Monday, February 28, 2011

A True Story of Three Friends.

They all lived in the same village. Mohan and Raja had been friends almost since birth. Bhola was older than both of them, but simple-minded. He used to follow them around the village. They cuffed him, teased them, chased him and in time accepted him.

When they grew older and had to find work, they decided to go to the city and work as carpenters. That was their family profession and Mohan and Raja had received some training at their fathers’ hands. When they left for the city Bhola went with them. Bhola couldn’t do much carpentry but he helped in fetching and carrying and he cooked for them.

In the city they found plenty of work. They prospered. Mohan and Raja’s parents found wives for them. The wives stayed in the village while Mohan and Raja continued to live in the city on job sites with Bhola cooking for them in temporary kitchens he set up wherever they happened to be at the time. No one would marry Bhola but Bhola didn’t mind. When his two friends visited their wives Bhola would visit his mother. Mohan and Raja sent most of their earnings home to their wives. They made sure Bhola sent all his money to his mother.

One day Mohan’s wife fell ill. Mohan had to spend Rs 20000 on her hospital bills. He borrowed the money from his two friends who gave willingly. Mohan’s wife recovered. But the three had no money left and what was worse, were between jobs. Monsoons were a slow time for carpenters.

When they were almost at their wits’ end, they found a job making desks for a small office. The owner had to open his new office in a week. He promised to pay them Rs. 50000 if they finished the job in three days. They agreed even though it would mean working night and day.

The second day Bhola fell ill. He had been out in the rain the previous day buying carpentry material. He returned with a cough and fever. Despite that he continued to work. He fixed two desktops the wrong way around and ruined them. The work would have to be redone.  Mohan and Raja begged the owner for another day’s time to finish the job. 

That night Bhola’s fever was worse. He could not cook. Mohan and Raja were too tired to fix anything for themselves. They ate onion pakoras and bread from the cart on the street and fell asleep at once.
Sometime later Bhola who had sat hungry and shivering in a corner also fell asleep. 

 In the middle of the night Mohan and Raja were woken by loud snoring. Bhola never snored. It was probably his cold which made him do so that night. Mohan and Raja tried to get back to sleep but could not because of the loud snores. Mohan pushed at Bhola.
“Wake up, eh? Stop snoring. You’re not letting us sleep.”
Bhola awoke, turned over and there was blessed silence. Mohan and Raja slept again.

 In a little while Bhola’s snores began anew. Mohan and Raja kicked at him and Bhola rolled over. He put his head under his pillow and once more there was peace.  Mohan and Raja had just dropped off, when Bhola started snoring again. Mohan let out a string of curses. Raja jumped up and aimed kicks and blows at the hapless Bhola.
“Here we are dying with fatigue, working non stop while you sit in a corner uselessly. We have to finish the job tomorrow. We need our rest. Get out of here. Go sleep outside in the street if you can’t be quiet.”
Bhola took his blanket and left the room. But to his dismay it was pouring outside. He crept back into his corner again.

Mohan and Raja had fallen into a deep asleep when Bhola began snoring yet again. Both of them awoke with a start. Their bodies were clamoring for rest. Their brains were fuddled with weariness. Bhola’s snores were like angry hammers pounding their aching heads. Mohan sprang up.
" I will kill this *******.”
He rushed to the corner of the room which they used as a kitchen and picked up the kerosene can. Rushing up to the sleeping Bhola he poured the contents on him. Unaware, Bhola still snored.
“Get the matchbox,”  Mohan snarled.
It was Raja who found the matchbox near the primus stove and lit a match throwing it on the sleeping Bhola. Within seconds Bhola’s snores were silenced.

Note: Mohan and Raja were tried and acquitted for lack of evidence.
(All names have been changed.)

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