An unknown number. Before Amrita could answer, it got disconnected
Muttering under her breath, she wondered if she should call back. Was it Shubho? Would it seem “too much” type? Chewing at her lower bottom lips, she thought of letting it be.
Coming to her in laws was always a tad depressing. It’s weird you know, when you have to keep up a facade and cling on to something which died a premature death long, long back. Arranging her lips into a smile she stepped into the lift with Riju holding her hand and Rupsha almost clinging to her.
Ringing the bell of the house which had once been one’s home never ceases to feel surreal. Walking amidst lot of oohs and aahs, and ‘kamon acho’, ‘omma Tora koto boro hoye gechis’; her mother-in-law came towards her and asked with a smile, “ Ki khabe Amrita’? Amrita smiled with a genuine warmth and said, “please kichu koro na, khide pachhe na”. She wasn’t genuinely hungry. She looked around and asked “Papa kothay?” Her father in law was a very, very warm person and Amrita looked upto him a great deal.
He has gone out for his walk. Amrita took out her phone and checked messages. No message. There was a brief irritation in her. She dialled the missed call number- it beeped. No result.
Amrita went into what used to be her bedroom. The cupboard housing her books, had the key hanging from it. She opened it, rummaged and took out the Jesperson. One of her students has taken up English and needed the book.
She looked around. The broken white coloured walls, the Kanthaa framed in one wall, corner racks…The room held so many memories and yet Amrita never for once felt like coming back. It was from a different lifetime, it was the room of a different person. She had done up the flat with such care. Getting the wall paints changed, curtains changed… putting up wrought iron racks, hanging chimes, having beautiful indoor plants…Because she always read in the bathroom, she had even put up small magazine holders in the washrooms. A Doll’s House.
Rajddip had come in. She exchanged a cursory smile and walked past him to open the door to her father in law. He was one of the major reasons why this facade of a marriage was still existent. He touched the top of her head and asked “kichu kheyecho?” She smiled slightly and said… “na khide payni.” He said, “but you must. I have got your favourite things”. Nodding her head she saw her daughter casting furtive glances at her… Tua too wasn’t too comfortable here. May be she remembered the ugliness of those years.
Tua often bothered her. Amrita firmly believes that we all have our own destinies. She regularly wondered if she should have divorced Rajdip rather than subjecting Tua to a confused family system.
Her phone rang. It was the same number. Hurriedly she swiped it to answer… static and then Joyee’s voice floated in. ” Shon na, busy chili”? Amrita walked in her once-upon-a-time bedroom for some privacy and stood by the window.
“Ager barer phone ta tui korechili?” Joyee said, “Hyan. Kawtha ache.” Amrita smelled something amiss, and turned her wrist to check whether it was Joyee’s usual time to call her. It wasn’t. Something must be wrong. She was calling from an unknown number too. “Ki hoyeche”
“Something’s not right with Anik. It’s been a while, don’t know how to approach it.”
Amrita’s brows puckered in deep concentration. Nothing could be wrong between Joyee and Anik. He kinda dotted on her. She said… “have you tried talking? kawtha bol. and what number is this?” Joyee said save this…I will call from this number, anyway ekhon chharchi…pore phone korbo. ektu bade free thakis kawtha ache.”
Amrita heard the beep and the phone got disconnected. She came out and said… “aj ebar berobo.” Raajdip got up from where he was having a chat with Riju and said “cholo, ani tomader drop kore dicchi.” Amrita was about to refuse when she remembered getting a taxi in this part of the town was an ordeal in the late evenings.
While she was putting her seat-belt on, her phone beeped. Shubho has messaged. “can I message you in a while please?”
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