Ronza had gone to attend the birthday party. It was a beautiful Spring day; scent of gulal wafted through. Scent of nascent dreams that she had escaped from came back though she tried to escape. Like the way she tried to escape her own shadow. She knew all the trees in front of their house would blossom. The birds would start singing; Ronza would try to console herself. So, to escape from the memories she would immerse herself more and more into work. She will keep herself busy.
The college conducted some activities. A conference was taking place in the campus. Ronza wasn’t interested in poetry, hence decided to skip the session. But this stupid season of spring and that stupid boy, Tirtho. Few years senior to her in college when she was herself a student. How many years had passed? Some twelve years? Tirtho. The name itself evoked a series of slides before her eyes.
She found him walking down the corridor towards the library. He was taking notes in his scrapbook. He would be sitting under a tree at the playground adjacent to the main building of the college. He would be asking the professor about that aspect of Santiago’s character required to be discussed, which prompted him to imagine Marlin as a friend in that Hemingway novel, in spite of both Santiago and Marlin being engaged in a rigorous battle for their own survival. She found him writing down for her those notes of missing lectures. Tirtho. She found him everywhere in her consciousness. Even after twelve years!
In her sleep, she found him more. She remembered Tirtho’s face the day she went out to party with her friends after their class. He said nothing. Not spent a single word out of his mammoth vocabulary. He just asked Ronza the next day how did the party go. Ronza probably showed extra excitement. She probably wanted to incite a tinge of jealousy in Tirtho. She flaunted her dresses, her attitude, her acquired possessions. Tirtho said nothing. He never had much to say. That made Ronza more obstinate.
But this Spring! The season should have been banned. The birds should all remain shut, Ronza thought. The birthday party got over by nine. Ronza thought of jumping into the car.
The car was about to be start. Just then, she thought she saw him.
Tirtho! Grown fatter. But his walk had remained the same. He had got all the time to walk. Ronza came out of the car. Tirtho?
Tirtho looked at her. Through his glasses he saw her and at once broke into a smile. That infectious smile of his.
‘You? Here? Thought you had moved to another city…’ Ronza said.
‘Yes, came here to attend a workshop.’
‘Work shop? What? Where?’
‘At that hall nearby…something on poetry’. Tirtho said.
Ronza smiled, though her throat went dry.
‘Got to get back this evening only…it is really nice to see an old friend.’ Tirtho shook Ronza’s hand and started walking away. Ronza looked at her hands. She thought she found that scent of gulal there.