Dec 08, 2023
Dec 08, 2023
From 'On the Journey of Life'
Perhaps human mind is more complex than anything else in the world. There must have a conflict in our mind regarding these two: what we get easily by our hands and the other thing which can never be got. We always rush to the thing which is beyond our reach. We run and run to catch it but it always deceives us like a mirage. Who can read our mind? Perhaps God will fail to read the same. Even if we get more than what we demand, we may not be satisfied.
Swati and Tapas had known each other for seven years. Their love story was known almost to all of their village Banipur. Since teens they had loved each other. Sometimes they had to face tough situation but they managed. Their love was turned into mature love from calf love as both of them entered the boundary of adulthood. They acquired the degree of B.A. together from Banipur College. Then Swati got admitted to M.A. but Tapas left his studies to manage a good job. They were waiting for the moment when they would be very close to each other, close to each other's heart. Neither their family nor the neighbours encouraged them in their affair. They had been insulted several times by the elders of Banipur as to them love making was a great offence. Only few of their friends supported them. From school life to college life they faced no problem in communicating each other as they would got enough opportunity and time to meet each other. But after completing Graduate Degree they hardly get the scope to meet each other. Occasionally they would spend hours together.
One afternoon in a park Tapas met Swati and when Swati asked him about their marriage, Tapas promised her that he would marry her soon as he managed a job of clerk at a company. On hearing the news Swati felt very happy. Their love story gradually became mature and romantic. Swati started to see colourful dreams. She said to Tapas, "Tapas! Let's go to Kolkata next Sunday". Swati never visited Kolkata though Tapas went to Kolkata twice. It was one hundred and fifty kms away from Banipur. At first Tapas hesitated and then agreed with Swati. Tapas cancelled all the programs with his friends as he had to visit Kolkata with Swati but he looked much worried. How he would befool others whirled in his head repeatedly. Swati was free as she left the matter on Tapas. Tapas informed his parents that he had to attend a birthday party of his colleague. So he might not return home on Sunday. Swati managed her parents by saying that she had an excursion on Sunday. On Sunday Tapas and Swati reached Kolkata at 10 am. They visited Zoo, Museum, Victoria Memorial and Science City one by one and enjoyed each other's company. Then they took lunch. In the afternoon they visited Howrah Bridge.
For the first time Swati visited Kolkata and that was too by Metro Rail as well as by tram though she visited it in movie, in her imagination several times. In the afternoon they entered Nico Park and spent the moments joyfully with each other. They never spent such joyful and romantic moments together before. Gradually evening appeared but they almost forgot to return home. Swati looked tensed as she promised her mother that she would come back home by that evening. They could understand that then it was impossible for them to return home. So they decided to spend the night in a hotel. They took shelter in a hotel with a false identity that they were a couple. The owner of the hotel pretended not to know about their real identity as he needed only money. In room number nine they took shelter. At nine O'clock they had supper. With the passing of time the real business started in the hotel. They could hear the customers' bargaining. In fear both of them became speechless. They shut the door and windows so that no one could call them.
Tapas said to Swati repeatedly, "We should have returned home." It was Swati for whom they had to take shelter in the hotel. They were very close to each other yet it seemed to them they were not familiar to each other. They called up they had spent hours together with romance and love in the past. But the room number nine took away feelings of love from their hearts and fill them with fear. The fearful moments in the hotel made them almost mechanical. Till 2 am they passed sleepless hours in fear. Then Tapas decided that he would lie on the floor and Swati on the cot. They tried to sleep but failed. Swati was tired and afraid of herself. Tapas was intelligent but he seemed to be a great fool to himself. It was 4 am. Tapas just closed his eyes. Just then Swati cried and said, "Don't touch me Tapas!" as if she was talking to someone in a dream. On hearing Swati's crying Tapas woke up and became surprised. Then he said to her, "What happened?" Swati said, "Don't come to me; don't touch me". Tapas understood nothing. He felt, "Life is a great mystery and there is a huge gap between reality and dream, life and love. To make a palace in the air is easier than to make the same in reality". He seemed to himself a helpless creature taken shelter in a hole driven by the hunters. Then he said to Swati, "Have you seen a fearful dream my dear Swati?" Swati remained silent for a while. Then she said to Tapas, " Don't touch me. Don't call me my dear Swati! I must never be yours as I have already been a half prostitute." On hearing her words Tapas stared at Swati's face like a person suffering from mental disorder for a long time.
More by : Dipankar Sadhukhan
|A haunting piece that illustrates the dilemmas and inhibitions in love affairs in small- town India. The writer has made a deft job of creating the atmosphere of tension and taut sensibilities that has made the piece a worthy read|