A memoir of Mr. Abos Dudar - an unlikely member of the Indian freedom struggle
|I never know what prompted me to write these reminisces of mine. I suppose that as senility tightens its remorseless grip over my mind, I am inclined to give an account of myself. A justification as to why I existed in the first place. I was never particularly religious or spiritual in my youth, but old age has increasingly made me question the whys of my life. The whats and the hows have been dealt with - either with or without my consent, to my pleasure or my consternation, but the whys remain - like unwelcome guests refusing to leave long after the last dinner plates have been cleared away. A more prosaic reason is that I have a lot of time on my hands now. I retired a wealthy man, wealthy only in terms of my bank balance, not in terms of family or friends. I write this because I am a lonely man. This notebook is my desperate cry of longing, sweet nothings with the woman I never grew old with, lessons to children I never sired, banter with friends never made.
And so I hereby appoint you, dear reader, to be my wife, my children and my friends. I will never know in what circumstances you find this notebook of mine. Perhaps you are the caretaker of the old-age home clearing my room not long after my ashes have been scattered over the Arabian sea. Perhaps you are the scrap deal who has been sold the notebook at Rs. 10/- a kg. (if so, sir, you have gained a literary masterpiece for no more than Rs. 15/-). Perhaps you are the precocious, but poor child whose mother has purchased this notebook from said scrap dealer. Perhaps you are a bored inspector leafing through the notebook found in the arthritic hands of the suicide at the old-age home (open-and-shut case, but the paperwork is a killer!). Perhaps you are an enthusiastic archaeologist who stumbles upon this notebook in the year 2500 AD, providing you a tantalising glimpse into India as it was hundreds of years ago.
Or maybe this notebook is destined never to be opened, but destroyed. Frankly, I would not care even if that were to be the case. I write for myself. I write to make sense of my life. I write to steady my shaking hands. I write to lessen the pain in my aching joints. I write to while away my time. I write to that I can meet God on somewhat equal terms - as a fellow creator.
Before you plunge into these hair-raising memoirs of mine, I must confess to being a very primitive creature indeed. While heroes of other books might impress you with their single-minded devotion or passion or some outstanding skill, I fear I have nothing much to offer you. I freely confess to being quite ordinary. I never sought adventure, I never craved for excitement. But somehow, adventure and excitement managed to find me unerringly - with hysterical, tragic and occasionally momentous consequences. Without further ado, let me present the life and times of Mr. Abos Dudar (2 December 1899 - probably sometime in 1991).