BENGALURU: I made up my mind. Yes, I would kill him, no matter what the consequences. “Bhagwan, you are my witness that, to prevent my godlike husband from going to hell, I will lay down his life at your feet like the hibiscus offerings we leave at your altar. It will be a sacrifice fit for the gods! Wipe away my sin and give me pain and suffering. In that will be my happiness!”
‘One evening it had been drizzling, but the clouds had cleared up. I could see my husband sitting by himself under a tamarind tree, sanding a plank of wood. He was at the back of that horrid woman’s house. I realized suddenly what to do. I looked around and saw that there was no one. I rushed like a madwoman to fetch a machete.
When the red light of the setting sun fell on it, the blade glimmered brightly. Although the sun was still shining, a soft rain started again.
I could hear a group of naked boys near my house dancing in the rain and singing:
If the rain falls when the sun is out, Jackals marry and tie the knot.
‘I hid the machete in the folds of my sari and, like a tigress, I pounced on him. I held him down so strongly, that, though he tried to throw me off with all his might, he could not. After I struck his neck a blow, my hands froze.
This gave him the chance to get away from me, and he scurried, screaming, to the nearby jute field. His screams roused me. I darted towards him and struck two more blows to his neck, decapitating him! There was blood everywhere. Blood danced all around me. I don’t remember what happened after that.
‘When I regained my senses after a few days, I found myself in a totally unknown place. I was surrounded by strangers. To my astonishment, I was turning a huge grindstone. After so many days, the light of the sun.... Oh, how clear and bright it was! Earlier I only saw red everywhere around me. I came to know I was in Shiuri Prison. I had been sentenced to seven years of hard labour.
I had been in prison for only three months. Apparently, I had confessed everything to the magistrate. They told me I would have been given a lesser punishment if I hadn’t gone to the village constable and threatened him not to terrorize the village. He had told the sahib to throw the book at me.
‘Oh, my dear, they made us work so hard at the jail! Yet, Didi, as long as I didn’t remember anything, I was fine. When I recovered my memories, the pain returned. Whether I was busy or not, from time to time, I would see his blood gushing out. How strongly the blood gushed out! My goodness! Even thinking about the sight still makes me faint.
When the head was chopped off, the body floundered like a katla fish on dry land. I never imagined there could be so much blood in such a small human body! I was too scared to be alone in the dark, for then I would clearly see before me the headless body and the disembodied head!
Extracted from The Demoness: The Best Bangladeshi Stories, 1971-2021, selected and edited by Niaz Zaman with permission from Aleph book company