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Sunday, 14 February 2021

You Came Like Autumn - A Short Story

 


Nivedita looked at the uncannily familiar man from one side of the lake. He was reading a newspaper, oblivious of her presence.

It has been more than two weeks since Nivedita had become a resident of the old age home situated amid the greenery. She did not miss her house as she was unwelcome there. In this place, people smiled and talked to her without making her feel that they are doing a huge favor on her. She could breathe freely after what felt like ages. 

Between her freedom and the fear of loneliness, she had allowed the former to win.

The only thread that still binds her to home is her teenage granddaughter, Neeva who loves her unconditionally.

“Look what I have bought for you, dimma.”

Nivedita was overwhelmed with emotions to see her college diary on her lap. She caressed it with tenderness and looked at Neeva with gratitude.

“I found it in the storeroom. I knew that you would love this surprise.”

“This diary is my time-machine, Neeva. I thought I had lost it forever.”

“I have read some of your poems. They are mesmerizing. For whom had you written those poems, dimma?”

Nivedita smiled with a pang in her heart. Her eyes again wandered and rested on that man sitting on the bench.

“Can you do me a favour, Neeva?”

“Anything for you! You are my most favorite person in this world.”

“Can you ask that man his name? I have a gut feeling that I had seen him somewhere, but my sixty-five -year-old brain is unable to recall.”

“Not a problem! I will be back in a moment.”

***

Nivedita opened her diary and looked at the yellow pages where her youth, love, longing, and pain are captured. Some of the pages in the diary have become brittle, threatening to escape like the stray leaves of autumn. She got drowned in her juvenile words when a familiar voice took her out of her reverie.

“Nivi!”

Nivedita’s heartbeat quickened when the familiar voice called her name again. There was only one person in the world who called her by that name.

She composed her uneven breathing before looking at the man whom she was observing for a few days from afar.

“Samar!”

“Yes!” The man with salt and pepper hair smiled at her.

Nivedita could recognize his voice at once. Now that he is in front of her, she could easily recognize his face embellished with a few freckles and wrinkles.

Samar took a long look at Nivedita. Her sky blue tant cotton saree was pinned elegantly and her partly grey hair was neatly tied in a bun.

Neeva could realize that her grandmother and the stranger wanted to talk to each other. She left with an excuse.

“I always wanted to see you at least one time before breathing my last. But I never wanted to meet you in an old age home, Nivi.” Samar said as he sat beside Nivedita.

“I am happier here. My children do not value me, especially after my husband passed away. And now, at this stage of life, I want to value myself. My pension is meeting the expenses of this place. You don’t have to pity me. Why are you here, Samar?”

“I had never married and lived like a vagabond for most of my life. I was staying with my nephew for the last five years. After he went to the US, I thought this would be a good place for me to spend my remaining years.”

Nivedita nodded as hundreds of unanswered questions somersaulted in her head.

She carelessly leafed through the pages of the diary.

“Is that the same poetry book that you used to carry in college?” Samar asked in exhilaration as he noticed the diary on Nivedita’s lap.

“Yes. My granddaughter found it in the storeroom.”

“Can I see it once?” Samar said with a twinkle in his eyes. He was aware that the poems that Nivedita used to write in the diary were about their love.

“No matter how beautiful the autumn leaves look, they have to leave the tree. These poems have also become like that. They have no purpose now.” Nivedita said with a faraway look.

“You have not changed a bit, Nivi. You still talk in metaphors when you want to push me away. Did you ever remember me in these four decades?”

Nivedita looked at Samar’s anticipating eyes concealed by his spectacles.

“The years have been busy taking care of my family and raising my children. There was no time for nostalgia.” Nivedita paused and took a long breath. Then she continued, “But when no one valued me, no one cared for me, I did remember you. In those moments when everyone made me feel unworthy and useless, I used to think that at least there is one person in this entire world for whom I am valuable and precious.” Nivedita’s eyes glistened with tears as she said those words.

She silently got up from the bench and walked towards her room. Samar watched her silhouette disappear into nothingness.

Just like an autumn leaf, a yellow page from her diary had fluttered and rested on the ground. Samar picked it up and read:

I can see

Rivers of roses

Valleys of unread letters

Drenched by the nimbus clouds

Of Uncried Tears

Spanning between us…

 

Beloved,

My eyes await

The amber sun every day

To flicker through the clouds

Telling me about your arrival.

 

A lone tear escaped Samar’s eyes as he realized with a heavy heart that she had waited for him. If only he had made a slightly different choice, he would not have to meet the love of his life in an old age home after four decades.  

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To be continued…

(I plan to expand this story further in the near future)

*dimma: an endearing term used to address maternal grandmother in Bengali

*tant:  Bengali handloom saree


‘This blog post is a part of the Petals of Love Blog Hop hosted by Swarnali Nath.’





Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Celebrate with your loved ones and don't forget to bask in some self-love today! 

You can download a free copy of my poetry book

 "The Heart Listens to No One"

here

(It is free on Amazon Kindle till the 15th of February)


24 comments:

  1. The story is overloaded with sweetness of love. As the term "Dimma" is a sweet and adorable call basking with innocent love, the way you have portrayed the longing between the two age old lovers, it feels so heart warming. I enjoyed reading the story and the short poem. Thank you so much for joining us in the blog hop dear. I am grateful to you for all the love and support. Happy Valentine's Day to you. Best wishes. πŸ’πŸ’❤❤

    - Swarnali Nath

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  2. Beautiful heart touching Story Purba; Four decades Long time, still memories were so fresh. The time may had shuffled the place of preferences in life, but the flashback of that pure love always there to shoulder you in loneliness.

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  3. I would wait for the second part of this story.. I would love to know what choice Samar made that this relation came to an abrupt end..
    Short stories always keep you wandering in multifarious.

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  4. A story about hope and second chances that tells us it is never too late for love. It is all about find the right person. I am glad Nivi and Samar finally met and I am looking forward to the next part of this story.

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    1. It's never about the right timing and always about the right person, a beautiful story of love and hope
      ❤❤

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  5. Loved reading this tale, Purba. Love transcends time and distance, and such was the case for Niveditha and Samar as well. Nice one.

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  6. Waiting for the next part ❤ Beautiful story Purba. Congratulations for "The Heart Listens to No One" & Happy Valentine's Day dear πŸ’•

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  7. Nostalgia throughout the story, a feeling of longing and love, and warmth of hope.loevly narration
    Deepika Sharma

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  8. What a heart touching story Purba... Would love to read more. What was that choice that Samar had made? Would Nivedita forget and forgive that choice of Samar and accept him back the same way ever again? Do write ahead :)

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  9. Soft sweet and full of emotions. I liked it a lot. Your writing always gives me a sense of calmness.

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  10. This post is loaded with emotions and I quickly remembered the movie Veer Jaara where love takes a life time to realise it's presence. Is it easy to forget love ? Is it easy to realise that your entire life is a mistake ? Waiting for the next part now !!

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  11. Wow you had written is so beautifully. yes old age has its own set of all kinds of baggage and emotional one become most prominent, when your dear one left you alone. meeting with someone special after 4 decades was so surprising and beautiful elements of story and I loved the way you had expressed the emotions of Nivedita and samar.

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  12. Such a lovely story Purba. The poetry is endearing. Beautifully narrated.

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  13. Loved this Purba. You never forget the people you loved and sometimes you never stop waiting for them

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  14. I really really wanna know what's next here.. Beautifully written.

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  15. Such a soul-stirring story depicting beautiful sentiments!! Loved the flow and the intensity of emotions. Certainly waiting for the next part!!

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  16. Oh dear! This is such a beauty of love! Age doesn't matter when feelings are true.. Love it..
    Waiting to read more of this story

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  17. Beautifully written hooked to know what's next. You have beautifully weaved it with emotions. A beautiful story of love, longing and wait.waiting for part -2.

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  18. This old-fashioned love is so rare nowadays, isn't it? I'm glad you're continuing this story, Nivedita and Samar need to take this ahead, please!

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  19. That was such a beautiful tale of love. I would love yo read the next part.

    Ruchi Nasa https://thevagabond.me

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  20. I enjoyed reading this one what if children valued their parents just the way their parent valued them. Nice story.

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  21. They say, love matures like wine and tastes better as it gets older. Your elusive love story was an enjoyable breezy read. Nivedita deserved better things in her forlorn life and I’m sure that love will return back to her in the form of Samar. I believe it should return πŸ™ŒπŸ˜Šgreat post ❤️

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  22. They say love never fades away and you have essayed it so well in your post. I am so touched by the story, and I am happy that Nivedita was honest with Samar that she remembered him only when everyone around her ignored her. I look forward to the next episode of this story. I wanted to know what happened to their pure love few years back and how did things fall apart! Wonderful story!

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  23. Wow. nothing better than the first love. It brings those butterflies and lilies in the emotions. I really wish he runs behind Nivedita and tells her that hr came back but family restriction caused him to go back and then he list the connection.

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