দর্পণ || Story || Part -1 || Shimul ~ Briti Sengupta

পোস্ট বার দেখা হয়েছে


Briti Sengupta


Chapter Text


November 1993

The city where literature, art and inspiration can be found at every corner. It was a city which had witnessed years of constantly transforming beauty and aristocracy at its finest. The ghats of Hooghly River were no stranger to stories that redefined love. In the city of poets, a new ballad of two souls had begun to transpire in a small para near Kalighat, where the dwellers were of as colorful mood as the neighborhood itself.

It was one such morning in the Chatterjee house, nothing out of the ordinary. Shayan strolled around in the balcony with his book in hand, oblivious to the commotion going on in the street. From what he could tell, a new family was moving in to the house right opposite theirs, and people as usual took more interest in it than they should. The previous tenants of the house left a few years back when the son had bagged a job in the Middle East. Ever since it has been empty until that day, when a certain mister Thakur shifted with his family. He was a retired government officer who had decided to settle in his own city after spending his whole life moving from city to city owing to his work. There were a few more pieces of information he had overheard from the women in the neighborhood, who had been discussing the family since morning. His mother was one of them as well.

"Shayan. Shayan! Joldi neeche esho! (Come down quick!)"

He closed his book as he rolled his eyes, but would dare not defy his mother. When he reached the courtyard, he could see his mother talking to a woman standing on the other side of the fence.

"This is my elder son, Shayan. He is in the final year of his masters." Shaila turned her gaze from him to the woman.

"Shayan, this is Brinda Thakur, her family is the one that moved into that house this morning." He obediently greeted his new neighbor. "Her brother was such a reputed government officer you know? Very high rank in the office. Even my husband has worked...."

As the two woman drifted on with the conversation he tried to slip away without coming into attention. He was still holding onto the novel he was reading with all intentions of diving back into it as soon as he went upstairs, but before he could turn away he caught something at the corner of his eye that stopped him in his tracks.

It was a blurry silhouette of what looked like a young girl struggling to pick up heavy boxes. She was standing on the other side of the huge wrought iron gate of the house across the street. Possibly someone from Brinda ji's family. The dark shadows of the house that loomed over her face along with the huge cardboard boxes she was carrying had covered it and made it impossible for him to see her. A part of him wanted to go and help but another part of him refrained at the thought of coming off as intrusive. After a few good minutes of debate, the latter won. He slowly walked away and went back up to his room.


That same night Shayan was sitting in the terrace under the light of the moon, enjoying the cool breeze. It had lured him out of his room where he usually spent most of his day either studying or preparing his portfolio. But it got terribly warm in there when there was power cut, which was not unusual in their city. Despite nearing the end the year, the temperatures were still pretty high. The only thing enjoyable were the cool November breezes that brought along a speck of winter from the north, flowing through the city providing the residents some relief from the heat and humidity. Shayan looked at the para around him. The lights were out but it was still lively as ever. The kids came out of their houses and played in their courtyards. Elders of the house sat on the porch with their radio. He would miss this sight, and everything about the city he grew up in. It was perfectly imperfect.

His reverie of thoughts came to a halt when he heard his mother's voice. Following her command he went downstairs. The hallway was dimly lit by candles and two battery operated emergency light.

"Shona, go give this emergency light to the Thakurs. They just moved in today. Probably don't even have candles in the house. How will they work in this darkness?"

"But maa you could've asked Debu to go as well. He's sitting right here, doing absolutely nothing like he always does."

"Why? Why can't you go Bittu? Always bossing around your younger brother."

He could see Debu grinning sitting on the chair, enjoying the scene as their mother scolded him. "You will go because I said so!"

"Achha baba, jachhi. (Okay fine I'm going)"

The walk to the Thakur house was a short one but he encountered the regular interrogation of two aunties, one little kid and a few neighborhood boys on his way. Both the questions and their answers remained unchanged for the years. 

'Where are you studying? What are you doing? Where are you going?' 

All the same questions, never a different answer. Shayan skillfully treaded through the series of over enthusiastic neighbors, or as his father would like to call them, 'enthu-cutlets'. After a good ten to fifteen minutes he finally reached the gate of the house.

He pushed the heavy gates to swing them open and entered their courtyard. No house in their neighborhood were guarded with locks on the gates outside, which was peculiar but amazing in its own special way.

Reaching the steps to the main door, he rang the bell but remembered soon enough that it would not work during a power cut. So he knocked. A few seconds later the door creaked open.

Bringing up his gaze, he saw a candle and then the one holding it. The warmth of the lit candle illuminated her face that highlighted her soft brown eyes. Her thick black, wet hair fell across her shoulders in curls. He could tell she was as confounded to see him as he was to see her.

"Hi, I- actually, I live in the house right across yours. My mother had met your... I mean she sent this," he said, handing her the light, "You just moved in, so this might be of help."

"Thank you. And that must've been my pishi maa (paternal aunt). The one your mother met."

"Oh right. Um, if you need any help with shifting, we're just across the road. You can let us know anytime."

"Sure, will do."

There was something really different about the way she smiled, it reminded him that of an old friend, as if they've known each other for years.

"So, um... I'll take your leave then. Bye."

He waved an awkward goodbye, she did the same too. The tension eased away as he walked back to his house in long strides. Half way to his room, he realized that he didn't ask her name.

To be continued .....

একটি মন্তব্য পোস্ট করুন

0 মন্তব্যসমূহ