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Akaal Bodhon

She felt like she was set on fire. The poison slowly spreading through her veins across he body into the cells and tissues. Corrupting her, tearing her cells apart. Writhing in pain, she could hear the dhaak outside, and chants hailing the divine feminine. In a muddle of blood she lay helpless.

Putul was dressed to kill. After all, pujo in her village is grand and many urbane men visit their village for the “jatra” on Ekadoshi. This was her chance, if she could impress, new avenues would open before her, the bird would be set free from the cage. A few drops of the “essence” on her neck and she was out to try her luck.

Rajeev and Lekha visit their village every year during the Pujo. Into its 225th year, Chanditola’s thakurbari pujo is famous among villages in the vicinity too. Rajeev’s grandfather was in charge of it. They were married for 3 years now and the honeymoon was not yet over. This annual trip rejuvenated their relationship.

It was a  Sasthi morning. Clear skies, clouds flying across the blue emptiness, just like Tagore had described. A perfect beginning to the festival of celebrating feminity.

The manager of the “jatra party” called Putul inside his office. She knew how it worked. She was prepared. The door closed. She closed her eyes. “Durgaa Maai Ki Jai” an idol arrived at some puja pandal.

Lekha was tired after the Bodhon Pujo. She changed into her night clothes and crashed on bed. Rajeev slowly caressed her back. His touch soothed her nerves. She was gently moving towards the other world when a pull brought her back to senses. Rajeev was vigorously kissing her. The passion was unmatched. She reciprocated but her body gave in to the tired bones and she withdrew herself. A moment of pause and Rajeev started playing with her again. Lekha protested. But, her requests fell on deaf ears….

Putul had not opened her eyes. Not even once when the herd of wolves had unleashed their hungry teeth on her raw flesh. She did not utter a word of pain when the hungry dogs piereced her repeatedly. She knew this was the beginning. A stepping stone. Success and glory was waiting on the other side of the door. She would forget this. No one would know. Bot even her mind.

Wreathing in pain, Lekha got up. Maa Durga’s “pran protistha” was done. Rajeev was supervising the preparations like a devout Hindu.

Putul’s dead body was later found near the ghat on Dashami. Her throat was slit.

No one save Rajeev’s grandmother had noticed a drop of tear in Maa Durga’s eyes when the the world was celebrating her smile on Sasthi.

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