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“Apa, why are you staying here in a small yet dark room? Why don’t you come home where we have a big lighted hall? Do you hate me? Or do you hate my mommy?”
This was what a probably four-year-old girl spoke to her father over a small square window in the Center Box (City Detention Center). The father, who was in a thin white shirt, hearing his daughter speak broke into incessant sob. He had no reply for his daughter but tears. He turned back to stop but I knew he found it difficult. His wife who was holding a few months old child was also soaked in tears.
I had gone there to see one of my friends who had been among those unlucky to be under the darkness. More than discussing my friend’s problem, I was engrossed into the conversation that took place between the husband and wife. What a bad guy!
“Our Jinda (house owner) is asking us to leave the house,” the women in her broken sentence told her husband. With no source of earning, as her husband was behind the bars, probably she has not paid last month’s house rent. From their discussion I came to know that the husband was detained for a few months and the wife had not been able to meet her daily expenses.
“Did you sell the kira you wove?” asked the man holding his breath.
“Yes” replied the woman saying she used the money for buying their baby’s cloths, paying bills and filling up gas. The husband stood lost. He became wordless. Perhaps he must have thought what he should do on earth when problems queue in life! Perhaps a search for ways to get out!
“I have reached everywhere and explored every way that I could walk,” said the man adding yet he did not find a single ray of hope. Although his body was detained, he said, his mind was not. His mind lived with his family and friends. He told his wife that there was nothing he could do from behind the bars than to regret that he gave his family a lot of trouble.
The woman broke down in sorrows. She must have just hated to know that no artists can re-draw her destiny. What she got was what she got. The clock struck 6pm and police chased the visitors out. Pushing in a little rice (wrapped in a plastic), through the window, she walked away. The small girl screamed in want of her father. But the law could not be melted by the juvenile love. It had to be grounded using stones. The police pushed her out and shut the door. I wondered what the father, inside the building, must have thought.
Would he have ever regretted for his rueful choice?