, neither to Pathak ji nor to his own father, Krishna Babu.

He finally decided that in next meeting of party's national working committee which was to be held in Delhi shortly, he would gauge the extent of support in favour of Vijay among party's leaders and workers. He would try to calibrate the mood inside the party that up to which extent, Vijay's name could be pushed.


Lok Sabha elections were knocking the door. Only 18 months were left. The political manoeuvring had been started in the parties and the aspirants were making rounds and rounds of party offices. The senior leaders were being approached by these aspirants too. Shram Shakti party was not any exception too. In these circumstances, the meeting of the party's national working committee was called upon in Delhi. The ticket distribution was a minor issue in the party, the major issue was the political legacy of Pathak ji and its continuation. The critical question was the political future of Pathak ji, and the future of the party linked to it. Since the announcement of the date of this meeting, the excitement and speculations among T.V. and Print media were high. Everybody knew that Pathak ji's health was continuously deteriorating. He declined ministerial post too in Central Govt. Cabinet. Now so many questions were there as would he contest again from Akbarabad Central Lok Sabha seat? If he would not then who? Would it be Vaibhav pathak? Would Geetika Pathak contest instead of her father? Would Krishna Babu's son Vijay will get the reward of his services? Would he get the ticket? What about the post of Party’s President? Would Pathak ji resign form Party’s President post also? Would Krishna Babu be the new Party’s Chief? Due to continuously deteriorating condition, if Pathak ji would withdraw himself from Party’s affairs and activities then what would be the electoral prospects of the party in upcoming elections? Would the Party continue to maintain the same level of trust among the voters without Pathak ji? All these were very crucial issues to be solved and Pathak ji knew it well.

TV and Newspapers made this turmoil in the party reach to every household. One day, after hearing one such news bulletin, Rajini devi switched off the TV and sat comfortably on the sofa of her drawing-room. It was evening time, and Pathak ji was about to return. 3 or 4 newspapers were there, on the table in front of her. She observed that in almost every newspaper, the issue related to Shramshakti party and Working Committee meeting and Pathak ji’s succession was covered in bold letters. She again threw the newspapers on the table and busted into anger "Only this single news, wherever you see in newspapers…..as there is no other issue in the world. How it possible that somebody is raising questions over the Akbarabad Central Lok Sabha seat?.....it is a very simple fact that Vaibhav is going to represent it….there is nothing to discuss about. After some time Pathak ji's car arrived in porch. Pathak ji entered into the room and went to her wife. He sat on the sofa beside her, putting off his specs which he kept on the table. He put his head on the headrest of the sofa and closed her eyes. "have some tea?" Rajini devi asked politely. With closed eyes, Pathak ji replied in a tired and low voice “wait, let me have a bath first.” Then he slowly started towards bath room.


Pathak ji had become so weak by then. His immunity had become so low. He had been suffering from Diabetes for almost 30-35 years and his body paid a heavy cost for it. Also, he had been facing Blood Pressure problems for the last 9-10 years. Arthritis was also looming large over him and long duration of multiple diseases caused serious damage to his eyes, kidneys, and heart. He was being treated at Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi. He visited the hospital once in every 45 to 60 days. He became more vulnerable and for works related to his constituency, he was now more dependent upon Geetika and Krishna Babu, so the rumours mills were churning out news and speculations.

After the bath, Pathak ji returned to the sofa and Rajini devi brought tea for him. During tea, she tried to guess his thoughts and asked him “so are you going to Delhi next week?”

Pathak ji replied sipping tea, without looking at her "Yes…..it is important to visit the doctor now…then there is a party meeting too…..I will go to Delhi."

Rajini Devi said, "then please take Vaibhav too with you….it is crucial to be someone with you after all……you are not well these days…..if you say, then I will also accompany you."

Pathak ji tried to explain her “Oh No….no such thing is there….not to worry about….and then there are others too like Krishna Babu and Ujjawal singh ji will be there.”

Then Rajini Devi said hesitatingly "If he goes with you…..then he will watch and learn to attend Party meetings…..he will learn to meet and to talk to the party leaders and workers……he will observe the specifics of party meetings……after all, these are very important to him. It is like the learning process. If he will not learn, how will he shape up himself?"

Pathak ji finished his tea, put his empty cup on the table. Then he sat relaxed on the sofa with legs squatted upon the couch and said to Rajini Devi "You are starting the same thing again, while you know all the things clearly."


Both were watching each other silently, then Pathak ji started –


“to meet the leaders and the workers….to learn the specifics of the meeting…..tell me only one thing, just leave the Delhi meeting, in how many party meetings even at Lucknow and here in Akbarabad, he did participate? He has not attended even once…..here in our party office too, he visits just for 5-10 minutes and that too in a month or two. What will he do by attending Delhi meeting? Whole day and night…..he lives high on liquor, liquor and only liquor…..nothing else. He visits even my constituency only at the time of elections, and that too upon insisting and being scolded so many times. He behaves so badly with party leaders and workers…..why do you think that somebody will even listen to Vaibhav? Actually it seems that he has nothing to do with our wishes. He is only interested in liquor, drugs and women. This path only leads towards the destruction of a leader."

Rajini Devi had become very angry by then. She said “these types of some petty issues are always there with the sons of every other political leaders, but their parents always promote them, they always push their names forward. Remember that Jha ji of Bihar, and your friend from Rajasthan, that Chauhan ji….their sons are even worse than Vaibhav, but after all….they are MLA now…..their fathers pursued their names and managed to get them elected.”

"That is true, but it is also true that, despite all their evils, those boys actually listen to what their parents say. Here in our case, this man never listens to us." Pathak ji reacted angrily.


Rajini Devi was listening.

 

He continued “he has a family, a wife and a daughter…..and look at him….what he does in those hotels and University’s hostels? Everybody knows about it. I desperately feel ashamed of it Rajini. It is possible that people might not speak in front of me, but behind me?....each and everybody speaks about him,….even my party's leaders and workers might speak, what can I say about other people? It is very important in politics weather the leader has a happy family or not. The rural masses assume that if a man can't make his own family happy, how will he do the same thing for them?"

Rajini Devi asked him politely “had you called to Beena’s parents?.....that she should return now….it is possible that if she comes, Vaibhav attitude may change” Pathak ji was listening silently.


She said "look….he is young blood, high on hormones…..if he finds wife at home, he will not venture outside. His wife is not here at present…..a hungry person will search outside for the food definitely…..he will go there wherever he will find food. This is an unfortunate reality."


Pathak ji was silently watching her face.


She asked again “had you talked to Beena’s parents?”

Pathak ji replied in a tired, depressed voice “yes, I had a chat. Sharma ji was insisting that we would give them an undertaking in writing that what had happened to their daughter would not take place in future……tell me Rajini, are we able to give them such undertaking in writing?”

Rajini Devi was listening quietly as she knew the reality.

Then She asked him “Bur Pathak ji….he is our son after all…..we have been telling him since his birth that only he would be the next M.P. from City Central Lok Sabha seat…..have not we?”


“Rajini, this is not the fact that I don’t want my son as an MP. I indeed desperately want that Vaibhav should carry my political legacy. But does he care?.......and look at that Krishna Babu's son, Vijay….Rajini , what should I say about him? Party workers and leaders like him so much, beyond measures. They get hypnotized and listen so carefully whenever he stand up to speak. He always visits around all constituencies of Akbarabad, far-flung rural areas with the party workers and his colleagues and bring the problem of the masses, farmers, the poor on the party forum, even we are unaware of those. At times I feel that what sin we committed so that we got the son like Vaibhav and what did the Krishna Babu do, that he got Vijay? If we sideline Vijay for Vaibhav, there is a possibility of revolt or factionalism in the party.”


"I am seeing the first father of the world, who is favouring the son of another person rather than his own son……so what should I decipher?....will this Lok Sabha seat be snatched away from this Pathak family?" Rajini Devi said.


Pathak ji lowered down his legs and put his head again on the headrest, closed the eyes and said with a sigh "Absolutely not!....I am not such a fool. I have cultivated such legacy with so much of hard work, and certainly, I will not let it go easily…." , then he said something which Rajini Devi never wanted to listen and even he did not want to say. This was the thing which She considered completely unbearable. It was like molten glass to her ears "….my brilliant daughter would be the MP from City Central Lok Sabha seat.”


Hearing this, Rajini Devi lost her composure and started to spitting venom and She was breathing fire "What did you say?......that bitch….that serpent….will she be the MP from here?...will she snatch away the rights of my son Vaibhav?" She was speaking even louder "I knew it already….you always favour her….She has been your favourite child…..but one thing you must note, only my son, my Vaibhav would be the MP from City Central. That bitch…..that bad blood would file nomination papers only after my death…..not before it".

Pathak ji too reacted vehemently “Rajini ji, mind your language….behave yourself…..he is the honour of this family….she is our daughter.”

“She is your daughter, not mine!!......she is a bad blood….she is the daughter of that whore, who has died but still alive between us. I will speak loudly again and again……daughter of a bitch….daughter of a whore….a bad blood she is…” Rajini Devi was shouting angrily.


Meanwhile due to this heated exchange, Pathak ji was gasping for breath and He faltered there, near the sofa. Seeing this Rajini Devi forgot Geetika and rushed towards Pathak ji. She was calling the servants repeatedly. Listening to her cry, all the servants immediately came there and somehow made him lie on the sofa. One of them started rubbing his sole and the other one was rubbing his palms. Rajini Devi quickly called her family doctor "Hello, Doctor Mittal!!....I am Rajini Devi….Pathak ji has suddenly become unconscious….please come here immediately….I am worrying a lot." Then She sat near Pathak ji and said "Nothing will happen…. Doctor Mittal is coming…he is on the way now…..don’t worry.”

Doctor Mittal was living nearby, and He arrived within 10 minutes. He gave some first aid to Him and now He was looking a bit normal too. The doctor wrote some prescription and handed it to Rajani Devi "These are some medicines, not very much. Please send somebody to bring them." Immediately a servant started his bike and swiftly went for the medicines. The doctor again asked Her "Bhabhi ji , please be careful and make sure that He should not think too much…..it brings mental stress and tension…..and this tension would be harmful to Him". Rajini Devi nodded and Doctor Mittal went.

 

This harmful heated exchange happened because of Geetika, who was indeed Pathak ji’s favourite child and he was very fond of her. The reality of Geetika was that she was the lovechild of Pathak ji. She was born due to secret extra-marital affair of Pathak ji with one of his party workers in past named Kiran kumari. She belonged to a scheduled caste. Only three people were aware of this relationship and they were Pathak ji, Rajini Devi, and Gettika herself. Rest of the people, even Pathak ji's trusted aid Krishna Babu did not know this. To other people and to Krishna Babu too, Pathak ji told that he brought home a girl child Geetika from an orphanage and lawfully adopted her. The reality was that her mother committed suicide after her birth and before suicide handed her over to her father. She committed suicide just to save Pathak ji's political carrier so that Pathak ji would not have to face the society and its questions vis-à-vis she might also get rid of this lifelong pain of separation and a lifelong 'tag' of being the 'other woman' or 'whore'. Our society always pardons the Man, it seldom questions him but it always raises the uncomfortable question to the Woman. The 'other woman' always faces the questions and pain of taunts of the society, and even society doesn't show any interest in the answer of those questions too. That 'other woman' always goes through this pain and taunts forever. She is tagged by the society and that tag remains with her for her whole life, and after the death too. Her life becomes worse than the death. A Man is never tagged. He is a Man after all.

Pathak ji did not disclose this thing to anybody, except her wife Rajini Devi, and one should definitely appreciate Rajini Devi that she also never disclosed the truth. But because of this reality, She had a grudge against Geetika since the beginning and She simply did not want to see her.  Her animosity towards Geetika was always there and when She heard that Pathak Ji wanted to transfer his Lok Sabha seat and his political legacy to Geetika instead of Vaibhav, it was too much for Her to bear. She became furious.       

 

                                  


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