I am sitting aboard a rickshaw. An auto before me. A Maruti behind me. A wall on my right. A hardware shop on my left. The rickshaw was stuck. A local traffic 'jam' ahead. As usual. These days, during the course of a journey, if you never stayed stuck at the same place for a few minutes at least, I’ll doubt if your journey was complete.
Anyway, as I say, I’m stuck. As usual. I do not lose patience (like you do), as usual. I look into the shop (something you’d never do; you’d crane your neck to try and gauge how long you’ll be ‘marooned’ there).
The shop has a blue polished table for a counter. White-washed walls. Black shelves. Iron nails, iron clamps, steel chains, perforated black discs, ropes, etc, etc. A man with a moustache in a half-buttoned gray shirt sitting on achair, reclining against an iron stand. Two boys, aged around six or seven (I guess) standing low behind the counter, their backs to the man. Their eyes fixed on the slender wooden blocks arranged curiously over one another on the blue polished table top. The mouths in random motion.
I remove the headphones from my ears.
“Ami conttactorr...ami Howraa beej baniyechi…tui terrorichht…tui Howraa beej bhangbi..theek achhe?” (I’m a contractor, I’ve built the Howrah bridge. You’re a terrorist, you’ll break it. Okay?)
“Na thik nei. Ami keno kharap hobo? Tui terrorichhst hobi, ami conttactorr hobo.” (no, not okay. Why will I be the bad one? You’ll be the terrorist, I’ll be the contractor)
“arrey na na tui bujhchhish na. Amra dujonei kharap. Ami toke asholey nijei bhangte bolechhi beej-ta. Jaate amay Gorment abar taka dey beej bananor jonno!” (Oh no, you don’t understand. We both are bad. Actually, I myself asked you to break it, so that the Government again gives me money to re-build it!)
“Theek ache taholey.” (Then it’s okay.)
“DHEERRUUMM BBBRRMM DHEESH DHEESH DUMM!!”
(The wooden blocks lay scattered over the blue polished table.)
“Ebar tui Gorment hobi, ami conttactorr hobo.” (Now you be the Government, I’ll be the contractor)
“Na na, tokeo kharap hote hobe.” (No, no, even you’ve got to be bad)
“Achchha teek ache, tahole Gorment abr kichhu bhalo lok-der mere tader taka conttatorr ke debe? Theek ache?” (Okay, then the Government kills good people and steals their money, and gives it to the contractor. Okay?)
“Kintu bhalo lok gulo tahole ke-ke hobe? Khali toh ami ar tui achhichh!” (But who’ll play the good people? It’s only you and me here!)
“Taholey toh eta ar khelte parbo naa...tahole notun khela bhabi dara…..” (Then we can’t play this anymore. Let’s think of a new game.)
“Na, na etai khelbo ami, etai khelbo ami…” (No, no, I will this game only, this game only.)
The rickshaw proceeds on. Their voices die out. Or, do they?