A Fool's Treasure
A Fool's Treasure5 mins 8.3K 5 mins 8.3K
This is the second time Shruti has come to Dipayan's house. He lives in a brick built house. His father could not plaster it for not enough earning. The house seems to be older, though it was built only twenty years ago. Shruti is now eighteen plus. She has completed her Higher Secondary Exam only a week ago. She is interested in reading novels, watching movies and listening to music. She is fair complexioned with an attractive curve in her figure. She is neither thin nor flabby. Her two eyes have a ocean like depth and width where Dipayan wishes to cruise along. An aroma surrounds her as a halo surrounds God's head. When she came first time, Dipayan became aware of this aroma after ten minutes. This makes him very pleased. He feels something gone unusual within him.
Dipayan has completed his college two years ago. He is trying his luck in competitive exam. Her second visit disturbed his composure. His set up within him was hit by a great quake.
Dipayanda, I have come to return your book and take a new one. With a sobre smile he says, 'Have you enjoyed the book?' She says, 'Yes, it's a beautiful story about Shankar who went to Mt. Kilimanjaro. I have been thrilled.' Dipayan gave her Chander Pahar by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhaya. 'It's really an interesting story. Do you know the author never visited Mt. Kilimanjaro! He never stepped out of India. Yet his power of imagination shaped this beautiful story. He only read an English novel on Mt Kilimanjaro and the rest is purely his imagination.' Dipayan tells her to sit in his small room. She sits on a wooden chair. In this room Dipayan studies and sleeps. There is a portrait of Rabindranath Tagore on the east side of the wall. He always lies on a white bedsheet. He himself washes his clothes and bed. His room is spic and span all through.
'Today I'll give you another interesting book of story,' he says. Then he looks for a particular book among his small collection. He looks at her while groping among books. He continues talking, 'Shruti, what will you do after finishing your studies?' Shruti replies in a girlish frivolity, 'Umm I don't know what I shall do. Now I am studying and that's fine for me. If not in study I don't know what could have happened to me.' 'What?' asks Dipayan. She replies, 'Nothing. I don't know Dipayanda.' Dipayan understands that her father would have arranged for her marriage. He finds the book. He removes some books under which the desired one was lying. He takes it nimbly. And checks if there is any paper inside. Finding nothing there he hands it to Shruti. Suddenly Dipayan says, 'Shruti, you can come to me for any book or any help you need.' With a smile she asks him, 'Any help?' After saying this Dipayan thought over his words. He didn't mean to help him with money which he doesn't have. He meant to say any academic help, or other help such as doing something needed by her etc. He hesitates a little whether he will make it clear to her or not. Finally he considers it's better to leave it upon her understanding. He will be pleased if he can help her in need. Dipayan's mother once comes in his room and seeing her there she says, 'Oh! It's you! Is your granny ok?' Shruti says that she is ok. His mother goes away to her work.
After this Shruti comes to Dipayan three times. Though not very much but it's true that two hearts leaned to each other. None could speak it out. Dipayan is always shy. He is a young man of soft mind. He plays cricket and has friends. Yet he cannot bring out before his cherished girl what goes on within him.
After some days Dipayan comes to know Shruti is getting married. His groom is an engineer in Delhi. Dipayan is invited. He goes to her marriage. He sees his husband who is around seven or eight years older than him, slim and dark with sharp face. Shruti beams a smile to Dipayan and immediately becomes busy with other friends. He understands that she did it intentionally. And moreover Dipayan could not express his love for her. He is responsible for his fate.
After her going away Dipayan recollects those few visits of Shruti. He tries to find out that aroma. Strangely once he found such aroma in a packed train compartment while going to office. He became curious and identified its source. It was coming from a stout lady. Probably the woman works in farm or does some heavy manual job. He was astonished. What a queer discovery it was! Same aroma from two women who are poles apart. He was disillusioned. But his quest for that aroma has not ended. He has not found another one with the same aroma still.
Gradually Dipayan gets old. He has lost both his father and mother. He has not married. Last year Shruti came with her husband. Shruti has turned bulky and lost her yore gracefulness. On the way he met her. 'Dipayanda, why didn't you marry? At this age you are still living alone! Did you love anybody?' asks Shruti. Dipayan looks at her eyes, 'Don't you know the reason? It's only you whom I loved.'
'Dipayanda, it was an incomplete love. Why didn't you tell it to me?'
'Could you love me then?'
'Of course I could. I expected you'd say that. But you didn't, so I thought that you might have some other and my father arranged my marriage. But it's foolishness to keep those meetings in mind forever and never to marry.'
'I know it's foolishness but this foolishness is what I deserve. I couldn't reveal my heart and I was bowled out of life. But I can't love another woman so I live in those valuable moments.'
'You're really crazy Dip.'