Romen was waiting for his two other eligible-bachelor friends at the favorite joint of theirs, a seaside restaurant. He’d been living at Dover, Delaware for the last couple of months. Romen, an IIT Kharagpur alumnus, was born and brought up in a suburban locality not-much-well-known but quite near the then Calcutta, now of course the city-of-joy is rechristened as Kolkata to shed the colonial past image. After receiving the visa to come to the coveted-land-of-plenty, at first all three of them landed at New Jersey. After a few years of working for different multinational companies at various states of US, incidentally they were again at the same place. They discovered & liked that restaurant neither because of its appearance nor the Indian cuisines available there. It was solely because of its owner the friendly Sardarji.
Romen’s friends Pradeep and Kausal were quite late. In between Sardarji talked to him to know the wellbeing of his family members back home. In his baritone voice he would ask in his typical accent, “Oye Raman Puttar vattan mei sab khairiyat Hai Naa ?” He could hardly converse in good Hindi but Sardarji would make him speak even if it isn’t correct. He’d already finished two cups of coffee by then. And he’d read the brightly coloured glossy pamphlet on the tourist destinations of the Caribbean islands at least thrice.
While enjoying some light refreshments they started talking to each other. They were planning to visit an interesting place for the next weekend break. Romen proposed Haiti, a very small island country in West Indies, a little larger than that of Goa, one of the very small states in India. Beautiful beaches and tourist destinations in the Caribbean fascinated Romen. Friends weren’t much impressed. However, they decided to browse the Internet to know more about the island-country before finalizing. They’d visited exotic tourist destinations earlier.
By the next two days all three of them finally agreed to hang around the island locations of Haiti. Thus, Romen contacted the tourism department of Haiti through an agent who arranged the prerequisites. They arrived at Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. The places the liked most were the small island, La-Tortuga, off the North coast and the former pirate-dens out there. They put up in a hotel at Port-de-paix, a small city on the North coast. Romen developed quite a close friendship with the loquacious manager of the hotel, Mr. Rene, a Creole by birth. And through him he came across an exciting anecdote of reincarnation from the local newspaper.
Romen was excited. Immediately the first thing he could remember was the famous story of Satyajit Ray’s Sonar Kella. Mr. Rene translated every bits and pieces for him.
The said episode happened somewhere in the Northeast part of the country. There was a small village named Dindan. Romen was very jovially requested by Mr. Rene not to trouble himself with the pages of the atlas. One would not find such unimportant hamlet in the maps. A boy named Basil Dazer of Dindan filed a police complaint against certain members of one rich Jacques family, stating that he was brutally killed by poisoning and tossing the body into the sea in his past-life. Weird though, many people out there believed in past-life and reincarnations. Basil claimed that they killed him in his past-life because he fell in love with a pretty girl named Sinai, whom one of the members of the Jacques family wanted to marry.
His name was Jamb in his past life. The rich & influential Jacques family had large rice and sugarcane fields. A boy of that family wanted to marry Sinai but it was against her willing. Several members of the said Jacques family could not stand the relation between Jamb and Sinai. On several occasions Jamb was warned with dire consequences by the members of the Jacques family not to mix with the girl, who was already engaged to a boy of their family.
On that ill fated day it was continuously drizzling right from the early morning. An uncle and two cousins of that boy inhumanly killed Jamb. Basil Dazer had stated vivid descriptions of the incidents, which occurred, in his past-life. In his present life when his mother named him Jamb he protested and insisted her to call him by the name Basil Dazer. He would talk about his past life at length. He would ask about the wellbeing of every close relative and friend of Basil Dazer.
Their sugarcane was harvested. They organized an evening party of dance, delicacies and music on that field. Jamb and many other people of several families of the nearby hamlets were also invited. The lustrous black but chiseled body of Jamb was quite attractive. Several dames in and around Dindan liked his physique. But he loved only Sinai. A petite girl though she was but no lack-luster one. Sinai too loved him. Her eyes were like that of a dove. She was truly calm and charming. Her body would swing perfectly while dancing. What Jamb liked the most was her innocent smirk. They, an uncle and two cousins of that boy, conspired and poisoned Jamb in his drink. He felt an inexplicable burning pain. He lost consciousness. People thought that he was totally drunk out and out. He yelled and wanted to jump into the cool waters to get rid of the terrible-burning-sensation-within his body. He was shocked rather stupefied. He yelled a lot to put off the fire within his body. When he turned too tired and unconscious those three people secretly carried his body in an isolated place and finally tossed his body into the blue waters of a deep lagoon.
During the police investigation, Basil Dazer recognized all the three persons who committed the criminal act. Upon enquiry the locals concurred that a similar death occurred roughly two decades back. But it was an obscure incident in people’s mind. Some said that they thought the boy named Jamb was totally drunk and thus drowned accidentally.
Mr. Rene apprised Romen that the police was investigating the matter. Forensic experts would be testing the long forgotten remains of Jamb’s corpse lying under a humble gravestone. The anecdote literally amazed Romen. He wanted to know more about the new developments in future. Thus, he requested Mr. Rene to observe the next reports in the days to come.
They toured the beautiful coastal town, Cap-Haitien. They enjoyed the desolate beaches, speedboat rides and some other beach sports. When they returned to the same hotel, Romen asked Mr. Rene about the Basil Dazer reincarnation anecdote. Rene informed him that there was a new turn. An old lady proclaimed to be a knower of witchcraft. And thus she claimed that she has communicated with the ‘Zombie’ of Jamb. And she even knew jamb’s mother. She proclaimed that the bereaved mother still longed to get back her son. She revealed another awesome fact that a wizard had swapped the body of Jamb. Her son’s soul was stolen by means of wicked-sorcery. Romen was awestricken. He soliloquized, ‘unbelievable, witches and wizards at this age!’
Later Mr. Rene also informed him that that woman also stated that the soul of Jamb wasn’t in that body. She claimed that before his death Jamb agreed to marry another girl whom his mother had chosen for him. All the years she awaited for her son but her son didn’t turn up. On a stipulated day police arranged a meeting and surprisingly Basil could recognize Jamb’s mother. At this juncture such a turn was indeed weird.
Their return flight was already booked earlier. It was from the capital city Port-Au-Prince. Next day they’d to say goodbye to the serenely beautiful surroundings of Port-de-Paix, the hotel and above all to their new-found friend humble and amicable Mr. Rene.
They returned. Three weeks passed by then. They were again busy with newer and challenging assignments of their respective jobs.
One evening the trio met at the same restaurant, owned by the friendly Sardarji, which they liked the most. They talked on various matters, and they reminisced the wonderful holidays at Haiti. Friends thanked Romen for the selection of the holiday-destination.
Romen soliloquized “I wish I could turn back the clock and bring the wheels of time to a stop.” Nevertheless, their conversation reminded him the rebirth-of-Jamb incident. His utter curiosity compelled him to know the developments thereafter. He reached his mobile out to contact the hotel, in which they stayed. On the other end there was Mr. Rene. He was very much delighted for calling him. He thanked Romen and his two friends.
Romen could vividly imagine how Mr. Rene would have made the lively gesticulations while talking. From the other end Mr. Rene informed him that forensic tests on the remains of Jamb’s corpse proved that the cause of the death was indeed poisoning. But DNA tests confirmed that the lady wasn’t the true mother of late Jamb.
And Basil Dazer alias Jamb was kept under police custody. Police-investigations were still going on.