The Gift By Subhajit Ghosh
An air of sadness tinged the atmosphere with gloom. When he regained his senses, Polash found he was on his bed at his own house. His employees had carried him there and the doctors had advised him complete rest.
It all began when Polash suddenly discovered his innate ability one fine day. Polash’s mother, who had paid him a visit to Guwahati where he served as a District Information Officer of National Informatics Centre, was leaving for Jalpaiguri after spending the past couple of months with him. As the day of her departure drew near, the thought of separation from his Mother became unbearable for Polash.
The train was to start off any minute when Polash exclaimed, “Ma, don’t go by this train. It will meet with an accident.” His friends, who accompanied him to the station, were taken aback. They ridiculed Polash but then somehow his mother paid heed and did not board the train.
What was it that gave him that premonition? For, as it so turned out the train met with an accident resulting in heavy casualties. The wheels had skidded off the rails while the train was running at breakneck speed.
“Achha Polash, tui ki kore aage theke bolli train-ta durghatona grosto hobe?” (Polash, how could you predict that the train would meet with an accident?)
“Jani na Ma, kono aloukik shakti hobe.” (Don’t know mother, it must be some supernatural power inside me).
It seemed that Polash was not kidding. Gradually as the days went on Polash was able to predict future incidents with startling accuracy. Soon, his fame began spreading far and wide. From prime ministers to rich businessmen, the who’s who began visiting him to avail of his counsel. Be it a possible nuclear attack or even a famine, Polash’s clairvoyance could save nations from peril. His fame reached its height when a leading international magazine featured him as the ‘Personality of the Year’.
As time went on, he amassed a great deal of wealth through his counselling and forecast. His wife and children lived in the lap of luxury, thanks to his earnings of astronomical sums.
Polash opened a counselling centre where he offered his services at a price. On any given day, there was a virtual riot outside his office as people were desperate to get a private audience with him. In order to satisfy his growing customer base he began to devote more hours to work, totally oblivious to the home front.
All his evenings were spent in the company of the elite and the powerful whose trust he had earned. Success had gone to his head as he began basking in his newfound fame. He had no time for his childhood friends some of whom had helped him during his father’s terminal illness.
But then, strange are the ironies of fate. One fine morning fate struck a cruel blow. Polash was busy as usual at his office, looking at other’s future, when he heard what was to change his life.
Some goons had forcibly entered his house, killing his security guard and eventually all his family members. The goons had decamped with all his wealth and belongings leaving behind an empty home.
The police was probing the incident and they were on the trail of the culprits. No sooner had he heard the news than Polash’s world crumbled and he collapsed within minutes.
Polash’s his ability to differentiate the present and the future had disappeared all of a sudden just as inexplicably as his ability to predict future incidents.
He no longer knew what was real or unreal as they merged into one chaotic whole.
Cover pic public domain picture by Nicolas Vigier.