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-14 ☆ Dr. Amitabh Shanker Roy Choudhury ☆

And, Why Does A Lamp Flicker?

The moment Lalithambika saw her kuchumol, forgetting her aching knees, she literally ran and rushed to Gayatri with stretched arms, ‘Where did you go, my queen? Didn’t even think of this old acha amma?’ She gathered her in her bosom.

Ananthi too came running and just tweaked her cheeks affectionately. She realized everything, but alas she was not in a position to take any decision. A burden of sheer helplessness welled up within her.

Her father, Mani, was out too, searching her in the village. Going to a few houses and enquiring from her friends. When he returned home and heard everything, he started grumbling, ‘From the very beginning I’ve been saying it was beyond her capacity. How long could she carry the burden? Naturally one day she had to give up. But achcha was not going to listen. Oh!’

‘Okay, okay, today onwards no more swimming and all that. Now stop complaining for heaven’s sake. Do as you please. It’s none of my affair.’ outraged, Narayanan entered the prayer room stamping his feet all along.

Next, as the day went slowly by, everyone was engaged in his or her routine. The time, as a bird, was flying away. Gayatri became ready for her school. She didn’t feel like eating anything that morning but just to avoid pestering by her mother and discontent of others in the family she ate silently whatever was served to her. Quietly she picked up her bag and went away to school.                       

During the interval her bosom friend Meenakshi tried to get into a conversation, ‘You know Gayatri? My chey-chi’s wedding has been fixed.’

Gayatri didn’t respond. Neither did she look at her. She was lost in her own thoughts.

‘The priest, Mr. Namboodripad, visited our house this morning. He said the marriage can be solemnized on twenty first, next month. Certainly you’ll be very much here in Haripadam at that time, I hope.’ Meenakshi was bubbling over with excitement and she wanted to tell everything to her friend as soon as possible.

‘I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be here only.’ Gayatri said with a long face.

‘What does that mean? The Thiruvananthapuram inter-college swimming competition is due next month, isn’t it? Are you not going to participate?’

‘No, I’m not. I – I’m not fit for swimming.’ somehow Gayatri spoke in a low mumble, as if to herself.

‘Why, Gayatri? What happened?’ The news was a real jolt for Meenakshi. But as Gayatri maintained a total silence she continued singlehandedly, ‘You know, my would-be brother- in-law is a doctor at Kozhikode. There are so many tiles factory there. They say it’s in Calicut or Kozhikode where Vasco de Gama had first anchored his ship and landed.’   

One was talking nonstop while the other kept a mum throughout.

When Gayatri returned from school no one said anything to her regarding her practice etc. There was a post storm calm prevailing in the house. Narayanan had practically locked himself in his room. But as the evening approached there was a surprise in store for them.

When darkness fell their gate was opened with clank. Narayanan ignored it. He was in no mood to see who it was. It was Ananthi who went to see the guest, ‘Yes sir, what I can do for you?’

‘Kindly tell our sir, Mr. Naryanan, that it’s Kumaran who wants to see him.’

Ananthi was familiar with his name. She informed her father-in-law and took the guest to him.

‘What happened, sir? Gayatri had never been absent from her training schedule. Is she alright? Why she didn’t reach the stadium, today? This is the crucial time for us. We can’t afford to miss a single training schedule.’ Kumaran enquired eagerly without stopping.

Disgusted, Narayanan was sitting there in the room alone. He just couldn’t hide his outrage. He answered bitterly, ‘Don’t ask me, Kumaran. Physically everybody is alright but not mentally.’

‘Please sir, what does that mean?’ Kumaran was at a loss. Naturally he was anxious to know the reason.

‘Just ask them, the people around here. Gayatri’s daddy was saying that all these efforts of ours are useless. Even if she succeeds, what prospect is there in swimming? And your disciple stands with her achcha. She says, she is not at all capable of continuing further.’

With her eyes on the floor Gayatri was standing nearby, just outside the room. Accepting all the blames put upon her, silently. Ananthi entered into the room, put a cup of coffee on the table and left.

Kumaran just looked at the wisps emanating from the cup. Then he got up, came near Gayatri and said, ‘I’m also born and brought up in this remote village. When I first saw you, I just can’t express the tide of the feelings that surged within me. I expected a lot from you, Gayatri. Of course, it’s only you who has to put a rigorous labour, who has to suffer. We can only explain to you. We can’t lessen a bit of your sufferings. Of course, we can certainly help. Well, it’s you only who has to decide. I just foolishly dreamt of giving the best swimmer of India from Haripadam, but….’

After a brief silence he turned to Narayanan, ‘Sir, permit me to leave today. But just a word sir, if the pearls would be left within the oysters how the world could know how precious it is? People value it when they see it. That’s what I was trying to do.’

He stopped. Narayanan didn’t utter a single word anymore. Gayatri stood in mute silence buried under all the blames. Kumaran said to her again with a pinch of sadness, ‘Kenya is such a tiny country. Most of the population there don’t even get a square meal a day. Still just one boy among them, the athlete William Kiptarus Tanui, won the gold for his country in eight hundred metres in Barcelona Summer Olympic. What to talk of their performance in the world of cricket! They’ve crossed several milestones.’

He sighed and faced Narayanan again, ‘One more thing sir. No doubt Gayatri is Mani’s daughter, but all the same she is your blood too. You’re that banyan tree, of which Mani is but a branch and Gayatri, a twig. Certainly you too have some right over her.’

A heavy silence prevailed in the room. He was about to go out, but stopped and said, ‘Please excuse my outbursts, sir. Probably because of my overwhelming emotions I couldn’t restrain myself. Actually I started weaving so many dreams around Gayatri. Sorry sir. Permit me please.’

He touched his guru’s feet and left the room without even looking at the coffee on the table.

And Gayatri? What happened to her? She ran inside just like a frightened rabbit. Was she not happy? After all she was spared from the daily ordeal. But why did she press her lower lip with her teeth? Oh, was it not bruised? Didn’t she feel the pain? Had she lost this basic sensory feeling?

And there, her appupan was seated in his chair just like an idol carved out of stone.


© 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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