Chapter 1 – The Wall


Imagine one day waking up and finding out that there is no Sun for you.

Yes, it means that there is no Sun for you and you only .

The Sun has risen and it has lit up the whole world. Like always. Like the infinite number of days that were there before you existed and the infinite number of days that will come even when you cease to exist, but its not there for you anymore.

Your vision has been blurred by an opaque wall through which you can still observe what is happening around you and when you do, you can come to only one conclusion – rest of the world is going on like everything is fine. Its only you who has been abandoned by the Sun. The wall around your vision is only opaque and not pitch black because the universe wants to remind you that its only you who is missing out the Sun.

Everyone else is doing just fine.

You find your way to go through life. You establish a routine which helps you to go through it but it never helps you to get used used to your colorless life. You start wondering if its same for a gold fish living in a fish bowl. Since its vision of the world through the glass must be distorted.

Does it get used to it? Does it established a routine inside the bowl its living in and go though life like you do? Does it keep on living with a discomfort and endless questions?

But gold fishes do not speak. You start speaking less too. The people around you, they don’t see the wall.  But if you communicate to them for long, they understand that there is something off about you. So you don’t. You understand that the opaque wall exists only around your vision and not around theirs. As if its not real, as if its a disease. For the first time in your life, you hope that you have a disease. Since some diseases are curable. May be there will be a way to cure your disease too. Even if its not a disease, you hope that one day, some day, you will get your Sun back. Your world will be colorful and vibrant again, like it was once. May be one fine morning you will wake up and there will be a Sun lit world before your eyes and that day you will know that you have been forgiven and the wall has vanished.

You keep yourself tied to your routines. You keep your conversations short and simple. You no longer make real connections to the people. If you sense that there is someone who is trying to connect to you, you withdraw. You bury yourself in your own world, in your own scent.

Yet you live in your world, in your blurred down, colorless world with one hope that one day, someday, everything will be fine. Time passes in minutes and in days. Your will decays along with your body and soul. But the hope in you, remains.

So does the opaque wall.

***

(To Be Continued…)

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আকাশের বামনেরা


মে মাসের অসহ্য গরমে উত্তর কলকাতার এক সরু গলিতে একটা ছোট পান বিড়ীর  দোকানের
সামনে দারিয়ে জীবনের প্রথম সিগারেটটা ধরাল আকাশ।

“ব্যাপার টা কি বলতো ? হটাৎ সিগারেট খাওয়া শুরু করলি কবে থেকে?” – নিজের সিগারেট টা ধরিয়ে জিগ্যেস করল অভ্র।

“চাপ লাগছে?  মেয়েটা কে তো খারাপ দেখতে না। তোর সমস্যা টা কি বলত?”

আকাশের চোখ আকাশের দিকে। মনে এক্ রাশ ভাবনা। আঙ্গুলের ফাকে ছোট হতে থাকা সিগারেট।

“ব্যাপার টা ঠিক হচ্ছেনা জানিস তো।”

“মানে? কথা বার্তা এত দূর এগোল বলেই তো পাকা দেখা করতে এলি! এখন মনে হচ্ছে তোর যে ব্যাপারটা ঠিক নয়ে! ইয়ারকি হচ্ছে নাকি?” – অভ্রর কপালে ঘামের ফোঁটা দেখা দিয়েছে। নিয়মিত মদ্যপান এবং অনিয়মিত শরীরচর্চার ফলে আজ বছর ঘানেক ধরে উচ্চ রক্তচাপের শিকার সে। এই অভ্রই কলেজে পড়ার সময় টানা তিন বছর ব্যাডমিন্টন চ্যাম্পিয়ন ছিল।

“কিন্তু এর পরে কি? বিয়ে করে ফেলবো? এমন এক জন কে যার সঙ্গে আলাপ তিন মাস আগে? মানলাম ভাল দেখতে। বুঝলাম তোর ও মনে ধরেছে। কিন্তু তার পর কি? সংসার শুরু করে দেব? ব্যাস আগামি পঁচিশ টা বছর চাকরি আর সংসার করেই কেটে যাবে? এটাই কি পরিনতি? এটাই কি সত্যি ছেয়েছিলাম চিরকাল ?”

এক নিঃশ্বাসে কথা গুলো বলে ফেলল আকাশ। ফুরিয়ে যাওয়া সিগারেট এর ফিল্টার টা ছুরে ফেলল ডাস্টবিনে।

দোকানে একটা বাচ্চা ছেলে বসেছিল। খুব সম্ভবত মালিক নিজের ছেলে কে বসিয়ে মধ্যাহ্ন্ ভোজ সারতে গেছে।

আর একটা সিগারেট চেয়ে নিল সে। জীবনের দ্বিতীয় সিগারেট। যদিও তার ফুস্ফুসের স্কোর এখনও

শুন্য।

“ভাই! তোর কি নার্ভাস ব্রেকডাউন হল শেষ পর্যন্ত? উপরে ফিরে চল ভাই। সবাই অপেক্ষা করছে। প্লিজ এরম করিস না। পিশেমশাই এখুনি না খুজতে আসে নীচে!” – অভ্রর শার্টে ঘামের দাগ স্পষ্ট।  পরিস্থিতির চাপে সে আর নতুন সিগারেট ধরায়েনি। নিজের পিসতুতো ভাই আকাশ কে সে খুব ভাল করে চেনে। উচ্চ মাধ্যমিক এবং জয়েন্ট এন্ট্রান্স এর এক মাস আগে বাড়ী থেকে পালিয়েছিল সে। পিসেমশাই এর ইচ্ছে ছিল ছেলে কে ডাক্তার বানাবার। আকাশ এর হসপিটাল এর প্রতি ছোটবেলা থেকে অনীহা। পরীক্ষার এক সপ্তাহ আগে বাড়ী ফিরে উচ্চ মাধ্যমিক এবং জয়েন্ট দুটোই ভাল করে উৎরেছিল আকাশ । শুধু মেডিকেল এর যা র‍্যাঙ্ক এসেছিল তাতে শুধু ডেনটাল হত। তো আকাশ একটা প্রথম শ্রেণীর ইঞ্জিনিয়ারিং কলেজ ভর্তি হয়ে যায়। ছেলেটা একবার কিছু ঠিক করে ফেললে আর ভাবেনা। কিন্তু আকাশ আজ ভাবছে। আর অভ্র যে খুব একটা ভাবতে পছন্দ করেনা  সেও ভাবতে বাধ্য হয়েছে।

“নীচে কেন নামলাম জানিস?”

“সিগারেট খেতে যে নামিসনি সেটা বুঝতেই পারছি। কিন্তু তোর মতি গতি ভাল  ঠেকছেনা ভাই।”

“একটা বামন এর যদি দেখা পেতাম তো সব সমস্যার সমাধান হয়ে যেত বুঝলি। নীচে এলাম একটা বামনের

খোঁজে।”

“বামন! দ্যাখ আকাশ ফাজলামির একটা সীমা থাকে! আমি কিন্তু এটা আর নিতে পারছিনা। তুই উপরে চ নাহলে আমি তোর বাবা কে ফোন লাগাচ্ছি এখুনি!”

অভ্র দোকানের টাকাটা মেটাতে যাবে এমন সময় একজন লোক পেছন থেকে এসে দোকানে ঢুকল।

“খোকা কি ছিল এনাদের?”

দোকানের মালিক জিগ্যেস করল বাচ্চাটাকে।

আকাশ লোকটার গলার বসা আওয়াজ শুনে পেছন ঘুরে তাকিয়ে দেখল লোকটা একটা বামন।

*

(চলবে)

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Kafkaesque Morning


It was another dull morning. There was nothing new about this day. Kafka woke up hearing his mom and dad shouting at each other. That was not a nice way to wake up.By now he should have been used to all this. But he was not. Kafka washed his face. He had his breakfast shouting at his parents asking if they could shut it up at least until he was gone. Kafka felt tired of all this. He was thinking about the two hour long journey to the college. The final examinations for this semester was nearing. All of it seemed very “staged” or “phoney” to him. Every year there were two semesters – students did not care. At least most of them did not. They still passed the exams in the most unimaginable ways. College education could have been about knowledge but it was not. It was about getting a job. Everyone knew it and Kafka did not have a problem with that but he did have a problem with the whole system pretending like it really was about knowledge. For all of this he needed to travel to the college to the other end of the city, bearing the scorching heat, dust, noise and people.

Kafka was standing in front of a occupied seat. The day sure started bad. Kafka was the only one standing in the bus, rest of the people were sitting. Kafka felt unwanted. He chose to stand in front of one sit. It could very well be that the two people who were sitting in that seat are the only ones except Kafka who would travel to the last bus stop and the guy with glasses, who just boarded the bus and was standing beside Kafka in front of another seat, would get to sit before the bus reached the next bus stop. Irony was that this guy could get off the bus way before the bus made even half of its journey. The system is unfair. Just like life. Those who actually need, often don’t get enough. Those who already have – get plenty more.

Kafka reflected , he never did hurt anyone in his life. If there would be a God , why could not he get a better life? He could not remember when he saw his parents smile for the last time. Kafka did not have things his friends had. He knew that what his friends had already earned by being born, he had to earn working. The guy occupying the seat in front of which the guy with glasses was standing, stood up and went to the doors to get off the bus. The guy with the glasses was looking at something through the window. Kafka turned and took the seat.

“What just happened?” – asked the guy.

“I took the seat.” – answered Kafka.

“I need to travel two hours and am not feeling very good today” – said Kafka’s eyes.

“Who is supposed to take the seat? one who is standing in front of it or one who is standing on the far right?” – asked the guy.

Kafka did not make any eye contact. He was pulling the phone out of his bag so he could put the ear plugs in his ears and pretend to listen to the FM.

Kafka looked up in his eyes plugging the headphone in his ears –

“The one standing far right” – answered Kafka and looked away calmly.

Kafka was feeling depressed. The guy with glasses got a sit in next five minutes and got off the bus after ten more minutes. Kafka was not feeling depressed about that. He was feeling depressed about his life, his existence. As the bus was making slow progress through the unbearable traffic and noise, Kafka sat still on the hard seat. He felt like he did not have any energy left in him already. He had a day to survive yet. Kafka looked left as he felt something was wrong inside the bus. A dwarfish man had just boarded the bus. He was less then 4 feet in height, had a thick mustache and had short hands and short bent legs. Kafka felt sick looking at him. The man walked to the end of the bus to take a sit. He had to climb up to the seat using his hands. Kafka felt sorry for the man. It was not his fault that he was born like that. Kafka felt sorry thinking how much harder life could be for this man.

The bus was passing by Kafka’s school. Kafka looked at the temple beside the school. He used to touch his forehead and chest with his hands to show respect to the God before entering the school hoping he would not get beaten by the teachers or bullied by his classmates. It was a Hindu custom. Kafka did not choose to be a Hindu but the habit stayed with him as he grew up and the classmates became friends. The teachers remained the same but Kafka stopped caring about them. Today he did not feel like continuing this habit anymore. “If God existed things would have been better. ” – thought Kafka, feeling defiant- “I would have a happy life and there would be no dwarfs”.

Kafka noticed some movement behind him. He turned around and saw the dwarf touching his forehead and his chest devotedly. Kafka felt a pain inside him. Strangely this pain was pulling him out of his depression.