Through his eyes – 37

Other than a heavy downpour in the early morning everything was going normal on the day. Almost one year had elapsed since the murder of a police officer in their neighborhood.

Proloy had reached the school about half an hour before the school started. It was a common practice for students who preferred to be seated in the class as the numbers of sitting spaces were very limited at every classroom in their school. During the zenith of Naxal movement huge number of furniture were destroyed but still were not replenished. When he entered into his class room he found two of his classmates had already arrived. Three of them reserved their seats by keeping their books on a bench and came out on the street. Because of the morning rain air was cool and pleasant; they walked about 40 yards when they saw a young man sitting on the street just before a puddle of water in squatting position; upper part of his body was covered with a black cloth. Three of them walked past him, they could not see his face; his head was down as if he was examining something in the water. The puddle of water covered a distance of about fifteen to twenty feet. On one side of the street there was a fenced land where the owner had grown different vegetables to be sold in the local market and on the other side there was a huge rice field. When they were in the middle of the puddle they noticed another young man was sitting at the other end of the puddle in exactly the same posture as the first one, upper part of his body was also covered with a black cloth. They could not recognize him either; his head was also down as if he was also examining something in the puddle. They walked past the second person, walked few more yards and then decided to return to the school.

On their way back they walked past the person who was still sitting in the same position and when they were in the middle of the puddle again, the young man, who was facing them started standing up, the black cloth slipped off from the upper part of his body, with a slashing sound he took out a long knife from its metallic cover. They could recognize him; his name was Bhola, a Naxal, whose father owned a straw mill in their village. Proloy and his two friends looked back and saw Ashok, a student of 10 commerce few feet behind them, walking to the school. They saw the other person also standing up from his squatting position. They recognized him as well. His name was Suda, also a Naxal. Suda also took out a long knife from its metallic cover and started approaching towards them. Ashok and three of them were standing in between two Naxals, each holding one long knife and approaching towards them. Ashok’s facial expression changed in a moment, his eyes got so enlarged that it almost covered his entire forehead, books dropped from his hand, with folded hands he said  “Prane marisna, guru”  (please do not take my life, I beg both of you). There was such sincerity in his voice that it could melt a stone.   However it did not take Ashok any time to realize that his prayer had hit deaf ears and without wasting any time he jumped over the fence which was on one side of the street. A slipper dropped from one of his foot and he started running with an unbelievable speed, the two Naxals also jumped over the same fence and started running behind him with open knives but they could not catch Ashok who was running for life. Nobody had any idea why Naxals wanted to murder Ashok, but it was known that his family always supported CPI(M). For the next one year Ashok started living with one of his relatives in a different state and returned when peace returned.

Email: mintughoshal@gmail.com

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