No Way to Leave 

Rizvi was walking with a vacant eye. There was no sign of thinking on his face. Sometimes his face moved downward to see the road. Often he lifted it back to look ahead. It was very difficult to assess what was going in his mind. At the end of the road, he turned left. There was a small blind lane. On the left side of the lane, there were a few shanties. At the right side, there were bushes and one vacant field. A lone two storied house stood at the end of the field which had a big black wooden door. 

Rizvi paused for a while in front of the door. He was looked little nervous. But that was for a few seconds. He shrugged his head as if he was consoling himself.  Then he long pressed the bell. There was silence everywhere. He could hear his wristwatch. The door went open. It was a big hall inside but so dim lit that he couldn’t see much. He was hesitating to enter but suddenly heard a voice.

‘Come in.’

The atmosphere was smoky. Rizvi put his first step over the door sill. Now he could see a man from his back. 

‘Follow me. We’ll go first floor.’

Rizvi could able to raise his voice now.

‘Who are you? Where are we going?’

The man stopped and turned his back. His face was full of white beards and there were lot of wrinkles. At first look, anybody could be afraid of him. 

‘You’re destined to come here. Master instructed me to bring you here. It was his order. We must obey him.’

It seemed his voice was coming from deep inside. It was like an announcement. Rizvi couldn’t ask more and resumed his steps. There was a larger hall at first floor.  It was also dim lit but not so much smoky. He could clearly see all around. There were large paintings of men hanging on the wall. Not anyone of them was looked familiar to him. The man didn’t enter instead he instructed Rizvi to sit on a cushioned chair.  He obeyed him. There were just two chairs. Another remained vacant just opposite him.

‘Don’t touch anything. At any moment, master will appear.’

Initially Rizvi didn’t notice. There were a few long items below the paintings, kept on the floor, near the wall. All of them were wrapped with white clothes. He felt curious but that man’s instructions came to his mind suddenly. Time was passing slowly. The ambience of the hall had so much fascinated him that he didn’t go for his wristwatch to find time. He was struck at the passing moments.

‘Welcome to the real world!’

It was a huge man’s voice which resonated very loud at Rizvi’s ears. For a moment, he felt shaken. He tried to guess, if he went sleepy. Otherwise how can he didn’t see him entering the hall and occupying the chair opposite.

‘How do you like this place, Rizvi?’

‘How can you know me?’

‘That doesn’t matter. Answer my question.’

‘I’m not in a state to describe my feelings. I need time.’

‘Not an issue. We may talk about it later.’

‘Why have I come here?’

‘Slowly you’ll know everything.’

‘But I can’t recognize you. Did we meet earlier?’

The big man took some time to answer.

‘I’m your predecessor. From now on, you’ll live here. You’re the heir to this empire.’

Uneasiness started to boil inside Rizvi as he couldn’t understand his words. 

‘You need rest. Let’s go for dinner. After dinner, he will guide you to your bedroom.’ 

Rizvi stood up along with the master. He was slightly ahead of him.

‘Come here. I want to show you something.’

Master went towards the first long wrapped item and gestured at Rizvi to follow. He removed the cloth and Rizvi could now see. It was a human lookalike. It seemed he never came to know it. Master broke the silence.

‘See this idol. In this empire you’ll get everything except affection. Please note my child. You’re now in a uniworld where only one gender lives. You’re born in a different world. I know two genders are available there. Since you’re switching in, for the time being you may miss it. I’ve specially arranged some replica. Go to all of them, remove the clothes and find the resemblances, if any.’

Rizvi did exactly what master said. He found all of them wearing unusual dresses. It was long clothes with wide borders. The idol’s waists were covered with certain length of the clothes. The rest of the clothes went over the upper parts and then the remaining parts were hanging from the neck at their back. Their upper parts were worn with half-sleeve half cut shirts. Normally Rizvi was used to wear such shirts but one thing was absent. There were no collars and no pockets. All of them had long hairs, knit in many styles. 

‘Did you find anything familiar?’

‘Not as such.’

‘But how they will be useful to me?’

‘Listen. I’ll give you a special power. You can use that power any time you require to bring movement in them. But one thing, you should remember. They won’t talk to you. There will be no change in their appearance. They will come near you, if you desire so. At best they can smile at you.’

‘I didn’t get you.’

‘I’ll show you an example. Let’s go to the next room.’

Rizvi came out of the room. 

‘Have your seat.’

Rizvi saw the table full of nice dishes.  Here also he preferred a chair opposite to the master. The door-opener was stood there well before. Rizvi looked at him. After a long time he found him. The man had suddenly disappeared after he entered the hall. There was no smile at his lips.

‘Close your eyes. Do not open until I say.’

Silence prevailed here also. Rizvi can only hear the sound of his heartbeat. 

‘Open your eyes now.’

Rizvi slowly opened his eyes. To his utter surprise, he found all three idols were surrounding him. 

‘I’ve already transferred the power in you. Don’t speak out. They’re unable to hear you. You just imagine them to perform and then see the result.’

Rizvi felt curious. He first felt for the idol who looked elder than the youngest but junior to the oldest of all three. Though master didn’t ask him to imagine with eyes closed but he acted as such. Then he opened his eyes and got surprised to find that the idol was smiling at him. It stood by his side and was touching and slowly moving its hand over his brow and forehead. He feels quite different. Then the idol served rice on his plate and all dishes in different bowls. It’s an amazing scene. Rizvi felt unmoved at the act. 

‘Start your dinner.’

Rizvi curiously looked at master’s eyes. 

‘Didn’t you find it magical?’

Rizvi couldn’t answer him as he was still drowned in the wonder work of the idol. 

‘Now imagine the youngest to serve me.’

Rizvi was slowly enjoying the idea. He again closed his eyes and opened them a few seconds after.  It’s an amazing scene. The youngest idol was now standing beside master and ready to serve him dinner. Rizvi was deeply thinking the whole scenario. 

‘How it’s possible?’

Just for a single moment, something flashed in his mind. A few hazy pictures of such actions were passing through his imagination very fast. At one point of time, he concluded that he might have seen such actions earlier but couldn’t remember much. He was feeling headache and that might have been visible from his face. Suddenly he felt the touch of another hand. This one was on her head. The fingers were slowly moving through his hairs and he was feeling much better after some time. He was having dinner almost with blind eyes. Feeling relaxed, he opened eyes to find that the oldest idol was now at his left side with a smiling face. 

‘Are you feeling weird or curious, which one?’

Rizvi didn’t answer. It seemed the idols wanted to say something. At least he felt so. Master’s words appeared in his mind. He could remember his statement.

‘…They won’t talk to you.’

Something unusual was happening to him. He saw at the idol at his right side. It seemed it was trying to say,

‘Do you like the dinner? How was the food? Does it taste well?’

Rizvi then turned his head to the left. The oldest idol had still kept its hand over his head.  He can feel its words also.

‘Are you feeling better?’

Unknowingly, Rizvi shook his head. Master might have noticed.

‘What are you doing? Is it that you’re feeling them talking to you?’

Rizvi decided not to answer him. Again he was feeling headache. Suddenly his head seemed so heavy. It was all a mixed feelings altogether. Somebody from his inside was telling something. He can hear those words.

‘Don’t be frightened. Go with your own. Act accordingly.’

Rizvi began to continuously turn his face sideways. It seemed he was hearing the oldest idol.

‘Are you missing something? Can’t you recognize me?’

His ability to think backwards might have failed. He was unable to remember anything. Forcibly, he tried to look at the idol at his right.

‘What happened to you, dear? Tell me about your sufferings.’

It seemed so known to him but he couldn’t remember at all. With a great desperation, Rizvi tried to look at the youngest idol. He was hoping that it might help him looking at it. His eyes also started to betray him. They are refusing to open. Rizvi forcibly tried to open his eyes. He became able to look that the youngest idol was also now closer to him. He noticed anxiety at its face. There were wrinkles on its forehead. Suddenly all three idols began to look at one another. They were talking something between them. Their lips were not moving. But Rizvi could feel their words. He was now battling with himself. He doubted some conspiracy. But what was it? Who can help him? In between, his headache went to an unbearable level. It was like biting inside. 

‘Oh God, please help me. I can’t bear any more.’

Oh no, it was complete black out now. 

II2II

City hospital is bustling today. Media persons, journalists, senior doctors, researchers, all are vying to have a glimpse of the press conference.  From highly positioned persons to politicians, all are jostling to get a seat in the conference room. The room is full. There is not a single seat vacant. People are rushing every moment to hear the proceedings. At the last moment, hospital authorities are trying to erect a few giant screens at the front ground so that more and more people can see the conference. 

At last, the giant screens come to live. 

‘Ladies and gentleman, we have successfully completed one of the rarest experiment of this decade. Thanks to you that you have applied your precious conscience to the experiment. We are grateful also to him who volunteered fully to this mission. We must say that without him, we couldn’t work on this experiment. Now the result will be briefed by Mr. Dheeraj. You all know that Mr. Dheeraj is a reputed psychiatrist as well as a noted researcher in this field. He was working for long on this subject, the human emotion and gender relation. We’ll now hear Mr. Dheeraj.’

‘Dear friends, we all know that for every human being, how much important the gender relation is. Some relations, we can’t even think to live without. But it is also known that all human being are not so lucky to get these important gender relations.

Specially, I’m talking about the orphans. For years, I’ve worked on them. I’ve noticed that seeing others, they want to feel these relations. They’re grown up with a constant sort of want and that creates anomaly in their personality. They don’t feel happy. As a result, the world is slowly getting filled up with unhappy persons. As an after effect, crime rate goes higher and ultimately, our beautiful world thus is becoming uninhabitable. 

More or less, this is the backdrop of our experiment. We thought that we’ll try to make a person believe that there is a world where a single gender can live. There is no reason to go for the other gender and if he once makes a habit in this way, then he can live happily forever. 

But friends, I feel sorry that we failed. For months, we tried to make a person believe that he has no relation with other gender and he can happily leave as such. At the end, he fell ill and a strong belief came out from his inside against the notion we implanted.

We’ve decided now to free our subject from our experiment. We, the researchers have agreed that there will be no such experiment in future. I now expect that you’ll volunteer yourselves to fill up the blanks of this orphan boy. We’ve set up a process for that. Those who want to volunteer may please contact with us at our website. You may have already got prospectus in this regard.  There will be three months’ break and after the break, we will bring our subject before you along with his new found gender relations. 

II3II

‘Hi Rama, do you like this place?’

He was looking at the calm water.  Fishes were circling around the spot. They love him too much. Smilingly, the boy looked at the questioner.

‘Oh yes, definitely I like it.’

‘How I am looking today?’

He turned his back and smiled.

‘You’re so beautiful. But your hair is more beautiful.’

‘Yeah, I learned it yesterday. It is called pony tail.’

‘It’s good, very good.’

‘But Rama, I’ve carried orders for you.’

‘What is it? Please tell me.’

‘There are actually two orders. Both of them are from inside the house.’

‘My pulse is already going fast. Tell me quickly what they asked me to do.’

‘Both of them asked you to immediately come inside.’ 

‘Okay but for what?’

‘They know that you love mango pickles as well as fish curry. Both of them are very much favorite for you.’

  ‘Did they really prepare both for me?’

‘Yeah, exactly that, you guessed right.’

‘Let’s go then.’

Rama waved to the flock of fishes. He grabbed the questioner’s hand and on their way to home, they smiled at each other and also danced a little bit.

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Arupam Maity
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