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-13 ☆ Dr. Amitabh Shanker Roy Choudhury ☆

The Story of an Escape.

The canopy of the dark night was dotted with stars. In the temple of Haripadam the priest had performed the rituals before laying the bed for the god. The Muslims started assembling near their mosque. They were getting ready for Esha, the last namaz of the day.

After just two or three days it would be a night with full moon. So the sky was showered with a soft moonlight. From the toddy tree tops the cheeping of some chicks could be heard occasionally. In the silence of the night the fluttering of the wings of the mother birds was heard distinctly from the village homes. An earthly smell was wafting all along from the village ponds. Fanned by a free-flowing wind form the Arabian Sea the blades of the leaves were swaying on the trees.

At Gayatri’s home, everybody had done with the dinner. Ananthi sighed wearily and went to her bed. But Gayatri, though thoroughly worn out, was not able to close her eyes. She had made up her mind not to go for the training in the morning, ‘Enough is enough. I can’t go any further.’

After the dinner Narayanan wanted to enjoy a sound sleep. He would wake up before anybody in the house and then he would start his daily schedule. But his full nosed snore, blowing like a trumpet, was enough to keep everyone else awake the whole night. Anyway, when he and the rest of them were fast asleep, Gayatri crept out of her bed and sneaked downstairs from the house. Her face was totally covered under a sheet of cloth.

Standing in the courtyard she looked for once all around. Rajan was with her mother. Just beside the kitchen it was her grandma’s room. One by one she looked at the closed door of each room. She sighed when she looked at her appupan’s room. Next she climbed up on the boundary wall and jumped on the other side, on the open road. In the moonlight she didn’t find any difficulty in pursuing her adventure.

It was past midnight and she was walking down the village road all alone. She herself didn’t know which way she was heading. A dog barked from behind a house. For a moment she was shaken. A few metres away was the banana garden of Kannampilly. She couldn’t dare to go any further. She entered the garden and slept under a tree for the night.

The music of the dead of night continued. Fireflies were dancing on the bushes. The chirrups of the crickets were heard off and on. Suddenly from a nearby neighbourhood a group of dogs started their chorus. The weary night, after finishing its duty, was bidding a goodbye to the world. The chariot of the morning sun had already started from the eastern horizon. But Gayatri was still asleep.

As the dawn was standing on the doorsteps of Haripadam, the bells of the temple started ringing. The morning call for the namaz of Fazar was heard from the mosque. The chirping of the birds on the branches of the trees, the ringing of the bells around the necks of the cows heading towards their grazing as the cowherds were tweaking their tails – all these filled the morning air. These were the wakeup calls for the world. 

With the roosters’ cock-a-doodle-doo Narayanan’s voice, full of anxiety, was heard not only in the house but all over the neighbourhood, ‘Hey, Ananthi, does anybody know where the girl has gone? Oh my god! She has vanished from her own house and nobody cares! Mani, how can you go on sleeping, my son? Won’t you get up and make a search for her?’

Lalithambika was rubbing her knees before leaving the bed. The moment she realized the reason of her husband’s yelling she touched her forehead with folded hands, ‘O deva! O Krishna! Don’t get us in any trouble! Please save the girl.’ She started calling Ananthi from her room itself and then appeared on the corridor, ‘Ananthi -!’

Ananthi was already woken by all these. Getting worried she tried to wake Mani, ‘Get up, please. Probably Gayatri is missing from the house.’

‘What!’ immediately Mani sat on the bed with quite a start. He rubbed his eyes, yawned and repeated his question. 

‘Our daughter is not home. Gayatri is missing.’

‘What are you talking about, Ananthi?’ Mani pulled his own hairs, as if by this manoeuvre he would become more alert, ‘Go and see in achcha’s room.’ His throat was quite dry.

‘Achcha himself is asking you to find her out.’ Ananthi couldn’t continue with her pestering. She remembered that their daughter had returned home weeping the day before. Her throat was choked with tears. A mother’s heart always weeps for her child.

Manishankaran came out of their room. He had already presumed that this incident had something to do with that swimming business. He went straight way to his father, ‘Achcha, how can such a child cope with the burden of all these training sessions and the labour? How much is she able to do? Daily from Haripadam to Alappuzha. Then there, she must undergo this strenuous training for one to one and half hours. Is it a matter of joke? Even quite a many boys will give up. Then her school again. Oh!’   

Narayanan stood there frozen. How could he deny the charges? In his heart of hearts, he was well aware of the truth.

In the meanwhile Rajan woke up and came to Ananthi, ‘Where is chey-chi, amma?’

Lalitha called out her grandson, ‘Come here and sit beside me. They are going to find your chey-chi soon.’

Suddenly Narayanan burst out, ‘What’s the matter? What’s the use of lecturing me without trying to grasp at straws? Yes, I know pretty well that all this is my doing. Naturally only I’m to be blamed.’

Mani too was irritated, ‘Oh, today I’ve to go to the office a bit earlier and now just see, I’ve to first sort out all this unnecessary problem.’

Narayanan was stunned for a while. But his patience finally gave out. Buried under his anxiety he put the chador on his shoulder and rushed from the house.

There were a handful of people on the road going to different destinations. Some to the rubber plantations, others to the ferry point, a few daily wage labourers and some local fishermen folks with their nets. As it was dawning two or three local coffee shops were already open. Narayanan could identify one of the persons, sitting on the bench, sipping his coffee, ‘Hey Nilampedu, have you seen Gayatri, my kuchumol, this morning?’         

He shook his head and then asked, ‘But what’s the matter, sir?’

‘Oh, what to say? She is not to be found in the house since this morning.’ He walked away.

But who could give him the information regarding her whereabouts? In the morning every bird was busy fending its own nest. While he was running from this to that place, suddenly he saw the gardener of the Kannampilly running towards him, ‘Sir, sir, just wait.’ He was a bit breathless.

‘What gives?’ Narayanan was in no mood to be all ears to listen to him.

‘Are you searching for your granddaughter?’  

‘Yes, I’m. Any news?’ Narayanan was anxious.

‘Oh, sir, she is there in our garden.’ the gardener said with a nervous giggle.

‘In our Kannampilly’s garden? Heaven help us! What’s she doing there?’ Narayanan was a bit perplexed and not amused at all.

‘She is sleeping under a tree. At first I couldn’t recognize her. Thought what it was? Under the cover of a bed sheet? Then I saw her face. Ha, ha!’    

And his laughter added fuel to the fire burning in Narayanan’s head. Without a word he started running and headed to the garden. He opened the gate with a clang and entered like a fire ball into the garden. The moment that bed sheet was visible he rushed like a runner arriving at the end point of the race and snatched it from the girl sleeping like a log. Immediately the bomb blasted out, ‘We are looking for you in the whole world and you’re sleeping here without caring a damn about us?’       

Startled Gayatri got up. She stared at him, frozen with fear. But sometime even a stone weeps. The poor girl just burst into tears, ‘I can’t do it anymore, appupan. I’m not capable. I can’t continue my swimming.’

‘If you can’t who is going to put a blame on you, compel you? Just give it up.’ But as a tiny spark can kindle a fire, he too could no more control his anger. Out of hopelessness he slapped across her face and said, ‘But only for this reason would you run away from home? And didn’t I had to put so much of efforts for this? Didn’t I undertake so much of pain? If because of our granddaughter the fame of Haripadam spreads all over Kearala, who will be the happier person than me?’

Not a drop of tear rolled down her cheek now. Gayatri was stunned. As if the whole earth cracked under her feet. In her little bosom the only question was echoing, ‘Oh, at last it was my appupan who slapped me! My appupan -?’


© 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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