“Why are you silent, Bondita? Say something please. Anything!”, Srijit cried out, holding Bondita by the shoulders.
“Uhh…”, was the only thing Bondita was able to say, though.
Srijit had just now dropped a bombshell upon her. It had been a while since they became friends. But Bondita had never thought that this friendship would take such a drastic turn.
“I think I’m in love with you, Bondita. What do you feel about me?”, was all it took, for Bondita to go limp. Her brain nearly stopped working.
Feeling dizzy, she felt like she would faint. She held onto a nearby railing for support. She had never expected this, even in her wildest of dreams.
She looked at Srijit. He was looking at her with a hopeful face. His eyes were shining. But Bondita was feeling downright sick. She didn’t know how to react; she didn’t know what to say.
So she did the only thing that came into her mind. Something that Bondita Das had never done in her entire life till now.
She bolted away. She walked away from there, as fast as her feet would carry her.
Srijit was too stunned to even follow her. His mind had known that Bondita didn’t reciprocate his feelings. But his heart had refused to give up without trying once. And now that he had tried, he felt his heart break.
“Calm down Bondita. Stop freaking out!”, David said, trying to put his friend at ease. But, she was too shaken to even listen to him properly.
“I can’t”, Bondita whispered, almost inaudibly.
“What’s there to freak out so much about, though?”, Mimi asked.
“What?!! And you call yourself my friend?! Mimi!! Try to understand! This is… This is just so…”, Bondita burst out.
“Unexpected? Overwhelming? Confusing?”, Mimi suggested.
“Yes. All of that. I don’t know how to respond! I want my Maa with me!”, Bondita almost wailed.
“But we always don’t get what we want, Bondita”, David said, all of a sudden very quiet.
Mimi and Bondita looked at him sceptically. But before anyone could say anything, the bell rang, indicating the time for students to enter their respective dormitories. Sighing, the three friends bid goodbyes and wishing goodnight to each other, retired to their dormitories.
But it was almost inevitable, that Bondita wouldn’t get any sleep that night. And sleeping late at night, resulted in a sleepy Bondita, the next day.
Which didn’t go unnoticed by her Shikshak Babu.
“Didn’t you sleep last night, Bondita?”, he asked her, frowning as both of them sat at the exit gate area of the campus. This place had become one of her favourite spots now.
“I couldn’t”, she simply replied, shrugging.
“Why? What’s bothering you? You can tell me”, he said.
And once again, Bondita almost told him the two things that were bothering her the most. Almost. It was at the tip of her tongue. But she stopped herself. No. It was probably a silly thing to do.
“Nothing’s bothering me. Except the load of homework”, she chuckled.
“By the way, Shikshak Babu, will you help me a bit with the homework? Please?”, she asked.
“Yes. Sure. What’s there to ask? Just bring your books and note copies. I’ll help you. But not too much! You’ll have to do the main work yourself!”, he warned.
“Yes. Of course”
And thus, Bondita found herself seated on an empty bench in a classroom, which was empty, except for her and Shikshak Babu.
“Yes! That’s right! I knew it. I knew you will eventually get it right!”, Anirudh exclaimed in joy, as Bondita answered a difficult question correctly.
Happily, Bondita took back her notebook and scribbled the answer.
As soon as she finished writing some of the answers, Bondita zoned out. Life was so miserable right now. Why was life like this? Life had gone down the path of ruin, since the moment she stepped into the hostel.
“Do you know, I really didn’t want to come to this hostel. I would have much preferred a normal college. I didn’t like leaving my Maa all alone with the greedy wolves”, Bondita suddenly said. And with a jolt, she realised that she probably shouldn’t have said that. Clamping her hand over her mouth, she looked at Anirudh, who was looking at her, blinking owlishly. He was somewhat taken aback. But then, he started speaking.
“Bondita… Listen. This phase of your life is very important. Everything occurs for a reason. Don’t create a negative view about a hostel stay, Bondita. It’s there to help you. It makes you understand how important being independent, is. You should always be self-sufficient and resourceful Bondita. That’s what staying in a hostel teaches you. To be adaptable to all situations. Do you know, in ancient times, students went out of their homes and stayed in ashrams or gurukuls with fellow students and their teacher, for many years. And just think, in those days, there wasn’t any means of contacting to their homes, too. But it was for their own benefit. So try and understand, Bondita. Don’t consider hostel life as a problem. Consider it, an enriching and enlightening life experience. Embrace this experience”, Anirudh explained.
His description had once again deeply motivated her.
“You always show me the right path”, she said. She didn’t know what else to say.
Smiling genuinely, Anirudh said, “And you always show me the better and positive side of things. I am glad to have found someone who understands my thoughts”.
One thing Bondita learned today, once again, was that Anirudh Roy Chowdhury was a gem of a teacher. Motivating, inspiring and moralistic. Just how a teacher should be. Just how a good human being should be. Today, once again, her admiration for him had increased tenfold.
She had just come out of the washroom, when Bondita received the shock of her life. Standing in front of her, was Debjit Ashish Dutta.
Giving him a reserved and cold look, she asked, “Did you go through a gender transformation, Junior Dutta? Or have you suddenly turned blind? What are you doing here, near a girls’ washroom?”.
Giving Bondita his legendary dirty look, Junior Dutta cornered her against a wall.
“You! You ruined my father’s reputation. My reputation! The news has spread like wildfire, that my father got arrested!”, he said, glaring daggers at her. Bondita gave him a rather bored look, though.
“You are so dead! And tell me, why were you secretly meeting ARC sir? Is he-“, he started saying. It took a mere second for Bondita’s face to be morphed into an expression of disgust and disapproval.
She pushed him away with an intensity that made him stumble backwards. She gave him a look of pure hatred. “You blithering buffoon! You better not say anything against a teacher like that!”, she bit out.
“Or, what? Ooohhh… I’m literally scared”, he said mockingly. “You don’t know me, Miss Das”, he said threateningly.
“I do. And if I don’t, then I don’t want to”, she said and walked away. Only, this time, Dutta didn’t let her walk away. He grabbed her hand from behind and pushed her against the wall, looking at her with intense hatred.
“Oh no, you don’t. You don’t get to escape this time, Miss Das. You’ve got to apologise me. Beg for my forgiveness!”, he hissed out.
Her heart galloped, threatening to burst out of her chest. Her stomach cramped with fear and anger. She gulped anxiously.
And in a quick succession of events, Bondita felt her face being struck by something and her body tumbling backwards onto the floor. She was struck down hard, and it knocked the breath out of her. For several seconds, she lay there, stunned. No. She had to get up. Finally, she struggled to her feet.
Blood dripped from her nose, upon her mouth, and she felt lightheaded with the impact of the blow.
Dutta stood right in front of her, his face split into a wide grin, which made her want to slap him hard. “It was fun playing this game with you. But now, it’s my turn to play with you”, he said, in a tone that made her want to throw up.
‘Please let someone come! Please! Save me Dugga Maa! Let someone come. Mimi! David! Anyone’, she mentally pleaded. Where was her Rakshak Babu?
“Hoping for someone to come, Miss Das? No one’s going to show up, though. Not that weirdo girl, Mimi. Not that forgetful wimp, David. Not ARC sir. No one!”, Dutta threatened.
“Don’t you dare insult my friends! And who said ARC sir isn’t going to come? He’s Rakshak Babu. He’ll come”, she said. She didn’t know what made her say with so much conviction, that he was going to come, but she did. She didn’t know why, but she said it. And now, she hoped it turned true.
Bondita was feeling stupid and idiotic now, for not telling about Junior Dutta to any higher authority. She could at least have told this to Shikshak Babu. He had asked her, for God’s sake! But she didn’t. And she was feeling miserable for that.
Dutta had his hand on her mouth and she couldn’t even scream. All that came out was a muffled, inaudible hum.
But then, the silent hallway, echoed with the sound of footsteps. Dutta flinched and his eyes widened. In the blink of an eye, Bondita found herself abandoned on the corridor floor, and Junior Dutta gone. She couldn’t wrap her head around anything happening around her. She was shaken to the core and her mind was whirling.
Gathering whatever little strength was left within her, she stumbled forward, and peeked into the hallway to find someone walking away into the opposite direction. Someone who had unknowingly saved her, once again. Someone she wanted to see and tell everything, but couldn’t gather the courage. Anirudh Roy Chowdhury. Her Rakshak Babu in all true senses.
“What exactly happened Bondita? There’s a lot you’re not telling us”, David said as he sat beside her, and Mimi dabbed at the wound on her nose and cheek, with antiseptic.
“What’s more to tell? I myself don’t know. I was kind of…not in my senses”, Bondita mumbled.
“But there must have been a point at which you lost your senses. What do you remember till then?”, Mimi asked. Trust Mimi to always ask the weirdest things.
Mentally facepalming, and knowing that she couldn’t possibly conceal anything about that incident from her excessively curious friends, Bondita told them everything till the point when she had stumbled into her dormitory room, hiding herself from any prying eyes.
As soon as she finished, David looked absolutely disgusted and worried for her. Mimi’s face too, was morphed into an expression of intense indignation and anger.
“Why didn’t you tell all of it to Roy Chowdhury sir straight away? Okay. Fine. It’s okay. But now, come on Bondita! Let’s go and tell about this to some higher authority!”, David suggested.
“Take me with you too. Come. Let’s go”, Mimi said, getting up to go.
“No!”, Bondita blurted out. “I- I don’t want to go. Look, I will stay alert from the next time. And I don’t even know what to say! And what will they do to him? Would they really be able to make him understand his mistake? I don’t think so. On the contrary, it will fuel his hatred for me, even more. No. This isn’t a good idea”, she said, shaking her head.
“Are you mental?! Do you have any idea what you’re talking about? You have to tell, Bondita!”, David said.
“No. I really don’t think it’s a good idea. It’s stupid”, she protested.
“But in my opinion, you are stupid. Not the idea”, Mimi said, shrugging.
Bondita shook her head, and finally said, “Fine, then. I will go. But… only to Roy Chowdhury sir. No one else. I trust him more than anyone else. So I can go to him”.
“What are you waiting for, then? Go ahead!”.
Bondita was still hesitant about it. She didn’t know whether it was a good idea to go to anyone. Someone may even not believe her. But she couldn’t give that excuse for Shikshak Babu. She had faith in him, that he would believe her. And yet…
She sighed, looking thoughtfully at the cabin door in front of her. She hesitated. Then she knocked on the door. “Come in!”, came the response from inside.
‘Don’t freak out, Bondita! Don’t! Stay clam!’, she muttered to herself and took a deep breath. She thought she was lucky that it was weekend and the corridors were somewhat empty. If someone saw her right now, they would surely wonder whether she was deranged and mental.
She made up her mind and hardening her resolve, entered the cabin. But, as soon as she entered the cabin, her resolve crumbled.
Anirudh was packing his bag.
‘But, why?!!’, Bondita thought wildly. “Are you leaving? No! Please don’t!”, Bondita pleaded.
Anirudh chuckled, and said, “I’m not leaving my job, Bondita. I’ll just be away for this weekend”.
For a moment, relief washed through her, that he wasn’t leaving forever. But he was going. Did he really heve to go now? Now, when she needed him the most?
“Actually, I’ve been feeling a bit restless since yesterday night. Don’t know why. So, I thought of taking a break and visit home”, he said, smiling slightly.
“Did you have something to say, Bondita? You can tell me. Only if you want. I know you have something on your mind”, Anirudh asked.
“No. I just came to see how you were doing. There’s nothing on my mind Shikshak Babu”, Bondita smiled.
Anirudh sighed. “I know there IS something on your mind Bondita. I know something’s bothering you. And you can tell me. But it’s okay. If you don’t want to tell me, then you don’t have to”, he said.
Yes. She HAD something to tell him. Something WAS bothering her. But this wasn’t the right time. He already said he was feeling restless. He was going to his home for a break. And she wouldn’t bother him with this piece of information.
Moreover, if she told him, that she had hid this thing from him for so long, then he was going to hate her. No. She couldn’t tell him.
Jhooth bolun jeebh sulge
Aisi meri majboori,
Apni khushbu jo chhupaye
Main hoon wahi kastoori,
Tere mere beech mein hai
Ek hi parde ki doori,
Tu jo chahe woh sazaa de
Kuchh bhi na main kahungi,
Saathiya bhagwaan tu hai mera
Rishta tera mera
Rishta tera mera…
The post Barrister Babu— 21st Century Version (Chapter 13) appeared first on Telly Updates.