Saturday, 20 July 2013

The Dwarf And The Man

When you speed by my house every day, I sit at the window which has been my world ever since I become maimed after the accident on Jessore Road on the fateful day of Wednesday the fifteen, nineteen hundred and ninety two. When the speeding truck was suddenly before me, I lost my wits and the bike which was driving at a top speed went flying when there was a sudden collision. I later heard from the people who had rescued me that I landed on the pavement, my legs twisted and flesh torn off my hands at places. Later when I recovered from my consciousness full four days later, I was dwarfed as my legs had been amputated and my pride as a tall handsome young man had been destroyed. Since then it has been very painful for me to reconcile myself to the way I have been deformed. When I was able to extricate myself from the people who showered their words of consolation on me, I cried inconsolably trying to console myself. It took me months to come to terms with the fact that I would never be whole and what was left of me was truncated, though alive and pulsating. You were one of the men who had come to meet me and what intrigued me was a genuine look of concern on your face. Did you cry too? I did not see. But what I saw on your face was nothing short of anything lacrymose.

 You and I grew together and spent days and hours together, planning many of our adventures we had never finally started but the sheer excitement we felt was not lost on us. You sometimes cried out in dismay when some of the insurmountable difficulties in climbing a mountain were painted by me. Similar was the shock we felt when you talked generously about the perils of paragliding; the very thrill of it seemed to make us grow faint with a sensation that was difficult to explain. Those were the days of our youth and a period of our unalloyed friendship. Now I am still a friend to you but a lot shorter than what I was before. It is nearly months since you last visited me. When I grow emotional and my eyes do not see anything outside, I remember you vividly. I often look down the length of the road and when there is no trace of you, I console myself that you must be busy because of which you cannot come. Yesterday my heart leapt up in joy when I saw you riding the kind of the bike I once rode. You were looking majestic on the thing. I felt like rushing to the door to greet you but that was an illusion. Your bike like a thing in a hurry went by my window and there was not even a cursory glance at the window where I sat. I was stunned and a lump rose in my throat. I have learnt over all these months of agony to have a grip on my emotions.

A little later my milkman, Bhusan came and sat there. He asked me if something was wrong with me. He sat beside me and chatted with me for a while, regaling me with some of the funny incidents of his life. He said that he still boiled some extra milk for his wife in the hope that she would come back. Then he said it was about six years since she had left with one of her cousins. I looked at Bhusan, caressing him with my glance. As he left I told him to leave the door ajar as I wanted to see the expanse of the sky where I and my bike borne friend once got entangled in the battle of our kites. Every time my kite was lost to his, he came to me and hugged me saying that he loved to see me victorious in my defeat as he could shower his love on me. As he said all this, he seemed to be a distant man but that we loved each other was enough to each of us. Now the sky looked too clean with the smell of the puja festival in the air and there was not a single kite in the sky. I wish I could now fly my kite that would be lost to that of Anirban, my friend who had such a sense of the limits of the sky that even the smartest of the birds were afraid of him. I saw him speed by a little earlier and he did not even cast a glance at the window which has become my world. I am not filled with rancour nor am I indignant towards him because I love him. I know that he has not been able to come to me because he has been busy or something more important than me has kept him preoccupied. Yet there is something that prods me and I look eagerly out of the window, trying to make out something that seems inexplicable to me. We never crossed our paths even when our interests clashed. Yet once when he was in love with the very girl who had professed her love to me, we fought like two titans. We fought at the garden house of my grandfather and we were both adequately bruised to elicit sympathy from each other. We both rested in our houses for a few days, recovering from the wounds we had inflicted on ourselves but the issue of the girl we loved was not resolved. I cannot but chuckle when I remember this and my eyes become mellow with love for him. But I now feel restless, muttering under my breath that he has to come to explain why the driver of the truck that had rammed into my bike looked like the man who was riding pillion on his bike a little while earlier.

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