Death of a Prince

Death of a Prince

A Story by Shocker

An unusual experience of an unusual Person

Chapter 1:
I was just about to bowl a ball when I noticed a Rickshaw coming to our house from the North-End of the Road. A quite tall young and handsome boy of about 14 was sitting in a Rickshaw. I knew the boy. He was from my School, a boy of Class VI (Six). He was wearing a pair of dark shorts and a colorful checkered shirt. He was Babu, a classmate of my brother Jolu.

At the time, I was about to appear at the School Final Exams. But I am running ahead of my fiction. Let me give a brief description our house and our background.

My father was a retired Government officer. So we had to travel all over the Country every three years from one town to another. We hardly could settle in one town. Hardly did we settle at one place when we had to move again. I cannot name a school that I studied for sometime except for the Ishwar Pathshala in Comilla, the Siddheswari School and the Motijheel Central Government High School in Dhaka. The era was that of "H.E." School, the H.E. standing for High English School, though it certainly was not. 
I lost my mother while I was very young. My younger brother Jolu was almost a baby. We were seven brothers and sisters in all - three brothers and four sisters. The eldest was Zahidul (brother), followed by four sisters, then myself (Dipu) and finally, my younger brother, Jolu.
My father somehow managed to buy a sort of land in a ditch, where there was Jheel. We had to feel it with coal dust, sand and earth before it could even be a concave area. Every Monsoon Season saw the place flooded with water. We started our construction there one day. The limited funds failed to construct the two-storied house before the Government wanted to acquire it.
Our house was situated in Motijheel, Dhaka. We lived in a semi-constructed building. Our house was a one-storied affair with a ground surrounding it. Because of the shape of the fielding and the surrounding ground, our house was often called "Jahaj Bari" (meaning a house like a ship on the ocean). Since the building was not fully constructed, we did not have a proper roof. There were no staircases. The building was not plastered. Rods were seen coming out of various parts of the building. There "terraces" peculiarly 'built' accidentally, not as a design. Sometimes I along with my brother Dipu used to climb these bricks and rods right up to the roof. It was a very dangerous and delicate thing to do. One slip and death from about 7 metres fall was guaranteed. 
Because of lack of a roof there, our clothes were often left to dry in the field surrounding our house on a couple of bamboos on a rope. I used to treat the clothes as a sort of barrier.

I loved cricket and was crazy about it. Every afternoon, I used to take a cricket ball and bowl my hearts out there, until my younger brother came and then we used to bat and bowl, the clothes providing the "boundary" for the ball to hit and stay there and not going to the streets.

That fateful day, I was alone when I saw the boy Babu coming to our house, so I waited. But he was not coming to our house. He was just passing. He called me, "Hello, Dipu. Has Sukku Bhai come yet? Ask him to go home if and when he does." "Sure" I replied, frankly not knowing what he was talking about, or whose house, Sukku, my classmate was supposed to go to.
Now Babu was the son of another Government Servant. His father Mr Kalam was a very strict and kind of a violent man, who, it was reported did not hide his anger and always did something about it. Any small mistake and the whips started lashing. He apparently terrorized his family of about six. It was once reported that one of his servants in Khulna was beaten to death through lashes, but it was only a tale. No one knows.
Anyway, to my surprise, Sukku did come and I promptly told him about Babu and the instructions he gave. Sukku also did not know about the "house" and asked me to elaborate. I told him what I knew. He inquired about which way Babu was coming from and which way the Rickshaw was taking him. So he took leave and went.

Now at that time, there was a Scout Jamboree to be held in Pakistan (probably Lahore). A good number of students wanted to go there but the Government wanted a large some of money to be submitted by the Students to provide for their travel (through India). So that not many students could go. Babu had asked for the money from his father but after receiving a very energetic slap from his sympathetic father, he was subdued. But I was told that he did repeat his request a number of times later, each time getting his usual rewards, which were becoming more and more painful. My brother Jolu and Sukku were both going to Lahore for the Scout Jamboree. I could not because of my exams.
The same evening, I heard my name. The voice was that of an elder person. I went to attend to him. Actually it was them. He was about 26. He asked me, "Have you seen Babu today?" I told him about the whole incident and again he was asking me the same question about whose "house". That gentleman was appearing at the Central Superior Service Examination and thought himself to be a Government Servant already. He told me harshly, "Do you know what Babu did today? He broke through the Iron Safe and stole 5000 Rupees. And then he has left home. The police will be here. So be careful. They will also ask you questions." So saying, he left.
Later, I came to know that Babu had indeed gone to Sukku's house and they had meal there. Then Babu had left Sukku's house.
The police never came. Jolu and Sukku left for the Lahore Jamboree. We hardly heard from them.
Then one morning, my Dada (elder brother) Mr Zahidul Huq, who was at that time working as a Senior Sub-Editor for the Pakistan Observer (who started his carrier with Mr Wahidul Huq), called me and told me, "You have a telephone call from Tangail. Who is it?" I told him that I did not know and received the call. It was Babu. He was in a jocular mood and told me that he was enjoying his stay there. His name was "Muhith" there and I was to tell Sukku about it. After the phone, my Dada asked me who it was, and I promptly lied and told him it was one Iqbal from Sukku's village. Jolu and Sukku were expected to return soon from Pakistan. 
But soon enough I received a letter from Babu. In the letter, he mentioned everything, about his escape with the money being fed up with his father, about the phone call he made, about his mother whom he worshiped. His mother could not convince her husband since he was reportedly quite cruel and did not spare the rod whether it was the son, one of his daughters, his wife or any servant. Babu had written that I should give that letter to Sukku. 
Unfortunately for me, the letter was soon seen by my Dada. He asked me who it was from and when I told him about "Muhith" from Tangail, the gentleman who had called me from Tangail. My Dada said, "But you had said it was from "Iqbal". And I said, "Did I? Must have been a mistake." My Dada told me, "I would have thought you would say you forgot or something. But be careful. What is going on?"
Within a day or two Jolu and Sukku returned from Jamboree. When Sukku came, I showed him the letter. He laughed, took the letter and left.
After about a couple of week, while I was asleep, my Dada, who was on the night shift, woke me up. It was 3 or 4 in the morning. My Dada's face was grim. He told me, "Babu has been murdered. His body has been found in a village called Gulshan. The police may come today. I was simply stunned. I was terrified.
Little did I know how the whole world would change. Little did I understand how difficult it would become. I did not understand anything. But I was simply terrified.

© 2012 Shocker

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Added on October 6, 2012
Last Updated on October 7, 2012
Tags: Babu, Labu, Happy, Police, Dhaka, Film, Relativity, Early Morning Dream, Pregnancy, Long Playing Records, Gulshan, Sukku, Dipu, Jolu, Bhuiya, Manik, Muhith, Solva Sal, Iqbal, Dada, Wahidul Huq



Dhaka, Bangladesh

I am a citizen of this planet. I have no prejudice of any kind. Studied MSc in Chemical Engineering from UK. I read and write. more..