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indu ki beti – a story by Agyeya

jab gaadee khachaakhach ladee hone ke kaaran maano karaahatee huee steshan se nikalee, tab raamalaal ne ek lambee saans lekar apana dhyaan us praan le lene vaalee garamee, apane paseene se tar kapadon aur saath baithe hue nange badan vaale ganvaar ke shareer kee boo se hataakar phir apane saamane baithee huee apanee patnee kee or lagaaya aur usakee puraanee kudhan phir jaag uthee.

raamalaal kee shaadee hue do baras ho chuke hain. do baras mein shaadee ka nayaapan puraana ho jaata hai, tab grhasth jeevan ka sukh nayepan ke alaava, jo doosaree cheezen hotee hain, unheen par nirbhar karata hai. maatrtv ya pitrtv kee bhaavana, samaan ruchiyaan, ikatthe bitaaye hae dinon kee smrtiyaan, ek-doosare ko pahunchaaye gaye sukh-klesh kee chhaap — nayaapan mit jaane ke baad, ye aur aisee cheezen hee ve eenten hotee hain, jinase grhasthee kee bheet khadee hotee hai. aur raamalaal ke jeevan mein ye sab jaise the hee nahin.

usake koee santaan nahin thee. jahaan tak usake daampaty jeevan ke sukh-duhkh kee use yaad thee, vahaan tak use yahee dikhata tha ki unhonne ek-doosare ko kuchh diya hai, to klesh hee diya hai. isase aage thodee-bahut maamoolee sahooliyat ek-doosare ke lie paida ho gayee hai, lekin usaka shikshit dimaag un cheezon ko sukh kahane ko taiyaar nahin hai. udaaharanataya, vah kamaakar kuchh laata raha hai aur stree rotee pakaakar detee rahee hai, kapade dhotee rahee hai, jhaadoo lagaatee rahee hai, chakkee bhee peesatee rahee hai. kya in cheezon ka naam sukh hai? kya usane shaadee isalie kee thee ki ek maharee use mil jaaye aur vah ek din se doosara din karane kee chakh-chakh se bach jaaye aur bas? kya usane bee. e. tak padhaee iseelie kee thee ki har maheene bees-ek roopalliyaan kamaakar usake aage laakar patak diya kare ki le, is kabaadakhaane ko sambhaal aur is dhaabe ko chalata rakh? — is ganvaar anapadh, bevaqoof aurat ke aage, jo chakkee peesane aur jhaadoo lagaane se adhik kuchh nahin jaanatee aur yah nahin samajhatee ki ek padhe-likhe aadamee kee bhookh do vaqt kee rotee ke atirikt kuchh aur bhee maangatee hai?

usakee kheejh ekaek badhakar krodh ban gayee. stree kee or se aankh hataakar vah sochane laga, isaka yah naam kisane rakha? indu! kaisa achchha naam hai — jaane kis bevaqoof ne yah naam ise dekar duboya! aur kuchh nahin, sundar hee hotee, rang hee kuchh theek hota! lekin jab yah pahale-pahal mere ghar aayee thee, tab to mujhe itanee buree nahin lagee thee. kyon mainne ise kaha tha ki main apane jeevan ka saara bojh tumhen saumpakar nishchint ho jaoonga — kaise kah paaya tha ki jo jeevan mujhase akele chalaaye nahin chalata, vah tumhaara saath paakar chal jaayega? par main ise tab jaanata kab tha! main to samajhata tha ki…

raamalaal ne phir ek teekhee drshti se indu kee or dekha aur fauran aankhen hata leen. tatkaal hee use laga ki yah achchha hua ki indu ne vah drshti nahin dekhee. usamen kuchh us aheer ka-sa bhaav tha, jo mandee se ek hattee-kattee gaay khareed kar laaye aur ghar aakar paaye ki yah doodh hee nahin detee.

tabhee gaadee kee chaal dheemee ho gayee. raamalaal apane padosee ganvaar kee or dekhakar soch hee raha tha ki kaun-see veebhats gaalee har steshan par khadee ho jaane vaalee is manahoos gaadee ko de ki tabhee usakee stree ne baahar jhaankakar kaha, “steshan aa gaya.”

raamalaal kee kudhan phir bhabhak uthee. bhala yah bhee koee kahane kee baat hai? kaun gadha nahin jaanata ki steshan aa raha hai? ab kya yah bhee sunana hoga ki gaadee ruk gayee. gaard ne seetee dee. haree jhandee hil rahee hai. gaadee ne seetee dee. gaadee chal padee… lekin main is par kyon kheejhata hoon? is bechaaree ka dimaag jahaan tak jaayega, vaheen tak kee baat yah karegee na? ab main isase aasha karoon ki is samay yah mujhe meghadoot sunaane lag jaaye aur vah is aasha ko poora na kare, to isaka kya qusoor hai?

lekin mainne use kabhee kuchh kaha hai? chupachaap sab sahata aaya hoon. ek bhee kathor shabd mere munh se nikala ho, to meree zabaan kheench le. aakhir padh-likhakar itanee bhee tameez na aayee, to padha kya khaak? samajhadaar ka kaam hai sahana. mainne usase pyaar se kabhee baat nahin kee, lekin jo hrday mein nahin hai, usaka dhong karana neechata hai. krodh ko dabaane ka yah matalab thode hee hai ki jhooth-mooth ka pyaar dikhaaya jaaye?

gaadee ruk gayee. indu ne baahar kee or dekhate-dekhate kaha, “pyaas lagee hai…”

raamalaal ko vah svar achchha nahin laga. usamen zara bhee to aagrah nahin tha ki he mere svaamee, main pyaasee hoon, mujhe paanee pila do! seedhe shabdon mein kaha nahin, to khair, vahaan to dhvani bhee nahin hai. aisa kaha hai jaise “main jata detee hoon ki main pyaasee hoon — aage koee paanee la dega, to main pee loongee. nahin, to aise hee kaam chal jaayega. itanee utsuk main kisake lie hoon ki paanee laane ke lie kah sakoon?”

phir bhee raamalaal ne lota uthaaya, baahar jhaanka aur yah dekhakar ki gaadee ke pichhale sire ke paas pletafaarm par kuchh log dhakkam-dhakka kar rahe hain aur ek-aadh jo zara alag hain, kaan mein tanga hua janeoo utaar rahe hain, vah utarakar udhar ko chal pada.

vah mujhe kah hee detee ki paanee la do, to kya ho jaata? main jo kuchh ban padata hai, usake lie karata hoon. ab adhik nahin kama sakata, to kya karoon? gaanv mein gunjaish hee itanee hai? ab shahar mein shaayad kuchh ho, par shahar mein kharch bhee hoga. main kharch kee paravaah na karake use apane saath liye ja raha hoon — aur hota, to gaanv mein chhod jaata — shahar mein akela aadamee kaheen bhee rah sakata hai, par grhasthee kar le, to…. aur use itana khayaal nahin ki theek tarah baat bhee kare — baat to kya kare — rotee-paanee, paisa maang hee le? kya nikammepan mein bhee abhimaan hota hai? raamalaal nal ke nikat pahunch gaya.

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gaadee ne seetee dee aur chal dee. raamalaal ko yah nahin sunana pada ki “haree jhandee hil rahee hai — gaadee chalee.”
indu ne kaha bhee nahin. gaard kee seetee ho jaane par bhee jab raamalaal nahin pahuncha, tab indu khidakee ke baahar uchakakar utkantha se udhar dekhane lagee, jidhar vah gaya tha. lekin tabhee usane dekha, ek lota haath mein thaame raamalaal daud raha hai. vah apane dabbe tak to nahin pahunch sakega, lekin peechhe ke kisee dabbe mein shaayad baith jaaye. indu ne dekha ki raamalaal ne ek dabbe ke daravaaze par aakar haindal pakad liya hai aur usee ke sahaare daud raha hai, lekin gaadee kee gati tez hone ke kaaran abhee chadh nahin paaya. kaheen vah rah gaye, tab? kshan-bhar ke lie ek chitr usake aage daud gaya — parades mein vah akelee — paas paisa nahin, aur usase tikat talab kiya ja raha hai aur vah nahin jaanatee ki pati ko kaise soochit kare ki vah kahaan hai. lekin kshanabhar mein isee dar ka sthaan ek doosare dar ne le liya. kaheen vah us tez chalatee gaadee par savaar hone ke lie koode aur — yah dar usase nahin saha gaya. vah jitana baahar jhuk sakatee thee, jhukakar raamalaal ko dekhane lagee — usake pairon kee gati ko dekhane lagee… aur usake man mein yah hone laga ki kyon usane pati se pyaas kee baat kahee — yadi kuchh der baithee rahatee, to mar na jaatee…

ekaek raamalaal gaadee ke kuchh aur nikat aakar kooda. indu zara aur jhukee ki dekhe, vah savaar ho gaya ki nahin aur nishchint ho jaaye. usane dekha — andhakaar — kuchh doobata-sa — ek tees — jaangh aur kandhe mein jaise bheeshan aag — phir ek doosare prakaar ka andhakaar.… gaadee maano vivash krodh se chichiyaatee huee rukee ki anubhootiyon se bandhe hue is kshudrachetan sansaar kee ek ghatana ke lie kisee ne chen kheenchakar us jad, nireeh aur isalie adig shakti ko kyon rok diya hai. gaadee ke rukane ka kaaran samajh mein aane se pahale hee raamalaal ne dibbe tak aakar dekh liya ki indu us mein nahin hai.

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rel ka pahiya jaangh aur kandhe par se nikal gaya tha. ek aankh bhee jaane kyon band hokar sooj aayee thee — baahar koee chot dikh nahin rahee thee — aur kesh lahoo mein sanakar jata-se ho gaye the.

raamalaal ne paas aakar dekha aur rah gaya! aisa bebas, patthar rah gaya ki haath ka lota bhee girana bhool gaya. thodee der baad jab kaampakar indu kee ek aankh khulee aur bina kisee kee or dekhe hee sthir ho gayee aur ksheen svar ne kaha, “main chalee…” tab raamalaal ko nahin laga ki ve do shabd vigyapti ke taur par kahe gaye hain — use laga ki unamen khaas kuchh hai, jaise vah kisee vishesh vyakti ko kahe gaye hain aur unamen anumati maangane ka-sa bhaav hai…
usane ekaek chaaha ki badhakar lota indu ke munh se chhua de, lekin lote ka dhyaan aate hee vah usake haath se chhootakar gir gaya. raamalaal us aankh kee or dekhata raha, lekin vah phir jhipee nahin.

gaadee chalee gayee. thodee der baad ek doktar ne aakar shareer kee or dekha, ek baar raamalaal kee or, ek baar phir us khulee aankh kee or aur phir dheere se palla kheenchakar indu ka munh dhank diya.

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gaadee zara-see der rukakar chalee gayee thee. duniya zara bhee nahin rukee. gaadee aadamee kee banaayee huee hai, duniya ko banaane vaala eeshvar hai.

bees saal ho gaye. ghiratee raat mein har ek steshan par rukane vaalee ek gaadee ke sekand klaas dabbe mein raamalaal leta hua tha. vah kalakatte se rupaya kamaakar laut raha tha. aaj usake man mein gaadee par kheejh nahin thee — aaj vah yaatra par ja nahin raha tha, laut raha tha aur vah thaka hua tha. ek chhote steshan par vah ekaek bhadabhadaakar uth baitha. baahar jhaankakar dekha, kaheen koee kulee nahin tha. vah svayan bistar aur baig baahar rakhane laga. tabhee, steshan ke paintamain ne aakar kaha, “baaboojee, kahaan jaiyega?”

chhote steshanon par lainamain aur paintamain hee mauq-be-mauke kulee ka kaam kar dete hain.

raamalaal ne kaha, “yaheen ek taraf karake rakh do.”

“aur kuchh saamaan nahin hai?”

“baaqee brek mein hai, aage jaayega.”

“achchha.”

gaadee chalee gayee. boodhe paintamain ne saamaan steshan ke andar theek se rakh diya. raamalaal bench par baith gaya. steshan ke ek kone mein ek bada laimp jal raha tha aur usakee or peeth karake jaane vah kya sochane lag gaya. bhool gaya ki koee usake paas khada hai. boodhe ne poochha, “baaboojee, kaise aana hua!”

aisa badhiya soot-boot pahananevaala aadamee usane us steshan par pahale nahin dekha tha.

“yon hee.”

“thahariyega?”

“nahin. agalee gaadee kab jaatee hai?”

“kal sabere. usamen jaiyega?”

“haan.”

“is vaqt baahar jaiyega?”

“nahin.”

“lekin yahaan to vetingaroom nahin hai.”

“yaheen bench par baitha rahoonga.”

boodha man mein sochane laga, yah ajab aadamee hai, jo bina vajah raat-bhar yahaan thithurega aur savere chala jaayega! par ab raamalaal prashn poochhane laga, “tum yahaan kab se ho?”

“ajee kya bataoon-saaree umar hee yahaan katee hai.”

“achchha? tumhaare hote yahaan koee durghatana huee?”

“nahin—” kahakar boodha ruk gaya. phir kahane laga, “haan, ek baar ek aurat rel ke neeche aakar kat gayee thee. udhar pletafaarm se zara aage.”

“hoon.” raamalaal ke svar mein jaise aruchi thee. lekin boodha apane aap hee us ghatana ka varnan karane laga.

“kahate hain, usaka aadamee yahaan paanee lene ke lie utara tha, itanee der mein gaadee chal padee. vah baithane ke lie gaadee ke saath daud raha tha, aurat jhaankakar baahar dekh rahee thee ki baith gaya ya nahin, tabhee baahar gir padee aur kat gayee.”

“hoon.”

thodee der baad boodhe ne phir kaha — “baaboojee, aurat jaat bhee kaisee hotee hai? bhala vah gaadee se rah jaata, to kaun badee baat thee? doosaree mein aa jaata. lekin aurat ka dil kaise maan jaaye!”

raamalaal ne jeb se chaar aane paise nikaalakar use dete hue sankshep mein kaha — “jao.”

“baaboojee…”

raamalaal ne taangen bench par phailaate hue kaha — “main sooonga.”

boodha chala gaya. jaata hua steshan ka ekamaatr laimp bhee bujha gaya — ab usakee koee zaroorat nahin thee.
raamalaal uthakar pletafaarm par tahalane laga aur sochane laga… usane paanee nahin maanga tha, lekin agar mainne hee kah diya hota ki main abhee laaye deta hoon paanee, to – to – aadamee jab chaahata hai jeevan ke bees varshon ko bees minat — bees sekand mein jee daalana aur vah bees sekand bhee aise, jo aaj ke nahin hain, bees varsh pahale ke hain, mar chuke hain, tab usakee aatma ka akelaapan kaha nahin ja sakata, andhere mein hee anubhav kiya ja sakata hai.

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raamalaal steshan ka pletafaarm paar karake rel kee pataree ke saath ho liya. ek sau das qadam chalakar vah ruka aur pataree kee or dekhane laga. use laga, pataree ke neeche lakadee ke sleeparon par jaise khoon ke puraane dhabbe hain. vah pataree ke paas hee baith gaya. lekin bees varsh mein sleepar kaee baar badal chukate hain. ye dhabbe khoon ke hain, ya tel ke? raamalaal ne chaaron or dekha. vahee sthaan hai — vahee sthaan hai. aas-paas ke drshy se adhik usaka man gavaahee deta hai. aur raamalaal ghutanon par sir tekakar, aankhen band karake puraane drshyon ko jilaata hai. vah kathor ekaagrata se us drshy ko saamane laana chaahata hai — nahin, saamane aane se rokana chaahata hai — nahin, vah kuchh bhee nahin chaahata, vah nahin jaanata ki vah kya chaahata hai. ya nahin chaahata hai. usane apane aapako ek pret ko samarpit kar diya hai. jeevan mein usake khiche rahane ka yahee ek praayashchitt usake paas hai. aur is samay svayan mittee hokar, svayan pret hokar, vah maano usase ek ho lena chaahata hai, usase kuchh aadesh pa lena chaahata hai…

jaane kitanee der baad vah chaunkata hai. saamane kaheen se rone kee aavaaz aa rahee hai. ek aurat ke rone kee. raamalaal uthakar chaaron or dekhata hai, kaheen kuchh nahin dikhata. aavaaz nirantar aatee hai. raamalaal aavaaz kee or chal padata hai — jo steshan se pare kee or hai…. indu kabhee royee thee? use yaad nahin aata. lekin yah kaun hai jo ro raha hai? aur is aavaaz mein yah kashish kyon hai… “kaun hai?”

koee uttar nahin milata. do-chaar qadam chalakar raamalaal komal svar mein phir poochhata hai, “kaun rota hai?”

rel kee pataree ke paas se koee uthata hai. raamalaal dekhata hai. kisee gaadhe rang ke aavaran mein bilkul lipatee huee ek stree use paas aata dekhakar jaldee se ek or chal detee hai aur kshan-bhar mein jhuramut kee ot ho jaatee hai. raamalaal peechha bhee karata hai, lekin andhakaar mein peechha karana vyarth hai — kuchh dikhata nahin. raamalaal pataree kee or lautakar vah sthaan khojata hai, jahaan vah baithee thee. kya yaheen par? nahin, shaayad thoda aur aage. yahaan par? nahin, thoda aur aage. usaka pair kisee gudagudee cheez se takaraata hai. vah jhukakar tatolata hai — ek kapade kee potalee. baithakar kholane lagata hai.

potalee cheekh uthatee hai. kaampate haathon se uthaakar vah dekhata hai, potalee ek chhota-sa shishu hai, jise usane jaga diya hai. vah shishu ko god mein lekar thapathapaata hua steshan laut aata hai aur bench par baith jaata hai. ghadee dekhata hai, teen baje hain. paanch baje gaadee milegee. apane ovarakot se vah bachche ko dhak leta hai — do ghante ke lie itana prabandh kaafee hai. gaadee mein bistar khola ja sakega…

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raamalaal ne apane gaanv mein ek pakka makaan banava liya hai aur usee mein rahata hai. saath rahatee hain, vah paayee huee shishu-kanya, jisaka naam usane indukala rakha hai aur usakee aaya, jo din-bhar use gaadee mein phiraaya karatee hai. gaanv ke log kahate hain ki raamalaal paagal hai. paisevaale bhee paagal hote hain. aur indu jahaan-jahaan jaatee hai, ve ungalee uthaakar kahate hain — “vah dekho, us paagal boodhe kee betee.”

isamen bada goodh vyangy hota hai, kyonki ve jaanate hain ki boodha raamalaal kisee ke paap ka bojh dho raha hai. lekin raamalaal ko kisee kee paravaah nahin hai, vah nirdvandv hai. usake hrday mein vishvaas hai, vah khoob jaanata hai ki usakee kshamaasheela indu ne svayan prakat hokar apane snehapoorn anukampa ke chihn-svaroop apana ansh aur pratiroop vah betee use bhent kee thee.

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