Family

I’m almost entirely sure that Darshit’s challenge which Sheth nominated me for was supposed to be done on consecutive days, but sometimes real life interrupts the world of prose and poetry. So, here is Day 2 of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge.

Bloody Partition of India BBC Picture Men, women and children who died in the rioting were cremated on a mass scale_ Villagers even used oil and kerosene when wood was scarce

(Photo courtesy of the BBC)

Family

It was 1946 and the war was over. Twelve year old Bhushan had returned to Kolkata after a short stay in the Bangladeshi countryside during the bombing of the city. He settled down into the low bed in his room and looked out the window at the empty sky. It wasn’t too long before the chatter in the streets outside lulled him to sleep.

His father worked as an accountant with the British Police Force in Kolkata. He never spoke of his work at home. In fact, he never spoke much at all. However, Bhushan knew that one thing he could never bring up at home was the subject of his uncles.

The sound of slow, heavy breathing from behind him woke Bhushan up in the middle of the night. In the faint moonlight he could just about make out the outlines of three men sleeping on the floor. In a sleepy haze, he felt a familiar but elusive warm arm wrapped around him.

When he woke the next morning, the men, as always, were gone. He never mentioned the enigma of the disappearing men, but he had a feeling his father knew all about it.

Bhushan heard from his friends during a football match later that day that four men who shared his surname had been arrested for conspiring against the government. When Bhuhsan went to bed that night, he wondered if family really mattered in the end, especially when your father worked for the British and when your uncles were hailed by everyone else as noble freedom fighters.

Sure enough, he was not woken from his sleep that night, nor the night after, but the lingering warmth of the arm never left.

My grandfather once recounted his memories of his uncles, Swadeshi freedom fighters in Kolkata, India towards the very end of the independence movement. They used to creep into his home at night, much to the knowledge of his father, a British military intelligence officer for the British Police in the city.

I’m going to nominate  rhapsodicdelirium for this challenge, because I just can’t get enough of her work!

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