“Ganesh is DEAD!” Damini sobbed. Everyone was in the room – some stood by the wall, some sat on the carpet and some sneaked in from the window. Mr. Shukla had called the police and now the police officer was interrogating with Damini. Golu was alright and had gone to sleep in his room. Vyom, the pandit, sat on the chair with head held down, covering his hurt spot from a handkerchief. I sat in a corner enduring the pain of my burnt hand.
Mrs. D’Souza had done my dressing; still it hurt but the pain was bearable.
“Ganesh is dead and now you have taken the last way to bring him back.” She sobbed. “Now he’s lost, forever. YOU! Just because of YOU!” She looked at me and stood up, looking angrily at me and then crashed on the floor, crying like a newly married widow.
“Why you did this?” The inspector asked.
“Ganesh… Ganesh died in that accident. I…. I… loved him,” she cried, “I wanted h… him b.. bu..t he was gone,” Mrs. D’Souza gave water to her.
She continued, “I craved for him… I nev… never imagined this, we were like milk and water in the recipe of tea. I was completely broken, lost, hollow,” She wiped her tears, “And then I met Vyom. He is a pandit. He told me that he could bring Ganesh to life. So I did what he told me, all the things to bring my love to life until YOU….” She looked at me and screamed, “…. interrupted, you old bastard!”
“So you were ready to kill your son?”
“No, no, no who said that. Why would I kill Golu? He is my son, the only living part of Ganesh, the moon of my stars.”
“What were you doing then?” The inspector roared.
“It was a ritual, the final step of the process, you stupid people. If you just would’ve let me put that knife through, Ganesh would be standing here by now.” More tears fell from her eyes.
“Wouldn’t Golu have died by this?” She was asked.
“No, no why would he? Only blood will fall into the fire then boom! Ganesh would knock at the door.” She pointed at the door. “Please let me do that, we can still do that.” She clenched inspector’s leg and begged, “Let me do that, please, I am begging you to let me do that.”
Inspector moved to Vyom, who was still holding a handkerchief against his head.
“What you did to her?” He asked.
“Nothing, she is mad, she forced me to do all that things.” Vyom countered.
“NO! I didn’t.” Damini screamed from behind, dragging herself on the floor, she pointed at Vyom, “He said Ganesh will come back if I do all the things.”
Vyom laughed, “Ha, is that possible?”
Inspector removed his handkerchief and pushed his finger in the scar. Vyom screamed in agony but Inspector didn’t stop.
“I AM VYOM MISHRA!” He screamed “I am the bastard son of Ganesh’s FATHER!” Inspector stopped and move two steps back.
“Yes, I am the unfortunate one, ripped off my title, ripped off from society but what was my fault?” He looked at the floor in agony and stared at it then he looked at the inspector with tearful eyes.
He continued, “What was my fault that I dragged the shame of my existence? What was my mother’s fault that she lived in exile? She was of another caste, this and only this was enough for him to throw us out? No one accepted us, not even her parents. Everyone despised us like we were some reptile covered with mud and sewage.” He wiped his eyes.
“I was a burden, I understood, but I was a burden only to my mother. Why did they treat me with abhorrence? We lived in poverty where the food was scarce and illness was in full stock, where seldom we laughed and often succumbed to despair. It was hard for her to feed me but she had her ways, all along in her life, she endured for what she never deserved. She walked in the stony path barefooted because he never wanted me.”
“I always looked at Ganesh play and it hurt me every time. I also wanted a father but he never wanted me. My authority, my privilege, and my happiness, everything that belonged to me was given to Ganesh. Why I was deprived like an untouchable? I was not a worm, neither a snake, neither my skin possessed the ability to change the color of skin, I couldn’t get under your skin, couldn’t bite you, couldn’t kill you! I was weak and fragile and I needed care, protection, love and affection but what I got?”
“Once I asked my mother why we hide in that foul-smelling hut when we deserve more, why don’t you let me meet him? Maybe he had changed and then I saw nothing but fear in her eyes. The fear that eats one inside, the fear that stops one’s hands and legs from moving, the fear of losing me. I never dared to leave her alone since then. I made my way out of that but I lost her behind.” He wept.
“When she died I had nothing more to lose. Then I decided to give rest to her soul by shedding all of that blood that had caused her pain. I decided to give her all the right that she deserved while she was alive. I decided to become the only one of the blood of the Mishra family. So I planned that accident but when I was unable to finish my work, I further planned and did what is known to you all.”
After that Vyom was sentenced for lifetime imprisonment, Damini was admitted to the mental asylum, Mrs. D’Souza took care of Golu, Munna was still working in the morning shift and I… I left the job because this old body of mine was unable to soak any more cold. Also, my burnt hand caused me a great many problems but the real reason for which I left was that it felt pointless to sit beside the fire without the company of Moti. In the loneliness of night, I only thought about him. I hoped and hoped that someday he will break the solitude of night and give me warm hug. I had lost many people in my life but I managed to work in absence of them. But it was something new and sad and mine wasn’t the age to take such rude shocks. I gave up on that society but still, I couldn’t give up on those faces.