Radio Romance

Radio Romance

Sujatha hurriedly finished her chores. Cooking, feeding Ammu, washing the dishes. Making sure Ammu took her medicines and slept in time. 9:00 pm and power in the basti (slum) would be cut off. Sujatha lived in a rented one-room shack in the basti with her ailing mother and three-year-old son, Sudhir. During the day she worked as domestic help in the high rises near the basti.

At twenty-six she was a widow. Sudhir was her life. Her husband, Parth had succumbed to Cholera two years ago and since then they were on their own. Destiny had not been too kind to her. And romance? Well, there simply was no place for it!

Like clockwork, she would get up early in the morning, her day full of chores and timelines and by the time she returned from work, she would be dead tired.

Ammu slept on a charpai next to her. Sudhir on the floor beside her, her arm serving as his pillow. Her old torn saree folded to make a bedsheet for the night.  She felt it first, a strange feeling like the hair on the end of her neck standing up or a little tickle like a soft feather brushing up her neck and ear. Instinctively she opened her eyes and saw a straight thin beam of light coming from across the street and falling on her temple. Before she could get up, a sweet burbling melody emanated from a radio pulling at her heartstrings. The soulful music brought a smile to her lips and she felt fatigue leave her tired bones. She peered into the night trying to locate the source, but the light beam switched off. Listening meditatively, she slept peacefully that night.

The morning rush made her forget the incidence of the night till another night descended and yet another song tuned in to a frequency to match her heartbeat emanated from the radio across the street and the torchlight made sure that the trajectory was correctly mapped. Night upon night, the unspoken communication brought a yet unexplored dimension to Sujatha’s world who by now had grown so used to the sound of music on the radio that any delay and she would start missing it.

She took care of herself nowadays. An extra dab of lip colour, bindis that would match her saree. Little things to match the sound of music….

That night the radio station was tuned in to play a special song. The dedication was made by a man named Ravi to the woman named Sujatha of Shakoor Basti – “Maana ki hum yaar nahin, Lo tai hai ki pyaar nahin, fir bhi nazrein na tum milana dil ka aitbaar nahin …..”. Sujatha’s heart skipped a beat. Could she dare dream? Could it be true? Could a humble radio conspire to bring two souls together? Did dreams come true ?….
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Guncha Gupta
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