After supper she removed the "Ramayana" and the rosary from her bed and shook the wrinkles off the bed-sheet. Then she called out to Vicky..."Come son, would you like listening to a story ?" -"No, I would watch a quiz on TV." came the voice from another room. She dropped off to bed, in such a manner that the bed-sheet appeared more wrinkled than ever...even her face.
AS A MATTER OF FACT
It was midnight. The suburb was concealed by a blanket of stillness. Tired of loneliness two souls rose from their graves. Deciding to go for a stroll, they started conversing, "When I was brought here, there was a cortege of five to seven thousand people. The office was closed for half a day. A grand condolence meeting was organised. Mourners shed tears and lamented. What happened when you..." -"Oh no ! Nothing of the sort happened."As a matter of fact he said "Actually when I died of cardiac arrest I was about to retire in a few months." The deep sigh of the surrounding stillness could make just a distant drone...
He probably was the youngest man in such an important position. He decided that he would purge the city of prostitution. Wasting no time he passed the order to raid the places where sex workers traded their bodies.-"In no time these shameful streets should be raided and demolished."-But sir, you already know that this is a commercial town. Many businessmen and workers leave their homes and come here to earn their bread. Denied this pleasure, the crime-rate would escalate. Rape and harassment would be common. the officer looked aghast at this explanation and said- "But this is libido... immorality...degradation of humanity.It is this that is ruining this country." - Sir, this practice has one more benefit. Unlike the housewives, these harlots don't give birth to every child. This helps in controlling the population boom and... -"But this is shamelessness...inhumanity." - This is also a natural biological need. In the lower classes of the society marriage is not feasible for all. It needs money. Then the upkeep of the family...This practice has no such problem...The economic condition of this country...The demon of dowry... -"So what do you want ? Should we allow this vulgarity to go on ?The burden of this grand sin would one day..." -Don't misunderstand me sir, I only mean that administrators should pay attention to other more practical matters.
Her father went to work at the break of dawn. Her mother gave her food and went to the stream with a big bundle of washing. As soon as the mother left, her friend, who was a similar looking girl with dry-dirty-tangled hair, came in. She was wearing a misfit short frock, which was making her so self conscious that she was trying to pull it down again and again. Then one by one a couple of kids living in that slum also joined them.-Come-on, let us play 'home-home'.
-I'll prepare a meal first. You go and collect some fuel.
-And you clean this place.
-Oh, not like this... light the fire first !
-I want this seat only.
-Come, we two will go to wash the clothes.
-No, all of you must come and sit here. Have your food first, only then can you go out.
-I'll have my food in this plate only.
-Oh, there is no more rice. So many people have come...its ok...you all eat first, I'll have my meal later.
-"Are you playing the mother?" All were surprised.
The Experienced Connoisseur
It was not so that his business was not fetching him enough money. He earned a lot. There were four butcheries in the market yet none was as famous as his. And why not? He kept the best meat. He bought the healthiest billy-goats at the asking price. He fed them as if they were his own children. Then every morning when he slaughtered them and hanged the fresh meat in his shop its splendor caught everybody's sight. Customers liked to purchased meat from his shop even at a higher price. In spite of all this he didn't wish to carry on this business as a family trade. Angad was his only son after three daughters. Therefore he kept Angad away from the butchery and sent him to school. On growing-up he turned out to be bright and sensible. He even earned good reputation among the young lads of the village.
Gajraj Singh, his childhood friend, was now a renowned leader of the town. After being a member of the municipality, he was now keen on becoming a member of the legislative assembly. One day in the village he saw Angad and dropped a word with his father while leaving "Send him to us, he'll work for the party and we'll make a man out of him. With you he would either be a butcher or would loiter here and there without a job."
Next day Angad was sent to live with Gajraj Singh. Today, like always, when he visited them he ecstatically narrated " He keeps me just as a son, gives me pocket-money lavishly, food also the same as he eats..."
He was not able to sleep that night. The image of that fat, healthy kid which he had butchered in the morning haunted his mind. The same kid that until yesterday he used to feed with his own hands. He kept on turning and tossing over. He was thinking of calling Angad back to town the next morning.[Translation of Hindi short-story 'Pushtainee Parakh']
THE REDOLENCE OF LOVE
Holding back the whip, he jumped down the hoarse-cart. The mare also slackened its pace and stopped. The cart was now still.
Lovingly he caressed and lifted that leg of the mare which it jerked time and again due to pain. The wound was in a bad shape. A few drops of blood made it look fresh but he knew very well that this was an old wound. he has been seeing it for the last twenty days.
Thinking a bit he dag his hand in his pocket and made a calculation. Then, all of a sudden instead of going to the station he turned the 'Tonga' in the reverse direction.
The veterinary hospital of the town used to close at seven p.m.He asked a man what time of day it was. It was six thirty p.m. He kept the whip aside.Caressing the rump of the mare he made the Tonga move. It was a fifteen to twenty minutes distance.
Now, the mare was not kicking the wounded leg anymore. He noticed that in fifteen minutes it didn't even once. In front of the hospital he once again examined the wound.
Halting a little he searched his pocket and scratched his head as if making a decision.
In a flash he mounted the Tonga and turned it towards the railway station. He again lifted the whip in his hand and was humming a tune!
Trotting slowly the mare sensed that now the voice of its master doesn't carry that redolence which it had when he used to rub and knead its body daily with his rough and strong, but caring hands. [ The original short-story "Gamak" is in Hindi]