Chasing The Butterfly

Chasing The Butterfly

10 mins

'Pitaa swarga, Pitaa dharma, Pitaa hi paramam tapah

Pitori pritimapanney, priyantey sarva devataah…'

Father is compared to heaven and one's religion. He is placed at a higher pedestal than all Gods combined…

Dipro stood still at the doorway and listened to the chanting. The door flung open before he could reach the bell. Dipro found Tistaa staring at him. Her face was looking like a fresh

jasmine flower, dew- washed. Her eyes had a reddish tinge, she must have been crying. Tistaa stretched her arms to welcome Dipro in…

The hall was filled with people, mourning… gossiping, present there to attend the last rites of Tistaa's departed father. Tistaa headed Dipro to her room and served him some cold drink…

It was a hot afternoon. Dipro remembered the tuberose garland, his mother had asked him to take. He handed it over to Tistaa.

'Why don't you offer it to papa's photograph yourself, Deep?'

'Please do it on my behalf Tisha, I am comfortable here.'

Tistaa wore a faint smile on her face and went out. She came mm! fagey back with a middle-aged lady and introduced her to Dipro…

'My mamma!'

Dipro bent down to touch her feet. She clasped his hands and placed hers on his head to bless.\

'Tisha told us about your relationship a few days back. Her father and I were eager to meet you. But because of the turmoil in our family…it's so sad, he couldn't meet you.'

Dipro was quiet.

Tistaa and Dipro met at the marriage reception of their friends. The bride, Mridula and the groom, Harish were happy to introduce Tistaa, a lecturer of Psychology at a renowned college of the town to Dipro, an IIT Kharagpur and IIM Ahmedabad passout…working with an MNC at Bengaluru. It was a love at first sight for both of them, they were unable to take their eyes off each other…the relationship matured to a love affair. Though they could physically meet only once in a while as they were staying in two different cities but thanks to improved technology, they were in touch and could even see each other every day.

Tistaa was trying to reach Dipro but he was unavailable. She received a message…

'Busy in a meeting, will call later.'

Tista typed 'How are you?'

Dipro replied, 'Remembering you and missing you…' followed by a sad smiley.

Tistaa's phone rang, she grabbed it, It was Deep.

'Hii, good news… I have a few meetings at Nagpur, will be free in the evenings. Make plans, can't wait to see you.'

He had disconnected. Tistaa was sad in spite of being very happy…how could she make plans for the evenings. One evening is okay but…

'Papa is not well Deep…' Tistaa wrote, 'I am too eager to meet you too, but how can I? What should I tell my parents?'

'That's not any excuse Tishaa, you are not a child anymore. You should be independent enough to go ahead with your own plan and programs.'

Tistaa became sad. Oh Deep! You will never understand the fate of girls, they can never be as free as you boys. She started planning and creating a field for her upcoming rendezvous.

'Maa, we have a seminar in the evening. I will be late, please explain it to papa and ask him not to worry.' …Okay, one evening managed but how can I fix programs for all the evenings Deep is here… she kept on thinking...

Next day she returned home very happy.

'Mamma, you know Sheetal is getting married, I will be busy the whole week. She asked me to accompany her for her shopping…'

Maa had never heard of Sheetal before, she had a scowl on her face… how could she? It was an imaginary character.

'Oh maa, you don't know her, she has joined recently. I am going to attend the ring ceremony, the sangeet and of course…the marriage. I am so very excited.'

'When are you going to get married? We will be excited and happy too, to arrange your ring ceremony, mehendi, sangeet… your papa is not keeping well, you know…'

'Now let me enjoy my friend's marriage, we will talk about mine…later.'

Tistaa was at Mridula's place, waiting eagerly for Dipro.

'So, how did you manage the evening meetings?' Dipro raised his eyebrows.

Tistaa blushed. She was actually a very talkative and jolly girl but whenever she came near Dipro, she became shaky, nervous and unusually quiet.

'Today, I have a seminar…from tomorrow I'll be busy with Sheetal, an imaginary colleague's marriage shopping, engagement, sangeet …'

'Be careful Tishaa! Telling lies shouldn't become a habit…after marriage, you will face problem…ehh!'

'If I lie to my parents, that too for your sake…it's alright but lying to you is forbidden- why?'

'I am very possessive about you Tishaa, if I find anyone attracted to you or you to someone else, other than me…you will find the worst person in me, you've ever seen…remember.'

They went out to the well-decorated Futala Lake and sat in a cozy shed, specially made for the love birds. Dipro came closer to Tistaa, he took her face in his palms and kissed her eyelids. A sudden shiver went down Tistaa's spine. Dipro encased her petite body into his strong arms.

'I would rather die today…whispered Tistaa and started rubbing her face on his chest.

'Do you like being close to me?'

She was quiet.

'Say something…'

Tistaa placed her finger on his lips…

'Don't, don't say anything, only hold me tight. Never ever let me go.'

Dipro kissed her lips. Both of them were swaying in the sweet-smelling, cool waters of the brook of love. The silence was broken. 'Deep, I have to go.'

Night is still young baby…'

'Papa is not well, please…'

Ummmm…little more, I can't leave you now.'

The scheduled meeting got cancelled the next day. Dipro and Tistaa were overjoyed. They boarded a train and alighted on an unknown small station as they found a stream flowing by. The

day was cloudy. They found a lone boatman and sailed with him for a joy ride. It started drizzling and a very happy Tistaa started singing her favourite Tagore- number. Dipro joined her…

'Tell me about you Deep, I want to know.'

Tistaa found Dipro dejected…Dipro's deep set voice broke the romantic silence.

'I was a young boy when my father left us. I don't know the reason behind it…my mom never disclosed. We had a tough time. I didn't know how my mom arranged the money to run our family. She had never let me realize any difficulties. I had always studied in good schools and colleges. My mother had always encouraged me to excel in all fields of life and stand on my own two feet. There was no one to support us as mom had married my dad against her family's wishes. She had never shown me her grief. I never found her crying or abusing my dad or grumbling over his act of deserting us. At that very young age, I had promised to make my mom happy…and let her be proud of me. Tishaa, I can never see my mom unhappy again.'

'I can understand how painful it is Deep…losing a father at such a young age and knowing that he must still be alive, but not around to support you…'

'My mom brought me up with the care and responsibility of both parents, but I did miss him Tishaa…on Parents' Day, while performing on stage, receiving awards…my eyes searched for

that non-existing figure. I was restless at times to get an encouraging pat on my back, a tight hug…I still feel that vacuum, but I have never let my mom know about it…never mind, tell me about you.'

'My father doesn't keep well. He has been diagnosed with a major heart problem. My parents are overprotective about me. Now, as papa is not keeping well, he is after me to get married. He keeps on asking me if I am seeing anyone. They don't have any objection if I marry someone I want to. My father himself had chosen his life partner too. I love them. I don't know how I could leave them after my marriage…'

'Deep, Deep…where are you?' Dipro came back to reality.

'Come on, sit with us. 'Pinda daan' (an offering of cooked rice and sesame seeds) for the soul of my departed father would take place now. Mamma wants you, her would-be son-in-law, to be there.'

Tistaa smiled and handed the garland over to Dipro…

'Please place it on the photograph, his soul would be satiated. We didn't have his recent photograph that was good enough…the one we framed was taken when I was a little child. You know, my mamma is so happy to see you! She thinks you resemble my father. I don't feel so, though both of you are handsome in your own way.'

Dipro kept on staring at the photograph. The priest went on chanting the name of the deceased while offering food to his soul, 'Hemrajasya Pretasya…' Dipro felt a sudden hunger for his father, he missed him. He wanted to look at his photograph. He had not seen them since his father had dumped his mom and him. No one had ever talked about him either... his father's name was not registered in his school or college.

Dipro went on searching for the long-forgotten albums as mom was not home. She was spending the night with her childhood friend.

'Hii…' The message showed it was Tistaa. 'Maa was talking about our marriage. She wants to meet your mom. I have realized it's impossible for me to live without you… but I can't leave my mamma alone either, I hope we can solve out this problem together…'

She willed herself to not check her phone to see if he had replied. It had been about three days now. She hated that she was constantly checking his 'last seen at' status and yes, he had

logged in just five minutes ago. Yet she couldn't stop herself. This sinking feeling to find absolutely no communication from him was becoming unbearable, almost torturous.

And then, just as she sat down in her chair, the phone vibrated. With her heart thudding in her ear, she unlocked her phone and stared at the screen. Finally! It was his message. But when she opened it and read it, she nearly stopped breathing. She didn't know if he was joking or not. What was this?

'You don't have to leave your mamma Tishaa, be with her and be happy. It's 'HER' because of whom my father had deserted me…

Yes, we are offsprings of the same father…Hemraj Bandopadhyay.

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