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Broken Dreams

Broken Dreams

Sentinel Digital Desk

Nabajyoti Bhuyan

Finally Bhabesh convinced his parents about his plan to move to Guwahati for a new livelihood. At first they were very much reluctant to allow him to leave home but there were no other options left. Bhabesh completed his bachelor in Arts two years back and couldn't manage to get any job. His parents were ailing and apart from him there were no other earning member in his family. He also had the responsibility of his sister Majoni who was still in college. Bhabesh asked his father if he could manage some two lakhs rupees so that he could buy a small car and run in taxi service. He said, "If I can buy a car then I will independently earn a handsome amount every month in Guwahati." His father said, "But where I can get this huge amount? You know very well about our condition." Bhabesh said, "The paddy land near our school has not been used for years. If you mortgage it then we can easily get the required amount."

After repeated requests from his son, Bhabesh's father agreed to give the land for mortgage. And one day they found a person who was ready to give their required amount. After getting the amount Bhabesh planned to buy a small car for his purpose. In the meantime, he took training in driving four wheelers from his friend and managed a commercial license from the local DTO office. A few days later, Bhabesh sought blessings from his parents and went to buy his car and tried his hand at this new car for some days and then shifted to Guwahati.

Bhabesh's mobile blinked with a new request from his prospective passenger, his first ride with this new profession. He was so happy that he could not resist himself from calling the number about the location. "Where are you sir? Where do you want to go?" he asked. The customer replied, "Will go to Ganeshguri" it was indeed a good start for Bhabesh as the distance was almost ten kms long. The starting day was really good for Bhabesh as he got lots of short trips and earned bonus from them, At nine, after 12 hours of tireless exertion he went to his room. Before that he parked his car in a secured parking place. Bhabesh was famished and quickly prepared his food, had it and lay quiet, somnolent after some time.

A ray of bright sunlight broke Bhabesh's deep sleep. He thought for a while, "Yesterday was really a good start, will this continue in the coming days?'' He promptly got up from his bed and prepared for his daily endeavour, starting by washing his car. He loved to pamper his new love – his car. Before starting his day, he offered prayers to the almighty and went out for another struggling day. Every day was almost the same for Bhabesh. He woke up early in the morning, then washed his car, had breakfast in the nearby shop and roamed all around the city with his passenger.

Almost a month had passed but for Bhabesh, all happened in the blink of an eye. He thought of sending some money to his father and went to bank and called him. He said, "Deuta, I have transferred 5,000 rupees to your account, please confirm me whether you have received it or not." He then told Majoni, "I have sent some money, you can take admission with it. If you need more, please inform me, I will somehow manage.'' He also talked to his mother and told her about his new experiences in this new city. His mother warned him to be more careful while dealing with passengers, especially after dark.

Bhabesh's colleague Prabhat told him about the Assam Bandh and warned him not to ply his taxi on that day as anything could happen. "It is a very serious matter and all our indigenous organisations are against it and called for a bandh," said Prabhat. But Bhabesh didn't take it seriously and said, "It is a regular affair in our State now. We poor people often suffer from these bandhs, and rich people usually get an excuse for enjoying a holiday!" "But don't dare to oppose it, otherwise you will be in problem," Prabhat said.

The bandh was on Monday but it seemed like a Sunday, no commercial vehicles were seen on the roads and almost all shops were closed. A few people thronged on the roads waiting for city bus or autorikshaw but in vain. Some private cars were seen on the roads and the shopping malls were open without any customer. Almost all road side vendors and tea sellers had vanished. Children were playing cricket on the everyday busy roads; the city was so serene like never before!

Bhabesh didn't pay heed to Prabhat's advice and took his car out to the road and eagerly waited for passenger. Suddenly he got a passenger's request for an outstation trip. As it was a bandh, all other cabs were not available so the fare was very lucrative. Bhabesh received the call and readily agreed for the trip and headed towards the passengers location. They left Guwahati smoothly and drove towards upper Assam. The customer asked Bhabesh, "Why did you take out your cab today, aren't you afraid of these bandh supporters?'' "No we are locals, they will not harm us. We are running our cars out of compulsion, not for fun," replied Bhabesh.

The passenger also had some emergency in his native place and so he was bound to leave for that place, without caring about the soaring fares. They talked to each other for a while. Bhabesh played some soothing old melodies in his music system and they almost covered half of their journey. Suddenly the car stopped harshly, a mob of about hundred people stopped the car. One of their leader asked, "Don't you know that today we had called a Bandh for a very genuine issue?" "Yes we know but this gentleman has some emergency. His father is not well, that's why we are travelling towards his home," Bhabesh replied. Another one asked, "Do you know each other?" "No," Bhabesh replied, "Then why are you advocating for him? You don't have any respect towards our State, society and our identity. Otherwise you would have not opposed the Bandh. You have to face the consequences for not obeying us. You will be punished"

Someone started pelting stones at their car and others followed him. Bhabesh and the passenger somehow escaped from the scene and ran towards a safer place. Bhabesh's heart sank in sorrow when he saw the mob was destroying his car with some sticks and then one over enthusiast guy set the car on fire! Bhabesh couldn't do anything except watch it helplessly. All his unfulfilled dreams faded away with the smoke of the burning car!

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