Treish Tamouk Or Chaai- Paani is a work of pure fiction . The names and characters appearing in this story have no connection whatsoever with any
person either living or dead.
BY AVTAR MOTA
Moti Lal looked at the new ten-rupee notes packet. He remembered how his wife Sarla Ji had been demanding new currency notes for ensuing Shivratri. He too wanted to give new ten-rupee notes as KHARACH ( Pocket Money ) to his children on auspicious Shivratri day.
“ How happy Sarla Ji will be if I give this packet to her ?”
He immediately placed the ten-rupee notes packet in his pocket and assured Ali Mohd Khanday that he shall do the needful on suggested lines.
Farooq Ahmed had been listening to this conversation from the window silently. He felt puzzled. Strange ideas came to his mind.
“ Is he the same Moti Lal who talks of integrity and honesty? ”
“This office is a gang of thieves .”
“ At least I shall not be like them ”
“What do these people think about themselves? They think I do not know what is NC or NCP. ” and then he suddenly cried
“ I am clear. Wait, you thieves. Wait for You Mr Bhat. You, Mr Moti Lal. Here I come .”
He rushed to executive engineer’s room and opened the table drawer which was unlocked. Taking out Bhat Sahib’s diary and pen, he prefixed alphabet N to CP written on some pages. In a fit of his anger, everything in Bhat sahib’s diary was now NCP.
Listening to Farooq’s cry, both Ali Mohd Khanday and Moti Lal came out of the room and saw him rushing towards the road.
For about a week thereafter, no one knew the whereabouts of Farooq. He never reported to the office for his duties. When Farooq did not turn up, Moti Lal sent peon Nazir to his residence where Farooq’s mother informed him that the boy had fallen a victim to some black magic (Tassaruff) done by some relatives. She suspected her traditional rival Mokhta (her late husband’s sister) as having brought this misery to her family. When Peon Nazir met Farooq he found him dumb, disoriented and lost.
“He does not talk. Someone has stolen his speech. That day when he returned from his office he cried loudly and spoke in English. We were all terrified of his behaviour. He has not been eating since then. He keeps going up and down these staircases and rarely sleeps. Do you know any good Peer Sahib? Help me out, brother. This widow is in grave trouble. ” Farooq’s Mother said to peon Nazir.
And then Ali Mohd Khanday also was not seen for about a week. When he visited the office he met Moti Lal and informed him that he had to go to Jammu to meet the minister as the name of his daughter did not figure in the list of teachers cleared by the government. He sought to know about his bills and Moti Lal advised him to meet Bhat Sahib directly.
“Jenab, my bills are pending. I need money badly. I have to make various payments. I am in grave financial trouble ” said Ali Mohd Khanday to the executive engineer.
“ When did I say that bills shall not be cleared ?” said the executive engineer.
“What is the delay then? I have paid the full commission demanded by you,” said Ali Mohd. Khanday.
“Hold on! do you think I tell lies? Look! these papers speak. See against your bills I have written NCP ”said the executive engineer.
“But that day you wrote CP. When I pay the entire commission in advance, how it can be noted as NCP or no commission paid. It was CP or commission paid previously. How on earth shall I pay rupees sixty-five thousand again? Bhat Sahib, I do not have a hundred rupee note in my pocket.” said Ali Mohd Khanday.
“ Why have you come here in case you can’t settle your commission ? ” said Bhat Sahib.
After this discussion, Ali Mohd Khanday kept silent but his face turned red. He went to the toilet of Bhat Sahib’s room. When he came out he was without his shoes. Possibly he had kept the shoes inside the toilet. He picked up the water glass from Bhat Sahib’s table and threw it on the floor. Opening the door of Bhat Sahib’s room violently he rushed downstairs. There he removed his trousers and threw them on the ground and laughed loudly. Again he Went up the office stairs and came rushing down. He tore open his shirt after he drank water from the public tap on the road.
When driver Pal Singh approached him and tried to persuade him to come upstairs, he violently pushed him aside crying:
“ Sher e Kashmir Ka Kya Irshaad. Hindu, Muslim Sikh Ittehaad.CP Murdabad.NCP Murdabad. Treasury Bill Hai Hai. Teacher list Hai Hai. All Jammu and Kashmir Zindabad.Aadhi Roti Khayega Gandhi Ji Ko Layega. Gandhi Ji Zindabad. ”
He kept looking towards the sky and repeating these lines.
From the Balcony of the office building, Moti Lal, Stenographer, Storekeeper and senior assistant Ghulam Hassan looked at each other in surprise and Nazir Ahmed silently kept executive engineer’s seal in his coat pocket.
Avtar Mota is a blogger, writes for local and national papers and journals