A small crowd had gathered outside gate no. 2; friends, parents, roommates, business partners. Anxious volley of people on the wait… a common scene if outside airports or railway stations. But there were no placards here with Robin’s name written on it. There were 23 of them walking out and Robin hoped in despair that he was not the only one who was unwelcome in the outside world. Six years ago when he was only twenty one and Mishti, his first cousin was barely thirteen years old, Uncle Sudama had felt thirsty while the entire family had gone to their suburban country house for a mandatory winter feast. He got up and came inside the house to reach for the kitchen freezer, maybe even catch a beer or two. He went past the small lavatory at first, without noticing the latch that was not put in place. He did not even notice the faint shadows that played flirtatiously across the corridor piercing through the half open door.
On another day he would have pulled a crate of Tuborg from the freezer, walked right outside that door and watch the kids play while gleefully discussing world politics and golf in the same breath. This was no ordinary day. So his hands that were slippery from the fishing net he had been toying with all this while, slipped. As the bottles broke and a small piece of glass cut through his finger, he could see a spill of blood. Ice would have worked best on the wound but the freezer was far from where it fell. The lavatory was not. As he opened the door, he found his twenty one year old nephew with his pants down and hands that caressed through every inch of the embryonic contours of his thirteen year old daughter; perhaps experiencing an orgasm for the first time. Uncle Sudama instantly knew he had to scream, gather the entire household and accuse his elder brother and his wife of not having raised their child well. He could see in his mind the uncomfortable discussions that would follow in the name of family dinners for the next few weeks, the “I will take this secret to grave” look in the eyes of close friends. Yet he did not know what words to begin with, the suitable curtain-raiser for this mammoth incestuous carnival.
Robin had been in love with Misthi ever since he could recall. Mishti was too young to understand love but she felt comfortable around Robin. Some suggested rehab for Robin, some cursed his mother’s genes. But Robin’s father was far more than upset. His archetypal concept of heading a perfect Indian family was disturbed. He remained silent for most of the time. Robin kept quiet too. Mishti seemed perplexed, she cried; she wasn’t a child or a victim of circumstances but everyone around held, hugged and fed her and made her into believing so. The cops came later. Robin’s father had lodged a complaint against his irresponsible and filthy little bloodline. Debates and intellectual outbursts followed. Lawyers, doctors, cops, business associates, the house gardener, family cook, everyone seemed to have a say. But Robin was convicted and put inside for the next eight years. Gate no. 2 saw twenty two of his other inmates walk out into chirping city birds and humming train whistles with eagerness amongst people awaiting their arrival. Robin was walking out alone into unfamiliarity. A lot must have changed since he had gone in; the ruling party, the rules of cricket, the names of streets. But, Robin was happy. He was going home.
— Sayantan Ghosh