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roj (gaingreen) – a story by Agyeya

dopahar mein us soone aangan mein pair rakhate hue mujhe aisa jaan pada, maano us par kisee shaap kee chhaaya mandara rahee ho, usake vaataavaran mein kuchh aisa akathy, asprshy, kintu phir bhee bojhal aur prakampamay aur ghana-sa phail raha tha…

meree aahat sunate hee maalatee baahar nikalee. mujhe dekhakar, pahachaanakar usakee murajhaayee huee mukh-mudra tanik se meethe vismay se jaagee-see aur phir poorvavat ho gayee. usane kaha, “aa jao!” aur bina uttar kee prateeksha kiye bheetar kee or chalee. main bhee usake peechhe ho liya.

bheetar pahunchakar mainne poochha, ‘ve yahaan nahin hai?”

“abhee aaye nahin, daftar mein hain. thodee der mein aa jaenge. koee dedh-do baje aaya karate hain.”

“kab ke gaye hue hain?”

“savere uthate hee chale jaate hain.”

“main ‘hoon’ kar poochhane ko hua, “aur tum itanee der kya karatee ho?” par phir socha, ‘aate hee ekaek prashn theek nahin hain. main kamare ke chaaron or dekhane laga.

maalatee ek pankha utha laayee, aur mujhe hava karane lagee. mainne aapatti karate hue kaha, “nahin, mujhe nahin chaahie.” par vah nahin maanee, bolee,”vaah! chaahie kaise nahin? itanee dhoop mein to aaye ho. yahaan to…”

mainne kaha, “achchha, lao, mujhe de do.”

vah shaayad ‘na’ karanevaalee thee, par tabhee doosare kamare se shishu ke rone kee aavaaz sunakar usane chupachaap pankha mujhe de diya aur ghutanon par haath tekakar ek thakee huee ‘hunh’ karake uthee aur bheetar chalee gayee.

main usake jaate hue, dubale shareer ko dekhakar sochata raha – yah kya hai… yah kaisee chhaaya-see is ghar par chhaayee huee hai…

maalatee meree door ke rishte kee bahan hai, kintu use sakhee kahana hee uchit hai, kyonki hamaara paraspar sambandh sakhy ka hee raha hai. ham bachapan se ikatthe khele hain, ikatthe lade aur pite hain, aur hamaaree padhaee bhee bahut-see ikatthe hee huee thee, aur hamaare vyavahaar mein sada sakhy kee svechchha aur svachchhandata rahee hai, vah kabhee bhraatrtv ke ya bade-chhotepan ke bandhanon mein nahin ghira…

main aaj koee chaar varsh baad use dekhana aaya hoon. jab mainne use isase poorv dekha tha, tab vah ladakee hee thee, ab vah vivaahita hai, ek bachche kee maan bhee hai. isase koee parivartan usamen aaya hoga aur yadi aaya hoga to kya, yah mainne abhee tak socha nahin tha, kintu ab usakee peeth kee or dekhata hua main soch raha tha, yah kaisee chhaaya is ghar par chhaayee huee hai… aur visheshataya maalatee par…

maalatee bachche ko lekar laut aayee aur phir mujhase kuchh door neeche bichhee huee daree par baith gayee. mainne apanee kurasee ghumaakar kuchh usakee or unmukh hokar poochha, “isaka naam kya hai?”

maalatee ne bachche kee or dekhate hue uttar diya, “naam to koee nishchit nahin kiya, vaise titee kahate hain.”

mainne use bulaaya, “titee, teetee, aa ja,” par vah apanee badee-badee aankhon se meree or dekhata hua apanee maan se chipat gaya, aur ruaansa-sa hokar kahane laga, “uhun-uhun-uhun-oon…”

maalatee ne phir usakee or ek nazar dekha, aur phir baahar aangan kee or dekhane lagee…

kaafee der maun raha. thodee der tak to vah maun aakasmik hee tha, jisamen main prateeksha mein tha ki maalatee kuchh poochhe, kintu usake baad ekaek mujhe dhyaan hua, maalatee ne koee baat hee nahin kee… yah bhee nahin poochha ki main kaisa hoon, kaise aaya hoon… chup baithee hai, kya vivaah ke do varsh mein hee vah beete din bhool gayee? ya ab mujhe door-is vishesh antar par-rakhana chaahatee hai? kyonki vah nirbaadh svachchhandata ab to nahin ho sakatee… par phir bhee, aisa maun, jaisa ajanabee se bhee nahin hona chaahie…

mainne kuchh khinn-sa hokar, doosaree or dekhate hue kaha, “jaan padata hai, tumhen mere aane se vishesh prasannata nahin huee-”

usane ekaek chaunkakar kaha, “hoon?”

yah ‘hoon’ prashn-soochak tha, kintu isalie nahin ki maalatee ne meree baat sunee nahin thee, ‘keval vismay ke kaaran. isalie mainne apanee baat duharaayee nahin, chup baith raha. maalatee kuchh bolee hee nahin, tab thodee der baad mainne usakee or dekha. vah ekatak meree or dekh rahee thee, kintu mere udhar unmukh hote hee usane aankhen neechee kar leen. phir bhee mainne dekha, un aankhon mein kuchh vichitr-sa bhaav tha, maano maalatee ke bheetar kaheen kuchh cheshta kar raha ho, kisee beetee huee baat ko yaad karane kee, kisee bikhare hue vaayumandal ko punah jagaakar gatimaan karane kee, kisee toote hue vyavahaar-tantu ko punarujjeevit karane kee, aur cheshta mein saphal na ho raha ho… vaise jaise der se prayog mein na laaye hue ang ko vyakti ekaek uthaane lage aur paaye ki vah uthata hee nahin hai, chiravismrti mein maano mar gaya hai, utane ksheen bal se (yadyapi vah saara praapy bal hai) uth nahin sakata… mujhe aisa jaan pada, maano kisee jeevit praanee ke gale mein kisee mrt jantu ka tauk daal diya gaya ho, vah use utaarakar phenkana chaahe, par utaar na paaye…

tabhee kisee ne kivaad khatakhataaye. mainne maalatee kee or dekha, par vah hilee nahin. jab kivaad doosaree baar khatakhataaye gaye, tab vah shishu ko alag karake uthee aur kivaad kholane gayee.

ve, yaanee maalatee ke pati aaye. mainne unhen pahalee baar dekha tha, yadyapi foto se unhen pahachaanata tha. parichay hua. maalatee khaana taiyaar karane aangan mein chalee gayee, aur ham donon bheetar baithakar baatacheet karane lage, unakee naukaree ke baare mein, unake jeevan ke baare mein, us sthaan ke baare mein aur aise any vishayon ke baare mein jo pahale parichay par utha karate hain, ek tarah ka svarakshaatmak kavach banakar…

maalatee ke pati ka naam hai maheshvar. vah ek pahaadee gaanv mein sarakaaree dispensaree ke doktar hain, usee haisiyat se in kvaartaron mein rahate hain. praatahkaal saat baje dispensaree chale jaate hain aur dedh ya do baje lautate hain, usake baad dopahar-bhar chhuttee rahatee hai, keval shaam ko ek-do ghante phir chakkar lagaane ke lie jaate hain, dispensaree ke saath ke chhote-se aspataal mein pade hue rogiyon ko dekhane aur any zarooree hidaayaten karane… unaka jeevan bhee bilakul ek nirdisht dharre par chalata hai, nity vahee kaam, usee prakaar ke mareej, vahee hidaayaten, vahee nuskhe, vahee davaiyaan. vah svayan ukataaye hue hain aur iseelie aur saath hee is bhayankar garamee ke kaaran vah apane furasat ke samay mein bhee sust hee rahate hain…

maalatee ham donon ke lie khaana le aayee. mainne poochha, “tum nahin khoogee? ya kha chukeen?”

maheshvar bole, kuchh hansakar, “vah peechhe khaaya karatee hai…” pati dhaee baje khaana khaane aate hain, isalie patnee teen baje tak bhookhee baithee rahegee!

maheshvar khaana aarambh karate hue meree or dekhakar bole, “aapako to khaane ka maza kya hee aayega aise bevaqt kha rahe hain?”

mainne uttar diya, “vaah! der se khaane par to aur achchha lagata hai, bhookh badhee huee hotee hai, par shaayad maalatee bahin ko kasht hoga.”

maalatee tokakar bolee, “oonhoo, mere lie to yah nayee baat nahin hai… roz hee aisa hota hai…”

maalatee bachche ko god mein liye hue thee. bachcha ro raha tha, par usakee or koee bhee dhyaan nahin de raha tha.

mainne kaha, “yah rota kyon hai?”

maalatee bolee, “ho hee gaya hai chidachida-sa, hamesha hee aisa rahata hai.”

phir bachche ko daantakar kaha, “chupakar.” jisase vah aur bhee rone laga, maalatee ne bhoomi par baitha diya. aur bolee, “achchha le, ro le.” aur rotee lene aangan kee or chalee gayee!

jab hamane bhojan samaapt kiya tab teen bajane vaale the. maheshvar ne bataaya ki unhen aaj jaldee aspataal jaana hai, yahaan ek-do chintaajanak kes aaye hue hain, jinaka opareshan karana padega… do kee shaayad taang kaatanee pade, gaingreen ho gaya hai… thodee hee der mein vah chale gaye. maalatee kivaad band kar aayee aur mere paas baithane hee lagee thee ki mainne kaha, “ab khaana to kha lo, main utanee der titee se khelata hoon.”

vah bolee, “kha loongee, mere khaane kee kaun baat hai,” kintu chalee gayee. main titee ko haath mein lekar jhulaane laga, jisase vah kuchh der ke lie shaant ho gaya.

door…shaayad aspataal mein hee, teen khadake. ekaek main chaunka, mainne suna, maalatee vaheen aangan mein baithee apane-aap hee ek lambee-see thakee huee saans ke saath kah rahee hai “teen baj gaye…” maano badee tapasya ke baad koee kaary sampann ho gaya ho…

thodee hee der mein maalatee phir aa gayee, mainne poochha, “tumhaare lie kuchh bacha bhee tha? sab-kuchh to…”

“bahut tha.”

“haan, bahut tha, bhaajee to saaree main hee kha gaya tha, vahaan bacha kuchh hoga nahin, yon hee raub to na jamao ki bahut tha.” mainne hansakar kaha.

maalatee maano kisee aur vishay kee baat kahatee huee bolee, “yahaan sabzee-vabzee to kuchh hotee hee nahin, koee aata-jaata hai, to neeche se manga lete hain; mujhe aaye pandrah din hue hain, jo sabzee saath laaye the vahee abhee baratee ja rahee hai…

mainne poochha, “naukar koee nahin hai?”

“koee theek mila nahin, shaayad ek-do din mein ho jae.”

“baratan bhee tumheen maanjatee ho?”

“aur kaun?” kahakar maalatee kshan-bhar aangan mein jaakar laut aayee.

mainne poochha, “kahaan gayee theen?”

“aaj paanee hee nahin hai, baratan kaise manjenge?”

“kyon, paanee ko kya hua?”

“roz hee hota hai… kabhee vaqt par to aata nahin, aaj shaam ko saat baje aaega, tab baratan manjenge.”

“chalo, tumhen saat baje tak chhuttee huee,” kahate hue main man-hee-man sochane laga, ‘ab ise raat ke gyaarah baje tak kaam karana padega, chhuttee kya khaak huee?’

yahee usane kaha. mere paas koee uttar nahin tha, par meree sahaayata titee ne kee, ekaek phir rone laga aur maalatee ke paas jaane kee cheshta karane laga. mainne use de diya.

thodee der phir maun raha, mainne jeb se apanee notabuk nikaalee aur pichhale dinon ke likhe hue not dekhane laga, tab maalatee ko yaad aaya ki usane mere aane ka kaaran to poochha nahin, aur bolee, “yahaan aaye kaise?”

mainne kaha hee to, “achchha, ab yaad aaya? tumase milane aaya tha, aur kya karane?”

“to do-ek din rahoge na?”

“nahin, kal chala jaoonga, zarooree jaana hai.”

maalatee kuchh nahin bolee, kuchh khinn see ho gayee. main phir notabuk kee taraf dekhane laga.

thodee der baad mujhe bhee dhyaan hua, main aaya to hoon maalatee se milane kintu, yahaan vah baat karane ko baithee hai aur main padh raha hoon, par baat bhee kya kee jaaye? mujhe aisa lag raha tha ki is ghar par jo chhaaya ghiree huee hai, vah agyaat rahakar bhee maano mujhe bhee vash mein kar rahee hai, main bhee vaisa hee neeras nirjeev-sa ho raha hoon, jaise-haan, jaise yah ghar, jaise maalatee…

mainne poochha, “tum kuchh padhatee-likhatee nahin?” main chaaron aur dekhane laga ki kaheen kitaaben deekh paden.

“yahaan!” kahakar maalatee thoda-sa hans dee. vah hansee kah rahee thee, ‘yahaan padhane ko hai kya?’

mainne kaha, “achchha, main vaapas jaakar zaroor kuchh pustaken bhejoonga…” aur vaartaalaap phir samaapt ho gaya…

thodee der baad maalatee ne phir poochha, “aaye kaise ho, laaree mein?”

“paidal.”

“itanee door? badee himmat kee.”

“aakhir tumase milane aaya hoon.”

“aise hee aaye ho?”

“nahin, kulee peechhe aa raha hai, saamaan lekar. mainne socha, bistara le hee chaloon.”

“achchha kiya, yahaan to bas…” kahakar maalatee chup rah gayee phir bolee, “tab tum thake hoge, let jao.”

“nahin, bilakul nahin thaka.”

“rahane bhee do, thake nahin, bhala thake hain?”

“aur tum kya karogee?”

“main baratan maanj rakhatee hoon, paanee aaega to dhul jaenge.”

mainne kaha, “vaah!” kyonki aur koee baat mujhe soojhee nahin…

thodee der mein maalatee uthee aur chalee gayee, titee ko saath lekar. tab main bhee let gaya aur chhat kee or dekhane laga… mere vichaaron ke saath aangan se aatee huee baratanon ke ghisane kee khan-khan dhvani milakar ek vichitr ek-svar utpann karane lagee, jisake kaaran mere ang dheere-dheere dheele padane lage, main oonghane laga…

ekaek vah ek-svar toot gaya – maun ho gaya. isase meree tandra bhee tootee, main us maun mein sunane laga…

chaar khadak rahe the aur isee ka pahala ghanta sunakar maalatee ruk gayee thee… vahee teen bajevaalee baat mainne phir dekhee, abakee baar ugr roop mein. mainne suna, maalatee ek bilakul anaichchhik, anubhootiheen, neeras, yantravat – vah bhee thake hue yantr ke se svar mein kah rahee hai, “chaar baj gaye”, maano is anaichchhik samay ko ginane mein hee usaka masheen-tuly jeevan beetata ho, vaise hee, jaise motar ka speedo meetar yantravat faasala naapata jaata hai, aur yantravat vishraant svar mein kahata hai (kisase!) ki mainne apane amit shoonyapath ka itana ansh tay kar liya… na jaane kab, kaise mujhe neend aa gayee.

tab chhah kabhee kebaj chuke the, jab kisee ke aane kee aahat se meree neend khulee, aur mainne dekha ki maheshvar laut aaye hain aur unake saath hee bistar liye hue mera kulee. main munh dhone ko paanee maangane ko hee tha ki mujhe yaad aaya, paanee nahin hoga. mainne haathon se munh ponchhate-ponchhate maheshvar se poochha, “aapane badee der kee?”

unhonne kinchit glaani-bhare svar mein kaha, “haan, aaj vah gaingreen ka aapareshan karana hee pada, ek kar aaya hoon, doosare ko embulens mein bade aspataal bhijava diya hai.”

mainne poochha” gaingreen kaise ho gaya.”

“ek kaanta chubha tha, usee se ho gaya, bade laaparavaah log hote hain yahaan ke…”

mainne poochha, “yahaan aapako kes achchhe mil jaate hain? aay ke lihaaj se nahin, doktaree ke abhyaas ke lie?”

bole, “haan, mil hee jaate hain, yahee gaingreen, har doosare-chauthe din ek kes aa jaata hai, neeche bade aspataalon mein bhee…”

maalatee aangan se hee sun rahee thee, ab aa gayee, “bolee, “haan, kes banaate der kya lagatee hai? kaanta chubha tha, is par taang kaatanee pade, yah bhee koee doktaree hai? har doosare din kisee kee taang, kisee kee baanh kaat aate hain, isee ka naam hai achchha abhyaas!”

maheshvar hanse, bole, “na kaaten to usakee jaan ganvaen?”

“haan, pahale to duniya mein kaante hee nahin hote honge? aaj tak to suna nahin tha ki kaanton ke chubhane se mar jaate hain…”

maheshvar ne uttar nahin diya, muskara diye. maalatee meree or dekhakar bolee, “aise hee hote hain, doktar, sarakaaree aspataal hai na, kya paravaah hai! main to roz hee aisee baaten sunatee hoon! ab koee mar-mur jae to khayaal hee nahin hota. pahale to raat-raat-bhar neend nahin aaya karatee thee.”

tabhee aangan mein khule hue nal ne kaha – tip tip tip-tip-tip-tip…

maalatee ne kaha, “paanee!” aur uthakar chalee gayee. khanakhanaahat se hamane jaana, baratan dhoe jaane lage hain…

titee maheshvar kee taangon ke sahaare khada meree or dekh raha tha, ab ekaek unhen chhodakar maalatee kee or khisakata hua chala. maheshvar ne kaha, “udhar mat ja!” aur use god mein utha liya, vah machalane aur chilla-chillaakar rone laga.

maheshvar bole, “ab ro-rokar so jaega, tabhee ghar mein chain hogee.”

mainne poochha, “aap log bheetar hee sote hain? garamee to bahut hotee hai?”

“hone ko to machchhar bhee bahut hote hain, par yah lohe ke palang uthaakar baahar kaun le jaaye? ab ke neeche jaenge to chaarapaiyaan le aaenge.” phir kuchh rukakar bole, “aaj to baahar hee soenge. aapake aane ka itana laabh hee hoga.”

titee abhee tak rota hee ja raha tha. maheshvar ne use ek palang par bitha diya, aur palang baahar kheenchane lage, mainne kaha, “main madad karata hoon”, aur doosaree or se palang uthaakar nikalava diye.

ab ham teenon… maheshvar, titee aur main, do palangon par baith gaye aur vaartaalaap ke lie upayukt vishay na paakar us kamee ko chhupaane ke lie titee se khelane lage, baahar aakar vah kuchh chup ho gaya tha, kintu beech-beech mein jaise ekaek koee bhoola hua karttavy yaad karake ro uthata ya, aur phir ekadam chup ho jaata tha… aur kabhee-kabhee ham hans padate the, ya maheshvar usake baare mein kuchh baat kah dete the…

maalatee baratan dho chukee thee. jab vah unhen lekar aangan ke ek or rasoee ke chhappar kee or chalee, tab maheshvar ne kaha, “thode-se aam laaya hoon, vah bhee dho lena.”

“kahaan hain?”

“angeethee par rakhe hain, kaagaz mein lipate hue.”

maalatee ne bheetar jaakar aam uthaaye aur apane aanchal mein daal liye. jis kaagaz mein ve lipate hue the vah kisee puraane akhabaar ka tukada tha. maalatee chalatee-chalatee sandhya ke us kshan prakaash mein usee ko padhatee ja rahee thee… vah nal ke paas jaakar khadee use padhatee rahee, jab donon or padh chukee, tab ek lambee saans lekar use phenkakar aam dhone lagee.

mujhe ekaek yaad aaya…bahut dinon kee baat thee… jab ham abhee skool mein bharatee hue hee the. jab hamaara sabase bada sukh, sabase badee vijay thee haaziree ho chukane ke baad choree se klaas se nikal bhaagana aur skool se kuchh dooree par aam ke bageeche mein pedon par chadhakar kachchee aamiyaan tod-tod khaana. mujhe yaad aaya… kabhee jab main bhaag aata aur maalatee nahin aa paatee thee tab main bhee khinn-man laut aaya karata tha.

maalatee kuchh nahin padhatee thee, usake maata-pita tang the, ek din usake pita ne use ek pustak laakar dee aur kaha ki isake bees pej roz padha karo, hafte bhar baad main dekhoon ki ise samaapt kar chukee ho, nahin to maar-maar kar chamadee udhed doonga. maalatee ne chupachaap kitaab le lee, par kya usane padhee? vah nity hee usake das panne, bees pej, phaad kar phenk detee, apane khel mein kisee bhaanti fark na padane detee. jab aathaven din usake pita ne poochha, “kitaab samaapt kar lee?” to uttar diya…”haan, kar lee,” pita ne kaha, “lao, main prashn poochhoonga, to chup khadee rahee. pita ne kaha, to uddhat svar mein bolee, “kitaab mainne phaad kar phenk dee hai, main nahin padhoongee.”

usake baad vah bahut pitee, par vah alag baat hai. is samay main yahee soch raha tha ki vah uddhat aur chanchal maalatee aaj kitanee seedhee ho gayee hai, kitanee shaant, aur ek akhabaar ke tukade ko tarasatee hai… yah kya, yah…

tabhee maheshvar ne poochha, “rotee kab banegee!”

“bas, abhee banaatee hoon.”

par abakee baar jab maalatee rasoee kee or chalee, tab titee kee karttavy-bhaavana bahut visteern ho gayee, vah maalatee kee or haath badha kar rone laga aur nahin maana, maalatee use bhee god mein lekar chalee gayee, rasoee mein baith kar ek haath se use thapakane aur doosare se kaee chhote-chhote dibbe uthaakar apane saamane rakhane lagee…

aur ham donon chupachaap raatri kee, aur bhojan kee aur ek-doosare ke kuchh kahane kee, aur na jaane kis-kis nyoonata kee poorti kee prateeksha karane lage.

ham bhojan kar chuke the aur bistaron par let gaye the aur titee so gaya tha. maalatee palang ke ek or momajaama bichhaakar use us par lita gayee thee. vah so gaya tha, par neend mein kabhee-kabhee chaunk uthata tha. ek baar to uthakar baith bhee gaya tha, par turant hee let gaya.

mainne maheshvar se poochha, “aap to thake honge, so jaiye.”

vah bole, “thake to aap adhik honge… athaarah meel paidal chal kar aaye hain.” kintu unake svar ne maano joddiya… thaka to main bhee hoon.”

main chup raha, thodee der mein kisee apar sangya ne mujhe bataaya, vah oongh rahe hain.

tab lagabhag saadhe das baje the, maalatee bhojan kar rahee thee.

main thodee der maalatee kee or dekhata raha, vah kisee vichaar mein – yadyapi bahut gahare vichaar mein nahin, leen huee dheere-dheere khaana kha rahee thee, phir main idhar-udhar khisak kar, par aaraam se hokar, aakaash kee or dekhane laga.

poornima thee, aakaash anabhr tha.

mainne dekha-us sarakaaree kvaartar kee din mein atyant shushk aur neeras lagane vaalee slet kee chhat bhee chaandanee mein chamak rahee hai, atyant sheetalata aur snigdhata se chhalak rahee hai, maano chandrika un par se bahatee huee aa rahee ho, jhar rahee ho…

mainne dekha, pavan mein cheed ke vrksh… garamee se sookh kar matamaile hue cheed ke vrksh… dheere-dheere ga rahe hon… koee raag jo komal hai, kintu karun nahin, ashaantimay hai, kintu udvegamay nahin…

mainne dekha, prakaash se dhundhale neele aakaash ke tat par jo chamagaadad neerav udaan se chakkar kaat rahe hain, ve bhee sundar deekhate hain…

mainne dekha – din-bhar kee tapan, ashaanti, thakaan, daah, pahaadon mein se bhaap se uthakar vaataavaran mein khoye ja rahe hain, jise grahan karane ke lie parvat-shishuon ne apanee cheed vrksharoopee bhujaen aakaash kee or badha rakhee hain…

par yah sab mainne hee dekha, akele mainne… maheshvar oonghe rahe the aur maalatee us samay bhojan se nivrtt hokar dahee jamaane ke lie mittee ka baratan garam paanee se dho rahee thee, aur kah rahee thee…”abhee chhuttee huee jaatee hai.” aur mere kahane par hee ki “gyaarah bajane vaale hain,” dheere se sir hilaakar jata rahee thee ki roz hee itane baj jaate hain… maalatee ne vah sab-kuchh nahin dekha, maalatee ka jeevan apanee roz kee niyat gati se baha ja raha tha aur ek chandrama kee chandrika ke lie, ek sansaar ke lie rukane ko taiyaar nahin tha…

chaandanee mein shishu kaisa lagata hai is alas jigyaasa se mainne titee kee or dekha aur vah ekaek maano kisee shaishavochit vaamata se utha aur khisak kar palang se neeche gir pada aur chilla-chilla kar rone laga. maheshvar ne chaunkakar kaha – “kya hua?” main jhapat kar use uthaane dauda, maalatee rasoee se baahar nikal aayee, mainne us ‘khat’ shabd ko yaad karake dheere se karuna-bhare svar mein kaha, “chot bahut lag gayee bechaare ke.”

yah sab maano ek hee kshan mein, ek hee kriya kee gati mein ho gaya.

maalatee ne rote hue shishu ko mujhase lene ke lie haath badhaate hue kaha, “isake choten lagatee hee rahatee hai, roz hee gir padata hai.”

ek chhote kshan-bhar ke lie main stabdh ho gaya, phir ekaek mere man ne, mere samooche astitv ne, vidroh ke svar mein kaha – mere man na bheetar hee, baahar ek shabd bhee nahin nikala – “maan, yuvatee maan, yah tumhaare hrday ko kya ho gaya hai, jo tum apane ekamaatr bachche ke girane par aisee baat kah sakatee ho – aur yah abhee, jab tumhaara saara jeevan tumhaare aage hai!”

aur, tab ekaek mainne jaana ki vah bhaavana mithya nahin hai, mainne dekha ki sachamuch us kutumb mein koee gaharee bhayankar chhaaya ghar kar gayee hai, unake jeevan ke is pahale hee yauvan mein ghun kee tarah lag gayee hai, usaka itana abhinn ang ho gayee hai ki ve use pahachaanate hee nahin, usee kee paridhi mein ghire hue chale ja rahe hain. itana hee nahin, mainne us chhaaya ko dekh bhee liya…

itanee der mein, poorvavat shaanti ho gayee thee. maheshvar phir let kar oongh rahe the. titee maalatee ke lete hue shareer se chipat kar chup ho gaya tha, yadyapi kabhee ek-aadh sisakee usake chhote-se shareer ko hila detee thee. main bhee anubhav karane laga tha ki bistar achchha-sa lag raha hai. maalatee chupachaap oopar aakaash mein dekh rahee thee, kintu kya chandrika ko ya taaron ko?

tabhee gyaarah ka ghanta baja, mainne apanee bhaaree ho rahee palaken utha kar akasmaat kisee aspasht prateeksha se maalatee kee or dekha. gyaarah ke pahale ghante kee khadakan ke saath hee maalatee kee chhaatee ekaek phaphole kee bhaanti uthee aur dheere-dheere baithane lagee, aur ghanta-dhvani ke kampan ke saath hee mook ho jaanevaalee aavaaz mein usane kaha, “gyaarah baj gaye…”

roj (gaingreen)

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