By Subhash Ghose
The black police van starts. It moves on and on. It stops suddenly. I get a great jerk so that I fall on an iron rod & receive an injury in my mouth. Two or three of them open the gate and drag me out of the van. Even then my eyes are kept covered with a black bandage. They shut the gate. The van starts again. I try to uncover my eyes. So I begin to tear at the bandage with great effort at last it slips down and hangs over my neck like a black ring. I open my eyes and see everything dim. I rub my eyes again and again with both palms, at first nothing comes into sight. No man no traveler no traffic. I take two or three steps south, then I find a man at a distance. I see his body made half by the waste he searches for something with his bent body around him, staying on the same spot. He searches with deep attention in the semi-darkness. I wish to talk to him so I start. Suddenly I hear something is going on behind me, making sound. I look back and find two or three lanes & bylanes which fly like chased bird and deer. I see a running train of row lane bylane, I see them moving towards Red Road, Rashmoni Road.
Sometimes two or three lanes join while flying, and after joining they run again. Thus comes Fears, Fardice Lane, Rajani Gupta, Decars Lane – some lines are identified, the name plates of others cannot be read. Some of the lanes come carrying broken lightposts, I find on a lane torn bodies and contraceptives, on a lane black curled hair and a haircomb, a lane comes packed with dustbins, broken cups, plates and flowers are seen somewhere, somewhere, bloody lungs are left, lanes carry blue cover and envelope, torn pieces of letters, heaps of race-books; I find the Uttariya (clothes used in the Hindu rituals) of Utpal on Royd Row; chair, benches, drums and glasses of Barduari (a country liquor shop) pass by, there goes the lane Chapatala of Maha (a famous whore), lane carries also broken shed, pen, the Gita, stones from Kamrup, embraced young man & woman, on a lane a naked one-legged man suddenly shouts; College Row, carrying heaps of obsolete and classic books goes, there go the dead to the crematorium, the magic card of Sandipan goes, I find the cutneck of friend Shaileswar, I shout , I cry, a footpath carrying a sleeping man runs away, a thief goes with his loot, there goes the bloody knife, a priest while peeing goes, thus I absorb a continuous moving procession of lane bylane; a garlanded mad I see, I see a night guard, a helpless barking dog; suddenly there runs the Shyamacharan Street which leads me home, I cry, I call it, run towards it, wave my hands, I begin to whisper…’how to go back….how to go home….’
‘please wait and see’…suddenly I hear the voice of that man who searches around him for some lost thing, after a pause the voice again goes…’hereafter roads avenues will begin to run, there will be some limited roads made by all the lanes bylanes rows and streets; and there will be a single road made by those limlted roads; and there will be no other road beside that; hereafter house, small and big, slum building, multistoried building, will begin to move, all those houses and buildings will make some limited number of skyscrapers, and this limited number of skyscrapers will make a single skyscraper; and again there will be no other skyscraper beside this one.’
The dimensions of my eyes begin to spread, eyes become very big and at last they burst, blood comes out. I want to learn from him whether men who are lean and thin, short and tall, who are of under calory and under strength, who are black red and white, will make some limited number of men, and whether this limited number of men will make a single man and whether there will be none but him.
When I finish, the eyeball of that man rolls, rolls like the mad needle of the clock. His eye pupil moves with tremendous speed. His back begins to twist. At last his back takes the shape of a bow. When his spinal chord is made just half, he falls on this ground, throws hands and feet. When he falls on the ground no sound comes to my ear.
Translated by Malay Roychoudhury