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The Rendezvous II

About Parnasri Roy

Parnasri Roy is a mother, a homemaker and a teacher at Delhi Public School. She has been introducing the youngsters to the intriguing world of Neruda, Spender or Kamala Das and joyously participating in the learning process for more than 2 decades. Interacting with the young minds in and out of the classroom is her passion. Apart from teaching English she also loves reading, travelling and rustling up tasty delicacies. Family and friends have always remained her forte. Although she is conventionally unconventional, paradoxically, a subtle sense of humour and depth of spirituality help her to sail through.

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Read the prequel to this story, here : https://tellmeyourstory.in/the-rendezvous/

 

 

Part 1

 

Life is so unpredictable, it often occurred to Sreeja… Sometimes things just happen because they were perhaps destined to. Sounding cliched? Can’t help here, because nothing else explains her chance meeting with Anupam.

She still remembers how one rainy evening she forgot her file in the metro, travelling back from her friend, Debadrita’s house to her Lake Garden’s home. She chuckled even now reliving those mad moments, mom screaming at her, dad uttering those sarcastic words, so characteristic of him, under his breath.

Suddenly the doorbell rings and a young face with a few days’ stubble appears at the door. His look was a little exhausted, mixture of confusion and exhaustion, with a file in hand. That moment Sreeja felt as though he was a messiah or an angel sent by the gods in heaven
for her rescue. Suddenly mom and dad were too busy entertaining their uninvited guest, forgetting all about their predictions of her hopeless and dark future.

Soon it was revealed that he occupied a seat close by in the bus and noticed that the file was left back in a hurry. Thank God it bore her name and address because it was all ready to be submitted at the department the next day. How phone numbers were exchanged or how her parents got to know that he was a post-graduate student at the general surgery department in Medical College Kolkata was quite another story.

But Sreeja fondly remembered her meetings with Anupam before their marriage. Once in Coffee house and mostly in those roadside Chinese restaurants where they often shared a plate of chicken chowmein and were busy discussing the fate of Mondal Commission or the
unification of Germany. Anupam’s favourite was Kishore Kumar while she was all for John Lennon, although these differences only fuelled their debate and generally came to a happy conclusion.

Now, all these years after, Sreeja refuses to believe that her passion for Anirudhha was somewhere lurking in her heart all the time, only buried for a while and far from
being forgotten.

Cameron said a woman’s heart is an ocean of deep secrets, Sreeja wants to add that a woman’s heart could also be a dormant volcano. When it would spew out fresh molten lava perhaps no one ever knew.
Ever since she deleted Anirudhha’s message, an irresistible desire gripped her heart to see him, meet him once.

 

 

 

Part 2
That night Anupam came home a little late and declared that they would have their conference in New Delhi in December and he would be off for a week.

“When do you have your holidays in December?” he wanted to know.
Sreeja could take a week off from her university and join him.
Anupam was busy preparing for his annual conference, he would be presenting a paper on some unique cases he handled in his State General Hospital. December is one of the best months to be in Delhi, festive ambience round the corner, nip in the air even on sunny days, the worst of fog and chilling bite of cold at least a couple of weeks away. Every morning Anupam would be out by 8.30 when Sreeja would be still wrapping the warmth of the blanket around her. She’d be talking to Rimi on her way back from her university, then go out shopping or meeting some old friends in Delhi.
She was looking quite chic in her blue denim and white cotton shirt with a shrug casually thrown around her shoulders. She took some time to look at her own tall frame that was slowly putting on some unwanted flab and a few visible silver streaks on both sides softly announcing rather early onset of ripeness. She was in a hurry to venture out through the thoroughfare of Delhi. Much to the dislike and sarcasm of Anupam, she loved to wander
about, just walk through the busy streets, enjoy the bustle, inhale the mixture of smells, observe people and their oddities or sometimes just take a stroll through the quiet roads of her township and fill her lungs with the unadulterated, unpolluted, fresh, oxygen-rich air.

 

Today her destination was the busiest streets of Delhi, not any plush fancy mall of an upscale neighbourhood. She just wanted to explore those streets with the rich aroma of food and makeshift stalls on either side of the road selling various wares.

‘Give me a pair of those flowerpots’, suddenly a voice from behind Sreeja startled her so much that she looked back. A voice that reached her across many thousand miles, as though crossing many barriers of years that rolled by. The man behind her was none other than Aniruddha. The same side-parted hair with a touch of salt and pepper now, the same jeans, half shirt clad tall frame, only with age he gained a few extra kilos, but that made him look no less handsome. Sreeja forced a smile. Aniruddha was as straight as he was years
ago.
‘You deliberately didn’t reply, right?’ Sreeja smiled. Her disarming million-dollar smile.
‘Can’t deny, but don’t forget how I updated you about my Delhi trip so that this meeting could be made possible.’
They decided to move to a roadside cafe and spend some time together.
‘I still can’t believe you could shift to Mumbai without ever telling me or meeting me even once. I always knew you are unpredictable, but this was more than even I could digest.’
‘Sometimes life reserves the best for you when you weren’t expecting anything in the least. Just like you suddenly texting me back and asking me to meet you here in Delhi when I thought I have lost you forever. Sreeja, can’t we be friends once again, I really need you now, for me to make amends and find that friend in you which I lost in a moment’s indiscretion.’

 

Part 3
Aniruddha had sent her the last message before the Indigo flight took off for Bhubaneswar and ever since Sreeja had not been able to contact him. He had to attend a very important board meeting in Mumbai right after finishing his business meet at Bhubaneswar. Therefore, despite the repeated alerts and warnings of Foni the Supercyclone, he had to head for Bhubaneswar. Sreeja pleaded with him to cancel the meet, but who would ever listen?

Sitting at the sundeck in the long summer afternoon, Sreeja was torn by unknown fears and worries. An uneasiness kept her restless, she has been reading all the three newspapers thoroughly, looking out with a throbbing heart for any news, good or bad, has been glued to the television set. But all these two days there was no update about him, no text from him. All she had come to know was the inmates of the Seven Star hotel he was staying in, were safe.

 

She searched the list of the casualties with a sunken heart and tried calling up the hotel reception as well. But not a single connection was in order in the city, it seemed. The worst part is she could not share her fears and worries with anyone, not even with Anupam.
Something gnawed at her, she was tossing on the bed at night. Anupam noticed her restlessness, he told her to take a nerve relaxant in a mild dose, for a week.

 

She had no appetite and felt so dizzy. She was afraid that no matter how much she tried to maintain the facade of normalcy, the mask was off every now and then. She was under panic attacks and her feelings were numb, she was not even in a mental state to imagine. How can she logically explain her condition to Anupam! But regardless of all those considerations, she languished. She couldn’t help.

That morning Sreeja was serving breakfast and Anupam was browsing through the newspaper. She was in a hurry to get ready, she had a seminar at the university. She had got an offer to teach a semester at the University of Genoa in Italy. Her university had an exchange programme with them. Soon she would be very busy, preparing for the lecture series, running around for visa, shopping for herself, arranging things for Anupam back home. She would be leaving him for the first time to go abroad, all by herself, but she wasn’t excited. Something kept her jittery, often feeling so terribly lonely because she couldn’t share her feelings with anyone.

 

She often wondered why she had to get back Anirudhha. Only to unsettle herself, to throw her out of track!

She was unable to face Anupam, her concern for Aniruddha has caused an unbridgeable gap between them.
She accepted the offer from the University of Genoa a day after she saw the name of Aniruddha in the list of missing travellers officially released by the Government of Orissa a month after supercyclone Foni left the state ravaged. In her heart, she already knew, even before it was official that she has lost him for a second time, without any hope of ever seeing him, back, again.

This story has a prequel. You can read it here

Life is so unpredictable, it often occurred to Sreeja… Sometimes things just happen because they were perhaps destined to. Sounding cliched? Can’t help here, because nothing else explains her chance meeting with Anupam.

She still remembers how one rainy evening she forgot her file in the metro, travelling back from her friend, Debadrita’s house to her Lake Garden’s home. She chuckled even now reliving those mad moments, mom screaming at her, dad uttering those sarcastic words, so characteristic of him, under his breath.

Suddenly the doorbell rings and a young face with a few days’ stubble appears at the door. His look was a little exhausted, mixture of confusion and exhaustion, with a file in hand. That moment Sreeja felt as though he was a messiah or an angel sent by the gods in heaven for her rescue. Suddenly mom and dad were too busy entertaining their uninvited guest, forgetting all about their predictions of her hopeless and dark future.

Soon it was revealed that he occupied a seat close by in the bus and noticed that the file was left back in a hurry. Thank God it bore her name and address because it was all ready to be submitted at the department the next day. How phone numbers were exchanged or how her parents got to know that he was a post-graduate student at the general surgery department in Medical College Kolkata was quite another story.

But Sreeja fondly remembered her meetings with Anupam before their marriage. Once in Coffee house and mostly in those roadside Chinese restaurants where they often shared a plate of chicken chowmein and were busy discussing the fate of Mondal Commission or the unification of Germany. Anupam’s favourite was Kishore Kumar while she was all for John Lennon, although these differences only fuelled their debate and generally came to a happy conclusion.

Now, all these years after, Sreeja refuses to believe that her passion for Anirudhha was somewhere lurking in her heart all the time, only buried for a while and far from being forgotten.

Cameron said a woman’s heart is an ocean of deep secrets, Sreeja wants to add that a woman’s heart could also be a dormant volcano. When it would spew out fresh molten lava perhaps no one ever knew. Ever since she deleted Anirudhha’s message, an irresistible desire gripped her heart to see him, meet him once.

To Be Continued in Part 2….

That night Anupam came home a little late and declared that they would have their conference in New Delhi in December and he would be off for a week.

“When do you have your holidays in December?” he wanted to know.
Sreeja could take a week off from her university and join him.
Anupam was busy preparing for his annual conference, he would be presenting a paper on some unique cases he handled in his State General Hospital. December is one of the best months to be in Delhi, festive ambience round the corner, nip in the air even on sunny days, the worst of fog and chilling bite of cold at least a couple of weeks away. Every morning Anupam would be out by 8.30 when Sreeja would be still wrapping the warmth of the blanket around her. She’d be talking to Rimi on her way back from her university, then go out shopping or meeting some old friends in Delhi.
She was looking quite chic in her blue denim and white cotton shirt with a shrug casually thrown around her shoulders. She took some time to look at her own tall frame that was slowly putting on some unwanted flab and a few visible silver streaks on both sides softly announcing rather early onset of ripeness. She was in a hurry to venture out through the thoroughfare of Delhi. Much to the dislike and sarcasm of Anupam, she loved to wander
about, just walk through the busy streets, enjoy the bustle, inhale the mixture of smells, observe people and their oddities or sometimes just take a stroll through the quiet roads of her township and fill her lungs with the unadulterated, unpolluted, fresh, oxygen-rich air.

Today her destination was the busiest streets of Delhi, not any plush fancy mall of an upscale neighbourhood. She just wanted to explore those streets with the rich aroma of food and makeshift stalls on either side of the road selling various wares.

‘Give me a pair of those flowerpots’, suddenly a voice from behind Sreeja startled her so much that she looked back. A voice that reached her across many thousand miles, as though crossing many barriers of years that rolled by. The man behind her was none other than Aniruddha. The same side-parted hair with a touch of salt and pepper now, the same jeans, half shirt clad tall frame, only with age he gained a few extra kilos, but that made him look no less handsome. Sreeja forced a smile. Aniruddha was as straight as he was years ago.

‘You deliberately didn’t reply, right?’ Sreeja smiled. Her disarming million-dollar smile.
‘Can’t deny, but don’t forget how I updated you about my Delhi trip so that this meeting could be made possible.’
They decided to move to a roadside cafe and spend some time together.
‘I still can’t believe you could shift to Mumbai without ever telling me or meeting me even once. I always knew you are unpredictable, but this was more than even I could digest.’
‘Sometimes life reserves the best for you when you weren’t expecting anything in the least. Just like you suddenly texting me back and asking me to meet you here in Delhi when I thought I have lost you forever. Sreeja, can’t we be friends once again, I really need you now, for me to make amends and find that friend in you which I lost in a moment’s indiscretion.’

To Be Continued in Part 2…

Aniruddha had sent her the last message before the Indigo flight took off for Bhubaneswar and ever since Sreeja had not been able to contact him. He had to attend a very important board meeting in Mumbai right after finishing his business meet at Bhubaneswar. Therefore, despite the repeated alerts and warnings of Foni the Supercyclone, he had to head for Bhubaneswar. Sreeja pleaded with him to cancel the meet, but who would ever listen?

Sitting at the sundeck in the long summer afternoon, Sreeja was torn by unknown fears and worries. An uneasiness kept her restless, she has been reading all the three newspapers thoroughly, looking out with a throbbing heart for any news, good or bad, has been glued to the television set. But all these two days there was no update about him, no text from him. All she had come to know was the inmates of the Seven Star hotel he was staying in, were safe.

She searched the list of the casualties with a sunken heart and tried calling up the hotel reception as well. But not a single connection was in order in the city, it seemed. The worst part is she could not share her fears and worries with anyone, not even with Anupam.
Something gnawed at her, she was tossing on the bed at night. Anupam noticed her restlessness, he told her to take a nerve relaxant in a mild dose, for a week.

She had no appetite and felt so dizzy. She was afraid that no matter how much she tried to maintain the facade of normalcy, the mask was off every now and then. She was under panic attacks and her feelings were numb, she was not even in a mental state to imagine. How can she logically explain her condition to Anupam! But regardless of all those considerations, she languished. She couldn’t help.

That morning Sreeja was serving breakfast and Anupam was browsing through the newspaper. She was in a hurry to get ready, she had a seminar at the university. She had got an offer to teach a semester at the University of Genoa in Italy. Her university had an exchange programme with them. Soon she would be very busy, preparing for the lecture series, running around for visa, shopping for herself, arranging things for Anupam back home. She would be leaving him for the first time to go abroad, all by herself, but she wasn’t excited. Something kept her jittery, often feeling so terribly lonely because she couldn’t share her feelings with anyone.

She often wondered why she had to get back Anirudhha. Only to unsettle herself, to throw her out of track!

She was unable to face Anupam, her concern for Aniruddha has caused an unbridgeable gap between them.
She accepted the offer from the University of Genoa a day after she saw the name of Aniruddha in the list of missing travellers officially released by the Government of Orissa a month after supercyclone Foni left the state ravaged. In her heart, she already knew, even before it was official that she has lost him for a second time, without any hope of ever seeing him, back, again.

 

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1 Response Comment

  • Kheya Baidya20/08/2019 at 8:19 PM

    Wonderful, heart touching. Life and love both remain ever intriguing.

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