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Amit Shankar Saha
Amit Shankar Saha was born in Calcutta. He did his schooling from St. Anthony's High School. He received his B.Sc. from Maulana Azad College; and from Calcutta University he received a Special BA and an MA in English. He is currently working under Dr. Santanu Majumdar for his Ph.D. thesis.
|AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (3)
Ruins (Short Stories) - [1,644 words] [Literary Fiction]
The Silk Pajama (Short Stories) - [1,866 words] [Literary Fiction]
With The Rain Comes The Damp (Short Stories) This story was composed after reading Arundhati Roy's Booker winning novel "The God of Small Things". This short story was first published at www.ourecho.com [1,524 words] [Literary Fiction]
Amit Shankar Saha
Though it was not the first time Indira Gandhi died, she was killed for the first time. Sukhbir used to say, "She is a coward."
But that day he was not himself. In the dim light of the night lamp he looked like an apparition.
"But you didn't kill her," I argued.
"Yes. But I couldn't save her either," he replied.
"How can you do so when you are in Calcutta and she in Delhi."
"But everyone knows that I never had a good word for her andÖ"
"You never had a good word for any other politician too," I interrupted.
"But they didn't die."
I tried to convince him that there was no need to fear for him. If he was afraid to live alone in his house then he can come and spend a few days in our house. He was adamanant and whispered, "They are after me."
Sukhbir was against all the politicians. He found faults in all of them. According to him they were all divided into four categories: debauches, stooges, insanes and cowards. He used to say that Indira Gandhi was a coward, not inspite of the emergency and nuclear test, but, because of them. Hearing his views we began to call him Sukhbir - the radical. But it was not until a couple of days later when he came at midnight to give us the keys of his house that I realised that if views could kill he was first in line. Again in the dim light of the night bulb he was a phantom - clean shaven, both head and face. Now even physically he didn't resemble his former self.
Often Sukhbir told me that if he shaved his beard then he would like "the angry young man", Amitabh Bachchan. Instead now he looked timid, insecure and old. That made me angry and I shouted at him, "Are you a coward?"
"What can I do? They are after me," was his melancholic reply.
"I am going by the early morning flight?"
"And what are you going to do in London?" I asked.
"Maybe Iíll start a business; a hotel, a departmental store, or I can drive, I can be a bus driver. I have enough money. I am sure Iíll meet some good, helpful people there."
"And your family in Delhi?"
"I have no family now. Iím getting late. Iím getting late."
That was the last time we saw him. Early next morning I heard the sound of an aeroplane. I looked up and saw and felt as if he was waving at me. I waved back at the plane. Did he reach his Utopia in that plane? Did he start a business in London? How many types of curries the menu of his hotel shows? Or, what is the yearly turnover of his departmental store? Or, is he still a bus driver in London? But first of all, did he get past the airport officials with a forged passport and visa? Or, he got caught, and is in jail, or even hanged! They were after him. Who were "they"? What happened to his family?
Itís been years. I still have the keys of his house. He might return one day. With time the house has aged and with age came diseases. One day the parapet fell down, the other day the plaster came off and today it deceased. What can we do? The tiled roof just caved in. No one really cared. If Sukhbir comes today, what will he say? Will he open his big mouth? Will he show his radicalism? Or, was he really a coward?
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© 1999 Amit Shankar Saha
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