Bamboo Flower, a novel – Part 55 final
By Akendra Sana
“Bamboo Flower”, serialized here, is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to any actual person, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental
contd... from previous Sunday
It took some time for Priyo to react.
In fact, in the meantime, Rajen confronted Priyo with, ‘Why is the name of your organization, “Centre for Social Change” and not “Centre for Social Development” when you are exactly aiming at social development through your work?’ Then he suppressed a smile remembering what Priyo had said about the name of his publication when he took him to the office for the first time.
‘Don’t you think that it is only lights that make a city different from smaller places and rural areas at night, especially if you are viewing from a height, say from an aircraft?’ queried Rajen without directing it to anyone in particular but he knew Priyo would react.
‘For us, any change in the society is towards positive development because the society is at its lowest ebb,’ was the only reply Priyo gave, clearly ignoring him, Rajen noted.
‘Just as much as you think that we are margins of a centre somewhere, we think that we are at the bottom of the social ladder. So we need to work to change that’, he continued.
‘Yes. We all have our individual views of the society, of the polity. So we all strive to improve our lot. And we think we all have our individual roles in this life’. Prakash sermonized as if he was only waiting for this opportunity.
Both Rajen and Priyo nodded as if they were small boys who needed to be told what was proper.
By now, Johnny also had come out and was listening to this conversation. He did not say anything but also only nodded as if everything was being registered.
Uncle Prakash left soon after leaving everyone to think if there was anything worthwhile in what he had said.
Thoibi accompanied Prakash right up to the gate. They were talking as they walked alongside. Rajen wanted to know what they were talking about. However, he knew it was not possible. His mother would not even relate anything.
Instead Rajen now told himself that he had to be more regular since Priyo was leaving “The Voice”.
It was going to be the first day only he and Johnny would be going to work together without Priyo. Rajen went to his mother’s room, where the southwestern corner was the place of the Supreme Lord “Sanamahi”, to meditate and say his prayers to carry him through the day with success. He had been doing this, since the time he knew that everyone he knew was doing. That day he took special care to say his prayers a little longer so that “The Voice” became more successful.
Soon after every time he says his prayers here before Lord Sanamahi, the Creator, he carried his prayers for Lord Pakhangba, the Sustainer well after moving out from the house, a habit his grandfather must have instilled in him as a child.
On reaching office he was hesitant to enquire Johnny how it had been. As he sat down he absent-mindedly pressed the calling bell. He knew Yaima peon would rush in.
Instead, Johnny came in quickly and almost apologetically said, ‘I have sent out Brother Yaima to get some tea. He should be back soon.’
‘Come, sit. It’s only that I wanted to know how it has been’, Rajen ventured.
‘Well, you know that the circulation has improved. We are definitely doing well. The only important work you have today is to write out “your Musings”,’ Johnny briefed him.
“My Musings” was the editorial. It sounded strange and inappropriate for serious editorials. Nevertheless, the title stuck since the very first issue and he had reasoned then that they were definitely his musings if only a little sedate and highly opinionated on most occasions.
He smiled satisfied when Johnny left.
He wrote the three words, “Fear of Change” and sat silently without writing any further.
Leaving the three words at the top, he wrote, “Bamboo is such a giver. And yet, when it flowers, it devastates.”
He knew that the first three words could be the heading of the text he wanted to write. Now the later lines on the bamboo could be concluding words of a different text. He had to decide which one he wanted to write out that day. Finally, he settled for bamboo the giver.
The next week, it had to be his “Fear of Change” because in the meantime remembering Nini all this while, these words kept coming back to him. He did not want to think that what he had heard from Deven had anything to do with his text. Deven, on return from a trip to Delhi, told him that someone in Delhi had told him that Nini had a very small boy living with her and that the boy was her son. Deven added that her friends however, believed that she had adopted the child so that she could become a single parent.
On hearing this from Deven, he really had wanted to see the child for himself. It was a very private concern. He told himself he would know immediately if he had anything to do with the boy if he were to see him. But this had to be for some other time as he closed his eyes to be on his own for a while.
Later in bed at home, Leima was to hear something she had never heard from her husband. Rajen’s mouth was open as he said, “I am a father. I am a father.” She did not know whether he was awake or not and whether he was in his senses or not. However, those words of that night did not leave her ears for a long time before sleep finally took over.
The story is concluded with many thanks to Gokul C. Luwang, N. Vijayalakshmi Brara, Pawan K. Modi, Pradip Phanjoubam, Ram Sinam and R. K. Gunendrajit who graciously took time out to read the manuscript at different stages & Thank you, dear reader.
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