The Swansong

The Swansong

“Bhavna! Where have you brought me? Look at the shoddy apartments. ”

“Shubho, with our budget, this is the most we can manage. Earn some more. Maybe we can afford a better one soon.” 

“Stop reminding me that I don’t earn as much as you do.” 

“Now, shut up! Let’s go up to Flat-2A.”

***

The eight-storied building stood amidst the vast expanse of greenery. Construction was still underway. Switching on the torchlight, they manoeuvred their way up the stairs. Soft music came drifting from one of the flats. 

“That song, Shubho…My favourite!”

“Remember, I sang it on our first date?”  

“Yes, darling.” 

Hand-in-hand, they followed the music. Flat 2A was open. 

The music floated in from the balcony. There sat an elderly man, holding a radio close to his ears. Reclining in an armchair, eyes gently shut; he remained oblivious to the world around. The couple stood quietly, reluctant to disturb him.

It was a lovely balcony overlooking the lake. The perfect view for us, they thought. The cool breeze and the music created a magical environment. 

The song stopped all of a sudden. An advertisement interrupted the reverie. 

“HATE these ads. They spoil my mood,” grumbled the old man. Keeping the radio aside, his eyes fell on the couple. “Ohh you both are here? You should have called me. My son is late.”

“No, No, Uncle. We did not wish to bother you. We love that song.” Bhavna smiled at Shubho. 

“Ahh, they have a good stock. These are the kind of songs that were churned out during our times beta. Now look at those remixes.” Uncle curled up his nose in disgust. “Let me search for another station. Meanwhile, you both take a tour of the flat.” 

The young couple left. Well-designed with proper ventilation, spacious and equipped with a good view, there was nothing to criticize. 

Twenty minutes later, they found Uncle listening to another old hit. Signalling them to sit down, he turned down the volume. “A lovely song – my wife’s favourite. She sang it so well. This radio was a gift from her…on my birthday. A month later, she passed away. I think she knew that this radio would be my only companion after her demise. Anyways, I have rambled a lot, children. That flat is perfect for you just the way it was for us. Start anew. I have had sixty years of wedded bliss with my soul mate. And I wish you the same.”

As they left the flat, Bhavna’s eyes glistened. Uncle was right! Maybe this was the right abode for them. Shubho must have felt her melancholy, for he tightened his grip over her hand. 

***

Her phone rang. It was the promoter!

“Madam? Sorry. I got delayed.” 

“That’s okay. We have seen the flat and would like to move in as soon as possible. Oh, we loved spending time with your father.”  

 “My father? But he died a year ago.” 

Madam had by then,  disconnected the call. 

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