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Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Hoping against hope

Hope you are so near yet so far away;
The day begins with you until it fades away
Into the dark shadows covering my dreams
I wake up with sweats on my face and drums
Beating in my heavy heart- in the middle of night.
Hope, each day I try to come closer and you run far away
Your golden rays forever eluding me.
The evening approaching with its pink eyes looks so soft
In the western sky fascinates me- and my heart again
Starts hoping may be tonight you will come my way.

I used to dream about him quite frequently- and to my delight ' they ' my dreams were so happy. Those were the days when he was trying to draw my attention and slowly but steadily my heart was floating towards him. I was feeling guilty but I could not resist liking hem.
The fool that I am ' I went to Miss Barua and asked whether it is wrong to find somebody, other than my husband attractive. She said it is quite Okay, because the mind can be as young as 25 even at 50 but she also said something vague about not taking it too seriously or crossing the limit. I wander how can such uneducated and foolish woman run a professional clinic.
I dreamt that night a barbed wire fencing dividing my space into two halves. I was standing on one side where steps were going down to an ocean like river. On the other side of the fence Bittu in his school dress was sitting. I asked for his hand, he said ' I will give it to you after I finish my job'. So I thought I would wait, in the meantime, bathe in the river water. I was feeling apprehensive if the river suddenly turns rough, if huge waves drown me. But no, to my relief the river was quite calm.
In the morning I was wondering if the river symbolizes mother, what does the other side indicate. But I did not go to Miss Barua for explanation.
But from then on I was coming into closer proximity and our eyes met several times, with several emotions clearly visible, to me. I used to stay awake at night, wondering about those naughty, affectionate, determined to win over like expression in his eyes. It is true I was falling in love but why should he try it on me. Obviously, he was young, much younger than me. My suffering started. So the caution of Miss Barua went like straw dusts with high wind and I was flying like a gas balloon- full of coloured dreams.
This was a kind of feeling, I just could not suppress , nor could I let him go away, without letting him know how much he meant to me so I wrote the poem.
When silence is the only mate/ distance is dear/ A lonely voice looses string/ A heart is broken here
Well, why was he asking me those questions, are a mystery. He wanted to know about my married life whether we are happy. I did not tell him that day. Actually he was asking questions in such a guarded way, and I was so ashamed of myself. I tried to remain cool and be careful not to expose my softer side, I was not in control why should I be emotionally tortured thus. Why can't he just leave me alone?
Day before yesterday again I dreamt that he was calling my name- twice. I was sure it was him. I woke up and could not go to sleep any more. Yesterday in the afternoon again he came into my dreams, I saw him with wife in a semi dark room, asking me to tell about my life. I was having a mixed feeling. I wanted to tell him but was feeling hurt and humiliated . so I said I won't , then he vanished with his wife and I was calling after him frantically, please come back. I want to show all my wounds, I want to tell you every little thing that happened to me that hurt me how much I suffered in silence all through my life- but he was gone. So I thought I would write him a letter telling him everything but I could not come out of my bed. I could not break my dream, after a brief struggle, I was awake, and started to look for papers to write my life story and mail it to him- suddenly it dawned on me that I do not know his address- no, I know his address but I just cant send it to him for he so clearly told me to get lost with my foolish notions.
. I was so happy like old times. My marriage to Bittu's father was arranged and there was nothing between us than adjustment . My husband was twelve years my senior, a widower without issues, a man I never could love. May be the fault lies with me as I was in love with Ramesh my childhood friend and had to bow to the wishes of my orthodox father by way of sacrificing my love and marrying somebody I never could love. I found him repulsive, a hairy sort of fellow with a habit of blowing his nose and clearing his throat throughout the day. May be because he was a chain smoker and also addicted to snuff. But he did very well in his business and monetarily I felt secured. When my youngest sister married her boyfriend , who like Ramesh belonged to a different cast, I confronted my mother ' why is this discrimination, only to learn with disgust that being the eldest, my marriage to a Kayastha would jeopardize marriage proposals of their other issues. How selfish of them .
My husband lived in a different part of the country than my parents, with the passage of time and the birth of Bittu, Ramesh became a thing of the past, a sweet dream that once filled my heart. Bittu¦ Bittu¦Bittu¦..all round me- he was my world, I doted on him from the very first day I set eyes on him. My Bittu, my own son has grown into a handsome young man, I feel proud of- very much a mama's boy.
Then Hemen came to my life like a gust of wind that has traveled through lands and oceans over years and years from time immemorial. He was my husbands doctor- my husband was dying with cirrhosis of liver, was in extreme pain and I tried in every possible way to make his death as painless as possible, may be to atone for my inability to give him love. I arranged for everything that an institution could for a patient and that included Dr Hemen Basu, the most sought after, young and versatile doctor in town.
When , how and why it happened I do not know but it was too late- already I was upto my nose under water- I wanted to be rescued but there was no one that I can turn to Hemen, Hemen and Hemen, I craved for him, his tall stature, slightly stooping, loomed over me, his deep eyes penetrating mine, trying to drag out the truth. It was like my girlhood days, I kept forgetting that I was a mother of a grown up son, a wife of a husband who is in his deathbed and I plunged into the sea of sin. It is true I did not go into physical relations, as I was that typically hypocrite pretending that going to bed with Hemen is committing adultery but, craving for him, dreaming and imaging are not - a sad and degrading notion that women are taught from their childhood. Instead I waited on him with lust and servility neglecting the cause of his being here, pumping authority and confidence into the already arrogant soul. I was living in a make-believe world, full of nonsense romantic ideas and started attributing things that existed in my mind to Hemen, making him someone bigger than life. He kept on trying to nab me, whenever he would be at our place, with Bittu away in Bangalore and my husband in deathbed. May be he was not sure of me and did not dare force it on me, the fool that he was, I would have loved being forced into it, in that way I could have a clear conscience but nothing like that happened and one day death came silently and took away everything that I possessed.
After the funeral was over, Hemen came and bade us farewell. I felt as if a part of me was going away and I looked at him with panic ' Hemen appeared so aloof, so indifferent. Bittu and he shook hands and I sat there , with a burning heart, for a very different reason that a new widow may suffer from. Hemen had been coming to attend to my husband for the last one year during which period I never had the occasion to call him. He had always been very punctual very unlike doctors, and then there was that nurse who looked after my husband who might have contacted him in emergency. I dialed his mobile number- ring, ring, ring¦ and no answer. Once, twice , thrice. I thought it was entirely possible, he being a doctor, that may be he was busy with a patient. But I was impatient, I must reach out, I must talk to him, I must hear his voice, right now. So I dialed his home number. Someone else, a lady answered "No he is not home.. any message? May leave with me, I am his wife. Ofcourse, so foolish of me, how could I be so naive, never thought of his wife, his family, there was no reason at all to take it for granted that he was a bachelor, no reason at all. But it was a kind of a blow that I could not take smoothly- I put down the receiver slowly.
Bittu was reclining in a sofa with the newspaper in his hand when I told him that Dr Hemen Basu was married. Bittu reacted strangely. So what ' are we going to find bride for him and he laughed callously. "But Bittu Hemen loved me all these months, he cannot have a wife, it is unjust , he cannot do this to me. I talked some more about my feelings about Hemen when I read hatred in Bittu's eyes- " You bitch, you cheated on papa in his deathbed.. How could you ? have you gone out of your mind. " But Bittu you don't understand Hemen was mine , how can he have a wife, please son, call him, I will talk to him, I will die without him, please Bittu¦. I begged of him.
Everybody thinks I have gone mad but they don't understand how wrong they are. I looked out of the small high window to the night sky. I could see the full moon with its golden halo and a part of me wanted to be with Hemen. 'Hemen where are you' some one cried inside! Are you too looking at the moon Hemen? It is impossible- how could I be so knave? The way he looked at me. Was it all imagination. Did he only played with my feelings. My head throbbed violently. I so vividly recalled the innumerable occasions that I felt his presence, that our eyes met and the current that passed through. Can it be true that Hemen is not really married. Should I have made another call. But no they all said the dcc is married. The son of ¦¦. If only I could cry but it seems everything inside me have dried up. Oh Bittu, my child, my only son. Don't anybody care for me ? What is my fault? Will some one give me a glass of water! Is anybody there! I want to go to sleep. They have put me in this mad house but why, why can't I love someone of my own choice, why should I not satisfy my hunger, the burning desire, that my husband did not or could not. Why should I be a sucker, why could I not use Hemen for my satisfaction and throw him away- why?


I want you near me, I want you love
Are you in the empyrean, blowing with the winds
Floating in the ocean water or in the streams
Or have you been scorched dry
Can you hear me cry?
I want you dear me, I want your love
Echoes come bouncing back from the concrete world
The vibes I desperately send beyond your skies
They keep coming back
Can’t you hear me cry?
Desire that was secretly hiding in my soul
For the love in your body, unconquered unknown
Come to me oh Love , oh Love
Come to me as a boon !


"I love you too much but you do not respond. Actually you do not know me- I mean to say you don't realize how intense my feelings are. I am surprised with myself. Even after so many years, my love for you is as fresh and as young as ever. Why do you act so aloof! Why are you so rude to me? I want to be loved- not just physically but I crave for emotional, sentimental, soft and touch love.. something I can only dream of¦.
This was how Renu started . But she could not proceed further. She felt disgusted with herself. It is no use, no use at all. Renu tore the page from her diary as he has thrown Renu out of his heart! Has he really? Renu pondered over this particular point for some time. Does he possess a heart- of course not biological but atleast something to do with love, affection, emotion and what not. Renu decided against it. Bipin is definitely heartless. Renu could think of a hundred reasons good enough to prove it but she was not in the mood. She has no time. She remembered she had an appointment with the dentist- Dr.Roy Chowdhury. Funny, sort of fellow. How could such a dumb looking chap become a doctor is a wonder- but then he is only a dentist. Renu hoped Dr. Roychowdhury wouldn't keep her waiting for long. The appointment was fixed a 5.30 and it is already 5.15. She brushed her long hair and tied it into a ball, she put on her red chiffon, the latest , presented by her father and studied her reflexion in the mirror.. She was looking pale and not her usual self. She applied a little blush on- . Now she felt confident. Renu took the duplicate key of their flat, locked it and came out in the street. Shs opened the garage and stroked with love their blue Indica, another show of her dear father's affection for her. She never learnt driving though. Typical of her. Bipin is there, he will drive. Bipun did not object in so many words but he did not like the idea also that Renu should learn driving. For Bipin Renu was someone who can cook well, look after their two sons and keep the flat neat and tidy. She is also good in bed. Here also Renu stopped and pondered- is she really good in bed?- then why, they why- what went wrong! Renu suffered so much, suffered in silence. Renu wanted to tell Bipin how much she loved him. In these years of their marriage life she never uttered those words. She felt shy, she felt embarrassed. Bipin is always so casual, so matter of fact. Renu could almost visualize how Bipin would react if Renu expressed such emotions and blushed in shame. Renu rebuked herself- don't be silly. She muttered softly then suddenly became self conscious. But thank God no one was watching. She was still inside the garage.
She came out and pulled down the shutters. Stopping a taxi Renu hopped into it. The Sardarji asked "memshab, kanha jana hai?(lady, where would you like to go).
Renu took a deep breath and suddenly she felt that all she wanted was to be alone- alone with her dreams and fantasies evolving a lovely rainbow in the western sky. A September evening was approaching. The sky has taken a very soft hue of colours all mixed up with pink, blue and golden bringing with them memories of her childhood.
Renu Dear ! come over to our place for a few days. Ritu and her children are also coming. They will be here for a fortnight. It would b nice having you two sisters and your kids spending the pujas with us.
But papa.. You know I can't leave the house even for a day , let alone a week. The housemaid has taken leave and then there are so many other things to be attended to and Bipin has to go to office too. He wont be able to manage all by himself.
Don't be absurd Renu. Bipin is not a child. Your mom used to stay with her family for months together.
But papa you are different. Bipin is not like you- he is so helpless without me. I will go and meet Ritu ofcourse, but stay, I cannot.
Very well child, as you wish. But send my grandsons over- will you.?
Ok papa. They will be delighted
With a sigh Renu put down the receiver in the cradle when Bipin almost pounced on her.
What was that? why did you lie. Who told you I won't be able to manage by myself. You dirty liar. I would be the happiest man on earth to see the back of you. Pack your baggage and off with you this moment.
"Bipin please- not before the kids "Renu pleaded.
Bipin looked at her large eyes filled with dog like devotion and hurt
Oh shit, don't you look at me like that, you dumbbell? Bipin took a step to strike her but restrained himself when he looked at two pairs of terrified eyes clinging on to their mother like parasites.
Oh damn it- he stormed out of the room.
Oh mummy, please come with us to grandpas', pleaded the two in unison in a hushed voice lest they; arouse their father's ire.
Now, don't .. go to sleep like good boys. And don't be naughty at your grandpa's house. I can't leave your father alone, who will look after him, who will cook for him, who will wash his cloths, make his bed- she murmured more to herself, while tucking them to bed.
She came into the bedroom and closed the door softly. Even after putting out the light, she took some time to come to bed.Bipin turned impatiently, and found her warm and soft body naked beside him. The bitch, Bipin murmured under his breath while entering into her. That a woman so dumb, frail and timid could possess so much fire astounded Bipin every time he made love to her. It seems there is an insatiable fire burning inside her, which engulfed Bipin, destroying him, making him feel insufficient. He was never sure that he had conquered her totally.
Two very different souls lay side by side, exhausted and bitter, bound by a common desire.

He She and Love

He winked an eye
Now I shall dieMoaned Love
He had a body of burning passion
Eyes full of fire
She was only a lonely soul
Pining for a heart of gold
Loosing her way in Love’s desire.
The sun was shining in his eyes
The moon in her heart
With downcast eyes
Love standing bySaid
‘Dear here we part’.

Playing with nature

Four people were sitting under a garden umbrella on the beach. It is a private beach belonging to the hoteliers, Toshali Sands in PURI. The beach was almost empty, as it was midday, the sun shining high and mighty, but in January, even at this hour the breeze was cool, the sun not so hot and if you are relaxing in garden chairs, with an umbrella over your head and chilled beer for company, you would rather stay outdoor and enjoy the scenery wondering at the deep sea and its powers to charm and drown you than stay indoors.
Mr & Mrs Ramesh and Deepali Dutta were older of the two couples. Mr Dutta had just retired as a General Manager of R&C . He was short and small, very dark almost grayish with a head full of thick black hair, the colour though belonged to Oriel than to any inherent quality in himself. A closer look however would reveal that he had a pair of very kind eyes. Mrs Dutta, on the other hand looked like a white pumpkin, soft, round and very fair. The half finished beer glass that she was holding some how seemed out of place. A glass of orange juice perhaps would have gone better with her looks.
Mr & Mrs Arun and Shanti Banerjee were relatively young, Arun, a Chartered Accountant by profession was the senior partner of ABC & Co., he was tall, broad shouldered, having thin gray hair which had become thinner at the rear ,making a little bald patch at the back. He had a hooked nose giving him a cruel look, which he was not. His wife, Shanti was a beautiful woman. Mrs Dutta was looking enviously at her perfectly manicured fingers. How could she look so perfect and so fresh at all hours of the day, was a thought that bothered her. There was a suspicious noise from, it seemed to the others, the bottom of Mr Banerjee's chair. Don't do that in public- Shanti was visibly irritated. Her husband's habit of breaking winds in public was one of his innumerable habits that embarrassed her to no end. Mr Dutta cleared his throat unnecessarily and Mrs Deepali Dutta stared fixedly at her beer glass. What a nasty woman. Imagine embarrassing your husband like that. Poor fellow as if he had done that on purpose. Her soft heart melted with human kindness for the now red faced Mr Banerjee. Mr Banerjee, who on his part, however, looked upon his wife with terrible respect bordering almost to awe felt suitably admonished like an errant schoolboy. Arun married Shanti when she was only nineteen a soft and shy baby doll. Arun grew up under the shadow of a domineering and exacting mother and immediately fell head over heals in love with the fresh new thing. After his mother passed away, slowly but steadily he started searching for his mother in his wife. Being childless Shanti, fitted perfectly into the role and with the passage of time know one knew when and how the transformation was made complete.
Mr Dutta broke the silence; anyone wants to take another dip? He asked to no one in particular. Shanti put her glass down and started towards the water without answering. Mr Dutta looked at the others- not me, I am too tired already, replied Mrs Dutta. Arun only shook his hand like a sullen child. Mr Dutta shrugged and the two figures went running into the sea.
Mrs Dutta gave him that wistful look, which have captivated Arun, despite the fact that he had a much younger and a striking looking woman as his life partner. They had come to this place for a week to relax. They were neighbors and good friends for over five years but during all these years Arun had never really noticed Mrs Dutta. She was to him his neighbour's wife, a dutiful wife no doubt and a good hostess, always attentive to the needs of her guests. They came here last Friday and today is Wednesday. They were scheduled to return by Sunday. Mrs Dutta was very possessive about her milk white complexion and she rarely ventured in to the sea and Arun was afraid of the water, he had an accident in his childhood when he was almost drowned and he did not know swimming. This time also he would accompany Mr Dutta and Shanti to the water, stand there at the edge where the waves could reach him only upto his ankle and would come back to his chair, bottle and the company of Mrs Dutta and while chatting with her about nothing in particular, Arun was quite taken up by the simplicity of the woman, so different from his own wife. The way she looked at him or more correctly the way she could not hold his glance for long and would start looking down at her finger nails, blushing would make his deflated ego pump up. This woman seemed to hold him in high esteem and the two of them seemed to agree on most things, while Shanti would invariably go in the right direction whenever Arun was on the left. It was an uneven and unequal short time comradeship between Mrs Dutta and Arun and the attraction, as is in most such cases, was acute from both the sides.
During these morning bathing sessions, most of the unspoken words were said between them through the eyes. Though this type of flirtation was not really new to Arun, for being one to put up with a woman of Shanti's caliber as a life partner, Arun had wondered into relationships earlier also though none of them were big , deep or near enough to trouble Shanti and Arun who considered himself to be a perfect gentleman never went beyond kissing and touching.
Shanti, who knew her husband inside out, read the symptoms and was immensely infuriated and depressed. It is not exactly flattering to know that your husband is having an affair with some other woman and if that some one was someone with whom you have to spend your holiday, who, according to you, resemble more or less an outsized football, would definitely make you angry with everything that you would come across and that was what was wrong with Shanti. Last night at dinner while Arun and Shanti were in the middle of their usual tiffs, Mrs Dutta deliberately interfered and took sides to her annoyance and Arun's pleasure. Mrs Dutta made it abundantly clear that she preferred Arun and disliked Shanti. She did not stop at that, while Shanti was expressing her feelings before going to bed, Mrs Dutta knocked. May I borrow an aspirin Mr Banerjee, I have a terrible headache! She deliberately ignored Shanti who was applying cream on her face & neck. It was not the first night also, for the consecutive three nights Mrs Dutta would knock on one pretext or other before they were ready for the bed. Before Arun could reply Shanti answered in the negative and slammed the door on her face. After giving Arun a thorough thrashing, who vehemently denied having any soft corner for 'poor Mrs Dutta' Shanti fell in to a disturbed sleep. She was up earlier than usual and took a brief run upto the beach. They had breakfast and were into the water for a long time. An exhausted Shanti and Mr Dutta joined the other two on the beach. Shanti took her beer when she thought she was finished for the day, but when Mr Dutta invited, she could not resist and moreover the thought of sitting between the two made her walk towards the water.
Once she stepped into the water however, she felt happy and carefree. The ocean always fascinated her. She was laughing, jumping and playing with the waves to her hearts delight. The ocean on its turn sent waves, one after another, and started drawing her away from the beach. When she realized that she had come a long way from the beach and could see only water all round her she tried frantically to reverse swim, but the beach was no where in sight. The sea, it seemed was aroused by her playfulness and started playing with her with its thousand arms, throwing her body like a straw over the waves and under them making her beg for life, crying for help and loosing her strength. Her cries for help were blown away by strong breeze and drowned by thunderous sound of waves falling on the beach relentlessly. In her dying hours , Shanti had a feeling that the ocean that she loved for so long and so passionately was merciless, deaf and had no heart.
We are going back to the hotel. Are you coming? Mrs Dutta asked. No! Please don't wait for me, I will be in half an hours' time ' Mr Dutta answered back. Everybody seemd to have forgotten Shanti for the moment.
Arun escoted Mrs Dutta to her room. I am sorry for last night, Shanti had been rude to you- he said and looked down at the inviting lips. Mrs Dutta, who for the first time in her life had looked at any other man and was looked at by any one other than her husband, was literally trembling with guilt and expectation when they heard the alarm gong sound.
The day rolled in to a nightmare, Arun with Mr Dutta and the rescue party ran endlessly along the beach searching for her. Every time Arun thought of Mrs Dutta, he suffered a heart attack, sense of guilt engulfing him How could I be such a crass ? Please Shanti come back; it is you and only you. Oh God, give me a last chance, you cannot be so cruel; you cannot punish me this hard for a small lapse- oh no, oh no. Please give her back. But no matter how much we pray or fret nature's course cannot be reversed
Next morning a devastated Arun, sat alone looking at the sea, which had taken away the only thing that he treasured in life. In his mind's eye, Shanti appeared in her youth, hurt by his unfaithfulness, driven to desperation into the arms of death.
Mrs Dutta was talking in a hushed voice to the other inmates of the hotel about how the two always fought and how temperamental and spiteful a woman she was, suggesting involuntarily that it was a deliberate act. With her limited imagination and mediocrity of nature she assumed that Shanti did it on purpose to spite the two. Mrs Dutta, all her life till now, had played the role of mere a wife and mother, who looked after the domestic side, cooked and served. She had never been a friend to her husband in the true sense of the term.
Mr Dutta, with a clearer conscience guessed that may be Shanti should not have gone into the sea alone after a few glasses of bear and that he should not have left her alone in the water.
Nobody knew exactly what happened. For they did not experience how forceful the sea was and how dangerous it is to play with Nature.