Sunday, 27 May 2018

Do I do this??

It was a lazy Sunday morning. I was trying to open my eyes, but my eyelids were too heavy for me to lift in one go. Taking the advantage of my heavy eyelids, I stayed in the bed for some more time. In next few moments, I felt the rapid vibrations of my cell phone. I suddenly felt the keenness in my eyelids. With all the energy, they stood up and my hand went straight to the cellphone. It was Saumya, my dear friend. I picked up the call and waited few moments for her to speak first.
Saumya – ‘Hey get up. It’s already ten in the morning.’
Me – ‘Are we meeting today? I can book movie tickets for us if that’s the plan’
Saumya – ‘Yeah, I am going to take you to a new coffee shop. Let’s sit there for some time and then decide the next plan.’
Me –  ‘I want to watch a movie. Last week too you canceled the plan and made me hear your love story. I am coming to your place in some time. Let’s then go out’.
Saying this, I hung up the phone. I got up from the bed, cleaned my room, got ready, had my breakfast and left the house. As I reached her building, I called her to ask her to come down and in next few moments, I saw her coming from her parking. I got her in and drove to the nearest coffee shop. I chose the corner table and we settled there. She picked up the menu card and ordered our favorite coffee.
‘So, what’s today’s story?’ , I asked her sarcastically.
She started speaking in few moments. She was working in a press a few months back. Later, she had left that job and was then working as a magazine editor with a small firm. The previous day, Saumya had met few of her past colleagues. Hearing that I was silent, I was not sure why this news was so important for her to share.
She described the matter further from roots – She had a group of five people, including her, in her office. The remaining four used to talk about their boss at his back. But she took no interests in such topics. With time, they replaced their boss with Saumya in their talks. They started talking about her when she was not around. But Saumya could feel the negative vibes from the behavior of those people. Gradually, they started taunting her on small things. She ignored them but she used to think about these ongoing negative events at the back of her mind. She had realized that she was becoming mentally weak and losing all her confidence. But that strong girl, gathered herself before she could feel lost and depressed about the negativity around her. She made herself aware of her goals and decided to focus on them and not on people around. She behaved as if those people didn’t exist for her. She fought with the situation and, with time, became an expert in avoiding negativity. Soon she became everyone else’s favorite in her office and was also one of the best performers. Later when she had got an opportunity to work for a magazine, she left that job.
She further said – ‘When I met those people yesterday, I noticed no difference in them. They were similar as before, in fact, more envious of our then boss than ever. I have hardly heard them talking anything positive about others. It is a surprising thing for me that they are as they were then. ‘
I smiled. I was happy for Saumya for the kind of mental strength she had shown. I asked her what made her so strong and positive. She said few statements in a reply – ‘Whenever I don’t like the behavior of the people around me, I take some time and think about their behavior. We need to understand the root cause. Many times people think in the wrong direction because they are friends with wrong people. Sometimes they think badly because they have no potential to prove themselves. I only check whether I behave in a similar way, if yes – I change myself. If no, I ignore them. This practice has made me strong and far more positive than before. I believe that self-development will take us ahead in life and not backbiting. We easily get affected by negativity around us, it is utmost important to understand this pessimism and stay away from it. ‘
I was impressed with this discussion; I got up from the table and went straight to the counter to pay the bill. She followed me. We both went straight to my car. I took the control of wheels and she sat by my side.
‘I am booking tickets. Let’s go for a movie’, she said. I looked at her and smirked.
I was actually stunned to hear her view. I have always learned many things from her and this one, too, was again mind blowing. I started deeply thinking about this. It is easy to judge people by their actions but it is difficult to patiently handle every situation. It is easy to point a finger at someone but it is difficult to live with dignity in all circumstances. We seldom think how we would react in such situations where we blame others.  We infrequently think whether we have behaved in this manner any time before when we discuss others wrong behavior.  Many times we easily comment on people around us before knowing the reality. We majorly focus on ‘what’ than ‘why’. We see what has happened, judge people and put forward our opinion. We rarely think why the particular situation had occurred. The time we spend on judging and commenting on others is a time we spend on degrading our character. No person in the world has gone forward by pulling somebody else’s leg. To prove that we are best, we have to focus on self-development and not on proving how weak others are. I thanked Saumya for making me learn how negativity around us can change us into a completely positive person.  I decided that going forward if I come across any negative situation – I should calm myself, take a deep breath, and think why has the situation occurred? How should I react in this situation?  She made me realize that instead of judging people, I should always ask myself – Do I do this?

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Hold My Hand...

The sound of the heels of my new sandals was accompanying me on the dark, lonely road. I could see nothing  but two strong trees, at the end of the road, standing tall and facing each other. The wind was mild. The moon was partially hidden behind one of the trees. I was walking for a long time and still, I could see those trees, which I assumed as my finishing line, at the same distance as before. I was afraid and was praying to god that he should not make me meet any wild animal or even a wild human for that matter.
I tried to put my hand in my jeans pocket,  I realized that I was carrying no cellphone; not just that – I was in a gown and not in jeans as I was assuming. As I surprisingly looked towards the ground, I could understand that the gown I was wearing had frills which were distributed in a perimeter of almost a meter. The color of my dress was matching to that of the moon, making me suppose that I had one more companion along with the sound of my walking heals. The sleeves of the gown were reaching my palm and were transparent.
Maybe I was coming from some ceremony, or maybe I was going to attend one, I was not sure. I kept walking. I could realize that I had one more partner who had just started howling. I was stunned to realize that my fear of meeting those wild animals was about to take me to the ride of a deadly adventure. I started sprinting. There was no other way, for a moment I stopped and looked back. The view took my breath away and my heart beat a second later out of fear. There was a huge black wall behind me, touching the outer frill of my gown.
I looked towards the road; the two trees were still standing there, inviting me. I felt trapped. I was walking on nature’s treadmill; I was walking, running and still reaching nowhere. I cried out loud and started running with whatever energy I had. The two long earrings, which I generally avoid wearing, were hanging on my ear lobes and were touching my cheeks as I ran holding my gown.
As I had the illusion of having the trees and moon nearer than they were earlier, I took a long breath and halted for a while. They took their original position within a fraction of a second and as tears dropped from my eyes. I was trapped in the worst situation ever. For a moment, my brain asked me to check whether it was a dream and I asked two of my fingers to pinch myself on my arm. It was no dream.The last hope, I had, was scrapped.  I was sweating out of fear. The sound of the  howling was getting louder by the minute , it felt as if the wolves were approaching me. Though I was not reaching anywhere, I had to run to save myself. I started running.
In next few moments, I could see a white figure flying in the air. Her hair was long and her flowing gown was frill-less. The howling had stopped and that sound was replaced with the sound of her witchy laugh. Is it a spirit? I asked myself. Indeed, it was. It was approaching me.My hands were shivering and I was staring at her as she was moving towards me.  She laughed again. I was not sure what she was going to do with me, I tightly closed my eyes. In next few moments, I felt the strong wind on my face – had she entered inside me? I was not sure. I opened my eyes, she was still there standing and laughing. Wiping my tears, I thought of running.
As I held my gown, my hands touched by my hair. My hair ,which was always shoulder length, had grown extensively and had reached my thighs.  Overall, it was possibly my best look ever and I was trapped in the worst nightmare. I ran, I ran thinking about to reach to the trees. It was a useless effort, but I was left with no option. In next few moments, to my surprise, I heard her laugh no more. As I slowed down, I started hearing her voice once again.  Hoping that she would disappear, I pushed myself to run.The moon and the trees were still there in their positions, happily witnessing my struggle. In some time, she was not around and the sound of howling had stopped too. I halted and looked back, the black wall standing tall. Was there any door in the wall?
I looked around and could see nothing. I touched the wall as if I was asking it to understand my pain. As soon as I touched it, some strange thing happened. The wall parted itself in two halves. From the portion, created between the two halves, I could see some movement. It was something shiny and black. The walls distanced each other a wee bit and I lost all the energy I had in my shoulder, legs and back and neck. My eyeballs pushed the boundaries of my eyes to the maximum extent.
The snake bigger than I had ever seen in any movie was approaching me. The size of his face was bigger than that of whole wall. As he pushed his head in upper direction, I could see that his tail was unwinding itself from a huge spiral formation of its own body. I knew it was my end and hence, I could think of no one but my mother.The blood in my body reminded me that my father had taught me to fight till the very  end.Though I knew that His Excellency, His Majesty, the Emperor of the world I was trapped into would gulp me like he would gulp a fly – I had to run on the order of my blood.
I looked towards the trees and the moon, who were very well aware of my situation and were still doing nothing to save me, and started running with whatever energy I was left with. My eyes were tired to see the road and my body had already given up. My soul, out of my father’s teachings, was pushing all my body parts to their limits and making them move.
In next few moments, I felt something on my left shoulder, it was moving. I had no courage to see what it was. I kept running.  In next few moments, it moved forward through my shoulder, it was red in color, with splits at the tip.  His Excellency had reached me and was asking me to stop taking efforts to run away from him. As I felt his presence an inch behind my back, I eventually stopped running and closed my eyes. In next moment, I was lifted and then I remember nothing of what happened next while I closed my eyes.
As I opened my eyes, I could see that he had lifted me. He had two legs, two hands, and a head. Finally, I had seen a human. I could not see his face due to the lights around but I could notice a slight dimple on his cheek and the dusky complexion his hands were wearing. I looked around; he was in the air and was carrying me with all his strength. I looked down; I could see nothing but the black shiny land.
The trees had disappeared but the moon was there, hiding behind his head, partially. I was upset with the moon, it didn’t help me, but out of generosity I still waved at it. My gown and hair were flowing in the air; the air was strong. After looking for all those who had beheld my struggle on the land, I looked at the one who had saved me and had taken me in the air. I kept my hand on his chest, I was not sure about his name but he was my savior, my hero.
‘Your name?’, – I asked him while we both were floating high in the air.
He smiled, making his dimple more visible.
‘How did you save me from all those strange things on the land?’ – I asked him. He smiled again.
‘Answer me. Who are you and how do you relate to me? ‘ – I asked. He laughed. His voice was familiar. I knew him. I knew him very well.
‘Hold my hand’, he said.
‘No, you first answer my – ‘.
My statement was cut mid-way by a sudden explosion of the light in the background. Next moment, I was thrown away from his hands and I landed in a spiral – multi color tube. I was floating through it and moving ahead with the high speed. Speed – something I hate. I closed my eyes tight and felt the wind touching me as I move forward.  As I stopped feeling the speed in few moments, I opened my eyes to find myself sitting in a cab.
As the cab came to a halt, I got down. He was standing in front of me, keeping both his hands on his waist. He was waiting for me for long. He looked at his watch once. Looking at me, he winked and smiled.
‘Where you have been?’ ,– he asked in his usual style.
The same dusky complexion, the same dimple in the cheek and the same voice – I had seen him in my world of imagination. The man in the story didn’t come when I was stuck with the spirit and the unseen wild animals, even ‘he’ did not interfere when he knew that I could take care of the situation. The hero in the story had saved me from a huge snake, same as the way ‘he’ protects me from many life problems – only after I fought with my full potential. The man in the story was holding me close to him, the way ‘he’ always needs me closer to himself. I had seen no one but my man in my world. He is the only one in the universe who is allowed to enter into my world of imagination.  I smiled showing my teeth. He smiled showing off his dimple. I went close to him , put my hand on his chest and then rested my head on it. I convinced myself that I needed nothing but his presence to win the world. I was calm.
‘We are already late, let’s move’ – he said, holding the keys to his car in one hand.
I moved away a little bit.
He took a moment and said – ‘Hold my hand!’ – holding my hand tightly in his, he started walking along with me towards his car.

Me within me...

The day arrived when Neeta had promised to visit me at my place. I was eagerly waiting for her. It was almost six years since I last met her. I was excited to see her and talk to her about all our college day topics, the people we know in common, and her current life. While I did not dare to go for higher education after my engineering, she had done her MBA. Post-MBA she got a job and soon got married. I had prepared the breakfast and her favorite black coffee at around 10 am. While I was thinking about giving her a call and ask her when she would reach, my doorbell rang. I rushed to the door and opened it. It was Neeta. Her glares were sitting idle on her head and her red colored handbag was hanging by her forearm. Seeing me, she hugged me tightly and we both felt the deep sense of happiness.
We sat on my balcony and had long chats. I was trying to connect with her but somehow I was struggling to do the same. Surprisingly, her and my choice of topics was not matching. I was keen to hear about her career but she avoided talking anything about it.  After some time we both cooked up lunch for ourselves. Her husband, Nadir, came at around 5 pm to pick her up and she left. I was very happy after knowing that she was satisfied with her new role as a wife and as a mother of a three-year-old.  But I soon realized that I had not felt the similar attachment with her which I used to feel during our college days. Maybe she was changed or maybe I was changed, I was not sure.
After thinking for some time and replaying our conversations in my mind, I realized that she had spoken only about her husband and her kid. She used to talk about her career, her dreams, and her goals during college days. My heart interrupted my thoughts and mentioned that her partner and her kid are her priority in her life, so she preferred talking about them to talking about herself all the time. My brain questioned, is she herself not her priority anymore? My heart had no answer to this question, so it kept quiet and the stress of writing my next article diverted my brain. However, the ‘Me within Me’ was not ready to leave this topic and it pulled my brain again towards the thoughts of Neeta. My heart, which was clueless about the complex question asked by my Brain, decided to not to give any inputs on this topic. I recalled that during our college days Neeta used to talk about being an independent woman. Girls from my group used to admire her thinking. She was a strong girl then who used to take her own decisions. I compared the current version of herself with her past version; there was a hell lot of difference. She was quite an enthusiast who used to participate in all inter-college dance competitions. She had also learned to play guitar during those days. I was stunned to know that she did not talk about any of her interests, hobbies, her then dreams, her career plans and neither about her love towards fashion. I could infer from her talk that she had left her job and was not interested in working anymore. She was changed.
Though she pretended that she was very happy in her current role, I felt that she was wasting the amount of potential she has. Eventually, my brain took me to the tour of the new world of thoughts where I unwillingly compared Neeta and all other strong women out there in the world. I comprehended that Neeta was missing the amount of maturity which women who work outside possess. She was a good lady at heart but she was not making use of the education she earned. Her situation might be different than all the ladies who are independent but she could have shown the willingness to not to sit at home. I was not sure about the driving force behind her current mentality but I was certain that it was against her nature. I had to keep myself calm for a while since the thoughts gathered in my mind were impatiently pushing me to call her and shout at her asking where the original Neeta is lost. In order to keep myself restful, I went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea for myself.
The hot cup of tea, the sunset and the mild breeze, I could feel by sitting on my balcony, were fine-tuning my thoughts about women like Neeta. I was curious to understand her situation more and learn from it. The events I went through the whole day taught me many things. I realized that many Neetas like her forget themselves in the crowd of family responsibilities and emotions for their partners and kids. Majority of the women in the world don’t give enough importance to themselves. I learned that our people are our priority but we should not forget to put our own selves as well on the priority list. I feel it is absolutely OK to be selfish at times. The adjectives used for any person, irrespective of gender, be them independent, strong or courageous are earned by that individual through his/her actions. People must understand that the inner voice which tells you to follow your heart is louder than any other external advice or suggestion. Sitting at home and doing nothing are two most negative things which don’t allow you to be yourself. I concluded that Neeta would definitely achieve her dreams provided that she starts.
My heart had understood the situation and it decided that I should call Neeta and patiently talk to her about this topic. If she had forgotten her dreams, I should make her memorize them. If she is scared of her husband or her family to start a career, I should give her courage to talk with them about her dreams. If she is lazy and has decided to not to take efforts, I should make her aware of the consequences of the same.
I was happy with the conclusion. I closed my eyes and felt the mild breeze on my face again. I thanked my brain for thinking about my friend. I thanked my heart for coming up with a competent conclusion. And how could I forget to thank the ‘Me within me’ who managed to bring my brain and heart together to bring this topic to a serene end..

Do you hear them??

The day started with the bright sunlight and a romantic long drive to one of the hill stations. I always admire my beloved for taking care of my happiness and my comfort. I like it when both of us travel and talk about anything that comes to our mind. I like the way he thinks, just like a protagonist of any of my stories, with a direct approach to resolving any issue – always solution oriented. While that day he was telling me how a secretary of our colony’ should deal with the garbage issues in the society, the red light at the signal made him bring the car to a halt. As he started fixing the AUX setup of the MP3 player, I heard the knock on the left side window. A beggar, holding a small kid near her bosom with the help of one of her hands and asking for money with another, was standing outside.
‘Don’t give her a single Rupee, they are all frauds.That’s a racket; they steal other’s children and start this business. These people are richer than us. I don’t understand why the Government doesn’t ban all these nonsensical professions.’ He used strong words with the usual calmness and patience in his talk.
I ignored her.
She went on to chase another car which was standing beside ours and thus uncovered the view of the two big potholes on the road. I noticed them and remembered seeing them a month back at the same spot. One of them was big with irregular shape and another was a little smaller than the first one but exactly circular in shape. While only 15 seconds of waiting time were remaining, I saw something which made me forget everything else around me – one of the potholes was winking at me. Yes! You heard it right. The pothole which was irregular in shape had suddenly produced two big eyes, just like those of Tweety, and was winking at me.  While the other one was smiling; showing two of his big teeth which resembled those of Tom, the cat from the famous Tom & Jerry show. I could not believe my eyes. 15 seconds later, the man behind the wheels set into action.  I kept looking at the two of them in utmost surprise.
‘I want to have some tea. The restaurant there on the left side serves the best tea in the town. Please stop the car. I want to go there’, I said hurriedly.
‘But you already had coffee just half an hour before, are you sure you want to have tea?’, he mockingly said to me.
‘Yes, I can have Tea or Coffee. I just want to go to that restaurant. They serve quality beverages.’
‘Alright, let me a take a U-turn from the next junction. Your unusual demands puzzle me’, he said in a complaining tone. But I had to ignore his complaint, there was something more important waiting for me.
We went to the restaurant and I selected a table from where I could see those two, clearly, who made me delay my visit to the hill-station.
Both of them were smiling at me and with the next surprise, they started talking – not with me but with each other. I realized that I had some divine powers, that I could see and hear them talking. God, why Potholes, why can’t I hear the Sun, the Wind and the Trees talking? I thought to myself.
My mind dragged me out of this thought and focused on those two.
‘Do you know the people at the toll junction, which is almost two kilometers from here, are collecting toll for this road since the last five years when the cost to build the road is already covered three years back’, Tweety said to Tom. I was surprised to hear that. Shameless people, a thought about people collecting toll struck my mind.
Tweety continued – ‘The Minister who had promised to discontinue the toll in two years after the inauguration of the road has never shown his face after that. During the inauguration, he had mentioned that tolls would be collected only for heavy vehicles and gradually tolls were withdrawn from cars when cars are not heavy vehicles.’
Tom responded – ‘Oh that Minister! There was a newspaper lying over me two nights back, I read about him in that. He was a prime accused in some bribery case but he was relieved on bail in few minutes after he was arrested. ‘
Tweety said – ‘Yeah, that’s true.
Tom added – ‘I read in the same newspaper that not just the Government, but the education these days is in the hands of corrupt people.’
Tweety –‘Did not you not hear the woman on that nearby bus-stop when she was telling, while almost crying, her sad story to one of her friends? Her son did not get an admission to some college despite having good grades. The admission was given to those who paid a bribe, and they call it as Management Quota. ‘
Tom responded – ‘Yeah! I even heard that lady at the bus stop saying that in some institutes only those people are hired as teachers who pay a lump sum amount as bribery. Knowledge and skills are not required to get a teacher’s job these days, what is needed is only money. These people are so dishonest, disloyal and fraud. They betray their own people. ‘
Tweety answered – ‘But why should we bother? The Government is the reason we are living a long life.’
Tom added – ‘Yeah, I have invited one of my friends. Let’s make sure that he gets a place nearby. ‘
Tweety continued – ‘There is a place exactly below the signal pole that should be the best for him.You need not worry, even if someone removes us from here, it should not take us more than a month to take our places back. And if they use a good quality material to remove us forever from here, I ensure you, as your elder sister, that I will find a better place for us. There is enough growth opportunity for us here in India.’
Are they discussing facts?  a thought struck my mind.
Tweety looked at me and answered – ‘Yes. You name the field and I shall share the story of corrupt people from that field. ‘
My eyes were wide open hearing all that. My tea had turned cold long back. My husband was talking over his phone since the time we had reached in the restaurant. I looked at him just to realize that he was giving me an angry look. I lifted the cup and gulped down the tea in a single sip. I gestured towards him to leave.
‘What were you staring at, all the time when we were in the restaurant? ‘
I could not forget the words of those two potholes. I thought to myself remembering all the news read in the newspaper and all the posts shared on social media – People are forced to pay so many taxes and what they get in return is NILL. When poor and middle-class people suffer, those who commit frauds close to thousands of crores, stay out of India.  There are constructions done with the cheap material, be it of a road or of a building, which takes people’s lives. There is no scrutiny performed on the material used for construction. Road construction activities are dominated by construction mafias, consisting of cabals of corrupt public officials, material suppliers, politicians and construction contractors. Education is a business these days. Bribery is offered to secured positions; there is no place for knowledge and skills. There are ‘n’ numbers of scams, where Government officials were involved. It is going to be an everlasting question how ministers with the salary of thousands have properties worth thousands of crores.
Suddenly, I heard certain voices. Not just potholes but also broken electrical wires, toll stations, roads and buildings built with cheap material, dormant signals on the way, uncontrollable traffic, jammed drainage, fake medicines, bio-data of unemployed youth were talking to me and telling me that their deformity was a result of the non-awareness of the citizens.
I saw outside and I could see an emotion on the face of everyone and everything outside. Some were crying and some were mysteriously laughing. I concluded that those who were laughing were corrupt and those who were crying were the victims.
Politics, education, sports, and arts – you name the field and we can tell you the stories of corrupt people from that area. Those were the words of potholes. I could not take them out of my mind.
‘The youth has to do something for that. We all should be united. We should question every corrupt institution for each problem in the society. We can voice out corruption in every field.  And you know what, you can also write something on this topic. This fight is difficult, you know. But trust me it can transform the country – not immediately but gradually. And most important thing is that we have to give correct lessons to our next generation. Even when they do not take part in wrongdoings, they should have the courage to oppose such acts.’  I heard him speaking. He had seen a poster of some corrupt minister and had already started telling me ways to fight corruption.
We were halfway through our journey, and those dents had taught me something I had never even bothered to think about.
I was engrossed in the thoughts of corruption and the ways to fight it. I was wondering why could I see faces of those potholes and could hear them talking. I didn’t realize but he was saying something. He shook my arm to seek my attention and asked –
‘Do you hear me?’
I was still in the state of shock. And I replied – ‘Do you hear them? ‘

I want to cry!!

A brief about me – I stay with my family, everyone loves me a lot. My mother is just like my friend and my father is proud of me. I am an independent woman. I have found a love of my life; he takes care of me and loves me the most.
Despite a good and a blessed life, I feel like sobbing when I hold my cell-phone in my hand and go through some specific news. My heart tells my brain every time to skip it, but a part of my brain which is very keen in knowing the current affairs in the world always dominates, making me read the news.
I want to cry my heart out and I am sure many of you feel the same when we feel the pain which women in Syria, Iraq and a part of Philippines which was captured by ISIS, are going through. Whenever I read news about them, I go through a feeling which I fail to describe verbally as well as in writing. I feel like crying and shouting and may be to snatch my own hair. I feel some pain in my throat and in next few seconds, it gets choked up.
We can fight with the one who attacks us physically, how to fight with those who attack our soul? How to fight with those who treat you in the worst possible way? The word ‘Se* Slave’ is written and talked about very casually. The word has a very deep meaning. The pain of going through it must be more than a death. What should be done to make people realize the meaning of a woman’s dignity and self-respect? Doesn’t her self-respect lie in her own image in her mind about herself? Won’t she become a living dead body when she is treated in a way that she has never even thought about in her nightmares? Her dreams, wishes, future plans and may be her remaining life would become so dormant when someone suddenly attacks her territory and captures her and her whole family.
I want to cry hard and I don’t want the outside world to notice me. I now know at what level our parents care for us and hence I don’t have courage to think about the emotions of parents whose daughters go through such brutal situations. If god exists, I want to ask him whether I can give all my positivity, strength and courage to all those girls who are fighting such demonic circumstances.
I might feel relieved after crying for some time, what about her? Will she be able to forget what has happened with her? Can a cry take out all dark memories off her mind?  I can try and hide my tears but her tears are so visible without me seeing her or many other girls like her.
I want to cry but would my cry relieve her from her suffering?

Sunday, 10 December 2017

The Howrah Bridge..

In a small one room house in the city's most populated area, she was sitting by the side of the window and was looking outside. Her mind was closely packed with the thoughts of last night. The sound of half working fan and the smell of overcooked food did not seem to disturb her. The house had involved a small kitchenette at the right of its entrance. The tiny bed in the front of the kitchenette was sufficient for one person to only sit over it. The size of the bed never allowed her to use it for sleeping. A small aged frame of her family photo was hanging on the front wall. The floor tiles had lost all their aesthetic properties and were taking their last breath. Her drape was lying on the bed. Her gaze did not move even for a moment in past half an hour. She was deeply engrossed in her thoughts. Her eyes gradually materialized with the tears which she dabbed up with the sleeves of her Kurti. The memories of the previous night had shown her the true face of the world and were playing in her mind on repeat mode.
On the previous night, while the whole world was sleeping, she was restless. She had fought with the situation courageously without showing the glimpse of any fear on her face. She was accompanied with him in her adventure. She had heard from someone that his name was Adir. She could not see his face clearly for first few minutes, the only observation she had done was that of his fair complexion and six-foot tall height. Eventually, as the light had become abundant, she saw his face. The long and thick beard distinguished him from all the other men around her. She had seen very few men with such a look. His attire, too, was strange. He was wearing some loose pants and a shirt which was falling to his knees. Her first impression of him was that of a villain. They had exchanged gaze multiple times. Without her knowledge, he was devotedly staring at her big brown eyes which were complimented with her dusky complexion. Her long brown hairs were adding charm to her looks. She was more beautiful that he could figure out in the dim light when he first saw her. She had noticed from the corner of her eye that he was watching her. After she had come back home, she was deprived of sleep. She was going through some strange feeling. It was a mixture of fear, sadness, and some magical sentiment. She had realized that she must die with the secret she had shared with Adir. Nobody in her life was worth sharing her state of mind then. She was a strong girl with a big heart. After playing the same set of memories in her mind, again and again, she wiped her tears. Her nose had turned red and her eyes were swollen. Her throat was choked up. She needed water to free her throat. She got up from the bed and seeing the vessel surrounded by fumes, she managed to run towards the stove to turn it off.  The half broken floor, too, was not in the mood to spare her. She received a small cut on her left feet. She started sobbing again. The haunting memories again gathered around her. She thanked God for sending a man like him to help her.
The air was mild. She was walking over the bridge, few steps behind Adir, and watching how the water underneath was flowing. Howrah Bridge was her favorite since she was a kid. She had come here only once in her childhood when her parents died and her maternal uncle had brought her to one of the temples on the bank of Hoogly River, they had come via Howrah Bridge. The air flowing through her hair had made her realize that she should live to feel it more. It had given her the strength to take care of herself. She had felt some connection with the Howrah Bridge, the air in its vicinity and the river flowing under the Howrah Bridge. She was feeling the air again. She was in great pain. She had fought and ran from some place with the help of Adir. She was physically weak and emotionally broken, however, her love for the Howrah Bridge, the calm Hoogly and the magical air there made her stand on the Bridge holding the side bar. It was around 1 am, Adir had to turn back since he heard no sound of footsteps walking behind him.  He saw Padma calmly standing and watching the moves of Hoogly. He was unsure whether to scold her for standing there fearlessly or to simply leave her there and made his way to home. He kept looking at her for few moments. She was not known that her courage was admired by him. He too then held the sidebar and tried guessing what that strong and fearless girl might be thinking about the unfortunate event she had just been through.  His eyes, suddenly, bored into her's. She realized that it was a time for them to leave. She started walking towards him and he started checking in his cell phone whether he can book some cab to drop her home. His consistently unsuccessful efforts were making him more sensible of her situation. He was becoming more restless with time. He was unable to find any cab or even autos to drop her home. She could see one taxi, colored in yellow and doors bordered with black, coming from the other end of the bridge. She had to move forward and signal the driver to stop the taxi.
‘Bhaiyya, we need to go to Shibpur'
‘1000 Rupees'
‘What? It is hardly 5 KM from here'
Staring at her breasts, he gave her a strange look.  His eyes eventually filled up with the greed. The night and the mild air made the adrenaline rush through his nerves.
‘Madamji, I will take 500 if you sit on the front seat'
He had hit her cord with all-time slutty language. She gathered all her saliva and in no-time, she spat on his face. The driver was astonished. He took few moments to understand what had happened. Adir ran towards the taxi by then and he could collect the situation. Holding her by her hand, he pulled her towards him and started walking away from the taxi. She was very well aware of the consequences. But Adir was not ready for her to face those after going through the unusual trauma a few hours back. He had stopped an auto a few moments back. Forcing her to seat inside it, he ordered the driver to drive towards Shibpur. He was not sure why was she showing unnecessary courage when she should actually go home and save her from all the wild people outside. He was cursing her under his breath. She was not regretting her act. Instead, she was regretting not pulling the driver out of the taxi. She was dreaming to have slapped him and punched him in his groin. The auto was heading towards Shibpur. The no-traffic road and driving skills of the driver, made her reach home in a few minutes.  Adir had asked the driver to take a U turn as soon as Padma got down from the auto. She was looking at Adir as if she wanted to share something with him. He assumed that she wanted him to keep quiet about today's adventure.
I shall die with the secret. Please take care of yourself. Your worth cannot be measured in rupees – He thought to himself.
He did not look at her. He simply wanted to move away from her as soon as possible. He was not sure of the kind of feeling he had been through. There was significant variation in the set of emotions he had been through in the past few hours.
As the auto started running again, he closed his eyes and tried to grasp the series of unusual events he had been through.
In the previous day's morning, Adir was quite excited. He bought a new dress for him. It was not a usual trouser and a shirt, but a dress which was usually called as ‘Pathani'. He always had the affinity towards this dress and today was the day when he actually decided to wear it. One of the best perfumes which he could get in Bansdroni Local Market was ready to become submissive with his costume. The beard was neatly combed and he left the house with his friend Azhar. Azhar was Adir's childhood friend. Both the friends had seen each other's good and bad times very closely.  The road to their destination was around sixteen kilometers from his house. The plan was to go to Raipur which was around 10 minutes from the Market. There was a goldsmith shop where Adir had already sold some gold ring in order to obtain money. While only a portion of the money was collected, today's visit was to collect the remaining portion of the money. On his way to shop, he was thinking about his mother.
He was a kid when his mother had dropped him at his maternal aunts' house.  She was supposed to be back in few days however he never saw her again until he was twenty-one. When she came back, she was a patient of Blood Cancer. Adir's father had divorced his wife, Maira. She had to leave Adir at her sister's place since her second husband was not willing to take Adir's responsibility. She kept sending a minimal amount of money to her sister for Adir's survival. When Maira was diagnosed with cancer, her husband had sent her back to her sister. He was not willing to spend any money on her medication. Maira had no child from her second husband. This fact also made her second husband to leave her without any further hassle. He knew that Maira or her sister had no money even to hire a lawyer for the divorce case.  Adir was working with Retailers. His job was to transfer the goods from wholesalers to retailers. Though he used to get less commission than all other people in the same business, he was happy since he was a part of a stable and a risk-free business. He could save some amount with this job. When Maira came to his place, he was on cloud nine. He thanked God since everything was going well in his life, God had gifted him a good job and given him back his beloved mother. He was considering himself fortunate until the moment he learned about Maira's illness.  She was already in the last stage of cancer. There was a rare chance of her survival.  However, Adir decided to treat her. Under the supervision of one of the doctors in the government hospital, Maira went under Chemotherapy treatment. Adir had to borrow around eighty thousand for his mother's treatment and medicines. After a month's of treatment, Maira's soul had left her body and Adir was again a motherless child. His business had suddenly stopped running. He was struggling to the pay the amount which he had borrowed for his mother's cure. When he was convinced that his faith had taken a leap and he would have a happy life, the tragedy happened.  His long-term efforts to set up his business and to bring the happiness back in his life were washed away suddenly. He did all kinds of small jobs for day and night to return the money. All the incidents including setting-up his new business, meeting his mother again, learning about her illness, her treatment, losing his business and struggle to pay-off debt were settled in two years. He was twenty-three then. Looking at Adir, one day Azhar convinced him that he needed a real happiness in his life.
Azhar asked him to go with him to Sonagachi which is a red-light area in central Kolkata. Initially, Adir had declined the offer. But soon he realized that he must learn to enjoy the present. He wanted some moments of pleasure after all the misfortunate events of his life. He agreed to Azhar's proposal. However, he had no money to hire a girl. He decided to sell the only gold ring he had. It was given to him by his aunt on his first birthday. Though it hardly had a good amount of gold, its sale value was enough for Adir to buy good clothes and hire a good girl. Few days before the day of visiting Sonagachi, he had sold the ring and had taken a portion of the amount. From that money, he had bought new clothes. That day morning he, along with Azhar, went to the goldsmith's shop to collect the rest of the amount. After collecting the money, both of them went to the restaurant for having some evening snacks.
‘Are you excited?' asked Azhar and winked at him.
‘Yeah. But I am a little nervous as well. I have never spoken with girls before'
‘That's normal. I am sure this will be the best experience of your life'
Let's see thought Adir. After finishing lunch they both headed to the nearest Bus stop – Noapara to catch the bus.  Something struck Adir, and he decided to go to Howrah Bridge before going to Sonagachi. It was 5 pm in the evening and he was keen to see the view from Howrah Bridge. He was ready to stand in the burning sun but the view from Howrah Bridge was a must for him to see before he headed to experience the best moments of his life.
That day morning Padma was doing her household chores when someone knocked on her door. Generally, nobody used to come to her house except her neighbor Vishakha. As she opened the door, she saw Vishakha and her aunt standing at the door.
‘Come join us, we are going to Market. I need to buy some grocery to prepare some Kheer.'
Padma agreed. She kept the dried clothes on the bed, wore her slipper and locked the door from outside. As they entered the market, they noticed that there were sellers sitting by the side of the road. They had colorful and all size of pottery. Vishakha and her aunt went inside the shop to buy grocery, Padma was waiting outside while she was keenly observing the pottery available for sale. At the back of her mind, she was thinking how that colorful pottery can be used to decorate her house which had lost all its colors. She suddenly saw one small girl running to one of the nearest lanes and she was crying loudly as if someone had hit her hard. Concerned Padma followed her. The small girl entered in the lane where there was no direct sunlight coming. It was quite dark there and Padma was not able to spot the girl here. In fact, the girl's voice suddenly came to a halt. While Padma was about to turn back and return to the market where Vishakha and her aunt were waiting for her, someone kept something unforeseen on her mouth and she felt down.  After few hours, she found herself in a closed room. Her hands and legs were tied. Her mouth was shut with the scarf which was tied at the back of her head. She was not sure why was she taken here. She had no family, so there was no reason to kidnap her and then blackmail her family for the money. The room was quite old. The color of the wall was faded. The cover of the concrete at the ceiling was popping out. There was only one window which was covered with the curtains from inside. The curtains were blocking all the outside light, they were not clean and there was some unusual smell coming from them. She was scared a little bit. While she was biting the scarf tied on her mouth and was trying to remove it, she heard the same female voice. Gradually the sound became louder and in few seconds she could hear the same female voice exactly out of her room.
‘Feed her the food. She must be ready before evening', she ordered someone.
In next few moments, one dark fat man entered the room with a plate in his hand. He put the plate down and removed the scarf from her mouth. She didn't utter a word. He opened the curtain, allowing the light to come inside, asked her to eat the food and went out, locking the room again. Padma gathered all her courage and the available strength to stand on her feet. Whatever she saw outside shocked her till death. It was a big house. There were two entrances to the house. Both the entries lead to the same huge porch, at the center of which a lady was sitting. At both the big doors, ladies were standing. All of them were wearing heavy makeup and a bright colored saree. Many of them were not even carrying their drapes properly, making their cleavage visible from the deep cut blouses. Some of them were drawing a person inside some random room and were locking it from inside. She was then genuinely scared. She was thinking something at the back of her mind. She concluded that she was in a red-light area. She could see many rooms from the window. It must be Sonagachi, she thought to herself. The lady sitting on the chair at the center of the porch was fat and wearing a lot of gold. She was chewing Paan and spat out at regular intervals in the pot kept on her right side.  Padma had heard many stories of the girls who were brought here. She was praying for something miraculous to happen.  In few minutes the same man came back with a bag full of clothes and a makeup kit. He kept the bag down. She was standing by the side of the window. He went to her, held her right upper arm and slapped her hard. She fell down on the floor.
‘Wear those clothes and the make-up. I will be back in some time. If you are not ready, be prepared to get some real kicks in your asses', said he. She started weeping. She pushed herself to think about the wrong things she had done in the past. She was an innocent girl with a big heart. She could recollect only the gossiping with Vishakha about the girl living in the tall building in her area. Gradually she started crying hard.
God, please save me. I will not gossip about any one going forward, thought she. Her face was not clean, the stains of her tears were evident on her face.  Few minutes passed and the dark, fat man came again. She was shivering this time. He had one big wooden bat in his hand. She stood in horror and picked the bag of clothes lying by her side. Seeing that he smiled, he left the room by saying ‘Good for you'. She opened the bag, a red colored blouse and blue colored saree were inside the bag. A large beaded necklace and a red lipstick were lying at the bottom of the bag. She was going to experience the prostitute's life tonight. She wiped her tears and started thinking how could she run away from there. She stood up again starting noticing the house. The man who had just left her room went to the lady and told her something making the lady smile. She is may be the owner of the house and the one who was shouting sometime back, thought Padma. Padma could learn that the lady's name was Maya and the man who was dealing with her was Dadu as everyone was addressing them with these names. After thinking for few moments, she could see no way out of that hell. She closed the curtain and started wearing the saree. She had heard many stories of the girls who came here and never went back to their families.  She knew that even if she could somehow run away, people standing outside the Sonagachi lane might bring her back or they might rape her. She had inferred all this from the stories of the Sonagachi prostitutes she had heard and read in the past. She thought something and started getting ready. She decided not to put lipstick. She wore the saree and the blouse given to her. The necklace was too heavy for her to wear. She managed to wear it somehow. As she kept the bag down and opened the curtain and looked outside, she saw that two young men were brought inside by the same villainous man. One of them was tall while another one was short. The short one was speaking with the fat lady. After further discussion, he gave her some cash. The short man left the house while the tall man sat by the side of the lady and the lady started chatting with him.  This man was wearing some strange costume. He had a thick beard and he was only talking when the lady every time initiated the communication. She closed the curtain. Her heart started beating hastily. She started taking long breaths.  In the next moment, somebody opened the door from outside. The villain entered the room and asked her to go along with him. She was quiet alert and went along with him. He took her to a room which was well decorated. A large bed with a colorful bed sheet was occupying the half of the room. The other part of the room was covered with the mirror. He asked her to sit there on the bed and he went out. As he closed the room, she could see that the room was very dark. It had no windows. The only way to get light inside was to open the door. She tried to find the switch but she could not succeed in it.
In next few seconds, someone entered the room and the room was locked from inside. As soon as she realized that that the person who had entered the room might ask her to get physical with him, she sat on the floor and started pleading him.
‘Sir, I am a very simple girl. These people kidnapped me and brought me here. I don't know how to get away from here.  I don't want to get my life destroyed here at the hands of these shitty people. Please help me get out of here. I will always be grateful to you.'
The man in the beard got surprised. He found out the switch so that he could see her face clearly. He had had many desires and he had decided to complete all of them tonight. The kind of scene he was witnessing then made him extremely uncomfortable.  He was not sure what to do. He sat on the bed and started wondering.
‘Should I ask her to leave you, instead?'
‘That's not convincing.'
‘Should I go out and lodge a police complaint?'
‘Police don't help much in the matter of Sonagachi lane. If the owner comes to know that you called the police then she might create some problem for you. She might ask her men to break your limbs or she might get you killed.'
‘I am sorry but I am not sure what should I do'
‘See, you can ask her that you want me for a day's time. You can ask her whether you can take me out with you for a short walk and then for a dinner. If she agrees we can easily run away from here.'
‘Lady, I don't have enough money to pay her. I have borrowed you for only three hours.'
‘Please. I beg you. That's the only way out. Please do something. I shall pay all the amount back to you'
Adir started doing some calculations in his mind. He had received four thousand rupees from the Goldsmith and of which he had already spent three thousand rupees. The remaining amount was with Azhar. While he was holding his phone in his hand and wondering what should he do next, he was also trying to catch the glimpse of Padma's face from the corner of his eyes. She was exceptionally beautiful. Her big brown eyes and long brown hairs were very prominent. Her features were exceptional. He had liked after he had seen her for the first time.
‘Did you find any solution?'
‘Ahh..I think I should talk with the lady sitting outside first. I doubt she would allow me to do this. Moreover, when you are only a day older here, there are fewer chances that you will be allowed to go out.'
Both of them were quiet for some time. Padma's heart beats increased and was then following some random pattern. She started playing with the drape of her Saree.
Adir opened the door and moved out of the room. He went straight to the Owner. She was sitting in the center of her house. Adir was determined. Looking at her, he first smiled.
‘What happened? Why are you out of your room?'
‘I want to tell you that the girl is very beautiful. I want to spend some quality time with her in some garden. I want to take her out for some time, may be for a dinner or something.'
‘That is not allowed. I don't let my girls go out from here.'
‘I am ready to pay your charges. And I will drop her here before midnight.'
Maya started thinking about his proposal. It was a golden chance for her to grab as much money as she wanted from him. She had also learned that the girl had become comfortable here in a short time. She looked at Adir once, he doesn't look that smart. He will not take her away from here. I will ask Dadu to follow them. If he is trying to make fool of me, he will pay for it.
‘Ten thousand bucks'
‘What? Mayaji, I am not buying her forever. I will drop her here by midnight. I have already paid for three hours. I can pay for next three hours as well.'
Maya noticed his expressions. He had liked her and she was taking the advantage of this situation. For three hours, she had charged him three thousand bucks.
‘Eight thousand bucks. Since you have already paid three thousand, you need to pay five thousand more to get her out for dinner.'
Adir was speechless. He knew that he had hardly one thousand bucks remaining with him. He made an eye contact with Maya and said, ‘Let me give you money in some time'.
He went inside the room where Padma was already waiting for him. He dialed Azhar's number and explained him everything. Azhar was stunned knowing the full story. He had no money and he was not sure where to get five thousand bucks from in just two hours. Azhar was Adir's best friend and they both were living in the same locality. Azhar's mother used to sell vegetables in the market nearby Esplanade. Azhar took the money from his pocket. He had Adir's one thousand bucks. He opened the cupboard and could find only forty bucks in the pocket of an old trouser. He was sure that his mother would not have an amount as big as four thousand bucks. He had no savings, he was working in a bar as a waiter. His salary was hardly sufficient for his to run his family. The only thing he could think about then was selling his gold chain. It was a very thin chain and he had made it for himself when he had started working in a bar. Without thinking much, he went to the same goldsmith's shop in Durgapur where Adir had already sold his ring.  The chain measured four hundred grams. The Goldsmith cut the labor cost and have Azhar ten thousand bucks. Adir tightly held the six thousand in his hand, putting remaining four thousand in his pocket. He went straight to Sonagachi and called Adir as soon as he was outside of Maya's house.
‘Wait there, I will come out', saying this Adir went out of the house.
‘Take this. These are six thousand bucks. Do you want any further help?'
‘How did you manage such a big amount in such a short time?'
‘That's not important. Important is to help the girl.'
Adir held Azhar's collar and checked whether he was still wearing a gold chain. He could see no traces of it. Adir was speechless. The situation made him closer to Azhar and it had once again proved that nobody cared more for Adir than Azhar. Looking down at the land and feeling guilty he said,
‘I will manage. You don't get involved now. These people are dangerous. I will meet you at home after midnight.'
‘Call me if you need any help'.
Adir nodded and went straight inside. Giving five thousand to Maya he said,
‘This is the money. I will be back before midnight'. He immediately moved to Padma's room and told her that they could leave the house. Padma was stunned to see the quick action taken by this man and his friend. She was yet to know his name. Before leaving the house Dadu warned Padma to not to act smart and come back home with Adir. She came to know his name after Dadu mentioned it. Agreeing to Dadu's words, she moved to the main door where Adir was already waiting for her. As Adir and Padma left from the Sonagachi, Maya asked Dadu to follow them. She also asked him to engage into a fight and kick Adir in case he tried to do some smartness. Adir took Padma to the nearest garden for some time. The plan was to sit there, check whether someone is following them or not and then take a bus to Shibpur and drop her at her home. They sat in the garden for almost one hour, without talking much. Adir was in his cellphone, checking the availability of buses and taxis to Shibpur after 11 pm. The closing time of the garden was nearing, they both had to move out from there. After moving out, they sat on the bench outside garden on a footpath. Adir did not notice anyone following them. They had decided not to go to Police station since many police were sellable and they might have dropped her back to Maya's place. Sitting at the roadside, Adir was roaming his eyes everywhere around. He could not spot anyone from Maya's team. He was sure that she was not stupid to send them without anyone behind them to keep watch on them. As he was thinking about next steps at the back of his mind, he saw some movement at the small plant around ten feet away near the garden fence. He saw Dadu there. Immediately he mentioned the same thing to Padma. Padma blanched with the fear. His doubt was turned into reality. He was physically weaker than Dadu, he decided not to engage into fights. They left from there and kept walking for next half an hour. They reached in Chitpur and Adir decided to go into some restaurant.  Dadu was following them on a bike. It was not that difficult for Adir to recognize him when he waited for both of them at every corner of the road. Dadu had tried his best to hide his identity. He was wearing a helmet and a dark colored shirt pairing it with some scarf. As they both entered the restaurant, Adir asked Padma to take a seat. He then moved to the kitchen area. He had some secret discussion there with the staff. After few minutes, he came out and sat by Padma's side. He knew that Dadu was outside the restaurant, waiting for both of them to come out. He told Padma that they both had to use the back door to leave the restaurant. After having a sip of water from the glasses kept on the table, both of them moved to the kitchen and then ran away from the back door. Adir was very concerned as he knew that these people were harmful and they might get killed both of them if they come to know about their plan.
It was eleven in the night and both of them were still walking towards the Shibpur where Padma was staying. Walking through the crowd was the best way to hide from Maya's people. The road to Shibpur was crowded and it helped both of them remained unseen for a considerable amount of time. After walking for a little more than one hour, Padma could see that their walking way had taken a right turn and they had reached on her favorite Howrah Bridge. They both could feel each other's presence as the same breeze of air touched them. Adir was experiencing some strange feeling which he had never experienced before. The midnight had already passed. Howrah Bridge was standing proudly with almost very few people walking over it. Due to less number of people on the bridge, Adir felt it was safer to board a taxi than walking to Shibpur. He stopped one auto, pushed Padma inside and the auto headed towards Shibpur. As they reached Shibpur, Padma looked at Adir. Adir was trying to hide his gaze from hers.
‘Thank you so much. I have no words to express my gratitude. You have saved my life from getting destroyed.'
‘Dada, please take the auto back to Howrah Bridge. I will tell you where to go to from there', said Adir completely ignoring Padma's talk. He was not sure whether he had the courage to look at her. Her eyes were too attractive for him to stop staring at them. He was in love, in deep love, with her. All the events happened to him had made him go through the best feeling in the world called as love.  As the auto took a turn, Padma kept looking at the departing auto. She had seen a God today. Thoughts were crowded in her mind. A tear fell down from her eye. She went inside. In auto, Adir, too, was shedding his tears. He was in a different mindset altogether. He was in love with a girl whom he might not meet anytime in future.
Today, both of them were still engrossed in the memories of the adventure both of them had experienced the previous day. Padma was badly missing him. She wanted to see him and hold his hand once. She wanted to look into his eyes. She wanted to ask him whether he wanted to be with her forever. She was not sure about his address. There was no one else whom she could ask any details about Adir. She was lost. She was stunned to know that she would meet her love of life in such a tragic way.
It was 4 pm in the evening. She never used to go out alone but in last two days, she had discovered herself. She was not like the one she used to portray to the outside world. She was smarter than people used to think of her. She was a warrior who had fought for the well-being of her life. She was then no more scared of anyone. She decided to go out alone that day and without any hesitation, she took her drape from the bed, locked the house and started walking. She knew where she should actually go. After walking fearlessly for almost one hour, she had reached her destination. She walked for few more minutes and grabbed a place which could make her feel more air and from where she could see flawlessly flowing Hoogly. The Howrah Bridge which had already completed its lifespan was strongly standing with some of its legs in Hoogly and remaining ones on the land.  She stood there, the same place where she was standing the previous day and was calmly staring at the flowing water. The breeze and the lights, in combination with each other, made her feel –again- that she is the most fortunate girl in the world. The air and the view from the bridge gave her energy – again – to fight with the world and to follow her heart. She was weeping, she was missing him. She asked her god to send him back to her. She was ready to accept him even though she hated his attire. She was not a fond of his beard, too. She was still in love with him, in love with his soul. One more strong breeze of air landed on her face, dried up all her tears and made her close her eyes.  She was quiet for some time, she kept all the running thoughts in her mind on-hold. With closed eyes, she was experiencing the wind again. Suddenly, a rough hand of a strong man landed on her hand. She was scared. She had felt this touch before. He was either Dadu or Adir. She knew that Adir might not follow her but Dadu might found out her house and re-capture her. Without opening her eyes, she started praying for God. The hand of the man was still in the same position. Gradually, the hand started moving in the direction of her fingers and in next few moments, she could not feel that touch anymore. Thoughts congested in her mind. She gathered her courage and opened the eyes to see something astonishing. Adir was standing in front of her and he was looking directly into her eyes. She was happy and in a few moments the happiness was overflowing. With all the energy and excitement, she hugged him. He covered her torso from both of his hands. The flowing winds made her hair touch his face. He considered himself as the most fortunate man in the world. While he was holding her tight to himself, he looked towards the sky and thanked God for all the kinds of experiences he had been through in last few days. He was glad and grateful. Both of them were smiling and content. The air, the water, the lights and the Howrah Bridge were witnessing their immortal love for each other. The energy Padma had got throughout her life was given by the Howrah Bridge. The positivity and the sense of responsibility she had received in her childhood, the courage and energy to fight with the whole world and then the love of her life were the gifts given to her by her favorite Howrah Bridge. She could not thank more to god for all kind of transformations she had been through in her life. While she was in the arms of Adir, she kept staring at something which had built her and given her identity. She thanked from the bottom of her heart to that which taught her what Life is all about, she smiled and touched the side bar as if she is pampering it. She realized that Adir was never her first love. Her first love and her strength was the bridge she was standing on - the 'Howrah Bridge'.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Once Again..

‘Enough’, she said and stormed out of the room.
The ongoing discussions about the same topic had made her brain stagnant. She was not willing to discuss the same thing again and again. She went to the living room and sat on the couch by taking her legs over it and folding them. She was furious and started breathing faster. The control was gradually lost and her eyes were filled up with tears. She started crying. Kishore, her husband, was still sitting in the bedroom. He was not very keen to talk with her. The usual topic of his family members and the way she should behave in front of them was difficult for him to confer either. He was always convinced with her justifications but he was too attached to his family and wanted her to follow certain traditions for them. Though she was not earning, she was the one who lived with her own thinking. She was not that educated but was sure about the difference in right and wrong. She had always followed her heart and then she was doing the same thing. She was still crying thinking about the pre-marriage love-life. She was unable to believe to see how much was he changed. She was still weeping. He sat back on the bed and closed his eyes. He was sandwiched between the two parties. He had utmost respect for his parents and an infinite amount of love for Anandita, his wife. Meanwhile, she had gotten up from the couch and went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea for herself, only for herself. The thoughts were crowded in her mind. As soon as the tea was made, she filled up the cup with it and went straight to the balcony. The view from the balcony was her favorite. The swimming pool and a series of coconut trees around it were used to catch her eye. The hills, far away from her locality but still visible from her balcony were always treat for eyes. The weather was awesome. The wind was mild and she could hear the chirping of the Nightingale. As she lifted the cup and had a sip of tea, she felt the touch on her shoulder. He was there. He was there to persuade her. This time she had decided that she would not listen to the regular explanation from him. She was not keen. This had happened multiple times and she was not going to forgive him that time. She kept the cup on the provision on the side of the balcony. She held the bar in front of her with both her hands. Kishore was noticing all her moves. She had not, even once, looked at him. It was a difficult task but he was ready to try his best and show her how much he admired her. He held her by her wrist. She was quick to push his hand aside and move to the other side of the balcony. The wind had started moving faster. Her dupatta was flowing with the air and touching him who had again followed her and stood behind her. Then he tried to cover her from both the sides, by keeping his both hands by the side of her both hands. His face was exactly over her shoulder, but he didn’t dare to touch her. She felt his move and shifted again to the other side of balcony, reaching her cup of tea. She too was enjoying it. She was not ready to forgive him and still she was expecting that he should run after her to ask for forgiveness. She was an informal boss of the house and thus same was reflecting from her behavior. He had understood her motive and he was fine to cajole her until she would smile. Then he stood by her side in the similar way as she was standing, exactly copying her. She was way smarter than any other girl. She changed her posture, thus challenging him to do the same thing. She had taken her hands away from the bar and had folded her legs. She had not yet looked at him once. However, she could notice his moves from the corner of her eyes. He copied her as she had expected. Meanwhile, the wind had started flowing in full speed. The clouds were gathered and there were strong chances of having rains.
‘Let’s go inside. It will rain soon’, said worried Kishore.
There was a silence and that was an indication for Kishore that she did not want to talk with him.
‘Anandita, I am sorry. Let’s sit inside and discuss. I didn’t want to hurt you’, he explained once again.
She still didn’t respond.
The rain started pouring. She wanted to feel it. She moved her face towards the sky, welcoming and receiving the rains. Her eyes were closed.
There was a smile on her face. She spread her hands, with her palms facing the sky. Kishore was seeing her. His job was done by rains. He went close to her, held her at her waist and gently kissed her on her lips. She opened her eyes and looked at him. The smile disappeared from her face. She was not ready to forgive him. He pulled her closer to him and again kissed her on her lips, that time more passionately. She had unknowingly put her hands on his shoulders. She was pleased not because of rains, but because her love of life had taken efforts to wheedle her. She was content because he was not changed. She was happy because her happiness was still his priority. She was exultant because the only person who was her world still had the same feelings for her. Being into his arms was the best feeling in the world for her. Kishore could read from her eyes that she had forgiven him. He realized that smile was not on her face but she was smiling in her heart. He kept looking at her for some time. She was same since years, a girl with righteous actions. She had never cared whom she was fighting with; he was in love with her because of the kind of courage, to oppose wrong, she had possessed. He smiled from his heart. His deep dimple was evident that he was walking on the air. Their love was grown. Every fight had made them closer to each other and this one was not an exception. He held her tight and lifted her. She smiled. She spread her hands again, pulled her legs backside upward and faced the sky. She was happy and then laughing. He too was laughing. They were in love once again with a stronger bond this time. They had found each other once again…