Some Things Somehow Remain

Some Things Somehow Remain

My  balcony overlooks a lively park with  little children chasing or tugging at each other. How beautiful is the gift of a real childhood in a place that has always been home! I admire the flamboyant flame trees around  the park and try to recall the smell of a distant, forbidden land that was once home.

I thank God for the gift of new life.  I had never imagined, I would live in my own home  with two bedrooms, a cosy living room, washrooms with mirrors, basins and all things luxury. Secure, without fear. How can I not be grateful to Prithwish, who did not care about my background or educational qualifications before committing to marry me?! I did not have the privilege to use my judgement and say ‘no’ to his proposal, even though my uneducated mind could  very well see just pity in his eyes.

At 13, I was fighting against poverty and against the wrath of bigotry, for I, like others in my community were now enemies in our own homeland. I remember how they would visit to extort money and crops from  my impoverished maternal uncle just because of his religion. How Prabha (my uncle’s daughter) and I would spend nights camouflaging ourselves under tree leaves, just so we were not taken away as loots! I remember how my friends Charulata, Vinodini, Malati, suddenly went missing, never to return home. I remember how we lived off panta bhat, night after night until all that remained was the watery  starch, for the succeeding days.

My maternal uncle mortgaged  his one bigha land, for our safety  and packed Prabha and me into a crowded bus to Calcutta, across the border. Mama took us to his relatives’ house in North Calcutta. I bid a teary goodbye to my mama, who did not want to take shelter in another country.

‘Baba, I will go with you’, Prabha, ran after mama. And, I was left behind to face the world alone, like most orphans.

In my new abode, I learnt to cook,  to embroider, to read and write. I would write letters to Prabha. I had to  feel that I was sharing my life with her even if the letters only sat around in a secret corner of my trunk.

The ladies of the family showered me with just the right attention that a refugee deserved. I eased their burden of household chores, in return. It is at their place that Prithwish had seen me in one of his summer vacations.

Prithwish is home early today. ‘I have a surprise for you in the garage’, he says. I stare in disbelief. I see a lady, roughly, my age, standing in the garage, holding a grey suitcase. Her smile tells me, ‘It is my Prabha’.

‘I had never imagined, I would live to really see you again’, Prabha hugs me tight. Our tears of joy become one.


Moonmoon Chowdhury
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3 thoughts on “Some Things Somehow Remain

  1. The story has been composed nicely and the protagonist has achieved involving the reader in her life. However, more of imagery rather than a narrative would have created a memorable tale as well. When we are speaking about emotions, the feelings must come through more than the words and that can tried using the strategy of “Show, Don’t Tell”. As much as you wanted to portray the relationship between the protagonist and Prabha, the bond never comes through since it was not described before. It is not convincing enough to be surprised with her presence because the readers could not relate to it. Then there are words that if removed need not have affected the flow of the story (like mentioning the names of her friends who went missing). These information does not add to the story. Perhaps, if you have mentioned how you felt in their absence, it would have evoked the right emotion from the readers. The magnanimity of Prithwish is displayed in the end but the premise has not been set for it. With limited words, only the words that lift the story must be used because each word is precious. Narrative is more effective (and needed) when writing a longer stories (novel, for example) but not in a 500-word story where every word matters to its relevance to the entire story structure. Looking forward to more from the writer because this story’s heart is in its place and that’s what makes it rise.

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