Sunday, January 26, 2014

I am not a terrorist - A short story

“ How can anybody be so inhuman”, said Rafiq.
He had worked  as a ward boy here in GT hospital for the last 30 years and had never experienced something like this. People were being brought into the hospital by the dozens, some were already dead by the time they were wheeled in.  Four bomb blasts had rocked the city in a span of 15 minutes between 7 pm to 7:15, the worst part being the two which went off in commuter trains, which were filled with people who were returning home from work. Simple middle class, hard working people like him.
“ These people don’t care about humans Rafiq miyaan, they have become monsters”, said Amrutlal looking very disturbed at seeing the waves of people being brought in every minute.
“ Very true, Amrut Bhai, I absolutely agree with you, no religion will forgive the killing of innocents in such manner”, answered Rafiq.
            Amrutlal and Rafiq were friends since the time they were 10 years old, they had spent almost all the years of their life till now living in the same colony as neighbors , except for the few years when Amrutlal had gone to Dubai to work. Both had retired from their work now and used to spend most of their evenings enjoying a stroll in the joggers park next to the hospital. They were enjoying their stroll as usual today, when they heard about the blasts and decided to come to the hospital to see if they could be of any help.
“ They are not monsters, they were not born like that , the system made them so”
Both Rafiq and Amrutlal turned to see who had intruded in their conversation.
“ Hi, my name is Aurobindo Ghosh, I am sorry for intruding but I just happened to hear what you said , so couldn’t stop myself from talking”, apologized Mr. Ghosh.
“ And what makes you an authority on these terrorists Ghosh babu”, asked Rafiq visibly annoyed by the interruption.
“ Well I was a so called terrorist once, so I should know”, Aurobindo replied
Both Rafiq and Amrutlal stared blankly at this bespectacled gentleman who looked around 60.
“ No need to be alarmed, I was part of the Naxals once a long time ago, but am no longer so”
“What caused that change of heart, some new found love of the nation”, Amrutlal said sarcastically looking at Aurobindo.
“ Well I found them to be if not worse, at least as bad as the government, their ideology and thoughts felt right in the beginning and I still support them , it is just the execution I don’t seem to agree with”.
“ What was it that made you join the Naxals in the first place”, asked Rafiq
“ Have you guys ever been to the tribal areas of the country, you should see them for yourselves to know. The police and the politicians, both are involved in large scale exploitation of the tribal population, women are raped, land is taken forcibly, people are made to sign documents they can’t read, these people they live in poverty, even the basic necessities haven’t reached such areas, all protests are either quelled or nobody cares about them, it is as if they are outsiders in their own country”, explained Aurobindo getting nostalgic about the whole thing.
“ You think that killing innocents will help solve these problems”, said Amrutlal still sounding disgusted.
“ I never said that, all I said is sometimes people feel compelled to take up arms, but then the sad part is that the arms start controlling people”
“ That is true , and once a person gets a sense of power it is difficult to give it up”, said Rafiq
“ if only development were to reach these areas , I feel it will help bring some peace to these areas, it will take time, you can’t stop a movement overnight, but eventually peace will come”, Aurobindo said.
“ So what brings you here Mr. ex Naxalite , trying to draw inspiration from the bombings”, Amrutlal asked , he was still in no mood to talk nicely to an ex terrorist.
Aurobindo smiled, looking at Amrutlal, he then pulled up the sleeve of the shirt he was wearing and showed Amrutlal the bandage wrapped around his arm.
“ I was in the train, a shrapnel hit me, so came to get myself treated”
“ So, how does it feel to get a taste of your own medicine”
“ Amrutbhai let it be, the man has just survived a bomb blast, stop blaming him for it”, Rafiq said shaking hi head ,trying to calm Amrutlal.
“ What let it be, Rafiq Miyaan, don’t you see the carnage , and it is because of people like him, and their twisted ideologies”
Aurobindo said nothing, they watched as more people were being brought on stretchers into the hospital, all were bleeding, people were wailing all around them, dead bodies were being rolled out of the emergency room, the waiting area was crowded with relatives of people missing since the blast, people were frantically trying to locate their near and dear ones amongst the injured. The only difference between the living and the dead was that the faces of the dead were covered, and the dead did not cry out in pain.
“ I cant change what was in the past, but I really am not part of any terrorist group now, even if you believe it or not”, stated Aurobindo , looking away
“ Don’t mind my friend Mr Ghosh, he is a good person, looking at all this has really disturbed him a lot”, said Rafiq felling sorry for the gentleman.
“ Anyway, I will take leave, you two take care of yourself”, Aurobindo shook hands with Rafiq and extended his hand to Amrut, but Amrut just ignored him and looked the other way.
“ Amrutbhai, he’s gone now, you can turn this way”, mocked Rafiq.
Amrutlal did not turn, he kept staring in the other direction, Rafiq called him again , but still Amrutlal did not move. It was as if he had frozen. Rafiq tugged Amrutlal, there was still no response, so he peered over his shoulder to see what was it that kept Amrutlal frozen. Then he saw it, the nurses had just brought one more dead body out of the emergency room, one more victim of the bombing, lying on the stretcher and staring at them blankly was Mr Aurobindo Ghosh.

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