= * =* A stranger at the door * =* =
Three to four days after the murder of the police officer, while the memory of the incidence was still fresh, there was a figure, about six feet tall, covered in black cloth appeared at their door, which like every other door in the village remained open from early morning till people went to bed at night. It was past eight in the evening, his father had just returned from work, not yet started his second scolding of the day to his sons for the mischiefs they had done throughout the day, detailed report of which he was yet to receive from their mother. The first scolding, which was a preemptive one that lasted for about fifteen minutes while he was rubbing oil on his body in the morning just before taking bath with chilled ground-water which he lifted using a bucket and a rope from the ground well; the preemptive scolding was based on the assumption that his sons would be wasting their valuable time while he would be working in the office, his sons would be able to do nothing useful in future, as long as he could work he would maintain the family while his sons would remain unemployed like rest of the young people in their neighborhood and eventually would end up in doing menial jobs instead of doing any respectable work like working as a clerk in an office.
It was dark outside and the moon would not be visible till another hour or so, the chill in the wind was even more intense than the night of the murder, there was total darkness everywhere; the dogs which were barking even few minutes before suddenly fell silent. The man uncovered his face. Proloy could not remember seeing him anywhere in the village. Everybody in their house realized that he was not alone, there were many more people waiting outside, probably that could be the reason why suddenly dogs had stopped barking; even dogs do not bark when they need to. It was also realized that the man at the door was hiding something under the black cloth. He introduced himself as Dulal Majumdar. The most prominent thing on his face was his aquiline nose; he also had a distinguished voice as if originating from deep inside. There were very few houses in the village which had any chair for a guest to be seated; people, when they were asked to come inside a house were requested to be seated on mats made from long leaves of some plant which grew in deep water. Those mats were called ‘Sheetal pati’ (meaning cool mat). But the stranger was not asked to come inside. He addressed his parents as ‘comrade uncle’ and ’comrade aunty ’ and to him and his brothers as ‘comrades’. That was the first time Proloy felt so respected because someone had addressed him with equal respect as his big brothers. The man spoke for a long time. He gave a single page leaflet to them. He spoke at length about many things and almost every word sounded new, words like ‘capitalism’, ‘socialism’, ‘communism’, ‘Burjoa’ (bourgeoisie), ‘Lenin’, ’Karl Marx’, ‘Vietnam’, ‘Ho Chi Minh’ &C. The man also asked his parents, who were the only eligible voters in the family, not to vote for any political party during the election. Just before leaving he did a military type salute saying ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ (meaning long live revolution).
[To be continued]
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