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Hand in hand for eternity

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dad's Diary 7 - Artiste of the Hyemal Kind


Biltu was a coward, a reticent, and an introvert so long as the sun rays poured on him. Thin and lanky, his eyes glistened at dusk, and there emerged a totally different personality in enveloping darkness. He had a rare gift of combining frivolity with recklessness in his nocturnal activities.

The long winter holidays in the school afforded Biltu the opportunity to undertake perilous undertakings. It was outrightly dangerous to be with him in his projects, and a shortcoming to miss them. He boasted of being a 'performing artiste of the hyemal kind.'

Of the numerous pranks, the most striking one even faced an intensive though unsuccessful police inquiry. The police came to the neighborhood and questioned all the boys. Biltu was luckily interrogated during his 'solar affliction.' True to his nature, he winced, trembled and stammered his way out. He was not daring enough to pull such a job, the police presumably concluded.

Wintry Darjeeling, nestled in the Himalayan foothills, forced people, particularly at night, to wrap up heavy woolens from head to foot, making movement up the road awkward and slow. The oldies even added thick mufflers on top of balaclava caps that virtually kept only the eyes bare.

Equipped with a black balaclava cap Biltu used to spread out all ten fingers, palms facing backwards, elbows partly folded, crouch-walk silently in a peculiar gait, stand erect right behind his unsuspecting victim, and shrilly shout, 'aau aau' several times before running away the way he came.

He used to pull back his Adam's apple, and force the vocal chord to let out the gibberish sound coupled with a nasal tone in an unearthly fury. The impact was tremendously traumatic. Many a victim, usually a solitary figure in a deserted street, actually cried out in panic.

One such night we spotted a man sauntering his way laboriously up the hilly terrain. Biltu took a couple of deep breath, and silently went on his crouch-walk. We waited with bated breath. The 'aau aau-s' broke the silence, but something was amiss. Instead of at least four times it was uttered only twice.

Two movements occurred simultaneously. The victim clutched his stomach and sat down on the road, and Biltu took a different escape route. We waited in vain for him to reappear. There was no trace of him for the next four days.

Our patience exhausted, we hazarded a visit to his residence. His father came out to announce that Biltu had been grounded for the rest of the winter holidays. “And don't you boys mix up with that bad boy, or he will get you all in trouble.”

After much persuasion, we were granted ten minutes with Biltu inside his bedroom. The 'performing artiste of the hyemal kind' was in a bleak mood.

“I nearly busted his hernia,” Biltu whispered rapidly, “that man was my father. Unlike others he had looked back, we looked into each other's eyes just for a moment, and that was enough for recognition.” His 'solar affliction' was cured after the incident, he informed us, instead he was now afraid of the darkness. Perhaps it was now a case of 'lunar morbidity,' he speculated, as we took his leave.


BY TAPAS MUKHERJEE

24 comments:

  1. i think i met him one dark winter night. long ago. that why a i carry a light. lol great post i like it.

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  2. Reminds me 'Pagla Dashu' of 'Sukumar Roy'.Very well written, enjoyed it.

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  3. @ Roy - I am sure you have - he is so going to love your comment : )
    @ Nirupam - that is true : ) LOL

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  4. Lol...loved Biltu and his solar affliction, Mitr. Uncleji has a splendid collection of stories and they gladden our hearts. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. KRITI you are a sweet person who gives so much importance to feelings..:I love your writings....they show up your joyful personality...thanks for passing by and commenting ...

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  6. I cannot pass up your writings.. I look for your post everyday. Almost like waiting for the postman to deliver an important letter . Another well written story
    Thank You. by the way I answered you on my post today but not till afew moments ago. I was designing a wedding album all day. lol
    Jim

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  7. Kriti,its a joy to read Uncle's post,its like a star on a moonless night...

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  8. @ Jim - I feel overjoyed by your comments : ) thank you so very much. going to your blog to find my reply

    @ Alpana - you are the best : )

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  9. Hi! I'm your newest fan from Diva Cafe! LOVE your blog; your writing is beautiful.
    Hope you'll return the love :)
    http://thesampleshoppe.blogspot.com

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  10. Helooooooooooo - thanks for visiting Diva : ). So glad you liked the post.

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  11. Fantastic post....has me in splits, and I cant stop giggling!! :)

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  12. Hilarious Kriti! Uncle has such a way with words. I was in a bad mood before I read it and I was chuckling after reading it. Thank you for sharing.

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  13. Thanks Rimly! Glad it worked into your day and mood : )

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  14. Takes the cake again! Brilliant post that brings forth an impressive character sketch. Bittu's nocturnal pranks is perfect in it's hyemal kind for such a prank is indeed necessary to rouse people into wakefulness from a mood of hibernation and winter aridity. Loved the end :) ha ha ha the transition from solar affliction into lunar morbidity was hilarious! It was great fun reading this fantastic post. Can't resist the temptation to say that Bittu's character, could be the comical parody of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde with Bittu being a recluse, a faint-heart by day turns by night into a bold and wild prankster almost bursting people's hernias! ha ha ha

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  15. Yoshay - I cherish your comments the most - what a wonderful perspective! Thanks for visiting : )

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  16. As ever simply wonderful. thank you

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  17. Thanks Charles! Appreciate your coming by ...

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  18. I was with you dancing in the moonlight, hearing the sounds feeling the suspense and then the shift in mood. Fantastic.

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  19. Sj thanks for coming by - : ) so glad you liked it

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  20. Good Lord, the way you two have with words is sublime. Plus I learned a new one, hyemal. I think it's my favorite now. xox

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  21. That's nice - thanks for dropping by Sweepy - always a pleasure when you come by ...

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  22. I loved the ending! And like Sweepy I learned a new word. I enjoyed as always. ~ Sherry

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  23. First time visitor and was not disappointed. Wonderfully written.

    Cheers A

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  24. @Harley -thanks a ton for coming by. Appreciate it - I learnt the word too : )
    @Alejandro - thank you so very much for dropping by...

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