Aug 24, 2010

05. Onset of Overture

আলাপের আরম্ভ

From the fragments of the former days let us return to the playing field of the present.

Lavanya asked Amit to wait in the study while she went to fetch Yogamaya. Amit sat in the room reminiscent of a bee in the middle of a lotus. He looked around, and each object touched him in some way, engulfing his mind in languor. On the shelf and on the table he noticed English texts. The books seemed kissed with life. They had been read by Lavanya, her fingers had turned the pages, were tinted with her thoughts and feelings across night and day, had graced the path of her eager glance, had lolled on her lap on her days of distraction. He started when he found on the table the compilation of poetry of John Donne. At Oxford, Donne and the ballads of his contemporary poets had been Amit’s primary topic of discourse. Here, their two souls chanced to converge on the poetry and connect to each other.

The smudges of disinterested days had blurred Amit’s life. In the manner of a text book in the hands of the master, whose cover comes loose with the handling through every school year. Intense inquiry did not accompany him as he waited for the morrow, neither did he find it worthwhile to welcome the current day heartily. Now he had just landed on a new planet. Here objects weighed less, the feet left the ground and walked on air, every moment moved ahead towards the unimaginable with eager anticipation, with every waft of wind his being craved to transform into a flute, the light from the skies entered his veins and the excitement in his essence was akin to the sap flowing through the trees to produce the smiling bloom. The curtains laced with dust of dreary days was raised from his mind, even the mundane seemed marvellous. Hence, when Yogamaya entered the room unhurried, even this very simple act enraptured Amit. He said to himself, “It is not just arrival, it’s appearance.”

Touching forty, age had not faded her charms, but had lent a mellow lustre. Her fair face was abundant, full. Hair was cropped in the tradition of widows, eyes lighted by motherly benevolence and completeness, the smile quietly affectionate. A white shroud without border covered her head and was wrapped around her body. Her bare feet were clean, beautiful. When Amit touched her feet in obeisance, it was as if the blessings of a goddess flowed through his every vein.

After the initial introduction, Yogamaya said, “Your uncle Amaresh had been the biggest barrister of our district. Once in a disastrous suit, we were on the verge of ruin. He had rescued us. Used to call me bou-didi.

Amit replied, “I am his unworthy nephew. Uncle saved you from losses, and I have inflicted loss on you. You were his bou didi of gain, you will be my aunt of loss.”

Yogamaya asked him,"Your mother ... ?”

Amit said, “She was, is no more. I also very much needed an aunt.”

“Why pine for an aunt, my child?”

“Think about it. If today I had damaged my mother’s car, she would have admonished me and called me imbecile. And if the car happened to be my aunt’s she would have laughed at my incapability. She would consider it childish.”

Yogamaya laughed. “In that case let us consider it to be the car of an aunt”

Amit jumped up from his seat and touched her feet. “This is why one needs faith in the results of past life. Born in my mother’s lap, I never performed piety to beget an aunt. Damaging vehicles is not by any means a noble deed, but instantaneously, like the boon of a deity, Aunt incarnated into my life. Think, how many ages must have foreboded this.”

Yogamaya smiled and said, “Whose karma child, mine, your or the motor mechanic's?”

Running his fingers through his thick hair, Amit said, “Difficult question. Karma is not ones own, it is of the whole world. The assimilated stream of interaction of all the stars, travelling for ages, contrived to collide at nine forty eight on Friday. What next?”

Yogamaya looked at Lavanya through the corner of her eye and laughed. Before enough acquaintance with Amit, she had decided that the two were made to be matched. With this aim in her mind, she said, “The two of you get acquainted, let me go and arrange a meal for you.”

Amit's forte was in overtures of quick paced allegro. He started immediately, “Aunt has asked us to get acquainted. The initiation of acquaintance is with the name. Let us get that completed. You know my name, don’t you? What is called proper name?”

Lavanya said, “As far as I know your name is Amit-babu."

“That does not hold true in every case.”

“Multiple be cases, the holder’s name must be the same."

“What you say is not of this age. A difference in space, time and person but not in name – that is unscientific. I have decided to make my name by spreading Relativity of Names. At the root of it all, I want to make it known... to you I am not Amit-babu.”

“Are you then fond of the English etiquette? Mr Roy?”

“That’s a faraway name across the seas. To fix the distance of the name, we need to measure how long it takes to reach from the doorway of the ear to the gateway of the mind.”

“And what is that super fast name, may I hear?"

“To increase the pace, we need to reduce the mass. Please eliminate the babu from Amit-babu.”

Lavanya said, “Not that simple, will take some time."

“Time taken should not be equal for all. The world does not follow one clock on its wall. Every pocket is blessed with its own tick-tock. And it ticks and tocks based on the pocket. Thus says Einstein.”

Lavanya stood up and said, “Your bath is getting cold now."

“I will bear the cold water on my bent head, if you allow some more time to our intro ...”

“Have no more time, there’s work to be done.” saying this Lavanya left.

Amit did not go for a bath just then. He sat there replaying the form the gentle smile sprinkled words had taken on Lavanya’s lips.

Amit had seen lots of beautiful girls. Their beauty was like a full moon night, bright yet concealed. Lavanya’s beauty was like the morn, there was none of the intoxication of the elusive. Her entirety was extended and expressed with the expanse of intelligence. While making her into a girl, the maker had mixed some of the parts of a man, to see her was to know that she had not only the strength of sorrow, but also the repository of resolution and reason. This was what had acutely attracted Amit. In himself, Amit possessed intelligence, but no patience, was fair but lacked fortitude, he had experienced and learnt much, but was still searching for serenity – in Lavanya’s countenance he glimpsed a semblance of peace that could not be produced by a satiated soul, but which gained stability from the depth of her powers of prudence.

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