By Deepal Kanti Das
Epilogue: Last week as a part of Tagore’s 150thbirth anniversary celebration worldwide, his play Dak Ghar (The Post Office) was staged at National University of Singapore. This story is just an imaginary extrapolation of love and separation between two prominent characters of the play: Amal and Sudha. This is inspired by both Tagore’s life which was full of separation and pain for the loss of his loved ones and the shallow bonds of relationships in today's world. This story begins where DaakGhar ends barring the last scene imagining Amal and Sudha in a present day upbringing.
It was a Sunday morning. Amal suddenly got up from his bed. He had a bad dream. Last night he was angry on Sudha, and he had decided he won’t call her unless she apologises. But he knew Sudha’s brother was ill and even though he was angry he earnestly cared for her and her family. He made up his mind and immediately called her to know if all was well. After several attempts she picked up. He was angry and furious and just wanted a little show of his hurt tantrums. However instead he politely asked her, if everything was fine. Quick came the reply "I’m busy" amidst a background guffaw probably in a crowded place. It was way past midnight at Sudha’s place and he understood she was still partying with her new friends. Amal was downright dejected but he kept on. Coughing his voice clear, he asked if he could talk for a while. But all he could hear was the disconnection beep as Sudha hanged up unceremoniously saying she would call later.
Amal waited the entire day and then for the entire week but the call never came!
As a child he once suffered from severe illness and doctors had confined him to the four walls of his room. As he kept spending days in solitary confinement gazing out through the window of his room, talking to commuters, one day he met Sudha. She was the daughter of a flower merchant. She would go by every day through the road facing the window to pluck flowers for her mother. Soon they became friends and she would come everyday to meet him. She would give him flowers and he too in return would gift her with toys. Later when he recovered, he would talk to her everyday. Overtime they became very close friends and when they crossed the threshold of their teens, they realized that their feeling for each other was something different. It was more than friendship! But that was 5 years ago.
Amal thought of calling her again. But how many times would he keep on going through this turmoil of neglect. Last day she kept on disconnecting his calls, when he tried contacting her after waiting the entire morning for her call. He was hurt and his heart kept on wrenching with pain. He had always been emotional and love mattered to him the most.
Amal's mind sails back to good old times at his village where he used to walk with Sudha holding her hand every evening. He is reminded of her melodious voice when she used to sing Tagore songs exclusively for him. Sometimes playfully she would sing near his ears and her voice would send pleasant shivers down his spine!
Often they used to go out for lunch or dinner. He is reminded how Sudha would distribute the maximum and best share of food to him and take a little for her and how he had to force her to take more.
How she would grab his bottle of water and drink with her lips around and then give him back innocently. How she would take his specs for cleaning and instead smear it with vapours just to annoy him for a while and later would clean it back with her odhna!
He is reminded how much she would love to be photographed by him. She would tuck flowers on her hair and pose for him. And Amal would tirelessly keep on clicking for her. How after a long walk they would go to their “dadu-r dokan” and enjoy a meal on one plate.
He is reminded how during winter evenings she would put her cold hand inside his jacket or around his neck. Or at times she would just poke her fingers into his ears. And before leaving for home she would run back to him, embrace him in a tight hug and tell him she would die if he ever left him! These flashes were unbearable.
A silent tear trickled down his cheek.
Over time Amal had grown very possessive of Sudha. And he never realised how his possessiveness took over his normal living. Now Sudha was not just a part of his life. All his thoughts and everything revolved around Sudha and everything he did was to be near her. Once being with her was a dream, then it became a habit and now it had became an absolute necessity for him. But GOD has some distinct plans, for his father Madhav Dutta sent him to New York to study business last year and she was sent to Bombay for her study!
It all started last month. For last few months Amal could feel Sudha was getting drifted away from him. Long distance relationship was taking its toll on him. She no longer called him. Nor did she wait for the weekends when they used to talk for hours sharing everything. Last month there was a big festival in her place. Amal knew sudha was going there, but few weeks later he came to know that Sudha went there with two of her male friends. Their smiling pictures of hugging, laughing or taking the roller coaster rides together came as a bolt from the blue. He couldn’t comprehend anything. Questions kept on popping in his mind. "Why she never told him about them. Why did she hide so much? Even though she would talk to him on weekdays, where did she vanish every weekend"?
His thoughts and conjectures made a mess. He immediately took up his phone and called her and asked her straight.
“We are just good friends!”she replied back sharply.
"May be it was as simple as that. Or maybe it was not. Was it for this she was drifting away or it was mere figment of his imagination". Unlike his name his mind was now full of thoughts and worries. He realised how much he depended on her. How much he loved her. May be because she was his first love! And thus Amal wrote to Sudha outpouring all his grudges, something which made him repent later. But then he badly needed to pacify his heart that was burning with pain and anger.
It isn't that girls didn't fall for Amal. He had several proposals coming his way too. He unwillingly remembers Nira who was crazy in her love for him and whom she had refused few months ago for he couldn't think of anyone other than Sudha. Ever since he saw Sudha, her angelic innocence had touched his soul. Her pristine beauty, calm demeanor and melodious voice made Amal feel he had known her for ages and he felt lost in the depth of her eyes or movement of her moist lips. It is said the moment you come upon your soul mate your soul reacts differently and he could feel that ecstasy happen! They were soulmates in its truest essence and their last 5 years of togetherness testified that! He had developed immense faith in Sudha's integrity more than his own, and thus her transformation was both painful and mysterious. And probably he would never know what actually happened!
But is this how great relationships end? Does relationship need to be bounded with physical presence? He never thought it so!
Paradoxically, when he would talk to her all her misgivings and misbehaviors would make him angry and he felt like shouting at her; but when they would not be talking he would crave to hear her throughout the day.
… … … …
It’s been months since she last called him.
Her behaviour seemed so alien to him. Though Sudha had assured him “Sudha will never forget Amal”, she probably had! May be she is happy wherever she is, and this thought even for a flashing moment makes him happy and forget his own grief.
As his childhood days flash in his mind; Amal remembers his dream of becoming a postman so that he can roam around and see the world, he could feel his mother Mrinalini’s warm hands on his face as he sleeps on her lap and for the first time after months in sorrow and pain, he feels a deep sense of tranquility taking over him. He realizes how trivial this life is and how big its purpose. The more you go into it, the more you can appreciate it. Love like a fog will forever remain in the mirror of his heart, but he knows he must go on! As for one more time Sudha’s melodious voice echoes in his ears but again her recent transformation makes it go silent. A new inspiration to live for a greater cause surges in him, even amidst this unbearable staccato!