A Will Shaped By Love
A Will Shaped By Love9 mins 21.5K 9 mins 21.5K
It was a lazy May evening. The kalbaisakhi had just set in. The sky was overcast and looked grim and threatening. The lush green of the fauna formed a beautiful and picturesque contrast with the dark firmament. Far away into the horizon, a terrifying streak of lightning seemed to divide the heavens into two! The wind was menacingly playing with everything green around. However, the lone tree in their garden – a mango tree – was the true brave heart in this strife. Having being planted just two years back, it looked like it was celebrating its spirit of having just come of age! No matter how hard the wind blew, it would retaliate even harder sending a rhythmic whiplash onto the open windowpanes.
However, the scene inside the house was entirely contrasting to the tempest outside. The duo inside were playfully nudging each other as they gazed at the frames adorning the bright yellow walls of their bedroom.
“And this is the most hilarious one! Remember, this was our first photo together? Umm…Durga Pujo it was ha…You look so nervous! Looks like Goddess Durga herself was after you with her trishul threatening you to stand next to me!” and Shubhona burst into an innocent laughter.
“Really ha! Digging into the embarrassing moments of the past are we?!” winked her partner in crime alias Aditya, Shubhona’s husband while playfully tickling her five months old baby bump. Shubhona once again burst into a soft chuckle and pulled out a laminated piece of paper from her Pandora’s box. It was actually a small ivory box which would be kept on a table in their bedroom and contained all those things which formed the parts and pieces of their journey together till then.
“Give me! Let me read it aloud! They say music is good for the baby! And trust me your words Shubhona are no lesser than the most melodic composition that our child can ever hear…” and he cleared his throat.
“Ahem…So here goes…
‘I always knew I’d meet you someday,
Where, when and how, was unknown to me though.
I knew my calls would be heard and answered back,
I knew one day from amongst the crowd you’d make yourself show.
Our meeting was a mere chance…an accidental one I may call!
But destiny had it all written I know,
We were moving towards each other….my heart knew it all!
My heart immediately recognized the beating of yours,
It felt I had been listening to them since ages as I followed your course.
It was almost as if the beatings guided me towards you,
It seemed I knew you for ages, to me and my heart you never felt new!
How, when and where things started falling in place, neither you nor I realized!
It all seemed to be under a magical spell,
A spell which had the effect of leaving me pleasantly mesmerized!
A friend, a companion, a guiding light…you have been it all,
You’ve always reached out for my hands, whenever I’ve suffered a fall.
The way you seem to read even my silence leaves me completely bewildered,
The art of reading my heart even without me telling you anything, is something you seem to have mastered!
With you I can be a child, who knows nothing but laughter and fun,
The child who comes running to you, when all other trouble she needs to shun.
With you I can be the woman passionately in love with her man,
You let out all the love that I have in my heart; you let me love you as much as I possibly can!
When I walk with you by my side, I wish that the path never ends…
When you slip your fingers in my hands,
My heart immediately picks up the thousand words of affection that your heart sends.
I hope that the journey that we’ve hence begun continues like this and gets better with time,
I hope in the days yet to come, happiness and love in our lives do always shine.
I hope we’ll always stand strong against each other like we’ve done so far,
But no matter what happens my love, you’ll always in my life shine bright…the brightest like the evening star.’
I love you Shubhona…you complete me baby…!” and he gently brushed his lips against hers while she moaned, a tear drop in the corner of her eyes.
“So when is this big interview for the big job in The City of Dreams scheduled?” she asked making a long face.
“Awww don’t make that puppy face!” he countered pulling her cheeks impishly. “We have already discussed this haven’t we that once the baby comes we would have to make way for more expenditures and that job in Mumbai shall set me off on the right track for that sweetheart! And it’s not until July my dear wife! What makes you so anxious?”
“I don’t know Adi!” she replied while turning her gaze back to the photos on the wall, fixing it on the one in which they were looking lovingly into each other’s eyes in the background of a seminar during their college days.
The sound of the rain lashing harder against the wooden panes woke her up from her stupor. Shubhona finally got up to shut the windows and her eyes suddenly fell on the mango tree.
“Our soldier has become taller huh! And braver too! Seems like just yesterday when you got a sapling on your way back from work and we planted it together! See how he’s battling the thunderstorm now…all single-handedly!” she pointed out to her husband.
“When one’s will to thrive and hold on is as strong then even when you have no one to fall back on, a squall that bad too can’t make you lose your ground! In fact you tend to battle it out all by yourself, you tend to secure your roots deeper into the ground…just as our brave little soldier is doing out there!” and he hugged her snugly from behind, trying to accommodate her baby bump within the grasps of his cuddle. He slowly then moved to her nape and kissed her, while playing with the loose strands of her hair with his fingers.
“Oh come on Adi! I don’t get your deep thoughts at times! And go! You are tickling me! Don’t be an imp!” and soon the drapes got shut as she sheepishly got pulled by him towards the bed.
That was one summer. And today is another.
It was the first thought that came to her as she woke up. He was gone. And, soon, this bedroom, the house in whose eastern corner it sat, and the tiny garden outside with its gnarled old red hibiscus and the half-grown mango tree they had planted together, all those would be gone as well. It was the strangest feeling ever.
Shubhona turned to her left, only to find her barely-over-a-year old son, Shiladitya, carelessly sucking on to his thumb while looking at his mother with a twinkling eye. The moment her eyes caught his fancy, he let out a happy murmur. She bent over him and kissed his forehead. He reciprocated it through a chuckle. Shubhona smiled. A smile that was worn out. A smile that was exhausted. She felt her facial muscles strain as the activity which she just engaged herself in rarely
ever took place these days! She pulled Shiladitya close to her bosom and rocked him tenderly, covering his face intermittently with a shower of kisses. Soon he dozed off while still sucking his thumb and Shubhona hugged him tight. A teardrop fell on his cheeks.
“Ma’am you have to relax! Please!! You are already 2 months early and we have to prep you for a premature delivery!! Please for God’s sake…for your baby’s sake…relax and co-operate with us!”
Somewhere nearby a television blared with the headlines.
“Seven high intensity bombs ripped through the first class compartments of Mumbai’s suburban railways over a period of eleven minutes….”
“Mangled body parts…burnt flesh…”
“Death toll rises to 80 and about 400 injured commuters have been taken to the nearby hospitals…”
“Terror group LeT could be linked with the attacks although none have claimed responsibility for the attacks yet…”
“STOOOOP IT!” shrieked a voice in the passage. “Stop it! Bring him here ma…please bring him to me! See our baby shall be here in no time…I want him to hold my hands ma…I want him by my side…”
The nurses frantically tried to calm the lady who the voice belonged to.
“Ma’am this will only harm your baby! There’s already a lot of pressure on him to keep himself alive given your unforeseen labour! So you have to co-operate with us please!!” screamed the doctor while desperately trying to keep her stable on the stretcher.
“NOOOO….!! Ma bring him here please! Aaadiiiiiiiiiiiii…………………………….”
The warmth of a human touch on her forehead brought her back from the hallucination, sending a shudder down her spine.
“It’s time for us to leave my child! We have wrapped up all the things in the house. The new inmates of this place shall be taking over from tomorrow but they are here to meet us, especially you, before we leave. I have kept your and little Shilu’s bag ready. The cab will be here any minute from now!” and the elderly figure rose from the edge of Shubhona’s bed and moved out of the room.
Shubhona laid down her son in his cradle and went downstairs where she was to meet Mr. and Mrs. Bhatnagar, the new occupants of the house. Her gait composed yet steady as she moved towards the couple who were standing across the hallway.
“You are a strong woman Mrs. Batra! We have learnt how much this house and every brick it is made up of means to you…we know how close this place is to your heart and soul…how every corner
and every object in this place and even the garden outside has been nurtured by you and Mr. Batra’s…..” and Mrs. Bhatnagar suddenly stopped. “I am sorry!!” she quickly muttered in a muffled voice still gazing at the garden outside.
“It’s alright Mrs. Bhatnagar! You don’t need to shy away from talking about my husband!” she let out a sigh and pulled her female companion close to the window.
“Why are you leaving this place at all Mrs. Batra? This places needs you… it belongs to you… you are the rightful owner of every inch of air that flows in this place… why are you selling it off to me? You should be here! You have nurtured this place…” and she was cut short by Shubhona.
“I will be leaving behind a piece of my heart in this house and in every iota of matter which exists within its boundaries Mrs. Bhatnagar but his memories haunt me here…and it makes me weak…and he would not wanted that! I have found a job in Kolkata and I will raise Shilu there…you know that’s where I met Adi for the first time…” and Shubhona’s voice diffused into the warm summer air.
“I wonder what gives you such gargantuan strength Mrs.Batra?”
Shubhona pointed at the half-grown mango tree outside. “That…!! Please do take care of it like your own baby! See you Mr. and Mrs. Bhatnagar…take care…”
Soon a car stopped outside the gate. It got loaded with all the essentials in no time.
Shubhona shot one last glance at the house and with a teary smile, sat inside the car and left.