By Hiranya Borah
Copyright 2016 Hiranya Borah
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Preface: Snubbed Twice
When friendship is developed between a boy and a girl, there is a likelihood, one of them falls in love with the other. But due to fear of losing a friend he/she prefers to keep mum. In the process he / she suffers whole life. Can you blame the other party for not reading the other’s mind properly?
I am thankful to the readers, well-wishers and family members for encouraging me to write something on something! Thanks to Shakespir for providing me the platform to publish this compilation.
Chapter I: Old Friends
The announcer announced, ‘Flight No—will be late by an hour’ to sprinkle salt on my already wounded mental state of mind due to heavy traffic jam on the way to the airport. But you can do nothing in such a situation. So reluctantly I went to the nearest coffee stall to have a strong black coffee to reduce my bitterness expecting bitterness could be reduced only a bitter coffee. I ordered for large Americano. The cashier looked at me surprisingly; but did not say anything. Probably he saw bitterness on my face!
Sipping to my Americano I looked around. A lady with traditional Assamese dress caught my attention. She might be five to ten years older than my age; I thought. As she also looked around our eyes met and then unexpected thing happened! She came forward to me and said, ‘Hey you! The old rascal, Hiranya!’
Through her voice I could recognize she is my ex-classmate Amrita Saikia, one of the most elegant girl of our college. Moreover, she had been my closest friend for four years in the college whom I was meeting after 30 long years.
With equal warmth I said, ‘Hey, my sweet heart; the eternal beauty!’
She hugged me and said, ‘Why you do not dye your hair? You look very old!’
‘I am helping my beautiful classmates and colleagues to feel happy by looking themselves much younger compared to me!’ I did not say she also looked much older.
‘ The same buttery tongue! Anuradha (another ex- classmate) told me age did not hurt your spirit to buttress any lady’s ego!’
‘Thank you darling! Anyway, are coming to Guwahati by the same flight? Are you alone or your boxer hubby is also with you?’ I asked her with same warmth.
‘Yes we, that includes your boxer friend Naveen, are going with you in the same flight!’ She said with a smile.
Naveen was two-year senior to me and was a reasonably good sportsman of our time. Though in our college, two-year senior students were big brothers for the juniors, Naveen was friendly to many of the juniors due to his sports background. He allowed me to address him by name.
A few minutes later Naveen coming out from washroom, joined us. He is no more that strong Naveen once we used to know him. ‘Diabetes took my toll!’ Before asking him about his ill health, he told me.
‘You did not have any bad habits like us! How diabetes caught you up!’ I asked him knowing that he was actually a teetotaller.
‘After forty, I stopped my gruelling exercise that I used to accustomed with. Going to office and sitting idle had created all sorts of problem.’ He sighed.
Then in lighter vein he said, ‘Why you are still hale and hearty I know; you are still running after beautiful ladies. Is not it?’
I did not comment on his jibe.
Now I realized why Amrita also looked so old. I felt sorry for the couple, once very closed to me.
‘What will you take? Black coffee without sugar?’ He nodded.
‘And what about you, dear?’ I asked Amrita.
‘Mocha with cream!’ She smiled like a girl of twenty.
After bringing two glasses of coffee, we sat beside a round table.
‘You still talk in the same way like Gao Burha (village Headman), no change!’ Naveen told with a faint smile.
‘Many people say like that! My family members always snubbed for my rustic behaviour and talks. But I could not change myself over the years!’ I said without any remorse.
‘That is why many people like you! Even Amrita also likes you very much! Even sometimes I feel she loves you!’ Naveen said with a twinkle in his eyes.
‘You, Ba—d; you suspect your wife also!’ Then both of us started laughing.
‘Why you had not proposed me? I heard you proposed many girls!’ Amrita also teased me.
‘You too! Spare me my Mom!’ I pleaded with folded hands.
Time passed quickly and boarding announcement was made. After exchanging my seat with a passenger, we all three sat together.
Chapter II: The Equation
Amrita and I were good friends even though we had wide gaps between our social backgrounds. She was a daughter of a senior Government official having large house in the middle of the city. On the other hand, I was from a modest background of a teachers’ family. Despite of that she was friendly with me, for that I am always grateful to her. I always used to feel comfortable with Amrita as a friend. Even after Naveen and she became lovers, my relation with Amrita remained same for four years of college life. Many of my friends used to refer her as my sister and I also never mind for such references!
But once I shifted to Delhi for my higher studies, I could meet Amrita only two times before her marriage to Naveen. I could not attend her marriage due to my final examination of master degree. She showed lot of disappointment over the issue. After few months of her marriage, they were out of my rather as they shifted from Guwahti to another town without sending her postal address to me. However, I could able to make contact with her ten years ago when I was able to get her telephone number from a common friend who works with Naveen.
Though initially I wanted to keep contact with her by calling her frequently, I had to curtail my calls as I felt she did not want frequent calls from me due to some reasons. She also refused to give Naveen’s number.
Chapter III: First Snub
‘I heard, you are developing an affair with Sangeeta!’ Amrita asked me or rather she commented on my affair with Sangeeta who was two-year junior to me.
‘Not exactly! But yes, there is some relation between us! Frankly speaking, I do not know whether I love her or not. But definitely she loves me!’ I said thoughtfully.
‘You, foolish boy! You do not know whether you love or not, but you claim she loves you!’ She was angry. I could not find out why she was angry.
‘She told me she loves me; but I told her that I have to take few more days to take my decision. Where is the question of my foolishness!’ I was also angry; but I did not show my anger.
This time she also toned down her voice and said, ‘Then it is Ok. But I, as a well-wisher, can tell you that she will not be good match for you!’
‘Why do you think so?’ I asked her with little bit of irritation.
‘I am also not sure. But I tell you, she will not be good choice for you!’ Uttering these words, she left in a huff.
I was little bit surprised why she was angry.
However, my love affair with Sangeeta did not take off due to some external factors.
After one month, Amrita told me that Naveen had proposed him. My reaction was very positive, ‘He is a nice boy. You should accept his proposal. He will make you happy in your life.’
‘Do you think so?’ She asked me vaguely.
‘Yes, I am hundred percent sure, he will keep you happy.’ Without any further discussion she left for the day.
On my advice or due her own attraction to him Amrita accepted Naveen. After three to four years of courtship they married. As I mentioned earlier I could not attend their marriage due to my final examination for my masters.
After her marriage, she wrote a two-line letter, ‘After pushing me to deep water, you even could not come to see me whether I was floating or drowning on the marriage day!’
I answered her immediately apologizing for not attending her marriage due to my examination. She did not answer my letter.
After three months of their marriage, they shifted to Duliajan, the oldest oil field of India. Due to own problems and pre-occupation, I could not meet the couple in the last thirty years though later on we were in contact through telephone calls. That is why I could not recognize her by her face but could recognize her voice.
Anyone may ask a logical question, if she was in my contact, why I did not know that Naveen was suffering from diabetes or could not see her photograph in FB or somewhere through some common friends?
I did know anything about them because she was not in FB and she always avoid long conversation.
In response to the first telephone call she said without any ambiguity that she would never entertain any personal questions particularly about their married life. She thundered on the very first day over telephone, ‘Do not ask any question on my personal life as you ceased to be my best friend the day you advised me to accept Naveen’s proposal.’
Therefore, on her family front she used to say only, ‘I am fine. Naveen is fine and my daughters are also fine. What about you?’
But as a good friend she used to listen about my family matters attentively; sometimes posing some relevant questions also.
Chapter IV: Second Snub
As the flight descended, they told me that a car would be waiting for them to take them directly to Duliajan. Naveen asked me whether they should drop me at Guwahati on their way to Duliajan. I told them as I was on an official tour, a car would be coming to pick me up.
After an overdue get-together, she said good bye to me giving another bear hug. Naveen also gave me a bear hug before getting into the car.
As expected, a car took me to the hotel where I had to stay for next three nights.
The next day, in the afternoon I telephoned Amrita to renew our friendship once again.
But from the other side Amrita told, ‘I pray to you Hiranya, never telephone me again! Whole life I am trying to forget our four years of friendship as a bad dream! Again meeting with you at the airport reopened the wound I am carrying for years. I found you as foolish as you were thirty years ago. I cannot expect anything from you.’ Then she hung the phone.
The author is a Government servant and a man of vivid experiences derived from his official postings across the country, travels across India and numerous visits outside India. He is presently placed at New Delhi.
His earlier publications are:
1.Random Thoughts through a Coloured Prism
2. Dilemma of a Young Mind
3. Funny Statistics and Serious Statisticians
4. Melody of Fragrance
6. Few Cities through the Lens of Hiranya Borah
7. Guilt: Gift of Winter Spring
8. Beautiful Ghost
9. Great Fighters: Grace of God
10. All Blurred
11. Putting kids to sleep
12.How to become unpopular
14. My grumpy Face
15. Love and Worries
16. Discussion of own Birth: A Taboo
18. Indecent Love Affairs
19. My Fair Lady
21. Two Stories
22. My Mother: Dashami Borah
26. First Attempt
27. A father
28. The Portrait
29. Snapped Thread
30. Only He Knows
31. The Stupid Mother
32. The Same Old Story
33. The Old Scoundrel
34. Third Attempt
35. Some of my First Days and First Nights
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When friendship is developed between a boy and a girl, there is a likelihood, one of them falls in love with the other. But due to fear of losing a friend he/she prefers to keep mum. In the process he / she suffers whole life. Can you blame the other party for not reading the other’s mind properly? Amrita and I were good friends even though we had wide gaps between our social backgrounds. She was a daughter of a senior Government official having large house in the middle of the city. On the other hand, I was from a modest background of a teachers’ family. Despite of that she was friendly with me, for that I am always grateful to her. I always used to feel comfortable with Amrita as a friend. Even after Naveen and she became lovers, my relation with Amrita remained same for four years of college life. Many of my friends used to refer her as my sister and I also never mind for such references! But Amrita's feeling for me was not limited to mere friendship!