some other time that never came…

waiting-woman-detail-face 

“Let it grow, let it grow…
Let it blossom, let it flow…
In the sun, the rain, the snow…
Love is lovely, let it grow.”

I browsed through the pages of my diary again…I had written these lines while thinking about you years back….the worn out pages of the diary filled with dust is all that’s left now…it cherished a few scribbled thoughts here n there…thoughts that have been disconnected in the whirlwind of time.

Thoughts of you came alive after all these years…the dusty diary does not match with my feelings that I still hold for you…so fresh…so much like before…the heart still craves to meet you…still feels the warmth of your breath….with a lot of dilemma in my heart I finally dialed your number…is it still the same?? Or have you changed the sim?? There it rings…once…twice…thrice…and the familiar hello…a deep baritone….my heart stopped beating for a moment….it took a few seconds for mee to resume and gather myself back…I cleared my voice to ask a brief: “kemon achho? Chinte parchho amay?” (“hi how have you been? do u recognize me?”) a brief pause and silence that seemed eternal… “is it you? Really? After so many years?”

It’s been 10 years…I looked into the mirror as I answered, “yes…its been long enough…10 years”. Once a very chirpy, bubbly 20 something is now a 30 plus married lady…the conversation slowly picked up its pace…from mere formal questions like “how have you been” and “what are you doing in life now” it took twists and turns through the lanes left behind…

My days now begin with making scrambled eggs, dropping my kids to school, standing in the long queues at the auto stand to get to the workplace on time and reading books at night before falling asleep as my husband, subir, dozes off to sleep after taking a drink while watching the news channel after dinner.

My life was still going on…until one afternoon, when I had taken off from work, had called you up…the long forgotten images flashed again….had I really forgotten it all or buried it deep in my heart and moved on with life…the conversation wasn’t for long…yet it had left mee think for the whole afternoon…think about the days when we would fight and then I would cry and you would buy mee goodies to cheer mee up….these days I don’t cry anymore….i remember the last time when I had cried….it was a lazy afternoon like this…the mercury had risen high….the hottest day of the year I thought as I waited for you at the bus stop….desperate to let you know my father would get me wed soon…I was agitating…private cars, buses, taxis, and autos raced through the road…I stood there waiting anxiously until dark…before I finally realized you would not come…never…

Your voice sounded strange after all these years…but familiar…the last words you uttered. “will you meet mee?? Once??” kept ringing in my ears…I hadn’t answered you then…although I wanted to take a plunge into this lucrative offer….i was curious and excited…I hadn’t answered you then…but now I know I would…its an irrefutable war that I raged with myself…I had thought enough and finally called you back again…

“Am coming…same time, same place”… you sounded surprised, “does madhab da still run his small coffee shop beside the swimming pool? Hasn’t anything changed yet?” I smiled, “will be there sharp on time”.

I spend the next 20 minute deciding and getting more confused about which saree to wear…finally I choose the white and dark green bomkai….accessorized it with a triangular shaped copper plate like pendant hanging along a black thread…two round green and white bindi…a shiny transparent lip balm…one wooden black bangle around my left hand…I took a look into the mirror…I was nearly ready….no something was missing…or was it a lot visible??

As I rushed to the nearby CD parlor to pick up a baul and dylan’s latest collection for you…I took a glace at myself in the store’s mirrored wall….i looked tired and old…the next hour and a lil more was spent lazily at the beauty parlor, trying despondently to reduce those fine lines, those strands of grey here ‘n there and get rid of that tanned tropical look and the dark circles under my eyes…

It was 5 in the evening…a busy crossing…I had come out from the parlor…there was a glob in my throat…I was nervous…looking anxiously stupid….i had looked at the watch…this was possibly the third time that I had confirmed that I wasn’t late…will u be waiting for mee?? Was I late?? Will I recognize you?? Will I be on time?? Do you look the same?? Questions….doubtful questions…they all cluttered in my head…and now the most difficult question… will you look at mee the way u used to when we were in college?? I still remember every word u uttered…every small lil detail…every late night conversation…every fight…every ice-cream…every rain…every coffee we shared…every endless walk…every warm breath…

I had finally managed to dial your number once again…just a confirmation that you were coming…the busy tone…I agitated…the uncertainty was creeping in…then I thought u must be calling mee…I waited for a few seconds which seemed like a timeless wait…nimble fingers dialed your number again…the monotonous ring tone…pick up…pick up…pick up…the familiar voice finally picked up after a long ring…

I anxiously said, “aschho toh?? Ami ki late hoye gelaam? Please ektu wait koro tahole”… (“are you coming?am i too late? please wait for a while then…”)

“oh tumi…naa, sorry aaj hoche naa…ektu kaaj eshe gechhe…some other time may be…” (“oh its you…no, sorry cant make it today…some urgent work has cropped up…some other time may be…”) you uttered carelessly…the same words…the same tone…you had uttered years back after I had waited for hours at the bus stop for you….
Deserted, I felt disconnected from the world…the cars honked unnecessarily trying to hurry pass each other on the busy crossing…crowds returning from work ran for their lives chasing crowded bus…as if it would be the last bus on planet to take them to their destinations….

I took a look at my watch again…subir would be home soon…it was time Mrs. Chatterjee headed for home…the lip balm was feeling sticky…it was time to get back to my life….my world…some other time never came…

 

 

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