Humiliating Triumph: A Short Story from Bangladesh

‘Bustard! Bustard!’

Ripon heard it and understood who said it. In fact, two boys were shouting. One was John and the other was his friend Shumon. They saw him and then started shouting. This is their favorite hobby. Whenever they see him they just shout this way. So, today was not an exception either. Ripon was scared inside himself and he was scared if they hit him. They had not done it until now but who knows. He was coming to the home of Mitul. Mitul, John and Shumon live in the same alley while Ripon lives 2 miles away.

John, Mitul and Ripon are 15 years old and they study in the same school. On the other hand, Shumuon is 19 years old and he does not go to school. He is no better than a local thug. Because of him, John feels very powerful in the street and whenever he can find Ripoin, he can shout ‘Bustard!’ to him. It makes Ripon very angry but he is helpless. Sometimes, he wishes that he would hit John very hard and run away but he has to go to school through this alley. So, this is not a good idea.

Fortunately, Mitol was in the street and came in support of Ripon. It has become a regular ritual. He went to the two bullies and requested them politely to stop. In other days, it worked but today, they were determined to torture and insult Ripon as much as possible. So, they kept on shouting ‘Bustard! Bustard!’ and it just went on as long as Ripon was in the alley. He understood that it was not a good way and he started to walk towards his home. Then, the two bullies even shouted with more energy, “Hey Bustard, where are you going?” Needless to say that they shouted some indecent slang too. After all, it was their specialty.

In the next day, John showed off to some other students of the class. Some boys laughed a lot but some others got annoyed that John offended someone from the class this way.

One boy asked, “You have done a bad thing. If Ripon complains to Nafisa teacher then you can fall into big danger.” Nafisa teacher teaches them history and she likes Ripon a lot because not only he is the top student of the class but also he likes to read and she really enjoys conversation with him in the class. She does not like John at all because John is exactly the opposite of Ripon. He never does his home work or class work properly. So, he gests punished on a regular basis. In fact, just two days, she got so angry with him that she scolded him for 20 minutes and in the end she said him to bring his parents next week. She also said in a very angry tone that why he cannot be a good boy and good student like Ripon. He should be ashamed of himself and try to learn from Ripon. This acted like the last nail in the coffin.

John has tolerated 6 months of torture from this teacher and now in the end, she tried to prove that Ripon was much better than him. John felt jealous but he felt annoyed with his teacher. He felt that she was a stupid woman with no IQ.

Today, John went to Ripon and threatened that if he complained to Nafisa teacher then it would have dire consequences. John was very unlucky because when he was threatening, the teacher was entering the class and she could hear every word loud and clear. She happily pulled the ear of John and took him in front of the class and asked him to stand up with his hands in his ears. She immediately went out to the headmaster and informed him of the whole matter. The headmaster sent his assistant to the class and he came and beat John with a stick. After the beating being over, both Nafisa Teacher and the Assistant Headmaster threatened John that if he offended Ripon again then he would be thrown out of school.

The problem is that if he is thrown out of school then it will make his parents very unhappy and they may even throw him out of the house. So, the only thing he could do was to tolerate all the insults.

After five moths of this incident, the final exams took place. Then the day of theannouncement of result came and Nafisa teacher came to the classroom and started calling the names of the students. Ripon stood first in the class and Mitul could manage to be 5th. She continued calling all the names and in the name of John came at last. He failed in all the subjects and Nafisa teacher said that he would have to stay in the same class next year. Hearing this, Ripon felt relieved that he would not have to see this bully anymore in the class. He also hoped in his heart that since he would not be in the same class, he would lose his appetite to offend him from now.

Mitul’s home was near to the school. He and Ripon came to their home and found that Mitul’s mother had cooked all the delicious foods for lunch. The two boys sat to eat and they ate with all their abilities. It was a very heavy lunch and then they sat in Mitul’s room and started to play chess. Afternoon came and Ripon decided to go home as his parents might get worried about him.

So, he started walking for his home. He saw John and Shumon on the street and they were laughing loudly. He could not understand how John could laugh in a day he failed in school. When John saw him, his laughter stopped and he got very angry and shouted to Shumon, “Beat the Bustard”.

The rest is as they say is history. They beat him for 10 minutes and he was crying loudly in pain. Some people saw in the street but no one came to rescue him. Fortunately, after 10 minutes, a middle aged man came in his rescue and John and Shumon were forced to stop. Seeing the middle aged man, some other by standers came in support and John and Shumon ran away in fear. Ripon lost a large amount of blood and he was losing consciousness. The only thing he could say was the name of Mitul and the address of his house. The middle aged man and another man put him in a rickshaw and took him to the home of Mitul. Seeing Ripon this way, both Mitul and his mother started crying. They immediately took him a local clinic and called his parents. His parents came and mother of Ripon started crying loudly in the clinic. The father talked to the doctor and learnt that there was no danger on his life. He has just lost some blood and it will take one or two weeks for him to recover. There was nothing to worry.

Ripon had to stay in the clinic for one week and then he could come home. After coming home, he just thought about the whole matter day and night. He became very silent and just thought and thought. What happened was that John could convince his parents to change the school and this way, he would not lose one year. So, in that afternoon, when he saw Ripon, he did not have any fear about Nafisa teacher or anyone. Instead, he felt that it was his time to take revenge for all the humiliations. He did not plan for beating him but the idea just came to him on the spur of a moment.

Ripon’s father wanted to file a case but John’s father came and requested him not to do so. Even Ripon’s mother asked for the same thing because she was afraid that if a case was filed then John and Shumon could become more desperate and they might again attack him.

Ripon gradually came out of the shock and again he started to feel normal. He felt sad and depressed that there was no way to fight against these two bullies. However, this beating caused so much pain in his heart that he did not leave the idea of taking revenge. He started to read about revenge and felt that the best thing he could do was to keep his hatred and bitterness intact and just wish for a disaster to happen to the two bullies. He prayed to God daily for any kind of bad accident that would happen to the two bullies. He prayed to God deeply. He donated money to poor persons with this goal but nothing happened.

After few months of that bad incident, John’s father was transferred to another city and the family had to leave the area. So, it came as a relief for Ripon and his family. However, after one year, Ripon’s family had to move another part of the city as his father could at last make a small home for themselves.

15 years passed after the incident. Ripon had finished his university studies 5 years ago and was working in an advertising company. He gets a decent salary and he would get married the next month. Mitul got married 6 months ago. The two friends hardly see each other as both of them were very busy with their jobs. One day, the calling bell was ringing. Mitul’s wife opened the door and saw a man of 30-35 with very dirty clothes and bare footed standing in the door. The man looked so ugly and dirty that she started to scream in fear. Mitul rushed to the door and saw the man. He could not recognize him.

The man smiled and said, “Don’t you recognize me? I am John, your old buddy.’

Mitul became dumb in shock. He could not understand what he should say. John entered the home and sat in drawing room. His feet were bare and full of mud and his hair was curly. It was clear that he had not taken bath for several days. Even, there was bad smell from his body.

Mitul’s wife called Mitul and asked him to come to the kitchen. She was very annoyed with her husband for letting the dirty man enter to their home. She ordered him strongly to throw the man out as soon as possible.

So, Mitul took John out of the house and they sat in a restaurant. John told the story of his life. After leaving the alley 15 years ago, they went to another city. He just became more and more spoilt and he left school soon. He then became drug addicted from the age of 20. At first, it was really cool as he had no problem to get the money from his father. However, after five years, the father understood the matter and the money was stopped.

John’s father has retired 6 month’s ago and asked John to do some job. Of course, John had no desire for any job as he was totally addicted to drug. The poor father took him to a rehabilitation center even. John became normal for a short time but he understood that since he did not continue his education beyond high school, he would not get any decent job. So, he felt that again going back to drug was the best option for him. The father got very angry and threw him out of the house. For the last one month, John was leaving in the street. He walks throughout the city and collect papers and other things with a sack and then in the evening sells whatever he finds and buy some drug. Getting food is not that difficult as he begs to people and get some money too.

That day, when he saw the house of Mitul, he remembered that Mitul lived there. So, he rang the bell. Mitul felt very sad for John and gave him some money. He knew that John would spend it on buying drug but he felt moved by his distress.

He felt so much moved with the distress of John that he went to the house of Ripon on the same evening. Ripon was happy to see him after so many days. Mitul narrated the story of John with a sad voice. Ripon shouted in happiness and Mitul felt very annoyed with him.

He said, “I always know you as a kind and good man. How can you celebrate after hearing such a bad news?”

“What is bad news for you is the happiest news for me. Now, I understood that there is a God after all. God arranges justice. Do you know for many days I prayed and then lost hope?”

“This is too much. Poor John. He has suffered enough. We should be sad for him and hope that he becomes normal again,” said Mitul in an annoyed voice.

“Yes, you are right. He becomes normal and then harms others. If you really feel bad then you and your wife try to cure him and dedicate your lives for him. Leave me alone with my happiness.”

Mitul came out of Ripon’s home with a very bitter feeling. However, when he remembered the reaction of his wife about John, he realized that he would not be able to do anything about him. His wife was even more annoyed than Ripon. So, He came back to his home with a heavy heart.

As for Ripon, he in fact forgot John and today, Mitul brought back his memory. In the last few years, he was so busy with his life that he really forgot the painful incident. May be it was a humiliating memory for him and he tried to suppress it and at one stage, the pain and the memory both faded away. He felt very happy with the news of today. He felt that God did not forget his prayer and God arranged revenge for him. Seeing the triumphs of people like John and Shumon for many years, he forgot that there was a right way and if you do not follow the right way then you yourself get harmed. He tries to be an honest man in his job but many of his colleagues thought that he was a foolish and weak man. He cannot argue with them but in his heart he felt that he was right.

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