Till We Meet Again by Sumona Guha
Way past midnight and the iced rain slashed slowly onto the window panes, of Amar Roy.
Holding his brown pashmina shawl, closely around his shoulders he went up to the window to gaze and appreciate the beauty of nature. God’s blessings were pouring down in sleet and drops and the cold ness of the atmosphere increased manifold. And the woods churned in the little fireplace and Amar held the shawl tightly to feel its warm comfort.
Living in Mussorie on a mountaintop, in a chalet did bring with it, its share of pleasures.
Lighting his Cuban cigar, Amar inhaled a large whiff to warm up his lungs. He kept staring at the snow pelting his window panes... pondering about his new novel. He did have a few friends left all across the world who indulged him with life’s little pleasures. Some bought him Cuban cigars, some dark swiss chocolate filled with liqueor,and one of them even attempted to send his some good quality caviar, which got rotten by the time it reached Mussorie. So Amar lovingly, asked his friends not to spend money on him. But the orchids and oyesters did not stop, and one of them even managed to send him a box of cheese from Italy.
The tiger skin rug sat benevolently underneath the ebony writing table. His black Parker pen, lay lame next to the leather bound writing diary, monochromed with his name.. Amar Roy .. AR. The golden Letters glittered brightly, emphasising the success he has had over the last two decades. Amar was a very well known writer of fiction and was more well known off shore than in India. His writing style smacked off the Victorian and Rennaisance era and was loved by people from all walks of life and age group. His pride, his awards lay standing on the mantle, sparkling and cleaned.
Playing his favourite Sonata, Amar took a sip of whiskey from the chiselled glass, which he had bought from, the crystal market of Prague, near Kutna Hora, the Bohemian crystal.
During one of his literary conferences. He has been thinking about the story of his next novel, but has not been able to come up with a tale which can enthrall his readers. Shreds of manuscripts have been turned into paper balls, ducked into the bin. Amar was enjoying the lilt of the music playing on. He was getting worried about his on setting writer’s block. He just was unable to come up with a great story line.
Maybe he should simply pause for a few days.
A sharp screech startled Amar, and he saw a small Audi enter the drive way of his bungalow and race to a halt near his front door, through his window pane.
Adjusting his glasses, Amar went to the living space to open the door. Outside , was standing a young girl, long jet black hair, left open and dishevelled around her neck, short frame, wearing a black gown. The knitted white pullover on her black dress was a deep contrast and her head was covered with a black woollen cap. Aquiline features with deep set brown eyes, she did have a lovely smile, and she came forward towards him , to shake his hand.
Arundhati is my name Sir.. My car has broken down, and it is way past midnight. If you allow my asking you, May I spend a few hours at your residence, before I head off in the morning.
The girl was all of 20 maybe 23 and Amar felt obligated to give her refuge. It was a very dark and thunderous night.
The sleets of icy rain drops suddenly stopped and all they could hear is a thunderous roar, amidst the clouds.
Arundhati, wide eyed was admiring the lovely living space and the wall paintings of Jamini Roy, and Amar went off to brew some coffee for her. She stopped him and said let us sit down and have a drink ..Amar.
Two chisellled crystal glasses crinked and clanged and the two went on and on speaking about the books, Roy has authored. Amar felt he was being interviewed by this girl.
Are the stories laid in fiction, or real people? Amar laughed and said well that is a secret..
Why do your stories have so many layers of grey in them?
Life is grey, Arundhati, Life is never straight and black and white.. And you are way too young to understand that now. Just live your life. Enjoy the ebbs and tides and when you reach my age my girl you will understand the dance called Life.
Arundhati took out the knitted gloves and Amar could see the beautiful fingers painted blood red with nail paint.
May I smoke, Sir? Amar's smile was a go ahead.
Keeping a lit Marlboro between her fingers, Arundhati chatted on about the best films and books which have been integral to her life.Amar said, Can I make you a sandwich please? You must be hungry girl?
Yes Shona she said.. and Amar looked at her totally transfixed.
It has been such a long time , since someone called him "shona". This name was a temporary tag of endearment, which has gone erased from his life and mind as the pages of his life had been written and rewritten away.
You can call me Amar, if you like , sir is too formal. Would you like some more food?
Munching on the sandwich, Arundhari retorted - no some wine will be nice now. Amar Roy, was a short statured man, with beautiful brown eyes, that twinkled like marble, in the reflection of light. Educated at Cambridge, he has been a novelist for almost two decades now and has bagged a Pulitzar Award, and done India proud. Never married, with a string of affairs with writers, actresses, and corporate ladies, an international magazine once called Amar the Sexy Sanyasin, a few years back.
Now not so young and not so old either, Amar has taken hermitage in the woods of Mussorie.. a two tenement humble wooden cottage, well managed by Kanhai – his man Friday, who knows exactly which meal to cook for his saheb.
Kanhai – Though a pretty all rounder stocky man, did try his hands at driving and unfortunately almost killed a mountain goat. Thankfully, the goat didnot delve his horns into him out of sheer vengefulness. Kanhai is blissfully absent as his aged mother had been showing pangs of separation, and being a doting son, Kanhai felt maybe the messenger of lord Yama is knocking at his door at his village. Hence,he packed up and left for a few days,in a hurry, leaving Amar to struggle with his chores and his writing.
Arundhati, sipping the Italian Vino, Amar managed to scout from the small antique shop at the mall, excitedly said, do you play chess?
Her brown eyes, were like balls of fire and Amar could almost look at his own reflection into them.
You have nice eyes, my girl.
She gazed at him for a bit.. and said got them from dad.
Tell me about yourself Arundhati..
I hail from New Delhi, and I am a child of a single parent. My mom is no more and she died of cancer last month. She was a writer too. I work with one of the largest advertising companies in the creative department, as an intern now, but would like to be a writer like my mother. Dad died when I was a child so no remembrances what so ever, and she looked away at the wall paintings.
Lets play some Chess, Amar..
And so the game of chess began between the two.
The Queen and the King were getting beaten at the battle ground and one must say they were a great competition for each other.
Smart moves my girl.. Kanhai is off for a few days so if you are comfortable you can stay with me here for a few days.
Smiling wickedly at him.. she said, I shall ponder , but I want to know about your love affairs first. Amar was caught off guard. Today’s generation he thought to himself, and started rattling off his love stories to this young stranger.
The Sun started shining through the heavy satin curtains. The fireplace was at its last embers. The love tales were coming to an end, when Amar got up to make a pot of coffee for both.
Arundhati got up suddenly and caught hold of Amar from behind and turned him around to face her.
Taking his hands in hers she smiled at him peacefully and said, today is the most precious day of my Life Amar, or should I call you Dad? I got acquainted to my father in a just a few hours, which I have been longing for twenty two years of my life. I always loved his pictures and photographs and idealized that I would be like him one day and here I am on a stormy night, face to face with the man I have been seeking all my Life. Do you remember Anita, dad? I am Anita’s daughter.
She hugged Amar and took her belongings and walked out of the door. Leaving Amar speechless only with one thought.. A rainy stormy night a few decades back when a car had screeched to a halt at his