Read Part I and II here:http://mindfiction.blogspot.com/2011/11/dhannobari-tale-of-2-villages-part-ii.html
“What happened to Dhanno?”, Moushumi immediately regretted asking the question.
There was a long silence and a deep suffering inside Kamesh. “She was waiting for me at the same island you were abandoned in. Only that I couldn’t come in time! The tiger was early that day!” There was no evidence of pain in the way he said it but she could hear an invisible cry of anguish!
“That island was supposed to be the starting point of our journey together into a new and unknown world. A journey neither of us were proud of undertaking! I guess till that point I had a simplistic view of life. I believed I had the mind of a reformist. I thought it was my job to lead the villagers towards a superior life and I was sure I had it all figured out. But my father’s death made me realize that I didn’t have the heart of a revolutionary. I realized that it takes more sacrifices than ideas to change the lives of others. Suffering and pain consumed me with just one single blow. The radical inside me was killed by the frail egotist that was left of me! I decided that I will take Dhanno far away from this God forsaken village and lead a happy yet ordinary life.
You know when do you feel the greatest pain? When you realize how weak you actually are! That is when you see yourself truly naked for the first time. I felt like a shameless selfish coward who was to turn his back on his people and run for his life. But at least I had Dhanno. So I thought! Kalimaa had other ideas. Partha, a 4 year old boy was to be sacrificed at the northern shores of the river that night! I had to save him but my only option was to get him out of the village! To where: I didn’t know. With the help of my village comrades, I was able to escape with the boy and rowed frantically towards the island where Dhanno was alone, waiting for me since morning! I was able to battle the deadly storm that night but was unable to battle the fate which didn’t even spare her body for my eyes! I searched the entire island for 2 days only to find a blood strained piece of her sari. That changed my life forever! Once again!
The villagers believed that Kalimaa had taken Partha. I have been reinstating their faith every year since then!” Moushumi looked at Kusum and tears started gushing from her eyes!
Moushumi was so engrossed in his riveting tale that she had forgotten her surroundings. She had failed to see that she was no more surrounded by the vastness of the river. And when she realized her premises, it took a long while for her to absorb the sheer enormity of its beauty and the silent poetry in its connotation. She was not looking at a vast stretch of land with fields fresh with crops and houses rich with people. She saw a dream visualized by minds, transmitted by words and realized by hands. She did not see men working, women caring and teaching and children playing and learning. She saw a society that had formed right with the people’s intent as the clay shaped by the wheel of their ideals. She saw men and women and children living and enjoying life as it should be. She was standing in a village built by man at the shores of a river made by God!
“Welcome to Dhannobari”, Kamesh’s smile had a sense of pride and air of humility. “The village that made me, dedicated to the woman who loved me!”
Moushumi noted his words carefully: “The village that made me” not “The village I made!”
“Dhanno’s loss completely shattered me. I felt there was nothing left in my life. But then when you reach that zenith of pain and loss, fear ceases to exist, the fog clouding your thoughts separates and you clearly see that one reason for your existence; that one performance your life is destined to enact! I saw the first and original purpose of my life as a flickering flame still alive and battling my inner fears all this while. That was the only thing left in me and I had a lifetime of me to consume for its cause!
Along with a few of my converts from the village and Partha, I set out into this river in search of something that I had no idea of but was somehow sure would change lives forever. After a week of wandering, we landed on the shores of what you see now has transformed into that magnificent dream of a village. This place was barren and deserted, rich with land, fed by the river! It was exactly what I needed. We had the elements of nature that could not be corrupted. We could make this place from scratch. It was to be a place where man and nature were to live in harmony: No one had to sacrifice for the other. We opened our doors to the willing and the righteous. Everyone who was willing to work was welcome in Dhannobari: without their divisions, differences, class, caste or creed. Everyone would have to live and work together!
And they came. They came from the neighboring villages across the other side of Champak forest. They came by foot, by boat, in dinghies, as a family, alone or in groups. They trickled in from Vithrapur: the converts. The silent revolution was still on, gaining strength by the day. Dhannobari became a society run by cooperatives where no one would exploit the other and everyone had a share of the land. And what transpired after that is for you to see. Dhannobari is for every person who has hope, who believes in himself, who works hard and who loves all. It is a refuge for every single soul that faces the threat of a sacrifice to evil superstitions or social distinctions. The revolution is far from over and it will never be!”
Moushumi saw the fire in his eyes and the desire in his heart and felt certain that they will never be extinguished! She looked at a thin discolored wire that ran along the wall of the school building. A huge generator was lying on the side without any connections (yet)! “Electricity!”, she gasped! She stood engulfed as the village unfolded in front of her. It stood tall as a symbol of faith. It was every dreamer’s dream. It was a sight that froze in her memory. Then she looked at her notebook. She smiled and threw it away.
“Not writing your story any more”, Kamesh winked.
“Guess I will have to start over again!”, Moushumi winked back at him.
24th August 1975: “No one comes into this world to be “the ordinary”. Every man in this world is an idealist at some point in his life. Every woman is a dreamer once. We all begin by following our heart only to get lost along the way. No one can be blamed and no one will be spared. Life will break every single one of us. But only a few will truly realize what that means. Only a few will be able to see beyond the personal havoc and destruction caused by our ideals and realize their potential to construct life.
Dhanno’s loss wrecked Kamesh. But it was her loss that prevented him from going back to being ordinary. That loss and its pain showed him his destiny, reignited his flame and spread it like a wild fire. It is the torch that guides his people every night through every storm and it is the fuel that feeds their desire to live and create. Dhannobari is a pardox that couldn’t have been created without Dhanno but wouldn’t have existed with her!”
She put the book down. The writer’s last words struck a strange resonance with a thought of hers that once shaped her current reality! There were no tears in her eyes but a silent prayer parted her lips. She was sad that she could not be with the man she loved so much. But she was happy that he was still the man she loved. She could bear the pain of not being with him but she could not stand his agony of not being him. Dhanno had the heart of a revolutionary!
- A Story by Raj.
- A Story by Raj.