Fiction: Mr. Hore

Abu Siddik

- Abu Siddik

“How’re you Mr. Hore?”
“I’m fine, and going finer day by day!”
“Is it a home? How can you live here? No furniture, no phone, no T V or paper!” Mr. Bhutia followed each nook of the hut and grudged.
“After Lachmi’s death I’ve been a minimalist,” claimed Hore with a funny look. “Oh! Bhutia I have a surprise! Wait, I come.” And he hurriedly went to an attached tin shed and bought a bottle of K5. “Elixir! Bhutia elixir. I managed it from Phuntschling days before.”
He set a plastic table and two chairs at the yard. There were no flowers. A dead tree stood behind the hut, and some aged nut trees here and there swaying heads in glee. It was afternoon. Outside the tea garden was dazzling at the crimson light of the setting sun. 
“Minimalist! What?” Mr. Bhutia sipped and asked. “Uhu…heavenly! Hore,  it’s not liquid, manna!” He smacked lips and twisted face, and his small eyes glittered.
“I gave away all belongings to the poor villagers. Everything…clothes, furniture, utensils. And I didn’t have a T V, paper, mobile, even a bed. I lay on a bare cot, no pillow, no blanket. I cook food, and kept a dozen pigeons,” Mr. Hore flatly said and looked happy.
“And you, Mr. Bhutia?”
“A wonderful life I lead!  My son and girl settled in America. Once a year we visit them. They have wonderful kids who can hardly speak their mother tongue Dzongkha. Only English, you know…, they are so good! ” Sparks of pride exude from his smooth plump face.
“And the rest of the year?” demanded Mr. Hore in a surprise voice.
“Why? I’ve money lending business, you know. Morning I lend and evening I collect with interest. People are good, but some poor tribals are not regular. After day’s work they drink haria (a deshi liquor) and squandered. At times I have to visit their huts and force and use foul expletives. But Hore, you know, it’s a business, and here money and muscles matter.” He emptied the glass, and reclined on the chair and belched.
“How more you need?” Mr. Hore bursts into a sudden rage. “You suck blood of the destitute, and you say your life is wonderful? Are you a man or a moron?” His eyes were red and he spat in disgust. He looked wild.
They didn’t speak for a while. Swarm tiny insects buzzed overhead. Mosquitoes bit and they both stirred legs once, and waved hands next. Nut trees rustled, and somewhere in the village cocks cawed. 
“Where’re your pigeons?” Bhutia yawned and asked mechanically.
“Mounting in the air. By sunset they return home,” Hore said in a dry voice.
“Oh! No, no. I’m already late. I need to visit Besra’s. His girl was dying a week ago. I helped, but no further delay I can stand. Money talks by minutes. I must catch him.” Mr. Bhutia stumbled towards the Adivasi neighbourhood.
Hore suddenly jerked and felt a terrible loneliness. Minutes later he set his eyes to the charismatic beauty of the dying sun. The sight of the dead tree gnawed him. Wistfully he waited for the pigeons’ homecoming! 

No comments :

Post a Comment

We welcome your comments related to the article and the topic being discussed. We expect the comments to be courteous, and respectful of the author and other commenters. Setu reserves the right to moderate, remove or reject comments that contain foul language, insult, hatred, personal information or indicate bad intention. The views expressed in comments reflect those of the commenter, not the official views of the Setu editorial board. प्रकाशित रचना से सम्बंधित शालीन सम्वाद का स्वागत है।