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Abrupt End

"Have you noticed one thing, Mr Biswas?" Kulsum asked.


In response, Mr Biswas said in a mood of philosophical indifference, " I have been observing so many things."




"Dogs have changed their age-old breeding habit."


"What do you mean to say?"


"They used to breed during August-September but now they get involved in that action even during winter months following their masters."


"Ha! Ha! Ha! Really, Mr Biswas, you are beyond correction. I think, just because of this every man should get married in time."


"Sorry! By any chance, have I crossed the limit?"


"No, no , I have set the sky as your limit. Naturally the question of crossing the limit doesn't arise but I think you should keep in mind that you have been talking with an old lady and you too are not a little kid. We are in our mid sixty."


" Madam, sometime, you behave like God. Giving in one hand and snatching away by the other."


"How did I do so?"


"You provided me freedom of speech and restricted it by my sense of responsibility."


"I don't like to enter into an argument with you in this sunny morning. Anyway what more did you notice?"


"My second observation is related with the first one; surprisingly in spite of their random intercourse, the numbers of dogs are decreasing day by day."


"How do you know that?"


"No, I didn't go for a dog sumari. Lopa informed me that three out of seven of her dogs have been found missing."


"Who is Lopa? Oh, yes I remember, that ever smiling sweet girl. I don't see her coming for morning walk for a couple of days, has she gone sick again?"


"No no she is ok but very upset for her Tiger."


"Who is Tiger?"


"Tiger is her favourite dog which is also missing along with other two dogs."


"So sad, I feel sorry for that poor kid. Her life is full of tension and sufferings. Anyway, where is her vagabond fiancé?"


"Leave the discussion of their love story. What did you expect me to notice?"


"Oh yes I always get diverted in course of talking with you. I meant to say; do you understand how we get isolated from the rest of our morning walking friends?"


"Surprising!  This happens unknowingly; I never pondered over this, a nice thing to think about."


"You know, same thing used to happen with us in college; I mean to say with Kuntal."


Kulsum remembered having been lost somewhere in the past.


Kulsum Bano and Kunal Biswas met one another in course of their morning walk. There were many more retired young people like them and many more men and women found their walking partner and used to get isolated like Mrs Bano and Mr Biswas.


Mr Biswas realized that Kulsum madam had entered into her down memory lane where there was a cottage of love; she loved visiting that cottage again and again and she loved sharing her experience with him time and again. It's an interesting game; neither she nor her partner becomes tired in this game. It is like classical music to them. Time to time they exchange their position; the speaker becomes listener and the listener speaker.


Kulsum resumed after prolonged pause, "Under the hot sun, we used to walk together for hours and ceaselessly discussing Shakespeare, Shelley, Keats, Byron, Wordsworth, Rabindranath, Tarashankar, Mapussant,Chekhov and what not; he would never leave me on the midway, he used to walk homeward only after the departure of my train."


Mr Biswas said," How do you say so? Had he been so caring, your first love would end through union not separation."


In excuse, Kulsum replied," I never put blame on him. Actually he was a born bohemian. It was very difficult to trace his whereabouts even during college days. I was not very sure about accepting him as a life partner but all of a sudden one day when he came to tell me that he was going to marry a girl who proposed him, I became speechless for the time being and realized that I too wanted him; it was true we never exchanged the words of love to one another in spite of spending thousands of hours together and walking hundreds of miles without being tired, in fact I bear endless memory of moonlight night, new moon night, days with sun or shower. Once I start recounting them, my virtual journey becomes eternal."


"Your soft feelings for Mr Kuntal are ceaseless."


"You are talking in such a way, as if you forgot your Nita who abandoned you just for not having a government job."


"Please, don't take her name with contempt; she is now somebody's wife and someone's mother. My inability to forget her has got a special reason, as you know she was like my last song, after her I never came in connection with opposite sex. Now if you ask me about our friendship, I can say we are like twin rivers, our story of love is almost identical, both of us lost our way in desert. But I do believe that you have valid reason to forget Kuntal."


"Practically your claim is justified, as far as the happenings in my life are concerned, I got married and out of my marriage I became the mother of a son who is now a renowned doctor in Siliguri but still I failed to isolate Kuntal from my life and memory."


"That means you didn't have any love for your married husband!"


"The question of love doesn't arise, Mr Khan accepted me as his sleeping tablet like most other husbands. I am grateful to him for his straightforward attitude to life."


"How is that?"


"At post menopause, when I became useless as a bed partner, without hesitation he asked me to allow him to go for a second marriage; you know I gladly allowed him. Had he been “loving and caring”, my embarrassment would have been much more. Naturally I do respect my husband from the core of my heart."


"Really madam you are a wonderful woman on earth, I have ever seen in my life!"


"Now I feel I was too careful in hiding my feelings towards Kuntal and he was nothing but a lunatic. Actually, I used to feel the presence of an artist in him, I wanted to see him bloom but our fate decided something else."


“May I ask you one question?"


"Go ahead."


"Why didn't you try to come in connection with him, particularly after the second marriage of your husband, and at present, there is a revolution in the field of virtual communication. I know you can't go to sleep a single night without remembering Kuntal Babu."


"Actually it's my ego, out of rage I asked him on the day of our abrupt separation not to come in contact or in connection after that day. He wanted to say something about his new relation meekly but I didn't show any interest in listening to him."


"He too never tried to trace you?"


"Yes, probably to pay respect to my last wish."


"It seems he was a pure simpleton, worthless as a lover."


Before Kulsum made any reply, they got attracted by the shrill and scary call of Mr Das who went under the river bridge for short toilet and discovered Tiger, the favourite dog of Lopa.


Initially everybody felt that he might have seen a tiger under the bridge as he kept on shouting “Tiger! Tiger!” but visiting the spot they discovered only the head of Lopa's Tiger.


Since the forest department's office was too near, they didn't take much time to arrive at the spot and after initial investigation they concluded that the dog had been killed by a tiger; that meant there was a tiger behind the missing dogs in the town. The team discovered few more skeleton of dogs under the bridge and nearby bush.





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