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Chintu's Superhero

By Prantik Mandal


Chintu was going to be late for school again. This was the third time this week. His mother was calling him from the breakfast table for a few minutes now. But Chintu was fast asleep sideways on his prodigious tummy, drooling, and dreaming about his favorite superhero Anrishk, ignorant of the real world. Chintu was obsessed with Anrishk. Knowing his otherwise churlish and conceited nature, one might even say he had DID as the sycophantic nature he attires before Anrishk is almost a foreign trait to his lineage. His family, as once Chintu’s father narrated, carried the legacy of the great Maharajas of the past, with rich, hot, high blood. Their ancestor was of high landed gentry. Chintu’s house had a total of 6 servants serving them, one for the Malik, one for the Malkin, two for cooking and other domestic works, one for the gatekeeper and Sambhu to look after them all. They had their own quarter in the back left corner of the villa, no less than an ideal abode for the working class.


It was 7.15 a.m. on a cozy winter morning with warm sunlight blessing Chintu’s face through the glass panel. Knowing Chintu’s history of indolence, his mother knew he was going to be late again for school. His mother came raging up the stairs in a temper to wake him up by the twitching of his ear but no sooner did she opened the door to his room then she saw the little innocence of the cordial and fluffy looking angel reposing there on the little cordial and fluffy speed-car themed bed with blue led lights on its wheels, and her heart soaked this inexplicable weight of obscure emotion which was a mix of love, pity, tenderness, melancholy and many other unknown and for a moment she shuddered when a wave of electric spark moved along her breast, kindling her heart with a novel fire. She moved her, now heavy with passion, frame towards him and sat herself at the head of the bed and stared at his glowing diamond conscience, unwavering. Raising her slender fingers, she wanted to touch his soft features but restrained as she felt she would hurt him. She was so overwhelmed by the sight that she wanted to pick him up and squeeze him into her bosom in an attempt to blend their atoms to atoms, soul to soul. But then she closed her mother faculty and reasoned with her guardian faculty and decided to wake him up.

“Chintu Chintu” said his mother shaking him as lightly as he could. But Chintu lay obstinate writhing around the bed.

“Chintu o Chintu” now came the sweet melodious cadence. But still Chintu wriggled away on the other side of the bed, sniffing.

Now she stooped over his averted face and gnawed sweetly with her canines on his earlobe. This annoyed Chintu and he woke up scratching his ear with one hand and hitting his mother with the other. His mother tried to pseudo-defend herself with her hands.

“its hurting” said her mother tittering.

“why would you do that?” persisted Chintu hitting her, now with both hands.

“aha! Its hurting” now said her mother completely breaking out in laughter.

“I am hitting so that it hurts!” imposed Chintu now stopping “doesn’t it hurt me!”

“Baba. Boys also gets hurt?” said her mother pinching his plumping cheeks which was reprimanded by a slap from Chintu.

“now get up, quick! You have already missed the bus”

“I won’t go”

“no way!. You have already absented twice this week. You have to go today”

Chintu fell supine on the bed again.

“get up! Its already 7.30. you can’t give any excuses. Today you have to go!” asserted his mother.

After minutes of persistence his mother finally was able to get him up.

“you go down. I will get ready by myself” contended Chintu.

“look at the clock” said his mother pointing to the clock “before the minute hand reaches 10, I want you downstairs. Understand?”

“no”.

And her mother went downstairs leaving him by himself.


Chintu after getting down from the bed reached the table, which he had made an altar to keep the idol of Anrishk, which he worships and turning to one it greeted “Good Morning. Wait up, I’ll be back in a few minutes” and Chintu ran to the bathroom and got himself cleaned and freshened and uniformed to get to school and came running out again to the idol. He was regular with his prayer from the most famous Anrishk : The Eternal, comic book. Today he chanted it again:


“O Anrishk our savior from mayhem

Your name shall glow, your eternal providence; your faith shall reach the ignorant fools among us. Show us the light of holy Cread. And protect us your worshippers as we hurt those who protest against us. Do not let us get any sleep but save our strength for the epicalypse.



The prayer ended and now he was ready for anything as he was rejuvenated. He ran down the stairs with his school-bag and sat at the table. Putting the first piece of bread in his mouth he asked “what’s for tiffin?”

“pasta”

“hm.”

And he gobbled up his breakfast his juice and went out of the house to the car where Sambhu was waiting for him.

Chintu’s mother walked with him, all the while shackling him:

“Do not play on the ground. Do not let anybody use your equipment. Do not drink the tap water. Do not eat without sanitizing your hands. Do not talk to those dirty dome kids. Especially that Deepak. God! He looks like a filthy beggar. Stay away from him. Talk only to the good students. Adrisha, Sneha, Kriti and the likes. And finish all your food.”

As if that last piece of advice was really needed.

He got into the car and went away, away from that colonization through love and care. He landed inside the school compound, where no other vehicles were allowed, like an aristocrat which he was. Sneering and flaunting he walked up to his class. He passed entered the class without asking the Ma’am’s permission.

“where are your manners?” scolded the Ma’am.

“sorry mam” shouted Chintu in the most indifferent tone which amused the whole class and made the Ma’am’s blood surge up. But Chintu was not only defended by the Justice but also his father. His father was the chief secretary of the board of merchants who build the school. So everybody had to put up with Chintu though his father had always insisted the principal to allow the teachers to hit him whenever they see fit. But modern education and knowledge provides enough instances to caution an individual before meddling with a kid belong to his milieu. Not only Chintu was a pest to the teachers but also the students. Nobody even the seniors never eyed him. He had what many might say the “dream” school life where love is achieved through fear.

Many complaints had been launched against him of bullying and abusing other kids to the principal but the principal never writes to his father. Instead He calls him to his office and gives him an hour of “therapy”.


Chintu went in and sat with his guy gang, who all were under the leader’s hood and started talking about Anrishk.


Anrishk was from the Zenka mythology and was the god of all superheroes. He was characterized by protector of love and peace and was also the most handsome in the Zenka mythology. But of course he could metamorphose himself, when need be, and become the destroyer of evil through the light of his palm called the Vert Legere. But that was a rare case and Anrishk always tried to avoid using it as it almost used up the entire energy of the cosmos. Cread was Anrishk’s wife cum partner cum second. And just like Chintu, nobody did ever eye Cread as she was under the shadow of the god.

This just might look like puerile fantastic notions of a bunch of kids but this had far more greater and real effect on their life. The class rather the entire primary school was divided into different groups. Some who follow the Zenka mythology. And some who follow the other, that is the Ureka mythology. Not only were they always at dissonance with each other, they always strived to prove their belief to be the superior and more powerful one, by debate, by squabbles or even by clashes. Mainly the classy and sophisticated kids followed the Zenka and the ruffian, rowdy kids followed the anarchic Ureka mythology.


Chintu was the ambassador of Zenka, Griyan was the ambassador of Ureka and they were to clash in the recess time as scheduled. After having finished the tiffin during recess, Chintu with his entourage went out to the basketball court where the other hood was waiting. They started off in an unorganized roast battle against each other’s superhero which led to a few touching and holding of collars and climaxed with fisting and boxing and kicking and biting even spitting on each other. The P.T. teacher came rushing in to disperse the crowd. And after few more strikes from the teacher’s lathi, though not to Chintu, he was successful in allaying. Then they were taken to the principal’s office. A total of 7 perpetrators and the principal heard each one of their testimony and not making any sense out of it decided to absolve them after having written an application for pardon and getting it attested by their respective class teachers.





After completing these tasks Chintu & co. went into the classroom and seeing the timid little Deepak sitting in the front bench alone eating his tiffin, decided to play with him. First he walked up to him in his overbearing manner and seeing the him coming, Deepak tried to shade his box of puffed rice with pickles.


“what is this? Who eats this puffed rice?” asserted Chintu. But Deepak remained silent knowing his speaking would only make things worse.

“don’t you know you are not allowed to bring this in school.”

Deepak remained silent again. Now came the cracking slap from Chintu’s fat fingers on Deepak’s ear, so hard it started that shrill reverberating sound in his ear. And though the hit made him dizzy, he did not allowed anything to happen to his food. He knew that was all he will have to eat for the next 7 hours. Deepak’s father worked in the school as a cleaner and everyday after school he had to wait in the little shade of a mango tree outside the school for two hours so that his father could finish his job in school and then together, on his father’s cycle, they used to go home.

“can’t you hear me?!!” came the loud dominance of Chintu.

Reckoning it more dangerous not to reply he decided to answer.

“what is it?” came the reply from Deepak.

“why did you bring puffed rice, when it is banned in school?” asked Chintu again.

“it only said not to dirty the classroom with any food. I’m eating very carefully, not one grain is on ground.”

“what is that, then?” said Chintu pointing at one grain that indeed was on the ground.

Deepak seeing that, turned cold and had all apprehensions. By the time he could get out of his dismay, came another slap now to the cheek.

“huh! What is that, then?!!”

“its no mine” came the mechanical reply.

“who else eats puffed rice in school?!!”

“I’ll just pick up and–“

“No! give me your tiffin, I’ll throw it in the bin” and Chintu tried to snatch it away from Deepak and they got into a tug of war over the box, Chintu was backed by his friends and Deepak solo.

At last the box was pulled hard from their side and the box flung up and fell on the ground. The recess bell rang and now all the rice was scattered over the floor in front of the classdoor. Then Chintu slapped him again one last time and said “look what you have done” and they went away while Deepak sat looking at the mess, trembling at the imminence of trouble.


After the recess, all the students came rushing in and they stepped on the grains and crushed them, dusted them till the floor become filthy. The teacher came next and inquired about the mess. Deepak broke down and cried in front of the class. The whole class giggled among themselves while the teacher took Deepak out of the class.

“who did that?” asked the teacher as calmly as she could.

“Madam Chintu beat me and throw my tiffin. He beat me every day. I say not anything to him. Still he beat me.” Lamented poor Deepak.

And the helpless mam did what she could the at most–

She entered the class again and asked Deepak to sit. Then she apprehended Chintu saying

“Stand up Chintu. Why did you hit Deepak and why did you throw his food on the ground”

“Ma’am I didn’t do anything. He is lying”

“I know who is lying. Come with me to the Principal’s office.”

“But Ma’am–“

“No! I will not hear one word. Come with me”

And she took Chintu to the principal and registered her complaint.

This time the Principal grew furious. This had been his sixth misdeed this week. Buy in actuality it was much more than that. Not every act of atrocity qualifies to be reported officially.

Understanding this as crossing the line, the principal punished him by imposing him to stand in the corridor outside the principal’s office till the last bell of the day. That’s all the principal could afford without attracting any legalists.

Fortunately, being December, the weather was in his favor. But Chintu was growing more and more indignant towards this heinous punishment. He didn’t think he did anything WRONG to deserve this kind of treatment. So he started scheming against Deepak and decided to inflict upon him the subjugation he deserved. His ego was bad formed and had inherited the qualities of a supercilious tyrant. He thought of the famous teachings of Anrishk which he gives to his most skilled and courageous subject Uptah, in The Battle of The Snowy Mountains :


“Remember child. It matters not who your enemy is and who is your friend. When the world crumbles down to the grounds and all knowledge goes in vain, no amount of conscious strategy will help you but only through your reflex and reaction to the stimulus of pain can you reach the path of your righteous survival. It is your divine duty not to let anyone question your beliefs, your ideals.”


These lines grew inside of him, consumed him to the point he knew what he had to do.

After school when the still hurting Deepak was sitting under the mango tree going through all the scars inside his mouth, Chintu stealthily walked up to him and grabbing the back of his collar dragged him towards the old abandoned factory house. The skin around the hamstrings was wearing off as he was being pulled off on the rough ground and Deepak just kept shouting “No”.

Now Chintu, after reaching the factory, pushed his head against the wall and started inflicting upon him every kind of blows he possibly could all the while giving him reasons like

“why did you lie to teacher”

“why you bring puffed rice in school”

“why you look so ugly and dirty and wear these filthy clothes. You shouldn’t have said my name.”

Then at the first sight of blood in Deepak’s mouth Chintu’s blood turned cold. He felt now that maybe that he had gone overboard. He moved back and Deepak lay there writhing in pain, too weak to even cry. He had already lost two teeth, broken the left pinky finger, flayed many parts of the back and unknown amount of injuries in the gut and head, but the visible horror of blood in his mouth was enough to appall Chintu.

He ran quickly towards the school again where Sambhu was waiting for him.

“where were you Chintu baba?”

“take me home. Fast fast!”

“what happened why are you trembling. Are you sick?”

“take me home, you dog!. Don’t ask me questions.”

Even after such humiliation Sambhu had to comply with him without protest. On the way home he did make one soft comment

“your father won’t like the way you talked to me.”

But Chintu was in a different place. Everything seemed like a dream to him. His heart beat faster than a sports car, he felt cold, his fingers were shaking and his mind was delirious.

As soon as he reached home, he ran up to his mother and narrated the entire situation in its authenticity from his perspective. The first words from his mother came

“Oh my god! are you hurt? Anywhere?”

“yes. My whole body is hurting. I feel like vomiting.”

His mother started crying and screaming loud in panic which attracted all the servants in the house.

“Sambhu start the car. We need to take him to the hospital.”

“what happened?”

“he got into a fight in school and he is not feeling well. Just start the car.”

And the mother ran picking his heavy figure up in her bosom and ran towards the car, crying through and through.

When in the hospital the doctor was attending to Chintu, his mother received a call from his father and she answered it crying now too

“hello, where are you? Quickly come to the hospital. Chintu is not well.”

“listen to me. I cannot come now. He has done something really bad. I have to go to school. The authorities are—"

“yes you should call the police. My child has been bullied. Those dome pigs—”

“just listen to me! Do not interrupt me. Listen to me very carefully. Is Sambhu with you?”

“yes”

“ok. Tell him to take you and Chintu and to your father’s—”

“but why—”

“DO NOT INTERRUPT ME! JUST LISTEN. Tell Sambhu to do that and don’t go home. Just immediately from the hospital get in the car, go to the station, talk to Mr.Basu. I have phoned him. He will guide you to your seats in the train. Go to your father’s home. I will call you at night.”

And the phone call ended. His mother asked the doctor about his condition but the doctor found nothing unusual which calmed her nerves.

Presently they were sitting in car on their way to the station. His mother was holding his head in her bosom. Chintu asked softly

“where are we going?”

“To your grandfather’s place.”

“why?”

“I don’t know. Your father said to go.”

“I need Anrishk. Lets go home first and pick him up.”

“No. we cannot go home. I will buy you a new one. Just go to sleep.”


By Prantik Mandal






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