Debanjali Mukhopadhyay ( 1955 — 1996) She was born in Kolkata,though travelling to many unknown…..
How many days after I will face with Sujata? Twenty-five years? Thirty years? Or a few eras? Counting the pages of the calendar might be twenty-five or thirty years, but counting the unseen discontent in my mind would take a few decades. If you calculate the layer of memory again, it will seem that this is the day!
Sujata is my neighbour, seven years younger than me. I have been watching him since I was a child. It was time for me to go to school when I was returning from school with a thick black ponytail hair and a schoolbag wrapped around my back. While eating ice cream, all his attention was focused on the ice cream, there was no time to notice anything else. In government primary schools, classes one to two are held from 10 am to 11:30 am, then after the holidays of one, two classes start from class three to five, from 12 noon to 4 pm. I went to school when I was much older. When I was in class four, Sujata was in class two. When I saw him at that age, I had a feeling of wonder that no one could tell. I still don’t understand the name of this feeling, but I was old enough to understand that it is a very personal matter. I would try to talk to her . Besides being at home, there was nothing wrong with talking about the age of the two of them. But for the one who said that it was a strange feeling, even normal words did not seem normal in front of anyone. I would try to talk when I was alone.
– What’s the matter, eating ice cream in this cold that won’t catch a cold?
– Why not?
– Go home and drink hot water. Cold cuts hot .
– I smile. Did you read everything in class today?
– What did you teach?
– the multiplication number of 2.
– Can you memorize?
That’s all normal. But I could hear the sound of hammer beating in my chest. I would like to listen to Sujata’s chest and hear if there is any sound of hammer in her chest. But she was so busy going home, there was no sign of a hammer blow. When he goes home, he may leave his school bag on the table and watch Tom and Jerry on the CN channel with the TV remote control. And me? Sitting at the end of the second bench in the class, I would try my best to concentrate on Gofran Sir’s math class to forget Sujata and try to do the big multiplication part accurately.
Before my eyes, Sujata dropped the pencil and grabbed the ballpoint pen, left the frock and wearing three pieces proved her growth . From a child to a teenager, from a teenager to a young woman. The hammer beating on my chest kept on rising . But that voice is not heard by anyone except me, with this hammer I also got admitted to the university after finishing college. When I come home, I meet him, I hear the sound of the hammer, but I dare not press her to hear her . Don’t be afraid to give it back to me. I carried my hammer to my chest and came back to the university. This is how the day was going. Disaster struck a mother’s phone. Mom told me to stay home on December 16th. The way I can, I want to leave. Sujata’s marriage, the groom is expatriate. Lives in America. All the necessary papers of Sujata were submitted to the embassy before the marriage i.e. after the engagement. So after marriage she will stand at the embassy for visa. He will leave as soon as he gets the visa. So I came to see it for the last time. I was shocked to get that phone. As if a cold current was flowing down my spine, my legs began to feel numb. I can’t explain how I spent those few days. I decided not to go home. I did not have the courage to leave Sita in my own hands. I ran away.
Sujata has come to the country. In between he came a few more times. I did not go forward. Whenever she speaks, the hammer of my chest strikes like the ticking of a clock. I did not have the courage to stand in front of her. But this time there is no chance to avoid. She came after hearing the news that her aunt’s physical condition was deteriorating . I heard the news of my aunt’s death this morning. So I have to go home. How many pieces of memory that began to float in the mind to go!
That face began to search my eyes among the people in the house. I don’t know if I can find Sujata’s face in the face of a middle-aged woman. After a while the wait came to an end. Sujata called me. I entered the house and stunned. I see the same! Sujata is still stuck at eighteen! Sujata of my imagination is still like that! The smarter, the more beautiful. The hammer hit my chest harder. The middle-aged woman called out in shock. Same! Looking closely, I saw exactly the look of aunty on the face of forty five year old Sujata. I was shocked to see a little earlier, but she is not Sujata? Seeing this Sujata, I could not find any similarity in the deeply protected Sujata of my mind. It is quite thick, the hair on the front of the head has become thin. This is the first time I have seen the hammer inside my chest silently looking at stereotype housewife looking Sujata. In the midst of talking to Sujata, the eighteen-year-oid girl entered for a whie twice. Even in grief, he spoke of himself, his only daughter. Sifat is a complete copy of my imagination Sujata just cut her hair in a modern style. He greeted me and sat down next to me. I was looking at Sifat with asquint eyes.
Surprise! This is the first time that the hammer inside my chest seems to have fallen asleep forever. I tried but did not find any existence. Understood – it would have been better if I had not met Sujata. I didn’t have to lose constant companion for so long.
On the way home I met the eighteenth. It was as if the hammer hit the heart twice again…
Note: The Original Bengali story is here: না বলা কথা