by Jutismita Hazarika
The sky outside has developed a thick dust cover. It’s been a month since it rained. Only if it rained a little last week! He hates this grayish tinge on tree leaves. And the powdery substance on the road that tends to cling to his shoes when he goes out looking for a job!
These days, a fresh green feeling, like a rain-washed afternoon, is brewing in his mind. Despite the grays outside trying to make things cloudy! But, he can’t breathe. May be it’s the dust. Or probably it’s the heaviness he is carrying in his heart.
It’s been a month since she left him. She is his adulterous wife Mamoni.
The word adulterous is something he detests, not Mamoni. He can never loathe her. Not even when she was caught cheating on him by his village folk. How can someone hate the only person he has for a family? Mamoni was his reason to live even if that meant living a miserable one.
Theirs was an arranged marriage. He could see Mamoni twisting her lips in disappointment when they met for the first time. But he was excited by the idea of sharing his life with someone. After his mother’s death, he was left with no one but his empty room and a few rats above his ceiling. He would wake up every night to their rattles and have a strong urge to talk to someone. His elder brother stays in the adjacent house. He had never been his brother’s favourite.
Mamoni was no beauty but the fact that her well-off family chose to marry her off to a cellphone tower doorman was overlooked on purpose.
The marriage was like this dusty month of the year. Hazy, suffocating and idle. For Mamoni, the suffocation resembled the wait for a soothing splash of rain. For him the idleness resembled the languid evenings of joy. He tried his best to keep her content and was happy with the leftover love he was occasionally showered with.
A year after the marriage, the afternoons were still fresh green. Only, the eternal spring never bloomed in Mamoni’s heart.
And Mamoni was found lying in a pool of vomit one day. Her attempts to die and leave her loathsome husband with another crease on his forehead failed. She was carrying his future.
That was the day a rush of gray had sneaked into his heart, something alien to his body. It didn’t stay long. With Mamoni and the green romance in his heart he was becoming a new man. He was looking forward to welcoming an heir. An heir to his thatched house, his saving from the cell phone tower job and the collage of failures he had endured on this earth.
say his first day on earth was as disastrous as his present days! The day his mother was smiling a relieved happiness was the day her husband died. The father figure had existed all this while like a shadow. A shadow, always following him, always blaming him for bringing a misfortune to the family.
Mamoni never wanted that man to father her child. She never wanted to give that man the joy of his life. The husband she was forced to sleep with remained a ‘that man’ in many strange ways. He was the doting husband every woman would want and yet her rotten brain cells found nothing adventurous in him.
As a young girl Mamoni was psyched by the thrill of life, but her marriage to the cell phone tower doorman was the punishment her father thought apt for a crazy woman. Diverting the revenge to her husband was difficult. That man loved her.
The love made him survive the worst of her blows. The day she was caught with her neighbour’s nineteen year old son was the day she decided to leave him. The humiliation didn’t matter because her rotten brain wouldn’t allow it. She decided to leave him because her battle was lost. The way he stood stooping in front of the village folk without saying a word was enough to defeat her. That man loved her after all.
The adulteress stood defiantly while the young boy’s mother continuously slapped her husband. This was the ultimate failure of a man. A man unable to control his wife. A man unable to tame his property. For him this was another misfortune. Like his dead father this one will follow him too. Her shadow would probably keep accusing him for not protecting her against the insults.
She was gone the next day leaving behind the burdens of her marriage. Her nine-month old son cried foul in vain. His adventurous mother had finally left the battleground. It’s been a month since that last rainy day.
He sat motionless for a few days with the small baby crying out his lung. The heaviness in his heart came from a sense of abandonment not from betrayal. Strange was his feeling. All he wanted was someone to hold onto him. Hopefully his son would. The cell phone tower job was long gone. Nobody wants to leave a cell phone tower unattended. Someone deserving had to fill in.
The only option left with was to wait for the heaviness to vanish from his heart. May be another splash of rain would help. However, something fresh green has started moving inside his heart these days and it feels like a rain soaked afternoon.
May be it is his son’s habit to cling onto him. ******