In my childhood after the Pujas, I felt like it was the end of the road for me! Everything has gone. Now only the exams are left! Oh! How could life go on. I brooded.
Amidst those blank days, a man came to our para singing a certain song.
He had a distinctive face. An overbearing white beard. White thick hair backbrushed to his shoulder.
His height was impressive with a matching health. A harmonium slung down his chest.
He bellowed the harmonium slowly, running his fingers over its keys. And sang in his melodious baritone voice. I never came across such a voice which roughly could be described as a combination of George Biswas and Jagjit Singh. It was this tonal virtue which held our para captive in that afternoon.
Sedin amae bolechhile amar samay hae nai/ Phire phire chole gele tai. He sang. A Rabindrasangeet.
He ambled very slowly down the moram-filled road of our gully. His voice echoed and re-echoed off the houses standing on both sides of the road.
The swoon of darkness started covering the lazy beams of day-end sun. And he sang aji elo hemonter din…Bela ar nai baki.
Everyone from their windows and doors and balconies looked at the man. We stopped our para-cricket.
He hypnotized us all.
Why he chose that song is only what he could answer. But he seemed to be lost in his song and moved along in a trance. It seemed.
The characteristic mild foggy chill and a shadow-sprawling early November afternoon made the man a mystifying singer.
Years spun on very quickly.
Now after busy hours at school, when I walk back home tiredly in the afternoons under the shadowy arches of Chhatim trees, I wistfully look back through the open gates of Ulhas if the Rabindrasangeet singer of my childhood comes through them.
I see none, except the speeding trucks and buses, some of which stop momentarily at the gate to unload and reload passengers to ply off to another destination.
I sigh. Deep and deeper.
The red-frock alien girl I played para-cricket for primarily those days to flaunt my sporting skills, wanted a little time then from me desperately as she kept on visiting my gully.
I had no time to spare. She went away.
The dizzying smell of Chhatim alerts me. It is Hemonto now all over again.
I look back for the second time as I press the calling bell of my house.
The door light is switched on from inside, followed by some tinkering with the bolt. The door is about to open.
There are dew drops on the rose petals beside the door. I find in door lights.