THE LIGHT OF THE DESERT

Section-4

As the plane was heading towards the North-East direction, at certain height it suddenly came down. Radhika’s lower part of the body seems motionless. She was having a tendency to go to toilet from the time of getting on the plane, but as she was on 21A seat, she didn’t want to disturb the co-passenger seating next to her. Sometimes some situations compel us to tolerate many conditions. She started thinking of other things.

“Is Tonnoy thinking about her? Is any message of Tonnoy floating in the air coming to her inbox? The kind of affection and love with which I am returning home, Can Tonnoy return home with the same affection? Reaching home he might be busy with other activities. His engaged Rupashi might be waiting anxiously for him, to meet him once after 24 days” … Radhika thought in her mind.

They met for the last time on the premises of the Qutub Minar in the evening yesterday.At that moment, suddenly Rupashi’s phone came, he move to one side and talked to her. Rupashi was a girl from Kerala. She does not understand Kannada. Radhika heard the conversation between Tonnoy and Rupashi in English. With one finger on her lips, Tonnoy asked Radhika to remain silent, to which Radhika felt as if her heart is cut down by a bow. No way. Both of them are in a nameless relationship and as such they couldn’t find a word in the dictionary, which might give a meaning to the relationship.

The plane is about to reach Kolkotta. As the pilot announced the arrival the sound of the seat belts was heard from the passenger, who was landing in Kolkatta. Another problem arises for Radhika … she has to change the flight to Jorhat. With lots of tension and mental stress, she prepared for landing after tying down the seat belt on her.

The plane came down step by step.

Slowly the city of Kolkatta emerged in her eyes. The green fields were shining in triangular shape. Slowly the concrets locations become more and more prominent. The shadow of the plane falls on the ten to twelve storied buildings. The Eden Garden stadium appears very distinct now. She saw from a very close quater the tender coconut leaves.

The small children of modern Kolkatta, do they gaze at the planes flying high above them? She felt an undescribable shivering within herself.

The city of Kolkatta is just below her feet.

Finally the plane of the jet airways landed on the ground of the Subhas Chandra International Airport. The outside temperature is 240C. When the plane boarded, there was a hue and cry from the passengers to get down from it.

Radhika had to change her flight. It is now 11.50a.m by the watch. There is less time on hand. She has to do many activities like standing on a queue after getting down from the plane, has to reach the Jorhat bound jet airways airbus in a minibus from the airport, check in of the luggage etc.

At one time, all these formalities came to an end. The small plane was a two seater one. This time also Radhika got the window seat. She went to the toilet by just keeping the bag on the seat. The small toilet was not fit for use; still she wants to be free. In a hurry she forgets to put the latch of the door. Giving the ticket and her mobile to one of the airhostess, she forgot to tie the latch. She was ashamed of herself when she came out. Looking at the condition of Radhika the airhostess simply laughed at her.

Section-5

Exactly at eleven fifty eight, the plane headed towards the sky from Kolkata. As Radhika’s seat was near the fan , her head was irritated by the sound of the fight. She took some cotton pieces from the bag and put it in the ears. Another world emerged before the eyes.

Her eyes caught sight of the mother Ganga––
“If she could be able to touch a drop of water from Ganga?”
Radhika offers her prayers to Ganga at a far away distance.
At last her dream of viewing the Ganga from the sky was completed.

The Ganga of the spring time. Its course is steady.
As the plane flew above Ganga, Radhika felt as if the offences committed knowing and unknowingly by her has been washed away by water of the Ganga. During her college life, watching ‘Ram Teri Ganga Maili’, why did she cry secretly? Now the same Ganga even if it is polluted, created a mixed feeling of spiritual satisfaction. It seems her heart’s desire has been mingled with the Ganga.

“Ma’am, do you need lunch?”

A Bengali lady clad in a saree called Radhika and hearing this she came to her real world. The beautiful girl went away after giving her the water bottle and the packet of lunch.

Radhika was not hungry. Food taken at ten O’ clock in the morning has not been digested. Besides, an uncomfortable feeling has always been disturbing her. It might be because she has taken the meat suspiciously.She thought, instead of throwing the half eaten packet it is better to keep it and give it to her little daughter.

All of a sudden, an old incident came to her mind. She was invited as a distinguish poet two years ago to participate in the International women’s Day celebration organised by Sahitya Akademi in the main office at ‘Rabindra Bhawan’. As there was no facility of free lunch in the plane, she has to eat paid lunch as she was hungry. For a single cup of coffee, she has to pay fifty rupees. Why does she have problem in paying the fifty rupees?  Next time when she was travelled to Jaipur, she carried her own tiffin. This time when she was travelling in a Kolkata-Delhi bound flight, Radhika said ‘no’ to the lunch inspite of seeing the other passengers eating voraciously and after seeing that the bills did not arrive, she understood that it was free lunch. Her bill was being paid by the ticket. What else Ignorance leads to human being?

Inspite of being a college teacher, Radhika is still ignorant of many things. Radhika being accustomed to the simple and innocent village life still could not adjust to the complex urban life.  She has no problem in writing English, but when it comes to speaking she has problem. This thing is quite unpleasant for her. So, whenever she crosses the Sri Rampur Gate, she starts sharing her ideas in Bengali or Hindi. But when she was talking to Tonnoy, she tries to speak in English quite correctly or wrongly she has doubt. After eight years, her condition is still the same. Language cannot be a barrier in true friendship and affection. In case of love, the situation is very different. Silence also speaks a lot.

[Continue reading Section-6 or click eBook]

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