Dawn at Midnight (B2 Ch10)

Dawn at Midnight.

Book 2: Blistered Feet. Chapter 10: Flutter of Wings


My relatives were numbered. ChotoMa and Babu arrived on the mourning ceremony day. We met for the first time after my miscarriage. She asked me as what I would do. I gave a blank look at her and asked her as why she was asking me such meaningless queries.

She told me that she wanted me to return to Kolkata with her---“Please ShonaMa, come back.”

I gave a pale look at her and answered---“You have come to take me back when I have lost everything in my life?”

She shook her head in intense agony---“I squandered off. I realize now, ShonaMa. My son never called me back. I don’t know where he is, I don’t know how he is.”

---“So you want to take me back because you have lost your son.”

She pleaded to me---“Please don’t make me feel guilty, I know I tried to separate you two and I see the outcome. Even in my worst nightmare I did not fathomed that the lives would be devastated like this.”

I could not control myself anymore---“Why have you come? You have made me hexed after you took away my life from me. Before that, I was a lively girl, ChotoMa. I used to be happy; I used to laugh. Now see, I have forgotten what smile is, I have forgotten what love feels like. See, what you have done to my life.”

She shook her head and guilt was dripping from her eyes.

She took my hand in hers---“You are grown up, ShonaMa…”

---“Yes I am, I was then also, when you took away everything from our life.”

Maithili was nearby with her cute little Nilanjana. Her baby was looking at me with her small eyes, probably trying to understand the harsh detrimental world around her. Subroto Da took Nilanjana in his lap and Maithili came near ChotoMa and sat beside her.

ChotoMa was at her wits end, she apprehended from her look that Maithili was not happy. She gave a helpless pleading look at Maithili. However, my sister-in-law was in no mood to control her angst.

She spoke in a fiery yet cold voice---“Ulupi Di, Paree is coming with me. You do not have to worry about her.”

I observed from ChotoMa’s facial contours that her heart broke with those bitter words from Maithili.

---“You have lost the right, Ulupi Di. The woman who stood for Paree, eight years back during my wedding has not changed in all these years. That day you showed your ego and stern nature. The same nature took away my precious sister-in-law away. You have lost the right Ulupi Di.”

The look that ChotoMa gave to Maithili, clearly suggested that she had lost her words.

I consoled ChotoMa---“Please leave me to my fate. I do not want anyone to shed more tears for me. Let me see what all happens here. I would like to go back to my native place and try to start a new life with my child.”

Our conversation ended in a cold note. ChotoMa and Babu returned on that day. Before they went away they requested my in-laws to take care of me, those came out from the corner of their bleeding heart. They truly loved me, but my anger deterred me to bow down before them on that day.



After few days, my sister-in-laws, Meghna and Maithili wanted to take me back. My mother-in-law told them that she would send me back after few months. I felt like breathing fresh air again in my lungs. They left contented and I relied on their words that at last I was going to be free from the clutch of that dark world around.



The tiny nucleus was taking shape deep inside my womb. I was in my first trimester. Demise of Himadri did not perturb me much as there was no steady relation between our souls. The only thought that harboured in my soul was about my unborn angel. I had to keep him safe and give birth to that tiny sapling to this world.



During night, the thirty-second invisible letter started to haunt me again. Whenever I used to close my eyes, I used to find him standing in front of me with outstretched arms beckoning me to his embrace. I used to sob and soak the pillow in the silent night. How could I meet him, I was a demolished woman then. I could not dream of him properly. He would be unaware of all the facts that made me to marry and what would be going inside his mind. Three long years had passed, he would have probably started a new life on his own and it would not be appropriate to harm another ones peaceful nest. However, he engulfed my blank soul time and again with his tearful eyes and invisible envelop.



From March first week, I started to pack my belongings. I wanted to return to my native abode and started a new life of my own. I wanted to shed my dark past that I spent as Mrs. Karmakar and lead a life alone along with my little angel. I made up my mind that once I could free myself from my in-laws clutch I would never return to Dhanbad.



My in-laws suspected my intentions. My mother-in-law started to ask me queries about my packing. I told her that I would like to go to my native place for few days. I hid the truth from them else, they would have never given the consent.



I asked Niladri as what was his intention about marrying Pallavi.

---“Boudi, I fear that my dad would give consent about our marriage. That day she came to our house as your school colleague. Nevertheless, my mother suspected her reactions about you. She asked me queries about Pallavi.”

---“So, what have you told her.”

---“I have to brace myself and start a new life out of this coal business.”

Suddenly a roll of film passed in front of my eyes. My heartthrob also went away to start a new life, he dreamt of taking his fairy along with him but our fate was against us. That ill fate was manufactured that did not let us unite. Few painful ripples brewed inside me while I thought of him. My eyes fluttered and lips quivered.

Niladri noticed my uneasiness---“What happened, Boudi?”

I bit my lower lips and controlled my erupting emotions---“Nothing, I got lost in some beautiful memoirs of mine.”



It was the fateful evening of March second week. I was in my room and was arranging my cupboard and putting my belongings in my suitcase. I informed Maithili about my intentions and she gave me the courage.

I heard some intense argument between my father-in-law and Niladri. I suspected that they were arguing about Pallavi.

But as I stepped out of my room, the ambience was very different.

Niladri pointed towards me and shouted to his dad---“See, what have you done to Boudi.”

I was astounded to hear him talking like that to his father.

He continued in his top of voice. My mom-in-law tried to persuade him to keep quiet. But he was rebellious in his words.

---“I know, how Himadri had accident. That was not an accident dad. You and your coal mafia’s killed him. You made me pawn and dug out coal from Jhamadoba colliery. It was an open secret in our business domain. Parashar Singh of Barakar knew this. He wanted to smuggle out coal from the same colliery along with supervisor. But he knew that due to you and Himadri he won’t be able to step in. That was his truck which collided with the car.”

My father-in-law sat on the sofa with a thud. A huge wave brewed inside my chest on knowing the bitter truth. Even after knowing that the accident was not by fluke, I was unable to lament properly. However, as a human being, tears came in my eyes and my chest shook in pain.

My father-in-law looked at me and said---“I am sorry, Suchi. My business took away your life from you.”

I spoke in calm voice---“I want to return to my village.”

He roared at me---“NO. You are not going anywhere. You will stay here with us; after all, you are my daughter in law. You are going to give birth to my first grandchild. I do not want to miss my grandchild this time.”

I shook my head in dismay and angst---“I want to do job and start a new life.”

---“I wanted a home maker Suchi, and that what you will be.”

I clenched my jaws upon hearing those words. My head was about to burst in anger after hearing him.

He looked at Niladri and hissed at him---“For you, I won’t allow Pallavi to be my daughter-in-law.”

Niladri could not keep his temper and screamed at him---“Do whatever you want I am going to leave this house forever and I will take my Boudi with me.”

He shouted at Niladri---“You can go wherever you want, but she is not leaving this house.”

My mom-in-law was all-silent during these heated conversations.

She spoke to me---“Suchi, I don’t want to lose another grandchild. I don’t want you to leave.”



---“But, I don’t want to live in a cage. Am I a furniture in your house that you would keep as a trophy? No, I have pulsating heart inside me, I want to live.”

She lamented on her helplessness---“I have no say for that, Suchi.”

“You keep your mouth shut, Rajani. Has anyone asked your opinion?” my father-in-law hissed at her.



I fathomed that the only way I was left with was to take my life. I did not want to bring my child in that dark world where there was no love, no compassion. I could not pose as a burden for Niladri. If I go away with him, then the society would create unwanted gags about us that would put our life in bitter fray.

That night after dinner, I braced myself inside my room for the last call. I looked around the room in which I was caged. The walls looked at me in a concocted gaze. I gave a painful smile to those walls and said “goodbye”. I gathered up myself, braced myself to take my life. My heart and soul writhed in pain. Very gently and with deep love, I caressed my womb, my sapling lying inside, engulfed in my blood and placenta, unaware of the dark world surrounded him. I looked at myself, there was no blood on my face, and my lips were dry. I placed my palms on my cheeks to see whether there was any life left or not, it was all cold.



I took a deep breath and took a glass, filled that with the bathroom cleaning acid and phenyl.
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