After 19 years again I opened my pen for you. Last night when I got your letter, It seemed thousands of moons started peeping through the open casements of my home. I felt a very familiar mild fragrance of your body all around. It was, as if, you – not your letter – had come to my house. I read, read and read each script you had written. The same curves, the same cursive scripts, the same way to address your agony took me to our old lost days. I got completely immersed into the past. A terrible pain – the pain of losing my nearest and dearest one- got awaken into my heart once again. I couldn’t sleep throughout the night. I couldn’t believe that you were lost; you would never come back to my life. The world has entirely been changed during these last two decades. Lot of twists in lives, lot of joys and sorrows, lot of hopes and despairs that we came across in these two decades are still remained to be discussed face –to-face. Throughout the night I thought so many things to write to you, so many feelings to share with. But with the light of morn, every dust got settled down. It was the day when you used to like all these. Now time has been changed. With the time, life too. The things that were exciting before became monotonous. Who will listen to all these? Who has that much time to spare?
Yet you wrote to me keeping aside all of your obligations and threats. You wrote you wished to see me at least for once. What happened, Anamika? How after long 19 years did you get leisure to remember me? Have you anytime thought how many calendars have been changed? Have you ever asked yourself how many years, how many months, how many days we didn’t see each other? It is 19 … 19 years, Anamika! But there was the day, had I been out of your sight, you would have been crazy ….you would sob like a child. But today? Today, there is no resentment, no repentation, no lamentation. Good, very good. How could you pass so many years, Anamika, without seeing me, without talking to me, without administrating me? Women can do everything. Isn’t it? They have enormous power to get adjusted with every odd. Am I right? Then why didn’t you extend your patience, your adjustment for me whom you loved so dearly – whom you still shed tears for. Anamika, it is true that I was a boy of street roaming aimlessly from worse to the worst. Everyone in the society used to look at me with hatred. For the first time, I saw a different appeal at your glance. The two lively black eyes asked me to live a valuable life. Your pink wet lips taught me to be soft and sweet. Your immense love inspired me to do something noble .I am indebted to your love, Anamika. Your love made me great but gave me a miserable life. It is more painful than ever. That hatred was far better … really it was far better than the violent love I got from you .I hate that love which brings separation. I hate that love which gets ended with tears. Now I am free …. free from all sorts of restriction. Now nobody will ask me where I went for last two days, nobody will knock me if I commit any mistake. Nobody will chase me if I delay to go for interview.
Anamika, do you ever dream of our lost sweet days? I do. Believe me, I do. Even now also sometimes I got up from sleep at midnight. I try to recollect the things I was dreaming of. Oh, what a pain Anamika. What a pain! That temple where we promised to be together forever, that Shiva Ratri Fair in which you purchased a finger ring for me, that clandestine way you generally used to glance at me, that priceless smile …… all turn alive in my dream. A tremendous pressure tries to come out piercing my chest. I cry. I cry like a baby. Like you, Anamika, as you used to do earlier. Then the gigantic day comes. Your loving memories which you have left behind appear like monsters before me. They never leave me alone. They keep on chasing me from dawn to dusk. Wherever I go, I see Anamika. Whatever I work, I see Anamika. Whenever I sleep, I see Anamika. Anamika, Anamika, Anamika and Anamika. Believe me, this is my life –this is my world.
You are very eager to know how I am. As many as ten times you have asked this in your letter. This is how I am. In morning, I get myself ready for duty, go to work site in interior of the Sahara Desert, attend meeting, take list of out- of- order machines and start repairing. At the day end, after a long struggle under the merciless scorching sun, when I come to the wash room, I see devastated black-stained myself in the mirror. I think, how you would react seeing me in this condition. Believe me, I intentionally work hard so that once I go to bed, I will be a dead man. I don’t want to dream, Anamika. I scare of dreaming.
Forget it. Now tell me about you. You are certainly now very happy with your handsome husband, beautiful bungalow, costly cars; isn’t it? Sometimes, a restless anxiety works in my mind. Sometimes many curiosities hunt me very cruelly. Anamika, do you look the same like before or a drastic change has stolen you from yourself? Do you still like make- up? The deep brown lipstick, black glass, costly perfumes …… do you still like them? Do you still go to Shiva Temple for pray every Monday? Anamika, do you remember your unrestrained pleasure when you saw me first after eight months when I came to our village from college hostel for vacation? Oh! What a glorious day that was! Throughout that day we didn’t miss each other for a single minute. We forgot all social boundaries; we forgot all rural restrictions. We went to the Shiva Ratri Fair ….. we amused in food stall ….merry-go-round! After that, when I got a foreign assignment in Libya, do you remember what happened in that evening? It was moonlit fine evening in spring ….. you secretly came out of your house to the temple to congratulate me. Could you recollect? Could you say what happened after that? You held me too tightly against you, raised your head, your pinky wet lips came very close to that of mine. For the very first time we got the taste of heaven. What a shame, what a hesitation the warm union of four lips had given us next day! I still preserve every moment in my mind. I care them. I nurture them like my babies. It’s very difficult, Anamika, to forget those days, to forget you and your love.
Last March, after 12 years I went to Manikpur – our beloved village. That narrow river Malini is still flowing, the small bridge where I used to wait for you is still existing, the Shiva Temple where you used to come for pray is still there. The small forest on the bank of Malini river has grown up more. The call of cuckoos penetrate the silence of the village till today. I know you would like to hear this sound very much. The roads, the houses, the ponds – all are there. Only the big sal tree under which you secretly dropped your first love letter is now on auction. Someone will come and cut it one day. I embraced the tree and prayed, “Don’t go, please. Don’t go. I love you, dear. I love you.” My eyes became tearful. I felt an unbearable heaviness in my chest. Wherever I went in the village, I saw 18-year Anamika everywhere. That gorgeous beauty, that wicked smile, that simple rustic talking chased me from one corner to another. I found everything, everybody, but I couldn’t find you, Anamika. I missed you. I lost you forever.
Why? Why have you given me such a cruel punishment, Anamika? What was my offence? You believed the rumors of your jealous friends and relatives. They influenced you that once I had gone abroad, I would forget you completely and marry a foreign girl. You asked me to quit the job several times. I tried hard to convince you that I was not a traitor. I promised you to marry when I would be backing home and take you to Libya, Egypt, Ethiopia .We would move around the world. You didn’t believe me; you didn’t trust me.
Once love gets contaminated with suspicion, it’s no more pure, it’s no more trustworthy, it’s no more perfect. Perhaps, that was why we were madly looking for perfectness into each other. Our feelings of superiority stabbed us brutally and the sword is still bleeding our hearts and will do so for ever.
The love that doesn’t possess trust must collapse. The same happened with us. When I declined to quit the job, you took the disastrous decision that threw us into two different hails. Why did you take the obstinate decision to marry a rich businessman, Anamika? Why? To make me defeated? Well, tell me, have you become victorious with my defeat? Are you happy now? Have you been satisfied? Then laugh. Laugh proudly. Fill the sky and air with your laughter.
I know, you are married, wife of someone. I know he is the ruler of your soul, your mind, your love and each and every part of your body. He is authorized. But I don’t know why do I get a strong essence of ownership over you till now. Why can’t I forget you, Anamika? Why can’t I believe that Anamika is no more in my life?
Anyway, time will cure every injury. Don’t worry for me. I will immerse myself more into work and I will forget you. Believe me, I will forget you. I won’t think of you at all. I do promise. Your letter says you are in more vulnerable state. I know, you are very much sentimental, you break down easily, you are straight forward, you can’t digest any wrong, you become angry soon. But you have a sound caring heart. Nobody can see your heart, Anamika. Try to soften your words for your husband and in-laws. Always tell “yes” to their comments. Don’t argue. Nobody likes arguments. I know there is hardly anybody to read your heart. Learn to compromise with wrongs. Anyway you have to survive with them. Don’t expect anything from anybody. Expect from God. See, He will give you what you want. Don’t work much with water in winter. You got severe bronchitis before your marriage, don’t forget it. I know, you don’t like to wear sweater or scarf. But you need to do it now. Always keep in mind that you are at the service of theirs. They are not obligated to serve you, if you need. My God is always with you. He will help you.
Let this be our last love letter. After now we will be alien to each other. I know, it is very hard but it is essential for greater interest. Now onwards we have to drag our lives towards the end….gradually…..naturally. I am still optimistic and strongly looking for that day. Before that I have to complete all the tasks, I have to fulfill all the responsibilities, I have to accomplish all of my duties. It’s a long course, Anamika, it’s another long battle.
But before keeping my pen down, I have a very humble proposal, my naughty darling. Next time we will take birth again at Manikpur. We will be brought up again beside the Malini River, around the Shiva temple. Again the spring will come, the gentle breeze will be blowing, the cuckoos will sing. Again we will love each other. More dearly …… more responsibly. Believe me, I will never go abroad that time. Never. You will see, I will always listen to you. Promise.
By Ankur kanjilal