I always watched his glass and I loved the style how he used to get it in his eyes. I hate smoking, but I liked to watch the way he smoked. He just came to our lecture room and shut the door. He perched up the lighter and burnt the cigarette that he pushed in between his lips. The smoke covered his face and I didn’t see his lips for some moments. When the smoke touched me, I felt that the flames of my love have burned with the touch of his smoke. He sat down in his chair and got out the textbook to begin his next speech. It was a long table and we, the students were sitting on both sides of the table. He sat at the one end of the table. I never missed the seat that was very close to him.
He used to get into the black T-shirt and Blue Denim. Our liberal, young, Zoology lecturer looked so dainty in this getup. I noticed him, silently, how he holds his cigarette and begins his lecture with a simple gentle smile. The smile might be simple for all in our batch but not for mine. When he looked at me and smiled, I thought it may have some significance and felt the love with that.
I never proposed him in my entire college life. In fact, I never dared to love him. I was just one of his obedient students who respect him a lot. I didn’t understand when my respect turned into love. I just wished to be close to him, to talk to him and to worship him. He didn’t express any special impression on me. He was generous to all of us. I was his silent watcher and a witness of his every single action. But, I was very careful to hide my feeling from him.
That time I was staying at my college hostel. My friends saw my madness about him. They, often told me, “go and propose him or leave a love letter for him after the class”. Shilpa played an old song of Johny Cash in her newly bought MP3 player.
Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss within the cup,
And I’ll not ask for wine.
She said, “Sayri, if you don’t tell him it, now, it will remain as your unrequited love and one day, you will repent of it.”. But, I basically a soft-hearted person and always protect me from getting hurt by somebody. Sometimes, the wall of protection extends so high that somebody doesn’t dare to cross it and touch my heart. I knew that I won’t manage myself if he said “no” to me. And I thought it’s good to be in such unrequited love and walk around in my dream world with him.
I left my college and took admission to the University. In the University days, I missed him very much and always thought what will happen if he joins in our Department! I imagined some beautiful days with him on this new campus. I don’t know whether God heard my wish or it was a happenstance! Our Zoology Lecturer, Dr. Arijit Roy joined in our department as a lecturer of Immunology. I always did well in his class. Sir was happy for me. One day, he called me in his Laboratory. I went there with lots of dreams. I thought, he might propose me as I noticed some changes in his behavior, unlike the college days.
I entered his room. He put up a cup of coffee to me. We had talked for a couple of hours and it was a very friendly talk. I felt very happy. I asked him by raising some courage, “ Did you marry, Sir?
Sir, smiled and said,” Yes, am going to marry.”
I couldn’t believe my ear and asked again, “ Sorry, Sir!”.
“ Am going to knot a tie with Arpita, your senior fellow!”
Something was pinned into my heart. I shivered as my expectations dropped into the floor from the high. I couldn’t stop myself from getting hurt. Arpita was my senior fellow in our Department. I tried to smile and somehow manage myself to congratulate him on this decision. I required to exit from his room. But, he stopped me and compelled to hear his love story. That was irritating for me as I was feeling jealous of her.
But, the story was never ended here. I tried to blank out all my fantasy about the man I love and to get rid of this trauma.
It was easy to cure my broken heart as I have not much expectation about my love. It was completely one-sided. Another reason was, in the meantime, somebody came to me and embraced me with his love.
One day, Sir, called me again in his laboratory. I went and this time I noticed that Sir is not in a good mood. He asked me, “Are you in a relationship with Indra?”
Indra was my classmate and my lover also. I guessed that he knows all about our relationship. I said, “ Yes, but why Sir?”
Sir lost his temper and yelled at me, “You are ruining your future. Don’t you know that yet? He is not the type of guy who will settle with you in future. You are a bright scholar. If you don’t break up the relationship now, your career will stick in the future and he will move to a bright career. I know the boy, well. That’s why am telling you.”
It was really embarrassing for me. I have trust on Indra, but I couldn’t ignore my Professor’s words. That was not the last time he warned me. He did it again and again. When it was not working, he tried to convince our friends to destroy our relationship. Even, he warned Indra to keep away from me.
I didn’t understand why he was behaving in like this way! Indra told me that he has a love for me. My friends also said that. But, I didn’t believe it as he was already married. I never thought he could see me in that way after his marriage. And doing such childish things he lost my respect and I didn’t keep any connection with him.
Life was going on its way. Indra went out of my life. Dr. Arijit Roy’s prediction turned partially true as I didn’t ruin my career. But, the climax of the story happened after the 10 years, when I’m married and a mother of a child. I found him in a shopping mall. He has put on some weight and the frame of his glass was also changed. I couldn’t recognize him at a glance. His wife recognized me as I was her junior in the University. She came and greeted me with their son. Then, Dr. Roy came and spoke to me in a formal way. We exchanged our phone number and he said, “Keep in touch, Sayari”.
Few day’s later, he called me. After some talk about our present life, he invited me to a coffee shop near our University. It seemed that thousands of butterflies were taking flight in the garden of my heart. It was really unexpected to me and I couldn’t stop myself from falling to see him once more. The Human brain has some abstract nature. It cannot sustain bad memories for a long time. It only holds the sweet memories in its store.
All the bad memories with Dr. Roy had been fading in this long time. The reminiscence of those days of my college life was still glittering on my head. We met and it was a meet that I’ll never forget. I couldn’t believe the moments. It seems I was dreaming. I astonished to see his interest in me. His attitude and behavior towards me had been changed, completely. It was not like a student and teacher meet rather it seemed that it was a meet of two lovers who used to love together from a long distance.
I amazed how he looked at me. I remembered those days when I was his silent watcher. But, at that time my every single action was under the surveillance of another watcher, whom I silently loved day after day. My blood pressure was running fast. I was listening to my heart beats.
He was stirring his spoon in his coffee and I noticed that he was thinking something. I just couldn’t wait and asked him, “Sir, why are you calling me, here?”.
He raised his head and keep his eye on mine, “Sayari, could you escape with me?”
I surprised, “ Sorry, Sir!”. I couldn’t believe my ear.
He gripped my hand and stated, “you are not that little girl, who couldn’t understand it’s meaning. It’s not always possible that you will love the person, whom you marry. Love depends on how much you can connect with the person, whom you love. It’s like the matching of two different wavelengths. It’s hard to find the soul, whose wavelength can match with you. But, if you find it, you are the lucky one.”
I could guess, why he has said such things, though I asked him it’s reason to confirm my speculation.
He smiled and took a sip from his cup. He answered, “ Do you remember those days when we were exchanging our thoughts about the newly read books, novels or poems. How you encourage me in playing guitar when you heard a good song.”
The memories of those days ripple in my mind. I shared the same with him, “ Yes, Sir, I requested you to play the song, Drink to me only with thine eyes…”.
-I played it for you with my guitar after trying a lot.
–You know, Sayari, you couldn’t find a peace when you hug a man or woman, who doesn’t know to appreciate your thoughts. I think the dark circles under your eyes are the results of it.
– Don’t try to hide it, Sayari. You cannot hide anything from the person, who loves you, who cares for you.
It liked that the sweet soft rays of the first sunlight entered my room with the broken window and lit up the darkness of my room. I just couldn’t hold my tears. I tried to remember the days when I was eagerly waiting to hear it from him. I couldn’t find a word to express my love for him.
He broke my astonishment and said, “Am really sorry if I embarrassing you. But, let me tell you that I realized my love for you when you were going far from me and engaging with another guy. It hurt me so much. After that, I tried to find you a lot, but, you were staying out of the state. Today, if I never tell you that, the truth will die with me.”
-It’s too late, Sir. If you said it before, we could have been bringing a beautiful life.”
-It’s mean you love me. Why don’t you tell that? Ohh! Shit! Why didn’t I propose you? He simply took away his glass from his eyes. I understood that he was repenting for that as I know the meaning of his every single action. He said again, “Am sorry, am sorry, Sayari. But, please give me an opportunity to make our life beautiful.”
-I smiled and took my purse from the table and said, “Your words mean a lot to me, Sir. We thought our love was unrequited and now we have come to know that it was from both sides. And the flames of our love is enough to light up the darker sides of our lives.” I left my chair and booked a cab for my journey.
P.S: This post is written in response to the Indiblogger’s contest, “Share your #AHundredLittleFlames story “. This contest is to celebrate the launch of Preeti Shenoy’s 9th book, A Hundred Little Flames in association with Westland, Ayan Tours, and Club Mahindra. “A Hundred Little Flames” is currently one of the biggest bestsellers of 2017.