Good Reads: Chandausi Junction - Suraahi

Good Reads: Chandausi Junction - Suraahi

Here's this weekend's snippet from Chapter-4 of Chandausi Junction. The story is titled SURAAHI and is based in the city of Banaras in the year 1948.

Banaras, 1948

As Prakash was concentrating hard on studies in his hostel room, he was once again disturbed by the loud voices coming from the floor below. “What the hell.” he thought. This was a routine that used to take place once or twice every week. Hemant, who used to stay in the room just below Prakash’s room, was an active member of the students’ union and his room was the adda (venue) of all the like-minded students.

They would often meet and discuss the prevailing political climate in the country, and with the university elections around the corner, these meetings to discuss their strategies were becoming more frequent. In fact, Hemant had asked Prakash also a couple of times to think something about the country, apart from his studies, and devote some time to these social and national issues, but Prakash had flatly refused. Coming from a service class background, he was very focused on excelling in his studies and helping his family by getting a good job. Hemant on the other hand was from a zamindar family, but instead of leading a life of comfort, wanted to contribute to the country by entering politics.

As the number of students in Hemant’s room kept on increasing, the sounds of discussion gave rise to noises of slogan shouting. Finally, when Prakash couldn’t take it anymore, he got up and started looking for something. He finally found an old, broken suraahi kept in his room. He took it to the window of his room and dropped it down, right in front of the door of Hemant’s room.

“BHADAAK”

The suraahi crashed with a big bang, thereby disturbing the meeting in Hemant’s room.

“What happened?” “What was that?” “Who has thrown it?”

As the din of loud noises gave rise to these questions being asked in a hushed tone, Prakash went to his chair and started studying again. After some time, there was a knock on his room’s door. He opened the door and saw Hemant standing with 2 of his friends.

“Is it you who has thrown the suraahi in front of my room?” asked Hemant with his eyebrows raised.

“Yes” replied Prakash fearlessly.

“Why?” asked Hemant.

“Because your everyday drama of political discussion was disturbing me and I have to study,” said Prakash.

“It’s not Drama. We are doing something very important for the country and society, unlike you, who is here only to get a job with a fat salary by which only you and your family may benefit.” quipped Hemant.

“I don’t know why your wealthy family has sent you here, but my parents have sent me here so that I study hard and help them. They have toiled very hard for bringing me up and I won’t let their efforts go waste,” answered Prakash.

“How can you be so selfish. Think about the country, about the society.” taunted Hemant.

“Only people like you, who have got all the facilities and benefits, can put up the pretense of thinking about the country and society, while in reality, you want to enter politics to fill up your coffers. We, service class people need to think of our bread and butter for which we work day in and day out.” countered Prakash.

“How dare you?” threatened Hemant, taking a step towards him………….

-- Shankar Sahay & Preeti Sahay

(You can get a copy of Chandausi Junction at the leading online and off-line book-stores like Universal Booksellers-Lucknow, Harmony the book shop-Varanasi, Garg Brothers-Allahabad, Browser Library-Chandigarh, Om Book Store, Delhi, Bahrisons, Delhi, Book Ganga-Pune, Read on rent-Jabalpur, Rathi’s Media Centre-Jodhpur etc. The book is also available on kindle.)

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