It was tragic; convincing me that there is no way to escape other than into the reds in those gulmohar trees...else it may make my blood color fade..!!
I started breathing heavily & made no choice other than death. Frigid water in the tarn spellbinds me into its depth. I found my palm veins clearly in Green. No, it’s fading into red, darkness of the color made me blind. At a very long distance heard someone humming, it was Dhrupad.
I was worn out by its ecstasy. Every sleepless night shoved me into the same unlit tarn.
It was not merely a nightmare but my destination. I’m awake & know what is happening exactly .Outbreak of a ‘string less’ woman, you might take it as simple as that. My first visit to Das’s home.
A small piece of turmeric was tied at the end of her saree; yet another custom for a Brahmin widow.
It has been nine days since Surabhi reached here. During these days, often she hears some harsh voices of elderly women, in between the mourning ceremony, cursing her for the bad fate of Bilahari Das.
“Thilodakam and other funeral rites have been completed. It is important to give peace to the departing soul in the astral plane.”
a-brahma stamba-paryantam devarsi pitr-manavah
trpayantu pitarah sarve matr-mata-mahadayah
a-brahma bhuvanal lokadi-dam astu thilodakam.
Heard a loud recitation from the courtyard.
Mortuary card which had been tied to his knee left untied on the floor. To her understanding it includes all physical details about the dead person, but not her name. What she lost was her soul &soul is not a physical thing, she thought. For a moment she forgets the fact that Bilahari is dead, while glances of his gentle, smiling face passes through her mind. Lacuna he left behind was huge.
“According to the custom, you are not supposed to move from this room until the ‘Antyesthi’ is over.” Said an old lady in a strangled voice. Surabhi couldn’t see the face as the lady was standing behind the partly closed door. She feels totally jittered, strange & abandoned in that dark room.
Her eyes filled with water as every nook & corner reminds about Das. At once she urged to return back to Basanchora & walk with him, under those unknown trees sprinkling red flowers, as they used to do.
Surabhi whispered in great agony, when she felt a frozen touch on her cheeks. The emptiness she realized, as she was about to hold close him, made her round the bend.
Doors were open & it was dark outside. She followed the disembodied voice.
The place was familiar.
Steps to the tarn..!! The water was cold & still like the winter night.
“Das...” her brittle voice sounds even feeble in the mist.