Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Final Countdown

Continued from previous post-

"Susheela...O Susheela....Susheela!" 
"Yes..yes..What happened?""Susheela...Today is going to be a very special day. You will get a good news very soon. Just pray to Ganapati bappa for my success. Just Pray.""Mr. Nathuram is very happy today...kaay jhale? Promotion? Or what?"Relax..relax. I will tell you after my duty. Don't sleep, just wait for me." He giggled for the very last time and never came back.That day was his last day. He never saw the next morning. Susheela was lost in her own silence. With her husband's dead body lying in front of her she broke down and fell unconscious to the ground.

Susheela was staring Inspector Pratap as if she wanted some answers. Her eyes were questioning him repeatedly. Pratap was feeling very uneasy over Susheela's reaction. 

"Baba..she is Pankaj's Mummy. And Aunty this is my Baba."
"I know...nice meeting you Inspector Pratap."
"Pakeya..come with me, you are not going to meet this girl from tomorrow, understand?"
"But Aai...she is my good friend."
"No need. If you don't listen i will not let you go anywhere, will keep you locked inside your room, understand?"
"But Aai..."
"Come..where is your bag? where is your school bag?"
"I...I lost it somewhere..." Without waiting further for any answer Susheela gave a tight slap to Pankaj in front of  them. Pankaj started crying immediately and covered his face with both his hands as he felt embarrased.
"Susheela...why you are doing this to your child? Leave him. He is innocent." Pratap interrupted her from further beating Pankaj.
"Mind your language Inspector Pratap. It's none of your business.Do you know how it feels?...still today that because of you i lost my husband. I know you killed him. Yes you are a murderer." 
"Please keep quiet Susheela. You are mistaking me.It was an accident.I have suffered a lot. Can't you just see?"
"Huh..suffered a lot? Do you know the pain Inspector?the pain of losing your own husband? Do you ever know the pain? Tell me..Do you have any answer? No..because people like you don't value life of others. You are a murderer."
Pankaj was crying covering his face. Kavya started crying too. 
"Susheela, i am not going to argue further with you. Kavya, let's go. You are not going to meet him anymore. ok? Ok Kavya? Speak up Kavya? Kavya?
"Ok Baba..I am sorry."
"Good girl."
"Like father like daughter."
"Control your tongue Susheela or i will put you behind bars."
"Can you bring my husband back? Tell me Inspector? He was so happy that happy! And see what you people did to him? He got killed...he is no more." Susheela broke into tears instantly.She turned back and called the nearest auto rickshaw available. Kavya was watching in horror. The entire crowd was watching the whole incident.Seeing this, Inspector Pratap shouted and the crowd vanished within seconds.
"I have never seen such a mad lady like you Susheela. Just go away and don't ever show me your face. Your husband was a coward. He lacked guts for that encounter. That's why he got killed. You foolish lady." Pratap lost his cool and the words made their way in anger.
Susheela took the auto rickshaw and left the scene alongwith Pankaj.
Pratap asked his daughter to come inside the Jeep with her tiffin box. Kavya took the half eaten chocolate sandwich that was left out by Pankaj and packed it inside her tiffin.
"I am sorry Panku, because of me you had such a bad day today. I wish every thing gets sorted out between our parents very soon. I am sorry Panku."

"Bola..Kay jhale?"
"They are after my life Susheela, please take care of Pakeya."
"Ram...Ram? Kuthe Aahe tumhi? Tell me? Where are you Ram?
And the call got disconnected. Numerous calls made to Nathuram went un-answered. Later his mobile came switched off. Completely Switched Off just like Nathuram. The day was long and the night was the longest Susheela has ever spent alone. All alone.

'Police constable gets killed in Encounter. TOI.
Promotion for Inspector Pratap. Most wanted criminal killed in encounter. One policeman lost his life. ABC.
Police constable accidently killed.Inspector gets bail.Police shuts case. DNA.
No CID Probe in encounter confirms state government. No Fake Encounter took place. NBT
The newspapers were filled with such headlines inside. Each and every word was pricking Susheela who was reading the news and searching for the truth'

But the truth was" He was gone. He cannot be brought back to life. Never." With this truth she has to live and Pankaj has to understand. Numerous thoughts were racing inside Susheela's mind and she was tired searching for explanations.
"Aai Baba kuthe gele?"
"Your baba is here only Pakeya, he is waiting for you to grow up and become a policeman. He will soon return back after you become like him"
"I want to become like Inspector Pratap, he has a big jeep, a big bungalow, servants and a sweet daughter Kavya. But Kavya is lonely. I don't want to be lonely Aai." Pankaj was speaking his heart out as always he used to say after getting a beating.Susheela hugs Pankaj tightly and looking at him said,"Pakeya is my son. He is not lonely. Understand?"
Pankaj nods in agreement. The Auto driver asked," Bai, get down, this is the place. I don't have chillars."

"Susheela, Panku is ill. I will take him to hospital."
"No..i got medicines. He will be alright."
"Pakeya is my son.He is a tiger. Aren't you Pakeya? You are my son, the son of a policeman.!" the father smiled.The son smiled back to his father. Embracing the child, the father felt happy and the mother felt contented.
"If you are there, then i am a tiger,son of a tiger. And i am not alone, father." . Pakeya didn't know that his father was smiling for the very last time that day.

Pankaj was thinking whether he should continue meeting Kavya. He was inside his room locked from outside. No lights. Just a punishment like any other normal day. 
"Aai...Aai...please let me go out. Please. I will not do this anymore. I am really sorry Aai. Please"
And suddenly the door opens from outside.
Meanwhile, Kavya was eating the chocolate sandwich that Pankaj left on the table. 
"Tomorrow, I will give another one to Panku. He was very sad today. His mother did not let him finish his food also. So rude. Such a bad way she was talking to my hero Baba. I love my Baba. He is my hero. How courageously he handled the situation. After all he is a policeman and everyone fears my Baba. But i am sad for Panku. I will wait for him again tomorrow morning at the bus stop. He will definitely come. After all we are friends now. Will he ever come back? I guess so. Or may be not? Let's see." Kavya was thinking the possibilities while having her tiffin inside the Jeep. The Jeep was moving away from her school.

A day passed. Second and third too. Fourth day arrived very quickly. Time took its course to heal the  wounds. Those wounds were Invisible but present. Present in the moment. Absent by virtue.
A similar voice came from somewhere...
"Ha station..Pune Vidyapeeth"
Two dark eyes searching for the familiar face inside the crowded bus.
A smile came from somewhere.Fingers searching something inside the shirt pocket. Three blue and two green marbles were there in his palm. This time one marble was missing. The smile faded. 
A hand came out of the crowd towards the boy. As she opened her fist, one black marble was there.
The black marble met the others. Now all the marbles are together. Three blue, two green and one black.
The two hands were joined in unison. As if they are not going to be pulled back very soon. As if they have found a stronger reason for their friendship. A reason to correct the wrong and forget the past. A reason to not question again and build a greater understanding for tomorrow. As if they know the purity of hearts and language of forgiveness.Growing up is not a child's play. Maturity comes from the mind not by the age. Maturity of thoughts is needed to make this world a better place to live and love.Mistakes are part of life and it cannot be undone by any punishment or penalty.But to every problem there is a solution.
Sitting besides the two were the mother and father. Panku was talking with Kavya about the pending treat of chocolate sandwich. Inspector Pratap and Susheela were silent but not angry anymore. They knew they cannot ruin their children's life with their past. They need to move on. They need to be mature enough and learn from their children to forget and to forgive. You cannot live with regret and revenge in your entire life. Life is uncertain, your children have a future to celebrate.
Life is like a bus journey. You get up and board a bus that takes you for a wonderful ride to your destination. The journey teaches you to enjoy the hiccups, experience the failures and learn from the mistakes you did on your journey. We all are travelers in this world and we have to perform our journey to meet our goals, reach our destination. Every one is like a Pankaj and a Kavita. We just need a ride to experience the journey called life. 

"Kuthe?" asked the same thin mustached man in his fifties tapping his vending machine towards Pankaj.
"Shevtche Station...Khadakwasla. Last Station...Khadakwasla!" Again he heard the same voice..this time the voice had magic.Apna Pankoo smiled back to the bus conductor and showed him his journey pass," Khadakwasla." His eyes shining. Tears nowhere to be seen. Kavya watched him with a sense of relief and smiled back. Her little, just a little smile made the most perfect dimple for the two little souls ready to take the journey which was going to continue forever and ever.  

~~~THE END~~~

About the Author-
Prasenjit Sarkar, 28 is a sales guy in the day time and a blogger 24x7. Having spent most of his life travelling to different parts of the country, the author enjoys writing poems and stories created from his own blogsite. The author can be reached via Facebook - and can be contacted via e-mail- Viewers and subscribers of this blog are requested to please like his FB page on

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