“DO YOU HAVE TWENTY BUCKS ?“


Last several days, during my walk, I usually  see a man sitting on a boulder, lying at the wayside. The man is stockily built, anglo Indian, with a white complexion and a dignified look. The path of my walk goes over the backwaters drawn in from the sea. The man continuously searches for something; from his looks it appears he wants to strike a conversation with me. I sensed that the man fixes his gaze at me from a distance. I walk up to him, then go past him and walk away to the island jetty without looking at him. I wait there at the edge of sea for some time  enjoying the nature and the beauty of the sea with nobody around except a few fishermen, in that quite hours.  On my return homeward, I usually do not see the man.

This morning, as usual, I was walking to the jetty. He was sitting on the same boulder with the same searching-look. Soon after, the man softly came up to me . There was a little conversation between us—

Man—where do you stay?

Me- Mariamnagar, where you stay?

Man—Amulnagar, what is your name?

Me—Bhanu chakraborti?

Man—Chu-ker-vertty?,

Me—No, it is chakraborti, elder brother of Mithun Chakraborty, the dancer film star…[ I usually say so when my conversation-partner cannot understand my surname. Soon, when his eyes lights up at the mention of familiar actor—Mithun Chakraborty, and his dance, I break the truth, and start my usual business]

Then I asked his name. He said he is Brian . He is 70 years old, retired from a job of private company, he is an anglo Indian, his father died long back, mother 98 staying in England. I became curious, and enquired about his very Indian accent of English. He was shocked, and floored. At  this , he energetically, started explaining me, giving airs, that he is an Englishman. He opined that Indians cannot speak correct English, and has a very bad pronunciation.  Further, India is not a good place to live in. At this point I started showing my disinterest, and make a move to home. He came slowly close to me, and made me listen to him–

Man— Chu-ker-vertty, do you have fifty rupees?

Me—( I was taken aback), why?

Man—I will give you back, tomorrow.

Me—Getting the question from a stranger, I kept silent.

Man [ insisted]—DO YOU HAVE TWENTY BUCKS???, I promise…I shall return you tomorrow.

Me—Looked coolly to the man, with a fixed attention.

Man [ continued]— I require it for Rickshaw fare.

He did not look anyway sick or tired. When conversation was going on, distance between us narrowed. I could smell the he was stinking strong of country liquor. I cut off the conversation at this point. I was on a morning walk, and had no money on me, I bade farewell to the man and returned home. On way back, a friend enquired– “how come you were talking to that man, beware!!! ”

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