And It Started to Rain Again
~ Mirpur, Bangladesh-1997 ~
Satyajit was sipping his coffee, as the initial rays of sunlight tiptoed through the meadows, gradually swathing the sky in a blue texture. The westward breeze whispered through the dry grass, infusing the spirit of vitality in everything, as it flew past them. Satyajit was feeling uneasy with himself. For some totally inexplicit reasons, mornings had always taken a toll over his conscience. Throughout his entire life, he’d never felt so much loneliness, in any other part of the day as he did in the first hours. Life was such a fairy tale until that dark rainy night of February, 1992.
It was raining heavily. Satyajit hated rains. Every drop of rain that fell on the earth pounded Satyajit’s conscience, thereby wounding it with countless abrasions. He saw someone in the rain. He rushed outside, only to find nothing. It was an illusion, a mirage. Satyajit was struggling to pave his way through the tumultuous succession of old memories, whizzing past his psyche.
“Come in, Aastha. It’s raining so heavily, and you’re dancing out there” said Satyajit.
“You are such a spoilsport. Extend your hands and feel the rhythm, the cadence of these rain drops. Allow these rain drops to reach your soul, to cleanse it from all the filth and thus, revitalise it. Don’t you ponder over the miracles of God? How He revives a dead, barren tract of land with a shower. All of us need a rain of hope, expectations and goodwill to purify our hearts of the refuse of malice and all its antagonistic counterparts.”
“No one can beat you in a debate.”
She was the one, who’d lit up his life with her bright smile, encouraging him to see the brighter side of life, to sense the aura and munificence of nature, to unearth happiness everywhere, and most importantly, to keep hoping, even in the most despairing situations. He couldn’t afford to lose her, and yet fate had intersected in strange ways to rend them apart.
The drought in his heart was devastating, taking toll upon everything and no spell of rain could put an end to it. Only her sight, her existence and that one word had the power to turn his heart back into a lush green garden, which was impossible.
“Thankfully, she’s died” thought Satyajit.
“Sir, a lady has been waiting outside to meet you, for the past couple of hours. I’ve tried to ward her off countless times, but she keeps returning back.” said the watchman.
“Useless dumb ass” retorted Satyajit and scampered towards the main entrance. As he unlocked the heavily bolted metal gate, he saw a lady draped in black satraps, sitting on the bench adjacent to the entrance gate.
“Satyajit Da, I am extremely sorry to have bothered you at such odd hours, but I’ve a very important message for you.”
She said and handed over the envelope towards Satyajit. He reluctantly opened the envelope. For some totally inexplicit reasons, the handwriting seemed exceedingly familiar to him.
“Shrodheyo Dada… Respected brother.”
Satyajit instantly froze.
“You must be turning this letter over, with a look of incredulity and skepticism. Over the past four years, I’ve made umpteen attempts to get in touch with you, but each time, destiny intervened in bizarre ways to strangulate my sheer will and determination.
If you are reading this letter, one thing’s for sure, I’ve made the ultimate journey into a totally different realm, far beyond the purview of mortal pain or comprehension. Life is but a syncretic compilation of eternal and ephemeral platitudes. Seldom does it care about our aspirations and desires, except the revelations and reconciliations we are granted at the end, begrudgingly turn out as per our expectations. The worst memories stick with us, while the good ones always seem to slip through our fingers, fading away in the mist, towards obscurity.
The mob was raging like wildfire, decimating any mortal soul which stood in its way. Hit first, question later seemed to be their modus operandi. One among them spoke “We will purify our land of the filth of these unbelievers; their blood is lawful for you. March forth in the name of God and strike their necks”. Doors and windows are inconsequential defensive weapons in such a situation. A dozen people forcefully made their way into our home and immediately reached out for Raima didi, seeking to quench their passions on her nimble body and feed on her chastity. She desperately sped towards the kitchen and instantly gulped down the bottle of phenyl, thereby capitulating to the throngs of death.
I scampered to another room, hoping against hope that somehow or the other, I’d be able to escape their sinisterly machinations. However, all my hopes to safeguard my integrity was bought to naught, when a couple of men entered my room…
What happened thence is a tale, which no self respecting lady would recount to anyone, let alone her brother. I wish we’d never come to Mirpur for Rupa didi’s marriage. I wish I’d died on that very day. I wish we could meet once again, in a different world, unscathed by the filth of barbarity and vindictiveness.
I went over to a place where no one ascertained my name, identity or religion. I couldn’t muster enough courage to come back home. I stood in acerbic ruins, my soul charred in the perdition of misery, my innocence trampled beneath the gallows of time, my vibrancy capitulating to the trysts of destiny. There are some stains, which are engraved on your destiny until eternity, and no matter how hard you try, all attempts at cleansing those blemishes are incredibly futile.
I would’ve killed myself, had it not been for the fact that I was nurturing her in my womb. I thought about her with sheer contempt, for she was and will be the single lingering memory of that cataclysmic event which had initiated an upheaval in my life. However, all the angst and revulsion that was simmering inside my conscience melted away, the moment I saw her innocent face. I made a decision. No matter what, I would leave no stone unturned to ensure that the shadows of my past life do not hover over the future of my daughter.
Dada, I am leaving this world, completely unperturbed about the future of my daughter, because I know that you’ll love her even more than I ever could.”
Satyajit’s eyes were wet with tears. He walked over to the little girl and asked, “What is your name?”
“Asha,” she replied.
“Come back Asha,” shouted Satyajit, from beneath the room. The clouds were thundering, heralding the advent of rain. Satyajit rushed out of his room. He saw Asha merrily running around in the garden. The contours of her face, her little nose, hazel blue eyes,were splintering his conscience into bits and pieces. There was something so vivid about her smile that he couldn’t help himself from falling for her innocence.
Asha loved rains, just like her mother did. Life wasn’t perfect for Satyajit, but saying so, life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.
People are raised to believe that happiness is the land to which they are destined to travel. But that belief, which one so easily accepts as true, might just as well be a mirage. Satyajit was happy. Now, he had a valid reason to laugh, to smile and most importantly, to hope. He ventured out into the garden, to join Asha.
The vivacity of her spirit in tandem with her credulous innocence were hovering over his conscience like dark clouds, prophesizing the end of the drought, which had engulfed his spirit since the past five years.
And it started to rain again.
Image Source: flickr.com