Turn the Page, Turn the Life | A Writer’s Battle for Survival | Help Her Win
Turn the Page, Turn the Life | A Writer’s Battle for Survival | Help Her Win

Haimanti Dutta Ray



Haimanti Dutta Ray


AS RED AS A ROSE (Synopsis & Chapter 1)

AS RED AS A ROSE (Synopsis & Chapter 1)

7 mins

                AS RED AS A ROSE

                                   By Haimanti Dutta Ray


Somesh Ganguly and Ushasie Bose grow up, in their separate corners, in the city of Calcutta. While Somesh has a penchant for painting right from his childhood, Ushasie is crazy about reading.

They grow up quite oblivious to each other’s presences. It is by a fate ordained by the stars in heaven, that they cross paths at the prime of their lives. Somesh’s paintings, go on to fetch crores at art auctions, in the country and abroad. Ushasie, now his wife, also establishes herself as a writer whose books are lapped up, right after publication from the press. Egos hardly come to logger heads in their home.

Antara, is the lifeline which throbs and binds their household together. Conceived after an IVF, she is a sprightly girl and a glaring affirmation that love is indeed as red as a rose. Yes. Almost always.


The window always opens on the outside. But our souls do have windows which almost always open inwards. Human life is an inward journey which has an outward ramification.

Somesh loved to paint from a very young age. Whenever he found the time or after his school got over, he went to the nearby park and sat down with his crayon set. Initially he began with painting trees and flowers blooming on the branches there. But slowly, he also drew the people who came to the park at almost the same time as he did. Mostly using his notebooks and crayon pencils as his drawing implements, Somesh painted to his heart’s content, with the dying embers of the sun on his back.

His parents subscribed to a children’s magazine, and also the National Geographic. Somesh, at those very formative years of his life, had realized that either photography or painting was going to be his vocation in life. Compared to the rest of his cousin brothers and sisters, he was something of a ‘special child’. Loneliness never seemed to scare him. Rather he enjoyed his lonely hours to the fullest, utilizing them to decorate his books with pastel shades or painting the walls blue. Really. Somesh spent most of his idle hours – when he was not studying, sleeping or spending his time gorging on cakes or some such food – he kept a washcloth beside himself and painted the walls of his own room with the colours of his choice.

“Som! What are you doing in this heat? Come to the verandah and let me comb your hair.

Mrinal, Somesh’s mother, had a tough time handling her son. Both Mrinal and Mrityunjoy knew that Somesh had a creative genius lying supine within him. Their son was born after five years of their marriage. The doctor had advised Mrinal complete rest during the months of her pregnancy.

“This is just to ensure that you do no suffer from post-delivery complications and also to ensure the health of the one who’s coming into your lives.”

Mrinal still recalled those days with fondness.

Somesh was born during the pre-dawn hours on the fifth of May, nineteen hundred and eighty. Mrityunjoy had spent his entire night in the benches of the long corridors of the nursing home. They decided upon their son’s name right after his birth.

“He kept me awake the whole night which I spent staring at the moon from the windows. We’ll name him SOMESH!!”

Somesh Ganguly soon became the cynosure of all eyes in the household. But as he was growing up, it was Mrityunjoy who first noticed his son’s penchant to spend his hours in solitude and seclusion. When the other children in their neighborhood were busy playing football or badminton, Somesh could be seen sitting at a corner, with bits of paper, pencils and half-used coloring sets strewn all around him, on the floor.

“Hey Somesh Babu! Look what I’ve brought for you today!”

Even though he was a recluse, as a child Somesh was loved by one and all in the family. Mrityunjoy’s brother, Paranjoy arrived daily to cuddle his nephew and pinch his rather rosy, glowing cheeks. The person, by the way, was an avowed kleptomaniac and this syndrome soon became one of the cumulative headaches in the family. Paranjoy Ganguly picked up things from whichever places and whatever caught his fancy. Himself a bachelor, he loved the little boy Somesh, a lot. After their ancestral house was mowed to the ground post its handover to a reputed agency dealing in real estate, each of the three brothers had been allotted a floor each in the grand residential apartment. Their other brother, Dhananjoy, does not live in Calcutta. Being an extremely bright student from his days at the Presidency College, he had started living in the United States as a professor at the MIT.

Somesh loved his two Kakus because they pampered him, mollycoddled him and he, in turn, presented them with some of his colorful sketches.

“Have you ever seen the countryside, Somesh? Here, you have painted a farmer reaping in the field. But if you have never been to a village, then how do these images occur so vividly in your mind?”

Somesh had just turned twelve. He had given one of his water colors to his Kaku from the States, Dhananjoy Ganguly. He had painted a rural scene. True, he had never seen village life nor spent a day till then, in a village-like ambience.

“Oh, Dhananjoy Da! We are at a loss as to whom Somesh has taken after! None of us have a creative gene in us. But seeing my son paint so beautifully, I have started wondering whether there were any painters in the family tree!”

Mrinal had brought in a plateful of rosogollas of which she knew Somesh’s Kaku was especially fond of. As the latter went busy gorging on the savory sweets, he also noticed the fact that Mrinal, the eldest daughter-in-law of the household, had trimmed her hair as per latest fashions. This surprised him a bit. But he also knew that managing a household and a son as brilliant as Somesh, needed to keep her on her toes all the time. He was aware that Somesh, being their only son, was showered with more affection than what was good for him.

Both Mrinal and Mrityunjoy were proud of Somesh’s talents. They knew that their son would make them proud one day. Somesh Ganguly, on the other hand, always sported a faraway look. His shiny, cropped, curly hair, his sparkling eyes that had a depth and solemnity many found to be extraordinary and his almost-always happily dimpled smile caught the attention of every passerby, whenever the three of them went anywhere.

Once they decided that they would go to the foothills of Darjeeling, during Somesh’s Puja vacations. They spent a week there enjoying sunrise on Tiger Hill, trekking down the mountainous tracks, visiting Keventer’s and Glenary’s. After coming back, they saw that their son had done a lot of sketches. Mrityunjoy had hoped that Somesh would be exited at the sight of the Kanchenjungha. But his son had found the inhabitants of the region more compellingly attractive.

“I have drawn Simbaa and his mother.”

Simbaa, by the way, was the young lad-cum-guide who had shown them around the major tourist spots of the region. He must have been of the same age as Somesh himself.

While peeling off the skin of a banana, Somesh informed his parents who were also sharing from their portions of fruits laid on the rectangular, wooden dining table, that he had scored exceptionally well in his exams.

“How much did you get in Mathematics? That is the only subject which goes a long way in character building. Tell us how much did you get in Maths?”

Mrityunjoy asked his son, slowly growing tall and becoming quite good-looking.

“Ninety seven percent.”

Both Mrinal and Mrityunjoy almost choked over their meals. They could hardly believe their ears.

Mrinal pulled her son towards her own bosom and held him tightly there for long as Mrityunjoy held his right palm over Somesh’s head in an act of benediction. Their little reclusive son is this good in his studies! In celebration, Mrinal went to the kitchen and started preparations. She asked her husband to go to the market and purchase a kilo of mutton. She’s going to prepare a special mutton curry that day! After all, it’s not everyday that everyone in the house sported a smile around their lips!

Somesh himself was smiling from ear to ear. Just as he was the darling in his family, so also he was a favorite among his teachers in his school.

“When do you say that two and two cannot make four?”

“When the human imagination rules over the reasoning mind.”

Sudipta Banerjee, Somesh’s class teacher was testing her pupil’s intellect. Somesh studied in class nine at that time.

“Yes. Absolutely correct. There are the gaps which no mathematical equations or summations can explain. These gaps are filled by our logical and reasoning mind.”

Somesh liked Sudipta Mam a lot. In fact, he was fond of all the teachers in his school. But lady teachers excited him because they, in their turn, showered him with affection and love.


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