The Prisoner was waiting for her verdict. The Judge called out "Prisoner at the Bar". There was faltering in his voice. There was a knot of trouble and throbbing of the old man's heart. The Prisoner had to resolve his problem. So she smiled at him. As the Judge cried he looked away, and the Prisoner felt he was like her Father. There was black cap waiting on the table for the Judge. It implied death. It was meant for the Judge to look like Yama. The convict pitied him for his trouble and loved him for his tenderness. There was mercy in the Judge's face. Perhaps he would not don the black cap. This was the moment of eternity. It was a condensation of all that happened. It was the moment of a drowning person yielding his last breath. Perhaps the convict was to be drowned not in river or tears or passion, but in mercy. But mercy was not coming after all. The hands of the Judge fumbled towards the black cap. It meant that the convict, the mother of Sona Mona was to be condemned.
It is in this moment of eternity that the life story of the convicted woman, the mother of Sona Mona is flashed before the eyes. Sona was a small girl child, not more than four feet tall, who would bath joyously in the tap water of the wall. Mona was younger. Mona was a baby girl whose name had no meaning, but was meant to rhyme with Sona which meant gold. The woman had these two small daughters.
Her husband was a shrunken man, with dark circles under the eyelids. He used to be sleepless with worry. He had not wanted to marry but because of his old grandmother who had encouraged him saying one day he would be High Court Judge with his learning and would find no difficulty in feeding an extra mouth. But unfortunately he lost the clerical job he had in the coal merchant's office. His wife who wanted to help could help in no way.
Then he got the job of a bus conductor. But he was already ill. He had... [continues]
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