Bamboo Flower, a novel – Part 45
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
‘Oh, yes. This is “Lai-Wah” from Koubru’, Priyo said after taking a close good look at the twig.
Therefore, it turned out that it was common knowledge that this species of bamboo existed and that it had some useful qualities, Rajen was more than happy.
‘Yes, it is said people in the past used to keep this bamboo to drive away rats,’ his mother went on to say.
‘Don’t you think we should have tried this if you knew the effectiveness of this bamboo?’ Rajen asked without directing the question to anyone in particular. It was only to make his confused mind see some sense.
For him, whether the piece of bamboo that he had with him now was God’s own bamboo or something else, what mattered to him now was that he appeared wise to bring something useful.
‘It is believed that using even a piece of this “bamboo” while constructing a rice granary could keep away the rats and that grains would be protected from them.’ Thoibi again said.
Johnny did not say much except that he said that he had also seen this species of bamboo growing in the hills. He then wickedly added that he still had his doubts about the usefulness of the present bamboo twig because it was not much more than a stick.
Leima also did not say anything. Yet she seemed to be intently listening to what each one of the others - Thoibi, Priyo and Johnny were saying.
‘How does it act? Does anybody have any proof? If there were chemistry in this then people would know. How is it that we all do not know how the bamboo works on the rats?’ Priyo was now saying.
‘But isn’t experience the best teacher?’ Rajen observed only repeating what he had heard from Nini earlier.
‘There must be some basis of the beliefs people are having. Nature has its own ways of balancing and this must be one such act. If nature produces rats more that the tolerance level then nature must be also doing something to contain them. So, let us say that this species of bamboo, a gift of nature, is the antidote.’ Rajen concluded rehearsing many things he had heard in the past twenty-four hours.
‘The way you are propagating the possible effectiveness of what you have brought is like sunshine after a long spell of rainy days’, his mother said encouragingly.
‘Of course, it is about time as we had some sunshine after all the darkness the rats spread’, added Rajen with glint in his eyes.
Although he could hardly believe his ears, he knew he had to say whatever came to his mind then. It definitely sounded to his ears of someone else not sympathetic to his problems because he could never think of anything that could remotely be imagined to be a solution to the rats menace even hours before his visit to those hills.
‘Now I am sure you will recover soon’, said Thoibi without thinking and immediately added, ‘I mean the rats problem will be taken care of. We have already had enough worries.’
‘Yes. The rats will leave. We will have some peace. What the smokes cannot do, the bamboo will do.’ Rajen again said. He told himself that he had to say such things to be able to convince his family that whatever happened to him was only incidental in an effort to achieve the larger objective of finding a solution to the problem. However, could he spell out all that to his wife and his mother, he questioned himself silently and only smiled.
‘Tomorrow, it has to be different and our backyard will once again rejuvenate to grow many many vegetation’, he said while his mother also rose up to enter her room. Priyo and Johnny had long gone in. Leima had left a little while ago to prepare bed for the night.
He could sense that Leima had already felt confused when he was narrating the events of the previous day. He had said that he and a friend had gone to the nearby hills to follow up a news-story they had carried earlier without naming the friend and then he said that he brought a piece of ‘ Lai-Wah’ to combat the rats. He had not mentioned what had led him to the “God’s bamboo”.
He had stayed overnight somewhere without informing home was now relegated to the background, he had thought. Nevertheless, he of course, would have to tell Leima with some more details if he had to retain her respect and confidence. Yet he wanted to believe that if he behaved normal he could get away.
He must have been normal, he told himself as he woke up the next morning. He found Leima understanding. At least he thought so.
As usual, he went to office along with his cousins. As he drove the car, he could not help thinking that for his cousins staying overnight anywhere could not be anything unusually big. They had stayed away from home for years without anybody at home knowing where they were. In fact, for months nobody knew whether they were still alive or not. And since they belonged to two different organizations already proscribed by the government then, there was little possibility of their ever meeting each other during those days.
To be contd...
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