The scent of gulal

Ronza had gone to attend the birthday party. It was a day of spring. Scent of gulal was there in the air.
Scent of nascent dreams that she had escaped from comes back to her with full throttle. She tries to escape. Like the way she tries to escape her own shadows that are created by the movement of the sun above her head. She knows the spring would be coming to her. She knows all the trees in front of their house would break into blossoms. She knows the birds will start singing .
'I am not a bard...I am just human...'
Ronza would try to console herself and by doing so she would try to limit her sky.
She would try not to face her dreams.
So, when spring will come, she will immerse herself more and more into works. She will keep herself busy.

The college has been kept close for some activities.
A conference is taking place there,on poetry.
Ronza having no interest in poetry, has decided to skip the session.

But this stupid season of spring and that stupid boy.
Few years senior to her in the college when she was herself a student.
How many years had passed?
Some twelve years?

The name itself evokes a series of slides in her eye's mind.
She finds him walking down the corridor towards the library.
She finds him taking notes in his scrapbook. She finds him sitting under a tree at the playground adjacent to the college main building.
She finds him asking SB about that aspect of Santiago's character required to be discussed which prompted him to imagine Marlin as a  friend, in that Hemingway novel, inspite  of both Santiago and Marlin being engaged to a rigorous battle for their own survival.

She finds him writing down for her those notes of missing lectures.


She finds him everywhere in her wakefulness. Even after twelve years!
In her sleep, she finds him more.

She remembers Tirtho's face the day she went out to party with her friends of their class.
He said nothing.
Not spent a single word out of his mammoth vocabulary.
He just asked Ronza the next day how did the party go.
Ronza probably showed extra excitement.
She probably wanted to incite a tinge of jealousy in Tirtho.
She flaunted her dresses.
Her attitude.
Her acquired possessions.

Tirtho said nothing.

He never had anything to say.
That made Ronza more obstinate.

After all, she belongs to the most aristocratic family of the town.
After all, the town moves by their family's wish.

Who is that Tirtho?

That she had thought.

But this spring.
This season should have been banned.
The birds should all be kept shut.
Ronza thought.

The birthday party got over by nine.
Ronza thought of jumping into the car.
The car was about to be started.

Just then,
She thought she saw him.
Grown fatter.
But his walk had remained the same.
He got all the time to walk.

Ronza came out of the car.
Tirtho looked at her.
Through his glasses he saw her and at once broke into a smile.
That infectious smile of his.
'You? Here? Thought you had moved to another city...'
Ronza said.
'Yes, came here to attend a workshop.'

'Work shop? What ? Where?'
'At that college nearby...something literary...'
Tirtho said.
Ronza smiled, though her throat went dry.
'Got to get back this evening is really nice to find an old friend...'.saying this Tirtho shook Ronza's hand and started walking away.

Ronza looked at her hands.
She thought she found that scent of gulal there.
Right in her hands.


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