“I have failed to understand the music, but I still sing it, much like other things I do such as living a life.”
Murshada is still lingering in a traumatic state of incomprehensible grief even after a year of her husband’s demise. She was just 16 when she first had a glimpse of her husband Shahad, a Trinamool Congress worker in south Calcutta. Shahad’s involvement with party work took him to diverse corners of the state making his presence a deepened desire of her wife. At home, Murshada helped her mother-in law and her brother-in law in the family business of making jute baskets. There weren’t many instances where she could find her husband within her sight or even near her physical limits. However, the mere fact of his good health and purposeful life helped her in posing a brave face against her destiny.
This symbolic presence of Shahad in Murshada’s conscience was all she ever wanted. Although, much like her desires, this platonic satisfaction also deserted her, pushing her to a state of nothingness. She was robbed of her most valuable possession by no one but the patron itself. On the afternoon of 29th April 2015, Murshada was exposed to a truth over which she would have preferred death. It was a postcard from Jadavpur , dated 4th January 2015, that said
Shahad has been killed by an anonymous person, allegedly from an opposition party, during a violent youth clash in the city. Party is very sorry for his loss. We have cremated his body and have sent his ashes to Benaras. At this time of grief, we would like to support your family by giving party membership to Shahad’s younger brother Abdul.
This post card was supposed to be accompanied by a promissory note of Rs. 10,000 which never reached Murshada. It’s hard to recall how she reacted to the news for she couldn’t read the letter by herself. She thought this might be a letter from her husband informing her of his visit in order to give her time for homecoming preparations. It was the piece of paper and not the words that guided Murshada’s emotions. Delighted and quick in her every step, she hurriedly went to the nearby raashan shop (departmental store) to get the letter read out to her by the presiding lala (shopkeeper). Lala didn’t take notice of her constant sweating and gasping for breath. He just read it.
I will not write anything about what followed after this ghastly revelation as my diction is too amateur to decipher that state of dejectedness. All I can say is that it was not the paper but the words that guided her emotions.
It has been more than a year since the demise of Shahad leeched every ounce of wanting out of Murshada’s life. However, time could not heal anything as time itself became irrelevant. It went unnoticed and uncounted. Murshada’s life had stopped behaving from that very day she was robbed of her conscience. She had dissected her presence into a dichotomy of a dead life dwelling in a mere existence.
While leaving her house I asked her to try to move on and forget about her past to which she replied:
“My past is my present and my future. I’ve been intertwined within this peculiar reality of life that inflicts only harm but no pain. I’m not appalled by my past because I know that it has been a victory to none. A war cannot be won by killing people. A victory in a war has relevance only when it is grappled out of the living and the living can see that defeat.”