CHAPTER 15: LOSS OF A BELOVED – 2
Amjad struggles for life as Saket lifts him up. He also ties a cloth around his head to stop the wound. Saket is searching for the hospital. He is not able find his way out. Amjad asks Saket to take him to the soda factory as Saket obeys. Many people fire at him. Saket does not care if it is a Hindu or a Muslim. He just kills them to save Amjad. He finally brings Amjad to the factory. The ladies cry on seeing him in that condition. Saket retires at a corner as he sees the silhouette of a woman giving birth inside the room. The shrieks of the woman are heard by Saket as they transform to the cries of “Ram, Ram”. The sounds remind him of Aparna’s cries during the attack and the visuals remind him of Mythili’s pregnancy. He is haunted by both the memories, which he thought he had forgotten. He is reminded the universality of womanhood.
Amjad struggles to upstairs as Saket follows him. They see the men fighting the Hindus. It is learned that the pregnant woman is Qureshi’s wife, the man who wanted to kill Saket in the factory. Qureshi tries to shoot Saket and is stopped by the struggling Amjad. Qureshi has run out of bullets and the building is soon to fall. Amjad tries to negotiate with the shooters even as the others in the factory object, but in vain. Amjad is shot in the leg. Saket is furious and shoots out a few Hindus with his gun. He then opts to defend the factory for the sake of his brother. He too runs out of bullets after a while. Meanwhile, Qureshi tries to shoot Saket, with the newly obtained bullets, just to be stopped again by Amjad who asks him to give his weapon to Saket. As he throws his gun to Saket, Qureshi is shot to death.
As Qureshi falls, we hear the cry of a new born. Clearly, it is Qureshi’s child. A new life is born as another one dies. This is the same thing that happened when Saket was born. His mother passed away on his birth. Saket, once again, is reminded of the universality of life and death. The attacking crowd disperses as the atmosphere becomes silent.
Suddenly, there is a bang on the factory’s door as a wooden drum is dislodged and rolls into the trench where the women and the children are. They gather the drum and start playing it to celebrate the birth of the child. Amjad watches them pityingly for they are not aware of Qureshi’s death yet.
The banging continues as Saket and Amjad become alert expecting another Hindu onslaught. Saket closes the trench in order to save the Muslims below from the attack that is to happen above. Saket and Amjad are pleased to find that the people at the door are policemen and have come with an ambulance to save them. Amjad is taken into the ambulance on a stretcher as Saket touches his brother’s blood drenched palm. He is moved. He opens the trench door and finds that Qureshi’s child is a boy – his rebirth perhaps.
They thank him for his help and learn that Qureshi is dead. Amjad’s mother and Nafisa ask him where and how is Amjad. He is speechless as Nafisa runs crying after the ambulance. Saket breaks down. It is him who has been responsible for all this murdering. He had started riots in the hitherto quiet locality. Yet another wife has lost her husband and yet another newborn child won’t be seeing is father. And the count goes on. He has been the initiator for the massacre that has brought about his brother’s plight.
Saket enters the hospital where Amjad is. It is overflowing now. He realizes it is because of him alone. He sees children, women and old men – the innocents of the riot – struggling for life. He enters Amjad’s ward and sees an inspector inquiring him about the “man with the gun”. Nafisa and her mother-in-law thank their saviour- Saket. Upon being asked if he has seen Bhairav earlier, Amjad replies
“I’ve never seen that animal before! I only know Ram…my brother!”
Amjad reaches for Saket and holds his hand. He then collapses. The doctor tries to do some treatment as the senior doctor evacuates the area and calls Saket alone. He informs him that Amjad is no more and the treatment is to avoid his family from breaking down in the emergency ward. He asks Saket to take them out and inform them. Amjad gets his final blow. His brother is dead because of him. Just when he thought he had got rid of his guilt about being unable to save his wife, he is reminded of his masculine impotence in saving his brother. Saket takes Amjad’s family out as the ward door closes on Amjad, physically and metaphorically.
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