In Search of A Job
In Search of a Job
In Search of A Job
When I got off the train it was 9 o’clock at night. The entire town seemed to be busy in full swing. The colouring bulbs were playing hide and seek in front of the cinema hall. Men and women were walking ahead in their respective duties. The Station Hall was overcrowded. Some were getting on the train and some were getting off the train and some were waiting for the next train to come. The station was small but neat and charming. Only from the southern corner beside the hall foul smell of urine struck at my nose. Standing there I looked around as if I was a newcomer to that station. But as I delayed so the night was deepening. Then I asked one standing beside me, “ Please, brother where is the bus station?”
“To the south corner of the town. It will take about twenty minutes if you walk on foot.” I asked him nothing more. I only said, “Thank you.” And came out of the hall and called in a rickshaw and got into it. I gestured to him with my finger to drive me to the bus station. Within only about five minutes the rickshaw took me to the bus stand. I got off the rickshaw and paying off the fare I looked forward. I saw some minibusses. One was about to leave the station. I ran to it and asked the handyman, “Where would the bus go?” The handyman replied, “To Mathurapur.”
Then I went to another bus and asked one who was standing near the bus, “Could I get a bus to Chandrapur?” “No”, he looked at his watch and said, “It is 9.30. The last bus to Chandrapur had left the station at 8.30”
“How much distance is it to Chandrapur from here?” I asked. “About six kilometres. If you walk on foot it will take not more than an hour.” He said.
‘Which is the way that I should walk through to Chandrapur?’ I asked. He held up his index finger and said to me, “Have you seen the main road ahead of us? Go through it northward for about five minutes and then you will see that the road has diverged into two. Then take the right turn and walk through straight. It will lead you to Chandrapur.”
After his suggestion, I walked on in a hurry. As I was going ahead, the town lagged behind and the light of the electricity also lagged behind me. I was walking through a road sunk in darkness. I saw that two old men with a lady were walking ahead of me. But going ahead for a furlong they entered a home beside the road. I walked on alone. A man riding on a bicycle crossed me and a young boy with a bag in his hand seemed to pass me in a hurry as if he would catch a train at the eleventh hour. I was walking on. As I walked ahead so the night and darkness also became darker and deeper. As it was so dark so was the cool, as if it was the month of December. A light wind was blowing southward. It cut my skin heavily. I was trembling, though I put on boots on my feet, scarf on my throat, and a coat upon the woolen shirt. Suddenly I was startled and stopped still out of fear and noticed that it was a flock of foxes crossing the road. Then I felt the need for a torch. I said to myself, “How had it have been useful if I carried a torch with me!” I made angry with myself and said to myself again, “Why had I come to such a strange place even on such a dreadful night?” But all my anger became futile. I only regretted my untimely visit to such a strange place. But what is done cannot be made undone. After then I pumped my spirit and began to walk on as fast as I could. But as I was walking ahead the scene of Shahin and his wife that I met at the Guwahati Rail Station came to my mind.
Shahin was my classmate for six years from class V to class X. We passed the H. S. L. C. Examination in the same year. I got admission to a college. But as his economic condition was worse he could not continue his studies. He spent a year doing something at home. But the next year his parents left Barpeta for Dibrugarh. Along with his parents, he went there and began to live permanently. Then our mutual communication came to an end. Ten years have passed but I have heard no word from him. Neither had he comes to meet me nor did I go there to meet him. Already during those ten years, he had once come to Barpeta for an urgent cause but he did not meet me. Within these ten years, I have taken my B. A. but got no job. I have appeared to many interviews but all my interviews fell flat. One day about six months ago, I went to Guwahati to meet for an interview for the post of clerk in an office. At early 8 o’clock I got off the train and I was in a hurry to my destination. I was about to cross the corridor of the Ticket Counter. Then all of a sudden I felt that someone had kept his hand on my right shoulder and called, “Masrur.” I looked at his face but hardly could I recognize him.
“Have you not been able to recall me?” He asked.
O, Shahin!”- I wandered and said, “Are you still alive? I think you have died ever.”
No, friend, I am alive to enjoy life to the lees. Had I died it would have been better enough. Now I wish to live long.” He said with a smiling face.
With him, by his left side, there was a beautiful woman wearing a rosette saree. At first sight, she seemed to be charming and lovely. Her two chins were like the beak of a parrot. Her two cheeks seemed to be red like a cherry. She was neither robust nor thin. Through the hole of her short veil, the black and long hair lock appeared to me. I asked Shahin, ‘“Who is she?
She is Priti, my partner,” he said. Shahin introduced me to her.
At first, I could not recognize Shahin as his physical appearance had changed considerably. He was a lean and thin youth during his school life. Now he is a stout young man of thirty, with black, dense but short handsome beard and mustache.
‘What are you doing now, friend?”- I asked.
“Something like a business.” He said.
After this, he began to say, “After leaving Barpeta, I got admission to a college in Dibrughar and passed my H. S. Examination somehow. I wished to continue my studies further, but poverty stood in front of our family as an impenetrable block and I had to stop there. Fortunately, I took to a business and now through it we have been leading our life well.” He then lit a cigar and asked me, “What are you?”
“Nothing, I do nothing. I had taken birth with a handful of nothingness. I have passed B. A. five years ago and since then I have appeared in many interviews but nowhere I could meet my luck. Today also I am going to appear for an interview,” I said.
“Today also! I can assure you that your interview will prove to be futile.” He said.
He looks at his watch and continued to say, “If you are wise and wish to live like a man then give up the idea of getting a government job and take to business.”
But what business I will do and how I will do it where I have nothing- no money, no land, no capital”, I replied.
For business, no capital is needed but only technique and willpower.” He said.
He again looked at his watch and said, “Friend, I have no time to talk with you. I am going to Delhi. The Rajdhani Express is about to start. I want to leave you here. Please visit my home in Dibrugarh. I will show you the path of business. If you like I will make you my business partner and then you will see yourself a changed man within only six months. Saying so, he took out a piece of paper from his pocket and marked the path of direction leading to his home and handing that piece of paper over my hand he bade goodbye.
Priti smiled and requested me to visit their home.
As they were leaving me I thought to myself, “How lucky Shahin is!” Certainly, it was lucky to get such an amiable, fascinating wife in life.”
At about ten I reached his home. I became amazed to see his spacious palace-like building full of decorated furniture. I thought what could be his business? Then a woman about twenty gave me food. I devoured gluttonously as I was much hungry. Then I asked him, “Where is your Priti?” He replied, “Priti? She was my temporary partner. I have sent her to Maharashtra. Friend, now go to sleep. We would talk about all in the morning.”
The next morning after having a grand breakfast, we sat face to face in the drawing room and I asked, “What is about your business?”
He began to say, “My business is a simple one. To speak frankly, I do business with women. I have some procurers in the nook and corner of northeast India. They collect women especially mature girls of poor parents or poor widows and I sent them to Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bombay or some other places in India. Some of them are given in marriage with some Hindu widowers and most of them are sold in brothels. It is a risky business but there is plenty of money. We earn from fifty thousand to two lacs per. head.”
Then turning to me he resumed, “Now I ask you to join me in my business as my partner. You have to collect one or two such girls and in turn, you will get at least one lac per month. Then you will see that you are no more a poverty-stricken street boy but an oil-rich Arab.”
I became dumb-stricken and could say nothing. I looked outside through the window and saw that the sky is full of dark clouds. It would rain soon. Then I left his home instantly and said, “I don’t like to get involved in a business like yours.” I came out of his home and felt lonely in the vast universe. 0 0 0
In Search of A Job
N.B. The short story ‘In Search of A Job’ originally belongs to the book ‘The Fugitive Father and Other Stories‘ by Menonim Menonimus.
In Search of A Job
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