They were from different worlds, Eugènie and Anirban. What made them come together? Each of them had their baggage. But love is so overpowering that it breaks many boundaries. Here’s an interesting love story, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
Eugènie, gently moved Anirban’s arms clasping her. She was careful not to wake him. They had slept off naked after crazy lovemaking. She got up to pee. She pressed the glass of cold water on her pink perky nipples, before drinking it. She loved the tingling sensation.
She cut off his sentence with a deep, passionate kiss.
A blond with sky blue eyes, Eugènie felt him swell behind her. He pushed her against the wall and entered her with a savage thrust.
A Bengali writer and poet, Anirban, in his late 40s, with a sonorous voice, was a respected scholar. He made the petite blond melt in his arms.
It was 5am, still dark. The Himalayan peaks with night lights, like stars, twinkled. The sky was slowly changing colours. Eugènie shot photos from the window of the hotel room. And then they slept, happily in each other’s arms. Anirban snuggled between her breasts and slept like a baby. She smiled and slowly dozed off.
Eugènie, a French photojournalist by choice, taught Sanskrit in the University of Paris IV (Sorbonne). An Indologist, she had been a student of Sanskrit, specialising in Vedas, in the Sampurnand Sanskrit University, Varanasi.
She met Anirban Bose accidentally. He was one of the visitors at her solo photograph exhibition, at Kala Bhawan, Banaras Hindu University (BHU). Eugènie had showcased 25 life size photos of Indian classical dances, in August 2002.
A casual talk with him, a professor in the Philosophy department, BHU, turned into a good friendship and more.
Eugènie’s eyes changed colours as she spoke. She told him, “I am fascinated by Indian classical dances. Bharat Natyam and Odissi are the two styles that stole my heart.”
Later that evening, she joined him for drink and dinner at his tastefully decorated apartment. Anirban had cooked a simple and delicious dinner. He took care to make it less spicy. She presented him a French perfume and a silk tie and he gave her a bunch of yellow roses.
Words gushed like mountain streams. They poured their hearts out. They lost track of time.
Chirpy Eugènie told him that she was a disciple of Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra. “I learnt the dance for five years. I took three years leave from my university to understand the intricacies of the dance form, inspired by the temple art. I wanted to photograph Indian classical dances. My journey began eight years back.”
Anirban was amazed. Such dedication and devotion made him feel insignificant. It also made him proud that a foreigner saw so much in Indian tradition that he, as an Indian, had taken for granted.
She told him that about a decade back, she had embraced Hinduism, at the Chidambaram Temple, in Tamil Nadu. Her Guru had named her Niranjana.
Anirban told her, “Your name has many layers. This is another name of Durga. It also means ‘a full moon night’ and ‘a river’.”
Talking about her life, she told him that she was unmarried. She was yet to meet the ‘right person’.
He told her that his wife, Bharti Kaul Basu, had deserted him on his birthday. A pretty Kashmiri girl, she was a morning person and would go for morning walk. On the way back, she bought milk, bread, vegetables and fruits. She rode her scooter back home with the day’s provisions.
“I had married her against the wishes of my parents. My mother had cursed me that I would never be happy. She never forgave me. My world crumbled and was in pieces, when Bharti left. She flew off like a caged bird that had been imprisoned all these years….On the side table, was a beautiful red rose and a card that morning. I was pleased.”
His voice choked. Eugènie sat next to him and held him in her arms.
Anirban continued, “When she did not return by 7:30am, I was worried. I saw her scooter parked. I panicked when she did not return by 9:30am. I called up friends, hers and mine, checked with her relatives. I sought help from my colleagues. It was Sunday. We went to hospitals and morgues. But there was no trace of her. I lodged a missing complaint. The police interrogated me, often. For them, the things did not add up. Birthday card, red rose and her vanishing. I was fucked up real bad. Every birthday, I weep bitterly. It’s a ‘happy death day’ for me, ever since she abandoned me. What a gift she gave me! It has been ten years now…”
“What hurt me most, Eugènie,” Anirban added after a pause, “She did not even bid ‘Goodbye’. There was no note from her. My mother has still not forgiven me. She did not come to stay with me even after Bharti left. I do my duty. I send her money every month. My father passed away two years back. I performed his peace prayers in Varanasi. I have a faint recollection of our Kolkata home, where I grew up. Our worlds cleaved the day I married Bharti. Little did I know that she would be my nemesis, my desolation and destruction. I am here now, forsaken and forlorn.”
“And what do you do, when you are sad?” Her heart melted for him. Stoically, he had faced his loss, she thought.
“I have immersed myself in books and writings. I compose dark poems these days. Sometime I sketch. My favourite medium is charcoal.”
He drank like a fish as he spoke. Eugènie took his glass away. “Stop, please,” she pleaded.
It was 1am. Too late for her to go back to her hotel room.
Eugènie got up early next morning. She checked the fridge and made breakfast for both of them. Toast and scrambled eggs. She cut some fresh papaya. There was cereals and milk too.
She knocked gently on the door of his study. Anirban was still asleep. Eugènie entered and called him softly. “Get up, Big Boy. Breakfast is ready.” Anirban, still sleepy, said, “Good Morning, Sweetheart.” He was addressing Bharti, his wife, in his slumber.
Eugènie blushed and ran out of the room. Anirban woke up with a start. He rushed out and said, “I am sorry…in my sleep….” She smiled and blurted, “I liked it,” turning red. They both laughed.
He quickly freshened up. They ate breakfast, stealing glances, like coy lovers. They smiled a lot. She got up to leave for her hotel.
Anirban held her hands, went down on his knee, and gallantly said, “I would love to have breakfast with you, every morning, for the rest of my life. Will you come home, Eugènie?”
This was the strangest, perhaps most unromantic proposal sans flowers and ring, she thought. Life is so different from the romantic archetypes. Perhaps she met the ‘right man’ in her life.
Eugènie bent and kissed Anirban deep. He gently rose. Took her in his arms and went to the bedroom.
They made wild love. They devoured each other. It was almost 11am. She had to rush to her exhibition and he to his department. He took three days leave. That evening Eugènie moved into his home and life.
They had lots in common. She taught Vedas and Anirban was a professor of Philosophy.
She sat on his lap, without a stitch, and they discussed Indian culture and philosophy and made love, often replicating the frescoes on the walls of Khujaraho temples.
They decided to work six months in their respective universities and split their stay between Varanasi and Paris.
Little did Eugènie and Anirban know that theirs would be a storybook romance; perhaps better!
Pix from Net.