NOBODY LIGHTS A CANDLE - 24 in English Social Stories by Anjali Deshpande books and stories Free | NOBODY LIGHTS A CANDLE - 24



Anjali Deshpande


Nitesh had told Dalchand that they would meet him in the court and he had picked up Adhir from near his house on the way. Actually Adhirath’s house was not on the way to the court, from Lakshmi Nagar he had to turn towards Mother Dairy and had to go to Mandavali and he had to retrace the path in his jeep to go to Karkardooma court even though Adhirath kept saying that there was another way through Patparganj.Adhirath was sure that if Nitesh had not asked Dalchand he would definitely not have met him in the court. Perhaps he too would not have gone. He did not feel like talking about his case. He was going through a phase in which he felt that if he did not think or talk about something that thing would vanish. And he wanted certain things to remain invisible for as long as possible.

The lawyer had asked them to come only after four in the afternoon. The bustle in the Karkardooma court had reduced but it was still quite crowded. How soon the new building of the court has begun to look faded Adhirath thought. The evidence of the huge number of clients using the court premises was visible everywhere. The walls were splattered with the dirty red of the pan stained spittle sprayed on them. Cigarette boxes, wrappers, empty pouches of pan masala, polythene bags covered the grounds, the stairs and the floors. The only difference the closing time of the court made was that people were not rushing hither and thither but walking slowly. When they reached the room of the lawyer he wasn’t there, only his munshi was, who recognized Dalchand and having offered them chairs gave them tepid water to drink. He told them that the lawyer was sitting in another lawyer’s chamber discussing some case.

By the time Ashok Verma, MA LlB arrived in his chamber Adhirath was convinced that there was no use meeting him. Vermaji heard their story with full concentration. Then he looked at Dalchand.

“Look, first of all these two matters are not connected,” Verma said.

“They are, Sir, they are,” Adhirath jumped in. “I did all this only for him, to save him. Do you get the point sir? I was on leave. When all this happened I thought I must save him. How can they not be connected?”

Verma had gone very silent. Even after Adhirath finished speaking he kept quiet for a full minute. Then he said calmly, “If you have anything else to say, say it.”

“Sorry, sir, sorry. You know there is so much tension, he is so tense,” Nitesh said and pressing his foot on Adhirath’s foot under the table indicated to him to keep quiet now.

Vermaji nodded. “You are facing an internal enquiry. My client ahs a murder case against him. The defence we have taken is along a different line. Now if he goes as a witness for you and says he was with you on that day he shall be weakening his case. Everything will be confounded. It won’t help you either. No way. It is not a good idea. I will say don’t involve Dalchand at all. If you want I can refer you to some lawyer. There are many lawyers who deal with service matters. You can consult them. They can even appear on your behalf. See, Dalchand’s matter is more serious. His life is on the line here. It is best to keep him out of this affair.”

“He will be questioned about this in the enquiry, for sure,” said Nitesh.

“Yes, he will. He will tell them where he was. What you did, and why, how does he know?” Verma said.

Adhirath thought Dalchand had begun to breathe again with relief. All because of this NItesh. This constable Dalchand, who had to obey his orders till yesterday, was today in a position to do him a favour and the bastard did not want to do it. Had his attitude been helpful, had he truly wanted to help and had he said that the lawyer was tying up his hands Adhirath could have understood, he himself would be telling him to heed the advice of his lawyer. He would not have felt so humiliated then.

Adhirath was in such a foul mood when they got out that he refused to go back with Nitesh in his jeep. “You go drop this Dalchand Yadav,” he said pronouncing the constable’s full name for the first time. “I have some work in Jafrabad.”

Dalchand said he would take the bus. All three went in three different directions.

Adhirath began hopping busses and for a long time he wasn’t even aware which bus he had boarded and where he was headed. When he got back home it was past ten at night. There was a power cut. Some slivers of light peeped out from every house. To make the inverter stretch all members of the family were gathered together in the same room and had only one light bulb on with a fan. His heart sank. If he had to sit downstairs with the whole family how would he be able to bear the tension? The efforts of the electricity department to unite families always peaked along with the summer months. Now power would display this erratic behavior throughout the summer. How long could he stroll along the noisy road? At last when the light was switched off downstairs he leapt upstairs.

“If this is a trick to enforce family planning it is a complete failure,” commented Pushpa switching on the fan. Now lights were off upstairs and downstairs. Only a fan whirred in both rooms. For at least four hours the inverter could give them back up power. After that they would have to sweat it. but they did not have to. Electricity was restored in three hours. Adhirath knew. For he had not gone to sleep.