Helen of Anarchia: 3. Helena

Helena’s newborn baby made her a mother then killed her. This was what Laku thought for some moments knowing not what to do and even what to feel. He did not even look at the baby for two weeks. He did not have enough courage. Janaut family felt vacant. Remaj Janaut also took leave for a month from school. He hired a maid to look after the baby. He himself dedicated himself to his granddaughter.

One evening as the Sun went down, Laku Janaut came to his father who was playing with his granddaughter in his arms. The first thing ever Laku made was the chair his father was sitting on. Laku spoke after a long time, ‘We should name her Helen Larkin.’ ‘And what about our family name?’ asked Remaj. ‘Larkin is also our family name.’ answered Laku Janaut, bent down and kissed his daughter on her forehead for the first time. Tears from his eyes trickled down on her cheeks. A lump of pain and happiness arrested his throat, he could not speak. He spread his arms to his father to hold his daughter. Remaj looked at his son’s watery eyes and handed him his daughter. Laku held his daughter in his arms, sat on the floor beside his father and cried. His weeping father tried to console him with pats.

Laku Janaut saw his wife in his daughter. He had promised his wife that he would take her to the voyage with him. He could not keep his promise. But now, he became even more determined to complete the building of the ship. He restarted the shipbuilding and spent the whole day at the coast with the workers. The maid looked after the baby Helen Larkin and Remaj Janaut continued teaching and looking after the school.

New things were being invented and new ways of doing things were developed in Anarchia by the progressive people every day, on the other hand rate of crimes was also rising in an alarming manner. At least one person was being decapitated every week for murder by the public. Remaj Janaut and his circle of educated influential people continued their inconclusive discussions on formation of a regulatory body. The price of weapons, tools and utensils had been constantly increasing since years and the slow and gradual increase was going unchecked. The weapon industrialists were growing richer and more powerful, as growing number of people were being employed by them.

Helen Larkin was eight months old when Laku Janaut completed the building of the largest ship of Anarchia. Eighty pedallers were required to run the wheels. The ship could accommodate about two hundred people. It was the first ship of Anarchia to use sails for the additional speed by using wind and control of direction. It was all the fruit of Laku Janaut’s dedication. Remaj Janaut had to sell half of his land to help his son to build the ship. The ship was tested and it succeeded. The Anarchians had now hope of finding aliens like themselves in different regions of ocean which they had not explored. Many heroic stories circulated about Laku Janaut’s success in building the largest ship of Anarchia. One of them stories said that Laku Janaut named it Helena after his deceased wife. The moment Laku heard this story, he happily decided to give the ship the name.

Though the ship was all ready to sail, Laku Janaut postponed his voyage for four months till Helen Larkin turns one. Laku Janaut had to employ forty men to protect the ship at the coast from criminals till then. He decided to spend the time before voyage with his daughter and father. In addition to that, he had to sell more of his father’s land to pay one hundred and sixty pedallers he was taking with him for two months long voyage. He was taking his best friends from school Milak Larkin and Sonlu Arani along with him. They had left their teaching jobs at school to join him. They felt honored in joining him. Milak Larkin was cousin brother of Helena Larkin and taught language at school. Sonlu on the other hand taught medicinal herbs. He, Milak and Sonlu together decided on what food items to take with them to feed themselves and such a large number of pedallers for two months.

About three months before the voyage Nolat Shintu, the owner of the largest weapon factory of Anarchia came to Laku Janaut’s house and offered a price thrice the expense in the ship, Remaj and Laku both denied without thinking for a moment. Nolat Shintu asked them if they were not happy with the price. Laku replied, ‘She is named Helena, sir. I can not sell her.’ Nolat Shintu accepted the refusal with slight annoyance. It was not only Nolat Shintu, but also other rich and powerful persons of Anarchia who had their eyes on the ship.

Finally, the day came. Laku Janaut, Milak Larkin and Sonlu Arani along with one hundred and sixty pedallers and all the necessary food items and tools bid farewell to Anarchia on the first birthday of Helen Larkin. Laku kissed his father and daughter goodbye. Almost half of the Anarchia was present at the coast to bid them farewell. The whole crowd filled the atmosphere in praise of Laku and his father. Their chests filled with pride.

The first eighty pedallers took their positions in the lowest story of the three-storied ship. Laku Janaut was the captain of the ship. The crowds cheered, ‘Go Helena, go! Bring nice things for us.’ Laku Janaut took his position now. The sails were catching the wind and the pedallers began pedaling. Helena moved and the crowd burst again, ‘Go Helena, go! Bring nice things for us.’ The people on the ship waved at their family, friends and the people of Anarchia and were reciprocated with love. The people of Anarchia stood at the coast till Helena sailed away, turned into a dot and finally disappeared. Remaj Janaut with his granddaughter in his arms and maid by his side stood there till the day turned dark with tear-filled eyes.

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