Phantom Speaking

Sujoy Bhattacharya

© Copyright 2019 by Sujoy Bhattacharya

Photo of an elephant.

What should I do with you ? You are both my pride and stain too ! I can’t discard you . And at the same time I can’t help holding you with the supple tongs of filial love and affection. You are my pride because you are my first baby – though illegitimate one . I decided to make you see the light of the earth . I nurtured my premarital pregnancy to taste the palate of first motherhood . Your illegal father objected . But I didn’t think it wise to smother you at the stage of embryo! You are a glaring stigma on my character because in our society virgin mothers are treated as a quean . My mother took me to a remote place away from the acquainted circle of my family and friends and cursed my adamant stubbornness not to be fostered to feticide ! My witch mom made a malignant plan to dump you in the near -by forest floor – to be feasted on with the wild canines .

My mom hatched a clandestine scheme – a terrific strategy to get rid of you .She knew it very well that I would at no cost accept estrangement with you . She drugged me and furtively snatched you from the fortified castle of my cradle and banished you to the jungle to perish …..!

Lying on the mattress of dry leaves you were sleeping with placid calmness of security . The jungle environment delivered a sigh of helplessness . A tiny ,wild fruit of unknown kind dropped on your soft and supple face and you cried out a shrill cry demanding my deliberate help assuming you were as if in the secured refuge of my lap .

I got back my senses and looked for your warm touch . There was no trace of you ! My mother rushed in and blew solace on my forehead with the story that you died of black fever and she had sent you to sleep for ever in the grave . I believed the story and sobbed soundlessly to mourn over your eternal departure to the realm of death .

Your deafening cry churned the heart of the dense forest . A tumultuous haste and hurry echoed in the kingdom of the forest . A crestfallen elephant was lost in the panorama of recollection of its cub died a couple of days back . Your trenchant cry crashed its huge pinna and she rushed behind the wind to locate the source of your outcry . She turned up to your vicinity and examined you with its tiny , tearful eyes .Her trunk felt an agitated impulse to caress your body reddened with incessant crying . She toed you up with her tender and affectionate trunk and swayed you in the air with a view to pacifying you . Her animal motherhood strained every nerve to give you comfort of a human mom . You stopped crying magically and she trumpeted in flying colors . She advanced to her den pacing jolly strides . You got your eyes sewed with sleep .

Other elephants in the rendezvous cast a curious look at the queer creature clung to her trunk . She paid no heed to the askance faces of her community members and kept you on the hard bed of a wild jackfruit tree as carefully as if you were a fragile glass . You were awestricken – lost your capacity to cry and went to sleep again closing your slumber – inebriated eyes .

Your foster mother examined your calm ,sleeping face with motherly vision and felt that you were thirsty . She again brought you down on the forest floor and lowered her nipple to feed you milk . She bathed your mouth with drops of milk and your dry lips got moistened and your tiny tongue licked languidly the sticky fluid . You survived magically and slowly and steadily the jungle environment you got adapted to ! Your new mom kept vigilant watch on you and no hostile hurdles could hurt your infant torso .

It was a moonlit night . You were playing amidst of your companions keeping sleepless night for your security . You have now earned love and affection of other elephants of the herd . Your elated smile , irate weeping , sportive movement of agile limbs made them all your fan . They took you as a tangible toy to play with pranks and laughter . A wild cat made a feline attempt to attack you . It entered the den tiptoed throwing dust into the eyes of the innocent elephants . A young elephant saved you using presence of mind with timely alacrity . A flippant monkey came to toy with your tender body . But a uproarious trumpet scared him away . A battalion of red ants made a gallant invasion on your body to feast on . An intelligent elephant sprinkled water on your body to drown the insects with a devilish delight!

You were being attended with majestic importance and royal hospitality . But your destiny was knitting a knotty plan to do away with your existence from the earth . Capricious weather of the forest proved to be horribly detrimental to your human body . A malignant pneumatic fever persistently waited on your flimsy body and you could not bear it with your meagre resistant power . You were deteriorating every instance. You put your new family members to utter dilemma . They could not think it out what to be done to bring your  physical condition back to normalcy . They applied herbal juice to cure your ailments . A black curtain of moroseness overshadowed the delightful faces of the elephant community. You stopped breathing in and breathing out . Your elephant mom realized what happened to you . She well anticipated that you were no more vibrant with life . For the second time she felt the pain of estrangement with her beloved son . She lamented with lunatic impulse rolling her body on the dust .She was beyond all solace . They collectively decided to bury your lifeless body in the bog of the forest . It was a strange funeral procession . Almost every inhabitant of the forest joined the procession to make it a memorable one . Your elephant mother only kept her confined within the canopy of tearful mourning!

You might think it impossible for me to see and describe what was taking place in the forest . I too could not tolerate the shock of being separated from you . I decided to do away with my life saturated with bereavement .I committed suicide and at the time of killing myself I made an importunate request to my god – “ Please give me the power after my death to see as a phantom what would be happening to my purloined son” . Now both my son and I dwell in the same place – in the realm of souls and spirits!

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