By - Dr. Aniruddha Babar,
Tetso College, Dimapur
IT was Friday evening of 7th September. I was completely exhausted with another busy day at Court. After devouring my favourite Puri Sabji at famous ‘Pancham Puriwala’ i crossed an adjacent road to reach railway station. While waiting for a train at a crowded CST station in Mumbai i saw HER. She was fair, tall, slightly on a plumper side with curly hairs, chubby cheeks, and ooops a chewing gum in mouth too. I kept looking at her without moving my eyes away. She was wearing a blue Chiffon Sari tucked much down below her fleshy deep navel. Her silky, smooth arms were visibly shining through her sleeveless blouse. It seemed she lost in her own world with earphones disappeared deep inside the hollows of her ears taking her in a deep state of meditation. “God knows what is she listening”, I thought to myself. I tried to divert my attention elsewhere but could not. Her face was looking familiar. “For sure I have seen her before, but where”, question erupted in my mind like volcano. I kept stressing the strings of my memory but could not figure out and suddenly i realized she was none other than Shobhna- my senior in college- an inspiration of my writing, reflection of my heart, breath-of-almighty, my life, my love. I never thought I would ever get to see her again after college. She is looking so different, yet the same old one- a Goddess with golden aura whom I would worship secretly with a silent mouth and turbulent heart. .
“Hi Shobhna”! Suddenly words spurted out of my mouth. I was waving my hands. She looked at me with a big question mark on her face. “It’s me Zen, remember?”, I shouted. She started walking towards me, stopped and looked at me with eyes wide open.
“Zen! Is that really YOU? OMG look at you. We are meeting after 10 odd years. Where have you been man?”, words were spilling out of her lips. “Good old habit”, i thought. “She is still the same. Talkative, friendly, bold, beautiful and me? still the same-shy, introvert, lost, childish.” “Yes indeed, i never thought we would ever meet like this, i mean at a railway station”. I replied and wiped sweat off my forehead.
“What do you do these days”?, she inquired.
“I practice here in the High Court, what about you”?
“I am working in Paris as a Research Scientist, came back to India last month on an assignment, it is really cute to see you buddy, where do you live”?.
It seems my nervousness was still biting me. The way she was playing with her hairs was making me more nervous. “No doubt i was a lawyer, habitual to meet people of all ages and genders, but she was different. She was someone whom i loved and never tried to own, but rather i was content in worshiping her as my secret goddess and unattainable dream. Sometimes it is better to protect some of the dreams from our own demonic ambitions, that ultra-passionate zeal to win. Shobhna became an echo of my silence. Clouds of emotions gathered in my heart.”
“Hey ! Where have you lost?”.
Ummm nowhere! Oh yes, i stay at Thane. I came back to my senses.
“Wow! Then Mister we are gonna travel together today, i live in Thane too, and you are invited tonight for a dinner at my place”. She was sounding over-friendly. I don’t know why, but i always felt something very odd about her over-friendly nature.
“Okay! That would be great, God knows when we will meet again, so let us celebrate our reunion”, i said.
“Aww, look whos talkin”, she punched in my tummy. Meanwhile our train arrived and we got in.
“Not bad for a short stay”. I was admiring Shobhna’s One BHK apartment as we entered inside.
“Who cares ya, couple of days more and back to Paris”, she mumbled throwing her bag on a chair.
“Make yourself comfortable, water is there in a Fridge, i will be back in a jiffy”, she said as she disappeared in her bedroom.
Thousands of thoughts started gathering in my mind. “Why has she invited me to her house? In college though we were part of a same group but were never that close or maybe she is not thinking the way i am thinking. With age Shobhna has become more beautiful and charming. I know, i have strange admiration and respect for independent, intelligent and equally charming, mature-sensible ladies. Is she married? Oh i think she is. Why would a lady like her be still single?” My chain of thoughts was broken by Shobhna’s footsteps. She brought wine. I again got awestruck. She was wearing a beautiful maroon colored nighty, perfectly matching with the colour of wine.
“Zen, i hope you would love this”, she said as she poured wine in goblets.
“Sure, this is the only poison i prefer”. As she offered me a glass a strong fragrance of her perfume touched my nose. God knows what perfume she wore, but the fragrance was exotic. I was wondering.
“Cheers in the name of old friendship”, she raised her glass and touched mine. The silence and the chaos set in.
“Strumming my pain with her fingers, singing my life with her words, killing me softly with her song, killing me softly......” Shobhna started singing.
“Do you remember you sang this song at Polly’s birthday party’?
“Do you still remember that”? i was surprised.
“Zen, i remember everything about you. What i most vividly remember is your silence. Your singing echoed your silence, how could i forget that”? I was silently listening to her.
With a glass in her hand she stood up and went to the windows.
“Heart is just like this open sky, you need to open the windows to see it” she said as she pushed opened the windows wide.
“Shobhna, what about your family?”, i asked sipping wine.
She turned to me and sharply said, “Shall i bring more wine”? .
“Yeah, sure! Thank You. I replied.
We did not talk for some time. Curtains were blowing in the strong evening wind. i was lost in thoughts. Suddenly my favourite music fell on my ears. “Oh, it was original musical score of ‘Summer of 42’ a movie i adored for some unknown reasons”, i thought. I turned my head and saw Shobhna was standing in a corner like a statue. I kept my glass aside and went up to her. She was weeping. I was totally numb, all thoughts, it seems totally sucked inside a black-hole in my mind. She turned, looked straight into my eyes and hugged me like a child, weeping uncontrollably. Her body was brushing against mine. My shirt got drenched with her tears. I closed my eyes. After some time i felt a slight touch on my lips. Shobhna was kissing me. We both fell silent. I opened my eyes and saw hers looking at me. Her eyes were full of pain and longing. I knew i was dying to drown in them. Shobhna’s delicate body started brushing against mine and in no time we were passionately kissing each other. She was profusely sweating. Fragrance of her sweat mixed with her perfume only to set fire in my soul. I turned her around. Her eyes were closed with back rested against my chest. I kissed her ears and started sliding her nighty off her shoulders, Salty taste of her milky skin made me want her more and more. She slightly moaned. Time has stopped. Suddenly like a lightening she turned, pushed me aside, and ran to the open window. I was watching her silently standing there. Wind was blowing her hairs. Moonlight kissing her naked arms. She was standing there watching full moon as clouds disbursed.
“You failed to listen to the silence echoing your name in my heart. I was intoxicated by the longing of your silence for years, you have been a distant dream that i never wanted to realized, your silence produced chaos in my heart and taught me what love is. Today i am married, have two children, a wonderful husband but the silence that you ‘gifted’ me years ago nourished my soul and finally penetrated the layers of masks that I wore all my life.” She was talking.
“Zen, you were misunderstood throughout your life, but I was longing to understand you, but soon I realized I was as helpless as you were. A decade has gone and you became ‘reality’ for my hidden ‘ME’. Love doesn’t need Lovers to flourish.”
Was she talking, or was i listening to my own self? I again lost in my thoughts as i took her back in my arms. I was gathering myself in a sudden eruption of volcanic emotions buried inside the deepest chambers of the heart for years. Love, what is it? just a word? or a chaos in silence? Life goes on- marriage, children, wealth, status, old age and death. Where do we place ‘LOVE’ in all this? For sure, As Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein said, “What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.” This is what Shobhna and i did.