TODAY -

All is well that ends well
(A true story)

Rabin Prasad Kalita *



'Bibha' reminded her husband 'Biren' that their nine years old only son 'Bimal's birthday falls the day after tomorrow. Hence, she wished to invite a group of ladies for "Kirtan" (chanting hymns for blessings) on the sanctified day though the weather was not very pleasant being rainy. Monsoon was in its threshold.

Biren nodded his head affirmatively to go for it. Children's birthday for parents is a cause of hope and celebration. Children too happily wait for this auspicious day expecting some gifts from their parents and invitees.

Bibha made all the necessary arrangements for Kirtan and of course it is needless to say about the invitation of nearby ladies around them. In villages, normally cake is not preferred for celebrating birthdays.

Mostly, Kirtan is arranged in place to get blessings from the invitees amongst Sanatani Hindus. Village people normally don't follow western culture but go with the age old rich tradition which binds them with peace and harmony.

Drizzling was continued since morning. Before the dusk, guests along with the group of ladies started coming one by one. They were made to sit at a particular place demarcated for them. Discontentment due to the bad weather was overcastted on Bibha's face. Her concern was justified. The spits of rain had made mucky far and wide because the courtyard was clay built. Mud glued under the sleeper bottoms of everyone and marked dirty stains all over. This made her little embarrassed. What she could do except to pray God to stop the rain!

As soon as, ladies started chanting the psalm of "Kirtan", the drizzling gradually converted into a heavy downpour. There was no sign of stopping the rain rather became cats & dogs and continued even after the Kirtan was over. Water logged all over. Worried invitees decided to leave their house anyway even if they get wetted. Somehow they made their way out to reach their respective homes soaking in rain.

Biren is a model farmer of the locality. His family is completely dependent on various crops and seasonal vegetables. Surplus is sold in the market and he utilises the benefits milked out of selling for meeting rest of their needs including Bimal's study. Biren has almost a hector of ridge gourd, cucumber and ladies finger. All those healthy plants were start yielding regularly. But regrettably all of those plants already immersed in the water after three days of incessant rain.

Things were not going well. The river embankment just behind their house is in bad shape. The river got puffed up quickly and flown above the danger mark. Gradually its potent water current had made the embankment weak by hammering time and again. If rain doesn't stop or water does not get recede then there is a chance of breaking the river barrier very soon.

The entire villagers came over the embankment with their children out of grave fear thinking lest that unpleasant happens. Keeping their children in a safe distance, they worked together hard and tried their best to repair the embankment to protect them from the huge probable loss. God forbids, if it breaks, the river will divert its flow through Biren's property. Biren and his family shall land nowhere. The property that had been built by sweating blood over the years shall get washed away in a minute.

Unfortunately, the collective efforts of all including men and women of the village proved insufficient to withstand the river guard. Within a fraction of time, the mighty river broke the clay mounded dam and diverted its way out with a big bang. Thenceforth, everything became history in a second. In a blink, dozens of poor villagers who had been working at the epicentre were flown away by its strong current. There were painful clamours aired amongst their kith and kin searching their own people. An inexpressible horrifying situation swallowed up them all of a sudden.

There was no trace of Biren and his wife Bibha. Bimal was crying intensely in search of his parents. All cries emerged in a single swansong around. The newly diverted river travelled dangerously as it was a low land. It was not possible to hunt for those missing and deceased at that time. No one could dare to search anyone in the death den? Entire village was inundated in flood in one's eyes. A few strong houses amidst the flood stood tall, some were submersed totally and the rest swept away. The river had flown deep into the Biren's property and beyond.

Crying for their near and dear ones, all of them had spend another wakeful night under the open sky. Only a sufferer one can feel such a heart melting painful situation. The next day morning some government aids and public helping hands were initiated for those destitute flood victims. These ill-fated people had been accommodated over the embankment under temporary makeshifts and fed by some NGOs.

Painfully Bimal turned out to be an orphan in a snap. No one knows the game of the creator! It is unpredictable. He was looked after by his poor neighbours in this shattering period. In the mean time, many of them fell sick for consuming contaminated water, lack of proper sanitation and dirty surroundings. Usually it does happen to the people when the flood tends to move away. The area became filthy and unhealthy due to the putrid dead animals which were once domesticated by them. As the days went by, medical care for these wretched villagers were essential.

Meanwhile, a medical support team was rooted to that temporary camp. Doctor Raghav was supervising the team to check up their health and disinfecting the area they lived. Bimal also urgently needed medical care along with many others. They were suffering from high fever and diarrhoea. Under Dr. Raghav's incessant medical care, Bimal recovered quickly.

Raghav became compassionate enough on Bimal after knowing everything about him. He expressed his empathy and concerns for taking care of Bimal if he gets the consent of the villagers. As Bimal had lost his parents, future of this boy got jeopardised and the road appeared spiny to survive. Who would be taking liability for his sustenance?

Hence, the villagers took a collective decision to hand him over to Dr. Raghav. At least Bimal would find a home and be nurtured by a wise family. Raghav gave his words to all concerned in presence of the village elder man, wherein he mentioned his will to extend his helping hand at that critical phage of Bimal's life.

Raghav brought him home happily and thus Bimal found a new shade to live. Raghabv was surviving with his wife Nitu, who was also a doctor by profession and their six years old Nayana. After a couple of days, Bimal had been admitted in a nearby local school so that he doesn't think much about the catastrophe he witnessed. But, seldom could he attend his classes. The reason behind, most of his times he spent for taking care of Nayana as her duty bound parents use to return home late.

It seemed a mere promise made by Raghav to the villagers. At the back of mind his intention was something else. Actually Raghav was in grave need of a house help. Hence, descrying the misery of Bimal, he played this card showing as a saviour. He didn't want to lose this chance anyway and he succeeded.

Bimal's seldom schooling came to a halt before appearing his high school leaving certificate examination. He became a full-fledged house help by then and proved to be a loyal for the family. In addition to his complete household jobs; he guarded Nayana while going to her school as well as bringing her back. Couple doctors got relaxed leaving everything on Bimal and were happily discharging their duties.

As the time gone by, a new development took place slowly in between Bimal and Nayana after attaining adulthood. They started behaving in a sense that never had before. Both started reciprocating symptoms of love each other unknowingly. But Bimal was scaring off his doctor uncle. If he gets to know a little about these activities, he would definitely be thrown away for sure. Then it would be hard to find a little ground for him to stand even. So, he tried to get out of this foolishness. But how come love stops this way!

On an unfortunate day, couple doctors came to know their behavioural transformation all of a sudden. They realised their fault of keeping them together without a third person's vigil. Finally, infuriated Raghav decided to throw him out of her sight. Certainly this untoward was to happen, which Bimal thought once.

He regretted and helplessly proceeded to another town nearby where one of his relatives resides. It was also true that he had been used by the doctor's family all the passing years for free. He was heading an unknown future over there. After reaching the town, his prime aim was to grab a job whatsoever to mitigate his hunger. Couple of days later, he could find a cleaning job in a garment show room.

But there in doctors' home mournful Nayana was missing Bimal much. Putting her best efforts for tracing his whereabouts secretly was her only objective. Suddenly his absence had left her alone. It was hard to spend time without him she felt. They grew up together without getting separated even for a day. He was with her along like a shadow almost all the time. He was never considered to be an outsider. Many sleepless nights she spent seeking its solution.

She recollects having her said by Bimal once about one of his relatives who stay in the neighbouring town. By all means she quietly engaged herself to locate Bimal without showing an iota of doubt to her parents. When all information got handy, one fine morning she fled to meet Bimal pretending to attend classes in her college.

Bimal got shocked seeing her in his single room accommodation suddenly. Before he spoke anything; she embraced him wailing intensely and said that she has left her home to stay with him for life. Bimal tried to explain Nayana for restraining her feelings and requested to go back to her parents.

But she pushed everything into deaf ears. She stood constant in her stubbornness. Bimal helplessly briefed her everything about his pitiable financial status. He never can be matched with her in any angle. Moreover, he said her to concentrate on study to complete her education. No advice worked out. She didn't leave her pig-headedness.

By his experience, Bimal could presume the situation in her home by then. Her parents might have been worried for their daughter. Hence he requested Nayana to dial her parents for letting them to know her presence with him. Though she disagreed first but after a number of insistences, she gave her consent for a call. Switched the handset on, dialled her father's number but handed over the set to Bimal.

Seeing his daughter's number, distressed Raghav lifted the phone at once and sounded where you are Nayana! Hello uncle, am Bimal speaking! Sorry to say you that Nayana is here with me. Don't worry uncle, she is alright and you can come and take her along. How come she is there, Raghav asked? The sentence pierced at the other end. Before Bimal spoke further, uncle asked him the address quickly.

Raghav and his wife drove to the given address and reached within an hour. Seeing her parents, before they spoke about the issue, Nayana told them that she came there at her own will, so that Bimal is not questioned. Further she told her parents clearly that she would stay with Bimal as his companion and in no case she would go back her home. The three of them tried to convince her for a home return but she was firm on her words.

Also she informed them, if they force to withdraw her decision, the consequence would be an unpredictable. Her parents have been compelled to assent with her choice. They didn't want to lose her that way. Therefore, for now, they requested her to move along with them from where they would arrange her marriage grandly. But that was not happened. She sensed something fishy. She stood inflexible on her commitment to stay with Bimal and her parents had to return home without her.

While they were on the way to their home, Dr. Nitu and Raghav were deeply saddened thinking about Nayana's future. Being Nayana their only child, couple doctors had a lot of dreams to settle her future stable and pleasant. They never thought that the environment of the house would turn this way shockingly. Besides, they realised that day, if Bimal had been educated properly in his early days, he would have been in a better place today! But they didn't do so. They used him badly all the years. Probably, they had to see this misery today.

Their home looked void in absence of nayana and Bimal. As if it appears to be dark during the day itself. No one knows what is there in one's destiny. It simply happens at its own way. They don't want them to die in poverty in front of their eyes. So they chalked out a plan of a suitable business for them nearby to their home.

Forgetting each other's difference, both of their children have been called upon to join their parents. Thus they started living and enjoying a new set of life thereafter. It's never too late to mend. Hence, a proverb says, "all is well that ends well".


* Rabin Prasad Kalita wrote this article for e-pao.net
The author is a freelance writer and presently working in Indian Audit and Accounts Department as a Senior Auditor at Maligaon, Guwahati, Assam.
The writer can be reached at rabin1966(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on April 13, 2020.



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