An Evening Affair
I parked the car beside the roadside tea-stall.
It is just one km away from ITC Sonar Bangla..it is just across an old banyan tree..it is just a spot where buses never stops but cars sometimes do..just for a break of tea or cigarettes.
But I stopped not for any of these two.
I never stopped here before the last week.
I looked at the watch ..seven forty..five its time ..its time..
I openedthe door of the car and stepped out….
But instead of walking I have to run.
Because it is one of such evening when the monsoon in Kolkata is in full flow.
And for the last four days it is raining..raining heavily..half of Kolkata is under water..
The moment I reached the tea-stall the question popped up in my mind..how long will I wait today..how long..?
I again looked around..
Among these rainy evening the surroundings are looking much clan and there is no doubt that I am in the right spot.
And it is here where she came last weeks.
And that too in an unbelievable manner….
My car was going in quite a speed when through the rainy glasses I found that a figure was standing in the road obstructing the car ..and the undulations of the body..the flowinga anchal of a sarree.. signalizing..she is a woman.
The first day I uttered a slang and moved away.
Second day I was bound to stop otherwise I would crush her.
And as soon as the car stopped the woman peeped inside the car..it was then raining also..strings of her hair floating over her face..and behind her was total darkness..
I can hardly saw her face..I was totally paradoxed by the situation and within that moment the woman uttered.. ‘Yes..I am right..it is you..and the she looked towards me and said.. ‘Can you please come here tomorrow again for once..I have to give you a thing..’ and then creating more mysteries she took a running Taxi and went away..
I thought and thought that night..next whole day..but couldn’t understood a single of this puzzle of the woman..I was in great doubt because in night in bypass to stop for a woman is trotally unsafe and it can be any trap..through my mind rushed incidents about all the Bypass murder and traps throughout India.
But instead of all this thoughts the woman’s voice had something which took me that night at the spot.
And yes..there beneath the banyan tree the woman was standing..
And as soon my car stopped I thought she would come inside my car..but I was wrong and instead the woman said calmly..can you come with me to the tea-stall..?’
I puzzled still thought once of abusing her in slangs but went out of car and followed her to the tea-stall..
And once I reached there she without saying a single word took out from her packet a bunch of copies and handed me.
I took the copy and once I turned over the first page I shouted ‘My God,What’s this!’
And then for the first time I looked at the woman’s face which under 80 power bulb of the tea-stall seems much clear much close.
A splash of wind hit us. The woman removed her sweeping strings of hair and kept her eyes on me.
I was moved..swarms of memories hit me and I with great surprise exclaimed, ‘Aditi!’
The woman looked deeply towards me and said , ‘I am lucky that you still remember my name..’
How can I forget her..just four months ago I met her..in Hazra more and that too not in normal circumstances..I saw a woman was crossing the road and a bus coming rushing towards her..she looked unmindful..forgetting everything I ran towards her and snatcher and brought her towards me..she was totally trembling..and within the crowded Hazra more I clunged her towards my body for once and then said .. ‘For what in the world you are crossing like that? Aopni ki pagal(Are you mad?)..’
The woman nedded some time to come to senses..and when she came she just said.. ‘Thanks for saving life..’
She was palnning to move but I took her to the Doctor..as her right hand was badly swollen and needed an X-Ray and a bit of First-Aid.
Once we are out of Doctor’s Chamber I asked her the address of her home.
‘Can you go alone?’
She smiled.. ‘Would you accompany me in every step of my life?’
I smiled but cannot said anything.
She said, ‘You gave me your card..if I need you I will contact you’
‘But whats the problem in giving me the address?’
‘No problem but I hardly stays there..and where I usually stay you can’t go there!’
She smiled and holding my hand took a tram going towards Rashbehari.
But I decided that I would find her.
For the next seven days I stood in Hazra More but never found her went to the Doctor’s Chamber but only in vain as she nevaer reported there about her progress.
It was the eighth day when I again saw her and without saying her anything I just followed her. She crossed the Fire-Brigade and then came to Kalighat,
And to my utter shock I found her that she is entering the Red Alert area and soon disappeared among the lined prostitute quarters.
I got stranded. I nodded.
She is right. I cant go where she stays.
I really can’t go.
But still I tried to forget her but I can’t.
I got impatient to see her but I can’t.
And within my daily works..time passes regular duties and office a pair of deep eyes always came before my eyes.
And also another thing swinged in a rhythm.
Aditi. Aditi Mukherjee.
Aditi looked towards me.
‘Is there any reason to remember me?’
‘Yes there are.’
‘I don’t think so..I just came here to give you your bunch of copies..in that day when you saved me you are so busy with me that you forget that your copies lied scattered in the street.
‘Before we moved to the Doctor I picked it up..but later on forget to give it back..’next day when you followe me..
‘You know I followed you?’
Aditi smiled calmly..’Women have a gift of conciousness..I know you are following me..
I know you stopped before the Prostitute area..I know everything..She stopped for a moment stared at me and then said ..anyway I am leaving..’
She started to move but I blocked her..you can’t go..you don’t know what you gave back me today..for the last four months I only lamented and got mad that I have lost my childhood,,my youth..my creation..within these bunch of copies..my creativity..my own world..my own freedom..my own treasures are captured..as not a sinle piece opdf these writings are printed anywhere..Aditi you don’t know what you gave back to me..
Night was slowly falling over the by-pass.
The Tea-stall is lively now..crowds scatterd ..smoke arisising from alluminium teapot..voice of Himesh filling the air from FM..a truck driver shouting.. ‘Oi Kashi..akta cha..’ slice of lights cutting through the tea-stall as the buses and cars moving away..wet wind blowing..twinkles of rain falling..
I hold the hand of Aditi..’Please don’t go Aditi..please..’
Aditi looked up..’You cant hold me back also..’
My work is done so I am moving..it is just that I felt you should be given back the copy..you saved my life..I can do this much for you..
‘I want you to meet me another day Aditi..please one day..I need to say you many things..’
Aditi nodded , ‘I don’t know and I would not meet you again..’
I pledged her..’Please Aditi..one day..’
‘If I feel then the same day I would come here next week and If I don’t I would never meet you..’
Aditi started walking .
But she stopped.
Again came back towards me.
She stood before me.
She kept her eyes on me.
Then she opened her lips and said among the smell of rains..
‘You are a brilliant writer. If I never come back again please make your writings in print..please!
She walked away. I stood there with in my hand a bunch of treasure.
It is now one and half hours passed but still Aditi didn’t came.
I am feeling empty and slowly a world of de[pression grasping me.
It is quite confirm that Aditi would not come now.
But if you would never then why you came back Aditi?
You gave me my childhood my youth back but also gave a birth to a submerged almost unknown feelings the fragrance of love. And within this one week I realized that yes I love her..I started loving her from the moment I saved her..from the moment I took her in my chest..from the moment I took her to the Doctor..from the moment she left me alone
and dispppeared..and I am deeply ashamed that I stopped when I saw her entering theProstitute Quarters..I should have try to bring her back from that hell..I should try to find what took her there..and why I never tried to meet her again..why..is it my mental blockage..my superstions..my concept of society..my conciousness that I touched a prostitute..? whats the reason..
I don’t know the answer..but the fact is within these months I never forget her she was always within me..and each day my missing her has indeed increased my love for her..Aditi please come back..please..
Another forty minutes passed away..Aditi didn’t came..
Clouds gathered in sky like nothing and soon it is raining torrentially..the tea-stall almost empty..the politin covers been put down..
I slowly walked towards my car dejected wretched.
I have lost Aditi.
As I opened the car I got a smell which I found only in one’s body.
And indeed Aditi is sitting inside the car!
I can truly believe my eyes..I touched her hand and shouted in joy Aditi you came..you came..
‘Yes I did..just to hear what you want to say..what you can say a prostitute..’
I forgot about everything over her her lips and said ‘Stop Aditi! Stop..please let me say my words..I am dying to say you that..Aditi.. I love you..yes I Love you..and I want to marry you..Will you marry me?’
Aditi tried to say anything but can’t.
I said again..’I don’t want to know who you are..I just know that you are mine..and I can’t live without you..’
Aditi’s eyes holding crystal droplets within the faint light within the car..
‘I know you hate me..’
I bended over her knees..’Aditi believe me..please believe me..I love you from that very first day when I saw you..’
‘I don’t believe you said Aditi in a very soft voice..’If you do then why you stopped seeing me entering the Pros Quarters..why? and why you thought me a prostitute? Why/ Can’t you think me my real picture? Do my images gave you only one picture? Why can’t you think that I can be a girl working in a NGO AIDS Campaign and thus need to go in that place and not a damn sex-worker!’
I got quiet. I feel like kicking my ass as I can’t thought of such a simple picture..as Aditi told..it is simple..really simple..
I hold Aditi’s hand.. ‘I am sorry Aditi..I am a real fool..but please believe me each day after that I remembered you and I found that I love you..You are my life..Please Aditi forgive me..please accept me..
‘No I would not..because you never came second day that do I entered there or not..I myself waited for you also..I thought you would surely come one day..I would found you again oneday in Hazra more..but I never..I thought of going to your office as I have your card which you gave me..but can never went there because I feared that you may would purposely say me as you never met me and show me the door..I accepted almost that I would never get you..but your writings..your emotions..your sensitiveness..your world of creative genious..your pictures of unknown childhood..your sketches of a young boy trying to raise high his head among struggles holding only loving madly his love..Why you write so beautifully..why you made me back..I would never accept you..but would always accept that writer within you who gave me a shelter.. a different world..amazing description of life..and dreams….I would accept him but not you..never..
I kept my fingers over her lips.
Outside world is getting wet in rain.
Winds blowing with an aim of spreading the droplets of the water over the earth.
Aditi again tried to tell something.
But I didn’t Let her.
I hold her face in my hand and said, ‘ I Love You Aditi!’
And then touched my lips in her rosy watery lips.
A deep kiss.