It had been four days since ‘Shyam’ had come back into the family and Mai was teary eyed as he took their permission to leave.
“I must go now, But I’ll keep coming back,” he promised.
“Do you have to go, Baala?” Mai wept as he hugged her son. “Bring your parents here, we will all stay together” she pleaded.
“No Mai, it will shock my mother to know all this. I promise I will keep visiting. You must let me go.” He said wiping her eyes.
“Let him go,” Baba said, “let us give him some time to convince his mother.”
Shyam was sent off with a lot of fanfare and tears. Mai had packed puranpolis and chaklis for him for the journey.
He kept calling them every weekend to inquire after their health. A few months later, Baba summoned everyone and announced, “I have made a few changes to my will. Since Shyam has come back, I want him to get what is rightfully his. He will get a share of my property. Call him home, I will give him these papers myself.”
Mai was very happy. But Alok and Raman were shocked.
“How can baba do this?” thundered Raman. “He maybe our Shyam, but that was in his previous birth. Now he is Gopal, and Gopal has no rights to our property.”
“You are right dada, we must do something, there can be only two rightful shares of the property”, agreed Alok.
“I think, Shyam will have to go back to where we sent him earlier. Call him here; we’ll give him an action replay.” And both of them laughed together.
Alok and Raman had gone to the station to pick up Shyam. As they saw him get down from the train, they rushed to his side and accosted him outside to a waiting jeep.
“Dada, how are you? How are Mai and Baba?” he asked.
“The pleasantries can wait. Let us take you to a lovely place first.” Alok said ushering him inside the jeep.
“Where are we going?”
“You will know soon.”
They neared a dirt track at the far end of the city where it connected to the highway.
“Looks familiar?” asked Alok with a smirk on his face.
Shyam remained silent, head bowed and eyes closed.
“How dare you come back, Shyam?” thundered Alok, “didn’t I tell you last time that Baba’s property is all ours?”
“You should have known better and refused a share” said Raman, holding him by his collar, “but you greedy dog, you came sniffing again.”
Shyam lay on the road, blood oozing out, soaking him red. Kamala was thrown a little distance away. Some bushes separated them. He could see her trying to get up and walk towards him. In the distance he saw two figures coming in his direction. He tried to raise his hand and wave, but his hand wouldn't move. He tried to scream and ask for help, but his voice failed him. As they neared him, he saw that it was Alok and Raman. His brothers had come to help him. He tried to smile. He wanted to tell them to help Kamala, she was injured too, but he had no strength to speak. Alok knelt down beside him and whispered into his ear, ‘Goodbye Shyam’ and both of them broke into a monstrous laugh. They walked around him in circles talking and laughing till he bled to his death.
Kamala had crept up to the bush nearest to him when she heard Alok and Raman talk and laugh loudly. She was shocked. She hid herself till they left, and then crept to Shyam. But it had been too late . Shyam was dead.
(to be cont...)
read concluding part here.
read concluding part here.