The Enigma (23)

Parag realised that  he is not the only one who has suffered . He felt  bad that he cursed his luck and complained  to God so many times  for all the wrong done to him . He was moved  to see how the old lady had no complaints  against anyone . That she had gone unstable made no difference to her  thankfulness towards life .

Helping her out with the remaining chores , he gave her medicines  and switched off the light with a very assuring good night . ” Life can be really nasty .” , he flustered .

That night he slept a peaceful sleep . Much relaxed , composed  and free of all baggage . He had reached that stage where sorrow was no different than amity , where death was no different than life . A state of solitude that believes  that all our friends and foes live with us , they live in us . The attributes that help us serve  God and his men , in any way are our friends , and that which takes us away from them are  our foes . Our self esteem , kindness, generosity and selflessness walk hand in hand with greed , jealousy and hatred . The positive qualities are so strong that they manage to outshine the negative qualities .  And probably that is how it should be .

Next morning was a new sun, a brighter day and a more delighted family , with all three  members caring for each other .

Maya was dropped to school and grandma was given her medicine They sat together over a cup of tea .

” Mr. Rastogi did not like  tea at all . ” she said .

Parag realised how Mr. rastogi was an integral part the lady’s life . She never forgot  to mention him lavishly .

” So what did he like in  the morning ? ” Parag continued in the same flow , so that the old lady should not feel awkward .

” Oh he was an educated man , he drank coffee . He was very English . He never wore his suit without a tie . And you know the best thing about him was he was real . He never pretended to be some one else . “, she said

” Parag looked into her lost eyes , ” What do you mean ? ”

” Like he never lied , you know . He did not like me and he said that to me very clearly . He said that as a woman I was  just  a heap of flesh . He believed in God and that is the reason he never threw me out of his house . I did not go to my  father’s house for 15 whole years . I was scared that he would never bring me back from there  . I knew my parents will not be happy if this marriage did not work , so I begged him to let me stay with him under any condition . He agreed . He was kind . ” she kept praising him for a long time .

Parag  was short of feelings now . He was absolutely blank and clueless , that the old lady might  have suffered   so much in her life . It is when we open eyes to the pain of world that we realise  the  enormity of the feeling . Our own feelings become so  minimal and nominal that or heart requests us to get up and help others .

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The Enigma (22)

Parag’s face glowed with a smile of contentment . It feels good when you see happiness around you .

His devoted care and Maya’s selfless love brought a healthy change in the old lady’s life . Not only did  she recover from the fever but also gained strength  from string to string , both emotionally and physically .

She took care of the little child , cooked food and looked after his house so well .

” You cook scrumptious food . Thank God that we found you . ” said Parag .

” Do you really think so ? ” , she asked pensively

” Of  course .” he replied

She was quiet for sometime and then said  with a slight smile , ” Mr. Rastogi  was a big foodie . I tried to cook different varieties for him .  He was a learned man and had been to foreign countries . More so , this was the only happiness I could give him .  I was a useless lady , but he was such a kindhearted person ……..he never threw me out of his house , not even when he brought  his new wife . ”

” Do you miss him ? ” , Parag saked

” Not really . Just that I sometimes  find him . When the food turns out good , or when your little girl hugs me . He was a careless man . Every other day he would go to someone or the other searching for  solace and satisfaction . ” , she said  in a convincing tone .

Parag was startled at her story . He cut her dialogue , ” but you said he brought a new wife ? ” ,

She smirked  , ” yeah , she ran away with all his money .”

” How many years has it been ? ” , parag asked

She seemed a little stressed at this question , not knowing what to answer .

” Can you count it for me ? The last time we bathed in Ganga was  at  the Mahakumbha  . ” , she looked at him searching for an assurance that he got it right  .

” Never  mind . Let’s eat our food . ” , he said

Little   Maya  loved the food cooked  by the old lady . Finishing her plate , she hugged her and said , ” thank you grand ma . ”

The old lady’s eyes filled with tears . She kissed the baby  girl  and asked her to go to bed .

As Maya went away , she looked into Parag’s eye  and said , ” I have no  children . You are a very kind man  that you brought me to your home .  If at all you feel there is any problem , tell me and I’ll go . ”

Teary eyed Parag hugged and they both cried a lot . The tears washed away all the glitches . All the fog . all the dust were dust cleaned and the hearts  felt very lighter . Tears have the amazing quality of cleansing , spiritually and metaphorically .  They became closer , much like a mother and a son .

A relationship in it’s purest form  needs no crutches or hinges . An agreement or the arrangement of the society can make us stay together as family  . Willingly or  unwillingly we do share  and shoulder the responsibilities  . Sometimes  for the fear  of the society and at others for the fear of God . When it is neither an agreement nor a arrangement  , but a sheer co-incidence  and  the heart to heart  tuning of two individuals ,  words loose their importance . The silence says it all , the tears speak volumes

The Enigma (21)

The agony and melancholy of life can be very aptly compared to the night . You can never be sure of the depth of the darkness . At times there is the full moon , romanticising  the  darkness  and at others there is no moon , no stars . The darkness is at it’s darkest best .  We never know how sad we going to be after something happens just as we can not measure the amount of happiness we might get out of a situation . It can leave us insane , bitter , weird and crazy or even change us into a stronger and beautiful person . Our reaction to the situations are our masters who decide what will be our condition there after .

In the same tone , one can never predict or rather understand how dark has one’s night  been unless we know how much pain , how much melancholy has been smeared by God . It’s upto him to decide  whether he wants the kohl to beautifully decorate   the eyes or he will besmirch it all over the face .

However dark the night is , however painful the situation is , it is certain to pass . The morning is sure to come .

The morning that is full of energy and good hope . A piece of time that does not  wait for the external source of light . When one and all have the positivity in them that says ,” I will make things happen .”

Parag felt the same today . After all that nasty nightmare , now was the time that he was not guilty of not fulfilling his duty as a husband or father . Every time he saw Maya , he felt happy and content . At least there was one soul that he could save from the ugliness of the world . Of course , the pain of separation is there but in the back of his mind there is a faith  that they are no more suffering because of him . He was sure that his wife must have recuperated well with the help of rest of the family , for time is the biggest healer .

Now he is serving mankind in his own little way . He looked at the old lady with love and affection .

It’s been a long time that she has been sleeping . He woke her up . Giving her a glass of water ,he asked her ,” How are you feeling now ?”

” It seems I slept after a long time .

Her deep breath and the smile said that she felt better  .

She always talked and behaved  with him so  endearingly , as if she had known him for ages . There was an unsaid bond  and  committed  assurance . The safety and happiness she  radiated  through her body language was very  endearing to Parag . He felt very good that he could bring  a sense of  being wanted and being accepted to someone  . He was not the reason of someone’s pain and problems anymore .

Man lives and fights the problems of life . The victory or the failure is in the mind . The heart has the power to overcome the gravest of the fear if the mind works in unision with it .

The Enigma (20)

The delusional dilemma of life  haunted him for days together . He ran and he ran , not only from the physical world of people and their questioning eyes  but also from the metaphysical world  of morality , love , virtue , rational thoughts , meaningful  work  and spiritual existence . He ran from himself .

Negating our own soul , is the biggest fib  that we all often live . The conscious is right there  with us all the time , feeling  sad , bad and mad  at it’s  brutal murder .

And in one such run , parag had found , a new lease of life , a new purpose , a new meaning . Every trivial  thing that seemed  treacherous and harmful , suddenly changed and felt like a sip of cold water  in the hot  terrifying  desert .

Parag’s eyes filled with tears of joy  when he remembered how he got Maya , pious and pure as a dew drop , she cleaned  all the clutter  wit her mere presence .

None of us are born with an inconsiderate heart . No one wants to hate . We all have the innate quality to love . It’s sheer circumstantially consequential that we tend to loose this soft side to being more harsh  and rough . This sometimes happens  to the limit of being  savage  and there by we sabotage our own nature , our own personality .

It is at such times that nature intervenes . The whirlwind of good and bad happens to settle things down . What we are left with  after all the depression and dejection is that we  come out  more strong and beautiful .

Parag  felt very good as these thoughts crossed his mind . He realised that he is in his present  and that the past was long over . This live of anonymity is much better than all the recognition and prosperity that came along with  equally strong   pain and   problems .

He was in a much happier space now . He wanted it be like this . Suddenly his eyes went on the sleeping old lady . How carelessly she slept lie a baby . As if she han’t slept in ages . Her wrinkled  skin  and silver gray hair  clearly showed that there was so much more than that met the eyes . The decades enveloped her frail body with the memories of her dear ones …….though not all of them were pleasant enough .

Parag decided in his heart that he will take so good care of the old lady that she would  get back to her real self and once again be ready to travel the journey of life with more vigor and enthusiasm . The broken heart needs just a nod  of assurance and a look of faith to bounce back . He was sure that the old lady will love life more than ever , and hence even if she is destined to die in the future , it will be  peaceful, content and happy death .

They say if a person dies in peace and contentment , he or she is bound attain salvation .  It is only when we have grudge about anything , and we want it to be done in a better way , that God sends us back to fulfill   our wish .

The Enigma (19)

Our life seems  to be a quiver sometimes and we have the deadliest of the arrows in it . How we wish , if only God can come from somewhere and answer all our questions . He thinks that he can play with our lives the way he wants . Why are we made to suffer ? Why can’t every one be good at the same time .

Right from the childhood , we are taught that studying is the only way that can take us to road of happy life . Education makes us a better person . We understand more , we perceive    more  . All the hard work is rewarded when a common man gets  a govt job as prestigious as IAS . The job comes with a lot of power , authority , and responsibility . The same common man the strives  our country a better place . The power thus attained is used for the betterment of common man  by eradicating  corruption and poverty .

Parag had thought that he will make the best possible use of his job , and it will be there for the world to see that  power when used righteously  and  judiciously can make our earth heaven . This very thought had kept him burning all through the time he worked . He did not spare a single greedy corrupt politician from punishment . People were scared of his name . But his story proves that power , authority and command are not enough to uproot this social stigma . A lot of goodwill and a lot of daring people are needed too. It is another freedom struggle , which requires many hands and many voices .

All those thoughts made him shiver as he the thought of his deceased daughter came to his mind .  His thought turned shapeless and meaningless . He went blank . His eyes question the Almighty . He just wanted to go far away . So far away that he could never return . Even if wanted to .

The touch of the wind seemed eerie . The look of the water seemed creepy . The self hatred had reached to state of  cynosure . He hated himself even more and wanted to punish himself with the most severe punishment . He was failure and a looser as a father , as a husband , and as every other form of relationship that ever existed .

He could feel the pain , his little angel might have gone through when the brutal act was done on her . How scared , and terrified  she must have wanted her father to appear from somewhere  to save her . His dry started weeping again at the thought of his wife , being awakened by policemen and being told that her husband has killed their daughter . He was so weak and nimble , both physically and emotionally that he felt that he was not worth of living anymore .He thought he was the meanest creature who should starve to agony and repentence .

The shady green trees , seemed to  mock him at his stature . The flying birds teased him when they flew to their nests in the evening  . He had no nest to fly and  no body was waiting for his shade . His nothingness became more and more prominent .

The Enigma (18)

There was a senior officer too , who knew what was going on there . He was shaken to core seeing how cruel can the politicians get . He wondered , ” How cruel can one get ? Do these people have no fear of God . What is the extent to which one tortures a fellow human being . ” He felt extremely sad for parag , for he knew that Parag was innocent . He was towards his retirement and this probably would be his last assignment . He was unhappy that he had to execute  something so much against his  will . He knew he surely will be punished for this by God .

How he wished that if only there could be way and he could save this innocent man of God . He had heard that of late Parag had taken to wrong doings and treachery to people and he did not appreciate that but he has been witness to those golden years as well when Parag was the epitome of honesty and purity . He had seen the time when people swore by his name when the integrity and genuinity of a person was questioned . He knew how all his efforts  were negated and how he was  made the black sheep . Deep with in he felt , this punishment was too harsh on him

He wished to help him in his capacity . He had to carry out his orders but he definitely can make sure that Parag is not arrested . After all , this much  of dichotomy will not be considered as a breach in duty .He had seen that in the long span of his duty as a policeman , there have been innumerous incidents where  the protagonist was made a victim  for no fault of his . So now, if once he   is not following what is being asked , that’s fine .

He slowly went to Parag and looked into his eyes    . parag looked at him with a deep sigh . All hopes are lost , the pain of loss of the dear ones is so intense that this humiliation and allegations don’t matter to him any more . The officer gestured him to run away from there . Parag excused himself to use the restroom and there he was gone , far from the madding crowd .

He slipped through the bathroom window that opened in the stinky duct .  No one saw him sneaking out . He was out of the house now , on the street , under the open  sky . He ran and he ran , not knowing where he was going . He boarded a bus . and went away from the city . Took a train , and sat near the gate in dilapidated , frenzy state . Many people took him as a beggar and gave him whatever they could . He did not where he has reached .

He did not feel like turning back to see if he was followed . He just kept walking . The heart cries realising what was lost . There is no want of anything else and the body wishes to stop breathing .

His eyes were full of anger and frustration . There was so much that he wanted ask to God . What was his fault  , was the only question that kept haunting him.

The Enigma (17)

She had to go through all this , only because I was her father . My wife , who is lying unconscious here might face the same fate  for being my wife . I am the soul responsible for all their pain . I am no good . I cannot do this to them . ” the thoughts kept nagging him and he was  all full of  scorn and contempt for himself .  He felt  that if he is not in the scene things might ease up for his wife . The dirty demons who are after him , might not hound his wife if he isn’t with her .

He looked at the loving face of his wife one last time . She laid there unconscious . To the world she needed medical help , but deep with in , she was rescued of the pain to see her husband going through all this ordeal . Parag had so much to say to her , He needed to touch and feel her for that compassion and warmth of the human body . Husband and wife , are two bodies two souls  who agree to walk a path together ,  for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from the day forward until death does them  part.   The moments spent together flashed in his mind like a film . Her benevolent behavior  and  her selfless  demeanor   brought tears to his eyes . A highly intellectual person , very logical and very authentic  stood there amidst    all chaos , helpless , weak and vulnerable . He eyes bid one last good bye to her and wished that  from now on , her life would be easy free of all hassles caused  by Parag’ s nature of job and his  loyalty . He does not know where he will go  but he was pretty sure that he needs to go now . It was the time’s calling on him now and he was summoned . He had to leave to venture into a different journey . A very dark road , with no knowledge of turns and twists . He had troubled his loved ones enough . It was time to leave now .

The policemen were all busy making notes and records of the tiniest things they saw . It was a great opportunity to have un-masked an IAS officer . The next morning all news papers and TV channels will be full of praises for the  team who did a svelte job . They were all happy  at their super achievement . They talked amongst themselves , ” It is so difficult to understand a person . How beautifully   he always wore  his simplicity , divinity and patriotism  to get the public admiration . How disgusting he was from with in . How can some one get so mean to the extent of killing one’s own daughter .  Strange world and strange people . I can never trust anyone now .” , said one of the officers .

” And look at how he is acting as if he is unaware of everything .  There is no science that can show what’s going on in one’s mind . But see, God has his own ways of punishing . Your sins cannot be hidden for a long time . Sooner or later , you are bound to be caught . ” And they were full of antipathy for Parag .

The Enigma (16)

Life’s trajectory  conceived on a general notion is parabolic . It is assumed  that birth begins life , and death ends it . Well, at least , of what we get to see  and know as a general  belief .  Every other moment is tangential to the previous one . Life along with it’s step sibling time , leaves no stone unturned and no moment undaunted to   throw and thrash  our very entity .  For some it happens gradually , for others it sinusoidal . In a trice , the direction changes and a person  who is successful , is optimistic , is a fighter  turns into a looser . All circumstances help and justify  all the misdeeds and mis -happenings . We always want to find a reason for every wrong that we do or that happens to us , oblivious to the fact that the supreme reason for anything and everything is only continuity of life . There’ s no other reason . When purpose seems to slacken , then nature makes sure to pump us  with energies to keep us on our toes . Positive or negative  don’t exit …..everything is referential .

We have the power of words , the power of actions  and the power to think . When used in unison , they can be proved the most powerful weapon  and they can make or break .

But the power of silence  is beyond all powers . The silence into picture when words  become in- efficient and impotent .

Parag had reached that state  now .  Words had become meaning less . The chagrin of the self  no longer mattered . He was puzzled , baffled  and clueless . He did not know  what had happened , why it had happened and  he did not know what to do ? The tension , the anxiety  and the pang of pain was unbearable . He was not sure what might come next .

Being the man of the house , it was his responsibility that   he made sure every member of the family stayed safe . He could not face himself at the brutal   slaughter of his only daughter . He had no words to justify the unconscious state of his wife . He  always stood for what he felt was right . He knew that truth takes a long time to win but how can one  vindicate what had transpired her .

What is the limit of  putrefaction of the ailment of the human heart . How cruel can one get to have hurt a fellow human being so badly . And where was God , when all this happened . How and why did he let this happen . How can this act be analysed to be of some worth . What was lesson behind all this .

Tyranny and  despotism  have  become an accepted truth in our country . The political lobby is so strong here  that if anyone dared to stand against them , he was punished to the level that it becomes exemplary to  in- numerous   other  rebellions  who  even think is that direction .

‘ This is not the world I want to live in . This is not the kind of life I deserve ‘ he cursed himself . ‘ I am not fit for this world  and I don’t need this world anymore . How much    pain would my daughter  have gone through for no fault of hers .

The Enigma (15)

Parag ran to her , held her tightly in his strong arms , shouting her name  aloud in scare and care .

He was interrupted by a group of officials . There has been a  raid on his house .  Some twenty five  policemen , dressed in their duty uniforms  stood there with a search warrant . Everything was seized .

Parag  looked at them in utter surprise  and terror . Things seemed to be happening too fast to be understood or interpreted .

What was the search warrant for ? Who sent these people  ? Who killed his angel daughter  and that too  to this brutality  . How will his wife react to all this  .

The mind which was blank and dark a moment ago ,  was now full of plethora  of questions . The veins seem to blast the heart wanted to stop pumping . He felt if only  some miracle happened and he could disappear from all this  hullabaloo .

A moment , which is otherwise an insignificant commodity  , in comparison to its  other  counterparts , hours , days , weeks and fortnights , becomes the most important  unit of time to be remembered for ever and ever . The goodness  of  a  moment  can remain unnoticed  but when it is bewildered with the devilish intensity  of pain and  cruelty , it becomes one of the scariest experience for the mankind .

God , in his most technical form , the generator , the operator and the destroyer  takes the liberty of designing our moments into any of his departments . People call this superpower by various names  .  Lord God , The Supreme power , The Father , or simply put  Time . We have no control on time . Good times , bad times ………it always has its way of functioning .

The policemen asked him to stay where he was and they called a doctor for Mrs. Parag . The frantically started searching in the whole house . Dashing anything and everything  , throwing pillows and tossing cushions . The drawers left opened , the files and papers all scattered   on the floor . They went in all nooks  and corners  of the house . After about half an hour , they announced that they found   two kgs of heroine from his home  . There were also  some heinous  allegations on his character . Parag  was  dumbstruck . Never in his widest dream had he  anticipated of something like this . He had thought that life and God were harsh on him  for they did not let him work in peace and honesty . He felt he was punished  for the wrongs he did not do . But he never knew it could be worse . Now he did not know who to complain , what to complain .

This punishment was anything but explainable . He could see where it came from . His intelligence   help see things  past and future . He was baffled at what might happen next . His mind giving up the signs of normalcy .

The policemen also found the dead body pieces of his daughter chopped in the  box . He was accused of man- slaughter as well .   He was not given a chance to explain . He was suspended from his duty , issued an arrest warrant , accused   of  doing  drugs , of killing his only daughter  and many other allegations that  lavishly assassinated   his character .

The Enigma (14)

Her trembling voice told him that  something was not right . The squinted eyes and the frown on his face were enough to portray that  what was going on inside him . He just asked  ” where is Pinto ? ”

Mrs. parag could not speak a word . Her bitter wail  had only one  name ‘Kaya”

Parag flustered , ” How is Kaya ?”

” She isn’t home yet  and Pinto isn’t home too  since morning . I called up her school to find out and they said Kaya did not reach her school today .”

Parag consoled  her  and hurried home . The police was informed ;  the entire city was put on alert and a large scale search started .

Parag rushed home . He knew he was needed there the most . He tried to keep himself brave enough to face a  distressed  and annoyed mother .

Reaching home , he was distracted by a big box  kept in front of his gate . It had his name written on it .

Surprised , scared , apprehensive and hesitant , he opened the  box . An uncertain streak of emptiness pumping and pounding   his heart made him nervous and weak . What he saw , was the most gruesome , horrible , grisly – ghastly  sight for a father .  The box was full of  small human pieces . Yes, someone had chopped his daughter into pieces .

Expressionless . lifeless , he stood there  , staring at this  inhuman   act  by some fellow human .  Swallowing his pain , he knocked on the door .

He did not know  how to speak  to his wife  who also happens to be the mother of child, barbarously  killed  . He just hugged her tight , all lost and broken , all failed   both as a husband and a parent . All he could say was  ” I am sorry , my love  . I really am . ”  It felt weird to see a man strong and stout , the resting rock of the family  , cry out loud as a baby .  Mrs. Parag was full of all eerie , nasty thoughts  of what’s in store  now .

What is it that Parag failed at ?  Does he know where Kaya is ?  Did Kaya meet with some accident ? Did something untoward happen ?  Her heartbeat grew so  fast that she started to sweat  . The head felt  dizzy , the eyes refused to see stable  . She felt Parag  crying and wailing  but was not able to comfort him .  She dropped there unconscious .

How uncertain are the ways of life . How long does it take to  change the frame .  Strangers meet , agree to be together and  nurture the nature by the creation called family . There are of course , moments where there are complaints , there are comparisons ………we often feel God has been unkind to us . More often than not , we  feel that we are the only ones who is not had enough goodies……..we curse our destiny, life and people associated with us for our failures and shortcomings .

It is only when something like this happens that we realise  how worse can it get . When Parag saw his wife falling in unconsciousness , for a moment forgot about his daughter and ran to save his wife . Or probably that was a reflex for not wanting to loose   anymore .