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Who was That Roop?

About Moinak Dutta

Name: Moinak Dutta
Occupation: teacher, published fiction writer, poet.
Date of birth: 5th september,1977,
Nationality : Indian
Sex : male
Short bio:
Born on 5th September, 1977, he has been writing poems and stories from school days.Done postgraduation in English. Presently engaged as a teacher of English.Many of his poems and stories are published in national and international anthologies and magazines and also dailies including 'The Statesman' ( kolkata edition), ' World Peace Poetry anthology ' ( United Nations), 'Setu' , ' The Indian Periodical' ' Pangolin Review' ' Tuck Magazine' ' Duane's Poetree', ' Tell me your story' ( literary and travel magazine), ' The Literary Fairy Tales' ' Defiant Dreams' ( a collection of stories on women empowerment published by Readomania, New Delhi ), etc;
Written reviews of books and fictions, among which notable ones are : on ' The Upanisads ' ( translated by Valerie J. Roebuck) which can be found at www.blogapenguinindiaclassic.blogspot.com and the review of ' The Ballad of Bapu' ( written by Santosh Bakaya). Written some essays and articles on education and literature and other topics which had been published in both e- books/e - journals ( like Cafe Dissensus) and as printed books/ papers ( like one on ' Amalgamation of social media and literature: pros and cons, published by Viswa Bharati Research Centre and Sahitya Anand).
He is first full length english( genre: literary/romance ) fiction ‘Online@Offline’' had been published in 2014, by Lifi Publications.His second fiction(genre: literary/quest) titled ' In search of la radice' was published in 2017 by Xpress Publications. Also worked as an editor of a poetry collection titled ' Whispering Poeisis' , which had over one hundred poems from sixty poets from different parts of India and abroad, published in 2018 by Poeisis. Loves to do photography apart from listening to music and watching films and traveling.

email :moinakdutta@yahoo.co.in

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Prologue :

 

In our heydays, there had been a song which became an anthem for us. It started with a strong vocal expression of love for a girl in the neighbourhood, her name being Alice. Do not know why it became so popular? Perhaps because it had a rhyme of its own, a catchy rhyme and rhythm and that name Alice worked wonders in our impressionable minds. After all, who does not want to go to the land of fairies and sylphs? And no name other than Alice can strike a instant connection to the wonderland.

Much later, after passing out of the university, we had an excursion to the hills. And that excursion, brought me close to finding a fairy. Seriously!

 

Part 1

We were divided into several groups. Our group, in which there were two girls and I was the only boy, was given a small cottage to stay near Pedong bazar. Other friends of us were also putting up nearby, a bit scattered though, as the cottages were so set in the hills of upper Darjeeling.

One morning, waking up early, I went out for a walk through the woods which surrounded our cottages. It was just that hour of the morning, when the sun had got risen – only dispersing its rays spreading across the hills and their slopes, gradually removing the mist and fog cover. The path through the woods that I took had been lovely as ever. I being an incurable romantic was enjoying every bit of it. The birds were chirping, the mild chill in the air was settling upon my face and arms and I was singing, humming a song of love. No I was not singing that song which had Alice as a character. Instead I was singing a Hindi song, from a Hindi flick starring Amir Khan.

Those trees, that path. those chirping of birds and a beautiful morning to take a walk.
I was naturally in my best mood.

Walking a few yards, I thought I heard murmur of a stream and being curious, I followed that soft murmur, descending from the path, down the slope of the hill, to reach the banks of a stream in real. The clear water running through rocks and pebbles with colorful trouts playing in it moved me so much that I removed by trousers and shirt and took a plunge into the stream. The water though cold, was not that harmful. In fact, after wriggling my arms and legs in water for a while, I felt quite invigorated and thought of swimming in the stream for some time. Just then, I heard someone giggling. A girlish giggle, sweet and lively. Turning around, I found a girl, in mid twenties, looking at me from the bank of the stream and laughing her heart’s out.

I was partly surprised and partly embarrassed. A girl giggling at me!
‘Hey you!’ The girl said. ‘where are your clothes?’ She asked.
Soon to my dismay, I noticed my trousers and shirt. In her hands.
‘Please leave them down!’ I pleaded.
The girl laughed out more.
In myth, I have heard how Lord Krishna used to take away clothes of maidens including Radha, when they came to bathe in a river. But I never ever imagined that a girl could take a man’s clothing!
‘Okay, I can leave those clothes of yours, provided you do something for me.’ She said.
‘What?’ I asked back.
‘You would have to catch trout for me.’ She commanded.
‘Oh! that’s easy!’ I exclaimed, heaving a sigh of relief.
So the girl, her name was Roop – I learnt later, sat there at the bank of the stream and I tried to catch a trout. It was quite a tough challenge for me who had never caught a trout by hands straight from a stream. I missed many chances. Once I even slipped and fell on the rocks, injuring my toes. Roop watched me with all intent. Her beautiful eyes monitored every move of mine.

 

 

 

Part 2

After almost one and half hour of efforts, I somehow managed to catch only three trouts. By that time I was completely exhausted. Water was dripping from my hair. I was shivering a bit too.

Roop signalled me to come out of the stream. Handing the trouts over to her, I rinsed my hair with hands. Roop watched me shivering. Perhaps she feared that I might catch cold. She brought out her handkerchief and gave that to me. With that little piece of cloth, I tried to dry my hair, rubbing it in and out.

 

Soon, I started to walk towards our cottage, Roop trailing behind. All the way Roop was telling me stories of hills. Of different people. Of men, women and children. She asked me where we came from and for how long we planned to stay there.

I looked at her jolly face.

It had tiny eyes and broad jawlines, as you usually find in people from hills. There was something roundish about her face, which, I must confess, I liked. When we were near our cottage, I asked Roop to come with me. I though I swill introduce her to the girls. She said she had some tasks to complete. But she promised to come back in the afternoon to have a chat with us.

I went in, hungry and tired as I could be, after that morning walk and swim. I told my friends about meeting Roop. They were amused hearing the entire flow of events. We all were eagerly waiting for the afternoon, loitering near the door after lunch to meet Roop.
But afternoon waned to evening, and then to night. Roop did not turn up.

Next two days, I actually expected Roop to arrive at our cottage at any moment. I hoped she would tell us that she was caught up with something and she would sit with us chatting and spending time together. But she did not.

Two days later, we were to leave the cottage. We were putting our luggage into the car which was to take us back to the nearby town of Kurseong. A young lad came with a red muffler in his hand. I at once recognised it to be mine.
‘Roop di sent it for you, you had forgotten about it!’ The lad said as he gave me the muffler. I was overwhelmed.
‘Where is she? why did not she come and meet us as promised?’ I asked the boy.
‘She said she would meet you people next time for sure, this time she’s got a little problem…’ I was informed.
‘But we might never come to this place again!’ I said.
‘But how would she come?’ The boy said, ‘She is our fairy, The Fairy of our land! She protects everyone, helps us to fight natural calamities, wild animals. She helps tourists like you who wander into the forests, losing way to their hotels or cottages!’

‘What!!!’ I almost shouted.

My friends, who had been listening to our talks so far silently observing that boy and me, were also taken aback. Then the car driver, who was a local chap, came up.

‘Whatever you heard is true. Roop is the devi of our land. The fairy, the mother goddess, the protector, the healer, the saviour. You are lucky that you met her.’ The driver said.
I looked at the muffler. It was the only proof that Roop had been there. She returned it to me. ‘Where did you find the muffler?’ I asked the boy.
‘Why! She came. Roop, the mother goddess, came to that temple ground of ours last afternoon. She beckoned me to her side and handed me this. She gave me the direction to this cottage and also an exact description of the owner of the muffler, that is you.” The boy uttered as if it was the most natural thing to happen.

We all stood stupefied hearing that. Only I was feeling a bit jubilant. Not because of getting back my lost muffler, I had totally forgotten about that; but because I thought I had been that fortunate one to meet Roop, the fairy of that land.

As I remembered her face again, I was thrilled.

In our heydays, there had been a song which became an anthem for us. It started with a strong vocal expression of love for a girl in the neighbourhood, her name being Alice. Do not know why it became so popular? Perhaps because it had a rhyme of its own, a catchy rhyme and rhythm and that name Alice worked wonders in our impressionable minds. After all, who does not want to go to the land of fairies and sylphs? And no name other than Alice can strike a instant connection to the wonderland.

Much later, after passing out of the university, we had an excursion to the hills. And that excursion, brought me close to finding a fairy. Seriously!

We were divided into several groups. Our group, in which there were two girls and I was the only boy, was given a small cottage to stay near Pedong bazar. Other friends of us were also putting up nearby, a bit scattered though, as the cottages were so set in the hills of upper Darjeeling.

One morning, waking up early, I went out for a walk through the woods which surrounded our cottages. It was just that hour of the morning, when the sun had got risen – only dispersing its rays spreading across the hills and their slopes, gradually removing the mist and fog cover. The path through the woods that I took had been lovely as ever. I being an incurable romantic was enjoying every bit of it. The birds were chirping, the mild chill in the air was settling upon my face and arms and I was singing, humming a song of love. No I was not singing that song which had Alice as a character. Instead I was singing a Hindi song, from a Hindi flick starring Amir Khan.

Those trees, that path. those chirping of birds and a beautiful morning to take a walk.
I was naturally in my best mood.

Walking a few yards, I thought I heard murmur of a stream and being curious, I followed that soft murmur, descending from the path, down the slope of the hill, to reach the banks of a stream in real. The clear water running through rocks and pebbles with colorful trouts playing in it moved me so much that I removed by trousers and shirt and took a plunge into the stream. The water though cold, was not that harmful. In fact, after wriggling my arms and legs in water for a while, I felt quite invigorated and thought of swimming in the stream for some time. Just then, I heard someone giggling. A girlish giggle, sweet and lively. Turning around, I found a girl, in mid twenties, looking at me from the bank of the stream and laughing her heart’s out.

I was partly surprised and partly embarrassed. A girl giggling at me!
‘Hey you!’ The girl said. ‘where are your clothes?’ She asked.
Soon to my dismay, I noticed my trousers and shirt. In her hands.
‘Please leave them down!’ I pleaded.
The girl laughed out more.
In myth, I have heard how Lord Krishna used to take away clothes of maidens including Radha, when they came to bathe in a river. But I never ever imagined that a girl could take a man’s clothing!
‘Okay, I can leave those clothes of yours, provided you do something for me.’ She said.
‘What?’ I asked back.
‘You would have to catch trout for me.’ She commanded.
‘Oh! that’s easy!’ I exclaimed, heaving a sigh of relief.
So the girl, her name was Roop – I learnt later, sat there at the bank of the stream and I tried to catch a trout. It was quite a tough challenge for me who had never caught a trout by hands straight from a stream. I missed many chances. Once I even slipped and fell on the rocks, injuring my toes. Roop watched me with all intent. Her beautiful eyes monitored every move of mine.

To Be Continue in Part 2..

After almost one and half hour of efforts, I somehow managed to catch only three trouts. By that time I was completely exhausted. Water was dripping from my hair. I was shivering a bit too.

Roop signalled me to come out of the stream. Handing the trouts over to her, I rinsed my hair with hands. Roop watched me shivering. Perhaps she feared that I might catch cold. She brought out her handkerchief and gave that to me. With that little piece of cloth, I tried to dry my hair, rubbing it in and out.

Soon, I started to walk towards our cottage, Roop trailing behind. All the way Roop was telling me stories of hills. Of different people. Of men, women and children. She asked me where we came from and for how long we planned to stay there.

I looked at her jolly face.

It had tiny eyes and broad jawlines, as you usually find in people from hills. There was something roundish about her face, which, I must confess, I liked. When we were near our cottage, I asked Roop to come with me. I though I swill introduce her to the girls. She said she had some tasks to complete. But she promised to come back in the afternoon to have a chat with us.

I went in, hungry and tired as I could be, after that morning walk and swim. I told my friends about meeting Roop. They were amused hearing the entire flow of events. We all were eagerly waiting for the afternoon, loitering near the door after lunch to meet Roop.
But afternoon waned to evening, and then to night. Roop did not turn up.

Next two days, I actually expected Roop to arrive at our cottage at any moment. I hoped she would tell us that she was caught up with something and she would sit with us chatting and spending time together. But she did not.

Two days later, we were to leave the cottage. We were putting our luggage into the car which was to take us back to the nearby town of Kurseong. A young lad came with a red muffler in his hand. I at once recognised it to be mine.
‘Roop di sent it for you, you had forgotten about it!’ The lad said as he gave me the muffler. I was overwhelmed.
‘Where is she? why did not she come and meet us as promised?’ I asked the boy.
‘She said she would meet you people next time for sure, this time she’s got a little problem…’ I was informed.
‘But we might never come to this place again!’ I said.
‘But how would she come?’ The boy said, ‘She is our fairy, The Fairy of our land! She protects everyone, helps us to fight natural calamities, wild animals. She helps tourists like you who wander into the forests, losing way to their hotels or cottages!’

‘What!!!’ I almost shouted.

My friends, who had been listening to our talks so far silently observing that boy and me, were also taken aback. Then the car driver, who was a local chap, came up.

‘Whatever you heard is true. Roop is the devi of our land. The fairy, the mother goddess, the protector, the healer, the saviour. You are lucky that you met her.’ The driver said.
I looked at the muffler. It was the only proof that Roop had been there. She returned it to me. ‘Where did you find the muffler?’ I asked the boy.
‘Why! She came. Roop, the mother goddess, came to that temple ground of ours last afternoon. She beckoned me to her side and handed me this. She gave me the direction to this cottage and also an exact description of the owner of the muffler, that is you.” The boy uttered as if it was the most natural thing to happen.

We all stood stupefied hearing that. Only I was feeling a bit jubilant. Not because of getting back my lost muffler, I had totally forgotten about that; but because I thought I had been that fortunate one to meet Roop, the fairy of that land.

As I remembered her face again, I was thrilled.

The End

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6 Response Comments

  • Boijayanto Mukherjee12/12/2018 at 11:02 PM

    This is a beautiful and mystical tale that appeals to both the heart and mind of the readers. The feeling of belonging to the nature, the succinct imaginative detailing and the true to life portrayal of ‘Roop’ are signs of true writing prowess. That feeling of mystery, unfulfilled meeting and the sweet conclusion make up for the best parts of the story. Such tales might constitute for a collection of short stories for teenagers and adults alike. Really looking forward to more such treats!

  • Nidhi Jangid13/12/2018 at 10:06 AM

    Really a nice story , holding my attention to the very end of it! It is filled with the sense of curiosity, suspense and affection. The author succeeds in establishing a well-interlinked plot.

  • NANDANA DASGUPTA14/12/2018 at 10:32 PM

    I loved the story. It appeared to me no less than a Fairy Tale & I simply loved reading it. There’s a kind of bliss while one read’s this story, a proper balance of Spiritual & well as Mystical elements are used in this story. Well crafted I must say! The detailing of the scenery makes it quite possible for the reader to extend his imagination capability & get the feel of the cool waters of the stream sitting at home. Thank you for giving us such a wonderful piece to read.

  • Khelan Shah15/12/2018 at 12:29 AM

    Really appreciate the way the writer has managed to paint a picture in such few lines. The added element of mystery, mythology and tradition bodes well with the narration.

  • Shreyosee21/12/2018 at 11:22 PM

    Ohh there was a real bliss in every part . The amalgamation of nature at its best along with the encounter with the pretty girl was brought about majestically.

  • Divyanshi30/01/2019 at 6:00 PM

    An interesting plot with a beautiful detailing of the scenery . The entire plot kept us on toes with its added elements of mystery and suspense. The entire story was quite appealing and i loved it.

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