Saturday, July 15, 2017



Sougato was watching “Byomkesh Parbo” at the newly opened multiplex in the Mofussil town with his family. He had come to India on a Holiday. Like in previous years, this was an opportunity to watch some Bengali movies on big screen. He was a fan of all Bengali detectives like Byomkesh, Feluda and Kiriti. That day, however something else tugged at his heart. He could hardly focus on the movie. His mind was on one specific incident in the movie. That happened basically in the beginning. The story was set up in newly independent India. It was based on arms left behind by American Soldiers in North Bengal and how it was exploited by the merchants. That part hit him real bad. His grandfather was a Zamindar in those days. They were a wealthy family. However, he was killed by an accidental gunfire by someone when he was on a Shikar of birds. The gun was from those left behind by the American soldiers. Grandfather’s death was a big blow for Sougato’s family. Soon the Govt. took everything. The corrupt officials in collusion with some enemies deemed that his grandfather had not paid taxes to Government and they took all his land and wealth. Sougato’s father along with other brothers and sisters had nothing to live on. His father immigrated to Kolkata and somehow managed to raise his family on his meager income from Government. service. Sougato grew up hearing what could have been and what the reality was.
After graduating from a college in Kolkata in Physiotherapy, Sougato landed in Detroit Michigan. Slowly through his hard work learnt from his time in India, he built up a life for himself. He would take an occasional trip back to India with his family. But very soon, the time came when he had to head back to his work and his home. So, after this trip he came back to his home in Detroit and went about his business. His work involved visiting patients at their homes and providing them with treatment and self help.
That particular day, he went into Southfield, a suburb of Detroit. The black person’s apartment he was visiting was very run down. However, Sougato was used to seeing such people. This particular person was a new patient. As he knocked on the door, it was opened by a person in a wheelchair. He was a really old man, perhaps in his eighties, living alone.
“Hi Steve, how are you?” Sougato said.
“Well, I am ok, sir. Please take a seat.” The old man replied.
Sougato slowly sat down and started the treatment of his patient. While the physical aspect of his treatment was important, Sougato knew that part of his job involved the mental counseling as well. Very soon he found out that the old man had no close family. His wife had died years ago. He had a daughter who also died. His son was following the family tradition of joining the military service. At that point his son was away overseas. As he was looking around, he saw a medal of honor displayed on a wall.
“What is that Steve?”
“That is my father’s second world war medal. Oh, are you Indian? I can tell by your accent?”
“Yes, absolutely, I am “
“Oh, wow, which part of India are you from?”
“West Bengal”, Sougato replied.
“Oh, wow, that’s exactly where my father was at the end of the world war.”
“Oh, that’s wonderful. So, where in West Bengal was your father?”
“He was in Siliguri; at the end of his stay he had lots of fun. Do you know, Saugaato he made lots of money towards the end?”
“Well, he had lots of guns and arms. He became like a broker for his friends and ended up selling a lot of stuff. He was the only broker in Siliguri. I know that some of those guns were used by the natives to cause chaos and kill each other.”
Suddenly, Sougato’s head started to spin. What was this man telling him? Right in front on him was the person whose father created all this trouble. After all these years he found the man who created such a big chaos in his life. Sougato was extremely mad. At that instant, he wanted to twist this man’s back the wrong way to increase his pain. However, he immediately got a text. He had to go away to his next appointment.
“Well, Steve, do the exercises as I told you. I will be back tomorrow, man.”
“Ok, Saugaato, you are a nice man.”
The next twenty four hours were pure hell for Sougato. He could hardly concentrate on other patients or feel connected to his work. His mind was in turmoil and he was trying to devise ways to extract revenge. He was hell bent on twisting this person’s back the wrong way and make his pain worse. He knew how to do it. He would give him wrong medicine and suggest wrong exercises. This was totally against the Hippocratic Oath, but what did Sougato care? This was his chance for revenge. So the next day at the scheduled time he reached Steve’s apartment. He was about to push the bell when he saw an ugly graffiti outside Steve’s door.
“Black man, you are dead, we won”, it said on the wall. There were more obscene comments at different places on this door. Sougato was stunned. He somehow pushed the bell.
“Come on in” Steve was happy to see him.
“What’s all that graffiti, Steve?”
“Hey them bad dudes screw up my door man, they don’t like black man.” Steve said.
Sougato came in and was very sad. He took a moment to look out of the man’s window outside. He could at once see what was going on. The very person whose father caused the biggest chaos in his life and whom he wanted to harm was a sad victim himself. But should Sougato become weak? Why? This very man was responsible for pushing his family to the brink.
Sougato turned back from the window and looked at the man inside. He touched the pendant hanging around his neck. That had his grandfather’s picture. He lightly rubbed it.
“Steve, turn around”, he said gently.
Once Steve turned around, he began his normal massage. He just stuck to the script and did everything that he was supposed to do normally.
“I feel good,” Steve said at the end.
Sougato smiled and stepped away from the apartment. As he started his car outside, he felt a wave of relief in his body. All his tension was gone. Before turning the radio on, he said loudly to himself,
“Dadu(Grandfather), I have avenged your death”.

SNEHASIS GANGULY lives in Detroit Michigan. He works in automobile industry by the day and pursues his habit of writing during spare time. His other hobbies are sports, music, gardening etc.

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