“Today I will go as far as our rich field.”
“Compete with your friends. Then shall I consider you a winner.”
“They are not my friends.”
“Then am not I?”.
The reflection of the color of the dusk could be seen on the tender face of the two kids. Chilling by a gentle breeze, roaring of the birds in the sky, pleasant smell of Ashwagandha flowers was making the surrounding joyful.
“See how far I have reached.”
“Not too far.” In a loud voice.
The young boy came back to the river bank. His body was wet and was shivering in cold.
“You are doing much better than me,” laughing while holding her belly, “I think we should record and send this to my Dance Academy. After all your shivering looks like a new form of dance.”
Despite being from different backgrounds both the kids had become good friends after meeting at a fair nine months ago. Every day they use to meet at the riverbank in the evening times. Arati climbs the trees and sometimes dances beside bushes with the melodious voice of the birds sitting on the branches of the old tree. The shining of the silver lining on her fine dress makes her look like a gorgeous princess.
Days passed. Every day Chandan would come near the river and miss his friend Lynda. He would climb the trees, swim the river, draw lines on soil with a stick, all because he missed her a lot. From childhood, he avoided having lots of friends. He used to do all his work alone. And now when his only friend is missing, he feels as if the sky has broken down into his back.
One day a big black shining car came and parked near the river …
George was sitting by the river bank and saw a girl stepping out from the car.
“Hey, Arati, where have you been all these days?”
“I missed you a lot.”
Her face was like a pale dry flower.
“I can not meet you anymore.”
“Why? Did I make any mistakes? If you like I can dance for you as you want.”
“I am leaving for Mumbai.”
“But Why? How will we play?”
“Will talk over the telephone.”
“But I don’t have any.”
“Bye.” She ran toward the car. He ran toward her but the car left him behind. It was not clear why she left. Maybe study purpose. Or to be in a good dance academy. Or something else forced the situation? Nobody knows. But Chandan became a lone bird in an old tree.
Twenty years passed.
And here comes the city of dreams. Mumbai. Where people never sleep.
A nice-looking man with fine branded clothes came down from the National Research Center. After growing up and being a good scholar, Chandan had joined the Government operated R&D center as Officer In Charge. And now he is leaving to attend a function as a guest. He has been surrounded by guards with deadly weapons and a big luxurious car.
The function was being held at a lavish auditorium. All guests had arrived. Except for only one. When the last guest stepped a foot inside the hall everybody’s eyes were on her. A gorgeous lady. Chandan was mesmerized with her beauty as if a princess from a fairy tale has come to the venue. She was the National Dance Champion. He could not stop his eyes to get a glance at the beauty queen. After the function he greeted her. Then he went to his home. From that day onwards he never had met her again.
One evening after work hour, Chandan was taking a walk at the seashore. He was embracing the beauty of the red sun over the horizon, which brought complete calmness to the heart. While walking on the dry sand, he saw the same lady he had to meet at the function. The Dance Champion. She was sitting near the beach, holding a thick diary and scribbling something on it. As he approached near, she saw him, kept the diary beside horridly and stood up.
“Hey, how are you?”
Both shacked hands.
“I am fine. I think I disturbed you.”
“No no, just writing on my personal diary.”
“Wow, that’s great. Will you like to have some coffee?”
They both went to the nearest coffee café.
“So are you in some Government job?”
The waiter serves two hot coffee, in a beautifully designed cup with a small umbrella-like structure over both the cups. The fragrance made the surrounding fully energetic. Besides there were lots of flowers whose vibrant color can bring anyone inner joy.
“Yeah, in charge of government research labs. Monitoring every experiment day in and day out. What about you?”
“Am a dance instructor, having won multiple dance championship including the national level.”
“Wow”, excitedly, “so where is your academy.”
She took her cup and drank a while.
“I wish I could have.”
“Why?”, he leaned forward with a little tense, “is there any problem?”
“Some personal problems”, she put the cup on that table, “actually it’s my uncle and aunt who never wants me set up the academy.”
“So what now?”
“I just upload some of my dance instruction videos on how to dance and steps. Have got some subscribers – that’s it.”
“If you don’t mind can I give a solution?”
“Yeah sure”, her red lips giving a short smile, “why not! I will be grateful if you do.”
“Today almost whoever has a smartphone can afford a VR. Why not make VR Live classes till you set up your academy? You can instruct your fellow students directly.”
“Yeah I had heard of it but don’t know anything about it.”
“That’s why I am.”
They both smiled over the coffee. After a while, they departed. Over the course of days, they met frequently and he taught them how to set up her VR Live classes.
Three months passed.
She had invited Chandan over dinner at her residence. Now both had become good friends so he showed up on time. At the table, she, Chandan, along with her uncle, aunt, and her two cousins enjoyed the special meal prepared by herself. After the dinner, they had some talk in the hall with some Champagne. Mistakenly the Champagne fell into Chandan’s shirt so he was told to use the washroom in anyone’s room. He went inside a room, unknown whose room, and used the washroom. But while coming back, he became surprised at what he saw. He gently moved towards the wall.
“That’s me, my childhood photo”, she told.
Not a single word could come out of his mouth. His mouth was wide open.
“From childhood, I was raised by my uncle and aunt. Both cruel sometimes.”
Chandan could not speak a word. He left by telling me he has some urgent work. While moving back to his home he made up his mind and called her. He invited me to go somewhere next weekend.
Over a long drive, she continued to ask where they were going. He just responded by saying village.
He never responded. He suddenly stopped the car. They both went out. A cold breeze touched both of them making them chill.
“Remember the place? Arati?”
“How”, her eyes full of water, “how do you know my nickname?”
“Have you forgot the chimps of birds on the tree branch and how you danced here below?”
She ran towards him and hugged him tightly.
“Oh dear, I never forgot. Never forgot the trees. Never forgot how you swam across the river. Never forgot anything. If you knew, why did not you told before, just remained stranger to me?”
“I got to know when I saw your childhood photo. But tell me first why did you leave me years before?”
“It was not me. It was my uncle and aunt who forced me to leave. I lost my parents in an accident. Only I had survived. My uncle and aunt took me to the city.”
“That’s it?”, moving aside and shouting aloud, “Is this your excuse?”
“It’s not my excuse. I swear I missed you a lot. Heal to my uncle who sold my father’s house to a landlord for money. When asked, he told that there was some financial issue.”
“So why did not you came to see me later?”
She broke down. Tears from her eyes fell into the green leaves of the grasses. “I wish I could.”
Seeing her heartbroken, Chandan could not stop himself but sat next to her. He hugged her and kissed her forehead. Her tear stopped. Blushed. Now her face became soft red, like the tender petals of a red rose. Smiled. Then her red lips were on his. They kissed.
While departing they went to the police station. Chandan having a deep governmental connection forced the inspector to reopen the accident case of Arati’s parents.
Three months passed.
One day police officers came to Arati’s house and arrested both her uncle and aunt. They explained the case. Her uncle and aunt had planned an accident so that they could get the property. After the death, they had sold the house by taking her fingerprint to the same landlord who had done that accident. The landlord had been arrested and now her uncle and aunt.
After the culprit being arrested, getting back to her parent’s house, and setting her academy, Arati and Chandan married each other and went on to have two cute children.
~ Prachurya Ray ~