Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Case Of Adultery

The apartment in which I live has this custom of holding meetings on the 1st Sundays of every month. This being a common holiday, no one can deny responsibility of attending those meetings on the excuse of being unavailable because of their office. But this month is special. An emergency meeting has been called today, in the 15th of March, all of a sudden. This meeting is to decide the fate of our apartment’s security and to assign certain minor responsibilities (such as switching on/off the water pump in turns etc) on the inmates.

What caused the emergency?

Our caretaker Chintoo has been caught red-handed sleeping with Mrs. Roy’s maidservant. The furtive glances of Chintoo and Shikha (as the maid is called) had caused suspicion long ago. But they couldn’t have been accused directly owing to the lack of clear-cut evidences. But a couple of days ago, my morning sleep was cut short at 8am by roars, growls and snarls of the inhabitants of the apartment. Before long I realized that those were supposed to be sounds of victory for their now proved suspicions that were previously ignored. By the time I went down, Shikha had fled and Chintoo was begging for mercy at the feet of his masters. He was refused, of course. Mr. Dasgupta dragged his baggage down the stairs from his attic room and flung them onto the streets. The whole para gathered to catch the fun with facades of paramount concern and passing judgments went on and on and on and on and on…

Too much noise and too much non-sense always send me into reveries of distraction. So I’m not pretty sure whether I heard every abuse that was used to adorn Chintoo and Shikha. But the reasons of the abuse were such attractive that I gained back my conscious self once again.

The primary catastrophe, of course, is that adultery had been going on for more than a month in our own apartment and that our own caretaker was its chief culprit. However this allegation soon shifted over from Chintoo to Shikha and you can well imagine what followed, yes, what follows all the time, that is. Shikha is a married woman of about 28-30 years of age. She has a 10-year-old son. It is known from certain god-knows-what sources that she left her husband, her child’s father soon after her son was born and went to live with her brother-in-law with whom she had been having an affair for long. So, she is an old horse, actually. Familiar with various kinds of meadows. Naturally, sympathy started gathering on Chintoo’s side and a few of the flat members even repented for throwing him out. The more pity showered for Chintoo, the more aggressive did the public become towards Shikha. She was accused of provoking 22-year-old innocent Chintoo into immoral sexual activities by her titillating dressing sense. She was accused of being attractive. She was accused of doing her eyebrows. She was accused of using pink lipstick. She was accused of showing her cleavage occasionally. She was accused of having taken advantage of Chintoo’s youthful slips. She was accused of seducing men at every chance. She was accused of being shrewd and manipulative. All this continued for about an hour or so at the end of which everybody came to decide that she was a whore and that it was impossible for young, unmarried Chintoo to resist the constant temptation.

In the whole process of abuse and decisions the fact that Chintoo was a drunkard, which could leave our apartment open to intrusions during his tipsy hours, escaped notice. Got drowned totally. May be because drinking is much less of a moral sin than adultery. Or may be, because everyone was too keen to get Chintoo back to run on their ever-going-on errands. He was cheap. And he was available. Finally it didn’t matter with whom he slept. All what mattered is whether he can take the responsibility that would be assigned to us otherwise. We are essentially responsibility shirkers. Even the moral police fall flat on this ground. Wonder!!

Today, the meeting has been called in order to decide whether Chintoo would be re-admitted to the job or whether his brother Rintoo would take his place. Let’s see what happens. I really never am able to judge anything complex properly… but then, all claim that this case is pretty easy.

As for Shikha, I have no idea where she has gone. But I guess, her search has begun again. She has reached such a point, where men did not matter without their bodies… be it her husband… her brother-in-law… Chintoo… or…

By the way, our flat is called Sneho Apartment.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I keep on dying again.
Veins collapse, opening like the
Small fists of sleeping
Memory of old tombs,
Rotting flesh and worms do
Not convince me against
The challenge. The years
And cold defeat live deep in
Lines along my face.
They dull my eyes, yet
I keep on dying,
Because I love to live.

Maya Angelou