“Oh God, no,” everything was falling into place now. Brahma Bhatt’s superior had somehow thrown him out of the job just because he was a Brahmin. How nasty! This way a time would come that Brahmins would need to assert themselves and ask for a reserved category named after them. And all because some unseen ancestor of theirs had tortured some unseen ancestors of Harijans. And Mumbai claims to be cosmopolitan!
“Now, I don’t have any other alternative than to commit suicide.”
She just stared at him. This was not justified. Enmity handed down from generation to generation suited for Hindi films only. But, this kind of enmity against a whole community did not fit into the larger scheme of things in the present day and age. This kind of catching hold of victims when he is the most vulnerable reflected animalistic behavior. “And I thought human beings are the most refined creatures,” she thought.
Another thought struck her was Brahma Bhatt might be trying to gain sympathy and dupe her.
“What did he say was the reason for throwing you out of the job?”
“He says that I was there just for filling up a leave vacancy. The other person had returned, so I need to go out.”
“And you don’t believe it?”
“No, because my father’s friend had told me that he had created a vacancy just for me.”
“Did you speak to him?”
“No, I couldn’t. He’s gone out of town and will return the day after tomorrow.”
“Does he know about it?”
“I don’t know.”
“How can you say that it is because of your caste that you were thrown out?”
“I have been working here for the last 6 days. Every day, I used to get a taunt about my caste. He even used to pass wisecracks about brahmins.”
“You could try elsewhere.”
“I cannot try again from scratch. The house rent must be paid, today. My family has their daily requirements. My younger sisters need to go to school or at least they need clothing.”
“Why don’t you just change your name?”
“That would be worse than suicide. You can’t help me, either. So, it’s goodbye, then.”
“What a way to go,” I turned away helplessly brushing a tear off my cheek as I heard a big thud on the railway tracks and a train on the fast track coming in that direction.
The morning newspaper held the news about the suicide of a Brahma Bhatt at that same place. His face was smashed beyond recognition.
To be continued…