by Inder Krishen Koul (Talib
Dorji just stood still, dumbfound, eyes fixed onto that large peculiarly round boulder, which could perhaps be called a solitary one but for the presence of a smaller one of its kind only a few feet away, protruding from an undulating mass of sand on the banks of the mountain stream Teesta with volumes of tossing cold mercurial waters in the foothills of picturesque dense jungle. Residing not far away in the small hamlet Simtang on Siliguri-Gangtok highway where he had lived twenty five springs of his life, he knew its glades, pathways and even the pine trees like the palm of his hand. He turned his head around apparently listlessly gazing across the rumbling river into the morning haze of the woods, but actually lost in the depths of Kamini’s thought. “If only she could be, like before, beside me as close as water kissing the roots of that lone tree on the opposite riverbank and just not running afar washing away the tiny but significant specks of happiness from my life, as of now,” he thought to himself. The morning sun tried to beat the cold gusts of September wind and Dorji too made similar bids to disengage his mind from Kamini, but ironically both matched only in their failure. The will to sit on that solid rock, alone----without Kamini ----eluded him now and again like the moon playing hide and seek behind the cloud, and finally much to his chagrin, deciding to rest upon the smaller one in a position so as not to lose the sight of that entire big one where he and Kamini used to spend hours together during their long association of four years, in total seclusion away from the maddening world, talking and talking, laughing and laughing, complaining and capitulating, weeping and wailing, cajoling and coaxing, and so on and so
How did this happen……? Why did you forsake me for no fault of mine …….? I think God and you somehow conspired to forsake me …….He perhaps to demonstrate His absolute authority on Providence and you certainly to satiate your sadistic pleasures seeing some ones’ heart bleed which I am still afraid you would never like to do before when we met last ,” thus Dorji murmured to himself. There were times when Kamini Gurung and Tandup Dorji would enter into heated arguments or even quarrel, particularly when he broached the subject of their marriage and Kamini’s attempts to tactfully brush aside his insistence seemed to be having no impact on him. But this time only a few words from him would lead her onto the path of permanent estrangement, he never imagined on
earth though knowing very well that the future of Kamini’s only mentally retarded brother who having lost his parents in early childhood was completely dependant on her, always weighed heavily upon her sensitive mind.
Dorji gently picked up a piece of twig and unintentionally started scribbling something on the ground that eventually turned out to be a figure resembling his Kamini. He reached for his wallet in the right hand pocket of his jacket, took out an old but neatly kept photograph of Kamini and after making up some deficiencies in the figure below spoke to her again,” Oh!...... my dearest Kamini! What makes you to be so indifferent ……. so callous to me. I never said or did anything deserving punishment of such severity. There were a couple of more serious occasions in the past when we could’ve fallen apart, but it was you who said that this relationship of ours isn’t just like a bubble of water in its impermanence. What has suddenly made you so harsh……..so heartless, I still fail to understand. If in my obsession of love for you I made a simple and logical proposal that we should now concretize our relationship and marry what was wrong in it …..…it was all natural and anyone in my place would’ve done so long back. After all we both are settled……. earning and what should prevent us from realizing our dreams and start living the life of our choice that we’ve been cherishing all these years. Tell me sincerely, how long the flame of passion can be held back from ever flammable ocean of love…….wouldn’t it be disastrous for both of us and what sin did I commit in saying so to you……for God’s sake tell me, O!, my dearest one….., please speak ……. ”
His whole body trembling, Dorji slowly got to his feet and aimlessly strolled from one bush to another piqued over the ‘noise’ made by a dozen odd thrushes in the barberry bushes which he otherwise used to enjoy so delectably to its hilt in the company of Kamini. Tastes change with time and happiness comes from within, he wasn’t in a mood to realize this cardinal principle of enjoyment, at the moment. Taking a few whirls which appeared more like inebriation than any acrobatics, Dorji turned back and seated himself where he previously was, but this time grasping his head firmly and staring furiously at the figure below created by him a few minutes back. For a moment he wished to spit at the image and destroy it for ever with his jungle boots, but something within restrained him…….an invisible struggle between heart and head ensued at the end of which the heart won. He bowed down and kissed the image as intensely and as warmly as he could, grossly unmindful whether it was sand or soil…….because for him it was Kamini and Kamini alone , and nothing else. Raising his head reluctantly, Dorji muttered gently, “O! My dearest Kamini, we both have perhaps failed our names….I being Dorji should have been basking in the glory of my ancestral royalty, but far from allowing me this liberty you went ahead ruling me ruthlessly and condemning me unheard, and you Kamini, which signifies one who is abode
and embodiment of infinite love even in worst of tempests practically abandoned me in high ocean currents to drown…….to perish……..Ah! My dear, what a nice reward for my unflinching love?……what a reward?…….Is that what I deserved? O! My dear, should I say your ways of meeting the ends of love are as mysterious as malicious……….Oh! Dear, let the Angel of death devour me before I think so, because you weren’t like that before nor must be still so.” A stream of tears rolled down his cheeks getting slowly absorbed in the sandy image below as silently as his words vanished in thin air.
A sudden splash in water attracted Dorji’s attention and he saw a big fish leap in air and drop back after taking a few spins as if to tell him that he was not alone in that moment of bewailing.. He got up and in a bid to follow his unexpected companion, took a few steps down the stream up to the point where local fish poachers had stealthily spread their nets to catch their bread earners, bellies downside up with the use of gunpowder. Disgusted, he returned but not before espying a large pack of deadly gelatin sticks with detonator, fuse and timer device all set to play havoc with the poor aquatic creatures within a period of ten minutes on the watch and he saying to himself, “Oh! My God….....what would be the fate of my companion, and his companions……..they will soon be dead for the only fault of being born in a world where the poor and helpless are bound to suffer the cruelty and high handedness of the rich and the resourceful, be it the richness of a beautiful face or that of wealth.” Dormancy of volcano within Dorji abruptly wore off and he cried in sheer madness, “ I’ll show to the world right now and here itself, that fish have from earliest times been dying for men, but today a man will die for fish……..I’ll sacrifice myself to save the fish who do not deceive…..who do not wear many masks on their pretty faces…...who do not torture……who do not laugh when others weep…....who do not go about kicking people whom they say they once loved……. Today I’ll give up my life for the poor dumb creatures and not for those who believe in killing people with sugar coated pellets of
Quickly but carefully Dorji untied the knot of the thick cord holding the deadly explosive tightly together with a piece of wood to make it float, unzipped two third of his jacket on front and cautiously slipped that mass of most devastatingly used Alfred Nobel’s costliest gift to mankind down his breast. He closed his eyes and only heard time ticking away from him. But suddenly something struck his mind. He got up and strode a few steps to the very rock which stood a silent witness to what he and Kamini had gone through in the past and what he was going through now, and peeped into his jacket. He had only two minutes of his life left and he wished to make the best use of it. He didn’t think, but involuntarily his hand reached for the mobile phone in his trouser pocket and with his benumbed fingers he hurriedly started pressing the maze of buttons
which often got obliterated due to his moistened eyes. Time running away from him as quickly as sand held in fist, he doggedly continued with the last enterprise of his life.
Ten…….Nine……Eight……Seven…….Six…….Five…….Four……Three……..Two……..One…….and all of a sudden there was a big bang……..a mighty blast…..a bloody blaze…..a deafening sound……and…....a silence interrupted only by the roaring waves of Teesta dancing to their own tunes, one following the other in an unending trail………and poor forsaken Dorji ……..a dear son of his parents, a caring brother of his brothers and sisters, a helping hand of his colleagues, a trusted friend of his friends lay in charred blood soaked pieces littered all around that big stone………the citadel of his love.In the busy town life of Gangtok silence around Kamini Gurung in the retiring room of her office on the seventh floor was suddenly broken by just two beeps and she at once took out the mobile phone from her handbag while sitting pensively on the couch and unbelievingly went through the message appearing on it………..
“The forsaken is going to the Forsaker above and imploreHim that the forsaker below be forgiven. Wish uhappiness ever and always hereafter…….Tundup Dorji.”
Next morning almost the same time some passers by discovered the necrotic body of Kamini Gurung near the same rock………the only witness to Dorji and Kamini’s love, life and death, which no longer stood in silence, for it displayed visibly delible but infinitely lasting inscription in chalk……….
“If only he could have understood my problems a bit more……….Kamini Gurung.”