PrEm Ji

LOVE IS A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD (Short story)

 

LOVE IS A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD

 

Before getting the status of ‘Silicon Valley of India,’ Bangalore City was known as ‘pensioner’s paradise’. My uncle too migrated there after retirement and he opened a telephone booth with fourteen lines to get out of boredom after a quick honeymoon with the city. He is very fond of me and I use to visit him regularly. But, he was intelligent enough to take dealerships of almost all cellular phone providers at the very starting of cell-phone boom in India. There, I met him… Veer Singh Bahadur, a Gurkha from Nepal. He was working as a security man in a large women’s hostel where lot of young girls working in IT sector used to stay. He is a well-built young man of five feet two inches height. An innocent smile was hidden behind his eyes always.

‘Sir, where is Gopi Sab?’ he asked me one day while I was sitting in the cash counter.

‘Uncle has gone out Veer Singh… Tell me the matter’

‘I need some re-charge coupons for those girls… Gopi Sab used to give them on credit base,’ he told quite innocently. I checked up the matter with my uncle through mobile phone and issued them happily.

♥        

‘Prem, if I keep Rupees one million on that table and tell him to take care of it… then I can go for a world tour peacefully… You know, the money will be safe, remain untouched, when I return… That’s the belief I have on Veer Singh…He is a Gurkha… embodiment of faith,’ my uncle told in that evening.

‘Yes… I know’

‘If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha’. I remembered the famous quote by Former Chief of staff of the Indian Army, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw.

Three days later, I met Veer Singh Bahadur again at Bangalore Railway station.

‘Premji Sab, I think you are going back to Trivandrum’

‘Yes, Veer Singh’

‘Even, I am going back… Shadi… Sab… Shadi*… I am going to get married next week.’

‘Congratulations in advance Bahadur… Is it a love marriage?’ I started kidding him.

‘No Sab… it happens only in movies,’ he replied shyly.

‘But, I know that you are in love… So, when will you return?

‘You are very naughty, Sab… I will return only after two months Sab’

* Marriage 

♥        

I was thinking about him while traveling in the moving train. Gurkhas… they work in India as trusted security men from the times of British Raj. Born fighters they are! Gurkha regiment is one of the most privileged regiment of Indian army. Why do they work in India for cheap wages? For them, it is a great sum as the money value of Indian Currency is almost double than that of Nepal’s currency! So it is a profitable occupation. But, new generation security cameras are a real threat to them. But, machines don’t have that something… Guts… Courage…

♥        

Again I had to be there in Bangalore for a week to look after the business as my uncle was on tour to Thailand with his family. These new generation companies are so cunning, they give more and more gifts to get more and more business. Veer Bahadur came to our shop to get some more recharge coupons.

‘How is your new life?’ I asked.

‘What life, Sab? She is there and I am here,’ he replied in a sad tone…

His pain is known to me as Kerala has the highest number of ‘Gulf widows’. Husbands return to Gulf weeks after marriages. Who knows when they will return! Veer Bahadur has to spend another ten months to meet his young wife. And the saddest thing was… he had to spend twenty four hours guarding very sexy girls… that too in the cool climate of Bangalore… What a punishment! God! Poor guy lived like a drained soul.

‘Sab, will you please do me one favour?’

‘Tell me, Veer Singh’

‘Sab, just before leaving for Bangalore, I presented her a new mobile phone so that I can talk to her twice in a week. There are no land phone lines in our village. But, our Matron Madam doesn’t allow me to go out frequently. And when Parbati, my wife, calls, Madam doesn’t allow me talking more than a minute.’ 

‘It’s a painful situation Bahadur… Your Madam is very cruel… tell her to fall in love with someone.’

‘You can only help me, Sab,’ he told while taking out an old NOKIA handset from his khaki uniform. ‘One of the kind girls gifted me this... but… this is of no use without a SIM card. I don’t have a passport or any identity cards… but, you can provide me one SIM card.’

‘That’s not possible Veer Singh… it’s against the law. If anything happens, uncle will have to go to jail,’ I had to deny his request painfully

‘It’s OK Sab… Forgive me….,’ he said while leaving hopelessly.

Poor man… I felt very sad…. 

♥        

Uncle and family landed after two days. Veer Bahadur helped me in packing up some household articles that I purchased from Bangalore. My wife was already fed up of my frequent trips to Bangalore. Casual leaves… half pay leaves… and almost all forms of leaves were over… My Principal was showing his cruelty as scores of green ink on my columns in the office attendance register. My wife too started scratching with her sharp nails! Just to console her, I had to invest more money on Saris, Churidars, nail polishes…no Gold… it’s unthinkable… Woman’s world is so queer! The life of a man ends on the previous night of his marriage!

‘Krrning… Krrning.’

Suddenly Veer Singh pulled out a mobile phone from his pocket. His face started glowing like a Khukri* (the razor sharp knife used by them) on broad Sunlight… happiness of a small boy, having a chocolate for the first time in life…

‘It’s Parbati…Sab..’

Poor guy was kissing the handset… Even I too felt very happy seeing the lover in him… O! What exhilaration! Love is sweet madness…

He talked with her for nearly three minutes in hiding…

‘Veer Singh, how did you manage to get a SIM card?’

‘Sab, if you have money, you can get anything in Bangalore,’ he said proudly.

‘So you are happy… Now you can tell her sweet nothings in the nights too.’

‘You are really naughty, Sab,’ he told while laughing shyly.

I had a routine call from my uncle next week.

‘Prem, I have sad news to share with you’

‘Please tell me, uncle’

‘Veer Bahadur is in jail’

‘What?’

‘Yes…he is in jail… Anti-terrorist squad of Karnataka state, along with National security agencies had arrested him. It was a combined operation’

‘Uncle… How can a poor man be labeled as a terrorist?’

‘This is the same question even I had asked myself’

‘Quite embarrassing… Does he have any connections with Maoists of Nepal?’

‘No’

‘Then why?’

‘He was using a SIM card that was under scanner of security agencies. It was one among those used by the terrorists who were behind some serial bomb blasts in Bangalore.’

‘Unbelievable!’

‘Then what was Veer Bahadur’s version?’

‘He says that he got it from the footpath. He won’t able to get out even after twenty years. Life is gone!’

‘He is telling the truth.’

‘How do you know that?’

‘A Gurkha will never tell lie… especially a Gurkha in love’

My mind is imprisoned along with him since then….

 

Premji 

  • Author: PrEmJi PrEmJi (Pseudonym) (Offline Offline)
  • Published: May 30th, 2021 11:01
  • Category: Unclassified
  • Views:
  • User favorite of this poem: L. B. Mek.

Comments2

  • Jerry Reynolds

    Good story, Premji. I could really get a feeling for your culture. Thank you. If you want a glimpse of mine go to
    http://www.artandadvertising.com/public/HaibunOdyssey.pdf

    • PrEm Ji

      Thank you Sir... Sure, I will...

    • L. B. Mek

      'Born fighters they are!'
      'But, machines don’t have that something… Guts… Courage…'
      'especially a Gurkha in love'..
      none of us, can ever be categorised: as 'born fighter's'
      we are all born, as empty shell's
      it is the world and our surrounding's, that teach us
      and it is pure luck, where and when we are born
      that dictates what lessons: we learn..
      so before we depict and assume
      each other's characterisation, we must first acknowledge
      but, by the fate of chance:
      we could all - have lived, each other's lives
      and that's a truth, we must accept..
      so empathy, begins
      by acknowledging a blood soaked, soldier
      is capable of the Purest form of Love
      and
      that unassumingly selfless, socially compassionate cleric
      is capable of the most, horrendous crimes...
      there are no absolute's in existence!
      just the choices we make
      and the faith we choose to invest-in
      while facing-up, to accountability's lessons: of life...!
      (thanks for sharing, dear poet)

      • PrEm Ji

        I wish to conceive this story as a movie someday....
        Life is bitter, my friend, in every corner of the world...
        Thanks for reading... Thanks for your great comment...



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