A hot humid May evening in Kolkata. Not a single leaf of tree is turning. A man moves into an apartment. He was looking tired. Totally wet with sweat, his dress was unorganized probably due to the journey in public transport. Facial hair not seemed to have been tended over weeks. Some of it was turning grey. Hair was unsettled. As in whole he seemed to be an organization of mismanagement.
He stopped before a flat. The nameplate beside the flat door had names of Sarit and Kabita Basu in it. The man pressed the calling bells. There was no answer. He felt agitated. The heat and tiredness seemed to have taken over his patience. He started searching for something. He pulled out something from his bag finally. It seemed like a key. He unlocked the door and moved inside the flat.
A lady came out. She was beautiful but seemed week. His eyes were pale but beautiful . She seemed to be suffering from prolonged illness.
The man handling the key to lady said “You didn’t catch the sound of the calling bells? I pressed it couple of times.”
The lady answered “I did hear it but was not been able to get up. I got the fever again.”
From the conversation it could be guessed that this gentleman and the lady was Sarit and Kabita Bose from the nameplate.
Sarit untying his shoe laces: “You been getting fever every day. It doesn’t seem to be good. Maybe we need to consult some other doctors.”
Kabita: “Don’t bother. It’s just due to the climatic changes. And Dr. Chakraborty is a renowned physician. No need to consult other doctors. They are just in habit of prescribing costly medicines and numerous tests.”
Sarit getting rid of his shirts: “But it’s not good that you been suffering so long. The problem is I don’t get enough time to accompany you to doctor’s chamber. Nor our financial situations are good enough to take you to a specialist. May be if I could get a good increment after next month’s assessments probably we could….” Sarit took a deep breathe.
Kabita replied “I already said, don’t bother. I don’t understand why we discuss our sickness so much. You want me to stay sick isn’t it?”
Sarit: “O come-on not the same argument again.”
Sarit moved to the wash room for getting fresh. Kabita continued. “You pick up same conversation all the time so why not there be same argument. You want me to stay sick so you can sympathize over my condition and can try your luck on some other women outside.”
Sarit came out and said “That’s not even funny anymore.”
Kabita: “Ya sure…That’s what you want.”
Sarit: “What’s there for the dinner? Should I bring something?”
Kabita: “Why is the home-made food also getting sick for you like the wife?”
Sarit: “Come on. You are ill. I don’t want you to cook in front of the fire. ”
Kabita:”Will arrange something. Just have little confidence on your wife.”
Sarit:”I sure do. But……”
Kabita:”There is no point wasting money on outside food. Moreover, it’s not healthy.”
Sarit: “As you wish.”
Kabita while preparing for dinner: “How was your day?”
Sarit: “Nothing new. Got drained in office till the clients are not happy. Deadline is closing in. Too much pressure. Maybe I will have to work in weekends as well.”
Kabita: “Things will change. It’s not going to stay the same.”
Sarit: “But I am getting drained both physically and mentally. I miss spending time with you…”
Kabita: “Don’t worry. I will always be there for you. We will spend an eternity together. I have no intentions of leaving you, you know.”
Sarit: “Thanks. You are an epitome of courage for me. I just wish I had a better job. I would have been earning more. Let’s see if the next month increment is not significant enough I will look for other jobs.”
Kabita: “Not a problem, just stay positive.”
Sarit: “By the way, you got the reports of your medical tests?”
Sarit: “Anything there?”
Sarit: “Let me check it.”
Kabita: “Just stay here and talk to me. There is no point checking the reports and feeding me expensive medicines. Your words are best healer for me.”
Sarit: “Ok. I wish I could do more for you.”
Kabita: “You have done more than enough. You don’t know what you have given me.”
Sarit: “You remember when we started to go out?”
Kabita: “I remember precisely everything. The way you used to pamper me. The way you used to recite poems for me.”
Sarit:”Ya, those were beautiful days.”
Kabita: “Recite something for me.”
Sarit starts reciting.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
They talked of several other things. And sometime silence was their best means of conversation.
Slowly darkness swallowed the night and spread the covers of sleep over the city.
Suddenly Sarit shouted “Kabita” and wake up. The first drop of morning lights was coming in. Sarit slept on the couch where he was sitting last night. And beside that there was a photo frame with Kabita’s image in it. It had a small garland in it and a flower bouquet beside it. The key of the flat which Sarit handed to Kabita last night was lying still on the floor.
Yes, Kabita had died physically few months earlier. But she is alive in Sarit.