Kaliyuga The Age Of Darkness - 11 in Gujarati Novel Episodes by Vicky Trivedi books and stories PDF | Kaliyuga The Age Of Darkness (Chapter 11)

Kaliyuga The Age Of Darkness (Chapter 11)

11

THE STATION

 

[I’ll be born. I’ll take birth in Devbhumi (land of gods). I’ll take birth where I’ve born before as Rama and Krishna. This is my dearest land. My days will be holy days and I will celebrate Thursday as my birthday. My name, fame and rule will grow everywhere on land and sea and free the people from sufferings.]

 

We reach station almost an hour later at dusk, the time of ghost roaming free and searching for their prey. I am seeing the station for the first time. It’s something which I haven’t imagined or dream yet. Everywhere is nothing but metal and metal, barbed wire fence, and a building formed of cement and red bricks, standing in there like an old giant of the old fairy tales.

More than two hundred Sunyas - men, women, and teenagers have crowded the station ground, some in irritation, some in excitement, some in fear and the remaining have no emotion as they are the Sunyas – The real Sunyas. All have different emotions, if something is the same it’s our dress. Grey shirt and a loose black trouser. And same grey bags full of tools and clothes on every shoulder.

Mostly the teenagers are in bewilderment, unable to understand what they are seeing as they all are seeing the station for the first time like me. Boys are in black trousers and grey shirts, and girls are in the same shirts and black skirts, starting from their waistline and ending at their knees. Boys and girls all have same boots, made of leather, extended up the leg, as far as the knee and have a heel that is clearly distinguishable from the rest of the sole like hunting boots – black boots – we call them working boots.

Above in the sky, the moon is playing hide and seek, weaving in and out of black clouds scudding across the sky as though it’s also bewildered and feared like us.

The bulbs, lights, wires, and so many things perfect stranges for a Sunya are the reason for our fear, excitement, and bewilderment. And the strangest thing is the generator. In some mysterious way, it was producing electricity out of nowhere. I hear its loud rumble on the ground. I look at it and watch for a while. It’s a huge machine, almost dual in size than my hut, all over and inside it is just metal and metal, some wheels, a fast-moving belt, screws, bolts, gears, levers, rods and tubes, pipes and lower part of the machine is black with age.

My teacher has told me enough about this machine. I’ve also read from books and I’ve felt I’ll understand the machine and know the secret of their electricity. Once we will know what the electricity is we can get way to control it or turn it off and then it’ll be easy for us to attack station building, cutting the power running in barbed wires and fence around it.

But as I see the machine it makes me horrified. I was foolish. I’ve expected their machine something workings I can understand but here everything is different. The wheels rotating, belt moving in a circular way on two wheels faster than I can’t see it properly. Two wires size of a thick rope of ivy which we use to keep our roof safe during the storm are attached with the thing and other ends of the wires were joined with a wooden board over the building wall.

I see numbers of thin wires going out in every direction in the station, on the ground, at the track, in the tunnels and illuminating the station with bulbs from the board. Bulbs are like lanterns but they had much light, a hundred times more light than a lantern. All bulbs are attached to thin wires, each with each one.

I feel like there is a day not a night in the station. But the air is still, heavy and cold.

“Don’t touch any wire or don’t try to escape the station,” I hear a voice, so strange, so heavy and so sharp, “the barbed wire around the station carries electric current in it.”

I look at the orientation of the voice. It is a man in saffron shirt and saffron trousers, a curved long blade in his right hand, his sleeves are rolled and a bangle type object is on his wrist with some strange writing.

He is a Nirbhaya. I know by his dress code. Perhaps all are thinking what I am thinking because all eyes are on him, some curious while most feared.

“Many of you who have joined beyond the wall before this trip knows me but,” he observes us with his eyes narrowing, “who are in the station for the first time for them I am Jagapati.” He puts stress while speaking his name as if it’s something important which we never do.

We never put stress on the word except for the thing by which we feel fear like the creator or the Nirbhaya but why he put stress while speaking his own name? Does he fear by his own name? No, it’s not possible.

Does he want to fear us?

Yes - maybe.

I observe his face. He is really a Nirbhaya, his face battle scare, a deep wound starting from his right eye to his upper lip which wasn’t full but his lower lip was full, his eyes as black as coal but with some red lines like creepers inside them, his shoulders broad and his body well developed. I saw his hands own also old wound scares and his knuckles are swollen as if he has just punch something solid with his bare fists.

 If something resembles in us his shoulder-length hair.

“The experienced will lead all newbie to head house and wait till the train comes,” the Nirbhaya instructs, and smiles. It’s not a smile. It is just a small tightening of his mouth. The most noticeable thing is the predatory sparks in his eyes. He uses word experienced for who have gone beyond the wall before and a newbie for like me.

One thing is certain he is impressive, even his voice is impressive as if compelling us to do whatever he says. I think. Are my people right? Are they born to rule us?

No, it can’t be true. I press my lips closed, a thin line of defiance as the conversant inside me denies my assumption.

Before I can pursue this line of thinking, my father grips my wrist and says, “Let’s go.”

 

The experienced leads teenagers to the head house. Head house is a massive building, formed of same red bricks as the station but bigger than it, well lit by bulbs. The air inside is damp and cool smelling faintly of a generator's exhaust smoke. Headhouse is no warmer inside than out.

All gathered in a hall with uncountable metal things to sit. I look up and think the ceiling must be twenty feet high. The windows were gaping holes for the wind to rush in and out through. It looks like an abandoned hall but outlasted the others because it's made of concrete and metal. Floor, roof, ceiling everything is older than I can imagine. Only one of the windows has glass, two has metal bars and the remaining have just gap, huge gap. Walls around us are wavy and yellowed by time. There’s nothing except so many metal chairs.   “What’s that?” many of teen-agers inquire about them and their mother or father whoever is with them answers, “Chairs.”

The word sounds odd for teenagers who aren’t conversant. – Chair.

I go near a chair and sit on it. It’s comfortable to sit on it than a cot; my back can rest on it while my hands and head also can rest comfortably. I’ve read about the chair but seeing it for the first time and I wonder why we haven’t such things at home.

Of course, we can make a chair from wood. They why?

Perhaps that’s why we are called the Sunyas. My people never try new thing. Never try to imitate things beyond the wall or even the things inside the station.

Poor people! I sigh.

All my life I’ve waited to walk in this huge building and see what is inside the gate of the station, a building I’ve seen from a distance but never entered.

I look at the boy two chairs away, I know named Pavan. He is conversant. Next to him is Amar his best friend and student of another teacher, not Jagamal uncle. I smile at them and they smile back.

Some teenagers are unknown to me. They are from in the wall but not my nearby area.

“What’s that?” I inquire as my father comes and sits in the chair next to me, “what’s that machine?” I point my finger at some machine resting in the station building’s premise.

The machine is odd, having two wheels made of something black like working boot my father and I have, and the remaining parts of the machine are metal, just metal in different size and different shapes.

“That’s a motorcycle.” my father says, “They ride on them.”

“Why they don’t travel on the train?” I ask, “The train comes the day when they come.”

“But they come several hours before the train comes.” he says, “They come early in daylight to maintain discipline.”

I remain silent, my conversant-thinking says – no, that’s not the true reason behind their early coming.

The Nirbhaya comes four hours before the train to check if everything all right. They come to check is everything as they have expected, as it should mean normal. And if so is true Nirbhaya doesn’t feel fear is wrong.

They fear something would be beyond their expectation, something would be beyond the routine and what’s that – the rebel.

Nirbhaya feels fear – fear of the rebel.

“How many of them come before the train?” I inquire. I’m hoping to know more.

“Ten.” he says, “two on each motorcycle.”

“Weapons?” I ask, observing motorcycles which were the incomprehensible machines for us.

“Five with curved swords and five with bow and arrows,” he says, “but why are you inquiring?”

“Nothing,” I make an innocent face, “just curiosity.”

“And it’s banned for the Sunyas.”

“I know,” I say, “but why I have?”

“I don’t know but,” he whispers in my ears, “if you have you should pretend you haven’t.”

“I will,” I say.

Then I pay attention to others, curious people carrying knapsack, rucksack, haversack and some teenagers with duffel bags as I have. All have bags provided by beyond the wall, they provide us many things like all the equipment to harvest our crop, axes, spades, grass Sickles, forks, cutters, Powrah, shovel, rakes, and hand shovels.

Each year traders come and provide us necessary tools, bags, hunting boots, lanterns and Kerosine to lighting them, matchboxes, and in exchange we give them coal, and row metals of mines where half of my people work like an animal. Traders’ fair is what isn’t FAIR.

Traders come on the train with horses and carts. they have no soldiers with them still my people never dare to loot them because they know the punishment for it. If the Sunya behaves beyond the law the Nirbhayas enter in the wall and do for what they are born – to kill people, to burn huts, to rape teenage girls and at last, to take all our crops and row metals.

My father says it never happened for 100 years. Once a troop of drunkards Snuyas had killed traders and looted them but after that Nirbhayas came and killed more than two hundred Sunyas and made a strong example.

And to my dismay, my people believe Nirbhayas had done right. If you break the rule you should be punished otherwise Pralaya would come again.

I can’t understand how one can kill two hundred people for the crime of a couple of drunkards Sunyas? But no one except the youth who have read books thinks like me.

I’ve asked my father from where traders come and he has told me they come from the land-way travelling through a ruined city named Ahmedabad.

Is there a way? I’ve asked.

“Yes, but only traders are allowed that way. It is a doorway through the wall which opens only once in a year when the traders come.

“Have you seen it?”

“No. Why we should?” he has answered.

“Don’t you think we should know if there is a way to go beyond the wall?”

“Why?” he has frowned, “why should we go there until the train comes to take us?”

I have understood my father or anyone else can’t think as I think. They can’t think we should know if there is a way and we break through the wall. They are human but somehow inhuman.

Perhaps that’s why people beyond the wall have named us the Sunyas instead of humans.

“Remember one thing,” he says, “the fearless troop has two leaders. One is Jagapati and other is Nirav. You should be careful when the later is near you. He is cruel and apt.”

“I’ll.” I shook my head to remove divergent thoughts and pay attention to girls in short skirts looking more beautiful than usual due to fear and excitement on their faces. Though I try to enjoy their beauty my mind presents me a question – are they meant to work in a dangerous construction site.

No – Conversant in me answered.

I shouldn’t think over this. I order myself and again try to enjoy the beauty around but I fail. My mind is distracted. Foreign thoughts come to me and I know these thoughts are not all mine, these are of conversant and I fight to pull myself away from his thoughts, but we are together. I’m he and he is me. How to separate myself - I don’t know?

***

To be continue.....

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