True tales from Constantia

True tales from Constantia

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True tales from Constantia

Second Robin Author- Rajesh Dutta Publisher- Partridge, Rs299 RAJESH DUTTA tells a poignant story in his book Second Robin, employing a style suited to true and evocative narratives. Excerpt: Yogesh?’ His voice was as soothing as his fear and the crouching figure in the corner was as bare as clarity. Before he could say anything else, it began to crawl away with its creepiness in tow. Sami did not move until the dark chimera had withdrawn completely into another room. The kitchen was a refuge into which Sami disappeared with his fear, fatigue and famishment. The soothing blue flame of the gas chulha warmed him and the untouched food. He laid the table for himself, encouraged by the aroma, dispelling the dismal air. Life is livable with or without disaster was his motto and he zoomed in on his food with this thought when he was accosted by Yogesh, appearing out of nowhere like an annotation of the next episode. Apprehension has a taste. Its bulky morsel refused to go down Sami’s badly cramped throat when he was greeted in the most normal of manners. ‘Hello Mr. Shaun!’ Melodrama can never be a remedy. Sami attempted adding to it by answering the greeting. ‘Hello.’ Yogesh’s articulate shadow crept up on the opposite chair. ‘Would you like to eat?’ A thin echo of his voice returned to him, sucking all other sounds of the room. ‘I’ll get you a plate.’ And seeking tenuous diversion in that, he jumped out of his seat and brought him a plate. The globe lifted itself on its keel as Yogesh sat down at the other end of the table and pulled the plate in front of him. He would prevail over the soup. He would subjugate the stew. He would sustain what Sami prayed to dispel. He looked almost enlightened, possessed with a completely new idea. ‘How are you feeling Mr. Samuel Shaun?’ He served himself, almost abetting the food to come to him. ‘I am fine. How are you today?’ Sami studied the conflict of expressions on Yogesh’s face. ‘I am very pleased.’ He sensed a touch of trouble. ‘With what?’ Yogesh answered that with only a smile which nurtured further worries. ‘So, how come you decide to have dinner with me tonight?’ He felt like a captive before his question was answered. ‘Who knows, maybe, it is your last night….’ Yogesh’s smile widened with his words. Sami would have squealed at this but for the food in his mouth. The brothers-in-law blocked each other’s thoughts with a stare. One blank with the amount of shock in it. The other, fresh. Fresh with new insight. Yogesh completed his statement. ‘….with me.’ ‘Oh!’ And Sami swallowed the already long lost morsel in his mouth and became meditatively clumsy for the rest of the dinner and considered clearing the table as quickly as possible while Yogesh sat, watching Sami sweat it out. Yogesh continued to sit at the dining table, sharpening the spotlight on himself while Sami made preparations for another night of, hopefully, uneventful sleep. He was already behind his schedule of remote dreams and rusty snores and told Yogesh, the facilitator of darkness, to switch off the lights when he went to bed. ‘The lights are already off.’ Yogesh nodded at the good deal of black ink now queued up in the wings. And so the history of that house in Lal Kothi began to blend with the fiction of Yogesh that night. Sami would be unfit to forget it as long as he would live in it. Sleep flattened him immediately on his bed and the mind’s spotlights were lit and the curtain lifted on the stage of the final drama even as an incognito band of several creatures began to play their muses’ vessels. Nimble shades of no acclamation appeared and pretended a resemblance to something else. The dysphoria of woes was their tale. Their songs interfaced with the sounds of bleakness. And they were arrayed in the vintage costumes of long neglected learning. Like that of death. Dust to dust. Ashes to ashes. The implications thawed the deep sleep into thin substance. When the last act unfolded, wits turned to witlessness with insinuations of petrification, delivered in gibberish idioms and metaphors. Night divided itself. The hour struck like conditioned enlightenment. Sami’s eyes opened and a long scream froze in his throat.  Hovering over him was a polished countenance, carved out of rubbery night. A pair of soapy eyes, shone in their center like shots of melting wax. ‘Yogesh!’ Sami’s clammy whisper was like a cue because the very picture of adverse fate, vanished immediately like a swindler’s trick. He swung out of the bed and switched on the light and went to the little room. Yogesh was fast asleep. ‘Yogesh! Yogesh!!’ He called out softly. There was no response. He returned to his bedroom and sat down on the edge of the bed. His body craved more sleep but the eyes would not close. The writer is a teacher of EnglishSource

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