I have been employed in several professions since my childhood. Of course, without pay. I was an honorary guard, an honorary judge, honorary rickshaw puller, honorary doctor (when I was in my kindergarten, I used to inject rubi and poornima with my hp pencil. As was standard, I used to inject at their posterior, tetanus booster…you know at that age you need tetanus shot, and doctors used to strip me for that). Felt nice.
But this time I would narrate my experience when I was an honorary postman. Yes, without pay and without even a chocolate I used to ferry letters between mohiruda and nanditadi.
Don’t remember which class I was then, but if I stretch my memory, it goes back to uttam kaku’s schoolvan, so I must be in my pre-high school, probably three or two.
Nanditadi was in her college, I used to hate her when she pecked me before going to her college. She smelled of fish, which I hated. Mohiruda used to live near our football ground and all used to call him mithun, as he resembled and dressed (white poncho, white tight pant with white shoes) his idol.
I don’t remember when I was employed as a postman, but before I realize anything I was also given the task of looking out and inform whether there is anybody in nanditadi’s house. Jethu-jethima used to work in writer’s building and before nine they together used to start for the office.
My duty was to guide mohiruda safely to nanditadi’s room without alerting anybody and give a meaw (sometimes I used to meaw meaw meaw… but they didn’t seem to notice me, closed in nanditadi’s room).
I used to be a hero before I led mohiruda through the perilous path of sarkar dadu’s garden, abid chacha’s courtyard but just after mohiruda used to arrive at nanditadi’s room, they used to shut the room and I was given the task of sitting in the verandah. I was a watchdog then. They didn’t even seem to take a notice of me. I used to get hurt. It was having its toll on my self respect.
I got really enraged one day when mohiruda boxed my ear for not alerting him while jethima came home at the afternoon complaining a chest pain.
He escaped the gallows somehow, was not caught.
I never was interested as what happens after they shut their door. After that physical insult I decided to take revenge, I will tell everything to jethima what they do. And as a matter of fact, if they play ludo or byabsayi without me, that is not fair.
One fateful day I decided to glance through the crack of the door. I really expected I would see they are playing ludo (I have seen a set in that room), but to my amazement I saw, mohiruda atop nanditadi, he was in his birthday suit and his tormentor’s sari started from her hips. Mohiruda was doing don baithak as uttamda do in the morning and nanditadi’s face bore an expression I never saw before.
I was not amazed, rather perplexed I gave a meaw and ran away to play Ramayana war with broomstick dhanuk and teer. As usual khudiram was indrajit and I was ravana. Father and son fought intensely for the whole day. Picking up the teers that were inflicting them so heavily.
I did not tell jethima, what I saw, as I could not describe it and there was some kind of feeling that something was wrong and am a part of the crime. I quit from the post of postman. No persuasion, chocolate, thums up, gujia or ghoori could convince me to reconsider my resignation. I never told them what I saw.
Nanditadi got married when I was in class nine. By then I have known many things, what is what and what makes what. I hated nanditadi from deepest gorge of my heart.
Nanditadi and mohiruda affair ended in a disaster. They couldn’t marry. Mohiruda was a muslim. Apart from the family, moral police also stepped in. Both revolted against parents, society but couldn’t touch the finishing line. After marriage nanditadi cared her husband as if there is only one man, past and presently in her life. She was a sita in the making. My hatred for her engulfed me. One day when I intentionally mentioned mohiruda in front of her husband, while I was in an invitation to her place, she squeezed her brows, grimaced as if trying to remember who the man is, and then burst into laughter “oh that mithun…he was a joker, everybody used to joke with him…we used to call him royal clown.” Her husband and she burst into laughter, her children shantu-mantu began to enquire about the clown. She has forgotten everything!
Mohiruda also never ever mentioned about nanditadi when we used to meet, and we met frequently. Instead he would suggest me how should I mould my career and how I could become good human being, what is the best way to lead a happy life and all sort of unsolicited nonsense. Each time I used to quip “I have seen you naked bastard.”
Two years back my mobile woke me up in the early morning. It was a frantic call from nanditadi. She was calling me from a booth. In a shivering voice she said mohiruda has met with a freak train accident two-days ago and is in Calcutta hospital, she was weeping and fervently requesting me to go there and inform her what happened to ‘mohi’. She said ‘mohi’! That was his love name.
I obliged, not because of nanditadi’s neka kanna but because by then I had developed an emotional attachment with mohiruda. He was a nice to me after all. I was a postman again. Without a letter.
He was lying in ICU, badly disfigured, two legs and a hand amputated. Half naked, waiting to die. His special request was to grant people visit him. We went one by one.
He was conscious, looking me, he tried to smile “hi postman, ki khobor?” I couldn’t move my lips. He finished, “tell your nanditadi, I love her.”
I came out of the ICU. I went to belghoria to tell nanditadi, what his message was for her. She burst out crying. I couldn’t control her; she was rolling on her bed. Pillows, bed sheet every thing was wetting in the flood of her tears. Real ones.
I couldn’t resist my tears also. Realized nothing can be forgotten, women do not forget anything, they pretend. Excellent actors they are.
I forgave her. Mohiruda died two days after.