The people in the wetland area just off the shining Sector V has been spending sleepless nights amidst gunshots. The clashes that had begun from Durgapuja immersion spilled on to Lakhsmi Puja. Police and journalists made a beeline for the sundry village whose name had seldom been heard before.
Divided on the party lines, elders of the locality measured each word before it tumbled out of their lips.
Three days had passed after a man was killed, an unclaimed body was found in the area, women cried of harassment and politicians rolled out sops. Journalists waited to dig their exclusive. Tired after daylong interviews of residents of the area, a colleague drifted away for a fag.
he noticed two girls, hardly 4-5 year old, digging mud from a mould with a mollusc shell. Trying to forget political jargon for a while, the colleague started chatting with them. The girls welcomed his company after he helped them wipe their running noses and dug a bit of mud effectively. After revealing their plan to build a dollhouse with the clay, they told her the number of coloured pencils they have kept hidden from their brothers. One of them complained that her mother has brought a new school bag for her brother while she has to carry all her books in a plastic bag.
Together they chased a florescent butterfly. And then, the bullets rattled again making their mother pull them inside their house.

Soma Basu


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