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August 23, 2017

The Story of Him - V

The father came rushing up to the front room and plunked on the sofa. Moustache bristling, body in sweat and his silent anger was enough to compel one to remain hidden from the room. It must have been a bad day today. As it is every day for him. Early morning, he walks out into the black coal and comes back covered in coal dust by lunch. And each day, he walks in anger. Almost six feet tall, with a foreboding presence, he scares everyone out of their wits with one twirl of his moustache. And it has always been like this for him. Scaring the world but deeply tired himself.

RS was young at that time, not more than five, yet with an increasing scope of memory patterns that took in all the sights the world had to throw at me. Those images of his childhood are so vivid that it seems like today itself. The father coming in, the mother, an equally strong person soothing him down, RS and the sister cowered behind the curtains.

As RS recalls, that day however, things were different. He ate his lunch quickly, talking in hushed tones to my mother and almost as soon as he arrived, he was ready to return, not even waiting to say some few loving words to us. We waved him bye and stood silent. Mother was worried and though her voice did not waver, she mentioned a 'gherao'. Gherao ohh!!! Another long day and a night full of worries. He would be surrounded by hundreds of angry villagers all the while soothing them not to make any disastrous move. They had all converged upon his office claiming compensation for their displacement from ancestral lands, a demand that was beyond the powers of my all powerful father to settle. But he had to take the brunt of their fury, for he was the face of authority here and matters were totally for him to solve.