The Unsaid Longing

It was the usual warm afternoon in Kolkata. Like every typical Bengali household, the magical aroma of mutton curry filled the room. Little Rupsa smiled as it was her favorite dish that granny had prepared. Leaving her drawing sheet, she ran to the kitchen and hugged her Dida. “Give me the pipe, Dida.” Granny smiled and took out a small dish and served Rupsa her favorite bone marrow piece.

Knock, knock!

“Wake up, Rupsi! You are already late.”

Rupsa rubbed her eyes and looked at the clock.

“O my God! It’s 9.00 A.M! Where am I? Was I dreaming?”

Tanya, her roommate, was dressed for office.

“You OK? At least thank me for being kind enough to arrange your breakfast”, she said winking and went off.

“Your Dida is unwell. She really wants to see you”, her mother’s voice trembled over the phone. “See if you can manage few days of leave and visit her.”

“I’ll try, mom” Rupsa lied.

At a private hospital in Kolkata, Dida looked out towards the door hoping her little granddaughter would come running and hug her tightly. It had been two years since Rupsa went to Singapore for some official work. Her weary eyes waited every second to get a glimpse of Rupsa. She had few video calls with her on Skype but technology could not be the answer to everything. Video calls could not give the same warmth as she could by combing her granddaughter’s hair or talking hours on end about anything and everything.

Rupsa was uneasy. Something was not right. She was stuck in the same presentation for over two hours! “Enough of this. I’m going home. Maybe I’ll get some sleep and be fine tomorrow.”

Back in her den, Rupsa put on her favorite ‘Tequila Sunrise’ track and delved into a dreamy haven. Chains of thoughts, memories, and people ran through her mind—it was all very confusing. Suddenly, something (or was it someone) poked her. She startled and woke up with a jolt.

Silence. Deathly silence.

Cutting through the garb of this silence, the mobile phone rang. “Hello?”

Her mother’s voice quivered, “Rupsi, your Dida is no more.”

Tears welled up in her eyes. An enormous sense of guilt coupled with tearing grief was wreaking havoc inside her. But wait! Who poked her? Was she hallucinating or was it her Dida who had come to bid little Rupsa the final goodbye?

She would never have the answers to these questions anymore. But she now realized how strong must be the urge of her Dida to meet her. Wiping off her tears, she packed her bag and set off to bid adieu to her Dida’s lifeless form one last time.

The Man Who Couldn’t Sleep

3

His nerves grew weary as dusk approached. The journey from dusk to dawn always seemed a mammoth task. His body ached but the eyes refused to sleep. Mr. Sarkar was no stranger to this experience. It was years since his insomniac eyes spared any mercy on his aging body.

To the people around him, Mr. Sarkar had a perfect life. A retired professional, Mr. Sarkar had two able sons and their wives, and an extremely caring wife. Yet, there was something that constantly nagged him—a thought. A thought that gripped him with fear, a fear so powerful that he lost sleep for the rest of his life.

Innumerable chain of thoughts raced through his mind. Bereft of his parents at the tender age of five, Mr. Sarkar was left at the mercy of his uncle. He remembered how he had run away from his village and boarded a train to the city. He struggled but never gave up. He worked in a paper factory during the day and studied hard at night. Lady luck smiled on him when he got a job in one of the leading companies of the country. With time, his labor bore fruits and he earned promotions one after another.

Thereafter, Mr. Sarkar’s life experienced no major turmoil. He married a simple girl and became the proud father of two sons. They were the apple of his eyes; his world revolved around them. To sum up, Mr. Sarkar’s life was what a common man desires —a good wife and two children. “What could ever go wrong? And sons mean security, right?” was the conviction of people around him.

Then they grew up. “This generation is too fast, too mechanical, too impatient”, his friend, Mr. Ghosh, opined during their morning walk regimen. Being a retired judge, Mr. Ghosh had too many stories to share, and each story more painful than the other. Mr. Sarkar listened intently, his mind all worked up. He not only listened to Mr. Ghosh’s stories but absorbed them. Soon, he started living them.

As night approached and darkness ensued, unknown fears gripped him. He was locked in a dark room with no one by his side. He had to take a decision—to sign the documents his elder son had left on the table or stay locked forever. The next moment he was lying helpless in his bed, his heart sinking in grief at the thought of his younger son leaving him forever for a career abroad. Was this really happening to him? Or was this some story that Mr. Ghosh narrated to him the previous morning? Drops of sweat covered his forehead and his eyes opened wide. He pointed the little torch by his bedside on the wall. The clock read four.

He turned around and found his wife sleeping peacefully. Maybe this was just an illusion, a nightmare, or a signal from the stars above that darker days are ahead. “How can life be so comfortable for me while others of my age are suffering? Life couldn’t be that simple. My sons cannot be that grateful to what I have provided them.” Pacing across the room, he remembered the times when the entire family would spend time together. That was passé. These days, nobody has time. Everyone wants space. ‘Space’—that’s the word he had been hearing for quite some time and it intrigued him why everyone complained of a ‘space problem’ in spite of living in a big house!

The morning light crept through the curtains. Yet another night had passed, yet another day to prepare him for the next…

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Rendezvous with dreams

Delusional Cover Photo

What are dreams made of?

Of memories lovely and grim

Of wishes light and deep

Of ambitions sky high and soaring

And of people whom you miss within.

Dreams are curious objects

They come in a flash and disappear

Sometimes leaving a void within

Often inspiring to take the plunge

Or shaking up some buried thoughts

Of times bygone or people behind.

My date with dreams is due tonight

And I know not what’s in store

A nightly scare or a wish fulfilled

A brush with success or some effort failed.

No matter how my dreams fare

I am in love with them.

Dreams are special

For they show me the way

“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield!”