Since the day he told me to attempt a unique and exceptional story, a new and unknown sensation aroused in me, as if like a gust of shower on a land with seeds sown eagerly waiting to turn sapling. Conflict and mess too.
Never before this, was I so nervous for commencement of any mission or assignment. Beginning to write in the final year of the fourth decade of the life was making me panicky, perplexed and vexed too. I told him. And I was shocked to the answer I got from him. His answer was appalling to me when he said that many a renowned writers have started writing during falling years of their life. ‘Merry Weshley, Laura Ingle Wilder, Richard Adams are among those writers who had begun writing in later years of life. Even a Japanese lady beginning her creative life in poetry at a ripe age of ninety one has turned famous. What is impossible if you devote your complete being to anything?’
After a series of thoughts I began a unique story in order to carve a niche in his heart. By the by, I thought, it will help me turn famous in creativity by working regularly in innovative way. During such thoughts I used to divulge myself in the ocean of success. Even I used to forget my existence in those moments. Being a student of English literature I always realized Wordsworth’s views on poetry which means the spillover of powerful emotion in spur-of-the-moment. But personality has little to do in creativity, in Eliot’s observation. It is nonexistence of individuality. As in poetry so in story, too, the readers are spellbound in the cobweb of vocabulary of the writer. Still it put me in great dilemma. Unique and special story was to be written. Though I was not experienced in writing I was not new too. Although during college and university days I had composed poems, especially shorts ones, in haste during many occasions, still writing a unique story was an uphill task, a great challenging for me.
I was but a fan to the matured and renowned writer of a very tender age, Tarun. His full-blown creativity in an unripe age was one of the reasons of my inclination towards him. At the same time his use of powerful and appropriate words in right places. He was strong, tall, broad but chocolateie. Beyond powerful writing, his strong will for establishment of socialism, decent approach and maturity in conversation was special in him; which were obvious to attract anyone towards him. His short stories have so far been published in many renowned and established journals, national and international.
Born to an ordinary middleclass family I was groomed accordingly. As a symbol of completeness of family at the birth of a ‘little angel’ (as my father used to say) I was named Poornima. I have the experience of seeing life closely like dub grass (sacred grass) in the scorching summer. I had to suspend my college bag on my cottage wall after graduating, for it was tough on the part of my father to finance for the education of my two sisters and the only brother. I had to assist my father for financial aid to the family. I started working in a hotel as a receptionist. I was aware of the fact that the owner wanted to capitalize my splendor to exert a pull on tourists to stay in his hotel. I had also better understood the fact. That was why I was never denied any salary hike at any moment. I intended to earn white money with self respect. That was all I wanted. My salary, my incentive only. Entangled in the life I have forgotten to marry. In fact it was but a compromise for the sisters. Spending time and money for an unknown after marriage was but extravagance. Why shall I have love for a man who is not known to me? It is better to be with the family, helping and being helped emotionally and financially too. Though Tarun was pretty younger to me I had had enough respect for him. I personally know him since his stories found place in the journals. He was a master in revealing the stark realities of life in his stories. Cannot a youngster turn my buddy?
After many attempts I was able to make out a beautiful, and, to my thought, a unique story. Getting it typed I reached him in the evening with both hard copy and pen drive. It was a chill winter evening. As if the queen earth was ensnared by cold in his clutch. The earth was speechless and astounded. As if motionless. Her respiration could only be felt in cool breeze and sigh in random blow. Sometimes screaming through jackal’s bellow. Seeing all around I was expecting that Tarun too would be warming himself under the blanket. But it was not like that. He was busy in the kitchen then. Cooking too early for dinner! Naked except a two-third pant. Height about 6’2”, cream coloured V-shape body full of muscles all over. Coming to the drawing room he tried to fetch a towel to cover the body and I snatched it pretending to wipe my drenched face. It was soothing to me, as he was getting nervous in bare body. He was embarrassed, completely wet, sweating. I was but quite normal, enjoying his nervousness and felt the smell of sweat coming out of his body. It was soothing for me. A smell of different type; I had heard of hard smell of women’s sweat. I thought it was stronger than mine or of any woman I had known. I was enjoying the smell as if it was aroma. It was intoxicating. It reminded me of a writer’s phrase, ‘killing sweat’.
In order to avoid the situation Tarun entered the kitchen, came back with the apron on his shoulder, in a way to cover the body. He offered me tea for the courteous visit in such distressing evening of winter. Having cups in hands we started discussion, agreement and disparagement on many matters. I was enjoying the discussion which included the shameful incident of New Delhi - Asaram’s entanglement in unbearable incidents, government’s reaction to Yoga Guru Ramdev and Anna Hazare, corruption in government offices, black money abroad and many more. All the problems were due to inequality, social oppression by the advantageous group. At the end of each topic there was a strong opinion of a remarkable social change, the only solution according to him was socialism. The voice of socialism was so strong in him that I too was getting excited many times amidst discussion. Change was obviously the call of the hour and it is indispensible. Otherwise, deterioration… Immeasurable plummet. It was relaxing to outburst all the problems and especially in his optimistic expression in finding the solutions. That is what everyone wants. In the discussion of about two and half hours there was not a glimpse on my story.
“As per your request, I have written a story. I think it is different from all those I’ve read in my life.” interrupting the discussion, standing up from the fiber chair and preparing to return I told him, “go through it when you find time. You are free to make any changes if required. You are empowered.”
Shying for not having a discussion on the story, he told with utmost decency -“based on imagination or reality- any expression is always the author’s property. One cannot make changes in others’ thoughts. It wounds the emotion of the writer. Change of some words can be made and with all respect to the writer.”
The clock stroke at 10 and I thought of returning back to home.
‘How’ll you go home alone?’ he asked, “now that we’re talking about how insecure is the society. Let me drop you home.”
He came to the portico and ignited the bike. Sitting on bike, I was regularly provoked by my impulse to be a bit closer to his body, to warm mine. So cold was it outside. But the gap of age constrained me to be a victim of the yen and maintain a slit. He too was vigilant and conscious to maintain a gap. He pushed himself to sit partly on the fuel tank in order to be safe, after my bosoms once touched him at a speed breaker. But I had heard most often of misinterpretation of such openness by the youth. I could feel his high respect for me all the way. It may be due to the difference of age. But it was just like that. I might be much senior to him but a maiden was still running hither and thither in my mind. Nobody could guess my real age from my looks. My real age was about twenty years senior to my look and appearance. I could neither bear nor accept anybody calling me old, even addressed as a woman too. I am a maiden. Not yet married. Cautious and careful I have been so far in maintaining my youthful figure. Girls of my age have already had their grand children. And in fact they had turned old. Girls of my height had turned bend on back. Though I could not make halt the age I’ve turned successful in maintaining look and glamour. It was but a consequence of my beautician course in leisure time after completion of my duties in the reception counter. I’d read about food, sleep and sex as the necessities of healthy human life. In food I was very choosy. For many nights together I had worked keeping vigil, bringing the pending files from the hotel. Haven’t got married. Personally I used to hate premarital or extramarital relation. It is not at all a symbol of developed mental state. Sex is not at all a necessity. Neither was it nor will be. It may be comfort or luxury. I had lived my life in necessities, and have the confidence to live accordingly for the rest of my life. So far I’ve controlled my appetites and had the belief and confidence to continue the same in future too. In childhood, of the belly and now of mind and emotion. I was and still am very much healthy; physically and mentally.
A dream of being a recognized writer with an immortal story to my credit had been occupying my thoughts all these days. After a long gap of months I reached at his residence with an intention to discuss my story. For what reason I didn’t know he had asked me not to be in contact over phone. Nor had I possessed his number. But during our earlier discussion he had told me that he makes himself almost free from all worldly affairs after the clock strikes seven in the evening. To be busy in his own self. Beyond his sphere of writing I had no idea of what he does. I was not interested too, to enquire all that. I had learned to keep myself within my limits from my family since my childhood days. I knew him as a writer. Enough. I knew all writers have a common feature- self respect.
I rang the door bell. I knew he had a ‘cc camera’ on the portico. Still the door didn’t open. Looking the front door was not locked I again put my finger on bell switch.
Now longer than earlier, thinking him for taking rest. No response! After two or three more attempts the door opened suddenly. Taking me in forcefully, he shut the door with a thud. In hand an AK47, in ready-to-fire position facing the locked door. I was surprised at the irrational behaviour of him. I knew it was not a puppet weapon. Though astonished to see a gun in the hands of such a famous writer, I didn’t have trepidation. Dressed as an army man, in place of general pyjama and kurta. From his get up, I could guess- rather understand- the real identity of a socialist writer, dreaming of social equality all the way. I was never wrong in my guessing. He asked me to quit the place soon. I smiled. And seeing his seriousness it turned into laughter.
‘I’ll in no way be your problem. The presence of a civilian may be helpful to you. If not in any way, may be in identity. Obey me.’ I tried to placate him as a guardian ‘Be nice. You’re a writer and you know how to master emotions and the ways to channelize them. Get relaxed. Let me make tea. We can find a way out. Tell me what has happened.’
To prepare tea, I entered into the kitchen. At slightest sound he was turning conscientious in ready-to-fire position, facing the closed door. I could feel that my presence was making him more perplexed and confounded. The front door can be straight seen from the kitchen. I too was observing his activities from there.
While bringing tea I observed him avoiding my presence. I began ‘atithi devo bhava’. You know in Indian culture a guest is but God. See, we’re not closely known to each other. But each of us has respect for the other. Relation can be built in a moment too.’ Extending the cup towards him and nodding a little in order to request him to take it I continued-‘get relaxed and let me know frankly about the matter. Let us know each other well.’
Sighing, he sat on the fiber chair nearby. ‘See’, he began “we too are human beings as you all are. Only difference is that you blind your eyes at the sight of problems and corruption of the society but we cannot. Social equality, integration and uprooting corruption all these have been our aims. If this goal of ours is achieved we all will be benefited. And those innocent people who have no voice in the matters of being victim to corruption will be more benefited. The nation will prosper rapidly. We cannot bear and will not spare whoever comes in the way. You know the freedom fighters have not benefited themselves from the freedom. What to speak of the martyrs? You know many freedom fighters have not been recognized by the country. Did they or their descendents ever question on the matter?” He asked pointing his index finger at me. “Throughout the year the statues of the martyrs and freedom fighters remain unattended but are washed on national festivals and respective anniversaries. Our aim is to provide due respect to them and materialize their dreams. The first freedom struggle had failed because of some selfish people. This is the second freedom struggle for us. It is said we have been arousing terror amongst common people but in our mission the common people have remained unaffected. Yes, it has panicked the corrupt people. How long we will go on tolerating all these sufferings silently? Someone is to begin, that is why we’ve come forward. Common people have unsubstantiated fear for us. In fact we do those things which they cannot do or hesitate to do openly. These weapons are not meant to take anyone’s life. Our saviors and shields. We…”
He was about to continue but I interrupted, “take tea and frankly what has happened?”
“See, police have been informed regarding our stay here. It has been complained that we are against the people. By publishing posters, leaflets and banners we are instigating people against the government and exploiting agencies and machineries. Is making the commoners aware of their rights a crime? Raising voice against corruption an offence? Is movement to bring back the black money deposited outside to our nation spreading trepidation?” He continued.
Interrupting again I said, “see, you’ve two weapons with you. One is gun, the other pen. Your operating pen has been well accepted and respected in the society. For operating pen you are praised and for gun condemned. How long you can handle the gun? Till you are strong physically? Gun will bring you death even during life and pen life even after death; it will take you to eternity. You will lose your hold with the passage of time while operating gun. But if you continue penning in this way you will definitely be among famous writers remaining alive for ages to come. The folk whom you fear will be your fans and they will come forward to honour you. Don’t you know that written words are more powerful to influence the people? A rose by any other name will smell as sweet. An individual cannot change the society. A fog cannot be dispelled by a fan. Continue writing the virtue of man, the society. Let everyone realize what they are and what they can do. Leaving your present peers may be reported in an ill manner. A bad man is better than a bad name. Revolution is changing the organizational structure and power. Being a student of Political Science you know that Aristotle has given two ways of revolution; one is changing the constitution entirely and the other amendment of the present constitution. We do not require any of these. India requires a complete change of mental set up of the people. So far we’ve more misinterpreted than interpreting the constitution. Today is auspicious Buddha Poornima. Buddha has taught non-violence. King Ashoka had abandoned sword for the sake of preaching non violence across the world. You know to win we need to win hearts. Arms lead to condemnation and pen appreciation. You…”
In the mean time his body had turned slack, it had loosened, with a reflection of childish mortification. He had lost control over him. In shame his eyes could not meet mine. At which time the gun fell down he didn’t know. Rushing he rested his face on my bosom. I could clearly feel the warm tears flowing in between breasts. His sagging body was singing sad song in shivaranjani while in me was dancing the victory of a firm accomplishment with meghamalhara, of inscribing an eternal story in his life.