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The War Within

(Thus is my first attempt at writing fiction. Hope you like it.)

“But what if there are civilians inside the bus?” Charu hesitatingly asked. “They will be martyrs in our freedom struggle. You should not worry about them. That’s a price every one of has to pay if we are to end the years of injustice and oppression by the Indian government”, Krishnaji thundered. “Don’t you remember the day when you first joined our movement?” How could Charu forget that fateful day!

Charu was the elder of the two brothers that lived in a sleepy village of West Bengal with his widowed mother. They were very poor just like everyone else in the village. However the only thing that separated them from other children in the locality was the fact that his mother made sure that they attended the neighbourhood government school every day. From childhood it became clear that Sona, his younger brother, excelled at academics while Charu struggled through even the basics. Even the school’s only pan-chewing teacher called him useless. Sona went to the city to attend college while Charu dropped out of school. He went through his days gambling and drinking, much to his mother’s and everyone else’s disgust. 

A few years earlier he heard that Sona has found some job in the city. Charu didn’t care, except for the month’s beginning when his brother would send money order and he would take his share. One such day when the money order came and he asked for his share, his mother snapped. “Can’t you earn some money yourself? This money barely covers our food expenses. What do you do all day long anyways? Just gambling, drinking and bringing shame to the family. Sometimes I wish I just had only one son.” 

“Fine! Keep your money. I don’t need it. And by the way, if you had only one son, you would be here all alone clutching onto that money while your only son never bothered to visit.”, Charu banged the door shut behind him.


Angrily, he marched onto the streets of the village which surprisingly bore a deserted look. There was not one person on the street. Suddenly a jeep burst onto picture full of people in army fatigues, red bands around their head and rifles in their hand. He panicked and tried to run away but it was too late. He was surrounded by the gun-toting men and brought to their leader, Krishnaji, a strongly built man with a long beard with streaks of grey. “Son, would you like to join our freedom struggle? We are looking for healthy and strong men like you who can bring about a change in the society and help in upliftment of poor people like us. We need you.” For the first time in his life, Charu was feeling important and worthy. How could he say no to that? Besides, he could not go back home anyways. So he went back with them into the dense jungle which they seemed to know everything about.

It had been six months since he had joined them. Every day he saw people coming to meet Krishnaji who lived in a separate tent. While they discussed, Charu was given the responsibility of cooking food, cleaning and other such menial tasks which frustrated him. That day he decided enough was enough and went on to meet Krishnaji. “I too want to do something for the people. I did not come here just for cooking and cleaning.” Charu demanded. Krishnaji just smiled and after a moment said, “Tonight we will be blowing up a state transport bus in which police officers are travelling. It’s a very dangerous and critical mission to send a message to the government that we won’t be cowed down by their oppression. Do you think you will be able to do it?”

“Do you remember your first day?”, Krishnaji repeated. “Yes. I remember. I will do it”, Charu was snapped back to reality.

Five persons were assigned the responsibility of carrying out this operation. Charu’s work was to assist in digging a hole in the road, plant dynamite inside it and then finally press the button when the bus came. They had been given specific instructions not to leave anyone alive and bring back whatever weapons and other valuables they could gather from the victims. The plan was well on track. In the dead of the night, they were all hiding in the bushes; waiting for the bus to arrive.

After what seemed like eternity, Charu was able to see the bus lights at the end of the road. Clutching the button in his hand, his heart was pounding. The bus ambled on and was finally over the hole that he has dug. Charu hesitated for a moment but finally pressed the button.

The noise was deafening. The bus went into the air, rear side first. Apparently, Charu’s moment of hesitation had resulted in the explosion not achieving the maximum impact else the bus would have been ripped to pieces. The bus hit the ground with a thud and bodies spilled outside. Then he heard screams; screams like he had never heard before. Charu sat in a trance. He didn’t know what to do. “What are you waiting for? Kill everyone who is still alive”, he heard one of his men shout which broke his trance. With a rifle in his hand, he went about shooting people whoever showed signs of any life. Suddenly he was feeling no remorse at seeing the bodies lying around him; he just felt numb. In the moonlight, he saw a person, dressed in a T-shirt and jeans, fighting one of his men with his bare hands. The man had snatched the rifle from his accomplice and was now engaged in a fist-fight with him. Clearly, the T-shirt person was having an upper hand. Charu took an aim at the man and shot him in the head. He fell, like in slow-motion, face-first onto the ground. 

When they were all finished and were about to leave, Charu had a strange desire to have a look at the man who was brave enough to fight them. He went near the dead body, leaned down and upturned the body. In the moonlight, he looked down on his brother’s face.

Comments

  1. Wonderful emotional story bro. This is called 'creative writing'. Nice attempt...keep it up!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your encouragement!

    ReplyDelete

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