The Postmaster's Wife
The Postmaster's Wife5 mins 215 5 mins 215
The postmaster and his wife were our neighbours. The postmaster had a small glossy bald head and a lanky structure but his wife was a stocky woman with a round face resembling that of goddess Durga's.She was an interfering and provocative woman. She seemed to be always in search of an occasion to pick a fight with us and the others. All of us had to bear the stings of jealousy and bad-temper.
The day my neighbour Tushar Babu bought a beautiful Skoda Rapido witnessed the worst behaviour of the postmaster's wife's Sukanti. She ranted hard and hurled abuse at imaginary beings and then at Tushar Babu who had once offered some biscuits to her dog Jolly.She strongly believed he had poisoned her dog to death.Loudly recalling her days with her dead dog she showered curses on the innocent gentleman.
Tushar Babu returned late at night and had parked his new car inside his compound close to the compound wall.He got up in the morning and went to inspect his darling car.He was profoundly shocked to notice his car spattered with fish bones,stale rice water,rice and vegetable peels and lumps of cow dung. He got convinced that it was the devilry of the shitty woman Sukanti.Tushar Babu picked a weighty round stone and hurled it at the glass window of the postmaster's house. There was a crash and pieces of broken glass came clinking down to the ground.
Then we witnessed the Goddess Durga's incarnation of Sukanti.She came out holding a plastic pipe piece blowing hot and cold.They attacked each other with curses and obscenities. A large crowd gathered. Sukanti's husband was a mute witness to things happening before his very eyes.He knew his interference in the fight would mean inviting a good scolding from his wife after the fight ended. Sukanti was found trying to squeeze Tushar Babu's windpipe. Next Tushar Babu dealt a powerful kick on her abdomen. She sank to the ground announcing that she was going to die. Tushar Babu was going to be jailed for murdering his neighbour's wife.Gradually the crowd thinned out and went home.
The next morning proved fateful for Tushar Babu.
As he was watching the morning news on television,he heard knocks on his door. As his younger daughter opened the door,they saw two policemen!
"What is the matter Sir?" said Tushar Babu.
The tall policeman said,"Does Tushar Kanti Das live here?"
"Yes,it's me.."said Tushar Babu.
The policeman said,"Sir you have to go with us to the police station.A case has been filed against you."
"On what basis? "
"Charges of attempted rape and murder.." said the policeman.
The ground beneath Tushar Babu's feet seemed to be collapsing. His wife Suhasini came out into the sitting room spitting fire at Sukanti for tarnishing the image of her husband who was as good as gold.
Some journalists and cameramen had gathered in front of Tushar Babu's house.Someone who was going by stopped for a while and asked a bystander what had happened. He got the reply:"Rape case.." The journalists were aggressively trying to get into the room to interview Tushar Babu.The latter had never faced such a nerve-shattering obnoxious situation in life. He looked at the photo of Lord Hanuman and said:"This is how You are rewarding me my Lord..!
In return for years of worship and praying..?" He removed a tear.
Tushar Babu was detained by the police for a day and half.A small report came in a newspaper about his assault on the postmaster's wife. The good neighbours did protest but it was all in vain.
Tushar Babu lost his faith in God. His wife Suhasini said:"God sees the truth but waits." Tushar Babu had to wait without the least bit of hope and faith.
Suhasini was fond of overhearing the angry exchanges between Sukanti and the postmaster.They mostly fought over Sukanti's connections with someone named Kandia.Who was this Kandia? He was a motor mechanic and frequented the postmaster's house when the postmaster was in the office. People regularly told about it to the soft and humble postmaster.
He would come home and start a verbal battle with his wife.Sukanti would hiss like a venomous snake and say:"People pour all sorts of rubbish in your ears and you believe them?How long would you take to understand your wife?Mind you...!
We have lived together for 25 years...!You believe in strangers but not in your wife who has sacrificed everything for you .. ?" This was how every quarrel ended.
The unemployed boys in a nearby hostel were very much familiar with the colony people. They knew about it and were searching for an opportunity to prove to the postmaster that his wife was not a 'jewel' but a piece of charcoal.Kandia and Sukanti mostly met outside and talked for hours. Sukanti had told the postmaster that merely talking to someone didn't prove that he was her paramour. Yes that was also true.
The postmaster was assured that people were jealous of his good fortune and tried to stigmatise him. But the world was going to collapse on him shortly.
One evening it was raining very heavily. The boys got information that Kandia and Sukanti were in the postmaster's bedroom.They proceeded to his house in the rain.A boy gave the calling bell a press. An unusually short girl who worked in the postmaster's house opened the door. The boys stormed into the house and locked the bedroom door.They had pushed the maid into the kitchen and shut the door from outside.
Sukanti who would move earth and heaven to prove her chastity was going to be caught. Kandia too was going to lose his face. The kindhearted postmaster had brought him to the city and had made him capable enough to stand on his own feet.
The boys saw that they were planning to hang themselves. With a huge crowbar,they broke the window and captured the lover duo.A very deep secret came to light. The postmaster was puzzled and astonished to know how he was right in his belief that his wife was having an illicit affair with the very man whom he had so generously patronised.
After a few days,the postmaster and his wife began to live separately.Now a beautiful grown girl came and began to live with the postmaster who said she was his niece.Now Tushar Babu and the postmaster were good friends.
Sukanti had turned into an incarnation of humility and politeness.