*) - Ghar ghar ki kahani
(# 20 - Shubham Sharma)
Aaj shaam babu apni khar khar karti lakdi ki kursi jise log aaram kursi kehte the, us par baithe the. Par wo aaram kursi unhe aaram pahuncha nhi paa rhi thi. Baat hi kuch aisi ho gai thi aaj shanti niketan mai. Shanti niketan yaani shaam babu ka ghar jiska naam unhone apni dharam patni shanti devi ke naam pe rakha tha. Wahi shanti devi jo jab saath thi to unka kitna khayaal rakhti thi. Wo jo unke bahar ko nikalte peet ko dekh kar unhe daant ti thi aur kasrat karne ke liye kehti thi. Aaj wo shanti devi nhi hai. Unhe guzre huye 7 saal ho chuke the.
Par shaam babu is baat se dukhi nhi the ki unhe unki dharam patni ki aad aa rahi thi, wo udaas the kyunki kal unhe vridhashram jaana, har baar ki tarah chanda dene ke liye nhi balki hamesha ke liye...........
Lekin aisa kya hua tha ki unko vridhaashram jana pad raha tha. Baat 6 mahine pehle shuru hui thi jab shaam babu ke bete ka vivah hua tha aur unki bahu ghar aai thi. Shaam babu ko apne ghar main apni patni ki kami to hamesha khalti thi par tab wo khush the ki unke ghar ko shambhalne wala koi to aaya hai. Unhone apni bahu ko beti hi man na chaha par nirmla ne to unhe apna sasur tak thik se na mana. Ji haan... Nirmala naam tha unke bete vipin ki patni aur unki bahu ka. Shaam babu to hamesha se hi unhe nhi suhaye. Wo samajhti thi ki shaam babu un pati patni ki privacy yaani aapsi samay ko badhya karte the. Wo unko naukar se zyaada kuch nhi samajhti thi.
Kal subhe to had hi ho gai aur kal ki baat yaad aate hi shaam babu ki aankhe nm ho gai aur ashruon ki dhaar unki aakhon se beh nikli. Baat yeh hui ki har baar ki tarah wo apne bete ke paas vridhaashram ke liye
chande ke paise lene gaye. Unhone kaha ”bete vipin shayad tumhe yaad nhi par aaj 20 taarikh hai, aaj nanavati vridhaashram main chanda jama karana hai jiske liye paise chahiye." Paise ki baat aate hi vipin ne
apna muh masos lya aur bola "kya papa aap har maine 2 se 3 hazzar rupaye in vridhaashramo me udate rehte hai. Aap hi bataiye kya is trha ke lower claas aashramo main paise jama karane se hame koi faida hai."
Bete ki yeh baat sun kar shaam babu ko gussa aa gaya aur wo thodi kadak aawaz main bole "maine tumhe itna bada is liye nhi kiya ki ab tum mujhe batao ki kya sahi hai aur kya galat, aur apna dhan daan karna to is ghar ki parampra rahi hai aur yehi bhartiye sanskaar hai ki jinke paas kuch nhi hai unki madad ki jaye, aur bete tum bhi to collage main bhartiye culture ke baare main padhate ho to kya tum bhartiyata ke baare main itna bhi nhi jante." Yeh baat sun kar to vipin ki bhi muthiyaan bheench gai kyunki yeh baat uske gyaan.....
Modern bhasha main kahen to inteligence ki thi.
Wo bhi uchen swar main bola "bas papa jab dekho aap bas bhartiyata dharam yeh hi bolte rehte ho hazaron rupaye daan karte rehte ho par kyaa aap bta sakte hain ki in sab ne aapko aajtak diya hi kya hai. Jab hum chote the to gribi main pale aur aaj jab hamare paas sab kuch hai to kya haq banta hai aapka meri kamai is tarah udaane main." Yeh baat sun kar dyaal babu dng reh gye. Wo yeh soch rahe the ki aaj tak jo unhone apna pet kaat kaat ke apne bete ko jo itna bada kiya hai to kya uski kamai par unki ratti bhar haq nhi hai. Wo ab yeh baat soch kar haar chuke the aur is baar kuch neeche ke swaar main bole "to jis ghar main meri baat nhi maani jayegi us ghar main main kisi ko nhi rehne dunga" shaam babu zpni baat puri kar paate ki uske pehle hi nirmala unche swar main beech main hi bol padi "yaad salhiye sasurji ki ab yeh ghar aapke naam nahi raha yeh ghar inke naam hai aur is ghar par aapka koi haq nhi
Yeh baat sunkar to dyaal babu toot hi gye aur bahut hi niman swar main bole "to mujhe nhi rehna is ghar main jis ghar main meri izzat nhi, mere aadarshon ki fikar nhi" Tabhi vimla is traha bol uthi jaise wo isi pal ka to intzaar kar rhi ho "thik hai to hame bhi koi shaunk nhi hai aapke saath rehne main aap apna saamaan baandh lo hum kal aapko usi vridhaashram chod aayenge." Bas yeh sab yaad aate hi shaam babu tut gaye aur fuut fuut kzr rone lage aur sochne lage unhone jo kabhi apne bhar ke baare main soch bhi nhi tha aaj wo ho rha hai. Wo ho rha hai jo aaj bharat ke har ghar ka aam drishya ban gaya hai. Yeh sochte sochte kab subhe ho gai dyaal babu ko pata bhi nhi chala. Unho bahar jaank ke dekha to ek safeed rang ki pili patti dhari taxi kadi thi jo shayad unka hi intyaar kar rahi thi. Ek pal ke liye unke chahre ke saamne unki patni ka chahra aur phir unke nanhe se bete ka chahra saamne aaye, unke sine main dard uthi aur wo wahin gir gaye.
Judge's Rating – 64/100
(Late Submission Penalty Minus 5 Points)
Final Rating - 59/100
Judge’s Comment – “Widespread social evil. I like the detail your placing in these few first paragraphs. I like how you are setting up the character and the setting, it is good for this certain type of story. Good job!!”
“A little more sir, this isn’t enough”, said the poor peasant with his neck bowed down .
“Get off you scroundal” ,replied Mr. Ramlal ,the village headman.
“But sir I worked in the field for the whole day”
“Look Madan I am not in the mood to argue with you , Don’t you know I am feeling hungry ”
“Me and my family would be hungry too, sir”
“Don’t you dare to talk to me in that way ” , replied the headman with his red face and boiling eyes, shutting his door rapaciously.
Madan walked back with a little food to serve his family. He was an ardent advocate of Begari system prevalent in India. On his way back penniless as usual, he stopped at the back street of a typical Indian “Dhaba” which was closed. He collected some leftover of the food which was thrown by the “dhabawallas”. He collected all crushed rotis and foul “sabzi” to feed his hungry family.With his wet and nervous eyes , tattered shirt and a dirty dhoti he reached his “jhopri”.
It was one room house made of clay and hay with a tattered “curtain” serving the purpose of door. Inside one corner there was a “choolha” and a “charpai” .
“Where were you Baba”,said Leela emasculated.
“Just brought food for you all”, the father replied forcing the false smile on his face.
“Come Come , sit down ”, uttered his veiled wife taking handbag from Madan. After some time they all started having supper .
“Today’s supper is delicious Baba”, said leela. Baba was speechless and could only stare towards his daughter with the combination of both tears and smile on his face.
Next morning as usual he again wore the same tattered shirt and dhoti and get ready to go when he was stopped with a sound. “I want o go to “pardes” Baba”, this time it was his son shouted out of frustration.
“Very well, go there, get yourself killed”
“But Baba, I am fed up of working in the field under that idiot and that too penniless”
“You better understand that we are in a debt trap and that’s why we owe to him”
“But that silly old fathead is so cruel that I want to chop his neck off with this sickle”
“There is no alternate, “lalla” ”
“That I go to “pardes” and earn some money and throw it on the face of that man ”
“Please Baba, lets take a chance”
“No” father replied and went out for his monotonous work.
“I am going Amma”, pleaded Raman.
“Where will you go?”,ask Meena repositioning her veil which was dropping down .
“Your father will kill you”
“If I don’t, then surely we all be”, replied Raman ready to left for “pardes”.
“Wait, take this. It will bring good luck”, said Amma tying the amulet in his arm.
“Come back Soon”
“For sure Amma”. Saying that Raman left after hugging her sister.
Late night, the hungry mother and sister waited for Madan to come back. Hours went away but he didn’t come. Leela slept hungry and her mother sat on the “charpai” with mosquitoes on her head and a little light of the lampshade which also started diminishing because of little kerosene.
Finally the tattered curtain lift up and a face full of sweat become visible. “Where were you ji?”, Meena asked immediately.
“I worked overtime and see I have brought more food”, replied Raman handing over the food to Meena.
“Leela slept while waiting”
“Just wake her up and where is Raman?”
“R..Raman, he..he went”
“Pardes, to earn money”
“What!”,said Madan shocked
“But he will come back soon”
“You know why I worked for 18 hrs?,to give him what he wanted, to give him better food and only 7 months were left and once this time period is over we will come out of the debt trap”
“But he will come back soon”
“Coming back is not the answer to the question!!”
“I forced him to stop”
“You should have compelled him to stay here”
Madan angrily sat down on the “charpai” and soon lay down without eating anything.
“Have some food”, requested his wife.
“you take and give to leena too, I am not feeling hungry”
“You have worked all day and night”
“Don’t you understand that I am not feeling hungry”, screamed Madan.
Meena gave the food to her daughter and lay down without eating too.
Air was blowing as that was late June. Clouds were roaming here and there as if they were trying to find a place to shed their rain. Air suddenly started blowing heavily and the house roof which was made of hay started losing its place. But this was not the worst of all, the heavy rain accompanied by the rain made the night a hell. Raman again collected all the useful things and compiled them. But the rain was not an easy enemy to defeat. Soon the water started penetrating the roof. The lightning and thunder was enough to frighten any person. The “so called house” became almost a swimming pool and 18 hours of work of madan was accompanied by this harsh call of nature.
Finally the night was over and the hungry peasant was compelled to go to work again. There was a state of complete gloominess in the house. In the field, lack of food and plenty of tensions resulted in complete unconscious of Raman. His wife was also feverish because of rain.
The headman was on the round that time along with his men. On seeing Madan lying unconscious he confirmed with his companions.
“Is he not Madan”
“Sure sir, see how careless he is”, replied the first one.
“He never wants to work”, added the second.
“Beat this scoundrel”, roared the headman. “Bloody Idiot always asks for extra food and is never on work on time”
Instead of food he was given punches and shoes and slaps instead of water.
“Stop, Stop”, shouted Leela.
“Who is she?”
“Sir, she is Madan’s daughter”
“Baba Baba, have pity on him, water.. somebody fetch some water”,
“Ask him to get to my fields, fast”, said Ramlal and went away with his companions.
Meanwhile Leela brought a mug of water and dropped on his father’s face and also made him drink some. In the mean time her veiled feverish mother came with rotten food for Madan. She also noticed the bruises and cuts which were all over his body. Madan came back to his “jhopri” limping and so his wife.But this was not the end of difficulties for Madan. At the fever of Meena grew intense and there was a must need for medicine.
“Leela, just offer some water to your Amma, I will just fetch some medicines for her”,said Madan.
“Ji Baba”, replied Leela weeping.
Madan went out for medicine , but realized that he was penniless. Ramlal was the lender of the last resort. He went to Ramlal’s residence realizing that he will not get money from him , he back stepped from his house. The only way he could see was to steal. It was already dark and the window of the house next to the Ramlal was open . He climbed into the room and searched for money. Soon he found, money in the pillow, He took a little from there and was just managing to get out , that the owner entered the room. He ran toward Madan and Madan towards the window. The owner recognized the face but till then Madan escaped. He bought the medicine for his wife. Soon ,the fever of was under control.He than sat on “charpai” and suddenly heard footsteps of owner and the constable. They accused Madan of stealing money.
“But I… I… no no, you might have been mistaken”, defended Madan.
“There is no mistake”,said the owner. “I saw you with my own eyes”,he further added.
Next day, he was bought in front of the punchayat and soon the village headman, Ramlal arrived. He was the judge as far as crime in that village was concerned.
“Are you guilty”,asked Ramlal
“My wife was dying out of fever, sir and I had no money”,replied Madan
“This is a serious crime, justice shall prevail”
“Be ready to bear the punishment, you have to pay Rs.200 to this man and work as bondage labourer for two years.”
“But I took only Rs.40”
“Shut up!, and the case is over”, ended Ramlal and walked away.
Time passed and after couple of months and he still worked without money just for food ,for his basic necessities. One day he was working on the field , that he received a news about his son’s arrival. After completing his work on fields he hurried, towards his “jhopri”.
“Baba”,urged Raman with tears in his eyes.
“Oh! My Ramne,”replied the father.
“I worked hard and now, you need not work and I have brought plenty of money to feed all of us”
“??”,Madan could not help himself hugging his son.
And the talks continue for the couple hours more.
Next day, the debt of Rs.200 was paid first and this was first time in his whole life he was able to come out of the debt trap. On the way towards repaying the Ramlal’s loan , fate changed. Two robbers came on the horse with rifles in their hands and masks on their faces asked for the money.
“Hand over the money”
“No, this is my son’s hard work”, said Madan
“Don’t you hear, hand over the money”, said robber pointing the rifle towards Madan.
“I won’t, do whatever you can”, replied Madan hiding the money behind his back
Without a word , robber shot Madan in his heart and second robbers snatched the money and flew away. Raman was left holding his dead father.
Raman reached Ramlal carrying his father’s dead body .
“Please sir give me money I want it for my father’s funeral” pleaded madan
“bah, you also go and die…have I taken an oath to get you all burnt”, replied the cruel
“Please sir”,raman begged holding the headman’s feet.
“Oh, now what happened to your money”, guffawed ramlal.
“How do you know about that, I never told you nor my father, Oh you scoundrel you betrayed us, you killed my father, I will kill you.”, Raman jumped to Ramlal and grabbed his collar, but his gunmen caught Raman and threw him back.
“Don’t dare you talk to me this way, your father owe me and now since he is dead you owe me now!!!”
“Get to work from tomorrow otherwise your family isn’t secure“
AFTER SOME DAYS….
“A little more sir, this isn’t enough”, said Raman with his neck bowed down .
“Get off you scroundal” ,replied Mr. Ramlal ,the village headman.
Ratings - 75/100
Judge's Comment - It goes without saying that this was incredibly well-written story. it was a really touching subject. Reminded me of Munshi Premchand and Mother India movie.
Judge - Mr.Soumya Sucharit Das (Author, worked for HCE, Arkin Comics, Published in Science Reporter, Comix India)
Result - Daud Zaidi wins the match by 16 points and moves to final 32 round, Shubham Sharma with 59 Points goes to parallel league.