the short story project


Tasneem Zaman

Third Identity

It’s July-as the calendar says. This month in Tulrong is steamy and humid. Sometimes rain comes uninvited; just as they have come from that country. The coming thicket is long and thick which helps them to flee in the time of danger. The trees are pale-but not like death.More like trees in the jaws of death-sinking too fast.A bit far from here.-the flies are buzzing over the dead bodies. But they are not grasping the dead bodies-they are rotten too much. The dead bodies are uninvited too.

The night is almost over. The night is clear, but suffused with sloth. Seems like it’s quietly waiting for something.Verily, It’s not.The night is more beseeched to the people here-just a child to mother. But nobody can stop the arrival of day. Just like nobody could save his mother from death. The day is coming. They are preparing for another fight-survival or gentle dying.With minimum pain-it means.Who says death suddenly comes? Is it? If it’s, what are they waiting for. Say it everything-but don’t say it’s life.

It rained last night. The roads got wet. The old marks of jeep’s tires broke and merged.They became happy.Though wet roads were thwarting their moving.But this problem is nothing to the problems of last few months they lived in constant fear.Their alloted time in this world is increasing.The pain too.The photographers would have problem to come here.They are scoundrels-They give a fake sympathy while taking photos but they send their photos to those who can kill them.They are worm or even worse sometimes.He is crying-to the loudest.When his mother died,when his favorite home was burning like dries-he didn’t cry.There was no time for tear drop.He has time now.Now he is crying-like the whisper of overgrown garden.Without reason-perhaps the reason is hidden always.

Someone tells,” Don’t Spend energy crying, it’s time to walk. It’s long way to go. ”But the question is-how long he has to walk? And most importantly to what, for what? And to stop the crying, he’s trying to give concentration to the burning hunger of his stomach. Amazing! He can’t remember what he has eaten last time. And how much time has passed between the ‘last time’ and ‘this time’. The continues hunger has left just a dull ache in the pit of his stomach. The shouting of lives are getting silenced. Silence eats sounds now.

“They are not of us, they came like moles. They are uninvited, we have never wanted them .They are enemy, they are not of this country. We’re trying our best to send back them to their country. ”The man completed saying a slang. He heard all these things. He tried to understand what “trying our best” and “their country” means. Though the meaning was clear-he couldn’t get. Just like the difference between diamond glossiness and pencil’s black mark.

On the next day, they came. It was afternoon-had no special appeal. The police and military who had a monogram on their uniform where it was written “The custodian of people” first destroyed the cenotaph of this village, entered into all the houses. When they were entering any house, all the hidden morality he learned got broken like bubbles, bubbles are made to be broken. For everyone to see. All the young boys were physically assaulted, dragged by the “custodian of people” and kicking all the while. They came like a storm-but it was may be everlasting. They broke the spine of his father and killed mother. For the very first time-he discovered his father crying. She wasn’t sobbing. Her face was set like stone, but the tears gathered up in her eyes and got down her thin cheeks. They killed his mother with a rifle. They caught up the trigger and then released. There was smoke on the aperture of rifle. Before it took wing, they did it again. Caught the trigger and then released. The eyes of his mother were exceptionally dry-just like the dead leaves of winter. Not only the eyes-eyes just reflected the whole body .It was lifeless. It became from “Mother” to “Dead body”. When completed, they marched forward. T

here was nothing to destroy more.The deadbodies were rotten-left no trace to recognize.On the way back,they kicked the deadbodies to make space.Like pebbles.They didn’t kill only our people.The also killed the man named Nibaran who used to repair cycle.The language of his eyes couldn’t be read.Not with some sharp thing,it’s done just with fingers.Because if you want to kill a person really,the medium is not a fact.The Next day they came to Nailokkha by boat.On the way they saw countless deadbodies. The number was deadbodies was way more than boats.The meaning of “trying our best” suddenly got appeared crystal clear to him. When anyone of their folks die, someone tells “Survived”. They live by dying. Here it’s “Survival by Death”. At last they reached the shore. In the row of deadbodies, a young girl who has lost his virginity to the “Custodians of People” suddenly started finding her father. They leave the girl there and move on. Time can’t be wasted. While all this time the men were leading their group (many of them have been made eunuch by “The custodian of people so that they can’t leave their shadow on this world”) go to the back. They send back women and children to the front. They can earn sympathy very easily.The polices of this country tell them to go back.But their voices have no force. Because they are human. One of them has a radio.He got it from his progenitor (with sorrow and humiliation of course). He set frequency and all of them hear
-“We have successfully sent back those Muslim Hooligans to their country. Thanks to those who helped us. They will be awarded.”

They passed Ukhia and enter Chattagram. They have heard that It’s the place where their progenitors used to live. While walking on Marine Drive, they notice a Signboard. The Signboard has two sentences on two sides of it.”Welcome All” and “Thanks You.Visit us again.” But they know that none of this sentence for us. Someone says-“Tomorrow meals will come.” They clearly know that It won’t surely come, it may come. Just a probability not possibility. All these are the last attempts to make a candle lived that is almost gone off. He looked at the sea beside him. The tide come, then it goes again. It’s not permanent, may be their life is too. They come and go. In the main of time. Again, they may fight and survive. Like a fainted river. But it has no flow. May be they will be faded away in some days. Little water and gigantic river has no equilibrium. Their life and death too. Born-death, happiness-pain, pleasure-anguish-all are part of life.They say.But they have only death.Nothing before and nothing after.Only Death and death.

Thua – a 16 years old boy suddenly thinks himself a rootless. Thua means Sun. But he has seen dark only, after “death”. How a person can be called alive when his whole family fades away! Just in space of our time. Before his second death will he be able to see his country. It hurts less hearing “Bastard” than hearing “Countryless”. Nobody will never understand this. They don’t belong to anyone. Simply, they don’t belong to anyone. They have no divinity, still they are human. End of the day there’s no superior reality than Death-Nobody understands this except Thua. May be the God too. Though nobody agrees to take this. His third Identity is getting higher. More and more higher. Higher than anything. Muslim-Hindu-Buddhist-all are third identity.This identity is becoming more importanr than the identity “Human”.

It’s getting into infinity. This Third Identity. End here.


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