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Sreya Mukherjee



Sreya Mukherjee


Magic Shall Linger On

Magic Shall Linger On

9 mins 18.3K 9 mins 18.3K

"Magic is integral to our life. When everything shall dissolve, only magic will linger on." As I race past the picturesque landscape of Kanchenjunga in a hired car, these words by my grandmother kept ringing in my ear. Looking out of the car windows, I thought maybe the mesmerizing beauty of the place has conjured up those long-forgotten pearly wisdom of my grandmother. However, the thought did not seem out of place among such beautiful scenes. As, such idyllic bucolic scenes are supposed to evoke ethereal thoughts similar to the one I am having now, rather than the mundane concerns of life such as the price of petrol, or maybe the rice of potato. Anyway, I was enjoying my seemingly poetic musings because to be honest, I don't have an artistic bend of mind. And to have such poetic thoughts lead me to belief that the natural beauty of this place has unleashed the poet in me. I really felt glad that I undertook this trip on the insistence of my sisters, who were really more distant to me than the chatty, genial driver whom we met three hours ago. To dispel any confusion, I must declare that the insistence of my sisters had nothing to do with love, the insistence was made necessary due to the conditions of the travel agency which stated that they would provide a heavy discount if a group of three travelers were to travel with them instead of two. Thus, it was unforeseen circumstances which eventually lead to the sisters' trip.

Drunk in the scenic beauty and lost in my thoughts, I did not realize that we have already reached our destination. It was a small hamlet named Samsing, in the Kalimpong district of West Bengal, 20 km from Bhutan. The place was breathtakingly beautiful. The place had everything one could ever ask for, surrounded by mountains on all side, a mountain stream with pristine water flowing through its heart, and the green shawl of vegetation that covered this magical place. I thought that Samsing was pure magic. Our chatty driver advised us to get going quickly as this place was supposed to be haunted and there was no accommodation for halting at night. My elder sister Rhea who feared ghosts more than deer feared tiger almost let out a shriek after hearing that the place is haunted. She literally hauled me and my younger sister Ragini inside the car. Rhea, clearly still enjoyed the dominating elder sister status. Like most of the time I did not have any option but to obey her and Ragini was least bothered about our itinerary. Once again our car rumbled along the treacherous mountain roads.

It was nearing dusk, when our chatty driver along with his incessant chattering slipped the information that we had nearly run out of petrol. Though he was congenial, he was shrewd enough to slip the information in such a way so that it would not register in our conscience. It was only after the car halted abruptly did he tell us in a matter of fact way that we have no resources left and we have to halt the night there. Rhea got into a panic mode and tried her best to disrupt the little bit of sanity left with us. And Ragini with her usual nonchalance sauntered past us, seemingly enjoying the nature. So, only I was left to face the reality and thereby to handle the situation.

"So, now what are we supposed to do?", I asked.

" Madam you can either sleep in the car or have to halt the the night at someone's place", chirped our chatty driver.

The car did not have enough leg space to stretch our legs and moreover there was no way that I was going to spend the night in that cloistered space of car with my two not so endearing sisters. But the problem was I could not find any house nearby in which we could stay the night.

So, I resigned and asked the driver, "I don't see any house nearby where should we halt the night supposing that your car is not an option?"

"Worry not Madam. I can arrange everything. You just give me the order",our driver almost shouted with excitement.

"Fine, just find us a decent place to stay and end our ordeal", I sighed.

He excused himself and went away. Ragini and I sat on the culvert nearby while Rhea paced the road.

I pleaded to Rhea, "For God's sake Rhea, sit down. A car knocking you down is the last thing I want to handle now. Anyway, your pacing is not going to solve our predicament."

Rhea stood for a while staring at me, I thought she would begin her lecture about her being the eldest and thereby responsible for the safety of all of us but after a while she sat down without saying anything.

Ragini was sitting next to me, with her eyes fixed to her phone's screen.

"Which magic service provider do you subscribe? You have access to internet even in this remote mountain", I asked Ragini.

She looked up from her phone and said,"It has been a long time since the three of us sat together."

I was really taken off the guard by her unexpected reply. Seeing the shocked expression on my face, Ragini smiled a little and said, "I was scrolling through my gallery. My service provide is vying to receive the honour of being one of the shittiest service provider in the country, it does not work properly in metro cities and expecting its service in such remote terrain is a tad too much."

Her reply made me smile. I had always loved Ragini's wry sense of humour. She had been reticent since her childhood. We had not exactly been playmates, but I had always enjoyed an easy camaraderie with her that I never found in my and Rhea's relationship. Though the age difference between the three of us had not been huge, but I have always found myself closer to Ragini than to Rhea. Rhea had always been the lecturing, dominating, quintessential elder sister. Though I have never admitted this to her and even to myself that I have always looked up to Rhea as a role model, whose validation I always seek. Despite her domineering attitude she had been the anchor of our ship. After, mother's death she became the string which held the pearls together, the string that always remain hidden and unsung. I admit, without her rather without her sacrifices life would have been tougher. While Ragini and I were busy building our careers it was Rhea, who tried her best to maintain the charade of our dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father.

I was shook out of my reverie by Rhea's voice, "...I always had a difficult time with both of you, this Ragini would never speak and my dear Remzil thinks she knows everything and owns the world.."

Suddenly, her whining did not seem annoying to me and surprisingly I was overwhelmed with the urge to squeeze both of my sisters into a bear hug. Looking at them I realized that they are the remaining relics of my distant childhood, the most cherished phase of one's life. They are the bridge that connects me to that faraway mountain of my childhood, just like the bridge which we crossed a while ago that connected two mountains. I realized if I loose them, I would also loose the access to most beautiful mountain of my life. We are like the three flowers growing on the same branch, though the branch had withered away the flowers continue to bloom. I find my mother's anxious love in Rhea and insouciance in Ragini, while my father's reticent love flashes in Ragini's eyes and his dutiful nature shows itself in Rhea's resolute demeanor. I find the people I loved in my sisters, and with a shudder I realize I am loosing them again.

I startled both of them by saying, "Yes, it has been a long time since the three of us sat together. and we should do it more often."

Ragini smiled and said, "I never get the credit of my originality, I have always been the underdog of our family. Anyway, I am letting you use my dialogue without suing you, but this will be the last time."

"The family rather the semblance of family you are talking of remains only because of the untiring efforts of Rhea. Lets give due honour to this unsung hero of our family", I blinked.

I can clearly say by seeing the shock on her face that Rhea had never expected any praise from her sisters even in her wildest dream.

I seized the moment and hugged both bewildered sisters of mine.

The sun had long ago hidden behind the tall mountains. We hadn't realize that it was snowing. This was the first snow of our life that ushered among the three sisters a dormant love.

While holding both of them close to my chest, I said, "I hope this will last forever."

Ever-complaining Rhea mildly chided, "Shhh don't ruin the present in the illusion of forever."

We did not realize how long had we been holding each other. I thank my stars that it was on a remote mountain road or else the three of us would had made a nice spectacle for all to see. I apologize, but I had always been image conscious. But at that moment I did not care about anyone or anything else. Everything was obliterated except the three sisters holding on to each other finding solace, love, peace and something else that language fails to describe and snow falling over them. The glimmer of dusk embraced them and transported them to somewhere beyond this sensory plane. All they remembered later was pure bliss.

Seemingly after an infinite period of time we were seized back to reality by the panting voice of our driver, "Madam, I did not find a single house in this whole locality. Trust me Madam I went around the whole place but did not come across any house. Unfortunately, all of you would have to sleep inside the car tonight. I know it will be very uncomfortable but don't worry I would see to it that......."

"That's fine.", The driver was cut short by Ragini, "The sky is a beautiful shelter. Today we are guests to the mountains. Let us experience their hospitality. Tonight we shall be lulled to sleep by the shimmering stars and the cool mountain breeze."

"Wow, the mountains did wonder. It made you loquacious", I nudged Ragini and she blinked at me.

Years later when I shall be reminiscing about that night, I shall fondly whisper to myself, "When everything shall dissolve, only magic will linger on."

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