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JIBAN MAJUMDAR

Abstract


3  

JIBAN MAJUMDAR

Abstract


Return Of Mithi

Return Of Mithi

9 mins 128 9 mins 128

It has been raining badly. It was getting late enough to be worried. I once again stepped into the balcony and looked down. Is it her? My legs started to wither away and my heart was racing fast! The knock brought me back to consciousness. Not sure how long I have been waiting. The rains got me worried but the storm has settled now and the setting sun could hardly be seen on the horizon. The cool breeze helped soothe my nerves. The waiting has never been so long. It is eerily quiet! The knock repeated. I wanted to run but I could not. Instead, I was walking at a crawling speed; every step was filled with hope & despair!


I was standing at the end of the stairs and with a trembling hand reached out for the latch. The door creaked and there she is. ‘Light’ she squealed! My hands fumbled in anticipation as I switched on the light. I took a second look at her, a few of the twigs adding to the beautifully disheveled hair, water drops rolling down her neck, those beautiful eyes but why that despair in her eyes? As my own despair turned to hope, I wanted to grasp her hand, but I did not, why? I was waiting for this moment for so many hours!

I moved away to allow her in. ‘Water’ she broke the silence. Fumbling a ‘Yes’, I ran to the kitchen. She was gulping it with rather a haste! Possibly she was tired of the long walk in the rain. Else why she has forgotten to give me that tiny kiss I always longed from her! ‘Thak’ the sound of the glass on the table broke my gaze. She is looking intently in my eyes, is there a tinge of apprehension in that look? She always felt most safe with me then why that apprehensive look!

‘Can I use the bathroom?’ she asked

I nodded gently, not sure why she asked me at all!


Water still dripping from her top, she inclined against the wall and started to take off her shoes…Is the skirt a little short? Anyway, I hardly interfered with her choices. I went back to the kitchen and switched on the milk. She loves coffee, especially when I make it for her.

‘Towel?’ the voice now as soft as her touch! Shivering and holding her hands close to her chest, she was standing a little away from the kitchen door. She could have easily picked on her own but I guess she realized that she is badly drenched. I slowly walked over, picked up a few clothes as well, and handed over to her. She looked at me and at the clothes, a little perplexed, unsure why!

‘Clunk’ she bolted the bathroom door.


The shower has stopped. There is a pin drop silence, no water drops, no howling of the wind, no dogs barking and no chirping birds, all so quiet, so desolately quiet! The milk is now simmering. Took 2 teaspoons of coffee & put it in the cup, poured the milk and the coffee is ready. She has always been a great lover of coffee & dark chocolates. She is yet to ask for one today!

Is she not behaving a little strange today? She was hardly smiling, she didn’t give me that hug, her mind also seems to be drifting away most of the time. She is generally very bubbly but today she is not! And why was she so late, making me sit for so many hours worried & pensive? Should I ask? No, it may not be good; she will think that I am suspecting something! But why am I so worried? I am so happy & excited that she has reached. I have been waiting anxiously for those loving moments which I want to spend with her. She should know that she can’t be running away from me.


The bright lights of the drawing-room lifted my mood. I was waiting for her to come in. The first sip must be her; it has always been so whenever we have coffee together. The silence was eerie, I switched on the TV. The fallen trees, waterlogging, slow trains; all have made to the news, thanks to today’s weather. Took the newspaper, 3rd time for the day but my mind is somewhere else! The phone rang, I could see Mrinal’s number flashing. I know why he is calling but I was in no mood today to disturb the moment.


‘Clunk’ the bathroom door opened. My eyes went to the door. She seemed much relaxed now. ‘Coffee? Thank you, but how did you know that I will like coffee?’ she blurted out and took her first sip. I took my first sip as well. I was smiling within thinking that if I don’t know then who will! She is probably trying to pull my leg. Anyway, she has always been good at it, making me angry and then playing the angel to calm me down. I had a second glance at her. The dress looked slightly tight fit. Is she gaining weight? She is no longer watching me, rather enjoying the hot coffee. I was so eager to hold her tight, hold her close enough so that I need not let her go again!


Music is always a good icebreaker. Anyway, my music system has been gathering dust for some time, no better time to kick them back to life! Making a choice of music for her is quite tough, her choices are always as changing as her moods, to say the least. An English melody or a peppy chartbuster or should I just play safe by playing a soft instrumental? At no cost, I will like to spoil her mood today! The wait for her has been very painful. The percussion & tabla beats added flavor to the coffee. She seemed to be oblivious to the music & was engrossed in her phone. Texting someone I guess. Very strange!


‘Is the music ok with you?’ came out my trembling voice. She looked up & just nodded. She was looking around the room! Words were so hard to come but I can wait. I have waited for so long; I can wait for a little more. Her phone suddenly rang! She went out of the room to take it. Why is she not comfortable speaking in front of me? I went back to my paper but the headlines were appearing blurred, eyes fixed on paper but mind playing a thousand emotions. She came back hurriedly & finished her coffee.


I gently rose from my sofa & slowly went & sat closer to her. She gave a furtive look. ‘Why were you so late today?’ I enquired. Why did she look so surprised by my question? She stood up and started stammering something but most of it was inaudible to my ears! ‘I have to leave now’ came a more affirmative voice. I shrieked in fear. I cannot lose her now! I tried to rise quickly but the knees gave in as I slopped on the ground. She was standing close to the door clutching a packet containing her clothes! Why her face so worried? Somehow I gathered strength & brusquely walked up to her. I held her hand, tears streaming down my eyes, I clutched on to her. ‘Please don’t go now; I have been waiting for you so long!’ She stood stupefied. ‘My angel, what has happened to you? Why I don’t see that smile in your face?’ Somehow holding me just enough so that I don’t fall off, she was struggling with her emotions as well. The worry has turned into fear. But why? I have always been the dearest person in her life…What has changed in the last few hours she has been delayed up?


A loud shriek broke my thought! Her hand slowly gave away as I fell gently to the ground. She is shouting for help…my angel is afraid of me!!! My heart literally stopped in deep pain, looking haplessly at her. She ran towards the door, I somehow dragged myself to the door as well, fervently requesting her not to leave me again!

‘Dipen’ ‘Diippen’ I could hear Mrinal shouting. He must have heard her shriek! He struggled as he tried to make his way across the street & open the dilapidated gate. His mind is still very sharp but his legs are faltering but then at eighty he is on the wrong side of age!

Mrinal somehow crossed the door and held me tightly! My mind was withering away…my angel clutching Mrinal’s wife with a fear looming across her face! I did not realize when Mrinals’ wife also made to my house following in my friends’ footsteps.

‘Why did not you take my call earlier?’ Mrinal asked softly. ‘You know that you should take your medicines very regularly’.

I could only mumble a feeble ‘Yes’.


‘What happened?’ Mrinal asked softly

‘Mithi is leaving me again! Mrinal stop her!’ I pleaded to him

‘Dipen, she is not Mithi, see Mithis clothes has not fitted her well’ Mrinal reasoned!

‘Why don’t you believe me Mrinal? She has come back! Look at her eyes, same as her mothers’’ I was literally begging

‘Beti, what brought you here?’ Mrinals’ wife Gargi asked Mithi, all along comforting her

‘I was very thirsty, saw him standing at the balcony and hence thought to enquire’ Mithi responded

‘Worry, nothing to fear. He does not mean any harm to you! Many years back, on such a rainy day, Mithi, his daughter went out in the morning to never come back. Mithi was the same age as yours…He waits on every such day looking down the road waiting for her to come back’ a teary-eyed Gargi was speaking softly to Mithi


‘Mrinal..’ I shouted. ‘What is Gargi saying? Mithi left in the morning & was delayed…I was worried. She has come back. Please believe me Mithi. Mithi, why are you behaving so strangely’ now directing my anger to Mithi .‘I am not Mithi, I am Sonia’ she spoke gently but there was that defiance in her voice.


‘Why all of you are acting so strangely? Ask her why she was late! I won’t let my angel out of my…’ Before I could finish, Mrinal has pushed the medicine into my mouth. Everything is receding, I could barely raise my hand. She took a step forward hesitantly and held my hand…first time today with love! or pity? My eyes are becoming heavy, she slowly lifted herself, said something to Mrinal’s wife, and crossed the gate. I am struggling to keep my eyes open, I could see the receding figure of my angel. ‘Mithi..Please, please come to ba..’ my voice trailed off as the medicine started to take effect.


It has been raining badly. It was getting late enough to be worried. I once again stepped into the balcony and looked down…


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