“Wait a minute” Sampoorna intervened before Anirudh could catch his breath and start tying another bridge of compliments for his Bondita. “You said; when you met her a year ago, but Bondita returned to India only three months ago, after completing her graduation, didn’t she?” “Shit! shit! SHIT!! I lost control over my tongue while trying to reign over my emotions. Aahh.” Anirudh facepalmed himself mentally, “Anirudh, look me in the eyes. You had seen Bondita before, before her return to India, right? Anirudh, when and how did you see her? Why didn’t you tell me? Then what about Vayjanti ……, Anirudh, please open your heart and tell me the truth…” Sampoorna pleaded with moist eyes.
“The truth” Anirudh pondered, “The truth which he had buried in his heart for a year now. The truth of meeting her by a simple trick of destiny after waiting for her for so long, the veracity of him realizing that she was no longer just his responsibility. The truth of his qualms of being erased from her memories, his insecurities of being replaced, the truth of all those unsent confession letters which he had written while basking in her remembrance. The truth he had wanted to confess to the world… and to her…”
“Bondita dear, please open the door. Dear!!” Bondita hurried to wipe her tears as she heard her mother banging the door, while calling her out. “Coming” she shouted, though her voice did not sound as cheerful as she wanted it to be. “Maa, come on in. Is it something urgent? Does your head still hurt? You had your medicine…” “Shh…” Sumati silenced her daughter and stared at her for a minute. Under the light of the lamp, Bondita’s face had a different beauty, similar to how the earth got embellished after a heavy downpour. “She has suffered far too much than she deserved.” Sumati thought and sighed before continuing “You are a barrister not an actor. It has already been exhausting for you after rejoicing in your sorrows for so long downstairs. You can drop the act now. Tell me everything. I know it must have been so hard on you especially after trying so hard to find reasons to hate the person you have loved for so long.”
“What is there to tell you, Maa?” Bondita said, before walking away. “Maa, you know, to be honest, when you told me about the last ritual for being a Sanyasini, I started resenting him a lot. But as I saw you bleed and being dragged away, I started hating myself more than anybody else. I hated the fact that I had become so oblivious of the consequences of my actions. I was ready to sacrifice everything for my love but never had I once thought about all those sacrifices which were made to allow me to attain my everything. Maa, just to make me a Barrister, my closed ones have turned against each other. To protect me, people have laid down their lives just so I could stay alive to live my dream. How could I put everything on line so heartlessly? I was awarded the gift of education to bring a change. To be independent. To bring about a new dawn of revolution not so that I could sacrifice it all in the fire of my affection. I detested myself for being so selfish. I was mortified and guilty for lowering myself so low after being taught to hold my head high. But anymore, Maa, not anymore” Sumati raised her head as she noticed a change of tone in her daughter’s narration.
She looked up to see Bondita staring at the lamp and heard her say, “I will be strong, Maa. Strong enough to be different. Strong enough to take my matters in my own hands and to pull the strings of my own life. Strong enough to bring a change. This is an oath I take to all sacrifice that have been made, to all my efforts, to all our pain and sufferings. This is a promise I make to myself today. And I will make it come true.”
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