Friday, 25 June 2010
The honeymoon station
Consciously, they did not think of touching a new ribbon of silvery togetherness—so fast and so long in one content self. It all happened in course of time turning moments into events and events into memories. But, without essentially entering into valuation of what has there been and what not, the flight upon four wings has let them float and fly through abundant expanse of life in unison.
The morning dropped from the smiling lips of rising sun. They were awake with steaming mugs of black coffee in green backyard lawn enclosed within beds of chosen flowers and an orchard of tall old trees—alike an emerald eye elegantly cradled in curves of long dark lashes. Birds whistled on, butterflies spread its colourful wings to gather warmth of morn and dew drops swung upon needles of grass; and they did so as they did a day before and in every other dawn of the past. Amidst all usual tunes of nature only different note that softened the chord was hidden in long speechless moments. They sat for longer than usual. And, she smiled. And, she spoke to break silence too.
It was that day!
Yes, it was that day! And, the night…the first night together? Remember?
Yes, twenty five years ! Pretty long, yet seems to have just come across, no?
Let’s go there…spend the day and the night too…would we?
The train stopped. Everything had changed so much that they could not believe it was same place. They searched for without exactly knowing what to and what for; yet they walked along the platform, from one end to the other…once…twice…thrice…and met the banyan tree—only bond to the past. They missed those two broken iron benches, and that tiny red tin-roofed railway office; and they remembered that lone hand pump too idly lying by a narrow path leading to horizon. The lean platform had gained all shines of health over the time. Its bare body had now been draped in colourful tiles…digital clocks, speakers, drinking water mounts, cemented seats and a new office with busy people running, walking, talking, and adding proud presence of civilization. There was no space for them to keep apart—to feel about being alone. Their souls travelled fast to the past….to that warm noon…and a colder night.
The dawn accompanied her to the threshold of a home for last nineteen years and the liberation erased all evidences of her root while the doors were firmly shut behind forever. He did not bring the bride home for to stay. Yet, it turned them absolutely unwelcomed for even a night. He did never dream that his own home could turn him homeless for marrying a Hindu girl against wishes of the family despite expecting not-so-happy expressions for the rebellious couple. They knew that neither of their families would love to see them together for life, but had not thought of losing access to it even as a distant guest. He just thought of spending a single last day in own known space…and to introduce his beloved to that space. They had ticket for the next day. The marriage did not get blessings of the past, of the space that took care to transform him from an infant to a kid, a kid to a boy and a boy to a man. In one moment, they were transported to a society of romany in the city abundantly saturated with old friends and relatives.
They lost luxury of spending one of the most memorable moments of life. They still had one complete day and night before boarding in train to Bombay. He had a decent job, decent accommodation and a decent amount of money in his purse to idle away the interval in decent hotel. But, the feeling of losing own space and denial of access of his wife to his own space on the marriage day was so intense that it not only killed his softer soul, but also punctured all assumed pride of being born in a liberal Christian society. They climbed down the stairs—straight to the street—and walked on with bagful of belongings---some memories, some wishes, some rejection, some losses, and some emotions martyred in pursuit of love and its honour. They walked together, holding hand in hand, for long hours—without speaking to each other.
Suddenly, he whispered something. She heard not, but nodded yes. And, they headed straight to Howrah Station and bought two tickets—for a honeymoon trip on the marriage day.
The shabby local train swam through passages of both idle noon and ever changing pastoral images. It stopped at one desolate station, and it had no urge to move on.
Warm winter noon had its sweet companion—a narrow platform with just a tiny red office…two broken iron benches, a few trees and a hand pump. Evidences could not still be enough to let one believe that it had ever heard footsteps of life. It was lying lifeless alike a statuette awaiting some special moment to arrive when someone would drop in to bless it with new life in a single touch and the pursuit would be fulfilled. There would be nothing to seek beyond that.
They looked at each other. The train left soon leaving behind two aliens—far from another galaxy—in that deserted island of solitude. They sat beneath a large banyan tree. Sun sailed through sky from above to far in the west. A few more passenger trains came and went; yet they did not see anyone boarding or alighting. They were so emotionally carried in deciding to get down there that they thought not of buying anything for long winter night. It was late evening, when the last train too departed. A middle aged man suddenly appeared from nowhere. He was the first human being they met. His husky voice had an unmatched compassion in its exchange.
What do you people sit for? The last train has gone.
Er… actually, we are not waiting for any train. We are homeless for tonight…yeah, we got married just this day.
Oh, I see. Just fled home…love marriage? I’m the Stationmaster. If you wish, you two may come to my house …just in the village, a couple of miles away.
Okay, thanks! But, we don’t want to disturb you. We would rather spend honeymoon here.
Ha..ha…nice. It is indeed a nice place for honeymoon…a perfect full moon. Okay, as you wish. But, after I left there will be none here till I come again in the morning. Have you eaten ?
No…we will manage, sir.
The fat wild man said no more. He brought out something from his cloth bag, handed the paper pack to her and walked away slowly. Their glistened eyes followed the figure…from platform end to railway office….riding on a bicycle….and finally fading into misty veil of darkness.
She opened the packet…some baked rice and a few pieces of boiled potatoes. They did not realize how hungry they were until they had finished it all.
The golden disc of moon had risen, by that time, behind silhouetted towers of trees…some closer, and the most afar. Its warm shines could not wipe chill of February night. He took her on his lap, stroked softly upon her wide temple neatly stretched between two closed eyes and braided hairs. And, he stooped low to put an elegant kiss. She was already asleep after long ruinous day of joy and betrayal. He pulled out a towel and placed it upon her curled body. The Eden was all set for two loving souls in its wilderness.
They traversed back from memories…from dreams. It was all new. They fought to believe it was where they had their first honeymoon…and they believed and failed to believe in rhythm of time. Being caught in dilemma, they remained speechless for hours. And, it was almost a state that brought them to brink of losing expressions when she whispered.
Home…let’s return…own home.
Long years….long lane of memories….slowly lifted them to a new globe….enclosed in a new blue sky…and they sensed something anew….the space that favoured a home for homeless had turned them homeless again.
They packed up, and looked behind to seek again for something unattainable—the permanence of luxury of peace confined in dungeon of space—and failed utterly. They felt for the first time in life that a space turned into a home only to be immortalized by moments of glory—love, reliance, trust and truth—it had been through expressions of life fastened to it.
They faded into new sphere of moments. The honeymoon station stood motionless as a milestone in a path connected by two unknown ends—the beginning and the finality—embracing stolen images of emotions of those evaporated souls.
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