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সোমবার, ১০ এপ্রিল, ২০১৭

Where the earth bleeds blue

I don’t remember how I came here. The knowledge of the road only known to a chosen few. I remember opening my eyes to see two tall hills, the tallest, till all your eyes could see. Between the two tallest hills ran a sparkling blue stream. The grey pebbles separating the sparkling blue of the stream from the lush green of the trees, one would seldom see civilians roaming around freely. The only people moving around within a 10 mile radius were men, skins darkened by the sun, usually sporting a small coarse dark beard and always with an AK-47. These men voluntarily living away from home and fighting for what they accept, a common cause. To kill someone, one had to always say ‘neel senar joy’, a sacred tradition as considered.
It has been almost five years, since I first set my foot in these jungles. Before I did that, my father, brother and both uncles had already martyred their lives to the cause, the same I am part of right now. It was only a matter of time, for me to follow his footsteps. At the age of 15, I joined the blue army or locally known as ‘neel sena’. The only cost of joining-leave with your death. But the person who almost single handedly inspired me to join the blue army most was Boro.
Boro had gained almost a cult status in the neighbouring villages. A pacifist between his brothers and antagonist for the zamindars and industrialists. How he single-handedly fought off twenty Zamindar’s men, still remains one of the most discussed happenings in our village; at least that was so the last time I was home.
Here, at the blue camp or Neel dera as it was locally known as, Boro was the only other from my village. We used to occasionally meet up and discuss places, where to put up the next blockage or which minister or businessman to target next. They were all the same, some selling coal, some iron, some copper and some Adivasi land (that was quite profitable as well) and these people were easiest to get money out of since they mostly had it in black, but so you would think. Taking money out of these hardened criminals was always tougher than innocent civilians. But that was not what we were after, the easy money.
Boro was like a big brother to me. He was the one would listen to me and share his ideas and principles. In him, I kept my faith. One afternoon, Boro told me ‘Pack your kit, we are going in for the big kill. ‘Being only a field apprentice, unaware of the codes, I asked ‘What big kill?’
‘Don’t ask question, just get ready, jaldi!’ (Fast)
Ironically Neel sena does not wear blue, but a green overall with no pockets. It is rumoured that a blue solider either gets shot or his pockets get caught (by the tree branches), one can guess which is more embarrassing.
By the time we reached, it was already dark. The roadblock was already set up and we were just in time. It were only a matter of minutes that the white ambassador would halt, or so was the plan. A walkie-talkie confirmed that the car had entered the valley. All cars stop at the roadblock, they know it’s a certain death otherwise. And so did this one.
There were three inside, the driver and two sitting behind. I had witnessed dozens of roadblocks but this one was different, it had a different air to it. We maintained silence for quite some time, this doesn’t usually happen. Khurpa the camp leader approached the car. Without a single remorse, he uttered the words ‘neel senar joy’ and shot the man, the driver and the third member. Wait! This is not how we go about missions. There is always a negotiation! We are redistributors, rebels and outlaws, but not murderers.
As I neared the white ambassador now with glasses red with splashes, I recognized the face. The man sitting behind was a minister, in his early thirties, short hair and the khadi shirt which had now stopped draining blood. I have seen him earlier, in the camp TV, a strong man of principles, liked as well as disliked for his stand on anticorruption issues, also a man with strong opinions against the Blue movement. On the other side a kid, barely half my age, the bullet through the side of his temple implied that he had not been woken up from his dreams when he was put into another. Khurpa came to me, while I was still lost in the illusionary peaceful gaze of the child. He knew about this, everyone must have known about this, we always do.
‘Wake up kid! Help me push this car to the ditch’, his voice echoed in my mind.
He shook me twice before I came back to my senses.
A knee jerk reaction to the existing authority governing my actions, burst my mind with thousands of questions full of anger and disgust. My mind was set-run. Run anywhere but from this terrible place with terrible people. People calling behind me to stop. I ran and ran, until I no more could.
No food, no water, it felt like it had been hours. Honestly, I didn’t know where I was running, it could be towards the camp itself. It was almost dawn till I heard a familiar voice calling my name. It was Boro! He was here, maybe he too had left the camp after the gruesome murder and came trying to follow my trail. Two heads are always better than one.
He was alone, hence trustable. I called out his name. In response he screamed ‘neel senar joy’. Somewhere behind me, I heard two gunshots. My eyes closed slowly as the numbness of the bullets grasped me and I fell to the ground. Maybe there was a tear in my eye as it blurred the vision and dulled my imagination.

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