নেটখাতা

October 11, 2005

TJ2: Nutan (continued)

(… continued …)

The first time Tridib saw Nutan, she was actually a child. Though at her nineteen, she laughed like a girl of nine. The horrible part of the whole thing is that, the last time Tridib saw her, once or twice she tried to laugh, at least smile, and every time Tridib could discern the same movements of muscle and face parts that she remembered from those first time laughs, exactly the same movements, the same form, only the content has changed. Not exactly the same form though. So many years of suffering from an unknown disease, and that the disease is unknown makes it a bigger terror, has changed the face a lot too. Though, that day she tried hard in her own way not to look as she is now, but, more like as she was, as wants to be remembered by Tridib. Or, maybe, she did not think that much at all, Tridib is making them up.

Tridib imbibes Nutan with a lot of the glory of magic. Actually, not exactly Nutan. But some context. Some very special context that goes on working down under and generating unexpected new turns in meaning in apparently very expected way of things and events.

That time Tridib was working in Purulia. For one year or so. A village so many miles even from the distant district town of Purulia. And this place Manbajar actually brought to his mind the name of the film, ‘Christ Stopped at Eboli’. He used this phrase so many times in his mind and in his conversations too, Christ stopped at Purulia. Manbajar is a place beyond all reasons, an uncertain barren piece of land full of chunks of stone everywhere, a place where even Christ has never treaded on.

A place where he had to take his dinner within six in the evening, because that is the time when the last shop in Manbajar closed down. And the house he lived in was geographically on the extreme end of the village, just beside the village’s own burning ghat for burning down the corpses of the indigenous dead, and the nearest house housed two chained insane people, who cried at some ungodly hours at times, and that is a tautology, because no hour was ever godly there. He lived in this house, because in the history of the village he was the first person to rent in any house in that village, outsiders are very much of a novelty in those areas.

But that was not the most important thing. The bigger thing was his own history though. For the last few years, that is exactly from the moment of marriage, the moment of truth when he understood he should not ever have entered into this marriage, he was sleeping on a broken bed. That is again a grossly overstatement, in a way he was still sleeping in his bachelor bed. So very few nights he went to the place where he should have lived, that is, with his wife, preferring his small lonely corner room, full of so many political memories, in the big bad parental house, a house where never ever a family has lived. But through the years of childhood and youth the house was, by that time, a habit, not any kind of emotional demand any more. So, this return to the old parental house after the college, actually helped him cheat himself that, yes, every thing is exactly as it was, that he was never married at all. Anyway, all these were just the backdrop that actually worked underground to make this second interaction with Nutan doubly rich all possible layers of emotion.

The whole impossibility of a woman being like that, the wife of one of his friends, being so much like a child in the first interaction when Tridib met the friend with his friend and his friend’s fiancée who were planning to marry very soon, in fact got more highlighted and underlined by this second interaction, when this child, a child that a girl can ever be, was married some time back with Tridib’s friend, and so, appropriately run through the ‘Wife’ template, with all those due attires, with a household of her own, with the whole house under her command, that is exactly in every way as a wife should be, and still so unseemly in every way.

Her tip, that is the bindi, the sindur, the vermilion dot on her forehead, as any traditional Bangali bou or wife must have: even that small thing too was so much of a massacre. She has not even learned to wear her sindur, Tridib thought. This second interface with Nutan, after her marriage, from the very first moment made Tridib so conscious that all his childhood he has longed so much for a sister of his own that he never had, being the only child of his parents, and what a emotional necessity it was. That very moment the feeling that came up within him that, yes, maybe this planet is not that bad to live on, what he had started believing for quite some time, specially after this ‘punishment posting’ in Purulia. ‘Punishment Posting’ is the common term in the related circles, when some powers that be punish someone by the posting, for his impertinence, and yes, impertinence, that was one thing that Tridib was never short in supply with, with an in-built attitude problem. These problems now added up with his becoming renegade to the politics that was now in power in West Bengal.

That primary moment of feeling the bubbly soft buoyancy of a hill spring after a long way up hill, the water is taking away your weight, all the bubbles are playing with you, your body, your soul, you are relieved of carrying yourself, that lingered on and even swelled on more, and in a way inundated Tridib on the next morning. As Tridib and his friend, went on talking into the late hours of the night, eager to exchange so many things, meeting after a long time, and so, it was fixed the earlier night that Tridib would rise very early in the morning and catch the first local train, without waking his friend. That Nutan, the child-wife, balika-badhu, as Tridib was already teasing her, and Nutan never failing to get angry, would rise from her sleep at such a small hour, and prepare breakfast for him, was, very truly beyond the wildest imagination of Tridib. Maybe more so due to his semi-nomadic lifestyle for many years, political and impersonal, and more due to his never finding a family in a real way, and he has seen his own wife in many occasions like this without ever getting an experience of this kind. That morning, it was even not four on his black Seiko digital watch, that watch was lost very soon after that, Nutan in her commanding voice, how a wife that runs the family can talk without commands in her voice, told Tridib to sit calmly there, the seat for breakfast that she prepared for him on the floor, with a folded table cloth, and have the whole plate of food without leaving a single morsel on the plate. That was the ugliest fried potato that Tridib has ever seen, now that Nutan has learned her life and her trade and her efficiency she will never be able to produce that ugly that beautiful pieces of fried potato any more in her life, every piece with a thickness of its own, and that some of them are over-fried being compensated by some of them remaining quite raw.

(… continued …)

Filed under: ব্যক্তিগত, মানুষ — dd @ 10:20 am

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress