Lovely Bashar
Dhaka (Bangladesh)
Ph. +8801759397943     email : <lovelytalukdar@gmail.com>
 

 

NILPODDYO  [The Blue-Lotus]
a short story

‘Dheu’ finds relief, as the bus starts rolling the jammed-streets of Dhaka. Though, it’s comparatively lesser-jam than usual. It’s past-noon into late-afternoon. There seems no rush in school children returning home. Office-returnees will hit the streets at 5 p.m. Dheu finds herself fortunate to have got-off before the usual office-break. Crossing the concrete-jungle just after the airport, some green starts emerging, the green-tapestry being quite obviously, artificially landscaped. Yet, one can smell the aura of the Beauty-of-Bengal. The subdued Autumn afternoon-sun, sparkling in youthful embrace at both sides of the road, as if the leaves dangling in ecstasy. The sky seemed infectiously spreading beyond… in clear lush blue color. After quite a while, today, Dheu’s eyes had an opportunity to quench its thirst at nature. Each day, like a machine, she pushes herself to get-up & down through the maddening crowd overcoming the daily hassles in returning home.
Today’s Autumn afternoon is of a different flavor. Dheu’s eyes, mind, lips were busy in silent interactions, before realizing herself… dancing to the Autumn’s rhythm like an excited butterfly, she is startled to hear her name called: “Dheu…Dheu…” Dheu expresses surprise:
Inan: …you? …where from?
Dheu: …I’ve the same question…
Grabbing each other’s hand like Shornolata (an entwined branches of creeper-plant)… golden-touch of the four hands sparkle, as if being spell-bound by the touch of a touch-stone. The much familiar two heart’s blood-adrenalin flow rapidly. The serene Autumn is suddenly disrupted by the untimely storm emerging … in the minds of Dheu & Inan, just like helpless fading-voices of people tormenting in a storm. Inan babbles in disarrayed language…
Dheu... Dheu…will you get down at Farmgate?
…lots to talk about….lots of things…
Dheu, as if the wild gusty winds of her inner-storm, subdues her lips for an answer, she nods affirmation. They got-off and sat in a Restaurant. Inan was searching Dheu in her mind for a quite a while… nurturing in a silent-cage from childhood. Dheu acknowledged that upon leaving Inan, her heart became a barren desert. Her fiery-breath gains momentum. Nostalgic memories of childhood engulf her mind….how they ran around the green fields of their village home, playing games, getting soaked in the monsoon rains, clay-laden…how they wrestled-out their youthful-energy, wriggling together on carpets-of-sand at the river banks, sometimes lips exchanging flower-nectars…lost in the abundance of yellow flower-gardens… all of which, frantically yearns to the nourishment of the fiery desires of the heartland. Accumulated agonies have now transcended into a concrete-cage within.
Inan sadly expresses, that there’s no time now, to rekindle those lost beautiful memories. She’s only carrying the burden of agony of a parasite. The pains of which, like silent dark-clouds, taking a permanent abode. Each day, driving her in desperateness seeking Dheu… so that, she may ease her overbearing agonies. She’s fortunate to be touched by the Touch Stone, whose supposedly legendary magical touch would turn her long accumulated dark-clouds into gold!
Dheu asks, so who is this parasite?
Inan responds: …it’s the one with whom hearts were exchanged.
The union, that blossomed a colorful love-flower; which, with soft-touch, hand-in hand… the embodied dreams she had so endearingly nurtured... resting upon the bosom of the infinite ocean of love. The naked parasite casting her in the shadows of ever engulfing dark-clouds… From the corner of her eyes, accumulated teardrops roll down her sundried cheeks of the late-afternoon. Mountains of melancholia inside her torments her even more as, in some unpredictable moments, two-flowers blossomed yet another flower, from the same branch stemming from the umbilical fathoms of the blood-seed. Ferrying across the oceans of torment, overcoming utter sadness through the years of struggle… gift-of-nature unfolds with a life on mother-earth. Her only gift alas! …is now, having to grow-up in painful and unbearable environment.
Dheu’s eyes fill with tears in progression of her warm breaths… The prince-charming in a stallion, who elevated her in the wings of dreams, has now ironically transformed into a black-hawk. The evil-claws tattering and wounding her wretched bloodied-self… like a hunted prey, grasping, an almost dying wounded bird.
Dheu on returning home, goes straight to bed, lying down she recalls Inan’s words. Her best friend suffering so terribly, lost in a fathomless hole of torment & struggle. The lotus of love is then only a mere weapon of deceit for the male (?) …with this weapon they embrace love and with it they destroy as well. Dheu intrinsically transcends herself reinforcing a stone-of-heart and finds strength in herself, not to be vulnerable to the so-called extended hands of pure love. She refuses vehemently in self-actualization, committing to fight such temptations of the male advances made in the pretext of love; all in retrospective to Inan’s unhappiness. Deep down in her mind, she promises not to ever seek a male as a life-companion.
Dheu is a long awaited gift-of-love of her parent. Little Dheu, with much dreams, love and care had repeatedly been steamrolled with the struggles of survival, while growing-up. Demands of survival from early childhood had conditioned her journey in this beautiful world…the hard way, still striding ahead, to become a complete human being! Her own education, being on one side, while trying to meet the economic needs of the family, thus remaining busy with daily Tuition (teaching); she hardly has any free time. Mr. Ali Reza, is a simple government employee. As usual, the salary at the end of the month goes mostly to paying house-rent. The rest is dedicated to running the family survival-cost, which is not enough. At that pressing situation, Dheu extends her support to Mr. Ali. Overcoming rough & tough roads of intense struggle, today, Dheu and her three sisters are self-reliant. Carrying long-burdens, following footsteps of a friend, Mr. Ali Reza today, is exhausted and passing days of retirement. He no more has the lingering burden of poverty. Though the bright glow of the Autumn sky bestowed the family with self-reliance, however, now & then, unpredictable, hovering cluster-of-clouds overcast their life. Mr. Ali Reza’s life despite being apparently satisfactory, however, remains without peace. Mr. Ali had repeatedly failed to commit Dheu into marriage. Customarily, they can’t even arrange the marriage of the rest three daughters because of her. Sania, regularly prays five times, each time asking the Creator so that, she may consent for marriage. Even the Creator was unable to nudge Dheu’s adamant mind.
Dheu is Sania’s wealth of an umbilical-bonding, with whom she had ageless dreams. Shattering those dreams, Dheu has self-banished herself in a box-within. Sania is troubled because she is answerable at the dock-of-society. Yet, she is not spared. She often faced insults from people whose perception is framed in a regimented mind. Sania is determined to talk to her daughter directly. She will pull-out that imprisoned self. It can’t continue like this! She is not beyond the societal-norms.
On finishing dinner, everyone’s watching TV except Dheu. Sania is surprised at this, as tomorrow being a holiday. There’s no rush-factor in the morning for anyone. It has become a normal practice to gather on week-ends for TV and/or chat, discuss issues & family matters. Because other days everyone remains quite busy. Sania’s forehead, frown in deep-thought. Though, her eyes apparently appear to be watching TV, yet, her mind is lost somewhere else. If not to others, but Mr. Ali’s eyes like a detective detects… “Sania, Sania…” she’s startled at hearing him call. In an affectionate voice Mr. Ali says, “Sania…what are you thinking?” Without answering him she enters Dheu’s room. Dheu was speaking over the phone. Sania without speaking a word quietly sits beside her. Dheu realizing her presence, taking the phone off her ear she turns around standing-up. Taking the phone back to her ear she tells: Inan, have to go now, talk to you later.
Sania regains her posture from momentary trance. She was hoping to understand the reason behind her unwillingness for marriage. But, she was frustrated at realizing that she was talking to her childhood friend. Sania, affectionately putting her hand upon Dheu’s head, she murmurs… it’s been a long time that Inan came to visit us, would you ask her to visit us? Dheu informs that she being a professional Journalist hardly has time. However, Dheu assures Sania of her request. Sania while affectionately caressing her hair, informs Dheu: she is her eldest child, it’s a social-norm that parents rear their children, growing-up and at one-time, they are sent to their ‘in-laws’. Though, it seems very painful, however its happiness overruns the pains. Besides, it sets you free of your social responsibilities and its due obligations. Have to face many embarrassments from people in many different ways. Sania, takes her hand off from daughter’s head. Her facial-features, instantly turning into a hard negative expression. Grabbing her hands strongly she said: …Dheu, today you must tell me, why you are unable to consent in marriage? … Dheu quite peacefully in normal gesture hugs her mom and replies: no reason, like I said before, that I’ll not marry, even now I am saying that I’ll never ever get married. Get the other three married. Don’t have to think & worry about me. Think about your other daughters. And let me assert again, in future do not ever talk to me about marriage.
Sania, with a saddened dark-face departs her room. Mr. Ali Reza’s assumption was correct. He already knew that she will be even more hurt by her daughter. He is however, unable to rationalize. The little girl who had grown, always helping-out the family dedicatedly… from tit-bits of house-chores to major responsibilities, had never spoken a word that could hurt her parent; never did she let the younger sisters understand the pains of struggle that she underwent. This very girl, get very upset at the utterance of any marriage proposal. Dheu is very adamant at compromising this. Usually during the holidays guests come to visit. Except for Dheu, the three sister’s friends also visit. Upon finishing, the morning breakfast Dheu as usual, remain busy assisting her mother with cooking.
The youngest sister Chocolate enters the kitchen to inform Dheu that her friend Shochyo is here visiting. Saniya’s face brightened up. It’s indeed after quite a while, did any friend of Dheu come to visit. She was unaware of any male or female friends of Dheu, besides Inan.
Shochyo is busy playing with the TV remote without being interested in watching, just eagerly waiting for Dheu. Wiping her hands with her scarf, she comes and stands in front of Shochyo. Shochyo immediately lets go of the remote and asks her to sit. While sitting on the next sofa, she says: …so, finally you had to come-up to my house…? Shochyo smiles in affirmation….can’t lose hope so easily…I think I got to see the last episode… The once-upon-a-time girl, who respondingly took hold of the hands and brought him to an utopian dream-island, is now snatching-out the dream-light and leaving Shochyo in utter darkness. Yet, Shochyo is grasping desperately to reach for the banks. The cosmetic-free face looked charming. Though, Dheu was of a little dark complexion, her facial-features stood-out attractively with a serene peaceful-sweetness look…a craving attraction for Shochyo. And restless he like a wounded-bird, yielding in refuge, subdued in a dark-hole on being clawed by the eagle. All schemes to win Dheu’s heart have failed, yet not for a moment can he forget her.
It was during the first day at the University, that she accidently stumbled over to meet Shochyo. It was then, that like an electric-spark their relationship grew to a close-friendship. Shochyo could apprehend the love she had for him. However, Dheu being a pragmatic woman, her first love couldn’t subdue her obvious vulnerabilities. Shochyo hoped that, upon finishing his studies and getting employed, that Dheu would respond willingly to his proposal. He had got such indications from Dheu. But in reality, it was just the opposite. Dheu is subtly ignoring Shochyo. The more, Shochyo wants her closer…Dheu, like a mist fades away…faraway. Saniya, is silently praying to the Creator, should her daughter change her mind. After crossing so many hurdles of her struggles in life, she is now faced with her greatest crisis. A slight ray of hope fills her eyes but obstructions overwhelm her. Shochyo with sad face leaves the room. Saniya is shocked. Her suppressed unrest-full mind erupts in agonizing pain.
The roof of the two-storied house was quite charming. Dheu has nurtured the rooftop garden with many different plants & flowers. Despite her busy household chores, Dheu dedicatedly finds time for her rooftop garden. The holidays, allocating even more time for this. Dheu, standing in the middle of her garden was observing the surrounding concrete-jungle, when suddenly a pair of hands close her eyes. Dheu on touching her hands calls out: …Inan! Leaving her eyes, Inan stands close next to her. Dheu enquires, that just a while ago, she was on the phone with her, how come she didn’t mention about her intended visit (?). Dheu, I wanted to surprise you…aren’t you happy? Inan, do I have to tell that ? …can’t you tell by looking at me? You know Dheu, I felt the urge to see you. My son went to his grandma’s house. I was missing you very much in my empty house… squeezing Dheu’s two cheeks Inan expresses. It’s only been a day since we last met and your desperate …responds Dheu. Do you really miss me? enquires Dheu. Inan with a suppressed smile on her face replies: …not at all! …touching Dheu’s lips, she softly murmurs: shall I leave then? should anyone don’t feel the need to remember me, what’s with m?…I too, won’t feel the need to remember… Holding Inan’s nose softly, Dheu says: …Cut your acting, let’s go inside. Ok, I’ll go inside but on one condition, you’ll come with me to my place, I’ll talk to aunty about this. You have my word Inan, I’ll go with you…
They went inside and sat in the living-room. Saniya was happy to see Inan and requests her to convince Dheu: …she is adamant at not marrying; you must help her understand…
Inan very specifically and clearly explains… As a human, one has his/her own self-freedom and one should not be deprived of this freedom. There was once a time when, compulsive evil-norms of society unjustly enforced people to sacrifice their personal-freedom…particularly of women. Because, women being dependent on men in one-way or the other; a result, of a long held male-dominant society, throughout the ages. Even now, women are silently sacrificing themselves in the male-dominant society, being deprived of their own rights. It’s not expected by the women of the present society. Not as women or men, but as human, every person has their own self individual freedom. Everyone ought to respect that. People should live with their individual preferences. It’s unfair and inhuman to interfere on personal-freedom. Parents expect the welfare of their children. In context of which, children need to grow-up complete and self-reliant, whether girl or boy. It’s not right for the parents nor the society, to intervene & interfere in their individual freedom, should, that is not a factor of harm for anyone. As parents, it’s their responsibility to accept their children’s welfare and happiness …that’s what Inan thinks. Despite understanding Inan’s explanations, Saniya is unwilling to break-away from the so-called traditions. Not with understanding, she lost her battle with her daughter. Many years have passed. Dheu has found her real freedom. No one interferes with her own-world. Inan and Dheu starts living-together. In the meantime, Dheu has adopted a child. Inan has been divorced from her husband for the last ten years. Her son studies in College.
They have an organization named “Human Love”, without any social-acceptance. However, they meet once every month in secret-meetings. Many couples attend these meetings. There are both male-couples as well as female-couples. The key agenda of meeting being: ‘The building of a progressive and improved quality of living’ for better & beautiful life.
In this regard, their primary work will be that, based on their own capabilities, each couple will take-up the responsibility of one or two Street Children. By providing them with proper environment, they will grow-up striving for a better life, alongside their education. Though, social-thinkers, the so-called guardian of social-values… think, that the winds of the western-world have immersed our society into decadence. Even these matters are considered a curse of the western-society. This is a very wrong concept. If one recalls historically, it will reveal that ‘this’ existed in all societies. Those nations, who have acknowledged ‘these-love’, are condemned for wrong-doing. This is the bias opinion of this society.
Dheu queries: why is this love called perverted?
Inan replies: …it’s a matter of perception. Society is only used to seeing heterosexual-love, therefore when something new is added, the society being conditioned by regimented social-norms (traditions, values) thus are unable to digest this. It is only a natural phenomenon to endure love between to humans. Whether it’s woman-woman or men-men… what does it matter? But society remains intolerable.
Inan at onetime had the company of man. But later, due to many reasons she undergoes a change of heart. With the innate changes of mind she also experienced, much changes with her feelings of physiological sensitivities as well.
In fact, it’s not a complex-substance inside people that unfolds lust. It’s a liquid substance. Liquid is fluid and as such can change anytime. And Dheu remained ignorant about all this. The women’s attractions to men, she too had nurtured herself. But Dheu didn’t have the scope to experience such attractions into ecstasyc union of the senses. Much before that could happen for her, Inan swayed her away into a new world. That was, an intensely romantic night. Dheu’s childhood friend Inan:
Upon finishing her High School, Inan came to the City. Dheu, passing her College from her village got admitted in Dhaka University. Mr. Ali Reza, at one point, transferred his job to the city in order to better support their kids education. It was after eight years, that she had met Inan on the street. Since then, they often remained in touch, talking almost daily over the phone. One fine day, in the evening she arrives at Dheu’s home. Talking through the night, about their childhood yester-years… she fell asleep…
In the middle of the night, she suddenly started feeling a different kind of feeling… Dheu despite her surprise, in a state of euphoria succumbed to her feeling-good sensualities. That’s how a human-love unfolded. Their hearts and minds too, embraced in union. Though being denounced in the eyes of society, they have discovered the values of their own life. From the threshold of conflicts, a streak of bright-light out of the non-ordinary reality of the blind society, had reached-out and touched Dheu and Inan… the light, ever encompassing them have enlightened their otherwise broken-lives…***
(Translated  by Iqbal Husain)

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© Author

(Published in Kafla Intercontinental - Summer 2013)