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NER-Taste of Revolution

NER-Taste of Revolution

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Published by Amin Ahmad

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Published by: Amin Ahmad on Sep 22, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/22/2011

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A'·'
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U001"1
Intheblazinghotafternoonthe
six-year-old
boyliesnext
to
hisgrandmother,listening
to
the
soundof
hersleeping,Helieswith,hiseyes
open,
listening
forthe
crack-crade
ofrifleshots,[or
the
sound
of
distant
shouting,
But
this
afternoon
in
Calcuttais
silent,
Inthisheat,even
the
Maoist
revolutionaries
are
sleeping.
The
boy's
thoughts
turnto
chocolate.Ever
since
the
violence
broke
lout
aweekago,Nani,his
grandmother,hasn't
beenable
to
go'
shopping,
Butluckily
there
are
still
t\;VO
piecesof
Cadbury's
milkchocolate
ill
thefridg!c"
TIle
boyimagines
the
cold
sq'u,ares
ofchocolate
dissolving
onhistongue,
and
Ius
mouth
begins
to
water,
He
slidesout
ofbed
andtiptoes
out
of
Ills
grandmother's
darkenedbedroom.
TIle
bungalowisderkthediningroomtightlyshuttered,theoldfridgehummingin
11
corner,Whenheo.pells
the
door,deliciouscoldairflowsoverhisface,Insidea.rethe
remains
oflunch:a
111,etaID,
bowl
of
rice
and
a.
leftover
':68h
head,
staring
at
him
'with,baleful
eyes.
Theboy
avoids
the
glassy
stareand
o:pe.ns,
the
butter'
compartment..
The
goldenfoil
wra,:pper-
of
the
Cadbury'sbar'is
stiU
there,but
the,
chocolate
11'
..-:i,it
'~la'
ni
c:t'!l,
ed
JIl~,",
"'~,a~,""_"'~
''!o
,~~,.;:;I'.l.i!l""""
-e
T11e
'boy
closes
his
eyesj)
then
opens
themagain..
No'
chocolate.
I~Ie
shuts
the
fridge
and.
isaboutto
cry;
Didheeatthelast
DAtO
'pieces
andforget'
No"hekeeps
to
ameticulousschedule,nibbing'atasingle
squ:ar,e
a
day)
makingabar
ofchocolatelastawholemonth,
He
suspects
Zaheer
and,
walks
angrilyto'hisuncle's
bedroom
door,Butinstead
of
snoring,
he
hears
agir"s
muffledgiggle.He
listenscarefitlly,hearing
tile
rustleofclothing,
the
wtwtn:t-mmm-mmm
ofkissing,
Tileboymakes.
at
disgustedface.UncleZaheerhassneakedhiscollegegirlfriend
lIP'
thebackstairsagain..Zahcerwearsblack-framedglasses,readspsychologytextbooks,andthinksheis
tC)O'
clever
to
get
caught.
Butthe
boy
knows
everything
thathappens
inthe
house.It
is
his.kingdom,and
he
patrols
it
vigilantly,
Maybe,N
ani.Jusgrandmotherhashiddenanotherbar
of
ch
ocolatesomewhere~
Naniis
a
greathider,of
things.
When
sheforgetswhereher
keys
arc,
0,[
'h(~:r
diamond
brooch,
the
boy
helpsher
look.
By
110'W
he
knowsall
Nani's
hiding
places.
The
'boy
:IJJ(1<ks
un
the
~ine,n
cupboard
and.
the
ba,(k
of
the
larder,
Heeven
sticks
his
'hand,
in
to,the
bin
ofri
ce,
s,~
ting
through
the
grains~
Finall
y
there
is
only
one
place
left~
T1IC
boy
slowlyopensNani'sbedroomdoor,
She
issnoring
1110\<V~
herwhitewidow's
saritwiste
d
around
11,e
:.
He
holdshisbreath
and
tugs.
,open
thedoor
of
hercupbo
ard~
 
Heleansin;searchingbeneaththe
]1r'}e;v\Tspap,er
that
linesthe
shelves.Heslips;and
11Lis
kneebangsagainst
the
wood.
Nani'seyesope.n.~herfacecreased
by
sleep,"'Whois
there!
Who>"
rl-""'!'"
~l..._..,
heeoi
h!I,~..
JI!'.'
th-
uobo
rd
~'-It'
iust.-.
G-:····a
.kt.
1··-~··",
.ne
IUO'Y
s
eeplS..
ly
croses
If:
CU"P
oan'_"-
S
JLlS.-
me,'.'
.0'
.ac.Ur\.
0'
seep.
"W,h,atare
YC}ll
doing]Itold
yo'u
not
to
disturbme."TheboyknowsthatNan]stays
awake
all
night.Ifanyone
disturbs,
her'
afternoon
napsshe
gJ'e-
t-~.-.
very
11]'1-1
'-Yr-'v'
H''(""'
~~"JI"'-'
to
th]'
n
k
q-
uicklv
IJ,~.·.
'J
'.~'!i-,"_'
I....:.'
11'_
'w).',-~_,.~:
d..
='[D-'
J"~~,~
W
:tQ-~1....'_I
u_~'.~
-lI!~.::.
I}
!
"Nani,Ithought
.Manlamighthave
sentsomechocolateand
itBlight
be
in
the
cupboard,~,
At
tJIC
.nlcI).tiOJ1I1fhis
1110
iher),Nani'sfacesoftens,Sheholdsher
arms
outto'
the
'boy;
"Cornehere,sweetie.
'YOiU
miss
your
mamano!"
"Yes,"helies~
"~I
111i
ssMarna.."
"P'OOlf
child,
Lie
down
with
me.t's
veryhot.Sleep'
a..little."Nani
pulls
theboy
ontothe
bed.
He
lies
next
toher,hisheartrhumping
fun.his
chest.
SoonN
ani
isasleep
again,
b
ut
the
'boy
doesn't
dare
to
Cs(:a..pe~
FI
heb..ovtries
tID'
l-..
emember
iIL..'I';C"
mother
AU
he....nrecall
:1',,,,
the
picture
'0"
~1"'Ii
Na
~i4'~';,,,,
.1.,
b..',.
j
,,:.il:-
Oi.'.
b.lIl.·._:"
,ilU·.
,lIJ..1
i.'Ji
.1
1.
li.·.
~JIl.
I""].
W.JILl",
L!iJl
I"
.Jl.
~·LL1J..lll~..L,
.:
I
!",
",tIL,J..,
JIJ.
.jI,~
dresser,aplum..
,.
cheerfulwomanwid,cat's
-eye
glasses~Marnahas
be-en
in.
England
:for.~ooa.n.y
years
now..Atfirst
she
used
to
sendhimbars
ofS
wiss
chocolate
butthentheystopped
NowNanibuys
the
'boya
batof
Cadbury's
every
month,"Yourmarna
told
me
'~J)
b'uy
chocolate
for
YOiU,"
Nani
always
says.
"Sendher
at
kiss."Andtheboy
obediently
blowsakiss
~11
the.
direction
of
England,imagining
it
flying
a-CI'IOSS
he
ocean..
Theafternoonsun
wanes
andNan]wakesthe
boy;
Shemakeshimsweet,
nl~PCY
teaandtheysit
sleepily
on
the
verandah
feeling
the
firstfaint
breezeof
the
evening..Zaheer
SOIOllemerges
from
his
bedroom.The
boy
studies
his
uncle
carefully,b
Llt
Zaheer'sIong,handsomefaceisfreeofguilt,
l
--"lJ~h~,-...
-"e
-1
~I
0
-n
thei-......
~.)
-n
d
ro'--
p
whe[}
th~
coo
m_-
pp
ea-"s
0
-nl
the
1
a--
n-
r-
-a
v'n
g
hi
C"
.ill.J.'bY
al[",
a
1IJ•.
ill.'
bon
$;,~(
l:a.
_I
~U:
'~,''~:...
L
K.
a."."
-:1",'.
-,lJ.'..
bo,'
\\1
"W:'l
.lL~
armsto,gettheirattention.
The
adul
ts
ignorehim.']hecookhas
been
drinkingalot
lately
and
isalwavsexcitable.
..-
The'boy
strollsontothe
[awn,
"What
is
it,
cookf
~;L
Bab«,
tell
your
grandmothertocome
quickly;
Somethingterriblehas
happened."
The
'boy
goes
to'
ten
Nani.Shegrumbles
underher
'breath
but
follows
thecook
out
ofthefrontgate
the
'boy
skipping
beside
her,They
'~l
stop
ill
astonishmentinfront
ofthe
white
boundary
wall,Slogans
have
been
painted
acrossit
in
red.Thepaint
isstillwet.
and
dripping..
"'Wh;a-rdoes
it
say;Nani?~,
"Bloodyhooligans,"'Nani
says.
"How
daretheydothis!
n
"Is
it
the
Naxalites]
W11at
do
es
it.
say?
on
Nanireadstheslogans,makinga
$:OUt
face:
KiLLALL
C
-1'
)I
S'"
E~
i.
rEM~'
1Z:-('~
,,:.,",.,",","..i.....:r1~
-'J,",
J.:~,.
"',.Il.:iL·'
I!
'."J'H··,
r~'
1,~'C:~"'D'_'-.
~1:rr)·[[I'~:V:O·.L"
r
FI"',()..
-.11'J
U:·N··Je'
·i_'-H·l·H·JU·'~~H':_','
Ml>l":C:O,'~'lj'
l}E,"K··.·I~
1';;r:,,-"
A
'''-I
D".'.
C".
L'"
C:U~·
rrl:
'ft!
I'
.1.
".L
.'!..•
An..
'!i.1.
\'L:..
l,.J
1..
,1:!I..
.l.l._.._)....\.
II..
!LT.,..
'0i"L''"
!If-'......
Pn.
T..
.d,\!
.in
_....f..
.r.t'.
()ENER.A,I~
!)TRIKE
T(}MQRU.(JW:!
The
'boy
feelsa
shiver
ofexcitement,He
'has
seen
the
Naxalites
roaring
through
the
city
intheirtrucks,theirfacesmasked
'by
bandanas,
fists
raisedindefiantsalute.The
 
'boy
knows
that
the
Naxalitesblow
'up
P'
08t
offices,
shootpolicemen,
throw
bombs
And
110W
thevhavevisitedhis
11'OUSC:.,
..!
Whe
11
N
ani00mesbale
k
inside,herface
is
redwi
rh
a
11g,er~
S
tillslurping
I1jS
tea,
Zaheer
tu:
r118
tothe
boy,
"'N'hat
.lla.PPCIICd,
shorty]
~i)
"TheNaxaliteswrote
some
wordson
the
wall,Astrike
tomorrow,'
Nani'waves
the
cookover,
"Here's
term.
rupees,"
she
S.na.ps,.,"
Go
buy
a.
pot
ofwhitewash,Paintoverthat
rubbish...~~
"Ma~Just
leave
it,"says
Zaheer
grandly.~-"
t's
notagoodidea
to
mess'withthe
Naxalites,
Besides"
they're
right.Thegovernmentis
corrupt
as
hell,
'Whatwe
need
istherule
0
f
the
prolctariatand~'.,'"
"If
YOII1;r,e8
1
0
chummywith
those
hoodlums,
'why
don'tyoujoin
them!
Golive
in
the
swamps
(HId
surviveIona
handfulofrice,instead
of
lying
aroundthe
houseandeatingme
out
of
house
andhorne."
She
ends
i
there.
Tilecookpaintsover
me
slogans
with
twocoatsofwhitewash,Builtthewordsare
stil]
visiblc,glowingmenacinglythroughtheir
veilof
pain
t
i,
f':1'"IJ~l'
-N-'.
d
cl
b'...
d.~;
~!
bnenextmorrungNarnanc.he.
oy
Sit
m
a.
speec
mg
taxi,going
to
tne
iazaar..Becauseof
the
generalstrike
the
garbageties
uncollected,
stinking
'lIp'
the
toads,..
Nani
""~s
w
1'
th
a'
0'
:1~
1
ac-
S"
c...
n
tedh
iii
n
,d''It:
en...
i
e
f
p':
resse
"d-
ove
it-~
her
n
c
)fr-
'e'
FI
4
h,CiIbov
ca
~1"fiI
tel
~I
frc
im
her
;3,~,:
~1,,.
JILl._
lIL
a._.
Ii-
I~..
lL
,do__,"~~
jj,_
,
<.
!I.e
'L)_-._.,-
,:Il,
,~,JI.
_I,,,I~.,-.",~,.
'l]
,l]1,.lILJ,·~
l,
.!ILlIUIl..,
I!\--.!I.
stiff-backedstance.that
she
isverv
angry;
,-
..,-
Usuallythe
lane
leading
to
themarketis
crowdedwithstray
dogsandbeggars,
'but
today
it
is
deserted,
As
thetaxi
S~OIV{8,
they
hear
'thesudden
crump,
crump,
cru'Wtp
ofexplosions,
"Madam,"
says
thetaxidriverhoarsely,
"Pleaseget
OIUl
here
Icannot,g'o
any
fu
r
til
er,'""Hooligans.AUthis
\¥a.y
in
a.
taxi,and.nowthis,'We"I[
seif'
who
frightens
whoIn,~Nanimutters,"Corneon"child~~,Nani
pays
thetaxi.driver,,operlSthedoor,
~11][d
gets
IOU
t.
The
taxi~s'tiresserecchas
it
reversesdownthelaneand
disappears,
Theneverythingissilent.
Holdinghands,the
boy
andhis
grandmother
walk
downthe
lane,
emerging
intothevast,stone-flaggedmarket
sqlta..re,.
Itis
empty,
and.in
the
sky
beyond
is.
afaint
plumeofsmoke.
.AIIthecupboard-sizedstalls
'~runrnng
thesquare
an:
shut,
Gone
are
the
boy's
favorites,
the
oneswiththe
button
man
with
hissheetsofcolored
buttons,
and
the
stamp
maker,
who
always
letsthe
boy
stamp
lout
letters
0
1
11
.
sheet'ofwaste
p'3.per,.
Already
tile
day
has,gonea
wry"
and,the
boyfights
backhis
disappointment.Under
a.
signthat
s,ays
'GIVEANDTAKESTO'RES
J
abespectacledshopkeeper
is
struggling
to
pl
Idown
a.
metalgrille.
"'What.,Gangul
y
Batbu./"
says
N
311li,'"
sh
utting
already!.
t.'
S
onl
y
eleven
o'
clock!"Themanstartsviolently
"Aare.,
Mrs.Azcem,Nice
to
seeyou,
burl
Thereisbombinggoing
on!
Very
danger!
(:,o111e
into
shop,
quickly
please!'
][86N
1:
~r~.
N
G
L
A.
N
n
R.EV
1
E
\V

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