info@tellmeyourstory.in
Behind The Scenes

About Devang Desai

An accountant's journey of 40 years gathering non- financial insights about people , their relationships & their environment . Learning from the experiences of the many who have travelled before and trying to create enjoyable readings from words , ideas and self-realizations .

View All Stories

Prologue

Sajjan had all the time today. The work in his ex-city got done rather fast and his feet moved to the fast food restaurant where once stood his childhood house. The corner table of two was all that was available. He settled down with his feet up on the other chair; kindle on, sipping the lemon juice and marking the passages he would deliberate in the upcoming session with his research audience.

 

Part 1

Sajjan did what he fancied. His studio had brilliant, creative thinkers. And they were a mixed bunch regularly shooting out future scenarios of human ambitions. The economic, political, societal and surprisingly, the subtle spiritual. They were the “behind-the-scene” guys; researching, simplifying, inter-linking data of all types to help others decide. They were involved but not involved in action sense, working through or in others.

Sajjan was single and wedded to work. He had loved once, childishly intense; its short burst seemed to him enough for his life, till now. Somehow, his neuron love transmitters had stopped buzzing. He was, after that first love experience, indifferent to the fair sex with a degree of annoyance and negligence.
That was not to be the case today.
“Can I have this seat?” he heard the voice but cared less to trace its face and mumbled,
“Sure, I was just finishing.” Today, he will have to look for space elsewhere. And as he was about to leave, he heard her once again.
“Aren’t you Sajjan? You used to live here?”

This time there was no avoiding. He looked up as the world crashed around, little noticing the upturned table and all the things that went down on it.
Those eyes, that face and the halting words spilled on, “Madhu?”
And the years flew by bringing in that moment under the staircase where two young hearts, whispered.
“They are all teasing me; every time we gather for play. They yell M after D; mad, mad, mad….!” cried the fifteen odd year old boy wanting to outgrow.
“Is that why you avoid me these days? I too get those looks and snide tones. So what? Kalpana here, always said its not going to be easy.” Replied the bold girl, comfortably taking the boy’s hand and giving it a special squeeze.
“I can only think about you and nothing else; don’t feel like studying or playing.”
“He he, looks like you are in love.” quipped the confident Kalpana, accompanying her sister, Madhu.
For years Sajjan had smiled at that “You are in love” utterance of Kalpana. The teasing then became more bearable; their meetings were more subtle; books were exchanged with many borrowed phrases and pictures, but the final words were always, “I love you”.

Kalpana was the messenger and arranger of their meets.
Promises were made and life went on with playfulness, hope, petty uncertainties and big noble ambitions. Sadly, one evening the crying Kalpana came to him holding, hugging and crying to him, “Madhi is going to die.” Events thereafter were a blur. That was their last meet and then for weeks, it was only watching Madhu from a distance and sending her hourly letters through Kalpana. The younger sister helped, knowing what pain meant to all around her.
He had snatches of information about Madhu’s weak heart; he would later on try to see the signs and remember her sister protecting her from strenuous games and helping her with her school tasks. The three of them had grown inseparable as they grew older and she made him realise what it meant to be complete.

“I’m Kalpana, Madhu’s younger sister; don’t you remember anything at all about me?”
“Yes, the ever dependable. Were you so alike in those days?” Sajjan still seemed to be in a daze .
“I grew up being her, mostly to feel her always with me and also for my grieving parents, who stopped calling me by my name.”
The hovering, impatient waiter made them realise, there was a restaurant now in place of their long disappeared home. And so excusing themselves, they stepped out without having food there. Neither were in any mood for food. There was a different sense of priority. To onlookers, it appeared, they had eyes and ears only for themselves.

 

Part 2

“People at a fast-food place have no patience for those who bump into each other after ages. We moved away immediately after that day and almost started our lives from scratch. Father took a posting in Eastern India and I grew up there. They now live a peaceful life, mostly attached to some charities. I studied literature and teach there and was fortunate to visit this city and lucky to find you here.”
“I moved away from the city only recently, continue to keep my venting-out place where I come every week for my work. We are like a think-tank and have a team of very mixed personalities. I will leave tomorrow; what about you?”
“Oh, I’ll leave tomorrow too and I stay at the same hotel where we have the literary event. They have a nice eating place. I think we are both very hungry and can do some soul-searching, if you like.”
“Yes lunch at your place and we will stretch it to dinner at my place.”
Things that begin early in life stay etched for the lifetime. First love has to be played out; either way. That did not happen with Madhu’s untimely demise, leaving a scarred Sajjan. Unknown to him, Kalpana was not the mere conduit between them. Call it crush, rub-over effect, confidante’s curse, she loved him as much as Madhu. She had hoped to see more of Sajjan after Madhu died; but she never got a chance.
Kalpna never could attach to anyone after Sajjan. Both sisters love was embedded in her for him, leaving no room for any more.
“What are you, Kalpana, hiding behind Madhu?”
“Looks, I had no role to play; we just turned out like twins as we grew older. We were fond of reading and I slowly built-up my life around a hope.”
“Like me, hoping there would be another Madhu. I met a few but I failed to connect. I was afraid to spend a lifetime with someone I had never laughed, played and fought with. The years with Madhu and you and your family had been so full of everything, I lived with those memories.”
“Ha, I’m glad you remembered me. I learnt about love from you two. I could sense what she wanted and left me to put into words.”
“Oh, so you were the writer. I used to wonder where Madhu picked up those colourful content from. Your life of literature began way back.” Sajjan looked at Kalpana, in a new light .
“I could feel like her and read you closer; our thoughts had innocence and lots of looking forward to.” Kalpana seemed lost in thoughts. “Did you know, I suggested your meeting place under the steps? I used that as my storage place, which had a door once, to keep my collections. I used to sit and read there too in the afternoons.”
“Yes and the love notes you used to hide for me under the stone. You were the binding glue; today’s wedding planner!”
“Much more than that. I was almost a part of you, I mean you two.” Murmured Kalpana, almost to herself.

The lunch reminded them of the many times Sajjan would join them when they had a party at home. The children and their friends used to enjoy in their allotted room, the food, especially the sweets. Knowing Sajjan, Kalpana first introduced him to the sweet and deserts counter and they laughed at his continuing weakness.
“I recollect, you handing over your share of the sweets. Madhu never parted with hers; we used to fight over it.” She was tempted to tell him there were many things he would not have liked about Madhu. She never was the one who covered up and present the unreal; but with suddenness of Madhu’s illness, as a child, she would see it as bad weather tantrums. Life had now made her more forthright and upfront in her expressions.
“I met a few too, but I carried too much of baggage to explore with enthusiasm,” Kalpana came out with her reasons. “My baggage was you two. I dreamt of a fairy-tale ending. I dived deep but not for myself.”
“You loved to imagine; you were the best story-teller then. I am surprised you never found someone to make your story colourful.”
“I told you, baggage!!”

A few drinks that evening and more memory-searching, Sajjan had a disturbing insight about those days with Madhu. They were relaxed in his comfortable, outhouse type, three room structure at the furthest corner of the complex of secluded bungalows. The past was perceived anew; a scene came to their minds and his understanding went through a dramatic change with her inputs.
“I was so happy  proud and almost privileged when Madhu turned her attention towards me. I remember that day when you came out with us or rather you almost forced us to sit, talk and explore.”
“Love was her religion; her joy was in many seductions and not in the pursuit of seeking an anchor. I had only you in mind and there would never be another to waste time on. I made her see that in you. I had to make those secret pacts and drills that made her attached and bound.”
“She always needed you in all our meets. I thought you were guarding her. It now seems she was brought there by you.” Sajjan cried out as the reality struck.
“Knowing her always wanting me, I was resigned to live with you through her but death deprived all that; too long I worked behind the scenes and when I was ready to tell you the truth, I had no voice in our moving out.”
“I ought to have sensed; you had been the real one all along.” Saying that, Sajjan took her hand and took her in his arms.
Kalpana had finally anchored her sajan; the loved one. None took their flights next day  No more “behind-the-scenes” for her.

Sajjan had all the time today. The work in his ex-city got done rather fast and his feet moved to the fast food restaurant where once stood his childhood house. The corner table of two was all that was available. He settled down with his feet up on the other chair; kindle on, sipping the lemon juice and marking the passages he would deliberate in the upcoming session with his research audience.

Sajjan did what he fancied. His studio had brilliant, creative thinkers. And they were a mixed bunch regularly shooting out future scenarios of human ambitions. The economic, political, societal and surprisingly, the subtle spiritual. They were the “behind-the-scene” guys; researching, simplifying, inter-linking data of all types to help others decide. They were involved but not involved in action sense, working through or in others.

Sajjan was single and wedded to work. He had loved once, childishly intense; its short burst seemed to him enough for his life, till now. Somehow, his neuron love transmitters had stopped buzzing. He was, after that first love experience, indifferent to the fair sex with a degree of annoyance and negligence.
That was not to be the case today.
“Can I have this seat?” he heard the voice but cared less to trace its face and mumbled,
“Sure, I was just finishing.” Today, he will have to look for space elsewhere. And as he was about to leave, he heard her once again.
“Aren’t you Sajjan? You used to live here?”

This time there was no avoiding. He looked up as the world crashed around, little noticing the upturned table and all the things that went down on it.
Those eyes, that face and the halting words spilled on, “Madhu?”
And the years flew by bringing in that moment under the staircase where two young hearts, whispered.
“They are all teasing me; every time we gather for play. They yell M after D; mad, mad, mad….!” cried the fifteen odd year old boy wanting to outgrow.
“Is that why you avoid me these days? I too get those looks and snide tones. So what? Kalpana here, always said its not going to be easy.” Replied the bold girl, comfortably taking the boy’s hand and giving it a special squeeze.
“I can only think about you and nothing else; don’t feel like studying or playing.”
“He he, looks like you are in love.” quipped the confident Kalpana, accompanying her sister, Madhu.
For years Sajjan had smiled at that “You are in love” utterance of Kalpana. The teasing then became more bearable; their meetings were more subtle; books were exchanged with many borrowed phrases and pictures, but the final words were always, “I love you”.

Kalpana was the messenger and arranger of their meets.
Promises were made and life went on with playfulness, hope, petty uncertainties and big noble ambitions. Sadly, one evening the crying Kalpana came to him holding, hugging and crying to him, “Madhi is going to die.” Events thereafter were a blur. That was their last meet and then for weeks, it was only watching Madhu from a distance and sending her hourly letters through Kalpana. The younger sister helped, knowing what pain meant to all around her.
He had snatches of information about Madhu’s weak heart; he would later on try to see the signs and remember her sister protecting her from strenuous games and helping her with her school tasks. The three of them had grown inseparable as they grew older and she made him realise what it meant to be complete.

“I’m Kalpana, Madhu’s younger sister; don’t you remember anything at all about me?”
“Yes, the ever dependable. Were you so alike in those days?” Sajjan still seemed to be in a daze .
“I grew up being her, mostly to feel her always with me and also for my grieving parents, who stopped calling me by my name.”
The hovering, impatient waiter made them realise, there was a restaurant now in place of their long disappeared home. And so excusing themselves, they stepped out without having food there. Neither were in any mood for food. There was a different sense of priority. To onlookers, it appeared, they had eyes and ears only for themselves.

To Be Continued in Part 2….

“People at a fast-food place have no patience for those who bump into each other after ages. We moved away immediately after that day and almost started our lives from scratch. Father took a posting in Eastern India and I grew up there. They now live a peaceful life, mostly attached to some charities. I studied literature and teach there and was fortunate to visit this city and lucky to find you here.”
“I moved away from the city only recently, continue to keep my venting-out place where I come every week for my work. We are like a think-tank and have a team of very mixed personalities. I will leave tomorrow; what about you?”
“Oh, I’ll leave tomorrow too and I stay at the same hotel where we have the literary event. They have a nice eating place. I think we are both very hungry and can do some soul-searching, if you like.”
“Yes lunch at your place and we will stretch it to dinner at my place.”
Things that begin early in life stay etched for the lifetime. First love has to be played out; either way. That did not happen with Madhu’s untimely demise, leaving a scarred Sajjan. Unknown to him, Kalpana was not the mere conduit between them. Call it crush, rub-over effect, confidante’s curse, she loved him as much as Madhu. She had hoped to see more of Sajjan after Madhu died; but she never got a chance.
Kalpna never could attach to anyone after Sajjan. Both sisters love was embedded in her for him, leaving no room for any more.
“What are you, Kalpana, hiding behind Madhu?”
“Looks, I had no role to play; we just turned out like twins as we grew older. We were fond of reading and I slowly built-up my life around a hope.”
“Like me, hoping there would be another Madhu. I met a few but I failed to connect. I was afraid to spend a lifetime with someone I had never laughed, played and fought with. The years with Madhu and you and your family had been so full of everything, I lived with those memories.”
“Ha, I’m glad you remembered me. I learnt about love from you two. I could sense what she wanted and left me to put into words.”
“Oh, so you were the writer. I used to wonder where Madhu picked up those colourful content from. Your life of literature began way back.” Sajjan looked at Kalpana, in a new light .
“I could feel like her and read you closer; our thoughts had innocence and lots of looking forward to.” Kalpana seemed lost in thoughts. “Did you know, I suggested your meeting place under the steps? I used that as my storage place, which had a door once, to keep my collections. I used to sit and read there too in the afternoons.”
“Yes and the love notes you used to hide for me under the stone. You were the binding glue; today’s wedding planner!”
“Much more than that. I was almost a part of you, I mean you two.” Murmured Kalpana, almost to herself.

The lunch reminded them of the many times Sajjan would join them when they had a party at home. The children and their friends used to enjoy in their allotted room, the food, especially the sweets. Knowing Sajjan, Kalpana first introduced him to the sweet and deserts counter and they laughed at his continuing weakness.
“I recollect, you handing over your share of the sweets. Madhu never parted with hers; we used to fight over it.” She was tempted to tell him there were many things he would not have liked about Madhu. She never was the one who covered up and present the unreal; but with suddenness of Madhu’s illness, as a child, she would see it as bad weather tantrums. Life had now made her more forthright and upfront in her expressions.
“I met a few too, but I carried too much of baggage to explore with enthusiasm,” Kalpana came out with her reasons. “My baggage was you two. I dreamt of a fairy-tale ending. I dived deep but not for myself.”
“You loved to imagine; you were the best story-teller then. I am surprised you never found someone to make your story colourful.”
“I told you, baggage!!”

A few drinks that evening and more memory-searching, Sajjan had a disturbing insight about those days with Madhu. They were relaxed in his comfortable, outhouse type, three room structure at the furthest corner of the complex of secluded bungalows. The past was perceived anew; a scene came to their minds and his understanding went through a dramatic change with her inputs.
“I was so happy  proud and almost privileged when Madhu turned her attention towards me. I remember that day when you came out with us or rather you almost forced us to sit, talk and explore.”
“Love was her religion; her joy was in many seductions and not in the pursuit of seeking an anchor. I had only you in mind and there would never be another to waste time on. I made her see that in you. I had to make those secret pacts and drills that made her attached and bound.”
“She always needed you in all our meets. I thought you were guarding her. It now seems she was brought there by you.” Sajjan cried out as the reality struck.
“Knowing her always wanting me, I was resigned to live with you through her but death deprived all that; too long I worked behind the scenes and when I was ready to tell you the truth, I had no voice in our moving out.”
“I ought to have sensed; you had been the real one all along.” Saying that, Sajjan took her hand and took her in his arms.
Kalpana had finally anchored her sajan; the loved one. None took their flights next day  No more “behind-the-scenes” for her.

4 Likes
871 Views

You may also like

3 Response Comments

  • Bishakha Moitra31/01/2019 at 9:17 AM

    From a sad beginning to a happy ending, this love story is a good read.

  • Nidhi Jangid01/02/2019 at 10:08 AM

    The title ‘ Behind the scenes ‘ is perfectly matching with the story line! Kalpana and Sajjan’s love story was too complex with so many emotional ups and downs. Sacrifices by Kalpana and her passsive role in the earlier life never made Sajjan realize that she loves him too. But at the end, how everything is settled is just pleasing! A nice one from the writer!👍

  • NANDANA DASGUPTA13/02/2019 at 10:31 PM

    Beautiful I must say! Very delicately have you handled the emotions of both Sajjan & Kalpana and managed to make the readers feel for them. Maybe all that we have sacrificed for the person we have loved, doesn’t go wasted. Thank you for making all of us realize, when we do love someone truly enough, we do things silents for them, ‘behind the scenes’. Good luck to you Sir!

Leave A Comment

Please enter your name. Please enter an valid email address. Please enter message.