I came home to pick my cards. After deliberating long about the present situation of the world and how cheap and merciless girls can be, and chalking out the plan to punish the new tenant who is refusing to pay Rs. 500 chanda for Durga Puja, we came to the conclusion that our country is going to the dogs.
We had a soulful of bidi…me, Pradipta, Sanjoy, Subhasis and Shanti. We were tired of the heated debate that over the above-mentioned subjects, we felt a strong urge to entertain ourselves. I went for the cards.
We are a bunch of educated unemployed youth. Some of us have done their masters, I am only the underdog. I am a high school dropout.
I am filled with business ideas and am sure given a chance, I can be the next stock-market king. But my brother, who has a unfair biased (thanks to my boudi) over my intellect is not ready to lend me a mere five thousand to start with.
He is an officer with Reserve Bank of India and that’s a burden for me. He would not let me work in a factory, or in a drug shop, he also does not allow me to take up profitable ventures like supplying Gutkha or panparag and cigarettes to pan shops.
He would not allow me do anything, as it would hamper his reputation. Yet, he and boudi would not spare me for destroying their rice. “Anna ka dushman”, that I am to them.
My father has passed away when I was in class nine. Mother followed suite after two years and by eleven, my brother was my guardian.
And he was a nice guardian, I should say. Things turned bitter after one year of his marriage. First I hated my boudi, now I try not to notice her also. Frankly, me and my sister-in-law both want that I should be thrown out of the house. She thinks I am a junk, but if it happens, I would get my salvation.
I went home to pick up my cards. Unfortunately, my sister-in-law crossed my path. Am surely gonna lose miserably today.
I know she would be going for a party. I have seen her masked face (like a white plastered ghost she looked) in the morning. She applies this home made pack before she goes to a party. And she does it often. She thinks it gives her an eternal shine.
She halted after a few pace. “Are you free dear?” she inquired.
--Yes I am, why anything to bring from the shop?
--No nothing, you are not busy I hope, are you sure you have no urgent work to attend to?
(I know this, she asked it intentionally. It’s called pinching. She’s master in this.)
--No absolutely not, tell me…
--if you are not busy…well, …please don’t mind…
--I don’t (I dare not mind, I am dependent on you)
--well, if you are free, can you please take Shankey for an evening walk please.
--sure (my evening is ruined)
Shankey is not a dog, it’s the name of my fat, flabby nephew.
I have to take him for a walk. He is five, and he would not let her mother get prepared for a party. She would have to take him also. And unconfirmed report says, he is a genious. Wherever he goes, he leaves a mark of his.
Last week he went to Mr. Majumdar’s house. He was particularly interested in Majumdar’s mother’s photo.
After Shankey left the party, Majumdar realized, the photo is still there but the glass in the frame is missing and his mother was doning a blue moustache and a blue cigarette with blue flames gushing out like from a chimney.
No wonder, boudi does not want to take him this time.
I took Shanky to the nearby ground. He is only five but weighs 34 kg. His sole aim in life is to gulp junk food. He is a very religious boy. Pizza hut is temple for him.
I avoided pradipto’s house as they would be waiting for me there.
I could realize Shankey was like a fish out of water. Complete disbelief in his eyes, as he saw, some boys of his age kicking a dirty ball. I looked sideways to him. He looks like a zaminder watching his subjects playing village-olympics. Complete hatred in his eyes for his fellow mud-dwellers.
I dared to tell him, why don’t you join them? (I will get some time to smoke a bidi, I am tired of you, you pig).
He snarled, “shesssshh.”
Plan A didn’t work, so plan B…
--shankey, why don’t you run to that post and get back here. I’ll see how fast you come back (that will be enough to finish my bidi).
--why? ki labh tate? (what’s I will get running?) it’s foolish.
Valid point, there is no gain in running like a fool. We were a perfect fool when we were small, his father was a perfect nonsense, he used to wake up in the early morning for a run.
Still, I tried to convince him, “no then you will get a healthy body.”
--I am healthy, maa says (no you are not, you turkey!)
I tried to hit his sentiment, his weak point, and his mother’s too “no, than you will be taller, like your friends in school, than nobody will tell you motu-natu (I could sense the horns growing in my head).
He thought about it for sometime. He fought back, “I am not motu-natu. I am healthy.”
--“no than you will be healthier” (god forbid), I tried to convince him.
--I don’t need to run to become healthier, I drink horlicks and complan.
All my high spirits were grounded by this apang-opung-jhapang logic of the growing child.
I kept mum. And we spent nearly half-an-hour in complete silence.
At the age of five, he has been convinced by his parents, that I am nothing but a domestic help.
He did not care me at all. “I want to go home, ” my lord ordered.
“why, the air is nice, isn’t it a nice place, why don’t we hang on for a while.
“I said, I want to go home. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?.”
I understood, though I wanted to play some chin music to him. I restrained. Pet ka sawal hai.
--so shall we move, I asked his consent.
--that’s what I told you. Mother is right, you are a bumbling idiot.
I didn’t waste time to bring him back home. Actually I took the short-cut. From prodipto’s house.
“I am coming, wait five minutes,” i informed them.
Shankey sink into his comfy sofa, when I left his room.
Minutes later, I could hear the loud sounds of video game coming from his room.
I took my cards, light the bidi, left the room.