CHAPTER 3-IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
Durga blinked…once….twice… thrice. A teardrop rolled down her cheek. She was breathing heavily. Slowly turning her head, she looked up. Straining her eyes hard, the girl tried to perceive what she was facing. It was just a white washed ceiling. So, she was in a room. Durga moved her eyes around the place, but, it did not look familiar. Anxious, she quickly tried to get up , but Ow ! Her head ! It was aching , like it would tear apart. She tried to stand up on her feet but, they were slipping. Ohh ! Why is the floor so slippery? Taking deep breaths, groaning as she struggled to stand, she slowly pressed her palms against the wall for support, and finally rose to her feet. Durga looked down to check what was she slipping on. It was a spotted white mosaic floor, with a dark liquid on it that has flown to her feet . The liquid looked deep…. deep , oh no ! She quickly looked up and almost felt like a jolt of electricity run through her body. Trembling, she looked down again……Is it blood ??? Durga shuddered even at the thought of it.
An old antique bed stood in front of her , she held it’s sides and bent down low, very low enough to check the source of the liquid. She was sweating and could feel her heart beat faster and faster, as her eyes reached the level where there lay a man, with grey and black hair. Durga could feel herself crumbling down to pieces, at the sight of the man, who she realized – was not moving at all . She fell to the ground and slowly stretched her hand to feel his skin. But, as soon as the tip of her fingers touched it, she screamed and moved her hand away. The body was cold and lifeless. Suddenly she felt a chill run through her spine. Weeping badly, Durga tried her best to turn the face of the person towards her . The clothes the man was wearing looked so familiar. She struggled to move his head towards her, and finally when she did, she gasped for breath . She let out a loud scream , ” Mama… Na naaaa….. othho Kanaimama… Othho go othho. E kibhabhe holo ? Na na Otho mama…. Mamiii tumi kothaye ? “*
It was her uncle, who lay lifeless, in a pool of blood.
Durga wept and wept, and wept. After sometime when nobody came for help, she limped to the door and tried to open it. Banging on the door hard , she screamed for help. But, all in vain ! She muttered to herself, “Ekhane ki kore elam amra? Amra toh, mama’r bondhu’r biya dekhte jaachilam, mami-o chhilo shathe, ki holo mama ?” * she cried out louder and louder. There were windows in the room. One of them was already open. Durga rushed to open the other one. The windows had metal grills on them and through the grills she could see just trees and trees. There was nobody, who, she could call out to, for help. It felt like being trapped…….in the middle of nowhere.
Durga stood there blank, not knowing what to do. She tried to remember what happened and grasped her head tightly, as if that would help her revive the lost memory of the moment , which brought them to this isolated place. Kanai mama was no more. She again ran back to where Kanai mama lay. She sat down beside him and held his hands, ” Mama… tomaar naam e chilo dubar ma-er daak, tomake daakle mone hoto maa ache amar kachei ache. Tumio amake chhere chole gele mama. “* She couldn’t stop crying as she saw her mama’s calm and peaceful face that always wore a smile . He was such a good man, a living example in every area he would tread on. Well-mannered, loving, caring, responsible… and today he lay cold and lifeless in front of her all of a sudden. Who killed him? Durga swore not to leave the person behind all this. She would do everything she was capable of to punish the culprit. She raised her mama’s arms so that it would touch her forehead and wept inconsolably .
She could see the moments when mama would sit down beside her giving her advises, how affectionately he would explain ways to deal with the difficult twists in life. All the laughter, the fun, the gossips. Mama has been her friend since childhood days. She could see him stand with the grocery bags in his hands, and smile at her when he first saw her after years. He dropped the bags and ran to her with teary eyes, “Dugga ma , tui kokhon eli ma ?”* He hugged her. Durga closed her eyes.
“Didi, coolie lagbe kina bolun , noytoh ami jayi “*, she heard a coarse male voice . Durga opened her eyes. She turned around and saw, it was the same railway station. She was still holding the green box in her hand . Her ears could still sense her mama’s voice, calling out to her from a distance. Checking if he was standing anywhere around her, Durga realized that she was just daydreaming. She looked at the coolie and said, “Haan, ka take neben aar ei thikana taye kibhabhe jabo ektu bole deben?”*
The rickshaw came to a halt near an old worn out door. Durga stepped down and looked at the house– her mama baari. Her Kanai mama was her childhood playmate who slowly became her philosopher and guide as well. She ran to the door and knocked , in excitement. Her mami opened the door and seeing Durga, she stood there , thunderstruck. After a pause, she finally uttered, ” Ki re hathhath ? Kono katha nei barta nei? Kono phone na chiti na, tui chole eli ?”*
Durga stood there with her head down. She slowly replied,” Mami janate pare ni keu. Maa pathalen”.
“Arre eta ke ?*”, a loud manly voice startled both Durga and her mami. Durga turned around.
Glossary- (the words with the asterisk)-
- ” Mama… Na naaaa….. othho Kanaimama… Othho go othho. E kibhabhe holo ? Na na Otho mama…. Mamiii tumi kothaye ?” —-No uncle(maternal) , wake up please. How did this happen ? Aunt(maternal) where are you ?
- “Ekhane ki kore elam amra? Amra toh, mama’r bondhu’r biya dekhte jaachilam, mami-o chhilo shathe, ki holo mama ?”—- How did we reach here? We were going to attend the wedding of uncle’s friend. Aunt was also with us. What happened uncle ?
- ” Mama… tomaar naam e chilo dubar ma-er daak, tomake daakle mone hoto maa ache amar kachei ache. Tumio amake chhere chole gele mama “—-Uncle, when I called you mama, I always felt like calling my mother.I felt like she is with me. You too left me uncle ?
- “Dugga ma , tui kokhon eli ma ?”—- When did you arrive Durga ?
- “Didi, coolie lagbe kina bolun , noytoh ami jayi “—-Sister tell me if you need a coolie or else I will leave.
- “Haan, ka take neben aar ei thikana taye kibhabhe jabo ektu bole deben?”—- Yes, how much will you charge and can you tell me how to reach this address?
- ” ki re hathhath ? Kono katha nei barta nei? Kono phone na chiti na, tui chole eli ?”—- Hey, so suddenly ? You did not inform us, no letters or calls, you just came over ?”
- ” Mami janate pare ni keu. Maa pathalen”. —-Aunt , no one could inform you. Ma(her grandma, Neera), sent me here.
- Arre eta ke ?—– Who is this ?
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