Saturday, December 8, 2012

Then the Vultures came down

Then the Vultures came down

-         Saptarshi Basu

                                            (A piece of Fiction)

For a while Chowringhee square was all quiet. The numbness was akin to the aftermath of a storm. The Sun-baked Street lay soaked with colours of much deeper saffron. Colours of Brotherhood unity.

Gopal looked up and saw they were coming. The sky appeared overshadowed by their fluttering wings. This is how I am going to die, the thought forked his soul. His deafening pain had steriled most of his senses, yet the smell from the gutters was unbearable. He moved his bleeding head to see bodies stinking. The hot summer wind blew them north.

He thought of a life ahead. Visions of a crying baby with miniature limbs pained and elated him equally. His first son. The news had come to him a bit late .He was working in Naokhali while his family stayed back in Calcutta. The journey had taken him five long days. The excitement inside had made it all trivial, the visions of a new born dragging him forward.

Reaching Calcutta in his excitement, he had not forgotten to offer his first prayers to the Ganges. While coming from Boubazar More to Harrison Road he heard their slogans: Lar ke lenge Pakistan. It sounded strange, the words alien. A huge procession was moving, like a giant snake.

The air smelled acrid. He crossed the mob and started running towards home. Home is perhaps a strange word, for those who lived in them and lost it.

He hadn’t a clue what was happening. Neither did he know that today was the Direct Action Day. A sudden pang of fear shackled Gopal. All seemed changed, his own city foreign to him. Perhaps, the vultures were waiting above.

Now his vision was blurred, the dripping blooding clotting near his left eye. A fancy thought hovered in his mind. He strained to watch the colours of scattered blood .Reddish black or blackish red, he couldn’t differentiate much. It was everywhere. Does the colour vary with religion? .Gopal tried hard to identity the ones of Muslims and Hindus .He kept on searching for a clue, keeping himself busy.

He waited for men to come for his rescue. To clear the bodies strewn on the street. But no one came. Then the vultures came down. Snapping their curved beaks, beating their colossal wings to balance, the birds tore at the dead. They picked them clean, and with every mouthful, they picked away the fabric of unitary India. The year was 1946. Someone from the procession suddenly broke away and planted a solid iron rod on his head. Independence came just after a year .But no one could find Gopal. His name entered the list of missing persons in the riots of 1946.A tired pair of tear-filled eyes waited for her husband.A fresh pair of new born eyes waited for his father.

The wait was forever. And sometimes, after the turbulence had ended, whenever there was a slight knock at the door, the same two pair of eyes craved to watch footsteps. Familiar to one, unfamiliar to the other.


Saptarshi Basu, a Gold Medallist in Mechanical Engineering, has been in the IT industry for the last 8 years and he has worked for the top 3 IT companies of India (INFOSYS,TCS & WIPRO). However, writing has always been his first love and passion. His debut novel Love {Logic} and the God's Algorithm is now a national best-seller in Infibeam, a premier online store. His second novelAutumn in My Heart, published by Vitasta Publishing with Times group launched in november'11, has already created a lot of stir due to its theme on homosexuality. Visit his website for more information