It was a sweltering April afternoon. Natasha felt irked with the constant blabbering of the passengers in the train. Right at that moment, she got a savior. A small boy of around fourteen years old was selling second hand books in the train. Being the crazy bibliophile, she stopped the boy and started surfing the books that he carried along with him. She was filled with childlike exhilaration on spotting a wonderful collection of love poems by Pablo Neruda. She instantly took the book in exchange of forty rupees. The boy smiled at her and went away.
Natasha was happy with her new possession. The scorching heat and the chattering of passengers could not bother her in the same fervency now. She opened the book and noticed the name of its original owner: Sandeep Sen. The handwriting was neat and beautiful. Natasha read the name and paused for a minute to contemplate about how the first owner of the book could be like. May be, he was also a book worm like her.
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She finally pushed aside her thoughts and leafed through the pages of the book, reading a poem from here and there. As she was busy with her task, a paper escaped from the book and fell on her right foot. Natasha picked the paper at once. She unfolded the paper and saw that it’s a letter. The exhilaration that was ingrained in her face transformed to shock as she gazed at the first two words of the letter. She could not believe what she was seeing. The first two words of the letter read My Natasha.The curious mind of Natasha urged her to read the entire letter without ogling at only the first two words of the letter.
Today, as usual, you did not look at me or spoke to me once before leaving for your office. I wonder why you cannot understand how much I pine for a loving look and a caring touch from you. I know you do not love me. Our marriage is just a compromise for you, to save the honor of your family. You still think about that worthless guy who left you one day before your wedding. I know you loved him and your heart is tainted with scars. But, at least don’t be so blind that you cannot see the profound love that I have for you.
I know I don’t have a charismatic personality. I am boring and not at all attractive. But, I can tell it with sheer confidence that no one in the world can ever love you more than me. I have loved you since childhood. You have never even cast a single glance on me, but whenever I went to your house to take tuitions from your father, I used to steal glances at you. You haven’t told me anything about you, but I know each and everything about you starting from your likes, dislikes to your fears.
I bought this book today “100 love sonnets by Pablo Neruda” not because I am fond of reading, but because I learnt that this is your favorite book. So, I will carry this book with me always. It would make me feel that you are closer to me and will give me the hope that one day, you will understand my love for you.
Natasha’s eyes welled up as she read the letter. She knew that she was not the Natasha whom Sandeep wrote this letter. He has written it for his wife whom he loved dearly and who did not love him. However, Natasha could feel the anguish of this stranger named Sandeep so deeply. She contemplated about how much this person loved his wife and wondered about the fate of the couple. Natasha wondered what made Sandeep sell the book which made him feel closer to his wife.
Whenever Natasha reads this book or sees it lying in her bookshelf, a plethora of questions and thoughts grasp her. Despite not meeting or talking to Sandeep ever, he is the stranger Natasha could really never forget.