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  • thebeautifulgamethebeautifulgame Durgapur,India27967 Points

    'Phew, what strength!’ Ghunu Mitra mumbled. Shyamala, who was watching the entire matter quietly, said apologetically, ‘Shall I bring you some ice? If you rub it on your neck, the pain will subside.’

    ‘No, no, I do not need any ice, I am perfectly all right.’

    ‘Auntie occasionally gets angry; otherwise she is a very soft-hearted person’. Shyamala gulped nervously as she found Aunty glaring at her.

    ‘I am really feeling bad. I wish I could rush to Munni just now; will you go with me, Mala?” Rekha Gupta flopped down on the chair. ‘Yes, you said that you had something important to say?  Please tell me quickly.’

    Ghunu Mitra was clearly taken aback at the sudden turn of events. Trying to adjust himself to the situation, he said, ‘I want Naku to come to Jatri this year….he would get back all his dues and as for the money…surely you know that I was the one who brought Naku from Darjipara to Jatri for sixty thousand rupees.  Today I have come with the offer of one lakh sixty thousand rupees.’

    ‘But why me?  This is all about Naku and his football; I do not want to meddle in this affair,’ Rekha Gupta replied coolly.

     “I know that Naku holds you in high regard. This is the time to earn something. You have to secure your future when you are in top form. We will be building a very good team this year; we will pay him whatever a good striker deserves. Sarathi is paying him one lakh thirty; we will give him one lakh sixty.’

    ‘You can say all these to Naku. I have a job, my brother has one, Naku also has a job, we have a decent income,’ Rekha Gupta’s voice sounded even colder.

    ‘No, I do not have the audacity to tempt you with money. Naku is a big player now. He plays for the Indian team; I have heard that he would be chosen as the captain. It is a great honour to lead one’s country. Our club too would get a share of that honour if he comes to Jatri.’ Ghunu was feeling more and more uneasy as Auntie’s face still resembled the meditating Buddha.

    ‘Auntie, won’t you be going to Munni’s house?’ Shyamala reminded her.

    ‘Oh yes, just let me take a bath…’Rekha Gupta stood up and peremptorily put an end to the discussion. ‘You can say all that you have to say to Naku. It is on use talking to me.’

    After Ghunu Mitra had departed, the stifled giggles of aunt and niece turned to uncontrollable peals of laughter.          

    munna219777namewtheldreddevil87archakkartik91footydip
  • namewtheldnamewtheld Kolkata5570 Points
    Eagerly waiting for the next part. Thanks for the work @thebeautifulgame ;
    munna219777
  • EastBengalPrideEastBengalPride India8981 Points
    @namewtheld  Can you guys compile the translations and archive it. It will be a shame if we loose all  this due to database crash etc.
    munna219777reddevil87namewtheld
  • reddevil87reddevil87 1858 Points
    edited April 2016
    Wow!! Getting very interesting with each part!! Eager for next round.
    munna219777
  • namewtheldnamewtheld Kolkata5570 Points
    edited April 2016
    We have automated bi-monthly backup of the database, so unlikely. Can someone let us know, whom to contact for the copyright permissions, so that we could republish this work on the blog if allowed
    Deb_Banmunna219777
  • Deb_BanDeb_Ban 9654 Points
    Copyright of the novel is with Moti Nandi himself (his heirs, actually). They may be contacted through the publishers of the original novel, Ananda Publishers Pvt Ltd.
    munna219777
  • thebeautifulgamethebeautifulgame Durgapur,India27967 Points
    The first part of Section 3 in the next post. More to follow...stay tuned.
    namewtheldmunna219777
  • thebeautifulgamethebeautifulgame Durgapur,India27967 Points

    III

     

    Dulal Chakraborty used to work at the Chowringhee branch of the Bank of Banaras. It was about eleven in the morning when Samiran alighted from the taxi in front of the bank. He was carrying a suitcase. He had come to the bank a couple of times to meet Dulal, so he was acquainted with a lot of people here. Supporters of both Jatri and Sarathi worked at the bank. On seeing Samiran, a young lad stepped across the table to meet him.

                    ‘Samiran-da, when did you arrive from Bangalore?’

                    ‘Just now. I have come here directly from Howrah.’ Samiran pointed to the suitcase. ‘Arun, where is Dulal-da?’

                     ‘He has left with Sarathi’s Nirmalya-da some twenty minutes ago. The club’s election is around the corner, maybe he has gone for canvassing votes. If they get you, they might even enlist your help,’ Arun said, lowering his voice.

                    ‘They won’t. Everyone at the club knows that I never do such jobs.’

                    ‘Who do you think will win? The Bata Biswas group has started with a lot of preparation.’

                    ‘I do not bother about whether Bata or Nirmalya wins. I do my own job,’ Samiran smiled. It was superfluous to tell what his job was.  

                    ‘I have heard from Dulal-da that some people went to Kerala to bring Binu John. Talks are on with Albukark from Goa. Both of them are strikers. If they come then you…’A look of helplessness spread on Arun’s face. It seemed that it would be he, not Samiran, who would face problems if these two came to the club.

                    A crease appeared in Samiran’s face and disappeared immediately. He had heard the news a few days ago from Kerala’s Noor Mohammed. Someone from Sarathi had approached Binu John’s father. He had told him that Samiran did not share a good rapport with the club officials, so they would release him if Binu agreed to play for them. On hearing this, Samiran had smiled to himself and simply dismissed it from his mind.

                    A rumour that Samiran did not share a good relationship with the officials had spread in the club for the last two years. He did not hobnob with any of the two factions of the club, he did not curry favour with any of the officials, and he had not created his own group. All the three factors had worked against him. A person who maintained good relations with everyone will inevitably be dubbed as a suspect in Kolkata’s elite football society. Samiran too was not spared. A person without an enemy! He is dangerous, he has to be eliminated.

                    The process of evicting Samiran had started from the last year itself when Karnail Singh from Punjab and an Iranian student name Rafsanjani from Aligarh had been signed by the club. The two of them had played a total of four matches and had never stepped inside the Maidan again. It was rumoured that Samiran and some of the other players had formed a clique and deliberately embarrassed the duo in front of the spectators by not giving the ball to them or providing passes which evaded them. Even more, they had persuaded ‘friendly’ newspaper reporters to pass scathing comments against them. All these were supposedly masterminded by Samiran.

                     Samiran knew that all these rumours had emerged from the Bata Biswas coterie. He had simply brushed aside such allegations. He had upheld one sentence etched in his mind as the ultimate truth: since you are taking so much money, give your best in the field. The supporters of Sarathi had seen with their own eyes his sincerity in the field. Samiran knew that they were his armour.

                     But the love of the supporters was not the last word in the contemporary football scenario. Kolkata’s football circles were riven with power struggles and an incessant desire to hog the limelight at any cost. Most of the officials were surrounded by lackeys—a group of inexperienced, average newbies along with another group of once-reputed, out-of-form, aged players. Both these groups acted as pawns for the respective officials by playing according to their instructions. Some of the ploys deployed would be to humiliate an official of the opposite group by deliberately losing points, embarrass a particular player and force him to leave the ground and tarnish the image of the club by feigning injuries and refusing to participate in tough matches. In exchange, they received the favour of these officials, the passport to stay another year at the club, that is, a new contract with an increased salary. Samiran had never resorted to such baseness. He had worked relentlessly to improve his skills. All the officials knew very well that they had to depend on Samiran, yet there was an underhand effort by one of the groups to bring a player of the same calibre from outside the state so that he would be compelled to leave Sarathi

                    ‘From what I have heard from Dulal-da,’ Arun spoke in a hushed voice, after taking in the entire room, ‘It seems he doesn’t want you to stay at Sarathi.’

                    ‘Why?’ Samiran’s brows creased again.

                    ‘I think he himself would not stay there, he wants to return to Jatri.’

                    ‘If he wishes to leave the club, why go for canvassing votes?’

                    ‘It seems that he is taking a chance, he wants to see whether Bata Biswas’s group can be defeated.’

                    ‘It was Bata-da who brought him from Jatri, why would Dulal-da want to defeat him? I can make neither head nor tail of this club politics. Who knows who sides with someone and when? Who knows when one’s interest is hurt?  Anyway, it is no use contemplating these things, I have to leave now.’ Samiran picked up the suitcase.

    munna219777kartik91reddevil87namewtheld
  • thebeautifulgamethebeautifulgame Durgapur,India27967 Points
    The second part of Section 3 in the next post...more to follow today and tomorrow.
    munna219777
  • thebeautifulgamethebeautifulgame Durgapur,India27967 Points

    ‘I have heard that you would be the Indian captain in the Malaysia and Singapore tour,’ Arun said, almost snatching the suitcase from Samiran and moving towards the door.

    ‘I have heard something of the sort from Novacheck.  But I am not interested in it.’

    ‘What sort of a coach is Novacheck?’

    ‘It would be too early to comment now. He has arrived only a few months ago. But he is making us work hard. He is emphasizing on speed and stamina, the two basics of modern football in which we are woefully lacking. Wait, you need not accompany me further, I can call a taxi.’ Samiran took the suitcase from Arun’s hands and hailed a passing taxi.

    As he boarded the taxi, he faced the next problem: where would he tell the driver to go? It was unlikely that Ghunu-da would be waiting in the house, but if he had asked someone to keep guard nearby? As soon as he reached home, he would convey the news to Ghunu. There was no trusting this man; he could do anything.

    ‘Where would you be going?’ the driver asked.

    ‘Nagerbazar.’

    Samiran had no idea why he chose this particular place. One of the reasons was that this area, located in Dumdum, was close to his house; other than that, his school-friend Basab lived here. Samiran had not met him for a long time. Basab had a theatre group of his own. He was a dramatist, director and actor rolled into one. Why did he recall such a person now? About four years ago, when he was playing for Juger Jatri, he was bitten by the acting bug. The desire to act vanished after three-four days of rehearsal. He could easily divine the difference between taking the stage and taking the field.

    Samiran smiled. Arun had been referring to Novacheck just now. The Czech coach bore an uncanny resemblance to his friend. Both of them were slightly tawny, light in stature, tall and two teeth in the upper row jutted outwards. But Karel’s voice was soft, Basab’s stentorian. Maybe it was their similarity in appearance that reminded Samiran of Basab.

    Karel Novacheck was a strict disciplinarian. While returning from Bangalore, he had time and again cautioned Samiran that if he did not come back within the 22nd, he would be expelled from the camp. He had summarily dismissed six of the players because they had arrived one day late. The AIFF Secretary had requested him to pardon the six players and allow them to attend the camp. Karel had informed them that in that case his resignation letter would reach his office.

    The word ‘twenty two’ was buzzing all around his mind like a blind beetle. Maybe he was reminded of Basab because of the word ‘twenty two’ (‘Baish’ in Bengali). They would be going to Kozhikode to play the Nagjee tournament on the 24th. Karel wanted them to play in this tournament because he wanted to see how the team had shaped up. The tournament was very important to him and for Samiran too. Karel had already informed him that was going to be the captain of the AIFF team. Twelve years ago, when he had won the Shield as the captain of Five Bullets and had come home from Patipukur riding on the shoulders of the boys of the locality, he had told his Auntie, ‘I will play for India, you can match my words.’ Next, he had said, ‘I will be the captain of India too.’ The first dream had been fulfilled; the second was yet to materialize. He had to go to Kozhikode on the 22nd. Karel was a hard taskmaster.

    A road had winded its way past the Motijhil Commerce College located at the right when one advanced from Dumdum Station towards Nagerbazar. The cab was forced to halt at the entrance of the road. A lorry had collided with an auto-rickshaw which was carrying passengers. There was no major accident except that the two lady passengers had been thrown off into the road, but that was enough to create a ruckus. A heated argument was going on about whether the lorry ought to be burnt. The inhabitants of the nearby houses and the shopkeepers wanted to burn it on the main road if they wanted so, otherwise they would be ruined by the fire. Another group wanted to burn it at that very spot.

    After paying his fare and taking the suitcase, Samiran made his way through the crowd and reached Basab’s house in a few minutes. The first storey contained a large room where Basab lived all by himself; his family occupied the second storey. The rehearsals were conducted in this room. Basab did not have a job; since he was the only son of his parents and possessed a large amount of property, he was a bit lazy. He was in the habit of taking a nap in the afternoon. Expecting him to be present, Samiran pressed the door-bell, but there was no buzz. Load-shedding, then.  Samiran knocked on the door once, then a second time.

    ‘Who is it?’ Someone called out in a drowsy tone. Suddenly…

    ‘Samiran-da, we are in great danger.’

    Even before he could make out anything, Samiran saw three young boys rushing towards him from the by-lane. One of them dived like a goalkeeper and clutched his knees. Another knelt down before him with folded hands and looked at his face, imploringly. The third boy, not finding any free space, clutched him from behind.

    ‘Hey! Hey! What is this?’ Samiran tried to wriggle free, holding the suitcase tightly in his hands. For a moment, he thought, that this was another method of looting a person.

    ‘We shall be ruined, we shall fall into the abyss, we shall not be able to show our faces in the locality,’ the young boy who had knelt down pleaded with him.

    The boy who was grasping his knees almost sobbed, ‘You, it is only you who can save us.’

    The third boy who was clasping him assured the other, ‘Pintu, do not weep. God is on our side, that is why he has sent Samiran-da at the right time.’

    ‘What is this? Leave me, I say, leave me,’ Samiran elbowed the boy clasping him. With a sudden tug, he lifted his legs and freed his knees.

    munna219777reddevil87
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