Sunday, June 19, 2011

THE OTHER SON OF GANGES: PART 7


PART 7: THE PRIEST

“Yes. I shall come”, replied, Bhanupratap. (PART 6)

It never occurred to him that the room was dark. The creaking cupboard rattled noisily, as he stood there- rummaging its contents. He had been searching for so long, that he had almost forgotten what was that which he needed? A murky brown envelope fell on the floor, its contents spread everywhere. Dirty little bits of paper, they were. No. Not dirty. It was money. And that money, those little bits of paper, had cost him- his self.


It was almost a year since he had become one of “them”. His head felt heavy even as he thought about it. He was never one of “them”. Not now, nor then. He had joined them, nevertheless. He had refused to take a life. He refused to carry a gun. He refused women. He refused stealth. He was a medium. A transporter. A link between two links. He chose to be at the middle of nowhere. It was Vishwa who found it most amusing. “Sin-less Sinner”? He would say. “You really believe you could be that”? Bhanupratap could not answer him. He did not know the answer. Deep down, he knew that this was where he fit in. And that was why, they called him “The Priest” or the- Panditji.

Not many of Bhanu Bhai’s men, approved of Bhanupratap. Shukla- one of Bhanu Bhai’s ‘insiders’, even called Bhanupratap a “man with a price”. A few of them, even told Bhanu Bhai, to dispose of Bhanupratap. But Bhai only told them- “How can I not trust myself”?

Vishwa was good to him. Vishwa- was Bhai in all aspects. Bhai never did anything without Vishwa. Vishwa’s liking for Bhanupratap had what sealed him within their world, even though he was not one of “them”. Vishwa had said, “It’s always good to have a Priest around to wash our sins”.

Though the true meaning of those words only occurred to him later. The men of ‘darkness’ never joked about business. Bhanupratap occasionally became others too. Sinha’s lessons had their uses. But mostly he was Bhanupratap. The prison register bore his signature- “Bhanupratap”, it read. One day, Sinha asked him, “Bhanupratap, what is your name”? “Bhanupratap”, he had replied. Sinha looked at him for a few seconds and said- “Yeah, right. You are nobody if not Bhanupratap”!

The dark liquid needed water to quench itself of its wrath. The water he knew, spoke of stories. Stories of her life, and his life and dreams. The water he knew was hope was life to many in the place he knew from his previous birth. The water he knew was his mother- his Ganges. But this water knew no stories. It knew only pain. The pain of the dark liquid that she had absorbed into herself. And when drunk- she would rest not until she transferred all the pain deep down through your throat. The pain of the dark liquid blended itself with the pain in the heart- and out came the tears and words never uttered otherwise. The tears were her tears. The tears of the Ganges in his blood.

The ringing of the phone. Bhanupratap gathered the little pieces of paper and put them back into the envelope. The “darkness”- they often told him, helped them to see “light” better. He chuckled as he picked up the phone. It was Vishwa who spoke from the other end-

“Come now, Panditji. It’s time for the Puja”…

(..To be continued., Part 8: “A drop of water”…)

3 comments:

rainboy said...

nice going...waiting for the next

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

Apologies for having missed out on the last post earlier, but now that I have read it, it seems, he has been denied, the safe passage. Though Mother would keep him safe, but until when?

Nice story, keep writing Matangi. It's intriguing.

Cheers,
Blasphemous Aesthete

RamMmm said...

// “Yeah, right. You are nobody if not Bhanupratap”

Good one, the obvious without the obvious.

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