SUBHODHAN’S LAST LETTER
Every evening Subhodhan sat near his window and gazed at the orchard. The birds would pack up their pebbles, dusts, fragments of what they collected to their nest. The big orange sun asusual would settle far wide beyond the horizon. Within the blink of eyes the day would turn to dusk. Subhodhan would place his radio on the other end of window and listen to some fine colloquial songs. His left leg Hallux would move to the tune of those random songs and his stare traversed through the window and made way to his most treasured orchard. The orchard has been his companion since eons. After listening to few songs, he used to switch off the radio and preferred to walk through the memory lane.
Old age has its own fine texture. The legacy of silence, the royal wooden oscillating teak chair, the white pyjama, and years of stories that life bring along with it to make the old age reminisce the epoch times. Solitude has a tale unfolded within it. Not everyone, mostly the younger generation, are willing to listen and sometimes are thought not worthy to share. Often, that which occupy the most of our mind are preferred to be left alone. They are irrelevant, yeah they are! Like when Subhodhan met his wife in the sweet stall in 1982, he fell from his cycle. That spur of the moment when his wife turned towards him, watching him fall and finally bursting into laughter is not worth it to share to this generation. Agree it or not but Subhodhan was embarrassed ever since then and found it too irrelevant to ever talk to anyone how he felt when love happened on first sight.
Sigh! All said and done.
That evening was different. Turned to 67 yrs doctors have repeatedly warned him to get admitted to hospital sooner, for he was suffering from blood cancer. Subhodhan knew he had very few days left but still was reluctant to shift to hospital. Oh how could he! It was his wish to spend the last moments of his life in his cottage with the memories of his beloved wife. The pain of leaving aside belongings is way too much hard than any disease could make one feel. He had made up his mind if he would leave his cottage, then it will be his dead body only. The decision was final. Not to die and rut in hospital before death comes.
It was like yesterday Subhodhan’s wife left him alone after giving birth to a girl child, Shruti. He felt destiny was unruly. But time with its healing touch took away his grudges against destiny soon when Shruti with her tiny foot and sonorous voice echoed throughout the entire orchard and cottage. He then realized destiny also gifted Shruti to him. Henceforth it was no turning back for Subhodhan. He devoted his entire life in the upbringing of his daughter, Shruti. Ah,Shruti married last month.
Sitting by the window with a tea cup, gazing at the trees, memories flooded. The first meet with his wife ,the rainy night when he proposed her ,their marriage, their mutual decision to decorate their own cottage with an orchard in the backyard ,the moments of intimacy shared by them in the orchard, all made him lost. Nostalgia gheraoed him.
He sat down to write a letter to Shruti as he knew that Shruti always loved to read his letters. The last time Shubhodhan wrote to Shruti was the night before her marriage. He picked up the pen that was gifted to him by Shruti when she got her first job. From then on Subhodhon treasured the pen.
A lot to say but no strengths to express, my child. God has been very kind to me. When she took your mother away from me, He gifted me an angel. Never did I shed tears from then on. Since then you have been my support, my guide, my smile, my hope, my sole reason of being alive. More than a daughter, you have been my best friend. I wondered always why you never asked about your mother! May be because you were scared that I would be hacked off by your questions. But I could always read your eyes. You once asked me why do I often sit near the window and stare at the orchard. Due to my prolonged silence, you never ever asked me after that. May be today I am able to tell you the reason. Once I and your mother had a brawl. I sat at this place and looked at the orchard just to ignore her. Your mom whispered in my ear something and then we never had any fights. She told me, “just to ignore me, you are looking at the orchard. One day when I will not be there, it will be this orchard that will make you remind me.” She was right that time.
May be when you read this letter I might not be alive. Take care of our cottage and orchard. This will be the tribute to your father. Always stay happy.
As the letter ended, Subhodhan took his last breathe and closed his eyes forever.