“Mili… Mili..Stop. I can’t run after you. Please.” She giggled and vanished into the bushes.
Avijit sat down on the mound nearby, breathing heavily. “It’s impossible to catch her. I am no match. Wait till she comes here tomorrow. She won’t be able to get away with her book this time.”
It’s been nearly five months in this sleepy town nestled amidst the hills of Kurseong. It was a conscious decision to leave everything and come here. Life did not have much to offer, especially after the death of his beloved. A famous writer, his mind was now a blank. He could no longer write.
“Nothing inspires me to write,” is what he had told the publisher before leaving Kolkata. “Take a break, Dada. Come back refreshed and you will write again,” advised Avijit’s friend. His break was almost over. But, he was yet to write.
Getting used to the quiet way of life in this small town was not difficult. A recluse, he hated any form of intrusion. One early morning, he had woken up to find his favourite haunt occupied by a little girl. Fuming, he had stepped out of his cottage to drive her out. But, the sun chose to come out at that moment. As the golden rays touched the brown curls on her head, he had stood mesmerised.
She sat, scribbling in a red book, oblivious to the effect she had on Avijit. Much later, she had looked up into his eyes. A smile played on her lips. Tugging the pink scarf around her throat, she had beckoned Avijit to sit beside her and watch the sun rise higher. Since then it became a ritual. She came every morning before the sun rose. They talked for hours.
Off late, Avijit was curious about her red notebook. But she would not let him touch it.
“Five days! And she hasn’t come. Is she okay? I have to find her.” Avijit set out to find Mili. As he scaled down the hill, fighting away the thorny bushes, he came upon a thatched hut. He knew Mili lived with her grandmother. A frail, elderly woman opened the door.
“Welcome babu. Mili had told me you will come. Sit down. She has left these for you.” There on the bench lay her scarf and the book. The trembling hands turned the pages. It was a daily journal of the little girl’s life. And yes, his name figured in it. Clutching them to his heart, he turned around to leave.
“Babu, my Mili came back to give them to you. She wants you to write. You have to write her story, tell the world about her. She will rest in peace now. It has been a long wait for her.”
Avijit’s mind was no more a blank space. There was so much he wanted to tell his Mili. There was a lot he had to tell the world about her. He had to write that book!
Image/cover by Uttam Karmakar
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