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The Cradle of the Dead
by Prof. R. K. Bhushan Bookmark and Share

It was only by prior appointment that I reached there. So I was welcomed in the house with usual formality and the exhibition of warmth. It was not my first visit to their house and whenever I happened to be in the city, once or twice a month, I would, by prior information, go there and it was happening for the last three years when I first met her at the work centre. Perhaps she met a different colleague and she made a friendly advance.

Life belongs to the go-getters. So all go-getters are good. Others are hoodwinked into the folly of being good.

One day, she asked her hubby to reach there to meet me. We met for minutes and I received a formal invitation to visit their home in the evening. The solicitation was tempting and there was no thought of declining it. It is my bad nature that I am not only liberal but also generous in expression of my informality whether my known or dear ones visit me or I visit them. And I have not learnt from the misery such an attitude has caused me or is even causing me now. Our approach to daily intercourse should be determined, guided and governed by cold warmth so that there is no pain of being wronged. I could never develop that fine approach. Still regrets and no regrets; regrets and no regrets!

It is the idolized cult of the useful in relations or material possessions that often, very often, guides us through the daily course of life. So to worship the rising sun alone makes life worth living and beautiful. One may regard it as opportunism. We are born to enjoy and possess the best and we must use all tact and fact for that. Why bother about life before or after and let gods maintain the accounts? That is why our faith in the Master is a ceremony, not a solemn performance. And religion thrives best amidst the colour and glamour of life. However, most of the people use their authority and status for extracting the maximum out of life. In this age of quick marketing, it is thought good to sell your best for a cutting edge to enhance your material and social status. That is the core of being today. 

Gona was smart to make the most of what came her way, though she couldn’t stabilize herself foe years in her career and her hubby, Gongi, was also looking for rungs on the ladder of growth. Fate had not been much favourable till this encounter. So Gona was a new close acquaintance who enjoyed her nearness to the best of her advantage. She made a good advance in life without paying much for the gains over the good-for-nothing past. This sudden rise had its disadvantages also. Her own circle friends were furtive in the show of their displeasure and jealousy. But Gona’s kickstart made her look the other way in excitement. 

Gongi also felt immense pride and delight in Gona’s new gumption. He not only started projecting and presenting her in his corporate world but also showed his fondness for voracious reading in Gona’s orbit. Both were using each other as a speeding gear. Their prying and spying world also made a quick buck in their designs. It was not a nasty game for either. The rules of such games are practiced under the veneer of decency. This is the grace of polished society where hedonistic tendencies are appreciated and encouraged without any threat or loss of honor. 

Life is a cradle
Of the dead,
For the dead
and by the dead 

In fact, life belongs to the go-getters. So all go-getters are good. Others are hoodwinked into the folly of being good.

I have always lived my life in the belief that all are good. This is not a healthy belief in healthy everyday living because such a belief deceives you here and there. One should learn to keep in mind one’s practical interests also and these can’t be sacrificed or ignored for the sake of all. However, I learnt tolerance of the petty deceptions and pain given by the gentlemen swindlers. So hurts and wounds with needles and nails pierced through softest and softly. This is concealed and veiled in mellow smiles, good laugh and looking ahead with hope and faith. Such an outlook may not have been curative but it has been profoundly comforting and the real asset!

It was almost mid-evening, around 7.30 when I pressed the bell-button at the gate. Gona took no time in responding and flew open the gate. This was an assurance of happy moments there. With the expected welcome notes, she led me into the living room which reflected Gona’s and Gongi’s aesthetic and decorative tastes. Without wasting a moment, Gona showed me into her dimly-lighted bed room where, in a corner outside the washroom-cum-toilet, Gongi was fixed in a small seat by the adjacent settee. On a small teapoy in front was lying half-consumed Royal Stag bottle, a glass waiting to be finished, a small bowl of almost melted ice cubes presenting the look of infants shivering in cold, some chopped raw onion and salted fried daal in a plate with a half-squeezed half lemon slice beside it. The expressionless Gongi attempted to be a laughing Buddha compressed into a gateman at the public utility services at the city bus station or some rail junction. But the ruing chatter of Gona’s broken string was the only saving grace and the situation did not become fatal.

Gongi neither laughed nor smiled, nor did he look sad. He tried to stand up to give a welcome handshake but he stumbled to collapse back into the seat of his evening luxury. I gestured him to feel relaxed and comfortable and he did the same to me. He tried to pour a drink for me but sensing the difficulty, I served myself and sipped with cheers. Dull smile appeared on Gongi’s face and he finished his finished drink, babbled a bye and Gona helped him to his nearby bed. The situation gave Gona tense moments but she took control of herself and saved the situation from being disgraceful. Women have to conduct themselves, often, more sensible and more intelligently otherwise the hellish mess would ruin the daily happiness of their family. Moreover, women are mostly helpful in the professional growth of their husbands. 

Gongi gone (down into the fathomless stupor), Gona was up to herself watching obliquely and obsequisely the mood and expression of her favorite visitor. Gongi knew it. Gona’s repeated apologies were making me feel very awkward and I told her so. She checked herself and th subject of conversation became everyday life and interactions, mutual like and dislikes. Knowing that she also relished a drink or two, sometimes three, I took out a glass from her living room wall unit and served her. Her frankness and honesty in this regard were always praiseworthy. She formally lifted the glass and began with sips to gulps with gleaming eyes.

“I have a complaint against you.” She said varying her features.
“You must have!”
“What do you mean? I’m not joking.”
“Neither me.”
“The whole world cries or blubbers with complaints.”
“I know that and I am not like that.”
“I want to tell you that you have always tried hard to conceal your emotion, rather liking, passion for me.”
“Nonsense! You are sometimes wild in your own emotional guess.”
“Sometimes, not always! It seemed so but now it is not so. Come on and be honest as you are everywhere.”

I felt out of wits, she moved a little forward, looked at me and pinched madly at my cheeks. I felt both the warmth and madness of the pinch as if it was desired.

Another drink?


Half of it was finished in both the glasses in one go.

Silence prevailed for sometime with slow sips and slips. Gona brought some salted cashews and almonds, tasting one or two leaving the crystal glass bowl there left saying that she was just returning. She returned fresh with a whiff of enticing fragrance and a hot nice smelling omelette with chilly garlic sauce. Putting the plate on the table, she cut a piece and fed me with a caress. The courtesy was ceremoniously returned. 

The indulgent looks began to show themselves but silence didn’t break. They held each other’s hands with warmth and heat looked boldly with eyes fixed on their faces and assured themselves. I pulled Gona into my lap for a hard hug. She closed her eyes murmuring something inaudible. A murmur! So sweet, so luscious, escaped my lips too and I gave her slow and long kissed with the same spirited response with no sense or thought of territories. It was a delectable sight and the sensible sensualities broke like long golden grapes bursting in the mouth, many at a time, with a drop or two oozing out at the lips and the corners. Time had stopped and spaces were non-existent and both were irresistibly drawn to the Garden of Eden with the peeping Tom dreaming of his rhetoric to the fallen angels! Gona’s face reflected brightness of the evening park lights waiting to be off with the appearance of the dawn.

Alexis Karenin, an aristocrat and a high official dignitary, and the husband of Anna Karenina, was 20 years her senior. Vronsky for whom Anna developed a mad passion at first sight, was five years her junior. There was a complete reversal of the roles of these two men in the life of Anna Karenina this evening and, occasionally even after, bringing about a happy turn of events for Gona. The drone in Gongi had nothing to buzz about for his own fulfillment.

Destiny remains inscrutable for everyone!

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Comment Great pleasure reading it!

dr. sandeep kar
11/07/2011 10:30 AM

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