Bubbles of Lives

Ram Avatar Mahato and Lakshman Mahato, sons of Bhunar Lal Mahato lived in their cottages with their families built in small pieces of land they inherited from their father. Ram Avatar Mahato, the elder brother was of fifty three and Lakshman was of fifty and they lived almost happily despite of their poverty till one night when Lukhu Yadav along with his sons came to Lakshman Mahato’s house and threatened to take his life if he did not leave a piece of his land which they claimed was theirs since decades. Lukhu’s neighbors claimed that his father, under the influence of alcohol had registered the land in Bhunar Lala Mahato’s name many years ago and Lukhu was thus convinced resulting in several verbal fights between both families till seven years ago.

But this was the first time in seven years for the dispute to rise again. Bhunar Lal Mahato died seven years ago and Lukhu Yadav’s father was bed-bound by paralysis. Legally, the land belonged to Lakshman Mahato but Lukhu was convinced by his neighbors’ hypothesis they proposed while visiting his father from time to time. One thing common among Lukhu, Ram and Lakshman was poverty. And poverty, was the source of all unhappiness in all three families.

The very next morning after Lukhu Yadav threatened him, Lakshman Mahato visited his brother’s cottage and convinced Ram Avatar Mahato’s wife to file a case of witchcraft against the Yadav family claiming they came at night as specters and scared them. He told his sister in-law that if she did not file the case, then it was not only his three sons but also her two sons and one daughter who would be under threat of assault. Ram Avatar Mahato’s wife filed the case to protect her family from the Yadav family.

Upon hearing about the case, Lukhu Yadav visited Lakshman Mahato’s house with great fury and began cursing his wife and children with dirty words. Lakshman Mahato and his sons reacted violently to that and broke Lukhu Yadav’s lower jaw and right hand. He was hospitalized.

During his recuperation, Lukhu Yadav filed a case of physical assault against Lakshman Mahato’s family and demanded compensation for the hospital charges and all other expenditures resulting due to the assault. The police acted as the mediator and gave Lakshman Mahato a time of seven days to pay the compensation amount of seventy thousand rupees.

Seventy thousand rupees was a big amount of money for Lakshman Mahato. If he were to pay the money within one week, he had no other option except selling the half of disputed land. After all, that was all he owned apart from his cottage. He was in a tremendous mental tension all night. He would have nothing if he sold the land. The land gave them rice to sustain for at least three months and wheat, maize and potato to sustain for the other three months. The whole family worked in fields of other people as labors to survive for the rest of the year. The family did not afford to lose half of their land. He thought all night and his thought process was clouded by all the thinking and no sleep.

He went to Ram Avatar Mahato the next morning and asked him to pay the half of the compensation amount. He was shocked at this. Ram Avatar Mahato asked why he needed to pay even a paisa. Lakshman Mahato explained him in all his sleepless stupor that it was Ram Avatar Mahato’s wife who had filed the case of witchcraft against them and on top of that it was for the protection of both the families that they beat Lukhu Yadav. Ram Avatar Mahato replied that it was not necessary for his family to get involved in between Lakshman Mahato and Lukhu Yadav, but his wife got involved in order to help him and now he was spewing venom in return.

Lakshman Mahato rushed to his cottage, woke up his sons and came back to his brother’s home. Lakhsman Mahato caught his brother by his shoulder and made him fall on the ground by kicking on his legs then sat on his chest and hit on his mouth. His sons guarded him from three sides while he broke his brother’s upper front teeth and tore his lips. He was scared only when he saw the stream of blood gushing out of his mouth and turning the ground reddish black. And it was only then when Ram Avatar Mahato’s wife and children came out of the house. Lakshman Mahato stopped and ran back to his house and hit his own head against the bamboo pillar of his house several times till he fainted. Both Mahato brothers were taken to the hospital by their wives and children.

After Ram Avatar Mahato and Lakshman Mahato were admitted to the hospital, the attendants were asked by the doctors to leave the emergency room. It was a special rule formulated by the hospital to prevent the attack on doctors. While waiting outside, the two families engaged in a verbal spat which progressed to physical fight between the families. All of them were injured in various manners. The police interrupted the fight and all of them were admitted to the emergency ward.

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