Why Mother Died?
“What are you doing with that lump of mud?” asked Nilesh, Pratap’s fellow prisoner, and also his friend. Nilesh is in this prison because even though he is a farmer’s son, he wanted to try his luck with business. During his days in the Gurukul, he concentrated more on studying subjects related to Economics and Business Relation. However, when he returned home his dreams shattered as now the Queen has taken away the freedom of doing what one likes. Only a handful of businessman who lives in the village of the businessmen now can do business, since, Nilesh is someone from the farmer’s village he was given the order to pursue the career of a farmer.
At first Nilesh thought that he and his mother should move elsewhere. Since, his father died when he was in the Gurukul, it was only he and his mother. However, his mother was not ready for the arrangements as she came to this land when she was very young, she grew up here, got married, had a son, this land knows every bit of her life, now moving elsewhere means leaving behind not just these memories but a self of her behind. Nilesh too, didn’t want to uproot her mother to a different place that’s the last thing he would do. So, he focused on farming, he earned enough to sustain two lives, but his heart was not into it. He was getting frustrated every day. Thus, he started selling goods in that market where only traders and businessmen were allowed, but in disguise. He was kinda enjoying it when suddenly the queen’s men found out about him, and caught him. Nilesh was asked to sign a paper that states he apologize for selling goods in the businessmen’s market and will never repeat this in future.
Nilesh, however, was a man of values and self-esteem. He never thought it is wrong to follow one’s heart. Instead, he though if one does not follow one’s heart then one betrays oneself. Hence, he didn’t sign that paper, and now he is now behind the bars with the ex-prince, Pratap Narayan Chaudhury.
Pratap and Nilesh were very good friends. Even though Nilesh was his senior, Pratap never find that age is really a problem between them. So, when Nilesh asked what he is doing with the lump of mud, he smiled and said, “I making a doll for Chandreyi. Tomorrow is her birthday, and I want to give her a present.” Nilesh squat on the floor and said, “When you are making it, it must be magical, right?” Pratap paused for a moment and looked at Nilesh with a smile and said, “Nothing is more magical than love Nilesh. So, if you are asking if it is magical or not, then my answer will be yes, because . . . I’m making it with my love,” he said the last few words in such dramatic way that soon they burst out in laughter. After a few moments Nilesh composed himself and said, “But where do you find the muds, and what are you doing with so many flowers?”
“Well, the Queen is making a new palace to carry out the kingdom’s work more smoothly. I am working on the construction site, and I stole the mud from there.” Nilesh gave a sad smile and said, “It’s your land Pratap, like mine, but see the irony even if we take a lump of mud, we will tagged as thieves. We will be beaten from dawn to night so none dare to stand against the Queen,” sighed Nilesh, and then looks up at Pratap and said, “you have any news from the girls?’ Pratap spoke, while continuing with his sculpture, “Not yet, but I know very soon they will come back with Bhai, until then we will have to wait.”
Nilesh now smiled and said, “I was wondering why suddenly out of nowhere a big storm hit us today? I now understand, why. You asked the wind to give you some flowers, so the wind visited our cell today, right?” Pratap winked and smiled, Nilesh asked, “What will you do with the flowers?”
“He will make colors with it,” a sweet voice is heard. It’s Chandreyi; she visits Pratap almost every day. Not even her mother can stop her and when she visits her brother no guards could dare follow her. Listening to these words, Pratap looked at her little sister, who had just entered her teens, his face beamed with joy. She ran towards him and hugged him tightly, even though his hands were muddy he didn’t take time to hug back, because by now he had understood one thing, this person will not mind getting her dress soiled, but would definitely mind if Pratap showed formality to her.
“What doll you are making for me?” asked Chandreyi cuddling next to him. “Well, that’s a surprise dear. You will know that tomorrow,” said Pratap with a smile. “Ugghhh!!! I guess I can’t. At least not until till it’s night,” said Chandreyi with full irritation. Pratap now stopped his sculpting and said, “What happened? Where will you be?”
“I don’t know,” said Chandreyi, “My mother said I will visit the land of Vikrampur, where once her family used to life. Now it is just a forlorn land.” Suddenly these words made Pratap quite serious, he got lost in his own thoughts and Nilesh noticed that. He asked, “You are aware of this place?” Pratap looked unmindfully to the wall straight to him, as if lost in his own thoughts, looking straight to the wall, he said, “As far as I remember, my mother was from the land of Vikrampur.”
“What!” exclaimed both Nilesh and Chandreyi together, Pratap nodded, and said, “But how the Queen is related to this land.” Chandreyi asked, “Are our mothers’ sisters?” Pratap nodded in negation, “I don’t think so, as far as I know she just had a brother.” Nilesh was perplexed, “Then how come it is the land of the Queen?”
“Well, she is now the Queen, it is not necessary she has always been a royalty. Or has she?” Pratap’s last question disturbed everyone in the room. Suddenly the ambience of the room became intense, everyone looked at each other with a questioning eyes. After a while Chandreyi spoke, “If we could just visit my mother’s past life, then all these problems would have solved!”
Hearing this Pratap’s eyes sparkled, he hold Chandreyi’s arms and then hugged her tightly, and said, “You are so right. We need to know the Queen’s past. We need to find out what happened in the past. Was she always like this or does any particular event made her so dark, so cruel? I also need to know why mother’s land is a forlorn land now, what happened there? Why mother died? Did she really die in childbirth? Or anything else was the reason? It may give us a ray of light to fight the Queen, or rather her tyranny.”
“Are you thinking of time travel, Pratap?” asked Nilesh. Pratap nodded, “Yes, but the problem is I am not capable of time travel, and the person who is capable of it, is too weak now to perform a magic of such high degree.”
“I can ask Rajnidi to stay at my quarter and have some rest there. None dares to enter my quarter. So, she will be safe there, Bhai,” said Chandreyi, Pratap seemed to like the idea. He took a flower from the ground and tore a petal from the flower. Then he scribbled something on the petal with his muddy fingers and closed his eyes, to converse with the winds. After a few moments a gush of wind suddenly hit the room, everyone, except Pratap got perplexed by the sudden storm. After a while, the wind started whirling around just one point, in front of Pratap. When the prince opened his eyes, he saw that and opened his hand where he was still holding the petal. He looked straight and said, “Oh dear Queen of winds, I need my friend. Take her this petal to her, she will have my message. Don’t wait, time is very less, my people are suffering. So hurry my Queen, hurry!” Immediately that petal is flown away with the wind that came into the cell, so suddenly.
Pratap looked exhausted. Chandreyi and Nilesh quickly put aside the flowers and the mud, and helped him to lie down. As Pratap lied down, Chandreyi caressed his hairs so that he can sleep well. Slowly Pratap closed his eyes.
Nilesh looked at his soiled prisoner’s clothes, bruises and wounds all over his body, and the burned hand that looks all the more grotesque in all these years. Slowly a tear dropped from his eyes, Chandreyi’s eyes were also wet, she said, “Everything will be fine again, no?” Nilesh wiped his tears and said, “Yes. Just don’t lose hope.”
to be continued…