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Aloka's Find

By Haimanti Dutta Ray

It was a cold winter morning and I had risen up early to make myself a hot cup of coffee. I had the habit of practicing yogic ‘asanas’ in the early hours of the morn. I did ‘Surya Namaskar’, considered to be the most difficult among all the ‘asanas’ depicted in our ancient texts, in the small patch of green in front of our house. Facing the sun, closing my eyes and letting positive energy seep into my being, provide me with that amount of stamina, to face all the challenges of the day.

I, Aloka Sarkar nee Ahmed, am a homemaker by profession. I write poems as a hobby as and when I can spare the time from my household responsibilities. My husband, Diptendu, is the General Manager in a multinational form which deals in the export of textiles procured from rural artisans, mainly womenfolk, in dire need of financial assistance. We fell in love with each other while studying in college and were married soon afterwards. Our only daughter, Nisha, is a teenager now. If she is the apple of my eyes , then she shines like a diamond in the twinkle of Diptendu’s.

Nisha was born when we were in the middle of a storm in our lives. My Abbu passed away, leaving behind my ailing mother, who came into my care and cottage. Nisha was conceived seven years after our marriage. As soon as she was born, my mother named her ‘Nisha’ meaning ‘night’.

“Mom, can I have a Barbie for my birthday?”

This was Nisha’s habit of hankering after a girlish craze, on the occasion of each and every birthday.

“Girlie! Can’t you ask me to buy you something else? You already have enough dolls that me and your mother have provided you with. Read books, Nisha, my love! No Barbie doll can surpass the wealth and wisdom that a good book provides.”

This conversation between Nisha and her father ensued on the eve of each of her birthdays. When we were alone together, I confessed to my husband, something which had been on my mind for quite sometime.

“Nisha’s Ma’am at her school told me yesterday that our daughter is getting better in her English compositions in class. She’s advised me to help Nisha take up and practice writing on a regular basis from now onwards. I think we should encourage her a bit. Why not gift her with a diary and ask her to write down her inputs on a daily basis?”

“Yes. This idea had been hovering in my mind too for the past couple of days. Let me see… Now-a-days, our company produces yearly diaries with high-quality paper. I’ll bring one of those along with me while returning today.”

This conversation had been held about a week ago in our own privacy – our bedroom. Nisha had been gifted with an exquisitely bound diary, where Diptendu had embossed her name in gold lettering on the head of the first page. I had forgotten about it completely after that. Household work always keeps me busy and I am on my toes, throughout the day.

Today, I went to dust my daughter’s room, while she’s away, busy with her online classes. Among the heap full of dust gathered between books – paperbacks mostly – I chanced upon the diary that we gave her some while back.

“I am her mother after all. There’s nothing on earth about her that is unknown to me…”

As the sudden pangs of guilt gave way to parental love and affection, I discovered that I was slowly getting engrossed and enmeshed within the lines of my own daughter’s writing.

My friends had invited me to a badminton party. Trisha, Avani, Sulagna – all of them were there. But I told them that I was having my periods and so abstained from attending the party. I do not have a badminton racquet and I hate to borrow one from any of them. So despite the fact that I was not having my monthly cycles, I preferred not to go. Badminton is my favorite game. I wish they (my parents) would purchase a racquet for me one day…”

Something fell out from the middle of the dairy itself. Shocked at first, I slowly stooped to pick up the object. It was a folded-up poster of the golden girl of Indian sports, P. V. Sindhu!!

By Haimanti Dutta Ray

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