The Dead Man's Eyes - Chapter 3
by Geetashree Chatterjee
Back to Chapter 2
Three figures sat still in the shadowy room. Each with his own ominous but silent thought. Then one of them said "So?"
It was a question. The other figure replied with a strained inflection, "So?" A pause which seemed like eternity followed. Then the figure who had opened the conversation said again, "What next?"
"Nothing," said the second figure.
A "nothing" could have several meaning. A "nothing" could be an abrupt snub, a well thought of break in between a series of heated, inconsistent or monotonous dialogue, a rescue, a drone, a question, an answer as vague as unspoken or any other myriad juxtaposes impregnated with varied, diametrically opposite connotations.
But the "nothing" uttered in that half lit room had an eerie edge which was fearful of resonating in the emptiness; it did not oscillate from its post but was just frozen in vacuum peeping like an iceberg in the ocean of time - a daub of a moment cursed with endless inertia, it pricked like a thorn!
Someshwar stood in the balcony and watched the boy roaming in the garden. The boy observed more than he spoke. He was just like his mother whose presence in the room could be made out only by the jingle of her bangles. His only son and daughter-in-law met an untimely death in a gruesome car crash.
Someshwar still shuddered to think of the night when the news reached him. He had rushed to the spot to be shaken by the sight of a mangled vehicle and two entwined human forms difficult to dissociate from each other. And in the midst of the debris lay the child breathing slowly and bleeding profusely.
Someshwar had picked up the child and rushed to the nearest hospital leaving behind the battered carcasses of his son and his wife knowing fully well that it was futile to even spend a few
moment mourning over the irreparable loss. Time was precious. He had to save the child.
Though he moved away too soon from the accident site, the nightmare still hounded him in the dead of the night and robbed his peace of mind. He had tried in vain to book the culprit but all investigation had trailed off to infinity without a traceable conclusive end.
One look at the bleeding child, the doctors had told Someshwar to pray. And he prayed with a fervency he did not know existed within him. It was money, contacts and something more which may be grossly termed as luck that made the child survive. But his eyes were badly damaged. The doctors suggested a corneal grafting which could bring light to his darkened life. Sooner the better, they said in unison. But Someshwar had his own plans. He was ready to wait. His philosophy of life had always been to wait for the grand opportunity and grab it when it came his way. He had lived and succeeded by this dictum and applied the same in this case too. And the opportunity came in the shape of the old man's promise!! The rest was history.
It was Manik who noticed and informed Someshwar about the boy's natural interest. It was easily discernible from the questions he asked, the books he bought and read and the sites he surfed on the net and spoke about animatedly to his dear Manik Kaku. Manik jelled well with the boy. In fact, he was the only person with whom the boy opened up. Manik saw his late son in the boy and the boy searched the father whom he had lost early in life in his Manik Kaku. Both were bound by the common thread of sudden and unfortunate loss in life.
Someshwar's first reaction to the proposal was a big "No". How could he allow the boy to face the world all by himself? He had had such a sheltered life all throughout his childhood. Nobody had chosen any other profession in their family. It was always business - the art of making money. How come the boy wanted to be a doctor? It was Manik's persistent coaxing that Someshwar relented at last. There was no point in suppressing the boy's natural inclination. Let him go battle it out on his own in the big bad world. How long Someshwar would be able to closet him. It was not good for the boy too.
So, one fine morning the boy crossed over the threshold of his ancestral home to meet the unknown, to seek the untold and to learn life itself not only by assimilating volumes of indelible imprints of seers and sages but by his own wisdom and prudence collated and sharpened by experiences, failures, short comings and successes. He would return after years of searching the truth, older, even brighter and perhaps wiser, accepting the truism that it was not always the head but many a times that the heart ruled, more so, in so far as the species called the Homo Sapiens are concerned. To be continued ....