Proloy always tried to avoid Dulal Majumdar after that. Whenever he saw him approaching from a distance he took a different route to avoid speaking to him. He heard that Dulal Majumdar had started living with his family as an unemployed family member, his younger brothers, who had started earning was supporting him. He came to know from several sources that he had started learning English Grammar, he used to write the rules of grammar page after page by copying from a book, probably following someone’s advice that ‘writing helps to memorize’. How successful was he in that endeavor remained unknown to him.
One day Proloy heard that Dulal Majumdar fell in love. The girl was a daughter of a postal worker, who also had another daughter, who was married and her husband was working in Indian Army, who fell in love and even started spending nights with another woman, a school teacher, after he and his legally wedded wife had their first child. His legally wedded wife, the postal employee’s daughter, returned to her father’s house with her small child with a broken heart. She had lost her mother when she was small. She also had two brothers. She was the eldest among all the siblings. Before her marriage she looked after her brothers and sister like a mother and also taking care of her father. After her marriage broke, she started looking after every member of the family, as before. She also wrote a letter, after being advised by her neighbors, to her husband’s office complaining about his infidelity and because her husband was working in Indian Army, where rules are never compromised, he was fired from his job. In few months’ time he returned to her, asked for forgiveness, and he was forgiven by her and he started living with her in her father’s house as he was not having any job. She became pregnant again. He convinced his wife to write a letter, in her own handwriting, a draft of which he had already prepared, to the Indian Army, where he was working before, stating that she had never complained about her husband’s infidelity and her husband was discharged from the job based on some false allegation by someone, whom she did not know and that her husband should be reinstated in his job without any delay. Being in love with her husband she started writing the letter, by copying from the draft prepared by her husband, when one of her brothers, none were married then, saw what she was doing and requested her not to write the letter and explained to her that if she wrote and sent the letter, the matter would be investigated and since it was she who actually wrote the letter before and it was again she who was denying that in her second letter, which she had started writing by her husband’s instruction, she would be prosecuted and he would get his old job back. Realizing that the entire plan was foiled, her husband got so mad that she not only started beating her and their son but also kicked her womb where their unborn child was waiting to be born. Her brothers and few neighbors jointly threw him out of the house. Her brothers insisted her to file for a divorce but she did not agree; not only that she was secretly fasting on some special days for the good health of her husband. Few years later when her brothers started earning they found their own girls and left the home leaving the old father, his two daughters and his two grandchildren at home. Dulal Majumdar fell in love with the younger daughter, who had stopped going to school after sixth or seventh grade.
Money and love can never be kept secret so soon people came to know that Goddess of Love had smiled upon Dulal Majumdar. Some ‘well-wisher’ friend of him divulged one secret about the younger daughter.
She once fell in love with a young man, an amateur boxer, who had also won few competitions. One day after dark while she and her boxer beau were still walking and talking on the street, he requested her if he could talk to her in private in a secluded place. She agreed and they walked together into a mango grove to discuss the important matter. When they had walked near the center of the large grove, she could realize the presence of another young man, a local CPI(M) worker, whom she knew but never spoke, was hiding behind a tree. In no time she realized what the ‘important’ matter was. The boxer and the other young man over powered her, raped her and left her there. She was discovered lying on the ground by few members of a family who lived in a mud house little far away when they heard a heart wrenching weeping sound of a woman. It was already dark. They came running with kerosene lamps. She was escorted to her home. Soon everybody came to know about it but nobody dared to take any action against the boxer for the obvious reason and the other young man’s position was ‘sacrosanct’ because he was a member of the communist party. Few weeks after the incident, during Deepavali, the festival of light, when the boxer was burning fire crackers, one of the firecrackers which he had lighted did not burn. To examine what went wrong he moved his face closer to the firecracker and it burst right on his face and he became blind of both eyes, permanently. People felt good as they thought it was a punishment from the God. After she was molested most people could not find any change in her behavior but only few noticed that she was talking little more than before.
When Dulal Majumdar was made aware of the molestation incidence by his ‘well-wisher’ friend, his first reaction was ‘so what, it was not her fault, why she could not get married, she is the same person as before &C’. His ‘well-wisher’ friend, who probably was expecting similar reaction from him, only mentioned that he would congratulate them if they get married but he thought he should know about that incidence before marriage rather than after marriage. Dulal Majumdar only mentioned that knowing or not-knowing would make no difference as he would not change his decision at all and he would marry her without any delay.
But from the next day people found a radical change in Dulal Majumdar’s behavior towards her, he tried to avoid the girl and as he tried to avoid her she tried to become closer to him. When she would see Dulal Majumdar at a distance she started walking very fast to catch hold of him and drawing his attention by shouting “Dulal, Dulal” and Dulal Majumdar escaped. After few days Dulal Majumdar was not seen anywhere, nobody knew where he had gone. The girl was seen waiting hour after hour at the junction of three streets from where she could keep an eye on anybody walking on any of those. When anybody asked her why she had been waiting, she would reply “waiting for Dulal, he will come soon and we will get married”. She never showed any sign of going back to her home even at late night but would keep staring at all the three directions till her frail looking father or her sister would come and escort her to home.
——- end of the story ————
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