Hindi Story: Flute

Knowingly or unknowingly, some things gradually enter your daily routine. At first you are shocked. Their entry into your tight-knit routine seems tantamount to trespassing. Then what happens is that even if you don’t want to, you slowly start moving towards acceptance. One day comes you become addicted to them. In such a way that one day you start missing their absence.

What happened happened just after Diwali. But what was happening was not random. Its background had been prepared a few years ago. The emotionality of the mind deceives a person again and again. When had Swadha also thought that one day a wall drawn between two parts of the house would rise above every relationship. When Swadha goes to the balcony, her eyes go there again and again even without wanting to. By the way, this word pair ‘not wanting’ has always been under suspicion.

He never wished that he would look there and see a smiling face growing on the adjacent balcony. Eyes that express happiness at the sight and a touch full of intimacy. What more could he expect than this? After all, when were those two houses separate? Just as the residents of the house were related by blood, similarly both the houses were also connected together by a common wall. At least Swadha had believed this. But when can there be unity in those whose minds are torn?

As time passed, the wall between the hearts became higher. Swadha was determined to become an ideal daughter-in-law, who could unite even different families with her love. Be it his personality coated with idealism or his values ​​that he tried every possible way to somehow unite both the houses, but for how long can one maintain a one-sided relationship? Perhaps those walls had been drawn in their minds a long time ago.

Small things became excuses and one day every possibility of opening a window in the middle of the wall was destroyed. Something was stuck in his throat forever so that even the food could not come down. Perhaps there was a lingering cry stuck there, which could not muster the courage to come out after seeing Samyak’s flat face. Time passed and within no time a generation got lost in the abyss of time.

The children are grown up now. Here, we were hearing for many days that the adjacent house, which was once a part of our house, is now ready for sale, negotiations are going on, but we did not know that all this would happen so soon.

Then, about a week before Diwali, when Samyak left for office and returned home, Swadha was shocked. What was feared happened. The luggage had been loaded overnight and the adjacent house had become empty. Elder brother’s family left. Who knows, when the tears that had been stuck for so long burst, they did not stop for hours. On the other hand, Samyak was also in the same condition in the office. Earlier there was a faint hope that someday the two would unite, today that too was shattered. Forever. She had never felt this much sadness even when her mother-in-law and father-in-law had gone. Today both of their minds were filled with the thought of being completely orphaned.

There was a strange silence which took hold of the entire house. But now that silent corner was declaring to be alert. Whenever Swadha would hear knocking sounds from that house, the wound would become green. An intense pain would engulf the mind, eyes would brim with tears but nothing could be done. Samyak sat down with his mind knotted. He always acted as if he didn’t care, but the subtle shadow of pain in his empty eyes could not be hidden.

The first Diwali was spent in this confusion when there was no smell of belonging in the air coming from nearby. That house immersed in darkness created such a tension in her mind that when she couldn’t bear it, she kept two lamps at the main door.

It was after Diwali. Here, for the past few days, loud rattling sounds had also started coming from the adjacent house. Sometimes songs from the eighties would start playing in a loud, sometimes slow tone, and sometimes some male voices, who would escape from some debate or group conversation, would come to her balcony.

In the morning or evening, first the sound of grinding spices and then the strong aroma of spices. Sometimes very sharp. Sometimes it happened that the strong smell of non-vegetarian food, the strong smell that made one restless, would frighten his Vaishnav kitchen.

Samyak came to know that the upper two floors of the adjacent house had been given to some Bengali Bihari workers to live in. Swadha felt deeply hurt. This house, which was once a part of their home, was now filled with strangeness. There were such emotions attached to that house that I felt sad for many days.

She would complain to Samyak, who knows who those people are? What are people like? When she was alone after Samyak went to office and the children went to school, her mind was filled with so many apprehensions. Samyak would explain to him that whoever he is, he is a human being. Why do they keep life difficult by harboring useless misconceptions? Why don’t you divert attention from there?

Samyak was right. It was not easy. He doesn’t have a heart as big as the right one. There is nothing wrong in being cautious with strangers! But he also explained to the mind that when the people who were leaving were not emotional, then is it right to let depression grow in one’s mind by covering it with mere sentimentality? Gradually the mind started accepting the situation.

But memories leave us so easily. Now whenever there would be a noise coming from that house, Swadha would get shocked by returning to the past but the whip of the present would overpower the past and the mind would start pretending to be normal. I was tired but was learning to compromise when something strange happened.

It was a Saturday evening. The chirping of birds on the tree in front told us that they had returned home. The movement on the other side of the wall was indicating that there were also preparations for the evening kitchen. Perhaps someone was crushing the spices in a mortar. After some time the balcony started filling with the pungent smell of spices.

The noise of mutual bickering going on there would sometimes come from inside and sometimes reach the balcony and then return. Every now and then someone would scream, perhaps they were fighting among themselves.

After some time the voices became quiet. Then suddenly, from somewhere very close, a very melodious wave came and touched Swadha.

Flute! Yes! Certainly this sound was of a flute. Such a sweet voice that she got lost in it. But, the ignorance of its origin was unsettling. He explained to the mind that what is the use of flute in concrete jungles? There is definitely a recording.

But the next day, at the same time i.e. in the evening, as soon as Swara had picked up her cup of tea, the sweet notes of the flute again started mingling with her. She started listening mesmerized. All his senses became focused on that voice. After some time the flute became silent. When Swadha regained her sleep, she smiled that the tea had become completely cold. He took the cup and placed it near the sink. Don’t know why, today he was feeling satisfied without drinking tea.

After this it started happening frequently. She would go out and find if the sound was coming from the school opposite. But apart from the rustling of leaves and chirping of birds, nothing could be heard from the school which was closed in the evening. Every evening, sometimes at night, when the same sound wave started resonating in the balcony, I understood that the source of the sound was the same ‘Parla Ghar’ nearby.

It must have been the effect of the sweetness of Lahari’s voice that the bitterness in his mind started diminishing. Then all the attention focused on the sound of this flute. The sweet voice that transforms all negativity into positivity, which she heard every day.

One day when she returned from the market, she found that the same sound wave had arisen from the stairs of the adjacent house and slowly started taking over the entire atmosphere. She ran outside to take a look at the origin of that wave. When I looked, I found that they were some young boys. He was frightened after seeing Swadha. Not only his banter came to a halt, the sound of the flute also became a victim of his sudden appearance.

As soon as the flute stopped, there was a dead silence in the atmosphere. I don’t know if this could be his illusion but I don’t know why he felt that even the chirping of the birds sitting on the banyan tree in front of the house had stopped. She was filled with immense guilt, wondering what have I done? That I interrupted their moments of happiness.

He felt like saying ‘Play it, you play the flute very beautifully’, but due to hesitation and guilt he turned back his steps. There was silence for some moments. She was also roaming around the room unnecessarily, picking up and placing something or the other. However, his ears were still towards the stairs below.

Then after a few moments the flute started resonating again. Then he felt that the chirping of birds also started resonating. He gasped for breath. That melodious sound of the flute had become so included in his daily routine that without it the evening tea would not have tasted sweet. In such a way that the curiosity related to it started being left behind.

Meanwhile, on several occasions, Samyak and those boys started communicating. At times of need, Samyak would even call them. They also started calling for cold water with hesitation when needed. But Swadha remained confined to her shell. Then one day Samyak’s health started deteriorating due to high blood pressure. Paresh, Madan, Raju, Tapan all came running on one of his calls. Immediately drove the car and took Samyak to the hospital. During those three days, till Samyak recovered, the way he helped and ran around, Swadha kept looking at everything with wet eyes, drenched in guilt.

Here, a few days ago, on a holiday, the morning came with different sounds. Found out that ‘those people’ had left. This was the sound of their luggage being loaded. Hey…where did you go?

Samyak told that there were six people, when the work was over, they packed their bags, bedding and moved to the next destination. An unknown fear touched the heart. So what about flute too? Swadha’s fear proved true. Now neither the songs of the eighties were resonating, nor the sounds of fighting and fighting, nor the harshness of grinding spices, but there was no harmonious sound nor that flute which gives a chill to the mind.

The questions related to Swadha’s safety have been resolved, but the adjacent house is once again immersed in deep peace. Dead peace.

That day Swadha learned for the first time that intimacy is not dependent on blood relations. To connect the mind, it is necessary to open the mind. One step has to be taken so that the distance between hearts is removed and the sweetness of the flute dissolves in life.

Contact : 41-A, Anand Nagar, Opposite Indralok Metro Station, Delhi-110035, Mohd. – 9873851668, E-mail: anjuvsharma2011@gmail.com

(Born and resided in Delhi. Two poetry collections, two story collections, three novels published. Two story collections to be published soon. Honored with many awards.)

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