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Jogodish and the Jombie
(© Biswapriya Purkayastha)

Page 1

(NOTE: There are NO guns and NO gore in this story. Fans of stereotyped George Romero genre material, look elsewhere.)

Jogodish Babu was returning from Mitro Moshai’s adda the evening the Zombie Apocalypse struck Bunglistan.

Jogodish Babu’s full and complete name was Jogodish Chondro Bondopadhyay, and if his friends from his schooldays had once called him Jogai, nobody cared to remember it now. Jogodish Babu was sensitive about that. If they didn’t call him Jogodish Shaheb, the least they could do was call him Jogodish Babu. As he said, many times, "I am an ofisaar now. Ebhryone should treat me weeth respect." And – at least to his face – everyone did, except his wife. But then Jogodish Babu’s wife had never respected him anyway. And she addressed him, of course, by no name at all.

She wasn’t a wife fit to live with anyone, Jogodish Babu had often thought. For one thing, she outweighed him by a good twenty kilos and had a voice like a broken cement mixer on steroids. For another, she had opinions on everything and wasn’t shy to express them, at the top of her considerable lung-power, at all hours of the day and night. For a third, she resented everything about him, starting with his salary and going on to the fact that he never went with her to her mother’s for a holiday during the Durga Puja. Jogodish Babu could never explain that he needed a holiday from her, and the two weeks she was gone to Callcutter represented the only free time of his life. He was terrified that the old woman would die and then his wife wouldn’t go away at all.

It wouldn’t matter so much, Jogodish Babu had often thought, if she’d at least let him alone to live his life the way he saw fit. No, she had to run not just her life but his, and if they’d had a child she’d have run the kid’s life as well. She even ran the neighbours’ lives, and though they laughed at her behind her back, when she gave "advice" that sounded like orders, they nodded weakly and did as they were told.

Still and all, Jogodish Babu had had a good evening till that moment when the Zombocalypse struck. The work at the office had gone as usual, which is to say that he had blown the dust off a couple of folders and poked around their contents before putting them back on the shelf and calling for tea. He’d come home by five in the afternoon, changed, and gone to the market down the street. There he’d bought a nice three-quarter kilogram hilsa, redolent of the fishmonger’s slab, come back home and handed it over to his wife. She had yelled at him because he hadn’t had the fishmonger scale and chop up the fish, but not too much, because she adored hilsa and would eat almost all of it herself anyway.

So Jogodish Babu had some more tea, and, picking up his long umbrella in case it rained, gone along to Mitro Moshai’s house for the adda. His wife screeched at him for going out again, but this was the one point on which he never budged. If it wasn’t for the adda, he’d go barking crazy.

Mitro Moshai lived in the next lane from Jogodish Babu, and was the only one around who still held adda sessions, during which he kept mourning the passing of the entire adda tradition. "Eet eej thees telebheeshon," he would say waggling his shiny bald head. "Eet eej ruining awar kalchaar. That eej why we habh nobody like Kobigooroo Robi Thakur nowadayj."

Actually, Jogodish Babu rather liked television, when he could get to watch any in between his wife’s staple diet of Bunglee soaps and reality shows where pudgy contestants in brightly coloured saris threw rings at bottles while vacuous faced studio audiences dutifully clapped. But he would never, ever, dare to say any such thing to Mitro Moshai.

One day, Haru the Boor had had the colossal effrontery to mention television in favourable terms at the adda, and compounded the crime by saying he’d watched a Bunglee pop group which had set one of Tagore’s songs – "Robindro Shongeet" – to a catchy modern tune. Mitro Moshai had gone ballistic. But Haru was a boor, so he didn’t back down, and there was a moment when it seemed the two of them would come to blows.

It hadn’t stopped far short of physical violence though. "Old fool," Haru the Boor had muttered, deliberately pitching his voice just loud enough to be heard.

[ Continue to page 2 ]

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Genre:Living Dead
Type:Short story
Rating:4.88 / 10
Rated By:23 users
Comments: 1 user
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