Saturday, September 19, 2009

THE PREY [SHORT STORY]

V.R.PRAKASH -- LOCO PILOT/ERODE

I smell the trouble at the door steps itself when I entered home …Biji opened the door at the same time Arun came and embraced me... she seemed to be having little worries in her face, which normally I never met with.. I queried through gestures...
“You just go and see Praveen. From morning itself something was wrong with them... Mini came twice here and told me that he is not even ready to have any food” .She replied.
“Whether he is having any stomach problems or he is sick”. It was my doubt.
“Don’t kid me... there is no chance to have any stomach problems with Praveen, he is so much resistive to food poisons, as a person taking food from outside and running rooms for the past two decades how it is possible to have a food adulteration , I think that the problem is little more grave than your expectations”. While making tea she answered. “As a good neighbour and a friend for years together we should share the worries and pleasures, isn’t it” she concluded.
I sat on the chair sipping the tea and just had a pause to the days behind. Sweet memories… of the past… that too at the time of evening tea ..ha..ha.. I went on a flash back to the days we jointly had, with extreme bliss. I arrayed the fragmented memories of those days of our bachelor life and the agonies and joy we shared with, as two persons came to join the Railways in the same period even though to join the firm in deferent departments .Thank god, for all, the rooms we got nearby to stay along with our family when we got married and the prolonged amity by all means and the good neighbor ship amidst, in which the only deference was the job we possessed. I was in a position to enjoy all nights and all holydays along with family as a clerk and Praveen was not in a position to be with his family most of the time because his job, as a Loco Pilot, almost never allowed him to do so .Even though our families had deeper relationship together but it seems to have some bulged knot on the tie-up due to these differences. To make things little troubled my wife became pregnant within one and a half year after we started our life in the quarters and often I raised the question of the score of delay to Mini.
“What Praveen, are you continuing your Honeymoon ...Don’t you wish to have a full stop... areh yah make it soon .We both will have the joy of having kids. My kid will not find it hard to have a buddy at the nearest room.” When I raised this doubt immediately I was being pinched on my thigh by my wife and she made some signals and tried to prevent me from such questions...
The reply from Praveen was a wet and dead smile and that of Mini was a small shock...hidden with a lot of secrecies...
In our privacy, at the bed room before sleeping she started opening the Pandora’s Box.
“You are exceeding all the limits and you are not having any control over your tongue ...You asked them about any precautions...Mini told me in several occasions that they were not under any such precautions...they are also trying to have a kid ”.. She was in full of fury.
“Then what is wrong with?. Any problem?. They want to consult any doctors?. As you know we can take them to Dr.Aravind’s infertility clinic”. I was in total anxiety.
“No... Not indeed... they already had the tests and there is nothing wrong with both…but Praveen was advised to take some medicines to enhance his sperm count, since he is regularly working in Diesel and Electrical engines na …there may be chances of lesser number of live sperms when subjected to excess heat ,high electro static and magnetic fields”. I opened my mouth widely in appreciation to my only wife’s knowledge in anatomy, chemistry and biology.
“Areh wah”... I appreciated her. “Oh… this is the reason...” I was eager for the reply.
“Not this alone”... She continued with little woe in her face.
“Are you kidding me ...you don’t know…In a lady after the ovulation the egg will breathe for only 48 hrs and within this time it requires a mingling with a gamete to change itself as zygote” .I astonished and simply listened to the treasure of knowledge revealed by my only wife as it is the place of her domination in almost all time when I used to have a tea made by her. I made a gesture just as that of the Air India Maharaja [king]… bowing my head in respect to the scholar of all trades...
“Where Praveen is having time ...as a person working in the crew booking office you are very well aware of his train working ... na... in any day at any time whether Praveen was able to lend justice to Mini…say at any time” ?.I never had any feeling that Praveen is guilty. It is quite natural with his nature of working.”.. Feminist in Biji awaken up suddenly and she continued… “Mini told me innumerable times that she is fed up with the Mail/passenger link and at a time as if she got an AK-47 she will not hesitate to make it used if she see the man who prepares the link”..
I interfered and told “I feel little feared that some times I also may be posted at a place were link is being prepared”...
She continued in a vigorous way “I never feel Mini as culpable in this context. I do pray always that your duty should not be changed by…and you should not be nominated for preparing Links as a link preparing clerk. Certainly the entire curse will fall on our kid…who never a score for it…Oh god you should never be …never be”…She was shivering with anger...
I suddenly realized that, if my wife herself is in such a mood, then what will be the emotions of Mini...
At last to the prays of ours and Praveen’s family they were being blessed with a kid when Arun was 3 years .Now Praveen’s kid, Neethu is 4 years and she is in LKG.
I always used to discuss about Neethu with my wife that she is very brilliant and bold.
“What you are thinking of... What a friend you are... Go and have some words with your friend”. My wife interfered me to flew back to reality from the old memories.
Taking Arun along with me I knocked gently on the doors of Praveen...
Mini opened the door and she returned back with a formal welcome which I never had in my previous visits, which indicate the severity of the issue. I was able to read everything in her face…Praveen was in bed …
“Hai uncle...hai Arun bhaiah” Neethu skipped away from Discovery Channel in the TV and they two ride themselves to the world of theirs...
Praveen came out with a gloomy and deserted face...he came and sat…neither he nor I opened mouth for a longer time...I was in a puzzle where I can open the things...later I broke the silence… “What happened to you Praveen?... What is the problem...Biji told me that some thing is wrong with. What is it?... tell me”...
“Sree…yes it is the thing... her questions... that disturbs me... her doubts...it wounds me”...
Praveen calls me Sree, instead of Srikumar...
I actually trembled a little... whether there was a flash through my head… the question she raised before me a month back...I was not able to answer that question... It was a Sunday .There was a film show organized by the school in which they are studying. All students belongs to their school came for seeing the movie keeping themselves under the shadow of their father and mother, but Neethu was forced to come keeping herself sheltered by Sree uncle and her mother. Praveen was not able to get leave. On the way she exploded the bomb. “Why my father alone not came along with me to see the movie?...Why he is not even spared with Neethu as it is being enjoyed by other kids... Sree uncle came... Mohan uncle came... James uncle came…Why Loco Pilots alone are not allowed to heed their family”…the questions never came to an end till we reached back home after the movie and the endeavor behind seeing the movie failed miserably...
“Sree we will go to the park... there we can have a free talk”...
“Just a minute I will be ready” I agreed with Praveen... Asking Arun to keep himself along with Neethu, I changed the dress and started along with Praveen...
My inquisitiveness, eagerness dragged Praveen on revealing today’s issue...
Praveen started “Today I sat along with her since she was watching the Discovery Channel. A leopard was chasing a deer for its feast. My mind run along with the deer with a honest pray for a clean missing to the leopard…Oh god no...no...no ,even though I was sure about the end... at last deer fell down to the muscles and jaws of the leopard. I simply watched the little eyes of Neethu. There were no fear... no anxiety…no anguish…seeing a usual thing she sat before…I shivered with fear and realized that how far the market culture spread through the visual media had brainwashed and stolen away my kid from humanity and how she is stiff with apathy. After a pause of little narrations another frame of hunting…prey is same...a deer...hunters changed as Lionesses...repetition...little more narrations... prey changed as beasts... hunter also changed... Crocodiles... little more narrations... prey changed as monkey... hunters are crocodiles... Little more narration swimming beast in the water... hunter changed as Anaconda... again little narrations prey changed as penguins... hunter was Seal .Frames changed one by one and later there was a break for an advertisement. Neethu turned around and asked me that question.

Dad... for what you are a prey for?...
At the moment when Praveen said this, I suspect that I trembled again...the land beneath my foot slipped…I feel missing myself…
Praveen murmured …”What answer I have to give Sree... for whom I am a prey for?...I know I cannot say that I am prey for a single hunter... A prey of a number of hunters...how I can answer this question… tell me Sree... tell me. No… I am not able to answer her questions...I am really fed up my friend... A person who never gave righteousness to his family...his father and mother… his kid...his own society... and so on... Sree so on... only having fair dealing as a Loco Pilot…as a Loco Pilot only”….
Praveen weep in to tears…beyond my pacification...he shed tears a lot... We reached the end of the Road…most luckily…the road was desolated of any more spectators other than me...
As a companion of no words...I stood along with him hugging him …sobbing along with him...praying myself for not losing the little clemency and humanity I reserved with...

Email ID: vrprakash0191@yahoo.co.in

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