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C R Dash

Drama Tragedy Inspirational


C R Dash

Drama Tragedy Inspirational

Where Wealth Accumulates..

Where Wealth Accumulates..

6 mins 64 6 mins 64

Satrughana and Banita belonged to two adjacent villages. They went to the same school. Those days boys and girls didn't talk to each other at school. I for one remember we could only look at them. I had the confirmed belief that a girl or any girl was as good as gold and the boys were the real villains. When I was in my 9th grade, news spread like wildfire that Satura and Banita were in a very bad and sinful relationship. We later grew very curious about them. 


Satura was a tall and handsome boy who was deplorably bad at his studies. Banita who didn't look better earlier now appeared gorgeous and attractive. She was an average student and the next year she passed the HSC examination. Now all the boys enjoyed looking at her beautiful form. But Satura who had failed the exam kept strict watch on her and us. He often picked a fight with a friend who dared to follow her. A friend of mine named Dhira also loved the girl one-sidedly.

Satura and Dhira had had many a fight and exchange of dire threats. Dhira's father was the sarpanch of the area and was rich. He even had a Rajdoot motorcycle! But Banita whose father was a poor man didn't reciprocate Dhira's love for her.

Banita studied at the local college at Derabis. But before she could complete her intermediate studies she ran away with Satura. They came to Cuttack.

I met them after a long time. They were selling vadas, samosas,jalebis, etc together in a wood cabin at Kaligali in Cuttack. They were overjoyed to see me. Both of them talked to me with gusto. They told me that they had a nine-year-old son. At that time I was working on a magazine as an assistant editor. Our familiarity grew into a solid cordial relationship. I stayed there for two years. I was really very much delighted about their relationship. Working together and eating together and having no conflicts or quarrels were more than enough to attract people's attention. I was a bachelor then. After serving two years there, I came back to my place in Bhubaneswar. My mother was very critical about the low monthly salary the magazine paid me. I wandered from office to office begging for employment. The gentlemen who are famous today and talk of self-sacrifice and dedication to the poor had treated me in the cruelest manner thinkable.

There are great writers too like Jaykrishna Mohapatra and Budhuram Padhi whom I had approached for help. I had requested Mr. Mohapatra to recommend my stories to a magazine like Indian Literature. He evaded my request and said boastfully: You can use my name any way you like. He said: "Tell the editor of Indian Literature that I have liked your stories..." Later I knew Indian Literature was not for ordinary poor people like me but for those rich dunces who taught in private and government colleges and still failed to write standard English. Budhuram Padhi too refused to recommend me to a magazine editor or a publisher. He even told me there was something unacceptable in the English I wrote. But later I got accolades from Mr.Vishaw Nath for my "good English." He accepted my stories and published them in ALIVE and WOMAN'S ERA. I don't have the slightest bit of respect for the so-called "great writers" of Odisha. A great writer, he or must definitely leave some noble examples for the coming generations to follow. My younger brother Akhil knew them. When I narrated the situation to him he made some hilarious comments. Although he taught Geography, he would write and speak excellent English. He said: "Men in glory fall in love." Here a man and woman who had acquired financial glory fell in love. It was extramarital love. 

What great examples have these great men and women left? Nothing...I told you about great people or writers because I feel in the deepest corner of my heart that "Men decay where wealth accumulates..." I request you to replace the word 'wealth' with 'fame.' A reference to them is justified because Satura and Banita were destined to be wealthy and win social recognition. 

Years after I discovered Satura and Banita at Chandrasekharpur.I saw the couple along with their son who was grown and was carrying an expensive iPhone. They came out of a Fortuner car! They had grown unbelievably rich. I talked to them and came to know that Satura had started a real estate business, with the help of his cunning wife. My regular visits to them revealed that they were not getting on well with each other. Even Satura told me that Banita was having an affair with a Bihari young man who was a rich businessman. Consequently, he had taken strict brutal action against him and his wife was burning with rage inside. Later I came to know that Satura was also involved in a notorious relationship with a married woman whom he had gifted a flat! They however despite their love affairs worked heart and soul to maintain their social status. I didn't like the way they treated their servants and office people. They treated me well but I missed the absorbing cordiality of our early relationship. For some unknown reason, I avoided meeting them. 

I returned home in the evening carrying a huge load of vegetables from Unit 1 market in Bhubaneswar. As I pressed the calling bell, my daughter answered the door. Then my wife arrived. She entered home and said to me, "Have you watched the evening news.. ?" As I looked at her curiously, she said, "Your rich friend and his wife have been arrested on charges of some fraudulent activities. You were asking me to visit them about buying a flat?"

I searched for the news on YouTube. I was horrified to find what they had done. They had cheated some poor people. It was a very complicated process of cheating. Their bank accounts had been seized. Later, they went to jail. 

Now the police turned their attention on Banita's elder brother Debadutta Behera who was their close aide. But the elder brother was far too clever than his sister. Nobody knew for sure whether it was him who was instrumental in bringing them onto the streets after their release from jail. One evening when it was raining and I was driving cautiously, I saw Satura waving to me.

I stopped on the roadside. He came to me holding a printed umbrella which along with his attire declared his poverty. He entered the car and occupied his seat and started narrating his story of suffering. He was straining every nerve to clear himself and his wife of any blame. He was talking about his wife very lovingly since now she was supportive morally and financially. I did wonder about what had happened to her love affair with the Bihari businessman. I drove him to his house at Satya Nagar. They were living in a small house on a plot of government land. Seeing me Banita was equally happy. But very soon she started narrating how her husband was suffering from severe depression. She was so sad that he was unable to sleep properly at night. I guessed there was again that bond of trust and love between them. 

As I was getting late, I said good night to them and left their place. Before my departure, I had thrust into Satura T-shirt pocket three two thousand rupee notes. As I was driving back I was cogitating about the unbelievable ups and downs in people's careers. But I became sure that affluence in 95 % of cases proves to be a curse. It is the chief source of all sorts of sinful desires. Oliver Goldsmith rightly said: "Where wealth accumulates, men decay.."

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