Written - 2005
An elderly woman was shouting and crying beside the dead body of herson. He died in a road accident. He was the only support of his oldmother. One neighbor was telling these details to other, who was keento listen and respond.
Benoy, driver of a Hears Car came to know about all these and many more things about the lady and her son from the murmuring of the crowd of relatives and neighbors.
Though, He was used to hear louder cries of people for their near ones as in India relations are one of the most important factor of human life.
But this was a Christian family irrespective to hindu families which Benoy usually encountered in his daily life.
Suddenly a thought came into Benoy's mind that how similar is his family to the this "case".
He was also the only support of his elderly mother. The only difference was that Benoy was alive and was somehow managing the survival with his mother, who used to prepare decorative items which were sold by their neighbor, Lakhu in City's main Market.
Sales of these items was satisfactory only during festivals. The colony in which they resided was a "Semi Slum", and about 20 Miles from the city of Rampur. He thought that what would happen to his mother after his death. Then to escape from this disturbing thought he indulged himself in dusting his 'means of earning', as he always did whenever he got emotional.......an inert body causing pain to its near and dear ones.
Later, in the evening lender of the Hears Car asked for the day's earning and got no response started shouting at Benoy. Instead of listening, Benoy was thinking about that lady. This was the first time when Benoy was emotional about a 'case'.........similar to all other deaths but yet so different.
On the other hand the short, fat, ‘fluffish’ man was not in mood to forgive Benoy. Though he was a rich man and even Lakhu worked for him but when it comes to money.....he was a hungry Rhino ready to ruin the settlement.
He noticed absent minded Benoy and commented in harsh tone.
"This job is not for an emotional man like you and yes, hesitant too."
Benoy again apologized but he continued.
"Listen to me carefully, if you want to work for me, you should be Cold, dumb at work. Similar to a Cab or Taxi Driver, you are wasting your fuel and efforts. So, why hesitating in asking for money, after all work is work."
Benoy assured him that he will behave and act everything in the manner 'Sahib' (Sir) wanted him to.
During his sleep he dreamed same old lady consoling his Mother beside an inert body covered with white sheet. Until the face of that body could be revealed Benoy jumped in anxiety from his bed. The familiar thought.....who will take care of that old lady was again knocking his mind but remembering the sweet wordings of Sahib was enough to send him back to sleep. Then he slept after deciding that he will visit the old woman tomorrow.
Next day, after completion of his work he went straight to that woman house named 'Paulson Mansion', though it was no way near to be called a mansion. Benoy was standing outside the house for half an hour gathering courage and wordings to face the poor lady. He was hesitant enough to make a world record standing there and he could have go on but that lady interrupted his thoughts.
"Who are you"?
Mother, My name is Benoy. I am the driver...that Hears Car." His quick response was a pleasant surprise even for him.
"Yes, I forgot to pay you. I should...."
Super-Encouraged by his first reply he interrupted her.
"No, Mother, I am here just to tell you that I am also like your son and I know that I cannot replace him but still I will do whatever I can to make your life comfortable and to reduce the pain....to some extent."
Crossing this initial hurdle of his hesitation Benoy talked to the lady for several hours. He told her about his professional life, his mother, how emotional he got when he saw her crying for her son and he was on and on and on.
Even the woman was listening to him keenly. She neither interrupted him nor she looked bored. She was constantly gazing at him without blinking as if she was praising that childish conversation. Benoy was also consoling her regularly with assurance that he will visit her place everyday...seemed that Innocence and simplicity of Benoy touched her.
After that day, Benoy was regular visitor of Paulson Mansion every evening. He talked even about Lakhu and Sahib to make her smile. He asked her to do any of her work or any financial help (with the help of Sahib) but she plainly rejected and never asked him for any kind of help. She only liked to talk to him. It was rather a monologue.....Benoy.
The only thing that broke the conversation was the thought of his mother waiting for him with dinner. Sometimes, the lady herself reminded him that his Mother is waiting for him, with surety as if she was watching Benoy's mother.
One such day, Benoy was quite tired but with his habit he was there on the gate of Paulson Mansion. He talked to that lady and gradually fell asleep leaning on the gate.
Scent of morning breeze and chirping of birds were making him realize that his short snooze was converted into night long sleep. The Old lady was not in the scene.
Without disturbing and enquiring the old lady about his unusual slumber, he rushed to Sahib for that day's work. He was preparing himself for any "worst case scenario" as he was already very late. Benoy was cursing himself because he was unable to draft satisfactory excuses to escape from the Sahib bombardment. When he reached to Sahib office with his Hears Car.......Sahib was relax and happy to see him.
Sahib even hugged him, of course, Benoy was amused as this was the last thing one can expect from Sahib.
Sahib - You are very lucky, my boy. You were absent yesterday and I managed a temporary driver who was severely injured in an accident.
Surprised Benoy......as he was only late.......not absent, but as always he was hesitating to counter Sahib.....but still for reduction of his confusion he murmured.
Benoy - How ?
Sahib - Misbalanced Vehicle fell into Son River.....later his inert body was recovered. We all were worried about you.....Jesus.....thank you so much.
Benoy was startled because he slept for a night and if Sahib and others are right....how can he sleep for a day and a half.....a nap of 36 Hours and nobody even noticed him.
Lakhu and Benoy mother questions confirmed that he was "nowhere" yesterday. Benoy went to Old woman house and shared this incident. She was also surprised and was reacting in Benoy's manner.
This 1 day absence mystery was eating Benoy....everyone was congratulating him that how lucky he was.....but he wanted somebody to tell him actually where he was.
Headache of that incident vanished in just couple of days as Benoy's mother got a Heart Attack and was admitted in Hospital. Doctors explained him the critical condition of his mother. There were blood clots in her brain due to uneven functioning of her heart. Benoy borrowed money from Sahib and his other contacts for the costly treatment. Still, the money was far short from what was told to him for the operation of his mother.
His visits to the Paulson Mansion were also halted.
Though he was exhausted and many of his reliable contacts ignored (or even refused) his requests........ Benoy was desperate to save the life of his mother. Thought of asking some help from the old lady passed him by for a moment but then he dropped the idea that this will only add to her misery.
.....Night, he was sleeping outside the ward of his mother. A familiar voice knocked his ears to pull him back from the dreamy world.
"Benoy....son, I am here....my son, don't you worry, now your mother will be alright soon."
The Old lady was standing in front of him and Benoy rubbing his eyes and greeting simultaneously. He always watched her with her home as background this hospital was something to adapt.
"No if and but, required amount is deposited for the treatment of your mother. By the way, you should never hesitate asking for help....you called me mother and this word symbolizes the bond which is beyond the things you always hesitate to ask....its eternal."
"I am very sorry, mother, but who told you all this."
After a pause she replied.
"Lakhu, who else."
This was the first time that the monologue was from the side of that lady.....and Benoy was only responding in yes, no, sorry, thanks, etc.
Old lady was nonstop.
While giving, birth every woman experiences a part of her body....separated. Eye contact with her baby makes her hypnotize and she gets unparallel joy from the mere touch of young one. Women are secondary in the society because they are sacrificing their social status from the beginning of human race just for their families.
Delivering her "body part"......she cries, shouts and within minutes she is on the top of the world with her baby. She exactly knows when her baby needs her and why as if she is still connected to her baby physically.
This is the purest relation which involves care, love, and almost everything without any expectations in return. Let men rule the world forever but motherhood is the difference which makes the fairer sex far better.
After sometime she got up and kissed Benoy's forehead and said.
"Your, Mother, is very lucky."
Then she handed him an address.
"An old friend of mine needs some help and assistance in a journey. Get there and assist her after your mother gets okay."
Benoy's mother was out of danger the very next day and relaxed Benoy happily went to share this news with Lakhu and Sahib. After their conversation Lakhu was puzzled and denied any conversation with an elderly woman.
Benoy was astonished too, then he unfolded the paper with address....he got nervous because address on the paper was of Paulson Mansion.
He rushed to the lady's house and knocked, there was no response. He enquired neighbors. They told him that they have not seen her after the death of her son. These uncertainties were chocking him. He repeatedly banged the door but no one responded.
He always conversed with the old lady standing on the gate....he was too shy to ask for a seat or to come in. She also heard him patiently standing on the other side for hours.
Surrounded with confusions, nervousness, fear, Benoy forcefully broke the door. Till then neighbors called the Police and followed him. Dead body of the lady was lying on the chair with photograph of her son, still tightly intact in her her hand. Foul smell of the body forced everyone to leave the room except Benoy who was gazing a "mother".....his mother.
Now, every mystery was crystal clear that how she helped him all these days and the journey she meant was her own final journey.
Later, with the completion of all the legal formalities Benoy claimed the body and buried it in a respectful manner......as a son.
Benoy regularly visits the changed "place" of the old lady and monologues in the same manner as he earlier did.
You are lucky, Benoy........