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Reading Time: 8 minutes

The protagonist Pragya, now settled in Mumbai, is writing an email to her childhood friend, Paroma, in Kolkata. A cocktail of emotions is whipped up, a gossamer weave about Pragya’s life and her beloved Kolkata. A story by Ipsita, exclusively for Different Truths.

It Rained Today
Calming droplets of soothing balm
On a parched and arid mind

It drizzled colours
Of green, blue and aquamarine
Pouring its heart out
On and on…in gushes
In pangs of images
Some beautiful
Some heart wrenching
All soulful

And the music
And the colours
And the words
Danced around in exhilaration
In abandon
With the rush of rains

***

Hey Paroma,

Tui kothay? (Where are you?) Neither you take my call, nor call back, what’s up? Have you forgotten, Pragya, your bestie?

Here I am on a crazy schedule flying in and out of three cities trying to keep to these almost impossible deadlines, missing you like crazy…

Here I am on a crazy schedule flying in and out of three cities trying to keep to these almost impossible deadlines, missing you like crazy…
Aar tui… kothay, babes? (Where are you, babes?). Anyway, was missing you very much.

I guess it will always be Bombay to me, not Mumbai. Ojhore brishti porche… (it’s been raining cats and dogs). Today, while working, I miss Kolkata and am nostalgic.
Amar brishti bheja kolkata… (My rain-drenched city). A warm cup of tea in an earthenware cup. And poetry.

I have sent a poem, I just wrote. Tell me how you liked it.

Back at my apartment now, Paro. Yet to hear from you. It’s been a long, long day. But that’s the way it is at work and I am not complaining. Just tired. Longing for a familiar face … smiles…a warm cup of tea…when I come back to what I call home…

In so many ways Paro, my beloved best friend, you and only you are my home.

Then when your face always flashes before me. In so many ways Paro, my beloved best friend, you and only you are my home.

I wanted to speak to you. Particularly after I read your mail telling me about the Child Care Centre and how you want to throw yourself heart and soul into it. Proud of you, Paroma. You were always firebrand.

I was the docile one, remember? Long tresses, shy eyes, the softie?
So in love with love, marriage, children. Never ever thinking beyond it.

And when my marriage was fixed with Arun, I was so happy. In so many ways I thought he was the Universe’s gift to me. He was well read and well spoken. He could weave beautiful words together. He could paint. And he was already part of the corporate world.

Alas! Dreams come crashing down.

He was my dream. And I dreamt of how we would create our loving little private world. Alas! Dreams come crashing down.

He wanted to marry me all right. Just as a front. As a cover. For his true love was another man.

Arun was the first guy I had kissed. I wanted to have his children. Artistic creative little beings. But instead, he loved a man. Well, love is what it is. And it was absolutely fine if he loved another. It’s the deception that I hated. The fact that he wanted to marry me to deceive everyone else, including himself.

My first bitter shock.

So, you see my friend, love hurts, even the perception of love hurts. As Tagore had said:
“Sakhi bhalobasha Kare koy
Shey ki keboli jatanamoy”

And I say

Afloat
We all are like balloons
Tethered
But longing to fly.

Humans dream on.
So did I.

My workplace at the luxury hotel became my alternate home.

Took on a job, just to get the shock of Arun off my mind. And worked damned hard at it too. My workplace at the luxury hotel became my alternate home.

Aaj anek holo. (So much for today). Listen where are you Paro dear? Just sent you a WhatsApp message. This wait is killing me…

Killing fields of love…
I seem to be an expert walking right into it
Tragedy is that there was not even a drop of love.

At least you found love. Be thankful for it, dear Paro. At least you knew love. And you were loved back too. That in itself is a benediction.

Janis toh (you know) Love can’t be chained in any format … certainly not a social contract called marriage. If love develops within the folds of marriage, then that’s wonderful.

But tell me, aren’t there enough so-called successful marriages floating around without any love whatsoever.

But tell me, aren’t there enough so-called successful marriages floating around

PC: DepressionAlliance.com

without any love whatsoever. Tied up in bonds of investment over children and property with perceived security for the future… a future which in its very definition is unknown and hence why do we chain our future to loveless marriages and how on earth do we ratify them as successful? Beats me!

I remember us twenty years ago! You the idealist, the feminist, the rebel … ready to go to any lengths for the cause you believed in and crazily in love with your adorshobaadi (idealistic) boyfriend, who had his beautiful head up in dreams… and I who had no time for any boys and was too busy grooming myself to be the ideal wife, always believing that it was in the everyday acts of marriage and rearing children that one found a mature sensible love…And look what happened, Paroma. Look where we both are today?

Still alone within or outside marriage and still with each other sharing our deepest darkest thoughts.

How some waste their lives, while others waste love or are wasted in love…

Remember that little girl, Prakriti? Your cousin who mooned and swooned over my wasted cousin Sandip? Gosh, how she loved that boy, for what I wonder? His pop singer looks and quivering voice? Sandip, her love … gone forever to the overdose of cocaine, which used to be his true love. Thank the universe that Prakriti is safe and hopefully happy in her faraway home. How some waste their lives, while others waste love or are wasted in love…

Remember, how you convinced me to give myself a chance at love? How I finally agreed to marry Tej mainly because I wanted my children so desperately. Tej was supposed to be the knight in shining armour especially post my mishap with Arun. Tej with his Ivy League education and a slick corporate job, Tej with his sporty car and designer tees, Tej…

I didn’t expect the sun and moon with Tej. I didn’t expect him to be a soulmate. At least not the way I had thought Arun and I would be. At least not immediately. We were different. But we were both seeking good companions and longing to start a family. Or so I thought…

I was warmly welcomed into Tej’s family. With cake and champagne and a befitting wedding. Mumma, Tej’s mother adored me. And I fell in love with her. This was a Saas-Bahu love story. Funny isn’t it? So different from the usual narrative of mother-in-law and daughter in law squabbles…If only Tej had been moderately regular.

I was married to domestic violence. I was married to a maniac. I was married to hopelessness.

My horror story started on my honeymoon. To my utter shock, humiliation, and dejection, I was bruised black and blue. Alternating between brutal sex and mood swings that would leave him battering me up. I was married to domestic violence. I was married to a maniac. I was married to hopelessness.

Mental health has never been taken seriously in our country. It’s time to get the issue out from under the carpet into the open. Denial is more dangerous than the issue itself. I struggled with Tej’s denial of his mood swings, which were an everyday affair, especially at night after the day’s stress. Denials begot lies and lies lead to more lies. And then there was the everyday thrashing, kicking, throwing me out of the apartment high drama.

How did I manage those traumatic years when I felt dead inside?

How did I manage those traumatic years when I felt dead inside?
I held on, on hoping something would change…Reaching out to Tej’s parents. But they were in denial too.

In sheer hopelessness and after a particularly brutal beating, something snapped in me. No one was sorry. The brutalisation was getting more severe. Clothes were being torn off my body. I was being picked up and literally thrown around and Tej at 6 ft. 2 in. was physically too strong for me to fight back. I was married to a sick man. But he had no intention of sharing his sickness with his wife and coming clean with it.

I packed up my marriage in two suitcases and left.

PC: thebetterindia.com

I remember that morning post a horrifying night where I was first thrown out of the car, then beaten up … I was shaking but I was calm… in the half hour between Tej’ s leaving for work and me going to work, I packed up my marriage in two suitcases and left.

My heart had stopped. I was a robot. My colleagues were angels. I hadn’t shared this bit of my life at work. So, they were shocked. But they quickly moved in. And took over. I was broken… and my juniors and seniors made it their mission to help me heal. Yes, angels come to us in human forms. And I need to acknowledge them.

And So
I chose
To lose
Myself
To beauty
Sunshine
Fragrance

Over losing
My heart
To someone
Who never
Cared
To caress
Cradle or
Cherish

The abundance
That life upheld
Between Us

So limited was he
By his own
Constrictions

Ten years since that day, Paroma. Ten long years. And your best friend has moved on.

That docile big-eyed little girl, who had conditioned herself to be, ‘the good wife’ and who had only wanted children of her own, instead made her work for her family, her team her children.

That docile big-eyed little girl, who had conditioned herself to be, ‘the good wife’ and who had only wanted children of her own, instead made her work for her family, her team her children. She is a godmother of six ‘kids’ coming from diverse backgrounds, ranging between thirty to three, and two of them with mental health problems.

And yes, you dear Paro
My sense of home
Even though we are so many miles away
Caught in apparently different lives.

I want to celebrate this day with you. The day when I found the courage to walk away from abuse and denials. And as a dear older colleague had mentioned, “This courage was not for me. But for the thousands of women who succumb to lies and abuse every day for the lack of education, employment and the fear of social stigma.”

That’s why I longed to talk to you, dear Paro. To thank you for being there with me every step of the way.

Next time, I go home to Kolkata, my beloved rain-drenched city, I will visit our old haunts with you.

The boat ride on the river
The lights in the evening
The swirling waters
And the hot cup of tea in the earthenware cup at Princep Ghat.
Dalhousie and it’s old Victorian buildings
The sea of people
Life!

And I will visit your Centre for Children for it is they who will lead the future.

Rains that delight us and wash away our tears.

For now, let me celebrate the wetness of earth, sitting here in this city and dreaming about another. Rains that delight us and wash away our tears.

Bye my love, signing off with a poem, as I cherish the essence of petrichor.

Your Bestie,
Pragya

The Rain Dance           

PC: acupunctureblueturtle.com

This city smelt blue
Soft blue
Tender blue
Mysterious blue

Drenched
In waves from heaven
As it poured out its heart
In a deep growl

My city looked loved
Washed in it
In a blur of light
Soft pink and virgin white

Pure~ Free~ Unshackled ~ Unburdened
My city danced before my eyes
As the rain wreaked havoc on her heart
And she was all, but lost in it.

Author’s Note: All poems are from the author’s book, Of Love Longing and Random Pondering.

 Photos from the Internet


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1 Comment
  1. Partha Sarathi Mukherjee 5 days ago
    Reply

    These three faces after a long rupture, have met together in their majestic ever loving city Kolkata and how they have got back glimpses of their life once moulded inthis city and their most favorite spots bearing lots of memories left… Beautiful composition, with supernatural Acting Ipsita, Lopa and Gopa.

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