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A Place Called Home
A Place Called Home

© Vipul Lunia


11 Minutes   8.7K    125

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Parmeshawar was staring hard at the clouds overhead. Sometimes he would squint, then open his eyes wide and mutter something incomprehensible, in a breathical form of Devnagari Lipi. He was tapped with force on his head and he heard the voice behind him say, “Don’t stare too hard otherwise they will start pouring”.

“So is that a bad thing?”

“May be, we never know. All I know is don’t force nature to do something, let it run its course.”

“On that I agree with you, so what brings you here? Aren’t you supposed to be home?”

They looked at each other for a few seconds blankly and then suddenly started laughing. They had a hearty laugh. With tears in his eyes, Paras told him, “I am of the opinion that home is where you feel like home.” “That is good to say and listen but no one feels that way in real life.”

I disagree with you. Infact I have seen people follow this or were forced to a situation where they had to believe in such things.

You are bluffing, no one follows such a thing

This couple, what's their name, Sinhas. Yes Sinha right they did it”

What did they do?

What happened is, I will tell you the whole thing then you decide whether I am right or wrong. From them only I formed this opinion, and staunchly believe in that. Otherwise I would never have been able to form such an opinion, or even such a thought would never touch my mind. And .. ”

“Enough, you tell me what happened with them?”

“Yes I will tell you, don’t be so impatient. Are you in a hurry to go somewhere? No na, then sit back and listen. I will narrate the whole account. This Sinha couple, they worked, I mean they both had jobs. Husband worked in a bank and wife was a computer operator somewhere. Jobs which occupied them whole day and only at night did they see each other.”

Where did they live?”

How does it matter, don’t interrupt in between or else I will miss some important threads in the story. Well just to quench your thirst for unnecessary details, they lived here in Bhopal. Natives of Bihar, the couple had come here for a job and had been living here since a year, when I came to know them. So what I was saying, yes that they saw very less of each other. Although they were newly wed, no element of newly wed couples was left in their relationship. They would just toil all day at office and come back home to find some more work waiting for them. Both of them worked together even at home. Initially for a couple of months without complaining and then with few hard feelings lent out. Both had agreed to work for 4-5 years, to earn and save as much as possible. They planned that they should have a baby only when they can afford it and give the baby a good life with no compromises made on his/her upbringing.

In a matter of few months they started to shout at each other and started calling each other names. Both were frustrated with work pressure but what made it worse is they found no peace in each other's company. “Its your fault, you were supposed to hang the clothes on the line to dry and you forgot. Now I have nothing to wear to office. Now what do you suggest what should I do to manage it all”

“If I forgot, you could have done it. You came here and you saw that the clothes have not been put out to dry. Still you make no efforts to dry them but instead you wait for the opportunity to blame me.”

“Madam this work was not of my share and after the incident of August, I know better to not to do it”

“Alright don’t do it, at least you could remind me to do it”

Oh yes ladies and gentleman, once again the needle of blame has been turned towards the poor husband. It is my fault that my missus has not dried the clothes and that I might have to wear the same pair what I am wearing today.”

“It is useless to talk to you”

Yes now I am useless even for talking, let alone make love to you.

You know well that we both are tired and are not in position to make it happen. Just going like machines won’t help us either.

“Would help me, I don’t know about the tantrums of her Highness”

Don’t you dare talk to me like that”

“Or what, don’t threaten me with your big-big eyes, you bitch.”

What did you call me? You moron, you filthy moron, you pig”

They would shout at the top of their voices and then after sometime both of them would feel guilty of what happened. This would happen almost 3 to 4 times a week and on rest of the days there would be after-fight silence. You know how it is to fight with someone whom you love, or are close to. In an impulse you will shout and then regret it but nobody will voice an apology. Same Ego came between this Sinha couple. Especially this Ego is seen more among the loved ones only. They would continue to go on plotting stuff in their minds like what you will reply if she or he says this or what you will do if he/she does this. But at the same time there will be questions like

“Did you eat?”

“No I am not hungry. Don’t wait for me go ahead and eat. Its 8:30, you will be starving”

But these questions forms only a tiny part of what we call a life full of s**t. Their shouting matches were growing louder, their fights were getting mightier and their silence growing longer. In short, their relationship had cracks all over now. They didn’t realise it because they were too involved in their petty talks and their work that their vision had become myopic.

Even the little sweet talk was fading away little by little. They would fight every morning and leave for office in the same frustrated and sullen mood. So everything around came to bite them. Even a little nudge from a stranger in the crowd would set them off or a little joke form a colleague would result in an uncalled outburst. One day they were leaving office after a routine fight and were met by their landlord in the lobby.

“In your initial days, I used to check whether you were at home or have left for a vacation or have shifted to some place else, but now I hear you everyday, loud and clear. People around are coming to complain about the noises from your house. Stop fighting…”

“Do you think we enjoy fighting, and every couple fights a little bit. It’s not a big deal. What are you making fuss about. Oh I see now, you want to increase the rent so you are saying such stuff so that we will acquiesce to whatever amount you will ask. “

“Do you take me for such a cheap that I will do such stuff for increasing rent. Are you out of your mind to think such stuff up?”

“Don’t try to act as if you are a big shot. We know the real deal so your tricks are not going to work here.”

“Oh you want to know the real deal, I will give you the real deal. I want you both out of the house before this evening. Did you hear me? Out before evening. Today evening.”

All the neighbours were at their doors listening to this conversation. Sinha couple looked around and may be in a try to satisfy their earlier unsatisfied ego, they asked their landlord to do whatever he can, but they were not going to leave the place. With this being said they left for the office. The only thing good that came out of it was that they supported each other. They were going to need it anyhow by evening. When they returned from office in the evening, they were shocked and flabbergasted at what they saw. All of their stuff was outside, on the road.

Movers and packers team had come and had packed and thrown out all the stuff from the house. Mrs. Sinha had tears rolling from her eyes. Mr. Sinha was infuriated and wanted to thrash that b*****d owner for this. But one of their neighbours came there and stopped him and told them that movers and packers had been paid by him only. He didn’t want your stuff to be lost he just wanted for you people to get lost. Actually he was more worried about you guys and he will keep this safe here until you find another place to live. They didn’t say anything to her and kept silent. After the neighbour left, Mrs Sinha went and hugged him and tears kept rolling. What has happened to us, she kept repeating. One can never know whether she was referring to the incident or their relationship.

They both decided to search for a place to stay for the night. They decided to go to her maternal aunt's place, who lived around two hours away from there. So they boarded a bus and started their journey. Mrs. Sinha kept her head on his shoulder and kept thinking of what happened. They didn’t know when but they were holding hands and kept comforting each other. They were together in that bus for 3 hours because as usual bus was late due to traffic jam and in those 3 hours in that bus they found their real home. They didn’t go to her aunt’s place but kept changing buses and kept travelling. By morning they were far away from the place where they used to fight. And they were happy together and at home at last.”

“Yeah story is good enough but you know if your story is strong mine is stronger. It was a case of life and death. You know this guy called Kabir Lotwala. Nobody from his name could judge as to where he came from. He used to hate to be at home. His parents would fight and eventually their anger would be poured down on him for leaving school and for turning out to be good for nothing. His face would be all furrowed with tension lines at home and would lit up in the company of his friends and other acquaintances.

“He would go out in search of job and would end up either with his friends or helping out chacha in his garage. He would do odd jobs for anyone who would be willing to shell out a few notes. That’s what made his parents disappointed in him. But he would not listen to them. What do they know except fighting with each other, he would think.

One fine day riots broke in the city and the whole city was under threat. Curfew-laden city was silent with violent events here and there. Hindus and Muslims were killing each other, as if they were born only to kill each other. Kabir was not happy with this curfew as it compelled him to stay indoors, at his home which he dreaded. He went into serious depression. He was waiting for the curfew to be revoked so he could breathe easy. And it happened after 36 long hours of curfew, a respite of an hour was given to replenish food supply. He went out and started running here and there. His parents tried to stop him but in vain. He was out of range even before they could complete their sentence.

But miscreants were active and this period of one hour was good enough for them to create a havoc and panic and to finish their task. Kabir was just outside his mohalla when few armed people of a particular community came there and started to flash their swords in air. People of both the community started to run for their home to save themselves. But Kabir was stranded in the crowd and was pushed farther away from his home. Now he was thrown to the ground. As he lay there, he saw these armed men attack a merchant and stab him in the back. Then the other one came and attacked him from the front. He saw him dropping to the ground and lay in a heap, he saw blood run from his body towards where he was lying. By now most of the mohalla was empty and everybody had taken shelter in somebody’s home. Everybody knew that the men outside were goondas and nobody wanted to get out. These men saw Kabir lying there, staring at them with big eyes.

They went towards him and asked him his name. He couldn’t speak and kept staring at them. They asked him where he lived. Again he opened his mouth but couldn’t utter a word so he pointed in the direction. They saw he lived in a mohalla of their community and so asked him to run home. He stood up and ran as fast he could and bolted the door from inside so fastidiously as he had never done before. For the first time in his life he was happy to be in that place, he didn’t want to go out and wanted to stay inside. For the first time he shouted at the top of his voice, “Ma, I am home.”

They both finished their stories and argued about the concept of home. And suddenly it started pouring, so the first man asked the second man to come in. They went to the footpath, lifted the tarpaulin and went under it. Parmeshwar went in first and then asked Paras in. He said, “Welcome Home.”

home communal riots working couple overworked fighting couple ego

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