From 'On the Journey of Life'

It was a Sunday afternoon in Spring. People were busy in playing with their kids in the park. Gentle wind was blowing to carry the sweet fragrance of rose. The newly married couples and the lovers were whispering at the corner of the park. The expression of their faces indicated that they were fascinated by the smell of love and flowers.

A man of 34 years had been waiting at the entrance of the park and looking at his watch again and again. He wore a brown shirt and a white trouser. His eyes were covered with a black sunglass. He looked so handsome. Perhaps he would come there every afternoon. Perhaps he was not new to those who would regularly come to the park. That was why he had to face any question by none. The man was watching those people who were passing by him. In this way he spent almost an hour.

Suddenly a lady of about 32 or 33 years was passing by. The man called her. She turned to the man and became speechless for a while. Then she said to him, " Who are you?" The man said to her, "Why can't you know me Swarnali? I am your Samir. I have been waiting for you for about eleven years. I can see you whenever I close my eyes, whenever I sleep." Swarnali looked so lovely and gorgeous. Then they entered the park and sat on a bench. In joy tears rolled down from the eyes of Samir. Swarnali wiped tears from his eyes. Both of them were delighted to get each other. They met for the last time eleven years ago.

Dear readers! we have to go back twenty years to know what happened with them. Swarnali and Samir lived at a same village named Premnagar in South 24 Parganas seventy kms away from Kolkata. She was the only daughter of a post master Debashis Mitra who was one of the richest men of the village. So everybody respected Debashis babu. Swarnali was a brilliant student. She used to stand first in every class. She was the first girl in Class Eight. So the teachers of Premnagar High School would love and affectionate her so much. Besides she was the most beautiful girl in the village. Samir was a son of a poor potter. His father Sunil Paul had to face great difficulty to maintain his family. Samir could not appear at the final examination of class VIII as he had suffered from jaundice for seven months. His father borrowed money from few businessmen at high interest for the recovery of her son. Samir was upset as he would have to read in the same class for two years. He was a meritorious student. She stood first almost in every class. Swarnali was his new rival. Samir had to depend only on the class teaching. He had no tutor. Swarnali had two tutors to teach and guide her. In the final exam of class VIII Samir stood first. He got 82 % marks in aggregate. Swarnali could not stand first for the first time. She got 81% marks. So her father Debashis Babu was not happy with her result. In class IX Swarnali could understand that Samir was more talented than her. So she wanted help from Samir whenever she would fall in problem particularly in Mathematics and English. Gradually they became friends to each other. In this way they studied almost for one year but Samir stood first again in the Annual Examination of Class IX. Swarnali bacame close to Samir. They became the best friends to each other. They passed in the Test Examination and were prepared for the final exam. Samir passed in Madhyamik Examination with Distinction and Swarnali passed with 74% marks. Then they were admitted to Class XI.

Samir could not go to school regularly as he had to help his father in his work so that their family might run smoothly. In the absence of Samir in class Swarnali used to miss him so much.

One day to her sixteenth birthday she invited Samir and requested him to attend her birthday party. Samir felt something happening in her mind. He went to her birthday party but Debashis Babu became unhappy with Samir's presence. Swarnali spent the day joyfully with her friends especially with Samir. One afternoon Swarnali was coming back from school with Samir. She said to him, "I have some important words with you. Please come to our house tomorrow." Samir went to her house to meet her. Her father was not at home. He went to Kolkata. Swarnali discussed over class works and other matters. When the time came to go back home, Swarnali opened her mind. She said to him, "Samir! I love you very much. I can't live without you." Samir felt as if the whole sky had broken on his head. He remained silent for a while and then silently went back home. Her words started to travel in his brain every time. He said to himself, " How is it possible? Swarnali is a daughter of a rich man." Samir knew well that they did not belong to same status.

After three days he went to school. Swarnali called him but he did not respond to her. He felt helpless. One day the English Teacher Haraprasad Mukherjee met Debashis Babu and informed him that she had been poor in English for few weeks. Debashis Babu called her daughter when he came to home. She was not there. He searched her bag and found a letter addressing to Samir. Then he could make out the matter. At night when he met her, he said to her, "Don't love Samir. Don't play with my prestige. Forget Samir and study well." Swarnali became very unhappy with her father's words. She knew very well that it was impossible for her to forget Samir. Some of her classmates could know the matter. Within few days it spread over the whole village like cholera. Sunil Paul reminded Samir of poverty and warned him. Both Samir and Swarnali appeared at the final exam of Class XI but could not secured good marks.

In Class XI Swarnali met Samir secretly and proposed him so many times. Ultimatly Samir fell in love with Swarnali. Samir had great responsibility- to help his father in work, to continue his studies, to make Swarnali happy. Both of them started to dream with each other. He knew well that he had to get a job to make her as his life partner. Gradually they passed in Higher Secondary Examination and were admitted to B.A.. Swarnali's father told her that after completing M.A. she would be married off. Samir was worried knowing this. They completed B.A.. Swarnali was admitted to M.A. in English but Samir left studies. He tried for getting a good job. He appeared at many competitive exams. Few of them he qualified but could not be enlisted in the final merit list. He applied for the post of a clerk in the bank. Ultimately he was called for the interview. He had only six months in his hands as after six months Swarnali would be married off. He needed only one good luck.

The final merit list was out after two months and he was empanelled. Samir informed the news to Swarnali. All of the villagers except Debashis babu bacame happy with the news of samir's job. Swarnali started to spend hours in dream. Samir got the appointment letter for his job as a clerk at a State Bank of India in Mumbai. He would have to start for Mumbai after fifteen days. So each and every moment was very precious to them. They started to spend hours in the park every afternoon. They knew well that they were the would be couple. Samir promised Swarnali that after returning from Mumbai he would marry her. One day Swarnali said to him, "What will happen if you don't come back?" Samir said, " I must return to marry you. If I die, my ghost will come back." He also told her not to worry so much about him. Finally the moment came to bid good bye to Swarnali. Samir caught the Mumbai Mail from Kolkata to reach Mumbai.

After two days Swarnali could know that the Mumbai Mail faced accident and most of the passengers died in the accident. The whole village sank in the sea of lamentation and sorrow. Swarnali became almost mad for Samir. She had been under treatment for a long time but she could not be fully recovered. On the other hand the parents of Samir passed away for Samir. But Samir did not die. He had a severe brain injury. He was rescued and admitted to a hospital. His memory was lost. He had been under treatment for a long time at a doctor's home in Madras. One month ago he got back his lost memory. After that he returned home but almost the whole village had changed. So for fews days he had been waiting for Swarnali in front of the park where he spent many memorable moments with her. By chance Swarnali was passing by the park.

Dear readers! What would be the next scene? Let's proceed. The sun was going to set. But Samir and Swarnali were sitting on the bench in the park. There seemed to have nobody except them in the park. Swarnali embraced her Samir again and again as if she touched the moon. Samir gazed at her. Suddenly they heard a child's cry. The boy was shouting 'mother, m-o-t-h-e-r' and entered the park. On seeing them the boy rushed to them. Samir lifted him in his arms. Then Swarnali said to Samir, "This is my son, Pavan about five years old. I have given this name after your name". Samir became confused. Then twilight appeared. Within few minutes evening would come. He said to Swarnali, "Go to your house with Pavan. Reality has made me away from you and broken my dream to make a room with you".


More by :  Dipankar Sadhukhan

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