It should have taken maximum three days for Vijay to visit Priya’s house and come back. But today it was fifth day after he had left. He neither had called nor was there any message from his side. Vijay’s mother was desperately waiting for his arrival. On the other hand Vijay’s father, who used to leave early morning to go to bar and then office as per the routine, was strictly following that.
Today also Vijay’ s father was about to leave as per his routine. Vijay’s mother stopped him and asked, “Any phone or message from Vijay?”
“no.” he didn’t even bother to stop and answer.
“Today its fifth day when there is no news from him…. Where he would be?... please do something to find him.” Vijay’s mother was irritated.
Vijay’s father stopped for a while and said, “where would he go… he will come himself.” And he left immediately…. because he was getting late. His body was demanding for liquor as it was addicted. The mechanical clock may be late but needless to say about biological clock. It is always on time.
It was afternoon and there was no sign of Vijay. His mother was now worried. She stood in the door and hoped that she could see Vijay coming. She was getting worried.
“What to do?… whom should I ask for help now?” She was quite worried.
She was concerned. Apart from her, there was her daughter in the house. But she was not of any help to her mother. At last she decided something and locked the door and left… to Rajesh’s house.
It was evening when she came back from Rajesh’s house. When she went there she found a lock on Rajesh’s house. She got to know from neighbors that the entire family has gone to their holy place as Rajesh and his wife got a baby boy.
Suddenly Vijay’s mother saw a crowd coming to her direction only.
“What’s the matter?”
Vijay’s father must have done something… he is never in his senses.
As the crowd approached her, she could clearly see a stretcher which four of them were carrying. And they were coming to her house only.
Is her husband on the stretcher? He must have fallen somewhere.
Or is it Vijay who is there on the stretcher?
Thinking something, she ran towards the door. Her heart was pounding with fear. The crowd had reached their house and they had placed the stretcher on the ground. There was a corpse which was covered with a white sheet. But she could not dare to remove that cloth in order to check the corpse.
“Is he alive or…?”
This thought struck her. She could not understand what to do next. She was looking at each one of them hoping that someone will tell something about the incident. Meanwhile one of them came ahead and opened a bag before her.
“This is of your son’s… right?”
Vijay’s mother looked at that bag and then at her son and asked, “what… happened to my son?”
Everybody was silent. She went ahead and tried removing the cloth from corpse’s face. One of them came ahead and said, “sorry… he died in an accident… and we got this address from his belongings.”
Vijay’s mother collapsed. Everything was so shocking that her senses stopped responding. She was expressionless. Neither could she cry, nor could she speak. After a while, when she got into senses, she tried removing the cloth from the corpse’s face.
Someone from the crowd stopped her and said, “please don’t remove the cloth… face is completely smashed… you can’t recognize the face.”
“My son….” She cried.
Probably Vijay’s sister heard her mother’s voice and came running outside. Everyone in the crowd was looking at her and perhaps waiting for her reaction on this scene. But unlike normal, she came out, slowly went to the corpse, looked once at her mother and sat down beside the body. She started caressing the body. Perhaps she also was under great shock as she came to know what had happened. But probably her brain was not able to respond to that.
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Mugdha Apte