Dr. Amitabh Shanker Roy Choudhury

Brief Introduction

  • Birth – January 18, 1955
  • Education – MBBS (IMS/BHU)
  • Publications – 4 books (2 in Hindi, 1 each in English and Bengali) and two are yet to come.
  • Translations – Books and articles are translated in English, Odiya, Marathi and Gujarati.
  • Awards – CBT awarded stories and novel, “Kamaleshwar Smriti Katha Award (2013, 2017 and 2019)” by Kathabimb.
  • Honour – “Hindi Sevi Samman” by Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwa Vidyalaya, Wardha (December 2016). 

☆ Juvenile Fiction ☆ The Tide of will – Part-12 ☆ Dr. Amitabh Shanker Roy Choudhury ☆

He Who Never Fell Can Never Ride.

Our Vedas and Upanishads are not only the great books of wisdom, but they contain many a nice story. Sometime they are value-based or moral, but nevertheless they are always thoroughly enjoyable.

Those days Gayatri’s life too matched to a great extent to one of the stories of Upanishad.

Once the life, the mind, the speech, the eyes and the ears of man started quarrelling among themselves. The point of their argument was who was the most important than the rest of them? The eyes said, ‘We two are here in the body, therefore the man can see the world. If we would leave him, he wouldn’t be able to see anything.’

The ears protested, ‘If we take a leave, he won’t be able to hear anything. He’ll become stone deaf.’

Soon a noisy and excited commotion ensued. No one was ready to accept that the others were more important than him. Ultimately, they decided to approach Lord Brahma, the creator of the world. They said to Brahma, ‘O God supreme, please judge our virtues and say who is the most superior among us.’

The situation became quite critical for Brahma. He is the creator of everything, the living and nonliving. How could he favour anybody in particular? Immediately an idea clicked in his mind and cleverly he said, ‘Well my beloved ones, it’s quite an easy problem to solve. One by one, each of you just leave the body and see for yourself, without whom it cannot sustain for a moment.’

So this was decided that they would abandon the body one by one. First it was the turn of the speech. He said, ‘Well, I’m taking leave for one year and let me see how the body enjoys the life of a dumb.’ He left angrily. But without speech there was no problem. The other functions of the body went on as usual. Normally and peacefully. Without words there could not be a quarrel or an argument. So the man lived happily in peace, without any disturbance, for one whole year.

When the speech returned, he found everything as usual. Next was the eyes’ turn. They said, ‘Now taste the life without any light.’ and left. But when they came back after a year, the rest of the senses said, ‘Brothers, vision is the root cause of all the vacillations. When we were not able to see anything, we meditated single mindedly.’

Eyes were embarrassed. They covered themselves with the eye lids and joined the duty.

Next were the ears. But their absence didn’t make a difference either. The body didn’t have to listen to all good for nothing talks and the slanders etc. Both of them were humbled when they returned.

And then went the mind of the body. Gone with him were all the worries of life. When he returned after one year, he found everything surviving in a blissful peace. Practically no one was worried because of his absence.

His friends said, ‘The mind is the root cause of all the flickerings of our emotions. Till you were not here we were whole heartedly devoted to the thought of god.’

The mind couldn’t find a word to protest. He simply kept silence.

The life was the last to take leave off the body. But when he was about to depart there was a chaos all over the body. Everybody yelled in a chorus, ‘O my god, where are you going? You certainly can’t leave us. The moment you’ll leave and set off all our existence will be doomed. You’re our hero and without you, we’re but zero!’

In the same way Gayatri was living a lifeless life those days. Every morning, four days a week, at the crack of dawn, she would get up. Next to Alappuzha with her appupan she would rush. First on the cycle and then in the ferry, every stipulated day. Then she would come back home and get ready for the school. And there again the class, the homework, the taunts and sniggers of Malli and Co. in the interval and all the burdens of a student life. Ultimately when she returned home in the afternoon, she was totally exhausted. Physically and mentally both. A dull lethargy would spread all over her body and mind. It was a daily routine of hard labour. In the later days she could no more enjoy her training schedule. Rather she developed a feeling of repulsion to the same. If the lamp of the mind is turned off how can the body carry on?

All the while she was full of a peculiar irritation. Consequently she became perhaps a little insolent as well.

One day, a kite, hovering over the sky, fell in their courtyard. Gayatri ran and picked it up. Immediately Rajan came running, ‘Chey-chi, give this to me, please.’

‘Why should I? Have you caught it?’ Gayatri said angrily. But nobody expected this reaction from her. She always loved and cared her younger brother. But of late, her total attitude was changed.

Rajan started moaning and complaining, ‘Chey-chi, please. Why don’t you give it to me? I’ll try my hand at flying it.’

Gayatri didn’t utter a word.

Ananthi tried to pacify her, ‘Gayatri, you’re his elder sister. You should make at least a little sacrifice for him.’

‘But why amma? Why do you always take his side?’ Gayatri said angrily.

‘What are you saying? I never do that. Who has sown the seeds of this wild oats in your mind?’ She looked at her aghast.

‘Nobody has. Well, to hell with the root cause of all this disputes.’ she yelled and tore the kite into pieces.

Rajan started weeping.

Ananthi stood thunder struck. In her mind, she thought, ‘Is it just a foretaste of what is yet to come?’

If some day she said to her, ‘Gayatri, please come and wash these cups and dishes. I’m busy with cooking.’

She, engaged in her studies, answered with a pinch of irritation in her voice, ‘Oh, it’s only I who has to do all these stuffs.’

Sometime after the dusk, Lalithambika would read from Ramayana. That day she just forgot where she had left it the day before. So the old lady called out, ‘Gayatri, would you please find out the Ramayana for me. Oh, this old age and its forgetfulness! Everything just slips from my mind, my darling.’

Probably she had left it ducked under her pillow or she had kept it in the prayer room and forgot. Gayatri, feeling weary after her daily routine, would reply in irritation, ‘Oh, why do you keep on forgetting, achchamma? Now I’ll have to search it in every place.’

‘My sweet girl you are. Just tell me, if not you, who else is going to do all these for this old fool?’ Lalita would smile and say.

Manishankaran, too, didn’t fail to notice the change in his daughter’s behaviour. One day he complained to his father, ‘Achcha, what’s this? Day by day she is growing insolent.’

‘Oh, she is not that type, my son. Just don’t worry. We’ve put too much of load on her little shoulders. Everything will be alright.’ Narayanan would smile and say to his son. However he grew a bit uneasy in his mind. He thought, ‘Didn’t I put all the weight of my expectations on her? Daily since daybreak she has to put her shoulder to the wheel. Moreover it’s not at all necessary that everybody should do everything in the world. Only a fool will complain to a coconut that it is not as sweet as mango. Then why to hope that she must entertain herself the wish to become a sports woman?’

A potter makes potteries and different toys with clay on routine basis from the blocks of die but when an artisan makes the earthen idols of Durga, Saraswati etc. or other statues with clay, he feels a superb joy of creativity. An artist’s ego is satisfied. He becomes the creator. Similarly Narayanan probably had prepared himself mentally for a test. For him the mute question was whether he could make Gayatri a swimmer of repute. He would discuss with Kumaran and come to know about different state level or intercollege swimming competitions. He would dream that someday his kuchumol would certainly participate in those competitions. And hopefully her name must find a place in the medal tally.

That morning Kumaran was teaching her how to make a perfect dive from the diving board. At one leg of the swimming pool there was a tall platform with stairs. It had different floors to dive from different heights. For the beginners or the kids, the first platform was just a few feet above the pool surface and for the expert swimmers or divers it was at the top.

That day a special coach was invited to guide her. Gayatri was standing on the steps of the staircase to reach the top platform. Kumaran was shouting from below, standing on the edge of the swimming pool, ‘Gayatri, go up. Don’t look around. Just concentrate on your diving.’

The special coach said in a full-throated voice, ‘Don’t get scared. You can do it. Now jump. I say jump.’

But Gayatri was quite nervous. She could probably hear her own heart throbs. As she reached on the top she could see up to the horizon all around. On her right there stood a long queue of tall toddy and coconut trees. A serpentine road of Alappuzha passed just beside them. Oh, the running cars and the buses seemed so small! As if they were the children’s toys! And on the left what was that sickle shaped thing glittering like silver in the morning light? Oh, it was the river Pampa! The fan shaped leaves of the toddy trees were swaying in the breeze. So many birds were gliding high overhead.

‘I cannot, sir!’ she yelled and started alighting down the stairs.

‘Stop. I say you stand, where you are. What happened to you? Don’t move.’ Kumaran was mad at her. He thought, ‘Oh, what that girl is doing!’ Months and years of his labour were going to be doomed if Gayatri would be scared to dive.

‘Sir, I can’t. I’m scared. It’s impossible for me.’ Gayatri’s voice was chocked.

There was clanging sound heard on the metallic steps of the staircase. Kumaran and the special coach, both of them had come upstairs. Neither they waited nor did they ask anything. They held Gayatri from two sides and gave a push.

For a moment Gayatri’s full-throated cry was heard, ‘Leave me alone. I can’t. Oh, appupan, where are you?’ She was crying bitterly.

But by that fraction of a minute, she came down straight and was dropped into the water. A thud and she was going down into the blue green water of the swimming pool.

The water splashed all around her. An eagle, hovering under the canopy of blue sky, shrieked. As if it was asking, ‘What happened? Huh?’ And it flew off, wings flapping.

She was slightly hurt on the temple and a little water went into her nostrils. Otherwise nothing serious happened to her. The ghost of fear sitting in her little bosom was defeated at last.

Kumaran and the coach patted her on the head, ‘Good. Very good. In your first attempt you’ve done it nicely. We’re really pleased with you?’

The coach said admiringly, ‘See, you too can do it. Then why were you so scared? Well, it happens with everybody. Never think of this.’

When Gayatri came out of that small iron gate, she was literally weeping.

Narayanan rushed to her, worried, ‘What has happened? Got hurt?’

But Gayatri didn’t answer. Instead, she continued with her sobbing.

By the time they reached home both of her eyes became crimson.

It was Manishankaran who first noticed the change in her, but he didn’t ask anything. He simply looked at his father. The headmaster shrugged and said nothing.

Rajan came running to her, ‘Chey-chi, why are you crying? What happened to you?’

When he didn’t get an answer he ran into the kitchen shouting, ‘Amma! See, chey-chi is crying.’

Ananthi came out wiping her hands with the corner of her saree, ‘Where is Gayatri?’

Gayatri didn’t speak a word. She ran into the room and buried her face in the pillow. She was sobbing.


© Dr. Amitabh Shanker Roy Choudhury

C0ntact: Care Dr. Alok Kumar Mukherjee, 104/93, Vijay Path, Mansarovar, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302020

Mo: 9455168359, 9140214489

Email: [email protected]

≈ Editor – Shri Hemant Bawankar/Editor (English) – Captain Pravin Raghuvanshi, NM ≈

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