Surprise! An email after a long time.Actually since the day we have started staying together (see, I did not tell,’since we married”, you should be happy 🙂 ), we have been in such close proximity that refers any form of written communication,other than those instant messages as redundant.
So, after years (even a few years seem ages) of invading each other’s space physically and emotionally, here I am, separated from you by miles, stranded in a village hidden somewhere inside a jungle of Orissa. The road that was supposed to bring me to you in two days, has been destroyed by the hurricane.There is no power supply in the guest house and the laptop battery is rapidly draining, the phone is already switched off. The caretaker cum chef cum orderly did place a candle that it attracted a halo of insects till it was blown off by the raging wind.I am just too lazy to shut the window.The only thing that i can do now is to write all those which I wanted to tell you but could never say.
First thing first, apologies for writing it in English. I have two good excuses for doing it so. The practical reason is typing using avro keyboard will consume more time and hence limit my time of writing:courtsey, the low battery;the pragmatic reason is that English spares me from the bangla spelling mistakes which you detest and trust me I need you to read it till the very end.
Second thing, please do not try to draw a parallel with you favorite old man’s “Streer Potro”. You had made me trudge through it with my pathetic bangla and i know how much you love it. In fact sometimes you do behave like Mrinal and you know that I admire you for it (I can almost you see smile now).Infact, it was probably this fierce nature of yours that made me fall in love with you.But i did not like it, in fact i found it very irrelevant in today’s context and could never understand your fascination with either that old man or his “Streer Potro”. I never said it then for the fear of infuriating you or hurting you, but I had attributed it to your brand of feminism which I never liked. A lady of your intelligence and ability, stating that women are oppressed, “historically”, seemed like an oxymoron to me. In fact like cliched debating points, I felt that your ability to express this shows that you aren’t oppressed. You termed me as naive and many a times tried to chide me and show me your reason and often what you termed as “ground reality” but I never paid much of an attention and after a certain point you did not try anymore.Was that the point when we stopped communicating? May be, but I never noticed and I am sure that even you did not.
You are intelligent, independent and also beautiful. In fact all that a person wants and I won’t pretend that I am anything different from others. But soon, your independent nature and the casual disregard for usual norms that amused me began to trouble me.I had somehow hoped that once ‘settled’, you would drop all your “biplobi” ideas and into the perfect family picture that I have been striving to create all my life. But nothing of that sort happened. I can never complain that you weren’t attentive to your duties, in fact you performed those meticulously;but there were small things which you did that created ripples in the family.Like you remember the time when we travelled all the way to my grand-parent’s house to celebrate durga puja? There you gently corrected Boro-Mamima every time she called you mejo-bou. You never came to know that your insistence to be called by your name had turned to a joke during the pujas. I could never bring myself to tell you that because the desire to be called by your name is so natural to you that you cannot think anything otherwise.I did feel bad when others smirked as they called you by your name.I had found it very inflexible of you.What hell would have broken loose if they had called you mejo-bou for those few days! I never felt anything abnormal when anyone addressed me as ‘Boro Jamai’ when I went to your house. Infact there have been times when I did feel that you, all of you, were overly sensitive to pick and spin problems where none existed just to perpetuate your idea that you have been subjugated oppressed and repressed for ages. Those were the times when I could almost feel our relationship tottering precariously over a cliff.But then again there were moments when with a tea cup in your hand, your face awashed in the evening glow, you continued to speak and listen about everything under the sun. That soft light and the laughter in our voices made me feel that it was worth the effort to make it work. At those moments I could have fought against the world to hold you in my arms and just look at you.
Oh by the way, I have brought you a sari from the village market. I’ll have to remember to pack it, you know I forgetful I tend to be. I am sure you will like the rustic coarseness of the sari. You always loved the coarseness of jute and earthy colors as opposed to the glamour of chiffon and silks. How can one forget the attention you had drawn to yourself when you turned up at Tutul’s marriage ceremony in a simple jute silk with terracotta jewellery amidst all the glitter of silk and golds. You looked attractive. I felt so proud when people admired you.But then the barbs that I had to endure! In fact not just that day, from the beginning of Tutul’s marriage planning, you have been opposing all that had been going on. The day you had stormed at that doctor guy who had remarked that she was darker than they expected, Pishima had pulled me aside and pleaded me not to bring you along next time,”Such modern girls aren’t suited in such situation”. That is why i made excuses and did not attend any other such meetings.How angry you were at what you deemed as my ‘lack of responsibility’. I could never tell you the truth, you loved Pishima and Tutul so much that I did not have courage to inflict that sadness upon you.
But your anger did not last long as the news of one of your articles getting published in Desh came to us.You had not been writing for a long time, just more than a couple of months. In fact when you started writing, I am almost relieved thinking that now only pen and paper shall have to bear the brunt of your ideas. I shall be left at peace in my own cocoon of middle class safety to deal with the situations and I knew you loved me so much that generally gave in to my way of doing things even if they did not agree with your thoughts and I had immense faith on that love.But how foolish I was to think that all that was written in paper shall not come to haunt me, haunt us.In the party that I insisted on throwing celebrating the occasion, when you were busy gossiping with all boudis and didis, I had to pull a stoic face and stand all jibes.”Benefits of having a progressive wife is definitely more than such parties,eh?”,”we envy your luck, not a single dull moment”.The whisky burnt my throat and I lashed out at you.You went to the balcony and cried.I had spoiled your happiness.Perhaps that was the moment when you started hating me.You never told me, but I could feel your resentment in your compliance. Silently, but firmly you had shut me out of your life. I never knew what you thought anymore.Your writings-they never leaped out of the leather diary anymore. Did you publish? I knew you did, but you did not tell me anymore and all that you published were never the fiction that you always aspired to write.
You might wonder today, why I am writing this. This is perhaps my way of apologizing for those numerous times when I have failed you. My failure wasn’t because I did not love you enough or I did not respect the choices you made.My failures were because I wanted to live an easy life, I had no courage to test the ideals that we revered or at least pretended to revere.My failure was because I did not have the courage to love you as fiercely as you loved me.
I wish I could write longer, but now words fail me and the battery shall soon follow suit.
Lots of love.