o, no how can this happen to me? This is not possible.” said Amit dryly taking a sip from his glass that had been filled with liquor a few moments before in order to celebrate the success of the results that had been published a few hours before but for Amit things had been quite opposite. “It happens sometimes Amit nothing to get depressed now. I too had been through the same phase bro before. It will take time.” assured Mohan and put a hand around Amit.
“You would say like that now that you have managed to score high percentage this semester and became the branch topper.” retorted Amit with a hint of anger in his voice. “I didn’t mean to hurt you I just......” but before Mohan could finish, Anil interrupted and said finishing the third drink, who even didn’t do well but had managed to secure a moderate grade,” Would you two stop quarrelling about whatever has happened to you Amit it’s really unfortunate and we, the closest friends of yours are just trying our best so that you feel little better. So, please we can switch the topic and start discussing other. What do you suggest, guys?”
“Yeah, definitely the discussion is becoming too heated up and it’s ruining such a wonderful environment. We are already three pegs down but nothing seemed to make us feel that we are intoxicated.” supported Mohan. “I seemed quite insensitive of me to react like that towards you guys and Mohan I really apologize the way I reacted.” replied Amit with guilt in his voice.
“So, we are now one semester older in this college and slowly we are getting habituated with this system. Now, coming to the point do you guys found someone interesting out here for whom you have felt something?” asked Anil inquisitively filling everyone’s glass with a fresh drink.
“Hmm, let me think it’s pretty hard to make a choice as there not much good looking girl in our section.” said Mohan. “Nope, did you look at that smile of the girl named Rupsa? She has a very innocent smile and when she wears that red dress that she wore the other day to the party with her hair flowing she looked ravishing. The dress simply suited her. I couldn’t stop thinking about her after returning from the party.” replied Amit finishing his fourth peg and felt a bit tipsy.
“So, so what do you have here Amit falling for Rupsa? Rupsa is a natural beauty though I personally find her too arrogant because she doesn’t mix well with every other in the class.” retorted Mohan.
“Oh, now I understand that why our Amit was grumbling in the class that day when the Communication teacher rebuked her for not being able to answer a simple question.” concluded Anil`.“Hey, hey no I wasn’t grumbling for that all. I was really bored and attending that boring class that to so early in the morning was really frustrating. I just like her and it’s just a fling I guess, and you guys have now started making connections out of nowhere.” countered Amit hastily.
“Did you notice that girl in the second last bench, Amit, was staring at our very own Mohanji last day at the microprocessor class?” poked out Anil after gulping down his drink.
“Huh, from where did this thing come into being? Anil you are up to all sorts of all these pranks and wrong news from nowhere. You seem to remain like pretty good boy with that innocent face of yours and only I and Amit know the swing your head around to have a glimpse of the girls of our class.” rebuked Mohan and finished his sixth peg. The statement caught Anil quite off guard because he wanted to make fun of Mohan and drawing his attention to Mohini, the girl in the last bench who was the topic of discussion.
“So, have you ever fallen in love, Anil?” quizzed Amit inquisitively.
“Love is a very wonderful and sweet phase of someone’s life. When it happens it takes you in a state of trance and you relish living every moment. A very good friend of mine once told me although I haven’t been fortunate enough to experience that boon which I always cherish to and guys I am drunk up to the bream maybe we should call it an end.” said Anil after a long silence but he himself knew he was hiding something from the best buddies of his life because a part of him wanted to wash away thatmemory clean while other was preventing him.
“Yeah, me too.” concluded Mohan and. Amit almost spontaneously.
“You play really good. You seemed to a professional”, complimented the girl in an orange tee and shorts, standing outside the small badminton court with a racket in her hand as Anil won a point in the on-going match. “Thanks, not that impressive just try my hand at it.”, replied Anil. “You should play more often. Would you I mind if I join you after this game?” asked the girl with a grin.
“Yeah sure, anyways how I should call you?” asked Anil. “Oh, I am Adelleand you?” replied Adelle. “I am Anil.” said Anil after winning the game and as he came out of the court.
“So, are you new here?” inquired Adelle. “Yeah, we shifted two days before and the shifting process is still on.” replied Anil. “Yeah, many people are still shifting still now. It’s very boring out here without this badminton thing not going on sometimes.” said Adelle fondling with her racket. “Come let’s play a game”, concluded Anil putting an end to the brief conversation.
“Whoosh, that’s a unique way serve. I didn’t get a chance to return it back.” replied Anil after being thwarted by the serve. The game ended 21-19 with Anil getting overpowered by Adelle’s superb badminton skills.
“You seem to be an expert in the game.”, said Anil after a brief pause to breathe as he was utterly famished after the game. “No, I am not an expert but still I love to play the sport it’s so much fun. Besides, you too play quite well except you lack some good strategies and placing.” replied Adelle, while swinging the racket. “Yeah, you are precisely correct. I am an amateur I told you previously and I play just because it’s quite entertaining.
So, are you exhausted enough that you would like to return back home now?” asked Anil as a part of him wanted her to stay for some unknown reason which seemed quite new to Anil himself. “Umm, no I am not that exhausted at all besides what else can be done except returning home?” replied Adelle with a frown.
“Umm, we can go for a walk around the campus for besides I, being new to the place, would love to hang out around it for a while if you wish to.” , proposed Anil. “Yeah sure, that sounds great.”, replied Adelle sounding excited.
“So, you seem to be a bong but your accent seems quite broken.”, commented Anil after walking for a while. “Umm, yeah you are right though it’s my mother tongue but I didn’t get to use it where we used to reside in Orissa. But ami barite bangla tae kotha boli (I used to communicate in Bengali when I am at home) .” she concluded in broken Bengali accent. Though, it was little weird but it still seemed sweet to Anil unknowingly.
”So, is it that your father’s transfer that brings you here I guess?” asked Anil inquisitively.” Yeah, definitely and adapting to this new environment had become somewhat difficult at first specially being getting admitted into a new school at this age and mixing up with a whole new people is not at all easy, you know.” ,replied Adelle quite spontaneously.
“Anyways, I am so sorry to put an end to such a wonderful strolling across this lush green campus of ours but I need to go now because I have loads of work to do now. Bye, I guess we meet tomorrow at the badminton court and this time you are going to train me with all those tactics of yours.” said Anil finally after a brief moment, though a part of was restraining him to put an end to that blissful conversation that had just began interesting by every passing moment.“Hmm bye see you later and yeah I definitely would.” assured Adelle with a grin.
Anil returned home and after a while began to study and finish up his homework but his mind got distracted often. Somehow thoughts about Adelle seemed to interrupt the concentration of the teenage boy.
“Hey, so how’s school?”, asked Anil while making his arrival at the court.”Yeah, nice as usual. So, so can we have a game now?”, replied Adelle.
“Yeah, why not but you were to train me with all the tactics and help me improve my game?”, asked Anil. “Hmm.. the thing went totally went out of my mind. So, let’s start. What are we waiting for?”, replied Adelle sounding enthusiastic.
“Anil, firstly you need to improve your serving skill which begins basically by the way you hold the shuttle. Next, is the placing and hitting the right shot at the right moment.” ,said Adelle like an expert couch. Anil, listened avidly and tried to learn the tactics to be good badminton player. “You seemed to be a good and early learner I see.”, replied Adelle jokingly as they took a break in between the game. “Thanks ma’am, every student would be a good learner if the teacher as supporting and friendly like you are.”, said Anil ridiculing her and the two friends burst into laughter.
“So, did you take a tour around the city there are many places to visit?”, asked Anil taking the first service of the next game.” Umm, no no not at all I was damn busy with school as the half yearly examination are almost knocking the door and as I joined the school quite late I am facing a lot of problems.” ,said Adelle with a sorrow in her voice and a repugnance look gradually began to form in her face.
“Maybe I could help you a bit but if only our board matches with me. So, which board are you in?”, asked Anil with the hope that he might be of some help to her and somewhere inside him was also wanted to spend more time with her.
“I have been in the state board previously but now I’m in CBSCE.”, replied Adelle after hitting a smash which she was an expert. “Arre, that is also my board and if you don’t mind I can help you with your studies and I am not so bad at studies like this game trust me or why don’t you join a tuition class? There are many such classes around the city.”, said Anil confidently, keeping up pace with the game.
“Those tuitions are like junk diet. In a sea of children you would only be provided with notes and if the teacher explains it becomes really difficult to catch up. But your former idea is quite good one actually because we would both benefitted from it and besides both of our concepts would be clear. I would also get to dig into the fact that would you be a better teacher than me when it comes to studies..”, concluded Adelle with her million dollar giggle which was a reflection of her beauty that was compared to be as stunning as an angel.
Anil felt awesome suddenly as he saw that he was successful in returning that smile, which could actually make someone’s day and unconsciously he too wanted that thing to see it every time because unknowingly he was slowly becoming fond of it.
“Hey, where have you gone lost now? Please finish the game fast. I am quite famished by now as the heat is making me fatigue.”, said Adelle as she saw Anil standing still wondering at the shuttle while a bead of sweat just trickled down from the curls of her hair and made it’s way down flowing through her rosy cheeks that had turned red by now.
”Oh, yeah sure. I should continue the game.”, replied Anil after being jolted back into the reality and he made the serve which resumed the game. They finally called it a day after playing a continuous three games.
“I need to have a cold drink. So, are you going to join me or would you prefer returning home?” asked Adelle as she finished packing up her racket into it’s cover and tying her shoe lace that had gradually become loose.
” Umm, how can I turn down the offer by such a good friend of mine! Anyways, I am not at all in a hurry to rush back home.” ,replied Anil teasingly.
So, they went to the nearby shop just outside their apartments and had cold drinks. Anil watched with awe as she finished her cold drink with a gulp and droplets of cold drink still glittered on her glossy pink lips in the light of the 10- watt CFL that illuminated the moment.
Adelle caught him staring at her and asked,” What? I told you my throat had become dry.”
“No, nothing”, replied Anil and looked away, trying to concentrate on his drink.
“Why is that friend of your wants to study with you and that too a girl whom you met perhaps a couple of days back?” asked Shumona, Anil’s mother inquisitively when Anil told her about Adelle wanting to study with him and would come to their house in the evening. “Arre mom common, she is new to school and I am helping with her studies.” replied Anil quite irritated. Shumona, besides being Anil’s mother, she was once a school teacher and was very popular among her students for her unique way of teaching and making her students understand through small examples of day to day life. But, unfortunately as always like the custom, she had to leave her job to look after Anil, who then was too young to do his own things. As of now when Anil became little independent of himself she had been trying to find a job of herself.
“Doesn’t she have a tutor? Aren’t the teachers at school enough for her? Besides, you hardly know the person well. You shouldn’t have done such a thing and should have consulted with me first”, continued her mother who had already started making connections that her child and the girl had a kind of relationship that was rather than just friends and which she doesn’t want anything of that sort to happen in his life at this tender age of his.
“Mom, she is unable to make anything out at tuitions. She had joined tuition but that didn’t prove futile for her besides you also know teaching at school isn’t enough for exams these days. So, we thought that it would both wise and helpful for both of us.”, Anil tried to convince his mother.
“Okay, then it’s fine but I warn you don’t stick close with girls so much they are not as simple as they shows off.”, warned Shumona with a stern voice.
“Okay mom, I would keep that in mind. But I think you are unnecessarily being rude besides how can you comment on someone without even having a word in person”, protested Anil. “ Listen Anil, I am your mother and I have seen and known the world better than you so don’t argue with me besides why are you being so over protecting that girl?”, concluded Shumona with an even firmer than previously. Anil was about to keep on arguing on the matter and give a justified answer to her mother’s question but the doorbell rang. Anil who was relaxing in the sofa went to answer it with a bitter mood and as soon he opened it he found Adelle was standing outside wearing a baby pink top and a short. “Hi.”, Adelle greeted him with her enchanting smile which turned all the foulness of his mood into sweet and good one again like a soothing balm. “Hi. Hop in why are waiting outside?”, replied Anil.
“Maa, this is Adelle, the friend about whom I told you lately” said Anil indicating to his mom who had now gone busy reading a novel sitting firmly in the sofa. Shumona took a break from her reading and looked up to have a cold glance of the girl about whom she had commented already a lot. Before, she could say anything about Adelle, she came forward and touched Shumona’s feet and showing her respects as is the custom in the Bengali families.
Shumona was quite impressed by her gesture and offered her blessings along with which she implanted an affectionate kiss on Adelle’s forehead. “Ekhane kothae thako? (Where do you stay here?)” , asked Anil’s mom.
“Aunty, oe odik er block ae third floor ae ( I stay at the third floor of the block there. ) Aunty, you should come to our house some time besides my mom resides alone mainly because father’s job doesn’t offer much time to spend with us.”, replied Adelle in her broken bengali accent which made it more sweeter.
“Haa, sure…toh tumi kone school ae poro( So, which school do you study?) ” ,asked Anil’s mom. “I study in Delhi Public School, Ruby Park.”, replied Adelle.
Before his mother could drag Adelle into further conversation Anil promptly popped up with the proposal that, ”Mom, please we are already late for studies. Would you mind if you two continue after we finish up with our work?”
“Haa, sure sure…go fast and start your work while I make something for you two.”, replied Shumona reluctantly. Shumona began to realize Adelle was a much different than most of the girls of her age. She gradually went to the kitchen, finishing the novel she was reading, and started making some of her delicacies for them.
“So, what should we start with today?” ,asked Adelle while flipping through the pages of the science book. “Hmm, today we will study electricity.”, Anil said in a grave tone. “So first we will first find out, what is electricity?”, continued Anil. Adelle listened avidly as Anil explained electricity in details with given small day to day examples. He made it very interesting and Adelle who had particular dislike for the subject began to find quite interesting. “So, these are the ways through which electricity is conducted.”, Anil said indicating a picture of various conductors. “You should be a teacher one day. It would suit you well. Your students would love your way of teaching.”, said Adelle in a tone of mockery and her a wicked smile began to emerge from the fringes of those rosy pink lips. “Hmm, actually I too was thinking the same thing. I would also get to find more naughty students like you and I would love to teach them.”, replied Anil further ridiculing her.
“Hey, why did call me naughty?”, asked Adelle and hit Anil playfully on his arm. Anil couldn’t control his laugh anymore seeing the look on Adelle’s cute face at being called naughty.
“Anil, you two must have been quite exhausted with so much of studies. Now, have something to eat before you start a fresh”, said Anil’s mom, who creped silently while the two of them were busy making fun of each other, and served them with some hot homemade samosas and some chilled cold drink. Shumona placed the tray and sat down on the bed beside the study table where her son and Adelle were busy studying.
Adelle took a samosa and said, “Wow, it’s delicious. It’s far tastier than the one sold at market.”, taking a small bite from the hot samosa.
“Yeah, maa, is a master chef and you’re fortunate enough that you’re been able to savor mom’s delicacies.”, replied Anil with a hint of regret that his mother didn’t cook often for him too.
“Whatever it is, aunty you are superb cook, I know Anil is getting little be envious of me because I am been treated like a guest of honor. Thank you aunty for such a wonderful treat.”, concluded Adelle with a glee. Before Anil’s mother could say anything Anil objected in between by speaking for his defense,” Hey, hey why should I be covetous of you?”, asked Anil, waging a fight because Adelle was wrongly accusing her. Adelle smiled to herself not quite paying heed to his mock anger. “Anyways, I should leave you two study now. It’s really wonderful that you liked my cooking Adelle.”, added Shumona with a smile as she took her leave.
Anil and Adelle continued with the rest part of the chapter.
“Anil, what is that painting?”, asked Adelle pointing to a painting dangling from the wall.
“Oh, that’s just a painting of mine. Actually, it’s a copy of Swami and his friends by R.K. Laxman from Malgudi Days.”, replied Anil with a hint of pride. “Wow, you area nice painter. So, all of these are your paintings?”, asked Adelle pointing to two other paintings on the wall.
“Yeah, let me show you other paintings of mine.”, replied Anil enthusiastically and brought out a drawing copy and handed it to Adelle.Anil showcased his unique talent and the drawing copy was something which he hadn’t showed to anyone except his mother. Adelle saw that Anil had sketched many cartoons and caricatures of many people along with politicians and famous personalities. “You should draw more often. You shouldn’t let your talent go waste.”, advised Adelle, quite amazed by his talent. “Thank you very much I would definitely find sometime for drawing. Anyways, it’s getting quite late I advise you should return home otherwise your mother would start worrying about you.”, replied Anil with a gratitude smile.
“Hmm, yeah I should definitely leave now.”, said Adelle taking a brief glimpse at the clock and rose up to gradually take the leave. “Okies, it was a nice time studying together. So, we would continue tomorrow with the further chapters.”, said Anil as they approached the door. “Hmm, sure, good bye aunty.” ,said Adelle as she came by Anil’s mother and further continued, “So, would you be coming down to play tomorrow? I definitely owe you a treat now.”
“Yeah, sure as usual. I would love to have that”, replied Anil.
Gradually, many people began to shift into new apartments and Anil and Adelle became friends many new children of their age. Besides, badminton sports like cricket, football, etc became popular. Angsuman, Hritesh, Adelle, Evelyn and Anil became a group of good friends. Angsuman was a good cricketer and he gradually became known for his cricketing knowledge. Anil, Angsuman, Hritesh and many others enjoyed playing cricket and football during the summer. Cricket became such an obsession amongst the boys during the summer vacation that they began to play it in the scorching sun when the temperatures in Kolkata shot as high as 40 degree Celsius, paying no heed to their parents’ warnings. The girls in the apartment enjoyed playing badminton during the evenings and the boys would sometimes join them late in the evening. The court became so crowded that after playing one game the others who aren’t playing engaged themselves in chatting gossiping, cracking jokes and many a times the people playing would stop their game to become a part of it. Linken Park, Enrique, Pink Floyd’s music became popular topics of discussion amongst them.
It was the month of April that everybody was busy playing when a strong wind began to blow from the south west direction which is popularly known as “Kalboisakhi”( the seasonal local storm which is followed by rain sometimes often known as “ mango showers” but locally referred to as “Kalboisakhi”) appeared followed by torrential rain. It was the first rains after a grueling spell of day. At first, everybody ran for shelter when Anil said,” Hey, guys why are we running for shelter? Let’s, enjoy the rain everyone. I know we will get scolded by our parents but why should we miss such a wonderful chance of getting drenched in the first spells of rain.” Though at first, Angsuman and Hritesh protested a bit but when they saw others getting drenched they couldn’t hold back. The rumbling of the clouds accompanied by strong winds and sparks of thunder made it and awesome experience for these teens as they enjoyed themselves. “ Hey, come let’s play football in the rain.”, suggested Hritesh as he dropped the football from his waist and started kicking it. Anil dodged the ball from his foot,splashing some water that had accumulated and passed the ball to Angsuman who in turn passed it to the Evelyn and Adelle who had joined them in the due course.
Gradually, the rain began to recede as suddenly as it had appeared. “We are completely soaked to the skin and we should return home now.”, suggested Evelyn who seemed to be quite over matured amongst the others in the group as she was a single parent child who had lost her father few years back. “Arre, it’s still drizzling and football seems to be a sport best suited with this weather. Let’s enjoy it for some time naah, guys”, protested Angsuman. “Hey, Evelyn is right. We should return now otherwise we might land ourselves into trouble. Precisely, it’s quite late anyway.”, supported Hritesh on Evelyn’s views of concern.
“Okay, guys bye everybody I need to rush home because I am soaked badly and I need to change as soon as possible before I catch a fever right away”, said Adelle no sooner Hritesh had finished expressing his views. Slowly, everyone began to disperse and quite ironically the rain stopped as if the Rain God was not at all in a mood to disappoint Angsuman from the pleasures of enjoying playing football in the rain.Slowly, everyone returned home and the weather became pleasant. When Anil returned home and opened the window overlooking his bed, he could feel the cold honey suckle wind filling his room. Anil studied quite late at night even after his parents went off to sleep. Like as usual, he was reading “Harry Potter and the Sorceress’ Stone” by J.K. Rowling and was going through the details of Hermione Granger when suddenly like a wink of an eye a flash of Adelle’s image flashed in his mind’s eye. Anil couldn’t understand it. But, thought of Adelle drew a smile on his face and the amusing and frisking nature of hers. Whatever was going on his mind was for the first time and he was quite relishing it so he didn’t interrupt his thoughts and let it flow.
Like every day next evening all the youngsters gathered to play, chat, have fun and frolic.
But amongst all this merriment Adelle found herself in a bad and depressing mood. Though, she was quite successful in masking with her brilliant smile that seemed like beads of pearls shining brightly when the strong bright rays of the sun glistened on the edges of the gushing waves. But somehow Anil couldn’t accept it because somewhere she sounded remorse. He wanted to make her feel her better because somewhere inside him, wanted her to be happy and no sorrow in the world would ever come in her. Angsuman went home early because he was to attend a wedding ceremony. So, gradually as all the others started scattering Anil and Adelle were the only ones left, a situation that Anil was yelling for long. Adelle was on the verge of returning home when Anil asked, “What happened to you today? You seemed quite numb. ” “ No, no I am alright just that I’m little unwell that’s why I seemed little remorse.” , replied Adelle. "But as far as I know you are not like this there must be surely wrong which you don’t want to discuss but is distracting your mind which can be easily made out from your face. I think discussing the matter might help you feel little better.”, advised Anil. Adelle found the strength she needed from Anil’s comforting gesture and she now gradually felt she can discuss the matter with him quite comfortably.
“Today at school a guy proposed me. He said that he is in love with me for ever since I came to school but couldn’t muster the courage to confess. He did all this during our break and he actually went down to his knees while proposing me. At first, I was surprised because it was the first time someone was actually proposing me. Though, I didn’t reply to his proposal but in a state of confusion and I really not up for any such relationship anyway. That’s what been disturbing my thoughts right ever since I returned from school.”, told Adelle exhaling deep breath and slowly removed the strands of hair that had fallen over her face as slow breeze was wafting by. Anil listened to the story with awe and somewhere he could feel an ache inside himself but he managed somehow suppress it and finally blurted out,” Arre, why are you getting disturbed with the matter? It happens besides at this age crushes like these take place. Nothing to worry about someday you would find yourself developing a crush for some handsome guy like me.”, Anil added the last sentence with a hint of ridicule. “Hmm, I know” replied Adelle nodding her head unaware of the understatement. Then after some time she started hitting Anil playfully realizing the joke cracked on her. Suddenly, her facial expressions changed gradually and from a gloomy one to an exultant one with that treasuring beam returning back. Anil was finally able to achieve what he was eagerly waiting to do throughout the afternoon. Anil smiled back at Adelle as she went on hitting him playfully. “How mean are you? How did you ever think of something like that? Besides, I am sorry to disappoint you that you are not as handsome as you think yourself to be?”, replied Adelle with a wicked smile. “By the way, is the guy who proposed you is more handsome than me?”, asked Anil in a jesting note. “Stop boasting about yourself besides I have no such interest in the guy.”, replied Adelle softly punching Anil in the stomach. “Okay, I apologize your royal highness but your beauty is compared none. The Almighty had made you very delicately as if you were one of His greatest creations. You etiquette and charm turn heads of a many charming princes…..” , Anil would further continue if not he was interrupted by Adelle saying in a tone of mimicry of a princess ,” Okay, okay Anil your apology has been accepted and the princess is amused by your admiration and she is quite happy to have such a sweet admirer of hers.” and she burst out into laughter again.
Gradually the half- yearly exams arrived and the youngsters including Anil and Adelle became busy with their studies. Adelle and Anil who continued to study together have now decided to study independently at least before and during the exam days because the exams are knocking at the door and both of them would be revising through the portions they have studied till then.
Anil’s routine changed drastically and he was now seen focusing on studies, studying at least 18 hours a day, practicing the Mathematics, history, geography and the science papers. In the evenings sometimes Anil used to come down to get a breath of fresh air as it became claustrophobic. Often, Anil would find Adelle strolling around the campus with some of her friends and Anil would happily join the girl gang. Those few moments seem to replenish the depleted energy from the body. Many a times they would sit in a circle and play various games like Uno or Antakshari or truth or dare, etc. Uno was the game which became a popular amongst the youngsters mainly due to it being a card game. The half an hour spans of this fun and frolic accompanied by games was enthralling as well as refreshing. While Anil played Uno with the girl gang his heart would play games with as he would find himself imagining about Adelle. Sometimes in his dreams Adelle would unknowingly make her presence and Anil would be found captivated by her ravishing beauty. He would see that Adelle gently frisking his hair. Sometimes he would dream the two of them lying in midst of a field that seemed to turn golden due to the ripening of the rice or paddy. Every time the dream ended with a rough shake and when he would half open his eye he would find his father standing beside his bed calling out to wake him up as it was already a new day and the first rays of the morning sun beamed over his face.
The exams ended quite well for Anil, though many a times Adelle distracted his concentration but still everything seemed to fall in place for him. It was a huge sigh of relief for Anil as he was quite stressed and the fact is he was the topper of his class so during every exam he was burdened with the trouble of sticking to his position. Earlier, it seemed quite easy for Anil because during study time books and studies were his only world but now situation seemed to take an abrupt change with the arrival of Adelle. But still Anil coped with his heart and brain by the former making a compromise for the time being during the exams.
After, the exams ended Hritesh, Angsuman, Evelyn, Adelle and Anil came down to play. Once again, the campus was filled with the loud chatters, fun and frolics of the youngsters. After a long time, the badminton game resumed. Anil and Adelle paired up together against Hritesh and Evelyn. Evelyn was a pro- badminton player and she used to go for practice at Sports Authority Of India Complex every weekends for badminton practices. Hritesh, too, was good when it comes to any kind of sports. So, the teams were evenly balanced. Anil, had improved his game under the supervision of Adelle. The game began and from the beginning the later team seemed dominating the game. The score read 5-1 with Anil and Adelle lagging behind four points. But as the game proceeded from being a one-sided match it transformed into a quite breath stopping encounter. From trailing behind the defeating team took the score to as close 19-19. So, it was a tie breaker where any one of the team has to take the score just two points more than the other in order to be declared as winners. It was Anil’s serve against Evelyn. Anil made a very high service which Evelyn eventually wanted to end up with a smash but resulted in managing just a backhand which gave Adelle the sweet chance to land up a smash. So, Anil and Adelle was leading the game for the first time and the only need a point to wrap up the game.Anil resumed the game by servicing to Hritesh. It was a tricky serve the serve seemed to be a short one, the mistake that Hritesh did, but as he missed the serve, Hritesh saw the shuttle land just on the line demarcating the beginning of his court and Anil jumped in the air with his hands held high. It was a toughly enjoying match and the players of both the teams looked utterly exhausted and famished.
” It was really enjoying. You guys played really terrific.”, congratulated Hritesh.
“But you seem to be better than us your placing and short selection were precisely so accurate that we were no match for it.”, complimented Adelle on Evelyn’s playing tactics. “Besides we should keep this in mind that our very own Evelyn is an expert of the game amongst us.”, complimented Anil.
“Whatever it is the losing team is going to give a treat to the winning team along with an umpire “, popped up Angsuman who had been quiet spectator of the match now turned an umpire.
“Yeah yeah actually Angsuman is quite right. Treat toh banta hae boss (Treat is quite obvious) .”, supported Adelle sounding excited.
“Hey, hey this is unfair you guys are so very unpredictable.”, complained Evelyn feebly.
“Evelyn, would you do this to us? Would you deprive these wonderful friends of yours from a treat?”, asked Adelle making a cute sad face upturning the lower lip and her black eye balls moist like a sweet kitten oblivious to the fact that it actually made Anil fond of her even more a bit longer.
“Okay okay, let’s go and have something. But Adelle would be excluded.”, said Hritesh and added the last part wickedly.
“Hey, hey that’s unfair Hritesh why should she be excluded?”, protested Anil finally breaking his silence unable to make out the trick.
“Aree, aree do I sense a possessiveness developing for someone, Anil?”, Hritesh continued in a teasing tone.
“Oh, common you guys stop all this and let’s go. Besides Anil spoke out of intuition without thinking much as he felt bad and was unable to realize your prank.”, said Adelle making sense.
So, they began to march forward towards the nearby shop. Hritesh bought three large packets of Lay’s Indian Masala flavor while Evelyn bought cold drink for each of them. The entire treat was sponsored from the pocket money that these kids got while travelling to school.
“Why don’t we have a chit- chat while having these?”, proposed Anil.
“Yeah, definitely we should and I don’t you guys are in a hurry to rush back home besides the exams just over so our parents won’t be offended now if we are late. What do you say, everyone?”, supported Evelyn quite excited.
“Yeah, yeah”, shouted the others.
“Hey, have you guys watched the new Harry Potter movie that released last Friday?”, asked Angsuman excitedly.
“No, I haven’t had time I was too busy with studies the whole of this week. I was really excited about the release but this exam thing came in the way otherwise I would have gone for first day first show.”, replied Adelle, taking some chips from the packet and making a munching sound as she crunched the chips.
“So, how about going for the show on this Sunday? It would be awesome fun besides it would beday out for our gang. What do you say?”, suggested Anil interrupting Angsuman.
“Hmm, actually I was going to say the same thing. It’s a wonderful plan. I am in.” ,replied Angsuman taking a sip from his cold drink.
“Yeah, yeah definitely, I am in too. We would have fun day out.”, replied Evelyn and Hritesh quite simultaneously.
“So, we are going to Inox, Hiland Park. Let’s chalk out a plan by tomorrow after we go through the show timings tonight.”, concluded Adelle excitedly as usual.
“So, which you of out here is a Linken Park fan?”, asked Hritesh, taking a handful of chips from the packet.
“Yeah yeah they have recently launched the new album called ‘Meteora’, right?”, askedAdelle casually and gently removed the strand of hair that had fallen over her face and took a sip from her drink.
“The song called ‘In the end’ from the album is an awesome song. I loved the song once I heard it.”, replied Anil.
“But, ‘Breaking the habit” is far more better than that song.”, countered Angsuman.
Evelyn restrained from making any statement because she was not allowed to listen to such type of songs and she was used to listening the classical songs be it English or Bengali. She, thus, began to feel left out. Hritesh realized it and changed the topic. Anil, meanwhile, was enjoying catching a glimpse of Adelle from the corner of his eyes. Her smile, her charm, every expressions of her was something which Anil couldn’t help but simply adore. Besides, the way she flipped her hair few moments ago made him overwhelmed. Adelle caught Anil staring at her as she took another sip and made what is it now look with a frown. Anil realized that he was again caught gawking by those pretty kohl smeared eyes and looked away. Still, Anil couldn’t detain his mind from thinking about Adelle and the wonderful time they had spent together alone in just a few days thus abstaining him from participating in the on-going chit chat.
“Arre Anil, why have fallen silent all of a sudden?”, inquired Evelyn after a brief interval of time.
“Oh, oh, it’s just nothing.”, stumbled Anil, catapulted into the reality by Evelyn’s sudden question.
“So, what you guys think about who’s amongst us would book the tickets?”, asked Angsuman after a pause.
“Aree, why are we worrying about booking of the tickets? It can be done online. I would pay for you all now and you guys return me later.”, suggested Hritesh.
“But, what if my mother won’t allow me?”, asked Evelyn with a dejected look.
“Why won’t they? You are going with your friends. Besides, why are worrying from now only without asking? If she anyways doesn’t allow you initially we together and make her agree her to come along us. Don’t take tension.”, consoled Adelle optimistically.
“Yeah, definitely Adelle, we have planned such a wonderful day out together for the first time so we would do whatever it takes to make it successful.”, added Anil.
“So, finally Anil babu spoke after a long time. I thought he has gone into some kind of maunavart (oath of silence).”, said Angsuman, who was becoming famous slowly for leg- pulling. Though a serious discussion was going on it lighten the atmosphere and Anil didn’t mind it much as long as it brought back the smile along with the cute dimple on Adelle’s face.
“You guys are really awesome fun. If mom turns down my words but won’t be to turn down you guys.”, concluded Evelyn quite enthusiastically.
“So, should we guys call it a day, now? It’s already quite late by now.”, asked Angsuman.
“Yeah, definitely. We should besides mom is alone at home I should really go by now.”, replied Evelyn with a look of concern.
Slowly everybody started dispersing but Anil was no mood to return home he wanted to spend more time with Adelle. “Toh, don’t you wish to return home? Others have already left”, asked Adelle.
“Yeah, I should. Besides you too don’t seem to be in a mood to arrive home now?”, asked Anil with a keen hope that she would give a negative reply. Coincidently, Adelle too wasn’t actually in a mood to leave early precisely spending time with Anil was something she too started enjoying and unknowingly fulfilling Anil’s wish she replied negative. Anil was dreading for the moment but was suppressing it due to the fear that he doesn’t want Adelle to predict what feelings that had been developing inside him for her.
“Hey, I wanna ask you something?”, asked Adelle as the two them began strolling around their apartments.
“What is it that you are being so formal?”, counter questioned Anil.
“Okay, okay, so the thing is why were you staring at me like that with a hint of smile then?”, asked Adelle, making herself quite clear and sounding informal.
“Umm, nothing like that. I was just watching you because you seemed unusually beautiful today.”, replied Anil, clearing his throat.
“How mean are you! You intended that I am not beautiful.”, replied Adelle and playfully punching him in the arm.
“Arre, when did I say you aren’t beautiful? I just meant that you are looking amazingly beautiful today in that pink tees of yours which suited well in contrast with those black and white specs of yours.”, replied Anil, praising the girl for who seemed to got bowled over her ever since their first meeting.
“Really? Actually, this is one of my favorite tees. Dad had gifted me on my last birthday.”, replied Adelle gleefully.
“Yeah, precisely you should wear it more often it suits you.”, suggested Anil and took out a small bar of chocolate that was tucked in his pocket and about which he had forgotten long ago. As he was about to open the chocolate Adelle snatched it in a jiffy. Anil found himself going out of words at this sudden prank of Adelle. Adelle started teasing him with the chocolate. Anil seemed reluctant with Adelle’sprank. Adelle couldn’t make out first but then realized that the thing which seemed to be clinging to was actually a wrapper of a chocolate previously eaten. Anil laughed out loud at Adelle face seemed to show a disappointed look at being fooled like that and took out another bar of chocolate from another pocket and said with a smile,” Don’t have to look so down we can have this together.”
“No, I won’t have that. Why didn’t tell me previously?”, asked Adelle furiously.
“You were too engrossed in teasing me and didn’t give a chance to tell you. You snatched it and ran a distance away from me before I could actually tell something.”, replied Anil with an innocent smile. Adelle looked in awe at being duped so easily by someone after a long time because she had always been a good at misleading everyone all the time and even in school. Anil couldn’t help himself gradually falling in love with this girl though he, too, at such a tender age, really knew what love actually was. Anil was so mesmerized in Adelle’s thought that he didn’t realize that Adelle had managed to take the bar of chocolate from him again. Anil helpless smiled at Adelle acknowledging his defeat as he was tricked by her charm. “Okay, now we can share the chocolate.”, concluded Adelle triumphantly. Anil nodded in agreement as he seemed quite happy contrarily.
Sunday, the desired day, came finally. Though, Evelyn’s mother had been quite against allowing her daughter to go for a movie but when Anil, Hritesh, Angsuman and lastly Adelle pleaded her to allow Evelyn for a day out with them, she became loose. So, as per the plan they were to meet at 9:45 am near the gate and from there would go together. Anil was the first to arrive dressed in simple blue denim and a white shirt. Slowly, others begin to arrive. Adelle looked fascinating in a pink and black top with silver ear rings and bangles. The kohl smeared eyes looked as usual charismatic and she made many heads turn. Anil was almost seemed to be in a jaw-dropped state seeing her but masterly hid his feelings because he didn’t want Adelle to discern his true feelings for her. So, to make him seem normal, he suggested that they should move now otherwise he would be late for the show.
As, they reached the multiplex it seemed crowded as usual because it was a Sunday. The morning show seemed houseful and many children of their age had assembled in large numbers for the show. There was a bit trouble in finding the seats since it was the first time at such a multiplex but eventually they settled in their respective seats and Anil made sure he was just beside Adelle. The show was to begin in a few minutes andAnil, who had already finished up with the story was briefing his friends. He described how Lucy, Harry’s mother had protected her when the evil lord Voldemort had turned up. As soon as Anil, finished up, the show began.
The movie seemed quite entertaining and the sequel was far more interesting than the story itself. Adelle watched the movie with awe as she initially had a crush on the actor who was depicting Harry Potter himself. Anil, watched the movie less and enjoyed watching Adelle more. As, Adelle was engrossed in the movie Anil tried to put an arm around her which she shoved it away playfully. Anil looked at her again and unconsciously as Adelle spun her head, towards him to see his reaction, their eyes met with each other. They looked into each other eyes for a while as some unsaid words that were suppressed within them finally seemed to get spoken out. He bent forward so that his mouth came quite close to Adelle’s ear and whispered, ” You look marvelous today. Specially, the silver ear rings that adorn your ears are really wonderful but that guy who is rendering the character of Harry Potter is not that handsome to be such lucky enough to be your crush.” The last part of it Anil added jokingly which made Adelle laugh at wrong place when a crucial and nerve- wrecking moment was been portrayed.She controlled herself and whispered,“So, finally you seem to praise me about my looks. Besides, I know that a far more attractiveperson is sitting just beside me and none can match with his striking features.” and gave Anil a playful stroke on his head. Anil giggled and both of themembarrassingly lowered their gazes and looked away as the other audiences started to get distracted by their fun and frolic besides Hritesh and Angsuman were giving them a glaring look. The lights around the hall which had gone off at the beginning of the film slowly began to come alive demarcating the end of the first half of the film.
“Ohh, what an entertaining first half it was!!!”, exclaimed Evelyn.
“I really liked Hermione. The charismatic outlooks that she presented was really awesome. The entire story was quite thrilling. Can’t wait to watch what happens in the second half!”, replied Hritesh.
“Woo, that Quidditch game seemed beguiling! The way Harry finally got hold of the golden snitch amongst all those perils was fascinating.”, Angusuman exclaimed after taking a gulp from one of the large family sized fountain Pepsi that they have purchased.
The aroma of the brewing coffee infiltrated into the hall from somewhere and the clatters of the hawkers selling eatables along with the commercial ads displaying on the screen created a weird ambience. Anil seemed to be the only person in the entire hall who didn’t get bothered too much with the change in environment. He was too mused about the quick succession of events that took place between him and Adelle and he was gradually figuring out that these moments were becoming the cherished memories. The sound of that laugh of Adelle in the midst of the movie at been appreciated, reverberated in his ears. “Hey, dreamer, stop dreaming and have a sip of the cold drink.”, called out Adelle who didn’t seem too much affected by the series of the incidents that happened between her and Anil, which nudged Anil back into reality as he sprang back and sat upright on his seat clinging to the cold drink handed to him.
Slowly, once again as the lights started began to fade away the chit-chat and the hustle bustle of the hawkers began to die, the second half of the movie began keeping everyone on the edge of their seats. Anil who didn’t have a clue what happened in the first of the movie appeared to watch the movie with rapt attention. The final battle where Harry enters the Chamber Of Secrets to have an encounter with “The Serpent of Syltherin”, a female basilisk who was controlled by T.M. Riddle who is paving every path for Voldemort, the Dark Lord’s return with the unconscious Ginny Weasley clutching the T.M. Riddle’s diarymakes everybody glued to the giant screen and nobody seem to move an inch from the seat. Adelle, who was munching the popcorn, held the popcorn in one hand with her lips parted with her mouth slight open and she remained stupefied in that position as Harry entered into Chamber of Secrets.
Finally, when Harry defeated Tom Riddle along the female basilisk with the help of Dumbledore’s phoenix named Fawkes and Godric Gryffindor’s Sword which appeared from the Sorting Hat as well as destroyed the diary, belonging to Tom Riddle that acted as a Horcrux which could pave the return of Voldemort within Ginny Weasley who would be dead eventually,by stabbing with the basilisk’s fangs containing venom, a rare substance to destroy the Horcrux,that Adelle sighed a joy of relief and put the popcorn in her mouth and sipped some cold drink as her throat had gonedehydratedwith fear.
As the movie ended there began a commotionas only one exit was open despite of the fact the show was a houseful one and everyone seemed to be in a hurry to leave added a bonus point to the chaos. In the midst of this turmoil Adelle lost her balance after being pushed continuously from behind by others. Anil came to her rescue by gripping her hand and thus prevented her from a faux-pas. Adelle clutched Anil’s arm more tightly as if she too was longing for something to grip to. Adelle felt comforting warmth in Anil’s arm and gripped him even tight as the push significantly began to increase as the exit came closer. Anil was experiencing a marvelous sensationas it was first time that he was walking hand in hand with a girl and that too with someone for whom he was gradually developing a soft corner. He was relishing the moment and he wanted to just by her side every time she needed him.
“You two make very sweet couple.”, suggested Evelyn seeing Adelle in Anil’s arms in a very quixotic position, as they finally came out of the chaos and were waiting for Angsuman and Hritesh to make their way out of the pandemonium. Evelyn’s statement seemed to make the two of them part away embarrassingly before they become a hot topic of discussion. Evelyn smiled to herself and looked away so that she could hide her face.
Adelle hit her impishly and said, “Stop brewing up stories about us. It’s just nothing. We are just good friends like we all are.”
Adelle’s clarification made Evelyn burst into laughter again and replied, “Yeah that I have seen while we were inside the cinema hall long before.”
“Hey, what do you mean? What happened between us?”, inquired Anil and Adelle almost together, pretending as if nothing had taken place.
“Umm, let’s keep that between ourselves and not go deep into the matter now.”, Evelyn replied chuckling as she saw the Hritesh and Angsuman emerging from the crowd and walking towards them. Both of them felt silent leaving aside the matter they acted casually.
“Uff, coming out of the cinema hall was a sheerhorror.”, exclaimed Angsuman quite exhaustedly.
“So, what should we do now?”, asked Hritesh who showed no signs of tiredness or disappointment after fighting his way out of the cinema hall.
“Firstly, let’s satisfy our stomach by having something to eat because I feel that everyone out here can hear more or less the rumbling noise of their stomachs and there we can discuss about further plans where we can go or roam around to enjoy ourselves.”, suggested Anil.
Everybody agreed without making further contradictions as Anil had unknowingly suggested something that everybody was having in mind.
“How about checking out that new mall which had come up near the place where I go for tuitions. The grandeur of it’s architectural view is simply jaw-dropping. Besides, it has a bookstore which has a diversity of books and that too of almost each and every category of books one can classify.”, suggested Angsuman grabbing a huge bite from his burger.
“Hmm, that is a nice place where you can read, chat and explore anything. The first time I went there with my parents I was much in love with that coffee- shop at the basement specially the smell of coffee brewing is so captivating that it attracts me like a magnet.”, replied Hritesh slurping the remains of the cold drink from the bottle.
“I suggest that would one such convenient place where we can go now because we need to return home and that too before 7 or else we all would be in trouble some way or the other, I guess.”, advised Adelle wiping her lips with a tissue and adjusting her ear rings that become twisted.
“So, it’s foolish idea to waste more time just waiting here now. Let’s move out immediately.”, concluded Anil quite excitedly.
So, they began head towards their destination as per plans. Anil and Adelle maintained safe distances from each other so that Evelyn would abstain herself from spilling the beans so that the two of them would become the hot topic of discussion. The architectural view of the mall was simply fantabulous, crafted in a huge pentagonal shape that been made to perfection by using shards of glasses that created an illusion as the rays of the sun fell on it. Anil ad his friends were dazzled by it’s modern structural design. They enjoyed themselves catching a glimpse of such a beautiful place. Anil and Hritesh played video games in the video game parlor while Adelle, Evelyn and Angsuman found pleasure in midst of a world of books in the book store in the second floor of the four-stored mall.
“Wow, what a wonderful day it was. I would have definitely missed a lot of fun if I didn’t go.”, exclaimed Evelyn with delight as they returned home after a long day.
“Yeah, it was amazing and exciting day. A nice outing and that too first time with friends was really thrilling. We should plan this more often.”, replied Adelle.
“Yeah, definitely, besides we don’t have the same kind of fun going out parents or elders. Moreover, like Adelle said as because it was the first day-out it added an extra bit of fun and frolic with everything.”, concluded Anil. It was already pretty late in the evening though nobody was in a mood to return home after such great outing but somehow they were enforced to return due to the fear of their parents. Anil accompanied Adelle till she reached her block, spending a little more time with her for the day.
As, she waved him in a gesture of adieu and turned away to step into the elevator waiting for her, Anil clutched her hand again and before she could realize anything planted a kiss on her rosy pink cheek.
Adelle was taken aback as well little embarrassed by this sudden gesture from Anil at first and gradually she acknowledged his affection for her with a gentle smile. She ruffled his hair and just like Anil did she kissed her softly on his cheeks.
Adelle’s kiss took Anil on cloud nine. A kiss from her was something that was beyond his wildest dream. Anil’s joy suddenly knew no bounds but he curbed it inside him. He cuddled Adelle’s cheeks for the last time as she stepped into the lift and went home.
Anil was experiencing an astounding happiness and felt that it was the best day in his life. Anil was reminded of the moment when he was kissed by Adelle, the first time a girl kissed on his cheek. It was really a cute moment that unexpected display of affection was really something beyond their imagination. Even after returning back home Anil could still feel the touch of her soft hands, the smell of her perfume and sight of those kohl smeared eyes that Anil found very expressive just like a small kitten as well as the conversations they had during the movie, the giggle of Adelle that Anil irresistible. He began to wonder how would it be like if he and Adelle were a couple just like Evelyn said.Anil realized that he was in love with Adelle whom he found the perfect girl of his life.
It was 5th of September 2006, a small cultural programmae was organized in honor of the teachers by the students and Anil was made the co-coordinator of the event by the principal herself, as a part of “Teacher’s Day”. The teachers were felicitated by the students and which followed by a short speech by the principal herself. The students put up a short play dedicating to the teachers and their contribution of shaping up the future of a child. The play was wonderful and was applauded with claps and praise. A dance was staged by the girls of higher classes. The whole event was a grand success and the teachers were quite amused as well as happy at such a wonderful surprise presented by their students. Anil was congratulated for such a good coordination of the events and the staging such a brilliant programmae and that too for the first time. Anil was glad that he could arrange the event so well and could please everyone.
Anil was in a jolly mood and was excited to share the events with his mother as he was returning home. Anil’s mother used to let her son travel to and return from school as she believed this would help Anil to see the world independently and help him handle problems single- handedly. Anil reached home and as he entered the house he found that the door was unusually locked today. He pressed the calling bell once but there was no reply. Anil thought his mother may have gone to the toilet for a bath so he waited.It seemed too long so he slightly pushed the door to see if it is unlocked somehow and to his surprise with his push the door opened wide. As Anil entered he could sense a ghastly silence all over. He searched for his mother who used to wait for his return from school sometimes sitting beside the window in her bedroom or sometimes reading a book in the living room but today she couldn’t be found in any of the regular places. Anil could sense a shrill moving down his spinal cord. He could feel a deep hollowness in his heart somewhere and after a long time he could realize eyes heavy. He went to his room and like a shock she found his mother sitting there with her a grim face. Her hair was unruffled and a tear was still glistening from the corner of her eye. Anil was about to say something and express what he went through a few moments ago but only managed to ask her, “What happened maa? Why are you crying? Is everything all right?”
Shumona was in such a state of shock that she was unable to speak and didn’t know how to tell the young boy. So, after a long brief pause finally managed to say in a grave voice, ”Anil, my boy, your father is critically injured after an accident and his injuries are severe. I am quite confused what I would do now.” Anil couldn’t believe what he heard. He sat down close to his mother startled. Anil’s father is an Indian Air-Force officer who is in the maintenance command at Nagpur. Earlier that day he had been travelling back to Kolkata for a holiday when the car, carrying him to airport where he was to board the plane, met with an accident. Anil went back down the memory lane where he could see himself playing cricket with his father or the time when his father had bought him a remote controlled aero plane. The mere sight of his father whom he considered himself as the true hero confined in a hospital bed made tears glisten on the corner of his eyes. Anil was getting too emotional but somehow he managed to overcome it when he realized that he needs to keep himself calm and handle the situation because his mother had gone almost in a state of shock after getting the news. Anil first began to console his mother and tried to calm her. He offered her a glass of water and told her to be strong because she is now the person whom Anil’s father would be requiring.
“Mom, I suggest that you start packing the bags and take some clothes for some days while I go and check if there is any flight tickets available today.”, suggested Anil. Anil too felt an ache in his heart and was sensing that his eyes too were getting wet as his father had been a person with whom he would open up just like a friend. Meanwhile, Anil’s suggestion remained unheard to his mother who still sat on the bed clutching the pillow and crying like a child. Anil saw that his suggestion seemed to have any effect on his mother so he again consoled her and after some time she herself found some solace, realizing that crying won’t be a solution to the problem.She began to gradually pack the bags while Anil became busy browsing for plane tickets.
“Anil, come and have your lunch it’s already quite late.”, Anil’s mother said as she started preparing the table.
“No, mom I won’t have anything now besides I’m too full now.”, lied Anil who knew that no food would be going down his food pipe at this critical moment.
“I know that our mental state doesn’t make us really crave for food or no part of food would easily go down easily at this moment but still we have to eat something so that we don’t fall sick, baba. Come let’s have something.”, his mother said caressing Anil’s hair who had just finished up with making up with the tickets. Anil was about to mutter something but realized it wasn’t the moment. So, he stood up and accompanied to the dining room silently.
They managed to have something quickly and got ready as they have to leave in next five minutes to reach the airport for the check-in. On the way, Shumona called her other relatives and kept the informed about the tragic incident if she needed help. She looked quite strong and though she had broken down badly after the arrival of the news she seemed to quite have managed herself well now.
As, the cab zoomed it’s way to airport Anil who sat beside the window found himself reminiscing those wonderful days when his father used to surprise him waking up from sleep and the warmth he used to feel embracing his father. The way his dad used to bring wonderful gifts when he would return home after many days sometimes months brought a smile on his face. In midst of this chaotic situation, Anil was reminded of Adelle and her million dollar smile which he would be missing badly for a days to come.
It was Anil’s first journey by air but instead of relishing the moment he was engrossed in figuring out what next to come once they land in Nagpur. The rays of the setting sun fell on Anil’s face as the huge carrier finally left the ground.
Anil and Shumona reached Nagpur around 7 in the evening. They hurriedly reserved a cab and went to the hospital straight away. They enquired the hospital authorities about the patient and completed various formalities after they revealed their identities. Anil and his mother was informed that the condition of Anil’s father is quite critical as he had suffered multiple head injuries and he was in the ICU. He has not regained his consciousness yet and until and unless he regains consciousness the situation remains critical. Since, the visiting hour inside the ICU ward was over Anil and his mother wasn’t allowed to see his father. The doctor treating his father, who was briefing them about his father’s condition, understood their mental state that they were going through for the past few hours after Anil repeatedly requested him to see his father just for once and when the doctor saw Anil’s mother breaking down to see her husband, that he allowed them but just for five minutes on the condition that they have to pledge at first that they would stay strong and won’t break down again seeing his condition.
Anil and his mother accompanied with the doctor in charge guided them through the intensive care unit block. In each cubicle of the unit one would find a patient stuffed with various medical instruments in different parts of the body and they are lying almost a dead man. Some are put on artificial life support system. It was a very weird place and the obnoxious smell of medicines and injections made Anil feel dizzy. The heart and pulse monitoring machine beeped in a monotonous and mechanical tone. Anil was feeling kind of nausea gradually as they went further inside the unit. Finally, when they reached his father’s cubicle. Anil saw that the person whom he looked upon as his hero lying deep in sleep. He had bandages all over his hand, a part of his leg and head. The oxygen mask had been put over his face which had covered half of his face. He hadn’t regained his consciousness still and that was the main matter of concern. His pulse seemed normal which had been flashing in the monitor nearby. Anil felt numb for a moment, he realized it was such a situation where he just helpless and just couldn’t make his father fit and well as before in a flash.
His mother who had been saddened by the series of events had somehow found solace at the sight of her husband though not quite in good shape. His was been given saline and a channel has been made through his veins where vital nutrients as well as many liquids been passed to keep the perfect balance.
“He now seems to be quite responding well to the medicines and he had shown considerable improvement in condition. Once, he regains his consciousness he would out of danger. I hope everything would be stable within next 48 hours”., confirmed the doctor again assuring Anil’s mother and asked her not to worry much as the three of them made their out of the critical unit.
Anil didn’t speak a word as they came out of the hospital and started looking for a hotel nearby to rent. In his mind, the images of the critical unit began to hallucinate in his mind. Every part of his body became cold as the illusions began to haunt him. The image of a man who was injured terribly and one part of his hand dangling on the side of the bed or a guy profusely bleeding from the head which had been bandaged temporarily to prevent the blood overflow replayed in Anil’s mind and he began to have a creepy feeling over it.
After searching for a reasonable hotel, Anil and his mother Shumona finally checked in. They looked famished and exhausted. It had been quite a hard day for them. They didn’t have the state to take food properly. Besides, all the tension and nerve-wrecking moment when each moment was like an hour for Shumona who was thinking would they be able to see him again. Anil, though was too young but he too had a breakdown, even though he didn’t showed any signs of emotions at that moment, when he saw his father lying almost motionless in bed of a small cubicle surrounded by various machines and many tube like channels which had been channeled through his father’s hand.
Shumona quickly unpacked the bags and told Anil to freshen up first while she would order some food from the restaurant underneath the hotel in which they were residing.
“Anil, did you bother to hear what I just asked you to do?, quizzed Shumona, after she had finished ordering the food.
Anil didn’t respond he remained seated like he was formerly hanging his head down. Shumona was slowly getting furious. She was slowly sensing a headache growing strong. She controlled her anger and approached Anil to find out what was wrong with him now. When she lifted his head, she could see a deep sadness and as well as fear in his eyes. She also realized that he had been crying all along without telling anything.
She softly took him close to her shoulder and began to comfort him and said, ”Arre, don’t worry everything would be okay baba. Don’t be afraid sweetheart I’m there with you na…”
Anil asked in a heavy voice filled with concern and grief, ”Would baba be okay again? I really miss him ma….”
Shumona’s anger subdued somewhere and she said in an assuring voice,” Don’t worry shona, baba would all right again.” and held him a bit more close to her. “Now go and freshen up my boy. We are getting late and I am quite tired.”, concluded Shumona rubbing tears off Anil’s face and brisling his hair. Anil found a little relief and headed towards the washroom. Somehow, he felt that Adelle had been with him at this moment it would have been quite supporting.
Meanwhile, the food arrived and they also got fresh. Shumona served the dinner and they had a very silent dinner unlike of the usual manner. They soon went to bed but Anil couldn’t sleep as he was haunted by the terrifying scenes back at the hospital. After a fairly long time slowly his eye-lids began to join as he started about dreaming about himself sitting on his father’s shoulder sea- beach gazing towards the horizon as the sun started setting.
Many days passed and every day Anil and his mother went to the hospital to be with his father who had gradually gone into coma and was put into life support. The doctors had been trying their best but things didn’t seem to go quite in their way. Shumona had started paying visits to the nearby temples everyday and prayed for her husband’s quick recovery for she somehow felt that her husband’s health now seemed to rest upon His grace. Anil sat beside his father earnestly hoping that he would soon wake up from his deep slumber after he gradually became little familiar with few medical terms. Many a times he felt like magically all of a sudden his father would wake up and by grabbing his arm would tell him,” Chole Anil, ice-cream ar chocolates khae asi.” (“Anil let’s go and have ice-cream and chocolates). Sometimes he would be reminded of Adelle, the sounds of her laughter, the cute faces that she made while she chatting and specially the first time she kissed him. Anil again started daydreaming about Adelle. The moments that they spent together, the ravishing look of hers that made heads turn, the dreamy eyes which seemed as cute as the eyes of kitten and as expressive yet true like hers.
“Wake up Anil, it’s almost six in the evening. How long would you be sleeping ?“, said Shumona who had been away paying her regular visit to the temples and had returned an hour or so ago to find Anil sleeping next to his father’s bed with his head down.
Anil woke up with a jerk and looked around himself rubbing his sleepy eyes. For a moment he couldn’t make out where he was because he was midst of a very sweet dream where he was in a world where he always wanted it to be and it seemed so real that it actually took some time to realize that it was just a dream. This time too Adelle had crept into his dreamy world with him and Anil saw her cuddling a child whose father had taking him for a stroll. The child seemed to enjoy all love and affection and started nagging to be around her arms. Anil was watching this for a distant and Adelle didn’t even notice him. Adelle took her up in her arms and the child seemed pretty delighted and was enjoying himself. The two of them were having a good time and Anil was watching them play when suddenly someone called him to wake up and all of them vanished just like a magic.
“The visiting hours are over. You should take your leave now and let the patient remain alone now.”, said the nurse on duty.
“Yeah, just few more minutes and we would go then.”, replied Anil’s mother disgustedly.
Nothing seemed to change and all the prayers of Shumona remained as if would remain unanswered. The doctors on the hand were quite hopeful and they sited many examples where the patients had returned from such stages even after many days and sometimes years. Shumona who seemed have been quite hopeful seemed to be gradually and slightly losing hope of her husband’s return. Anil seemed quite and he too thought that someday his father would definitely return to them and they together would again go for dinner night one day.
Days passed but nothing seemed come by their desired way. Shumona had started giving a second thought to the drastic decision of removing the life support system and let her husband pass away peacefully.
One day, Anil was sitting beside by his father’s side gazing at him while his mother had gone to have a word with the doctor after his regular morning visit, when Anil noticed something unusual all of a sudden. His father’s fingers were slowly moving. Anil couldn’t believe what he was seeing and in an act of startle started rubbing his eyes. He could again see that the toes were moving again. Anil rushed to her mother and said “Maa, please come with me. You should definitely see this.” Her mother looked at him disgustedly as she was been interrupted in between an important discussion with the doctor.
“What is it now? Don’t you see I’m busy speaking with the doctor”, asked Anil’s mother.
“ Maa, dad’s fingers her moving. I think you should see this that’s why I came rushing.”, replied Anil looking sad after being rebuked unnecessarily.
Shumona, accompanied with the doctor and his son went hurriedly into the cubicle. After some moments they too saw that his fingers were moving. Finally, after few moments Anil’s father slowly and feebly opened his eyes putting an end to long days of strain, sorrow and chaotic situation that Anil’s mother and her son had living on. Shumona folded her hands in form a prayer to thank the Almighty for finally answering her prayers. Anil too seemed happy and delightful as he too realized that his father had woken up from his deep snooze.
Slowly, the doctor pulled away the life support system and soon he was shifted from the critical unit cubicle to a semi- private ward. Meanwhile, his father health improved drastically he had started to talk and had already started pledging the doctor to release him as soon as possible. Shumona who had almost forgotten to smile in recent days had now been seen quite happy and jolly. Anil, too seemed delighted to see her father back again and the two of them had already planned for a day out after his father’s release. The doctor had already confirmed that Anil’s father would be kept under observation for few more days after which he would be released. Anil started counting days before his father’s discharge. Shumona who had spent many sleepless nights wondering what was in store for her family and would her beloved better half be able to make it through, had finally been able to get some sleep. She had lost her weight visibly and had dark black dark circles had started developing just underneath her eyes. Slowly, the winds set sail fair for Shumona, her son Anil and their small family. Anil’s mother, who was famous for loud smiles, which had almost disappeared, had returned almost magically again.
Ultimately, Anil’s father was released as per scheduled and as he was quite fit so without wasting any further day they went for a small trip around the city and it’s outskirts which was new to both Anil and his mother.
Anil’s father kept his word and the two of them went to the KFC outlet to munch some delicious chicken.
So, again everything seemed to start getting normal and Anil now wanted to return home as it had been a long time since he had seen Adelle and it’s been a long that the two of them had gone stroll which he always dreaded for as he slowly got to know more about the person who gradually was teaching him how to fall in love with someone.
Anil along with his parents returned home at last and this time Anil was able to enjoy the wonderful experience of being in a flight for the first time. Almost no sooner that they reached home and had settled themselves that their house was filled with inquisitive relatives whom Shumona had to narrate the same old story which she and her son had to undergo few weeks back. They would express their deep concern and would say,” You must have been gone through a lot of stress and anxiety. Both of you alone in an unfamiliar city with Uday (Anil’s father) in such a condition it must have been very hard to cope up. Alas, we could have been there with you. Actually, we were so busy we couldn’t manage. I really feel bad for you all.” Shumona thought if they really meant any of those words they would have at least called her up once to ask about her and her family except now they were giving such lectures which were no importance now. Only her elder sister had called her up every day and always supported her whenever she felt down.
Anil, on the contrary, was facing an arduous task of keeping pace with the studies due to the discontinuity on the other side he was sensing a growth of excitement due to the fact that he would finally meet Adelle after a long time that seemed almost a year. But, for the time being he now has to deal with studies which have started creating problems due to lack of practice.
Finally after wrecking his brain with studies the dreaded moment which Anil had been waiting arrived. Anil came down to play and others were shocked to see him after such a long time.
“Where have you been for such a long time? We went to your house to find you but seeing the doors locked we returned.” said Hritesh.
“So, where did you vanish all of a sudden like a shooting star or a speeding bullet that zoomed passed a strand of hair.”, asked Evelyn before Anil could get a chance to speak in favor of his defense.
“Actually, my father had met with an accident few days back and so we had to immediately rush back,”, said Anil looking here and there searching for Adelle who seemed unusually missing today. So, he was about to ask about her when she was interrupted by Evelyn who sprang up with another question,” What? How did such a terrible thing happen? How’s he now? I guess everything seems all right now.”
Anil coolly replied, “ Yeah, he is all right and everything seem to have ended. But I know what we went through for a couple of days. It’s a long story and something you guys won’t find much pleasing to listen besides we are already getting late to resume our play. By the way, where is Adelle, today?”
“Hmm, that’s right we can listen it later besides if isn’t feeling quite comfortable to discuss the matter we shouldn’t push him much and everything including Anil and his family are okay now so there’s no point discussing the matter now. Adelle has contracted fever so she was unable to come”, concluded Angsuman.
“Oh. So, how about we go to her and pay her a visit? She would also feel good. What do you guys say?”, said Anil who a few moments back was quite interested in continuing the play. Anil thought if they agreed it would actually be on his favor because his long desire to meet Adelle would finally be fulfilled.
“Yeah, not a bad idea, in fact. Besides, Anil is right if we go and pay her a visit she might feel better at least it would of some sort of entertainment for her. Let’s go why are we wasting time then?”, said Hritesh who too seemed quite liked the idea. Evelyn seemed to sense something that there might be a connection between Anil suddenly coming with such a plan but then she thought that she be wrong too so the suspicion vanished as suddenly as it propped up in her mind.
So, four of them went to Adelle’s house but nobody had the courage to press the bell as they how her mother would react seeing them. Finally Anil broke the jinx by pressing the bell.
After a few moments, the door opened and her mother emerged and said with an acknowledging smile,” Oh, so you all are her friends. I heard so much about you all that I always wished to see you all. Come in, Adelle is in her room that way.” “You must be Anil?”, she asked pointing to Anil. Anil replied, “Yes, auntie I and Adelle used to study together.” “Hmm. I heard more about you from Adelle.”, she replied with a smile.
Anil, Evelyn, Angsuman and Hritesh were surprised by this warm welcome. They never knew they were already known despite of the fact they hardly knew her for just a month or so.
“Yeah, come this way.”, guided her mother to Adelle’s room. “Look sweetie, who have come to see you.”, said her mother to draw her daughter’s attention who was lying on her bed reading a book.
“Arre, what a pleasant surprise! You all have come to see me. Awww, so nice of you all.”, exclaimed Adelle who curled up her bed to sit up in excitement seeing her friends.
Anil saw that she looked even more beautiful now in her house outfit. Anil’s joy knew no bounds after he was able to see his cutie queen after such a long time, though neither he was a king of large empire nor he would ever be but still Adelle was none less than his queen at least to him.
“ So, where have you been all this long? Long time no see?”, asked Adelle, who seemed lighten up for a moment seeing her friends, looking directly at Anil.
Anil who too was who had been immersed in Adelle’s thought only a few moments back was taken off guard as he too was staring at her for a long time and their eyes locked with each other for a brief moment as she turned towards him to address him. Anyways, Anil promptly answered in that same old story briefing his father’s accident way back in Nagpur.
“Oh, sorry I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. I sounded too casual.”, replied Adelle as she felt guilty the way she posed the question at him. “ No, it’s okay. How would it be known to you? Arre, it is now I who should be the asking about your health now.”, added Anil who had was there only to hear from her and spend some time with her.
“ Yeah, I am fine only the fever has made me weak a bit now but that cannot hold me back for long.”, replied Adelle with a glee.
“You should take rest for a few more days and after that you can join us.”, replied Evelyn with concern.
“Aree, don’t take tension Evelyn I am alright re.”, said Adelle sweetly.
“Adelle, you seem to be an ardent reader I see.”, Angsuman said taking a tour around Adelle’s room which had been stacked with books.
“Umm. Not like that. I just love to read books during my recess time.”, replied Adelle coughing a bit.
“You seem to be contracted cold too. Are you taking medicine?”, asked Anil with a concern who seemed quite worried since he got to know Adelle was ill.
“Yeah, the doctor has prescribed medicines but Adelle makes lot of nagging and sometimes even refuses to have it. You all are her friends who can explain her a bit so that she takes the pills. My words have no effect on her days.”, replied her mother placing a tray full of snacks for the youngsters.
“Maa, it’s not like that I obey your words. Besides, I do have the medicines regularly. You often complain about me to daddy and now you are doing the same in front of my friends, it’s not fair at all.”, protested Adelle mildly with a hint of sweet fury in her voice for her mother.
“Okay, okay baba I am the one who is always rebuking you and scolding you all the time right? So, you go and stay with your dad.”, replied Adelle’s mother angrily.
“Arre, maa when did I mean that way? And I am sorry if it sounded anything rude to you. Besides, you are my sweet mother. Please don’t get angry. I love you so much”, replied Adelle in a soft and sweet voice which sounded like a melody in Anil’s ears.
“I understand what you have for me. Now, have this medicine and I take my leave while you all chat amongst yourselves.”, concluded Adelle’s mother with a smile who too couldn’t keep being angry on her daughter after such a sweet apology.
Meanwhile, Hritesh, Angsuman had already started to concentrate on the food served before them. Anil and Evelyn was enjoying the mother and daughter dual.
After his mother left they chat for a while more. Adelle was enjoying the moment with her friends because confined in bed for such a long time had made life boring for her. At last, they all wanted to take a leave as it was getting quite late by then.
Anil glanced at Adelle for one last time before taking leave and again their eyes met each other’s. Anil gazed into her eyes for a bit before saying adieu.
Slowly yet steadily the preparation began for the celebration of the biggest and the most important festival of the Bengalis. Durga Puja, the unique festival which brings each and every Bengali back to their dear ones as those four days each and every bangali( colloquial representation of Bengali) would enjoy themselves leaving behind all the monotony as well as hardships of life. It is that part of time which every bong around the world would cherish to be in their hometown. Kolkata specially the South Kolkata( referred to as modern or new Kolkata) as well as some parts of North Kolkata( referred to as old Kolkata famous for binding the heritage of Kolkata) and some adds a different flavor to this celebration as many new and innovative pandals are constructed for welcoming the goddess.
According to the legend and beliefs the Durga puja that is celebrated by the Bengalis during the season of autumn was actually started by Hindu god Ram, the second incarnation or avatar of the divine lord Vishnu, who in the season of autumn had performed this Durga Puja popularly known amongst the Bengalis as “akal bodhon of goddesses Durga”( performing the puja of Devi Durga, the goddess of Shakti, when it is not time.) seeking her blessings before going for war against Ravana, the evil lord or Satan.
The housing complex in which Anil lived started preparing to host their first Durga puja in their society. A puja committee was initially formed who would be in charge of the management of the puja. A cultural committee was also formed who would be supervising various cultural events during the four days. A food committee was formed on the proposal of Anil’s father who took charge of the food section. After a long discussion among the committee members they decided to take a certain amount to fund the Durga puja from each and every resident of the apartments. People who are having contacts were requested for sponsorships.
The Cultural committee had decided that many cultural programs that included various dance as well drama were scheduled to take place on different days of the puja.
Anil, who had a knack for acting, had been picked up for drama. Adelle, Evelyn and Angsuman had been quite impressive with their dancing and already began rehearsing. Hritesh along with other children of their age had been selected for another drama. But, whatever had added to their daily lives the daily bit of play had remained intact. Anil and Adelle were seen spending more time together after the daily play. Slowly, Anil discovered that many of his tastes seemed similar with Adelle. Anil was growing fond of Adelle more and more as the days passed. He wanted to get more close to Adelle and at an extent forgot what she wished or if she too was sharing the same feelings for him too. Adelle liked Anil’s company and she considered him as a good friend on whom she could count upon anytime. At times, Anil felt he should covey his feeling for Adelle to her but somehow he couldn’t muster the courage and feared that she might take things differently which may end up their friendship. So, he kept his feelings to himself waiting for the right moment when he could pour out his heart to her.
It was quite early in the morning when the mikes which were fixed around the campus started blaring the “Mahalaya” hymn, which is believed to be the end of “pritiripokho”( colloquially referred to as the end of patriarchal period as Bengali as well as hindu cultures) and beginning of “matripokho”( colloquially referred to as the beginning of matriarchal period as Bengali as well as hindu cultures) when all the Hindus pay respects to their beloved ones who are there no more. It is also the demarcation that the Durga Pujas are only a week away. Anil woke up to find that he was alone in the house and his parents had already left to perform the rituals. He listened to the narration for few minutes then dozed off to sleep again.
The puja preparations werein full swing as the countdown was gradually narrowing. The rehearsals now continued till late at night. Sometimes Anil, Adelle, Angsuman and Evelyn met in between rehearsals for a chit- chat as their rehearsals have shifted from personalized houses of their trainers,who were other residents who though were not expert in the field of arts but still had the basic concepts along added with little experiences,to the community hall.
It was a fun and enjoyable moments for the youngsters to stay out of home till late hours of night. It was whole new life for them. The barriers and restrictions of parents getting lessened all of a sudden was truly something that was a slice of adventure for them.
Many a times in midst of rehearsals Anil would gaze at Adelle and sometimes when Adelle looked back into his eye their eyes get locked. Anil used to relish this moment at that hour of night. Everywhere there was a gush of happiness.
For these teens it was a puja were they would start hanging out with friends instead of their parents. The thrill and fun of pandal hopping with friends for the first time, starting to feel like grownups was altogether a different feeling which many of us agree now. The transition of age where it feels to explore the things that are had always been forbidden to do and many more wild dreams that had been unraveled due to parents’ strict supervision, which had gone loose this puja, as their parents’ too feel that they should also let their children give some freedom now that they are no longer kids anymore.
For each and every one the puja has a meaning like for someone like Anil who have started falling in love, the puja brings more love and also paves the way for them to express their love as well as the opportunity to roam together hand in hand if their proposals got accepted without much hindrance. But whatsoever the festival that not only brings all the bongs together irrespective of classes, creed and religion but also brings some joy and happiness to this dull and monotonous life which sometimes lacks the time to smile.
“So, have you done with your shopping?”, asked Anil in between a match.
“Yeah, a little bit is done. Most of it is left to be done. Dad is coming tomorrow so it will resume after that. What about you?”, replied Adelle pulling up her sleeve up to her shoulder and wiping the sweat that had accumulated on her brows. That day nobody came down to play all of sudden perhaps that everybody had gone busy suddenly. Only Adelle had joined to play.
“Not yet. I didn’t get time besides this shopping thing is a big time waste to me. Though I have to go to shopping before this pre- puja every year.”, replied Anil.
“ But shopping is fun you get to choose upon a wide variety of good things. Sometimes it really gets difficult to choose as you seem to like both of the things at the same time.”, replied Adelle.
“ Girls love shopping a lot. Besides their shopping never ends even when the pujas are over. Maybe, shopping becomes much interesting when a lovely girl beside you chooses clothes for you and asks if you like it or not.”, replied Anil cracking a joke.
“Yeah, we girls love to shop a lot and whatever you say want to make fun of that it won’t stop me from shopping. Okay, whom do you want to select clothes for you? C’mon, tell me.”, asked Adelle with a naughty smile.
“Arre, that’s the problem re. Any beautiful girl who would actually askto do such a thing.”, replied Anil with a wicked smile.
“How mean!!”, chuckled Adelle with a sweet smile and softly hit Anil on his arm.
Anil couldn’t resist laughing at that. “So, can we continue the game now?”, asked Anil.
“Yeah, we can surely. You seem to quite focus yourself and have determined to defeat me today. I appreciate that.”, mocked Adelle.
“ No no, it’s not anything like that at all. If you are so bored with winning I can certainly try hard to break that jinx.”, replied Anil confidently.
“Let’s see, what happens after the match but whoever loses will have to treat the winner. So, can we call it a deal?”, replied Adelle who seemed to quite confident of keeping up the winning streak.
“Okay, we have the deal.”, said Anil who too seemed confident accepting the challenge.
So, the two players prepared to set up for the dual. Adelle tied her up shoe-lace and removed a strand of hair that fell down obstructing her vision. And the dual started off with Adelle doing the first serve of the match. It turned out to be a quite interesting match. Though Anil was at first was lagging behind two points but he too made up the two points to level the score in next two serves. The score remained tied till the end at twenty one all.
Now, anyone of the player has to score two more points to be declared as winner. They looked exhausted as the heat seemed have a toll on them but neither of them seem to give up. Adelle’s rosy cheeks had turned red by now and in that glowing 100 watt bulb light of the badminton court it looked really wonderful. She looked really dazzling with the pink top and ponytailed hair with drips of sweat paving it’s way down her neck.
It was Anil who was to serve in order to break the tie. It was a perfect serve which was low and Adelle mistaking it as a short service had let it go. So, Anil was leading and he was just one step behind sealing off the dual.
Adelle seemed relaxed and composed not quite panicking at the sudden lead of her opponent. Anil was quite excited that he would finally be able to break the jinx and clinch victory but he didn’t seem to show it from outside. So, without wasting much time further he made the serve. It was little similar to the previous service and this Adelle without failing hit it hard. The shuttle on went a long way in the air and Anil seemed confident enough that it was going to go outside the court. So, he was quite reluctant in letting it go.
The shuttle after travelling a long distance in air finally landed just on the line that demarcated the area of the court separating the outer and inner courts. Anil jumped in the air with triumph without noticing where the shuttle landed. But, when he saw a laugh gradually taking shape and nodding her head sideways, that Anil discovered he had been foolishly celebrating as the shuttle still lay on the line making the score level again.
It was Adelle’s serve now as Anil lost the point as per the rules of the game. She made a high serve that again went high in the air. This time Anil without making a mistake hit a smash hard enough to make it almost impossible for the opponent to return it bact. But, somehow this time too Adelle who was not quite good at returning back smashes, hit back the smash by a slicing it which was a unique shot to change the direction of the shuttle confusing the opponent.
Anil couldn’t believe that even after hitting such a hard smash instead of winning a point he eventually ended up losing it. So, just like Anil previously Adelle was on the verge of retaining the undefeated streak. Adelle adjusted her ponytail which had gone loose eventually and was now ready for the serve. This time she changed the way she served previously and went for a low serve that won’t give Anil the opportunity to hit back a smash again. Anil returned the serve quite easily.
The shuttle flung from this court to that court for a while as the two players making it hard for the other to take the point. The game finally ended as the shuttle settled touching Anil’s court. Anil again lost to Adelle again failing to break the jinx. But somehow Anil didn’t feel bad loosing again to Adelle this time too.
“So, since you lost you are the one who’s going to give the treat now.”, replied Adelle with her a smile which created a ripple in Anil’s heart. Anil thought he had already got the prize even after losing.
“Umm… sure ma’am. As, you wish since you have overpowered me in the dual.”, replied Anil teasingly. So, the two again went to the shop just outside their apartment.
“You really play a good game. It’s really hard to defeat you.”, said Anil paying the shopkeeper for the transaction with the money that he used to get as pocket money for travelling related purposes.
“You too had set up a strong fight today and at a point I even felt that you would surely be able to defeat me.”, replied Adelle munching a chips from the packet recently bought and complimenting Anil. But, Anil seemed to remain unheeded to the compliment as he was busy noticing Adelle red luscious lips as savored the chips.
“Hey, what are you looking at me like that for? Wanna have some from it?.”, asked Adelle not quite aware of the affectionate stares that she was receiving.
“No, no it’s nothing. Yeah, sure. You too can have some from mine as well.”, replied Anil looking away from her and offering his packet.
Slowly, the pandal whose construction began a few days back was almost complete. The basic outer structure had formed perfectly now just the decorations are left. There seemed to be a festive smell out in air. The city of Kolkata had started dressing up for glittering four days ahead. The shopkeepers were so occupied with customers that they barely had time to take a break. With the days of the countdown narrowing to less than a fortnight there seemed to be rush in every shops be it a small jewelry or departmental store along the pavements to the large malls. Everyone especially Bengalis hope to look the best at least this part of the year.
Anil was getting close to Adelle slowly and somehow he felt Adelle too was developing something for him too though he wasn’t sure enough. Anil sensed for the first time that love was truly in the air for him. The rehearsals went on till nights and Anil used to enjoy Adelle’s company more and more, just the thing he really wanted.
So, the endless wait seem to come to an end with the arrival “Chathurti”( Actually the main puja starts two days after on “Saptami”) as Anil along with many other residents as well his friends went to purchase the idol which had been ordered three to four months back. With the idol entering the mandap (pandal where the puja ceremony would take place) the celebration began officially. The puja which was going to be take place for the first time saw an overwhelming participation of its residents though previously the response was quite small. Thus in the process all the people residing in apartments got to interact with each other and eventually everyone worked like a team so that the Durga puja becomes a grand success.
As it is known all over that Bengalis are “Savors of delicacies” so how could such a celebration be complete without the arrangement of good and sumptuous food. Hence, keeping everything in mind the residents especially those in the food committeekept provision of lunch and dinner so that there was no compromise in anything at least for the biggest celebration of the year and that too it was hosted for the first time in the apartments. Hence, committee members tried their best so that everything was perfect.
The weather seemed to compliment to this merriment as light windy breeze blew and it was comparatively a pleasant weather to enjoy. The final touches were been given to the pandal. The stage was been set up where various programmae were scheduled to be staged.
It was only two days before the wait would finally be over and so the last phase of rehearsals were in full swing after which there would stage rehearsals before the final performance. So, as the performance days came closer there seemed to an intense tense moment among the participants since they lacked such experience previously. Many seemed to fear that they won’t be able to perform well in front of such a huge crowd. But, the trainers seemed to boast their confidences by various influences like “Be natural.” “Be spontaneous” “You have the potential.”
Anil was not at all worried with his performance, as he was sure of himself since he used to take acting classes regularly as a kid; instead he was busy fantasizing Adelle. He seemed to grow fonder of Adelle but mainly that killer as well as intense looks that she sometimes gave, that took him off to faraway places where he would imagine himself lying on her lap and she gently caressing his hair. He also felt thather smile was something that could light up anybody’s day. He thought that her hair which fell perfectly down her forehead made her look cuter. Her lips were so perfect that he would kiss it all day long if she would let him. Anil seemed to be lost in Adelle’s thoughts for a while as the character he was portraying in the play coincidentally had fallen in love with a girl and was about to express his feelings for her.
“Hey, you seem to manage to act quite brilliantly, I see.”, said Adelle who had been watching Anil’s rehearsal s for a while as she was over with hers after Anil was over with his part.
“Hmm…thanks. I don’t think I don’t act that well though as you complimented on my acting skills then perhaps I think I may be doing quite well with it. Besides, you too dance quite gracefully it seems though I am totally analien to the art.”, replied Anil with a smile.
“Hmm….thanks.”, replied Adelle in a teasing note, making a mimicry of Anil and repeating the same dialogue in the same note.
The two of them broke into laughter at the joke falling almost in each others’ arms. Anil was enjoying every moment since his wish was gradually being fulfilled for somehow he felt that Adelle too had some feelings for him but was unsure or was waiting for the right moment like him. Love seemed to be flourishing in the air this puja. Though it is believed love doesn’t have any season, age or time but it seems that goddess Durga had somehow brought ample love and romance for Anil this year.
The biggest festival of the Bengalis’ began finally with a bang accompanied with the sweet note of dhaks (a kind of drum like instrument which adds another flavor to this celebration overall. Besides, these people who play it are hired and they from various different districts from all over West Bengal to be a part of this grand celebration. Besides, Durga Puja without them is something like a guitar with one of it’s strings missing.) As per rituals, the idol was given life (not literally but kind of superficially) on “Sasthi”. The main puja ceremonies began early next morning i.e. “Saptami” which involved bathing of the idols. The rituals followed and the four day long celebrations started.
Adelle’s had three dance performance altogether. One was to be staged on the saptami night. “Chill, you would do great out there. I think you have put on a great effort altogether.”, said Anil, as he stood beside Adelle who was ready in her dancing attire waiting for her performance to begin after the ongoing show.
“Thanks a lot.”, replied Adelle with a smile and a sparkle in her eye. Their eyes met once again and neither of them seemed to take their gaze off each other. “Hey, Adelle let’s go it’s time for our performance.”, said Evelyn in a haste as the announcement had been made. It was Evelyn’s words that forced them to look away. As, Adelle went on for the performance Anil shifted to a better position so that there would no hindrance of vision and he could get a better view of his newfound love in action.
Adelle danced gracefully and magnificently. Herperformance was grandeur and she received many appreciations from everywhere. Anil whose eyes remained transfixed on her felt as if she danced like a fairy quite obvious for a person in love especially when the other person happens to be his person of interest.
“Wow, I didn’t expect that you could dance so merrily. Superb, you were brilliant out there.”, said Anil applauding Adelle quite excitedly.
“Thank you so much. I really didn’t think I could have performed with such brilliance. You were the one who supported me when I was somewhere lacking it.”, said Adelle still grasping for breathe.
“Besides, why am I thanking you so many times? There is no thanking and no point where each other should say sorry in friendship.”, concluded Adelle with a glee and punching Anil softly in the belly.
Anil shrugged his shoulders and nodding his to and fro smiled back at Adelle.
Meanwhile, Anil’s mother who was looking for his son a while before finally found him. “Where have you been? Your father told me to hand over you this coupon otherwise you won’t get dinner”, said Shumona quite rudely and disgustedly, handing over the food coupon.
“I was here only maa. It’s really amusing that you still didn’t find me. Anyways, I am sorry.”, replied Anil apologetically.
“It’s okay. Go and have fun now. But don’t forget to have the dinner otherwise you would have to starve tonight then. Make sure you don’t lose the coupon otherwise you won’t get food”, warned Shumona knowing that her son is sometimes too careless with his things.
“Okay, maa. I would be careful.”, replied Anil who was quite used to hearing such warnings thatseemed to be his mother’s over protectiveness .
“So, what plans do we have now? How much did I miss?”, asked Hritesh who had gone to visit his grandmother and has just returned.
“You missed the best part dear. Adelle and Evelyn gave a stunning performance. Where did Evelyn and Adelle go?”, asked Angsuman.
“Arre, they have gone to change their costumes and freshen up. Would be back in no time.”, replied Anil.
“Ohh, shit. I thought I would have made it well before their performance. So, let’s wait for them a bit and then we can decide on what can be done.”, suggested Hritesh sadly.
“Arre, nothing to feel low Hritesh there are many performances stacked. Besides, you yourself have your performance tomorrow na?”, replied Anil.
“Oh yeah, I have my performance tomorrow. It would be fun performing.”, said Hritesh little excitedly.
“Here they come the two young princess of our apartments.”, commented Anil jokingly as Adelle and Evelyn finally came down after a long time.
“Yeah, obviously princess need time to dress up. Don’t you know?”, replied Evelyn teasingly.
Both of them looked stunning. Adelle, in an ultra modern outlook which comprised a dazzling top and knee length skirt with silver glittery light jewelry whereas Evelyn dressed up in an ethnic outlook that comprised of startling Indian traditional wear with suited jewelry made each of them look like angels.
“We were discussing that what could be done now.”, briefed Anil who couldn’t resist himself from turning away his gaze from Adelle.
“How about going to the rooftop of my building? It’s really a nice place.We could sit there and chat as long as we want. Besides it has nice view too.”, suggested Adelle.
“Yeah, not a bad idea besides it‘s really getting warm since it has become too crowded out here.”, supported Hritesh.
“But, before we go we should purchase some eatables then it would be altogether a perfect ambience for chatting. Besides, I am little hungry too.”, suggested Anil.
“Yeah, definitely it’s really a good plan Anil. Not only, but I am also hungry. So, let’s go and purchase some chips and cold drinks.”, supported Angsuman.
“Okay, so you guys go while I spent some quality time with these wonderful ladies.”, said Hritesh mockingly.
“Oh, so here comes our Mr. Hritesh, the Casanova.”, commented Evelyn and everyone laughed off loud at her joke.
So, they reached the rooftop. The unique thing of the rooftop was a reservoir constructed at an elevated height which could be reached by a small staircase. There was small area where someone as young them wouldn’t fear to sit which overlooked a part of the “City Of Joy” illuminated in various lights along with a splendid sight of the traffic which seemed like Lilliput.
They sat together forming a circle. Somehow coincidentally or intentionally Anil and Adelle sat side by side. “Wow, this is seriously a fabulous place. I love it.“, said Evelyn excitedly.
“Yeah, precisely we should visit this place quite often .It has such a picturesque beauty of the along with the traffic and the darkness accompanied with sweet wind simply makes this place quite fascinating to me.”, suggested Anil complementing Adelle’s choice.
“Yeah, that’s fine but now can we play truth and dare?”, suggested Angsuman opening a packet of chips.
“Hmm.. not a bad choice to play here.”, said Adelle.
“Yeah nice.. But I don’t know how it is played.”, said Evelyn sadly.
“Okay okay I am briefing it for you. Truth and Dare is actually a fun game where a bottle is spun around the members participating in the game and when the bottle stops at a pointing any two members of the game then anyone has to ask the other what he/ she wants to choose. As, per the decision of the player either if he/she chooses truth then the other player would ask the opponent something about him/her or anything as per his/her wish or if the player chooses dare then the opponent would tell her to do something weird.”, concluded Angsuman.
“So, are you guys ready to play?”, asked Angsuman finally.
“Yeah, let’s start.”, replied everybody in chorus.
The game started andEvelyn who was just introduced to the game seemed to enjoy the game a lot. The bottle was spun again and this time it stopped pointing towards Evelyn and Anil.
“So, Anil what do you choose to take truth or dare?”, asked Evelyn who had long been not able to ask it to anyone.
Anil said,” Yeah, I choose dare.”
“So, since you chose dare you need to now propose Adelle going down on your knees with a bottle of coke in your hand since we don’t have a rose.”, said Evelyn with a wicked smile. Evelyn had slowly figured out Anil’s new growing affection for Adelle and thought to play the trick on him. Adelle who was sitting beside Evelyn gave her a jab and the two smiled at each in the darkness as if they both knew a hidden secret.
At some point of time Anil too wanted to express his feelings for Adelle and somehow Evelyn had paved the path. Hritesh and Angsuman were enjoying the moment as they too wanted to see how Anil would manage to propose Adelle.
As, per the rules of the game Anil took a bottle of coke and bent down before Adelle, who had eventually rose up to join in the fun, and Anil who knew he was being trolled never really seemed to mind as long as it was part of the game.
“So, Adelle I love you”, said Anil finally after taking a deep breath and holding the bottle. Before Adelle could say anything both of them fell of laughing joined by others.
“Seriously, it was a nice bit of entertainment. Uff, Evelyn you seriously are a box of mischief.”, said Hritesh laughing.
“Anil too was splendid in the act and finally we saw how Evelyn can sometimes be an entertainer.”, complimented Adelle.
“So, Adelle what’s your view on the proposal that you received?”, asked Angsuman.
“Hey, that’s not fair. I think it’s getting little personal now.”, defended Anil before Adelle could speak something.
“Okay, okay. No more discussion on the matter now.”, interrupted Evelyn to settle the situation.
“ I have something that we can try out if you want.”, said Hritesh.
“What is it that you want us to try?”, asked Adelle inquisitively.
In the darkness Hritesh brought out something and carefully opened it and bought out something out of it. Then, started to distribute among everyone and finally everybody got to know they were holding chocolates in their hands.
“So, what’s new with it?’, asked Anil failing to understand new thing in it.
“Aree, open it and have it naah then you would understand its uniqueness.”, replied Hritesh.
It was really a chocolate that was stuffed with dry fruits, almond and many other delicious nuts that melted in the mouth like butter.
“Mmmm….it tastes wonderful.”, replied Adelle who was fond of chocolates.
“One of my family members brought it from Canada. I thought I should share with you guys since I myself found it superb.”, replied Hritesh.
“Hmmm… that’s so sweet of Hritesh. Thank you for such a chocolatedelight.”, replied Evelyn still busy licking the wrapper.
“I think we should go down. We need to have the dinner now.”, suggested Angsuman taking the lat sip from the bottle of coke soothing his taste buds with the chocolate.
“I don’t know about others but I can hear the rumbling of my stomach and the chocolate seemed to vanish somewhere in the empty stomach.”, said Adelle in a feeble voice to support her statement.
“Yeah, we should go then. Besides, we have a delicious menu out there.”, added Anil.
Gradually, they made their way to the section where the food was been served. The food section was already little crowded as people were gathering in groups. Since, it was a buffet so there was lot of hustle and bustle going around that area. Anil saw his mother chatting and laughing with a group of women of her age. He found his dad along with some other members supervising and instructing the people so that the dinner is served properly to everyone perfectly. Many were seen fiddling with spoons and discussing some grave subject with a serious look. Some young kids were running through the space here and there sometimes interrupting others who were either in midst of an intense conversation or enjoying the food.
Anil along with his friends took their respective food and together settled at a place that was little away from the crowd. They too started their own piece of chatting amongst themselves sometimes munching their food. Adelle was somehow seen circling her plate with the spoon.
“Hey, what happened to you? You seemed to have gone quiet all of a sudden.”, asked Anil noticing her actions for a long time.
“No, nothing as such happened re, I am not just feeling hungry anymore.”, replied Adelle with a cute smile.
“Why? You told your stomach was rumbling with hunger. So, now what happened?”, asked Evelyn looking quite concerned.
“Arre, nothing at all re baba. Don’t worry about me guys I am perfectly okay. It’s just that sometimes something like this happens to know which I don’t know.”, replied Adelle.
“Okay, as you wish but I guess you should have some of the food otherwise you might face health problems.”, suggested Anil with a concern in his voice.
It was a wonderful night. It was a full moon studded with stars all over the sky. A sweet and honeysuckle breeze was blowing making it a romantic one. Hritesh had the final stage rehearsals so he had gradually gone for it. Evelyn had gone back home as she told that she had some work back out there.
Anil too had his rehearsals few minutes later and so he thought that he would directly go there since there was nobody at home. Adelle too seemed that she wasn’t in a mood to go back home at that home.
“So, when do you have your rehearsals tonight?”,asked Anil walking towards Adelle in her direction.
“Ohh, it would start at around eleven I hope.”, replied Adelle.
“Oh, so it’s half an hour from now, toh. So, let’s go and see the pandals close by outside our campus.”, suggested Anil.
“Umm…I am not quite in a mood to go.”, replied Adelle sadly.
Anil did something weird as he went down on his knees and started pleading her,” Please please come naah. It would be great fun besides you won’t feel down like this after the walk.”
Adelle couldn’t believe Anil could do something crazy like that. So, she started pleading him to get up but Anil seemed to be adamant and said, “Please let’s go no… I guarantee you that you would feel much better.”
Finally, Adelle gave in to Anil’s craziness and agreed to go with him. So, the two of them went to see other idols nearby.
As they were walking Anil suddenly opened the clip that had held her hair at the back of her head and let her hair flow down which made her look even more beautiful than previously. Adelle was amazed and said, “What? You how weird I look with flowing hair.”
“Have you ever looked closely you looked fabulous with long flowing hair? You should try it often”, replied Anil with a smile and handed over her clip. Adelle somehow felt that Anil was perhaps right and let her hair be like as it was.
They visited two to three more pandals and roamed here and there a little. Since, it was the puja days so there seemed to be a pretty fair crowd in the roads. Otherwise, the streets would have been secluded by now.
Adelle really felt quite relaxed and happy after that long stroll. Some where the mood swing that she had vanished magically.
Anil’s rehearsal ended deep late into the night. He was really feeling fantastic after that walk. When he went to sleep that night he had very sweet dream where he saw that him and Adelle wandering through lush green and yellow fields hand in hand.
The next day, was “Aastami”, the second day of the four day long festival. It was a day when the many Bengalis’ used to wake up early in the morning, have a shower and would fast till they had given “anjali”( as known colloquially) or paying homage to the goddess.
“Anil, wake up baba and get dressed, the anjali would begin in a few minutes. I have arranged your clothes so get dressed up now.” ,said Anil’s mother.
“Yeah, mom I am waking up in few minutes.”, replied Anil in a sleepy voice while the clock indicated seven past thirty in the morning. Anil, who used to be a day scholar and had classes from twelve thirty in the noon, was a late-riser. After some few more wake up calls from his parents finally Anil woke up. He went straight to the bathroom and finished off his daily morning routines. When he finished getting ready at last, he could hear the announcements being made demarcating the beginning of anjali and urging people to join in for the puja.
“You look quite nice in this ethnic outfit.”, commented Hritesh who had managed to come down even before Anil and that too so early in morning.
“Oh.. Thanks,but it seemed to me that I was somehow looking not that cool in this outfit. Waking up this early in the morning is just not my thing. Besides, where are others?”, asked Anil. His eyes were busy searching for Adelle who still haven’t yet come down as yet while his parents had already started chatting with their respective friends since the anjali hadn’t started yet since the “Aastami” puja hadn’t been over yet. Anil too have got bored and irritated have it not been for Hritesh who was there to give him a good company.
“It’s not like that besides it’s just a wrong perception of your mind. Yeah, Angsuman would be here in no time, I guess. Evelyn,who was dressing up when I went to call her, seems had not done with her dressing as yet and I don’t have any clue about Adelle.”, replied Hritesh nonchalantly.
“ So, were you guys missing me?” asked a girly voice from behind Anil and Hritesh.
They both turned around to find Adelle standing wearing a blue sari in a unique traditional way. She looked resplendent along with light jewelry and she seemed quite taller than usual.
“Ohh, so it’s you finally. So, what took you so long to come down?”, asked Anil still couldn’t believe Adelle could look so elegant in an outfit like that because she always preferred to be in western outfits.
“Yeah…How would you know how many things a girl needs to keep in mind to look good? Besides, it’s Durga Puja, a time to show off the best collections of your wardrobe and look the best.”, replied Adelle adjusting her ear ring which had got twisted.
“Anil, the anjali is yet to begin.”, said Anil’s mother breaching in between him and his friends.
“Bah…You look very sweet today. Where’s mother the anjali is yet to start?”, complimented Anil’s mother, noticing Adelle.
“Thank you, aunty. Mom and dad would be here in any time..”, replied Adelle with a cute smile.
The anjali began and somehow Anil managed to be just beside Adelle. While the priest chanted the tongue-twisting mantras and others kept repeating the same in different frequencies Anil was busy gazing at his person of interest, who like others were busy doing the same. Anil watched her succulent lips as they parted while she murmured the mantras.
Anil couldn’t continue steadily gazing at her because he found her parents were standing just behind them. So, he too started chanting the same but from the corner of his eye he still glanced at Adelle.
At last, after the entire anjali process came to a close and slowly the crowd began to disperse. Anil wanted to be Adelle but her mother called her for some reason and she went away while Anil was left with Hritesh.
So, sadly Anil returned home with his parents. Anil who was not a rapacious reader but still he couldn’t restrain himself from leaving this book for a second without ending it, which he started a few days. After reading for a while when he read through the section where the centre character in the story too fall in love for the first time with someone whom he met at the college fresher’s, he could relate himself right in his place. As, he goes through few more pages where the protagonist and the person for whom started nurturing feelings were struck in heavy rain which was followed by a series romantic moments between two of them, he could visualize Adelle in his mind’s eye. From somewhere within himself urged him to carry out his feelings and let Adelle know about it and somehow felt like giving it a try tonight.
Anil didn’t realize how much time went with him daydreaming about Adelle before his came in woke him up saying, “Chal, koaekta thakur dekhe asi sobae mile lunch korar pore…” (Let’s go and see some idols together after lunch.)
“Hmm.. yeah nice idea baba. It would be so much fun.”, replied Anil excitedly.
So, after the lunch Anil and his parents went out. As, it was a pleasant weather so Anil’s mother too didn’t object who had serious problem if it’s too sunny, hot and humid.
Theme based pujas had become a new trend then. Many large as well as popular puja pandals put great emphasis on bringing up new concepts and trend to their puja pandals. The themes based on various subjects varying from portraying of the goddess as a symbol of woman empowerment to even as a destroyer of all evil forces and bringing peace to humanity. Many pandals various show of art and also showcase their creativity in bringing up a famous or historical place from around the world. It had always been a wonder for Anil that how these artists create such a wonderful pandal or idols.
Anil really enjoyed the pandal-hopping sessions and be it with friends or family. Previously, he had went out with his school friends for the first time on “Chathurti” and it was all together a different experience. The gossips and laughing off even at lame jokes seemed to be a well time spent together outside school premises, far away from the intricacies of life everywhere.
Gradually,the dusk descended and once again the city was illuminated with lights. The city looked splendid in addition with the festive cheer all around. Their campus seemed dressed up too like it’s people. The evening aarti had already started and the priest was seen waving diyas and incense sticks at the goddess. The sound of sankhos (a kind of horn like instrument used specially during a holy ceremony) and dhaks along with the sweet smell of the incense sticks created a holy environment.
“Hey, where have you been all day long?”, came a voice floating from Anil’s back as he stood watching various rituals been performed.
Anil turned around to face in the direction from which the sound came and found Adelle standing there with a welcoming smile on her face.
“Arre, what a pleasant surprise! You have come down so early? Oh, I went out with my parents in the noon a little. Besides, where were you? Didn’t see you there during lunch.”, asked Anil quite surprised to see her.
“ We went to a relatives’ house. They had invited us for lunch. Hey, that’s not fair you always tease me whenever you get a chance.”, replied Adelle sounding little gloomyat being ridiculed without a reason.
“Aww… don’t look sad please. I didn’t mean to hurt you like that. I just made it quite casually. Okay, I am sorry.”, replied Anil making face that made him look guilty and clutching his ear as if someone had found him doing something terribly and he was now being apologetic.
Adelle could remain offended anymore on Anil seeing his actions and again burst out laughing. Anil realized that he would never get a perfect chance like this to bring forward his feelings for her.
“Hey, how about going to the rooftop now like yesterday? Besides, Hritesh’s performance is after two or three performances and we have no work now. So, what do you think?“, asked Anil.
“Yeah, sure we can. It is so rowdy out here that you could barely sit and talk.”, replied Adelle.
“It had such a wonderful day so far really. I didn’t realize that could been like this.”, commented Anil as they sat down at one corner. Adelle sat a little away from him.
“Yeah, it had been a great day so far.”, replied Adelle.
“Actually, I need to tell you something.”, said Anil after a brief silence.
“Hmm.. yeah what tell me.”, replied Adelle and looked at Anil interestingly.
“Umm….”, began Anil taking a deep breath.” You don’t know how it makes me overwhelmed when you smile, which I think is the most beautiful smile I had ever seen. When you flip your hair and give those intense looks it just sweeps me away to some faraway places. That day when you were having cold drink I couldn’t just take away eyes because somehow you look resplendent. The moments I spent with you were one of the treasured moments of my life. The first time you planted that kiss with your luscious lips; it was the happiest day of my life. I would love to experience more of such wonderful moments with you together. I wanted to tell you all this but couldn’t because I fear of losing you……”and before he could say anything they heard someone’s clap and turned to figure out who it was.
“Arre, Anil why did you stop? It was such a cute one.”, came Evelyn’s voice from the dark who had came in search of her friends and eventually started eavesdropping while Anil let his heart out .
“Shit, Evelyn you ruined it everything. It took some much time to muster the courage.”, replied Adelle as if she knew everything.
“Hey, did you know about my feelings for you? But, I didn’t tell it anymore previously.”, asked Anil innocently.
“Arre idiot, the way you stared long hours at me. The way you gazed at me for hours at the cinema hall without even seeing the movie and also when you clutched my hand and supported me in your arms so lovingly without letting me go even after getting out of the chaos at the cinema hall, it was pretty easy to figure out what you were up to.”, replied Adelle breaking into laughter and Evelyn joined in.
“So, why didn’t you tell me anything?”, asked Anil again failing what Adelle was up to.
“I wanted when you would approach and at some point I felt like I have to do the job then.”, replied Adelle.
“Huh, and who else knew except you before I told?”, asked Anil who seemed confused by now.
“This spoiler knew it. It was in fact she who told me about you.”, replied Adelle pointing to Evelyn.
“So, what is your views now?”, asked Anil helplessly unable to figure out Adelle’s words.
“Aree, Adelle I tell you go and make him feel what your views are.”, replied Evelyn.
Adelle moved a little closer towards Anil and gave a soft kiss on his lips, caressed his hair playfully. “This is what I feel for you, dumb.”, replied Adelle gleefully in the dark.
Anil went on cloud nine as he couldn’t believe that Adelle too had the felt the same for him. Anil who was sitting just beside reached for hand and clutched it and Adelle who too was in a jolly mood after all that had happened turned to face him and Anil looked deep into her eyes in the dark. Then she tightened his grip and closed her eyes, Anil looked at her face in the dark for a moment and slowly drew his face close towards hers planting a soft kiss on her succulent lips. She too kissed him back affectionately and they enjoyed the moment for a while. The two of them sat there with their hands still clutching the other and slowly Adelle leaned her head back on Anil’s shoulder. They enjoyed each other’s touch and warmth which seemed to them as the ultimate bliss.
Anil joy knew no bounds after he was able to pour out his feelings for Adelle. Anil felt that it was one of the happiest moments of his as he imagined him and Adelle walking hand in hand and exploring the world in a whole new manner together. Somehow, he became cautious so that matter doesn’t get spread out much otherwise both of them would be in trouble if their parents get to know anything as of now. Evelyn had promised to keep it a secret as previously.
The Durga puja seemed to an end slowly as the “Aastami” came to an end as the “Sandhi Puja”,( a puja ceremony which is performed in the intermediate between the ending of “Aastami” and “Navami”, the day before the grand celebrations of four days come to an end.) began.
Anil and Adelle who seemed were not at all in a mood to let each other go away from each other arms even for a bit, had finally had to release each other’s grip as they headed towards the stage where Hritesh would be performing.
“Oh, there you are? Where have you three been? I looked for you guys everywhere?, asked Angsuman as he saw Anil, Adelle and approaching.
“We just went to have a glimpse of the other idols and pandals in and around our campus.”, lied Evelyn.
“So, why didn’t you guys call me I was here only looking out for you guys for a pretty long time?”, replied Angsuman sadly.
“Oh, so sorry re, we didn’t find you. We should have definitely called you but it was a sudden plan and the thing went out of the mind”, added Anil sounding apologetic.
“Arre na na, it’s okay. Let’s watch our very own Hritesh perform now”, replied Angsuman.
The play started and it was quite an interesting play Hritesh who was in the lead of the play portrayed his part very well and was in fact had gone quite into the character which he was portraying. Anil glanced towards Adelle who was a little far away in between the play and sometimes Adelle too would glance back giving him a sweet smile. The audience seemed to get enthralled by Hritesh’s wonderful performance and they cheered and clapped as the play came to an end.
Though there was somewhere gloominess could be felt as the celebrations were coming to a close with a day to spare from now but for Anil and Adelle it seemed as if the happiness and joy were in abundance. Anil had received a few cash as gifts from his relatives as part of pandal hopping with friends and he managed to save a high amount from it. He was wondering what could be done with it when he struck up a nice plan.
“Hey, Adelle would you mind going out tomorrow?”, whispered Anil into Adelle’s ears while they were having food.
“Yeah, nice plan but where we be going?”, asked Adelle in a low voice so it was inaudible to others.
“Let’s go na. You will get to know once we go.”, replied Anil.
“Okay, okay baba I will go…Now stop gazing at me like a dumb and finish your food.”, said Adelle poking him and smiling sweetly.
There was the usual clattering, chatting and buzzing all around the campus. The tiny tots were having fun chasing each other or doing various naughty activities. Amidst this contrast, the two new found lovebirds have found their place away from the crowd and had settled on the rooftop again far away from the watchful eyes of anyone. Besides, nobody would be visiting this secluded place during the night especially during at this time.
“It’s just happened like a dream. I still couldn’t believe it’s really taking place. I never believed that you would really accept my proposal.”, said Anil.
“Yeah…it had gone just like a dream and I seemed to be in a state of trance. I found you to be sweet when we first at the badminton court. Gradually, when days went by I started realizing that you were a nice friend who could be counted upon in times of need. But, the most amazing part is I, too, didn’t realize when I started liking you. Perhaps, love is something that slowly creeps into your life and sweeps you to a new level.”, replied Adelle softly clasping Anil’s hand.
“Yeah, right love is a completely different feeling and it sometimes takes you far away from the world to a world of fantasy.”, said Anil dreamily.
“Oh, no. I have to go now. I am already late for my rehearsals.”, said Anil suddenly waking up from his trance.
“Hmm…so let’s go now then.”, replied Adelle, not quite interested in putting an end to this nice heartwarming session between them.
It was quite wee hours of night but their campus seemed quite alive and vibrant. Anil saw his mother sitting with a group of other women of her age as he approached the stage for the final stage rehearsals while Adelle found Evelyn and others strolling nearby and went with them.
The rehearsals continued till two in the night and slowly everyone started returning home to take some rest for another eventful morning to start up few hours later.
Anil was never been a believer of god neither he was an atheist but that night before going home he unusually stopped by and folded his hands in a gesture of prayer. He thanked god for everything that happened the previous and also bringing so much happiness to his life.
Anil went to bed exhausted after a long and eventful night but somehow he couldn’t sleep. The intensified moments that he shared with Adelle began to get flashed in his mind. Adelle’s smiles, the soft touch of her hand, the charming feel of her lips and also the honeydew fragrance of her body seemed to steal away his sleep somehow.
“Anil, wake up, shona how long would you sleep it’s almost ten now?”, said his father affectionately.
“Yeah, baba.”, said Anil in sluggish voice.
After some moments of lying lethargically in bed Anil suddenly remembered that he had asked Adelle to go out with him today. So, all of a sudden shook off his sleep and rose up from his bed. In next ten to fifteen minutes, he got dressed up and was ready to go.
“Hey, where are you going now without having anything?”, asked Anil’s mother worriedly as Anil started wearing shoes to leave.
“Oh, I forgot to tell you I am going out for some pandal hopping with some of my friends.”, lied Anil
“That’s okay but at least have something and then go na.”, replied his father.
“I am already late. Perhaps, they are waiting for me.”, countered Anil who was not at all ready to have anything thinking that Adelle was waiting for him somewhere.
“Since you are already late then it won’t be any matter if are late for some minutes more. I have already made something for you. Have it and then go wherever you want.”, said Shumona quite sternly, seeing Anil’s stubbornness.
Anil couldn’t object to his mom’s decision this time and had to obey it. Anil’s mom handed him a bowl containing his favorite dish noodles with egg. Anil was delighted and grinned at his mother for preparing such a wonderful breakfast.
“Hey, what took you so long?, asked Adelle as the two met.
“ I woke up late in the morning today. Then, I was about to leave mom handed me a bowl of noodles which I simply couldn’t resist. So, how long did you have to wait?”, asked Anil.
“Not much, Eve(shortened form of Evelyn) came down and two of us were busy gossiping.”, replied Adelle.
“So, where are we going?”, asked Adelle inquisitively.
“You, would soon get to make it out.”, said Anil as they boarded a bus.
“Wow, this place seems to be a nice place! I had never been here. What is this place with so much greenery?”, asked Adelle.
“This is Southern Avenue and it overlooks a superb lake commonly known as (Padmapukur or Dhakuria or Rabindra Sarobar Lake and this lake that stands over looking Tollygunge railway station is called Rabindra Sarobar as referred colloquially though actually it’s just in whole Rabindra Sarobar). It’s a very beautiful place and strolling through this area is a complete bliss. Come, let’s go.”, replied Anil.
Two of them gradually made their way through the region which is popularly known as the “lake region of Kolkata”. “This is popular place where the couples spent intimate moments together in this beautiful place overlooking this wonderful lake.”, said Anil like a tour guide.
“Oh really, yeah I can see that as well. So, you must have been to this place before?”, asked Adelle.
“Yeah, many a times with innumerable girls that I can’t even remember.”, replied Anil jokingly.
“Oh, really?”, exclaimed Adelle.
“Yeah but this time it seems to be very special.”, replied Anil quite reluctantly.
“Why so? How come I become special?”, quizzed Adelle.
“ Arre, the thing is I don’t know how you seemed to cast a spell over me.”, replied Anil.
“Wow, then I think I must have some magical powers I see. Besides, it was a nice try to make yourself a Casanova but you seem to be very bad liar”, replied Adelle clutching Anil’s arms lovingly.
“Here check this out. The way this trunk of the tree is crafted out into a human form.”, said Anil pointing to the tree.
“Wow, that’s awesome. It has very distinct features too.”, exclaimed Adelle who still haven’t unraveled many parts of Kolkata.
“Come, let’s sit and enjoy the beauty.”, suggested Anil.
“Hmm, sure.”, replied Adelle.
“This place is an abode of migratory birds in winter. The chirping sounds of birds adds melody to this beauty.”, added Anil as they took a seat.
They sat there quietly listening to the sweet chirping and enjoying the natural scenic beauty. The sweet cool breeze that swept due to the presence of the lake seemed to be quite soothing. Slowly, Anil leaned his head on Adelle’s shoulder and Adelle slowly caressed his hair affectionately. “It’s such a peace and nice here under the tree away from cacophony of the busy streets. The serene beauty of the lake and the lush greenery, that ceases to exist in an era where land acquisition and constructing high-rises has become a trend, is simply marvelous.”, said Adelle after a long silence in a philosophical note.
“You would find everything in this city. The sweetest thing about this city is that it has a magical power of making anyone who is even new to this city fall in love with it. Though, I feel there are many problems here and there around the corner of Kolkata and you might even hear people complaining about it but the warmth it offers is simply amazing. Another thing this city has is the influence to make you as a part of it and accepting you as one of its team is really heart- melting. This city witnessed many things be it massacres, be it riots or be the raising voice against oppression of the British rulers or be it the birth of the greatest novelist, poet, songwriter, storyteller and an artist who was the first Indian to win noble prize. I sometimes feel the city is justly called “The City Of Joy”. ”, replied Anil quite idealistically.
“Hmm..so, true.”, Adelle nodded who too had slowly started falling in love with the city.
“The city is close to my heart not only for being the city where I am born and brought up but also this city has found me the love of my life and apple of my eye.”, added Anil, looking at Adelle and softy kissed on her cheeks.
“Aww….that was so romantic.”, replied Adelle feeling loved by the attention and affection she was receiving.
“Ah, it was such a wonderful trip around the city. I never knew it would be so much fun. The pujas that we saw were also splendid.”, said Adelle slurping the liquid from the bottle of Coke.
“Those were the front-runners in the “mega- puja of Kolkata” competition. The last one that we saw was the winner previous year. But I think you would have enjoyed more if we had gone for a movie too.”, replied Anil.
“Hmm… that can be done later but I enjoyed this trip.”, said Adelle joyfully.
“There many other places too that we couldn’t visit and will be elated to so those places.”, continued Anil keeping pace with Adelle.
“Yeah, some other day I guess then.”, replied Adelle sounding merry.
As, they approached their campus they separated their ways maintaining the secrecy of their relationship as long as possible. “Oh, so you have come home finally, I see.”, commented Anil’s mother when she found Anil just making his way to his room.
“So, which pandals did you see? Was it crowded much?”, asked Anil’s father.
“Hmm..not much”, added Anil with the list of pandals that they had seen.
“When is your play today?”, asked Anil’s mother from the kitchen.
“Oh, it’s probably at eight.”, replied Anil.
“Maa, I am feeling quite exhausted now and am going to sleep now. Please wake me up after an hour.”, added Anil.
“I, too, was going to suggest you the same thing. Go to sleep, I will wake you up as when required.”, replied Shumona.
The sun was gradually paving it’s way down the western horizon. The whole sky was filled with bright yellow lights of the sun setting down slowly. The Durga puja too was slowly moving towards the curtain fall. The celebration zooms in like a flash and even before you get to realize it’s impact it had already ended. It leaves behind some cherished moments of joy, fun, happiness and especially togetherness. The only trail of hope it leaves behind is that one year after it would again return with board of happiness again.
The sky slowly turned dark as the sun had gone down already and the silvery light of the moon was seen prevailing all over the night sky along with the companionship of the stars. Anil had risen up already and already reached the place where his other co-actors were getting dressed. He revised the script again which had almost got memorized. At last, he dressed up as a king the character which he was to portray. He was given a make- up along with a moustache which made him look weird rather than a king. So, the moustache was replaced with beard to give an impression of one of mughal emperors.
The play began with the entry of the king followed by his subordinates. It was a more hilarious play rather than a serious one but with a strong social message in the end. The play seemed to go well and Anil did accept great appreciation in the end from the crowd. The audience seemed to enjoy it for they were seen almost falling off their seats.
“Hmm…so our Anil, can seems to a good actor.”, complimented one of the elderly man in the crowd, who too was associated with the acting profession, as Anil came down from the stage, patting his back in appreciation.
“Thank you, uncle.”, replied Anil as a gesture of courtesy.
The man was going to question further relating him but Anil’s father cut it short interrupting timely.
“Arre, Sheil, eta tomar chele naki? (Sheil, Is this your son?)”, asked that elderly man who seemed to quite the same age that of Anil’s father.
“Arre Syon, yes this is my son”, replied Anil’s father as if they knew each other for a long time.
“Anil, here take the keys and get changed “, said Anil’s father and handed him the keys while he settled with that man and started chatting.
Later, Anil came to know that he was his father’s college friend and they met after a very long time probably many years. He was a very talented fellow and was also associated with the revolution of 1971.
“Ohh no, the pujas are coming end and now again I have to open the books and wreck my brains with those subjects.”, said Hritesh sadly as everyone in their group assembled.
“Hmm…uff, it would be the same boring life again.”, replied Evelyn.
“Arre, what to do re… Besides, we have to go back to that tedious life for it seems to be the backbone of our future livelihood.”, commented Adelle denoting the practical perceptivity.
“Yuup, she definitely has a point. Precisely, if this monotonous life hadn’t been there then the flavor of this fun and frolic wouldn’t have been so important in our life.”, replied Anil quite thoughtfully.
The merriment of the people seemed to increase as the night became young. The “dhunachi”( it is flared shape and is held by a stem with a large cavity at the top traditionally made of earthenware, a kind of incense made with dry coconut husks and a dry substance called “dhuna” which initiates the process of combustion along with creation of smoke that creates a holy environment around, used especially during the religious ceremonies.) dance competition was still the event that seemed quite happening at that wee hours of night. It was quite unique form of dance. One had to dance with the feverish rolls of the “dhaks” holding two or in some instance one. The rules were simple. One needs to simple balance the number of dhunachi he/she takes and makes sure that no part of the burning coconut husks should fall on the ground otherwise it will add up negative points to the performance. But, firstly all the participants need to enroll their names.
So, the competition began and once again the whole campus was filled with the enthusiastic chords of the dhaks. The residents seemed to put up a great competition and everyone seemed to excel each other in their technique. Adelle too took part and she too danced quite elegantly with the two dhunachis in both her hands. Adelle couldn’t believe that Adelle would manage so well.
Anil was left with awe because she was followed by his father whose name had been announced. Though, Anil heard stories of his father during his youths but Anil never had seen his father involving in such activities before. Anil watched with wonder as his father danced. He never expected that his father could dance as well. Anyways, the dance competition finally came to an end and many gradually returned home. Some were still chatting sitting a close group. Anil’s father won the first prize and Adelle too won the third prize.
“So, you owe a treat as well for last night’s performance.”, said Anil as he met Adelle tomorrow evening.
“Even you too owe a treat then because your father bagged the first position.”, Adelle replied teasingly.
“Hmm… so go and ask him for a treat naa. He will definitely love to treat the person who his son’s beloved one.”, added Anil mischievously.
“You are so mean. A girl wanted a treat from you and passed it on. I could have considered of treating you but after this you lost that chance too.”, answered Adelle impishly.
But before Anil could continue further Evelyn interjected with,” So, are two of you going for the idol immersion process? We, all have planned to go.”
“Yeah, sure dad too is going and so mom would have no objections letting me go”, replied Anil delightedly.
“I don’t seem quite certain but I hope mother would let me if she sees you all are going. Let’s see.”, said Adelle uncertainly.
“Maa, can I go for the idol immersion please?”, asked Adelle approaching his mother who was busy gossiping with her recently initiated group.
“No. It’s too risky out there besides it’s too dangerous out there and there is a probability of getting lost.”, replied her mother taking her daughter to a corner away from where she was as it was quite inaudible since the dhakis have started playing the dhaks again.
“Mom, please all my friends are going and it would be great fun. I promise I won’t go near the river. Besides, I won’t even get down from the matador truck which is going for the immersion.”, said Adelle requesting her mother to review her decision.
Her mother was quite hesitant in granting her daughter permission but at last let go and enjoy since she had never been to such procession before. But added,” Be careful and don’t put yourself in any trouble.”
“Okay maa… I will look over it and thank you maa..love you a lot”, replied Adelle as she hurried off towards the matador truck ,loaded with idols, awaiting for the procession to get started.
“Oh, here comes the person you had been waiting for to join in the party.”, whispered Evelyn into Anil’s ear as Adelle came near their vehicle.
“So, what made your mother change her plan?”, asked Anil as Adelle climbed up the truck and joined them.
“Yeah, but after much persuasion. She was at a fix not letting me but after a few pleas she seemed reluctant to go.”, replied Adelle.
So, the procession began to make their way out of the campus and the rhythmic sounds of dhaks, the sounds of sankhos by the woman filled the air. Along with this were shouts of the catchword “Asche bochor abr hobe”(“ It will happen next year.”) by the residents. In the truck too they had a bit of dancing synchronizing with the rhythmic rolls of the dhaks for a while as the truck made its way for the immersion.
Adelle and Anil was standing next to each other and Adelle sweetly slung her little finger along with Anil’s. Anil looked at Adelle and she gave him a cutie smile.
“It’s long been that you have any association with books. You had as much fun we wanted and did whatever you feel like. You had stopped studying long before the puja began. So, it’s high time that you get back with your studies. The final exams are almost a month now.”, said Anil’s mother the next morning quite sternly.
Anil was still lying in bed and submerged in the Adelle’s thought. He jolted back to his senses at her mother’s early morning speech and so he said in a disgusted tone and a half-sleepy voice,” Maa, I will manage my studies. You don’t have to worry about it. Now, let me please sleep for a while.”
“How long would you sleep? It’s already 8:30 in the morning. Besides, you have not grown big enough to talk to me like that. If you don’t score good marks then you would see what happens to you.”, replied his mother quite furiously.
Anil realized he won’t be able to sleep anymore as his mother won’t let him to so he woke up and sat on the bed for a while. He thought about many things, Adelle, their relationship and mostly about his career. Though he was good in studies but he sometimes felt himself unassociated with and considered him quite out of place for the thing. But, gradually he realized he needs to focus on it for without studies he won’t be able to find his link that would connect him with the thing that he would love to do, which he hadn’t discovered as yet, and unless he explores more on the world of knowledge he won’t realize what and which to choose best for him at that moment. So, Anil shook off his drowsiness state and slid off from his bed and went to the washroom to freshen up.
The regular routine started as usual from the very next day the grand celebration ended for Anil. In the evening, Anil felt bored and went out to get some fresh air. Adelle had gone out somewhere and when he saw Anil around the campus she readily joined in. Anil told her about the bitter morning experience and how her mother woke him up terribly. He even told how he had even rudely spoken to her when she started all that early in the morning.
“It’s quite usual for a mother to worry for her children. Sometimes, we feel they should shut up or get irritated but it is totally wrong from our aspect. We, too, should respect their concerns. Mother is someone who would always want to protect you and would never always forewarn you of the danger you might step into. So, I think we shouldn’t really have spoken to her.”, replied Adelle not supporting Anil’s attitude towards his mother.
Anil remained quite a bit and realized he was really wrong in doing that. “I should apologize to her for my behavior”, said Anil with a sigh of regret.
“Hmm…that’s better. Besides, I too feel do the same sometimes since when she seems to get into my nerves. I feel bad when she doesn’t speak to me and almost avoid me after the spat.”, replied Adelle.
“Thanks, for making me realize my mistake though maa seemed to have been annoyed with me for sometime after the incident then gradually everything became normal. Few moments back too I had the feeling that whatever I did was right till you corrected me.”, replied Anil reaching out for Adelle’s hands.
Adelle let their hands get tangled in each others. They walked for a while for some time and discussing on various things. Sometimes serious, sometimes funny and they both enjoyed it even more.
“ It seems it’s quite late, we should go home now.”, said Anil after a while as they crossed Adelle’s apartments.
“Hmm…even I was thinking that besides I have to study too. All this while didn’t have the time to open the books at all.”, replied Adelle.
“Come, let me accompany you till you take elevator.”, said Anil wanting to spend more time with her.
“Arre, that won’t be necessary. I will manage since I am already home.”, said Adelle moving towards the entrance of her building.
Anil secretly followed her to her building. The elevator was on the top floor and Adelle thought that she would manage climbing the stairs since it was two floors up. So, as he turned around to take the stairs she collided with Anil.
“ So, you didn’t go home and followed all the way?”,asked Adelle with a frown.
“No, actually I forgot to tell you something.”, replied Anil being sweet.
“What is it? Say no.”, asked Adelle impatiently for she was in a hurry to return home.
Anil took Adelle’s hand and brought her little closer to him and gently kissed on her rosy cheeks and whispered into her ears, “Love you, cutie.”
Adelle smiled shyly and ran towards the staircase. She gave slight glimpse and turned back to find still standing there. She gave her a flying kiss and Anil reflexively made an action of catching the kiss and kept in the pocket as a treasuring gift. Adelle burst into laughter at the comedy and moved up.
A dark cloud seemed to wrap the morning sky. The last few days seemed quite humid and the sun seemed to drain away almost everything from the body in form sweat. So, the large columbines clouds seemed to come as a pain-reliever. After a few moments, the rumbling of the clouds could be heard accompanied with lightening. Anil, who had been playing FIFA 12 on the personal desktop didn’t seem to be aware of the surroundings. He was all alone today as his parents had gone to pay a visit to an ailing relative. So, Anil had taken a break to play the newly bought game. The computer gaming was his new hobby.
Meanwhile, heavy rain started followed by loud reverberating sound of the clouds. Anil suddenly became aware of the rain as he felt the raindrops on his back. He turned around to find that his bed was slowly getting wet with the raindrops making their way through the open window. He closed every window of his house and then stared outside the window. The badminton court where they played badminton was completely wet and has already turned muddy. The long bamboo plant which stood with his held high above the surrounding bushes and plants was seen moving vigorously in the wild wind. The window panes were gradually becoming hazy due to heavy rain. A small sparrow that got completely drenched in the rain was seen taking shelter outside Anil’s window. It was really a romantic weather and Anil was reminded of Adelle. He thought perhaps he could have a word with her.
Suddenly, a spark clicked in his mind. So, he swiftly picked up the receiver of their landline and dialed the extension code of Adelle’s. He had tried it many times previously but before the call connected he had already put down the receiver. But somehow today he had muster the courage to try his luck. The call got connected and it when on for a while long. Anil thought perhaps there was nobody at home and was about to disconnect when he heard a voice chirping in,” Hello”.
“Hello, is this Adelle?”, asked Anil to conform that it was really she.
“Hmm.. yeah whose that?”, came the question from the other end.
“ Arre, Anil here, actually I wanted to talk so just hung up. Are you busy?”, replied Anil.
“Ohh.. it’s you. No, not all, besides I was watching a movie and was enjoying the weather since nobody’s home. What about you?”, came the answer.
“Yeah, it’s a wonderful weather and precisely a romantic one which reminded me of you. Since, I too was alone busy doing nothing thought of chatting with you for a while. “, Anil said.
“ Aww… that’s so lovable. I was watching this movie where the hero and his love had an intimate seen which reminded me of our first kiss.”, Adelle told felling quixotic.
“Hmm…that day was wonderful when went for that small outing.”, Anil pointed out.
The chat became quite interesting as two couldn’t stop fidgeting. Love seemed to captivate them and they went on chatting for long hours. They began to dedicate songs to each other and it was much fun. It seemed that even after chatting after many hours they still had more things to tell each other.
“Accha, what you aspire to be?, asked Adelle on a serious note in between the conversation.
“Hmm…I want to be like my father whom I idolize as a person and great human being. My mom wants me to be a doctor but I would take up something that I am good at. Studies, examination, scoring good marks or becoming a topper had never been my thing. Though, I manage to do quite well but that’s just it happens naturally. What do you want to become?”, asked Anil.
“Hmm…that’s quite different. I, somehow feel that the society needs to have a drastic change. The way our Indian society still treats it’s women and the perspective in which women are looked down upon as weak and inferior should be revolutionized. The sexual discrimination that we make many a time between a boy and girl, giving the former more preference is really a dishonor to us in this 21st century. Anil, you know every day as you open the news channel there is not a single day had gone by when you couldn’t see at least one to two cases relating harassment or crime against women. The sexual abuse on woman had already become an increasing concern. I want to be part of change and participate in the process of bringing a change in the society.”, replied Adelle.
“ It’s really a shame for us really that women are being mistreated everywhere be it some distant faraway village or be some high class cosmopolitan city. Not only, the natives but even tourists too are not spared. I think it’s illiteracy that can be the root of this major problem. Some are foolishly criticizing the women, her attires and her way of living shielding the real culprit. While others pointing out that woman are physically weak and the Almighty has made them just to look after the kids and household work referring it as “Indian Sanskar”, misinterpreting the phase as well. They forget that there are some states in India itself especially in the hills women do the same work that a so called ‘physically strong’ man does proving that they can be strong both physically and mentally as and when required”, forwarded Anil his opinion.
“Yeah, partly true but also it’s the diseased mindset that also been a major role here. If a child grows up seeing his father mistreating or disrespecting his mother, he would grow up with the same mentality that women are inferior and they should treated like slaves. Basically, it has to do a lot with upbringing as well. The sexual abuses have been a problem for many years which had been overlooked due to political scenario and also subdued due to the fact that India has a patriarchal society. Women too had been silent due to fear as well as disgrace.”, concluded Adelle.
“Yeah, ‘disgrace’ that is the main thing. Many a times during sexual abuses on women the criminal has the mindset whatever I do with the women she won’t be able to speak of what had been done with because she would suffer humiliation, not me. Sexual crimes on women too have increased rapidly and as a resident of Kolkata I feel mortified that my city is also part of the heinous crime. The most shocking and terrifying statements are made by the lawyers defending those criminals. The police officials to ask lewd remarks and questions if the person subjected to crime goes to lodge complain. I think such criminals should be made to put in the same circumstances and should be done the same that they did with a woman mercilessly or at least give them a hint of the brutality that they did with the woman to teach them a lesson.”, replied Anil who slowly loosing off his cool while discussing such a topic that would make his blood boil.
“No, Anil that’s the wrong way. If you show the brutality to the convicted person to teach him a lesson then there would be no difference between you and him. On the contrary we can try to make them realize their wrong deeds by giving them the reference if the same thing was done with any women of their family. He would then realize the pain and agony that the woman, as well her family, with whom he did the crime, is going through. Though, I support that his punishment should be rigorous like sentencing him for longer time of imprisonment though we should make provisions for his family who shouldn’t suffer for his crime but torturing him physically or giving him a death penalty is not a good idea.”, said Adelle.
“But, what if he kills or does takes some inhuman steps so the victim won’t be able to ever lead a normal or her chances of survival becomes less?”, asked Anil in a grave voice.
“Yeah, then the criminal should definitely be given a death sentence. At, this part I do support the phrase ‘a tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye’. A death can be only be avenged by a death.”, said Adelle supporting Anil.
“That’s quite ironical. You were previously on the view that we should make the criminal feel and understand his wrong deeds to change the man who he used to be. But, all of sudden why did you move away from the ideology of non-violence?”, asked Anil quite amused by the sweep of sides by Adelle.
“Anil, there extent till which someone’s crimes can be forgiven even if he should be subjected to tougher sentence but when the criminal crosses that level too then I think we have to be strong and take the toughest decision sometimes. For instance you see in our holy epics as well it is said that Krishna, the incarnation of Vishnu or the Almighty himself had to release “sudarsan” chakra or the ultimate weapon even midst of holy ceremonies to bestow the righteous judgment i.e. death on “Sishupala”, who had committed a single crime more than hundred. Though Krishna had previously given his word to Sishupala’s mother, Krishna’s aunt that he would forgive her son’s hundred mistakes. Even though he had created many instances where Krishna could have sentenced him to death but gave him a chance to rectify himself. But, for such a monstrous crime like that I personally don’t think the criminal stand a chance to get a second chance for what he did.”, replied Adelle in a quite firm voice.
“Yeah, we do have responsibility of standing by or taking a small step in changing the society where we are born and brought up. I really quite inspired by your idea of doing something so that this society becomes a better place for women.”, added Anil finally.
“Wow, I have already a member for my ‘league of revolution’.”, replied Adelle happily.
“Hey… talk to you later. I guess mom’s here....Bye.”, added Adelle as a door bell was heard.
“Yeah, okay bye... Talk to you later.” replied Anil with a sigh, not quite ready to put an end to such a wonderful conversation.
The rain continued and the surroundings had become cool and comfortable again. The rain seemed to fill up all the lakes and rivers with perhaps the same or more amount of water that had been evaporated. As Anil spoke over the phone he saw a spectacular sight, the rain drops falling on surface of a leaf and sliding down forming a bubble. It was quite a blissful moment. The birds that had got wet were seen drying themselves off by shaking off water from their wings. The strong gushing winds were replaced by sweet cool breeze. Anil returned o his room and opened the window as the rain had receded and was now reduced to drizzles. A sweet honeysuckle wind gushed into his face and as he opened his eyes he could view a spectacular sight of the rainbow that had formed on the eastern sky. The sun has managed to peep through the western sky and the rays fell on the clouds creating the magnificent view.
“Happy Birthday, Adelle.”, greeted Anil as the phone was answered.
“Thank you, so much”, replied Adelle sweetly.
“Can you please come down for a bit?”, asked Anil.
“But, I am little busy as many relatives have come by. So, can I come later?”, replied Adelle.
“Actually, it won’t take much time.”, said Anil sounding low.
“Okay, okay don’t be sad I coming down.”, replied Adelle.
Anil went down excitedly to meet Adelle.
“What is it?”, asked Adelle sounding to be in a hurry.
“Close your eyes, first.”, said Anil sweetly.
“Okay but make it first,”, replied Adelle.
“Here, it’s for you.”, said Anil and handed her a small packet.
“Oh, how sweet of you!”, exclaimed Adelle with joy.
“What’s in it?, asked Adelle with that spark in her eyes delighted to receive the gift.
“Something that you love, sweetie.”, replied Anil affectionately.
“Wow, Ferro Rocher. It’s my favorite.”, replied Adelle delightedly.
“But, how did you find out that I would love to have something like this?”, asked Adelle inquisitively.
“Hmm… that day when we were discussing about chocolates and as Hritesh motioned about Ferro Rocher I saw your face lighted up with cheer.”, replied Anil fondly.
“Aww, you are so caring and loving of you. Thank you so much… You really made my birthday special.”, appreciated Adelle and softly kissed on his cheek and unruffled his hair a bit.
“Thanks for the return gift sweetie.”, replied Anil jovially and broke into laughter.
“Ohh, I need to go now. Otherwise, someone would be coming down looking for me. Oh, one more thing I have invited all my friends for a small birthday party at home. So, do come I will be waiting for you I have told your mother as well.”, replied Adelle.
Anil replied in affirmative.
Anil’s mother Shumona and Adelle seemed to have developed a sweet bonding somehow and many a times he had seen both of them chatting. Anil was overwhelmed that that Adelle was delighted to receive such a small gift.
“Anil, I had purchased a gift for your friend Adelle who had invited you to her birthday party today. It’s in my room so don’t forget to take it. Okay?”, said Anil’s mother
“Okay maa…”, replied Anil peeping out of the study table.
Slowly the evening descended Anil was too keyed up to what would happen at her birthday party. Anil, a person who was very with his looks and wardrobe selection today invested a lot of time and energy to choose the perfect match for the occasion. At last Anil finally settled for a black casual shirt and blue jeans which he had bought as part of the Durga puja celebration that year.
Anil didn’t know why but he felt little nervous today as the elevator started to climb and just as it came to a halt Anil could sense his heart beating fast enough that it felt like too could hear it. He had been to her house before but he never came alone and mostly he feared her father who seemed to be a very angry man by his exterior look. Though it wasn’t much humid and weather was cool but still Anil sensed a chill ran down his back as he opened he pressed the bell. To his dismay, Adelle’s father opened the door and as Anil looked at him Anil’s throat ran dry.
“Ohh, you must be Adelle’s friend Anil I guess? Come in.”, asked Adelle’s father.
“Hmm…yes uncle.”, replied Anil quite confused how her father recognized him in their first face to face meet.
“My daughter talks a lot about you guys. Oh, go straight to that room that’s her room. Others are their too.”, added Adelle’s father settling on a chair, pointing to the closed door.
“Oh, thank you, uncle”, answered Anil quite gently and headed straight towards Adelle’s room to join others relieved that the meeting had ended quite well.
The other relatives were in other room chatting, laughing amongst themselves. “Look, whose here!.”, exclaimed Evelyn as Anil opened the door to make his way in. The air-conditioner was put on along with the music being played while everyone was busy dancing and making merry.
“What took you so long Anil? The birthday girl had been waiting for you so long.“ , remarked Hritesh teasingly as Anil over the gift to Adelle.
“Arre, actually I had tuitions so I am late. Sorry, everyone especially birthday girl for keeping you waiting so long. But, how did you know that Hritesh?, asked Anil surprisingly. Adelle smiled shyly as Evelyn poked her with the arrival of Anil.
“Oh, you two thought that both would secretly have a love affair and nobody would know it? But, nothing gets unnoticed under the watchful eyes of Hritesh.”, replied Hritesh confidently.
“Whatever we should get a treat from them.”, proposed Angsuman who had been just passive listener to the discussion.
“Yeah, we should have a treat on the note of this special occasion.”, replied Evelyn.
“Okay, chill guys you will get a treat soon. But, please don’t create a fuss now.”, said Adelle trying to keep the matter under wraps.
“Besides, we should now shake a leg now.”, suggested Anil turning the attention.
“Yeah, sure that would be so much fun.”, replied Evelyn.
The room seemed to have ample space for dancing for the four of them. The youngsters had quite energetic dance sessions and they seemed to have a gala time amongst themselves after a long time after the puja celebration ended. “Hey how about a couple dance?”, suggested Hritesh.
“Hmm… not a bad idea, I think.”, supported Angsuman.
“Can’t you guys think something simple rather than these weird thing?”, asked Adelle.
“No, we won’t. We would love to see you guys in each other’s arms.”, said Evelyn teasingly.
“Oye, Hritesh go and find a good romantic song from the playlist and play it fast.”, said Angsuman quite excitedly.
“Uff, really… “,said Adelle.
Though, Anil too wanted something like that but he didn’t. Anyways, the two of them danced together enjoying each other.
So, the party came to an end which was followed by a sumptuous dinner. It was quite a memorable birthday celebration for Adelle who didn’t have such type of celebration on her birthday before.
Gradually, time passed by slowly, Anil and Adelle in the meanwhile had celebrated their ‘Paper jubilee’ of their relationship. They have now been now studying in class ten and would be facing their first board examination the next year. The badminton matches have gone been reduced a lot due to bulk load of studies. Anil and Adelle sometimes met after a long interval.
“Uff, I need I break now and go for a long vacation away from these stressed schedule.”, said Anil as he meet Adelle after almost a fortnight.
“Yeah…sometimes I too feel stressed out. Specially, when I open the physics book I feel like why the hell on earth such subject came into being.”, replied Adelle.
“Yeah…quite true..”, replied Anil.
“We don’t have time for us together.”, said Adelle sadly.
“It seems like all of us had become busy all at once suddenly.”, added Anil grimly.
Time seemed to flow on like a swiftly flowing river. Meanwhile, problems began to crop up in Anil and Adelle’s relationship. Though, Anil seemed to try his level best to eliminate the problems and make things smooth as was before but the winds seemed to sail against him. Adelle seemed quite reluctant with it and she on the other hand was busy focusing on her career which was really a point of higher importance at that moment. She believed that with time everything would become normal again.
As more time flowed on things started getting worse. Though, they sorted out things many a times but new issues cropped up leading them to fall back again. Many a times Adelle even behaved quite rudely with Anil and they had stopped talking to each other for a while long. Anil found it hard to concentrate on studies and most a times he was in a sour mood. In school too he, who was quite popular among his friends and most of the times were seen engaging in different activities, seem to sit alone in the class wondering something or the other. His school friends asked him many a times why he suddenly became passive but he refused to answer. In tuitions too after school it was he would be the first one to end up any task that was given to perform, was now seen barely able to scratch a single word. In class tests he always secured the highest score but now he was performing even below the average. His performances deteriorated to alarming levels and at last his teachers had to inform his parents about it.
“Anil was really a bright student and we had lot of expectations from him. We thought he would become the topper of the school. But, recently something has happened to him. He has become very unmindful and boy who used to come up with the answer no sooner the question is asked remains blank nowadays when a question is asked. I have tried to talk with him many a times in private but he remained silent to me. We, teachers in the teacher’s room always told each other that he was exceptionally bright student in our batch and we used to boast of him. I request you have a word with him. You are his mother maybe he would up to you.”, said Anil’s class teacher as Shumona met her one-day.
Anil’s mother received the same complains from his tuitions too and she decided that it’s high time that she probe into the matter before things get further worse. In the meantime, Anil had asked Adelle for a meet with to resolve everything and start it a fresh but Adelle didn’t turn up. Anil waited for her long before returning home again sadly.
“Anil, what am I hearing about you these days? You aren’t studying at all. What is it that is being troubling you my son?”, asked Anil’s mother quite affectionately as Anil came home.
“No, maa I am perfectly okay. It’s the stress and tension for the upcoming selections that has caused quite a toll on me.”, lied Anil.
“But your teachers told me a different story. They told you remain inattentive in class and give a completely blank look when a question is asked as if from where on this thing turn up.”, asked Shumona quite intriguingly.
“No, maa, it’s nothing, I am just fine. You are taking tension for nothing. I will manage.”, said Anil quite coolly.
“But whatever your teacher told me was really worrying. Beta, please do study hard. Otherwise you won’t have good future ahead.”, replied Anil’s mother in a concerned voice.
“Ohh, the teachers sometimes tell those things unnecessarily. You don’t worry about me. I would definitely not let you down.”, said Anil cuddling his mother.
Things seem to continue as it was before. Anil realized he was putting his future at stake by neglecting the studies so he too had started trying to concentrating on studies. Almost a fortnight went by with Anil and Adelle without having a word. Anil who felt gradually low seemed to cope up with the emotions. One day, Adelle called up and that she wants to have a word with him in the evening.
“Anil, I am sorry to tell you that I don’t think there is any value of continuing this relationship like this. We hardly have time for each other and besides it’s affecting my studies. I don’t think compromising our career for this relationship. It know it’s quite hard and tough decision for me as well. It really is sad that I have to take such an severe decision like this.”, said Adelle as they met.
“Adelle, if you have chosen to do something like this I won’t stop you. But, if you ask me about my opinion I would tell you to give it a second thought. I know there are many problems even I, too found it hard concentrating on my work but still I am asking you to do so because I really don’t want to lose you. Can’t we Adelle?”, asked Anil begging.
“No, Anil I have considered a lot and really found it tough to come to such a conclusion. I know it will hurt but I think it would be the best for us. We have a long life ahead and we should focus on it. Even, I didn’t want our relationship to end this way. Please understand Anil and try to look the positive aspect.”, requested Adelle.
“Yeah, I have always valued you and your decisions so I think there is no point further perhaps to make this relationship work.”, replied Anil with a sigh. His voice was gradually becoming heavy. He had never loved someone like Adelle and letting her go this way was beyond his wildest dreams.
“ Anil, I know you have been neglecting your studies and from the brightest boy you have become the dullest. Promise me, that you won’t sacrifice your future and do your best to do bring out the best in you. I know it’s quite hard task to do it but you would try your best. Promise?”, asked Adelle.
“Yeah, Adelle it’s a promise. But, please Adelle don’t leave alone, please.”, said Anil finally breaking out in tears which he didn’t want at all.
“Anil, common on don’t do like this please. It’s for our good re. I know how much you love me but I don’t have a choice.”, said Adelle consoling Anil. She too felt her eyes getting wait but resolved stay strong.
Finally, after a long time Anil became quiet in Adelle’s arms. The sun had gone far in the west and the western sky has become reddish and in a few moments the sun seemed to sweep down the horizon. Like the sun suddenly went down the horizon Anil and Adelle’s relationship too came to a melodramatic end.
It has been six years then that the two of them never talked to each other ever. Even if they met accidently they avoided each other. Anil had scored quite well in his boards and had taken up science for his plus twos. He had managed quite well and his marks soared much higher in the twelfth board too. After which he had gone to pursue his degree away from home and now resided in a hostel. Adelle too seemed to fare good and she had always wanted to take up electro stats after tenth board. She was now pursuing Chattered Accountant and was on the verge of becoming one. They moved a long away from each other but not a single day had passed in Anil’s life that he wasn’t reminded of Adelle. Though, he had many relationships and would probably have in the near future but Adelle seemed to have cemented a place close to his from where none could take her away ever.
The darkness is slowly fading away as the night sky is leisurely getting illuminated by the dark blueness of the sky. The cock has already started crowing declaring that a new day is being born. Some birds that have already come out in search of food are seen flying across the partially blue sky. A cow in the street started cawing as if it was delighted at start of a new day. The eastern sky was turning reddish with a hint of orange in it. Meanwhile, the sky became a little prominent blue with the white fluffy cotton like clouds moving from one side to another. Slowly, a red ball was seen peeping out its head from the eastern half. Slowly, the fiery red fall seemed to come out from the horizon. Gradually, it gained power and rays of the sun spread all around demarcating the start of a brand new day.
The coos of the cuckoo could be heard from a nearby tree. The small tea shop just outside in the main road was seen opening the shop. A morning silence prevailed which was sometimes violated by zooming of some motorbikes carrying milk or a truck. As, the rays spread all around it gradually penetrated through the open window of a house revealing a bare chested boy deep in sleep facing one side. The room looked little messy as a rope ran by in the middle of the room parallel which seemed to be filled up with clothes, some of which seemed quite dirty and a paper was left rolled at a corner. Two ceiling fan seemed to be on providing the air circulation. There were other two beds in the room which were also occupied by two other boys who too were deep in sleep, one was almost clinging to the pillow as if he was about to fall while the other was seen sleeping with his mouth little open to breathe which was rather a funny sight. Swift cold morning breezes made way into the room making it ideal place to sleep.
Suddenly, a phone started ringing slowly causing a disturbance to everyone others in the room. Some sounds of disgust were heard too. But, the owner seemed to be not bothered as he continued to sleep unhindered. The phone became silent after vibrating and ringing, loud enough to wake others except the owner himself, for few minutes. The room became peaceful again and everyone went back to sleep again.
After few minutes later the phone started ringing again and this time it was successful in waking up it’s master who picked up disgustedly and brought it near his ears .
“Hello”, said a heavy voice deep in sleep.
“ Hello, is this Anil?”, came the reply in the other end.
“ Yeah definitely, who is this?”, asked Anil disgustedly.
“It’s Adelle here. How are you?”, Adelle’s sweet voice chirped into his ears.
Anil sprang up on the bed in shock pinched him to make him realize all the incidents are taking place in real time. Anil never expected that they would again talk ever. But, he kept his excitement suppressed and carried on quite formally.
“Hello, Anil, are you there?”, asked Adelle.
“Yeah, yeah I am there. But, why after so many years all of a sudden did you wish to call me back?”,replied Anil coming out from his room in the corridor of the hostel. It had been an awesome night and it had been almost 3:30 in the night when their party ended and everybody went to sleep. Anil too was now in a state of hangover as he held to the phone.
“How have you been? Actually, I wanted to have a word or two with you for a long time but didn’t muster the courage. But, today I made up my mind to finally call you up.”, replied Adelle.
“The same way just as you left me six years back. How are you? But, I thought we had all that we wanted to say each other on that.”, said Anil settling on a chair.
“Yeah, good. Anil, we need to meet I have lot of things to say. Besides, I have something left out to mention on that day.”, replied Adelle.
“I don’t think that’s possible at least now because I am residing in a hostel. Whatever you want to tell, tell me over now, what’s the problem.”, pointed out Anil.
“Actually, I can’t tell these over phone we need to meet for that at least for once. Besides, when are you returning to Kolkata?”, asked Adelle.
“Okay. Yeah, I am returning this Friday night.”, said Anil calmly.
“Oh, that’s day after tomorrow. That’s quite good. Okay, then meet on Saturday at around four in the evening.”, said Adelle.
“ But where would we be meeting? You didn’t specify that.”, pointed out Anil.
“ Oh, ‘Café Coffee Day’ near southern Avenue.” , replied Adelle.
“Okay, I will be there”, answered Anil.
“Bye, then. Meet you there on that day”, came the reply from on the end.
He expected the call to last long more but even before Anil could tell or ask anything more the phone hung up. Anil sat there staring blankly at the phone. He still felt he was in the world of fantasy. Anil never thought Adelle would ever call him someday. He waited for her call knowing very well she won’t call him back ever. He always thought of calling back at her number back at home and have a brief word but somewhere within himself prevented him for he still felt in no way he could return Adelle in his life unless she wanted it herself. Meanwhile, two questions popped up in Anil’s mind which still remained a mystery that he couldn’t unravel yet. One was why Adelle suddenly called up after so many years, where did he get his number even though his number was available to a selectable few and lastly what are the things that are yet left to be heard.
Anil thought hard trying to think in every respect to get a suitable answer but the things got too complicated. He thought it would be best if he now go and take a good nap because there was no way he could reach to a conclusion to these peculiar questions. So, Anil returned back to his warm cozy bed and dozed off to sleep. “Oae, Anil wake up it’s almost ten. Won’t you go for class today?”, said Amit trying to wake Anil up from his deep slumber.
“Aree, let me sleep for few moments naa. Classes are from ten thirty toh… “, replied Anil in a sleepy note.
“Oae dumb, did you forget it’s Thursday and the first class is of analog communication and too the most strict teacher of our department.”, replied Amit.
“Uff, it’s that terrifying class today.”, exclaimed Anil with a disgust as he got up and sat on his bed.
“Hurry up and get ready it’s pointless to complain now. Dress up and meet me in the dining room in five minutes.”, replied Amit hurriedly.
“Yeah, sure”, said Anil yawning lazily.
They finally made their way into the class right on time before the teacher came. Anil, as usual occupied a seat in that was not too far from the last bench but a little away from the first bench while Amit occupied the first bench like a good and intelligent student. “So, is the hangover gone or is still there?”, asked Mohan as he took the seat beside Anil.
“Yeah, almost and you?.”, replied Anil putting a hand on his shoulder.
“Hmm, a little bit. It was really fun last night.”, said Mohan.
“Hey, Anil, how was the result?”, asked someone from the back.
“Anil turned to face a girl smiling at her. Anil smiled back and said, ”Yeah, it was fine as usual. Yours?”
“Yeah, fine but the grades of dropped quite.”, replied the girl. There was lot of commotion and everyone seemed to be discussing about results and many other things. All of a sudden everyone became quiet and Anil looked at the door to find the teacher had just arrived.
“So, class today I am going to teach the negative feedback of the op-amp.”, began the teacher, no sooner she stepped into the class.
“Uff, he has started again.”, whispered Anil in Mohan’s ear.
“Seriously, she is boring. I feel like sleeping.”, replied Mohan.
“Shh..you two.”, whispered the boy, sitting beside Mohan.
Anil had no interest in the class and the teacher went on with her lecture. So, he pulled out the cell phone that he had purchased a few days back, an android phone with all the new software and latest gizmos packed in it. He launched the Fifa 15 game and started playing it. It was an hour class and after sometime when Anil paused the game and checked the time, only fifteen minutes had passed. Anil wondered today he had a wonderful yet amazing start of a day. Someone whom he still would love be with even after so many years there was a discord. He was feeling an excitation of what would happen on Saturday.
He also thought what Adelle what she would say after all these years. Anil began to think how the meeting would be and he seemed to feel an excitement pop up within him. He was hardly counting days when the big day would come and they would meet making a cherished dream come true.
The desired day finally arrived and Anil set out for home early in the morning. It would be a seven hours long journey back home but homecoming has always been an exciting journey and that too after two or three months later added an extra flavor to the excitement.
It was around one in the noon when Anil reached the terminal station. Anil’s mother has come to receive him as always and she was seen waiting for him. It was pleasurable journey back home. Anil freshened up and plunged into delicacies spread out on the table to pamper his taste buds. He savored the good food as he had always been a foodie and finally when he finished his lunch he was so full that he couldn’t get up from the table.
But Anil somehow managed to wake up on time to be able to leave for his desired meeting. It had been exact four on his clock as he reached “Café Coffee Day”. He looked around to find Adelle but didn’t find her. He went inside in search of her but returned disappointedly. He waited outside for sometime which seemed to be an hour when he spotted a girl approaching towards the shop from a long distance.
“ Hey, sorry to keep you waiting for so long. I was struck up in the traffic.”, said Adelle as she came near Anil.
“Arre, it’s okay, Let’s go inside and sit.”, replied Anil.
This time too Anil was dazzled by her looks though she was just in a jeans and tees with sparkling silver ear- rings that glittered in the sun-light. Anil noticed that she had considerably lost a part of her weight and a new pair of spectacles have added which had made her even more preety.
“So, where are you studying?”, asked Adelle as they took their seat.
“Oh, I am pursuing my bachelor’s degree from a college in Odisha. You?”, asked Anil.
“I always wanted to be Chartered Accountant and I have completed a part of it.”, said Adelle.
“ You have become more attractive in all these years. That specs too have significantly becoming more appealing on you.”, commented Anil.
“Oh, thanks. So can we order something? And have our conversation going over some food.”, suggested Adelle as the waiter arrived beside their table.
“Yeah, sure.”, said Anil. Though Anil was quite full but still he ordered an “Azetec” for him after browsing through the menu card for a while.
“Hmm…. So, how’s life?”, asked Adelle, ordering a “Devil’s Own” for her.
“Hmm.. fine. It was hard but still coped up.”, replied Anil who was quite anxious to know about this sudden meeting but was enjoying the brief conversation.
“Yeah, I too faced the same obstacles but with time everything seemed to settle.”, said Adelle quite thoughtfully.
“Can, I ask you something?”, asked Anil.
“Yeah, sure. Please feel free to ask.”, said Adelle with that smile which swept Anil away.
“So, do you have a boyfriend now I guess?”, asked Anil quite hesitantly.
“Hmm…I had but we broke back a long time now. The relationship didn’t even lasted a month.”, said Adelle taking a sip from the drink.
“Ohh…that’s sad.”, commented Anil sounding sad.
“And what about you did you find someone?”, asked Adelle teasingly.
“Naah, I had some relations of that sort but that lasted maximum one month and it was always been just casual ones.”, replied Anil casually.
“Oh, quite similar to my state.”, said Adelle taking another sip from her drink.
They chatted and laughed for a long time. Adelle almost forgot the main thing she wanted to tell Anil. After sometime, Anil took a long sip from his coffee and said,” So, you were to tell me something which you told you would. What is it?”
“Hmm…yeah.”, replied and took a long breathe. Then she began,” Anil, I don’t know how to put it but I am giving it a try. It was really foolish of me to end our relationship that way. I was scared; I became oriented to shaping up my career and didn’t even realize that this relationship was important for me. At some point, I thought that I would enough relationship in future like we were having but I was wrong. I didn’t realize the difference between necessity and luxury. Slowly, I got to understand that our relationship had gradually become a necessary part of life. So, Anil all I ask is can we be back together where we left?”, added Adelle.
Anil couldn’t believe what he heard and he became quiet for brief moment, not quite sure of what to reply. Then, after sometime, he finally spoke,” Adelle, I don’t know what to say and I am quite out of words at this moment. You won’t believe I waited six long years for this moment. I never imagined it will happen but didn’t lost hope.” Anil paused a bit to take a sip from his coffee as his throat became dry and continued,” Adelle, you were the most precious gift of my life and I never wanted to part with it. It would be obvious that I love to be with after all this long.” As, Anil finished his speech Adelle could see glint of tears of joy sparkling on the corner of his eye.
“Thank you for always been there for me. I thought you won’t understand me at least after all this long. I was quite unsure if you would ever agree to be back again. But it seems that I hadn’t quite understood you.” ,replied Adelle and her voice were becoming heavy slowly. They sat for a while in silence as they both became emotional.
Afterwards, two of them went for a stroll hand in hand after having done with their coffee sessions. After walking for a while Adelle stopped a bit. Anil asked,”What?” and looked at her. Adelle didn’t answer but clasped Anil’s palms tightly against hers as their eyes got transfixed. Adelle closed her eyes as if to prepare herself for a surprise. Anil stared at the girl whom he loved the most after his mother for a while and then slowly leaned forward and kissed Adelle’s lips which felt sweet as sugar.