Trans : Mahesh Paudyal ‘Prarambha’
A filed a case against B. C said, “You did the right thing. I knew it beforehand that B would do such a bad thing against you.”
The issue didn’t have anything special in itself. A and B were good friends, instead. One loved the other very much. A invited B to live with him at his home. He also arranged for him a piece of land. He helped him in many ways including to build a house. This brought them closer with increased love and fraternity. They were no longer friends alone; they were settlers of the same village, or were neighbors – whatever you choose to call. They lived closer than born brothers, and helped one-another in times of need.
It was a village affair – an affair between the neighbors. B made friends with other families, as time elapsed. He was of the opinion that relation should not go wrong with anyone. He would just smile at whatever others did. He would say, “Foster love among all; treat everyone amicably.”
A few more years passed. B didn’t know who became friends, and who enemies over the years. He didn’t pay much attention to such trifles. He looked at everyone with an eye of equality, and believed that the same would come from others.
One day A told B, all of a sudden, “Do not make friendship with C.”
“Why so?” B asked in amazement.
“Because, he is an old enemy of mine,” said A. “If you do not snap ties with him, our relation – yours and mine – will go wrong.”
B considered A’s words baseless. ‘Why should I fall out with C, simply because A says?’ he thought.
Many times, A warned B to end friendship with C. But B didn’t. Neither did he talk about A with C. He didn’t tell A anything about C either.
B’s behavior irritated A. In the public eye, he didn’t have any justifiable reason to get angry with B. So, he started irking him.
In one of their usual talks, the issue of their borders propped up. A said to B, “You tampered with our border demarcations.”
“How?” B asked back.
“A few days back, when you were away, your farmhands shifted the border pole inward.”
B said with smiles, “We can restore the pole then. Why do we need to quarrel on such a trivial issue?
“Why will I listen to you?” A bellowed. “You did the same in the past too. I tolerated, for you were a friend to me. Now, it is beyond limits. Now I will file a case about this. Did you understand?”
B didn’t refute any of A’s words. The next day, A filed a case against B in accordance with the law concerning border transgression. All in the neighborhood pledged their support to him. Some said, “You collected a stranger from somewhere, and made him a family. Now, he betrayed you.” Some others added, “Go and make friend with C now. He will help you.”
A believed what they said. He resolved with anger that he would not spare B at any cost, and went straight to C. C added his words, “You chose enmity with me without any reason. In fact, what wrong had I done to you?”
A confessed that things had gone wrong with him.
The world has strange dynamics. Enemies hitherto turned friends, and friends changed into enemies. Because of A’s intolerable behavior, B stopped even looking on the former’s face. He just took care of his security against A. More than this, B thought no ill of A.
Theories alone would not however work. When someone attacks, one needs to charge back. B learnt this, with time. The villagers played upon them, sometimes supporting A, and sometimes B. B slowly lost his tempers during the course of time. A had been in fury for long. So, they clashed, aided by their supporters, on roadsides and squares too. There was no one to intervene, and make peace. Everyone said, “Why should we meddle between the two?”
No one knew the underlying realities between A and B. All centered their attentions on them, however.
C got a golden opportunity. It was what he had been waiting for. The seeds of enmity with A were always intact, deep inside his heart. He had not been able to forget how he had been defamed earlier. A fire of revenge had always been burning inside him, in one way or the other. The recent developments had been to his advantage. In order to ensure A’s imprisonment, C once set his own house on fire. Then, he reported the event to everyone in the village, including the children, asserting his innocence in the case. He embarked on all possible means. He even chose enmity with B against A, without any reason. As relations chilled, D and E – the associates of C – filed other cases against B. B, who doubted that he too would ever have any enemy, was surrounded by enemies from everywhere. This, A celebrated with untold happiness.
The broil between A and B grew more intense. A trivial misunderstanding rising from the border dispute assumed a violent form in the village and in the neighborhood. A and B added cases upon cases against each other. Huge sums of money were spent from both sides. They could not sit in peace just for a moment in twenty-four hours. They just kept thinking about their adversaries.
Days passed, and months elapsed this way. Twelve full years too passed by, but the case remained unsettled. C didn’t spare A, and D and E too continued to torment B. Now both A and B had more fears from C, D and E. Whispers were rampant in the villager that A and B would even be charged with murder cases. This terrorized both. They could see assistance nowhere. They were both lost in uncertainties.
This was the state of their affairs. One day A and B encountered one-another on the way. For the first time, they feared one-another. They looked at one another with dubious eyes. They didn’t dare to speak, nor could they remove their eyes from one-another’s faces. Both the faces were dejected and forlorn. The surge of enmity that had been flowing in them till the previous day had dried like a rivulet at this moment. Long staring at one another brought tears to their eyes. They wiped the tears, and continued gawking at one another.
Both wanted to speak, but could not decide upon the words. They didn’t dare. All of a sudden, a gusty flow of words escaped A’s lips, “Pardon me, B!”
“You pardon me first,” B said.
“First, you need to pardon me,” A insisted. “I am the guilty one. I charged you in vain, and bolstered my enemies.”
(Source : English Samakalinsahitya)