Through his eyes – 32

Almost after four weeks Chandi started coming out of his room when it was dark. His skin still did not have much pigment. He also started going out with Dulal Majumdar at nights and Proloy’s family utilized those intervals to discuss important things.
There was huge skepticism among elders who thought that the Naxal movement was going to be a futile endeavor and young men were dying every day for no reason. “With few looted guns they cannot win over powerful Indian military” – he had heard many people in their neighborhood to comment in spite of the fact that almost every day there was news about Naxals snatching guns from policemen. Boys and girls were going to school but nobody cared to study, even teachers in the school started explaining what kind of bright days it would be under Naxal rule and almost every single boy believed that. So many days school remained closed for a variety of reasons like bomb blast, Naxals marching on the streets with fire arms while singing revolutionary songs, communists chasing Naxals with bombs, Naxals chasing communists with bombs &C. Since nobody had told how the bright days would come Proloy and his friends discussed in detail and came to the conclusion that there would be few more murders, few more bomb blasts and it would be the dawn of a new era. He and his friends were very hopeful that golden days were not very far and they almost stopped opening books. There were signs everywhere e.g., during the academic year every student was promoted to the next class without any examination; on the first day of the annual examination few Naxals came into their school, ordered every student to get out of the examination hall, when they became sure that there was no student in the school, they hurled few bombs on the outside wall. Since no class room had any window or door so nothing was broken, but there remained yellow marks of bomb explosion on the school building.
One evening, almost fifty workers of the communist party walked into their neighborhood with bombs, pipe guns and other fire arms. Naxals, who probably knew about it in advance, started firing at them hiding inside a desolate house; for almost half an hour their neighborhood turned into a battle field with sounds of non-stop gun fire and bomb blasts. Few communist party workers were injured and that was considered as a victory for the Naxals. That night, Naxals marched on the street with rifles and knocked every single door to inform that their village was transformed into a “free zone”. Proloy did not have a clear idea what new thing he could expect the following morning, whether there would be school, studies or examination – he was clueless but was excited.
Next day morning, as soon as he woke up he ran out of his house. He looked all around. Everything looked calm, which was contrary to what he had expected. He went further inside the village, stopped near the desolated house from where Naxals fired at their enemies. The house, when its construction was almost completed, even the windows and doors were also fitted, an immediate member of the family died. The owner, considering the death as a bad omen, had never moved into the house, gradually the windows and doors fell apart and used by poor people in the village to make fire for cooking. That house along with few other houses where nobody was living was used by the Naxals to hide their weapons and also used by them as their daytime shelters. He could not see a single Naxal around.
In about an hour’s time many police vans were seen all around and there were policemen, wearing still helmets, at every nook and cranny; they were walking with their rifles positioned, fingers on triggers, ready to shoot at the slightest provocation. People were expecting the repetition of the previous evening, i.e., Naxals firing at the Central Reserved Police Force but that did not happen. No bomb explosion, no rifle shooting was heard. ‘So much for their free zone’ he heard one of their neighbors quipped.

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