In Moumita

Ishrat Chowdury

Three-hour drive from here to Moumita. It is a picturesque small town. There is a river, name Modhumoti. It flows smoothly. The soothing sound of its waves can be heard at night in bedrooms.

Adib lived with his mother, father passed away when Adib was in final year. Sharmila was looking outside through the window, thinking how she would approach Adib after six years. Sunlight and morning white clouds made a kaleidoscope of colours over the fields and woods. She realized it was impossible for her to forget him. She was rehearsing how she would tell him her heart still ached. Whispered to herself, “I love you, mavourneen. I love you.”

Life without Adib and the constant pressure from others, even her parents, had become unbearable. She had spent four years abroad in higher study; and for the past two years, was at her old Victoria College again, but teaching.

She remembered their first meeting at one of their friend’s place. He was a student at a medical college and she was studying at Victoria. The first few months, they used to meet casually in friends’ places. Both were good students and most of the time, they devoted themselves to study and research. Gradually, they fell in love and became inseparable.

Once, Adib was passing in front of her house and noticed Sharmila standing at the window looking up at a flock of birds doing acrobatics. She seemed to him to be in a live painting and stared at her for a few minutes. When he mentioned it to her afterwards, Sharmila blushed and tried to hide her face. Their friends used to tease them – a pair of love birds looking for a place to build up their cozy nest. Both their families invited each to get to know them.

When they finished their studies they decided to get married at home in the city, surrounded by family and friends. Moumita was far away, surrounded by rolling hills, tropical trees and the Modhumoti River.

One afternoon after the wedding, Adib expressed his desire to practice in Moumita because he wanted to serve his people and do research. Sharmila tried her best to persuade him not to do so because she was a city girl and wanted to settle down in a big city. She enjoyed the social gatherings, parties, concerts, and plays. She could not spend her whole life in a small town without any amusement. After a tug of war, they broke up. Both were heartbroken but firm about their decisions.

“We have reached.”

The voice of the chauffeur startled her. She looked around. The iron gate, fence, long dusted red brick driveway, green manicured lawn and garden were as she remembered them. Two gardenia trees stood on either side of the gate, and so did the tropical, blooming Magnolia tree in the middle of the garden. She took a deep breath of all the fragrant flowers.

At the house, she climbed up a few stairs to get on the terrace to ring the doorbell. One of the servants opened, and she asked for Adib. But he had gone to the hospital on an emergency.

Meanwhile, a very elegant young lady came through another door holding a beautiful little girl’s hand and asked, “Do you have an appointment with Dr. Adib?”

Sharmila murmured to herself, I just came to see him; but then aloud, “You have a beautiful girl. What is her name?”

The lady answered sweetly, “Her name is Sharmila, Adib’s mother named her.”  

Oh! Suddenly, Sharmila felt dizzy, cold and numb. She rushed back to the car, leaving the lady flabbergasted. On her way out, she heard Adib’s mother’s voice asking, “Who was she? It seemed very familiar voice to me.” Sharmila urged the chauffeur to leave.

As they were leaving however, Adib returned. He waved for her chauffeur to stop and gazed at her through the car window, at her eyes welling up with tears, then quietly opened her door. Sharmila wiped her eyes and came out.

“Who was she?” her voice chocked in asking.

“My cousin brother’s wife,” he said.

The cool breeze from the river Modhumoti was soothing.

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