A Strange Affair

I was once a 7 year old kid. ‘As naughty as a monkey’, an Assamese monkey to be precise. I played, slept, ate and played.  My uniform repeated routine. Human Beings were kind to me back then.  We used to live in a place called Mathura Nagar near Down Town Hospital, where people preferred to rent houses with cheap apartments easily available. Those were the first generations of Nuclear families in a city subjected to a judgmental mob and a ‘joint family’ tradition. My father was a Government employee and mother a housewife, the staple profession of a majority Indian Women. We had a family of four fitted perfectly on our Bajaj Super. Well people were much thinner then. Our city hadn’t been invaded by KFCs and other American Junk Outlets as of yet. My elder brother never allowed me to join in his cricket group so I had to find my own play mates.  Amongst my playing buddies, the central character was ‘Gedi Buri’, the part time maid somewhere between 9-12 years old. She was an ’emigrant’ officially but ‘immigrant’ in reality. Her kin settled successfully in the city and had contributed to the Indian population multiplying it further through future offspring. The only race India is expected to win over China by 2025. Are we supposed to get an Olympic medal for that? These people usually belong to Dhubri, Barpeta on legal records and if you know them closely they reveal their actual origin. The D-Voters provide the minority votes to the government for a return promise of daily food and a ration card. She told me her Bangladeshi connections privately which I was never meant to disclose. That was the proximity of our relationship. Along with our shared playing time we used to enjoy the newly introduced Cable TV. The childhood in the 90s. The strange fact of Gedi Buri was the name. I asked her the meaning to which she answered it meant a baby girl in home. Gedi was pitch-black. She used to borrow my Mom’s shampoo and bath for hours at our backyard.  I would join her as it was fun to bath with garden pipes and her by my side. She was more than a part time maid to me, a good friend I assume. My mother used to tease me with her that one day she will get us married. The color of her skin and the strange aroma made me ridicule the fact of us getting institutionalized. The good times we have together like watching TV, playing Cricket or the way she oiled my hair compiled me to rethink my decision. A 7 year old kid never knew that it needed more fuel to run a marriage. The best part of our relationship was I never had to do a single duty and enjoy the lack of obligation. She was the only person who took orders from me just the way my mother obeyed my father. I desired the way my father ordered my mom for that glass of water or the cup of tea. The difference was she getting paid and my mother getting older, weaker in the clutches of doing house work. 
Gedi was absent from work for a week now. My father went to enquire in the slum colony and found out she was getting married to a bus conductor. Her father, a local woodcutter was more than happy to let go of the girl suffering from chronic Tuber Culosis. The disease is the burden and the girl is the symbol. The boy’s relatives weren’t informed concerning the TB situation. In all the recent developments, I was angry and sad about not being able to say the last goodbye. I wanted the farewell similar to something done in the world of films. However I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to hug her. She used to have that ‘slum odour’. Mother has discovered the term. Gedi was pushed to a dark world through deceive and sometimes I wonder where might have she ended up. Was she happily married ever after or may have had to suffer tortures from her husband on hiding the fact on the TB illness. I remember visiting Kukhleswar, a local temple when I thought I saw her amidst the vagabonds. Well they all look and smell the same to me now.



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