May 25, 2013 | 01:41 PM (BD Time)
25 May, 2013 Saturday
Abu Bakar Siddiquee :
(From previous issue)
The Ward Member took advantage of this righteous moment, with a tiny sigh of disappointment as if to say there was nothing so far in the narration, he said to Akbar Ali,
'So, what could be done, Sir!' He turned all his attention on Shamsu's wife muteness.
'Most unfortunate for us,' he said,' 'how can we go ahead if the main plaintiff remains silent? Let us apart from here now.'
All were preparing to go away while Shaheb Ali folded his hands and said loudly,
'Sir, now do a justice to me.'
'What complain do you have again?' Ward Member asked.
'I am asking all of you to do the justice. Till now none has smirched my family honour that Shamsu did today being instigated by his debauch wife. Shamsu has no control over his wife. He failed to manage her even after a good beating. She cast evil eyes upon the young boys of the locality; she entices them. This lecherous woman should be made forbidden for Shamsu to remain as his wife. She has degraded us; all who has come here for judgment are insulted. Sir, today you ought to take a decision in this matter.'
The Ward Member was waiting for such a hay-time.
Spontaneously he responded,
'You are right Shaheb Ali, that wife has become forbidden for Shamsu. She is not a virtuous woman.'
Then he looked at Shamsu and said,'The woman who has defamed a man of good character, can slay her husband in the bed. Now we can't allow this woman to stay in this village Shamsu, your wife has lowered down your honour and dignity. As such she has become forbidden for you. You are to divorce her.'
The word 'divorce' pierced Shamsu's heart with an arrow. He felt something had been torn out of him. Shamsu's wife fainted on hearing the verdict.
Without paying any heed to all there the Ward Member set his face resolutely to pronounce,
'Hey Shamsu. firstly you have to shave off your wife's head and utter the word 'divorce' three times in front of all; and you are to sign the divorce paper. After that you have had to send away your wife to her father's house before midnight. '
The conference of judgment was over. School teacher Akbar Ali wanted to say something but sensed clearly that his suggestions won't be taken into grant, so he abandoned the idea and slowly walked towards the school dormitory.
Events ran too quickly. The verdict was made effective without delay. In no time the scandal of Shamsu's wife spreaded amongst the villagers like wild fire. They became enthusiastic and made Shamsu to hack off his unconscious wife's hair with scissors. After that Shamsu uttered the word 'taalak' three times in presence of Ward Member and signed the divorce paper. On the same night his wife was sent back to her father's house.
A whisper ran through the crowd.
'Shamsu is a boozy silly mutt; that's why he has called for a trial. The stupid drunker doesn't know that his wife has an affair with Shaheb Ali's son Alkas from the very beginning.'
Some one said, 'Shamsu's wife is not to be blamed for. She is very modest. Being a female how one can speak of slur in front of all! Her shyness brought a disaster. Alack! What a punishment was waiting for her!'
Different people made different remarks, but what was destined occurred in silence. On that evening when the lame Shamsu snip off his wife's hair, signed the divorce paper and send her back to her father's house none could have thought of the worse. After completing all the forced formalities Shamsu left his house, went farther away on the bank of river. Nobody noticed him. He waited there in the darkness of the night, his one hand was holding the stick on which he leaned to give support to his lame leg, his other fist tightly gripped the sharp chopper used for slicing date-palm tree to collect the juice.
Shamsu's speculation in term of intelligence and arithmetic was calculative. His despair competed for vengeance. It happened in the twilight of end-night, Shaheb Ali went to the bank of the river on nature's call carrying a mug full of water. Nothing mattered much, just a blow of sharp chopper; Shamsu severed the head of Shaheb Ali with a single blow, like a sudden thunder strike. Shaheb Ali's headless body fell on the ground; the air around the riverbank smelled of fresh blood.
Shamsu's misfortune thus drifted to an exasperated expression. He did not wait for a moment, nor did he utter a single word. Raising the right hand he threw the chopper far away and then jumped into the river water to be drowned.
At daybreak the villagers found two dead bodies: one lay in the riverbank, head severed from body and the other entangled at the alluvium, a drowned lame person.
The story could have ended here. But sometimes one episode continues to other. In this connection there are something more to narrate; in no time the boundary line of Shaheb Ali's sweetmeat corner and Shamsu Mia's betel leaf shop disappeared. In that space Alkas constructed a building having shops on the ground floor and a cosy dwelling house in the first floor. Whole building was provided with electric light. The villagers praised Alkas's wits.
Three months later another obvious incidence surprised the villagers. They came to know that Shaheb Ali's son Alkas married the divorced wife of Shamsu. The wedding reception was celebrated with great pomp. The villagers were entertained with a full rich meal. Amplifier was hired from the town and recorded songs were played throughout the bridal-night to express the festive joy.
Again, all the villagers enjoyed the occasion.
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