May 19, 2013 | 10:34 PM (BD Time)
19 May, 2013 Sunday
Vengeance Abu Bakar Siddiquee
Abu Bakar Siddiquee :
As usual on that evening a crowd gathered in front of Shamsu's betel leaf shop. Majed Mia's angry voice could be heard,
'The silly stupid is going to kill his wife by beating, the bloody muzzy!'
Bashir followed the trail of Majed Mia,
'Look at the hauteur of the lame! Hey Shamsu, she is your wife; but it doesn't mean she is your slave and you can beat her all the time with or without any reason.'
'Whether I beat my wife with stick or worship her with flowers, what's that to you?' Shamsu's tipsy voice could be heard.
'Hear ... hear. .. what's the bacchant
is saying!' The entire crowd roared up in agitation. One of them reproached, 'Shaala!' (A local slang, meant younger brother of one's wife.) 'A good beat will blow off his drunkenness.'
'What's the matter? Why are you raising an uproarious noise?' Local schoolteacher Akbar Ali's firm voice sounded in the air.
The dwellers of this tiny village market like Bashir, the owner of cattle-shed, Shaheb Ali, the owner of sweetmeat shop, Raghu Bagdi, the sweeper, Lakhia's father, the grocer, all moved aside on seeing school teacher Akbar Ali Majed Mia came forward and complained,
'Sir, the stupid Shamsu has swallowed a good amount of liquor and beaten his wife almost to death.'
No allegation came from Shamus's wife centering whom so much excitement swelled. A tattered jute curtain stretched across the doorway between the shop and the inner room. Shamsu was not in a condition to speak; his eyes were red and droopy showing signs of drunkness. The presence of angry mob made him annoyed.
'I'll punish my wife as I wish; I possess that right. Why you people feel bad if I punish her?' Shamsu spoke out.
A hum spread amongst the crowd.
'Did you hear Sir, what's the tippler is saying?' Majed Mia screamed.
'The blind, the lame and the dumb, these three are the root of all evils,' someone shouted from behind.
The crowd burst with loud laughter hearing the remark. Akbar Ali requested all to be quiet.
He enquired Shamsu about the reason of beating his wife and made out that the quarrel was on a trifle personal issue. Hence he addressed those present over there, 'You people need not snoop into their personal affairs. Leave them aside, they will settle their dispute.'
Akbar Ali turned toward Shamsu and said, 'Look Shamsu, you shouldn't beat your wife mercilessly, it brings a bad name, and ruin family life; never assault your wife like this in future, understand?' His voice was firm.
Shamsu bowed down humbly, then said, 'I honour your advice Sir, but I have an allegation against these people'. He lifted his hand towards the crowd.
The sweetmeat shop owner Shaheb Ali growled out,
'What's that nitpick? You drunkard! You are boasting too much. How dare you complain against us?'
To stop him Akbar Ali snapped,
'Why have you started reviling? All of you should leave this place now.'
Hearing the scolding the crowd got on their way.
'I shall hear your complaint later on. Never beat your wife and do not entangle in quarrelling with neighbours. Try to get in good touch with everybody.' Akbar Ali told to
Shamsu bowed his head in assertion to abide by the advice. Akbar Ali was about to step forward, a voice floated from behind the curtain, 'Sir, I want to say something. You have to listen.'
Akbar Ali could guess that the female voice was of Shamsu's wife. He assumed that she would now complain against her husband. That would take much of his time. He is in a hurry and had many works to finish; he had to return the answer sheet of examination by tomorrow. He told Shamsu's wife, 'Don't raise a storm in a teapot with these bagatelle; one should obey her husband. Be careful not to make such type of row in future.'
'Hear me kindly,' she pleaded, 'It's my earnest request. I want to say something. The people of my locality cast evil eyes on me and pass obscene remarks' .
Akbar Ali could understand that the beauty and youth of Shamsu's wife have intoxicated the people of the bazaar with a desire of passion and excitement, which she could not tolerate. He assured, 'Look, there are many good people in this society; their number is greater than the bad people. Still it's better that you should be careful while walking around.
If you put on a veil covering your body while going out of house, it will help you to get rid of those nuisance. If you husband-wife stay in good term none can harm you.'
Without wasting further time he made his way to school boarding house.
After that incidence Akbar Ali could not go to bazaar for a couple of days. The School Inspector will pay a visit soon. At the end of school hours he remained awfully busy with office works.
It is Akbar Ali's regular habit to chew a roll of betel leaf mixed with lime, betel nut, and catechu after each meal; he used to go to Shamsu's shop at least twice a day to buy this fancy item. But these days that could not be done due to his busy schedule; the boarding boy Afzal used to bring the betel leaf for him.
The other day availing a leisure time Akbar Ali had gone to buy a roll of betel leaf in Shamsu's shop, but his mind became heavy hearing an incidence.
The story goes like this. Last evening Shamsu's wife went to the river flowing by the side of the bazaar to fetch water. When she was coming back the sun has set, it was almost dark. Alkas, the full-grown son of Shaheb Ali, was passing on the same road. Taking the opportunity of the lonely area and dusk he drew Shamsu's wife close in an embrace and tried to drag her in nearby jute jungle. She screamed in protest against this immodest immoral behaviour of Alkas. Hearing her cry Shamsu reached the place of occurrence. He found his wife struggling with Alkas. Ou
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