The Monster Of A Doctor
Anik was hardly back home from office when the telephone on the tripoy started ringing. It was the monster, Shantanu, calling from the Police Station. A dead body was fished out the Ganges. He suspected it to be that of his missing niece's. He was wondering if Anik could hurry up.
Anik cut him short stating that he was on his way.
As he got into the taxi, his mind went back to the day he talked to his suster-in-law about Shantanu.
"Anik, how sure are you of the boy's character? Will he be good for my Mou?" Sutopa Devi asked her brother-in-law.
"He is a doctor, Baudi. I contacted a lot of people in his locality. No one said anything against him. I know, people these days can't be relied much but believe you me that he seems the best one for Mou," said Anik to the widow of his only brother.
Anik recollected for a brief moment the talk he had with his brother in the ICU just before he was to be put on the ventilator. He promised to take care of his sister-in-law and their only child, Mou, in case anything untoward happened to Avik.
Though the brothers had their meals from separate kitchens they lived in the same house.
Avik did not live through the night…
Anik had been the best brother-in-law one could have. Inspite of being a family man, he proved himself to be of immense help to his late brother's family. He helped them in every way possible. Mou or Mousumi, his brother's only child was in class seven when Avik passed away. She was a good girl, good in studies. Right after her graduation, her mother talked to Anik to look for a groom for her. Anik talked to many people, visited some of the prospectives grooms' with his widowed sister-in-law and found all of them unsuitable for his niece. Then one day someone suggested that he visit this man looking for a bride for himself. He was young, educated and rich. He was also a practising doctor.
Anik invited the doctor, Shantanu, to his house on a particular day. It had been raining the whole day and he thought the doctor would not be able to make it to the house.
His wife, sister-in-law and Mou had earlier arranged the drawing room and they all were waiting eagerly for the doctor. He turned up sharp at the appointed time. His sense of punctuality together with his polite manners and good looks made a great impression on one and all. As Mousumi was every man's notion of a dream girl, the marriage was confirmed after Shantanu spent some time alone with Mousumi for a while to let them 'get to know one another better'. He left a happy man.
Both Anik and his sister-in-law did not leave any stone unturned to make the wedding a lavish affair. The grapevine had it that nearly six hundred people were invited to this grand event. As they left the house rented for the occasion, they said that the bride and groom looked like a perfect match, that it was a marriage made in heaven….
Amidst all the wailing and weeping, Mousumi left her home to set up another at her husband's place.
Days rolled on and Anik was happy to have found a good match for his niece. He thanked his lucky stars.
Three months after the marriage, one gloomy morning, Anik's sister-in-law entered his room after Mou had spent the prevoous night at theirs and left for her husband's early in the the morning. Sutopa, Anik's sister-in-law, looked grim.
"What's the matter, Baudi?" Anik, concerned, asked her as his wife brought them some tea.
Anik was in for a heart breaking surprise for what he learnt from her. She told him that while Mou was lying by her side in bed, she noticed, as Mou turned away from her, some red lines or, rather lashes on her back. Sutopsa was so shocked that she couldn't help asking her daughter how she had come by those marks. Mousumi kept quiet but Sutopa guessed the marks were the marks of beatings.
As she starred weeping, Anik was at a loss not knowing how to comfort his brother's widow. He could only pray that things would be all right...
"Come on, love. Throw off your clothes. Can't you see how hungry I am for you?" Doctor Shantanu was already in bed as Mousumi silently closed the door of the attached bathroom behind her. She had been dreaming of this moment with her handsome husband all day long…
"Whadda hell! Why are you standing there like a statue for? Get out of your night gown and straight into the bed. You have made me lust for you since the day I set my eyes on you. Come on, let me…" he couldn't even finish the sentence trying to bring his mouth closer to his new bride's as Mousumi got in.
Mousumi smelt alcohol then. She was disturbed to find out how drunk her husband was. But that was the beginning…
"You have a great body. It's surprising that you had had no boy friend or did you not? Be honest. Tell me...admit that you were in a relationship...that you loved someone...that." he didn't even finish the sentence as Mousumi recoiled from him, fear writ large on her innocent face.
"Oh, you will keep your love life a secret from me? You won't tell me the truth….? You think I am a fool...you..you whore…" speaking like that he lept out of the bed and pulled at the belt hanging on the back of the chair.
As the belt came down on her, Mousumi let out a whine and felt a terrible pain tear through her body.
That's how it all began...Shantanu would hit her with the belt first before making love. Night after night the same drama continued. Decent girl that she was, Mousumi kept it from her mother, from Anik, for as long as she could, thinking how shattered they both would be till that fatal night.
Anik called on doctor Shantanu the next day. But the man insulted and humiliated him no ends. He told Anik that Mousumi had an illicit relationship with someone and Anik had offered him 'a dagi mall' ( a secondhand woman). Anik came back home with his head down though he had no doubt about Mousumi's character. He was broken for having offered in marriage a gem of a girl like his niece to such a monsterous man.
Sutopa dashed into his room the same evening telling him that Shantanu had called him to inform that he found Mousumi missing on his return home. He told her that he had lodged an FIR with the nearest Police Station.
Anik shook his head as he came out. He had failed in his attempt to convince the OC of the Police Station that it was a clear case of murder, not a suicide.