He read her name in the newspapers.. Sipping his black coffee, the one with the perfect blend, he flinched. Confused if it was the bitterness of the taste, or the bitterness that penetrated his insides. He knew her..Oh he knew her so well. The long years of bereft had left him puzzled staring at the newspaper.. the old dust of comfort, the comfort of escaping had only been too thick to be splashed over with water and the carvings of memories to be revealed.
"You know Tarun, you're forcing and letting go off people. People who're trying to hold on to you so tight that they're the one's who bled. And the stains of those remain on the cloth you just merely shrugged off.. but when the time comes, and when the smell of those blood stains get unbearable, you'll try to wash them away but they'll keep disappearing and appearing again.. and again.. that will ultimately lead to lunacy." - he remembered what Rajji mama told him once..
His phone rung. He didn't pay attention to it, and kept staring at the photograph. The photograph of that one woman he hadn't slept with. Of that one woman he hadn't hidden anything from. Of that one woman he found a best friend in. Of that one woman he tore out of his life.
He remembered those long walks in the street behind her house. The one time when they both walked in silence with their respective packets of uncle chips. The one time when they both had so much to talk about that they literally completed each other's sentences.
He remembered all those 18 years of winter, summer, spring, autumn. They literally saw each other grow up.
His phone rang the second time. He ignored it, yet again.
..... He heard the heaven's growl, up above. They were soon going to cry to the dominating black clouds. Just as denial stepped into his eyes...his heart. Just as he chose to be oblivious. Just as he slowly and strongly detached her from the delicate mirage of raw cotton threads loosely knot together- his life. Just as he stopped responding to her efforts.....and just how finally, one day, she gave up... and cut his call the one time that he bothered calling back. That was the last call he made.
"Oh Mr. Shah, the bell for dinner rung twice! Why haven't you reported yet?!" -- the nurse came bustling in and ranting. The nurse of the asylum.
"What? Who are you!? What are you doing in MY house? Security!!"
"Oh dear you haven't had your medications for the day have you darling? .. oh dear.." - The nurse said sympathetically, reaching out for the sedatives.
"Medications? What, don't you see? I'm enjoying my coffee and reading about my old friend! who are You?!"
The nurse looked at the glass of water that he fumbled to hold like a coffee mug.
"OH so it was you who tried calling me! Don't you understand it's not nice to disturb people while they're busy, m'love? I'm meeting an old friend after a long time" ; he said, a dangerously lopsided smile as a mad glint trickled into his eyes.
"No, Mr. Shah. You don't have a phone. It was the dinner bell. This is not your house. You're here in a mental asylum, and you're doing really well for recovery, Mr. Shaa--- "
"NO NO NO! I'M IN MY HOUSE! I ... I AM TARUN SHAH. DON'T YOU TOUCH MY COFFEE! YOU CAN NEVER MAKE THE PERFECT BLEND! LET ME LOOK AT MY MANJARI! I'VE SEEN HER AFTER SO LONG. .OH GOD OH I.. I .. missed my dear dear friend so much!" ; as he resigned to violent tears......
"Guards! some help here.. the periodic attack, come quick!" - the nurse yelled out. And the guards followed to handle something that they were only too used to, and were well practiced for.. It was getting worse with Tarun's age..
As the asylum heard the cries and shouts of Tarun Shah the second time that day, the sedatives slowly lulled him to sleep. Sleep that was dreamless, uncomfortable, and filled with an unexplained longing. The longing to reach out, to reach back to those 18 years of the four seasons when life was only simpler, and escaping was never an option for him.... When he'd never give up on his bestest of friend, Manjari..
While Manjari's face on the newspaper smiled- white and lifeless- as the headlines screamed the death of a famous dancer.
Photography Credits: Niloy Ghosh Dastidar.
And I'd like to take this perfect opportunity to introduce this amazing photographer's (a very dear best friend of mine) recently started Photo Blog. You can check it out Here. I'd advice you not to miss it! :)
Awaiting all your feed backs on this one!