Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The Farewell

Madhumita stared at her daughter. She stared ceaselessly…like there was no tomorrow.

She saw the preparations being made. She decided to sit still and watch her little girl get ready. Strangely, even at 28, daughters are little girls for their mothers.

Madhumita’s sister draped the saree. The blood red silk with its thick golden border dazzled. (Every time Madhumita would help her daughter wear a saree, she would complain, “Ma, I am looking so fat! Look at the pleats, Ma! You don’t know anything. Mashi does it so much better”. ) This time, Madhumita obliged and let her sister do it.

Once the saree was draped, one of her cousins brought a bowl of sandalwood paste. Little dots of chandan were put on the two sides of the red bindi, around the curves of the eyebrows. The sight of her daughter’s forehead transported Madhumita to days when the daughter was five or six. She would take her mother’s dupatta, drape it like a saree, make a paste with talcum powder and water and with the butt of a match stick, she would put white dots on her forehead. Decking up like a bride was her favourite game which gave way to “teacher-teacher” once she grew up a little. (Madhumita also remembered how her daughter drooled over her lipsticks. Since she was not allowed to use them, the naughty little girl would ask her mother to kiss her on the lips so that a tinge of colour could pass onto her baby lips too. She wanted to consume paan for the very same reason. Her daughter loved red lips.)

Once the chandan was done, one of the relatives got alta and started putting the red liquid on the circumference of her daughter’s feet. On normal occasions, her daughter would jump and shriek at the tickle, but today, she was a quiet, well behaved ‘lokkhi meye’.

Her daughter was all decked up and ready to leave. A big Rajanigandha garland was put around her neck, adding to the finishing touch.

Madhumita could hear someone asking, “Has everyone arrived? It’s getting late. We must start now.” Her brother pointed out that the packet of khhoi (popped rice) was missing. One of the relatives arranged for it quickly.

It was all set.

The big white vehicle was waiting outside their gate.

The daughter was escorted by flocks of relatives.

The engine ignited and the car started moving. Her daughter was finally leaving.

Madhumita stared at her daughter. She stared ceaselessly…like there was no tomorrow.

Her son-in-law pulled Madhumita close and she plunged into an unfathomable tornado of tears and tremours. Her vision blurred. All she could hear was the sound “Bolo hori hori bol” as the white vehicle carrying her daughter headed towards the crematorium.  


41 comments:

  1. You were born with the gift to leave a void in the hearts of people like me. Keep writing, kid.

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    1. Thanks, if what you wrote is a compliment.

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  2. Kyno likhli? Bhalo likhechhish.... maane lekha hishbe khub bhaloi hoyechhe hoyto... aar tachhara eta TOR Potpourri, tor jaa ichche tui likhteii parish -ami bolbar ke? kintu... tobu...
    True, it's your potpourri, Parama ... but it's a potpourri "of all things bright and beautiful" ...

    Bhalo Lekha...

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    1. I agree with you. My space is about all things bright and beautiful. This comes as an exception. It was sudden and I decided to pen it down. Thanks for the honest feedback. (PS: Mon bhalo nei. Phone korish)

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  3. really not what i wanted to read first thing in the morning...cant help but say that its brilliant. but made me say 'why did you have to do that in the end?' very touching!

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    1. Thank you Sunil. Sorry for such the end. But that's how it flowed. :(

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  4. Ditto the comment above. Didn't want to read this first thing in the morning. It is heart wrenching. Period.
    Consider publishing, Parama. Seriously.

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    1. Coming from you, it is a huuuge compliment, Thanks a lot. Hugs.

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  5. Wish I didn't have to read the end. Wonderfully written and very touching!

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    1. Welcome to my blog, A. Hope to see you here more often. Also, thanks a ton for reading.

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  6. I had a smile while reading it.... until I reached the last line.. i suddenly felt numb. Thats the power of this writing. brilliant work :)

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  7. Made me cry n run for cover in office!! Khub shundor likhecho... bt its so heart wrenching!!

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  8. shundor lekhen apni. khub koshto holo pore, khub bhalo-o laglo.

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    1. Thank you so much, Ms. Kanjilal. I read your blog regularly and totally love it. Welcome to my blog. (Please amay "apni" bolo na)

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  9. Bhalo na mane darun mane baje mane superb... Mane kano eshob lekha? Do not want this from you...please

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    1. Pagli! :) Achha, ar likhbo na erom. Shanti?

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  10. "But what sense of hope or satisfaction could a reader derive from an ending like that? So in the book, I wanted to give Robbie and Cecilia what they lost out on in life. I'd like to think this isn't weakness or... evasion... but a final act of kindness. I gave them their happiness."

    I normally follow Abhishek da's blog sometimes and from his posts came across this piece today. Again, I was reminded of that story where he wrote about a boy and a dog and the ending was not a very happy one. I do understand that art encompasses torment to a great extent. In fact, I won't disagree to the notion that torment and sadness moulds and beautifies art. However, as we have enough sadness in this world for one lifetime, it's an earnest request from me to you to continue writing pieces which provide satisfaction and joy, even though its momentary. Since you write well, I believe my request won't go down as a total waste. :)

    Thank you. Sorry, if the heap of words were overbearing.

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    1. Thank you Sambudhha. Thank you for visiting the blog and your comment. See, generally I write about happy things. Infact except for this one, ALL my posts are happy. This one is an exception. :)

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    2. I know the rest of your posts are happy. I have read a few of them. Hence I tried to use the phrase "continue writing pieces of joy" judiciously. :)

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    3. thanks again re. hope to see you here more often :)

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  11. Although, I guessed the ending when I read the first few lines, beautiful writing. However, a tad too tragic.

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    1. Thank you Priyanka...for reading. (PS: What a strange coincidence! Your mother's name is Madhumita!)

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  12. kal kei porechilam ... mon bhaar ... besh dhakka legechhilo
    jibon ta erokomi unexpected ... tai tumi boro shottyi likhechho
    lekha hisebe besh, tomar pattern follow koreo kintu eibar besh notun
    koshto holo bt aeto ta real bolei bolbo r o lekho, r erokom o lekho

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    1. thank you. tomar bhalo legeche jene amaro khub bhalo laglo. bhalo thako. :)

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  13. I liked the way you right. Mostly happy and chirpy.

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  14. I was thinking more along the lines of 'leaving baaper bari for shoshurbari' type of farewell :( May be because I went through one recently.... Touching and unexpectedly sad.

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  15. OMG, you are really talented.

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  16. Tumi erom keno likhle? tomar toh erom lekhar kotha chhilona... durr..mon ta bhison kharap hoye gelo.
    Here's a confession to make - I keep coming to your blog for an essence of Bengal. Barir theke eto dur e eshe Banglar dwigun prem e porechi. R tomar chokh diye taake arro ruposhi lage.
    I hope you know how powerful your write ups are. This is beautiful, but in a sad way.

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    1. Thank you Marina for all the wonderful words. I keep on writing on happy things....tai bhablam ekta change dorkar :D

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  17. I knew the end of the story as soon as begun reading it. :(

    Jyoti

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