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by Subhadeep Bandyopadhyay
(Kolkata, India)

My love is not twilight,
My love is you,
My love is not eternal life,
But few moments with you!
My life saw the clouds, rainbow and rain,
But I wanted somebody to understand my pain,
My love is your caring touch,
And the grace divine,
My love is you, my prince,
And this relation sublime!

Nizam now knows how to read and write. But before writing this story he thought a hundred times. Like everything in life, a relationship is built on the foundations of trust and love. Then there comes a time when everything reaches a peak and then the decline. People leave us on this barren earth with fertile memories. This pandemic, Nizam, enrolled himself in Relief Warriors. Like a king he fought. Sometimes with an oxygen cylinder to save somebody’s life, sometimes bringing food and medicines to the needy. In return they could pay nothing but only their blessings. One person who died before him told in his feeble voice, this too shall pass, you have to live, and you have to work .Yours life is not yours alone but the property of the nation of 1.4 billion people. Everyday brought news of suffering, demise and defeat. Defeat against the deadly virus, which the world as a family was fighting together. He couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw a corner of the world engaged in deadly warfare, whereas on the other hand a miniscule microorganism, a Virus, Corona was literally bringing the whole world to its feet.

What is the use of money, he thought. People can’t intimate, talk, laugh, enjoy the sun and rain but are encapsulated in their tiny little space. The party he voted for had lost in the current elections, but to keep the morale high ,the party cadres and him, set out on a mission not to bombard a city, destroy domes or enslave humanity but to fight against the unseen enemy ,save lives, give faith and a gentle promise: “We are here for you!”

At the dead of the night, the mobile phone at his bedside in the party office rang. An elderly couple was feeling difficulty in breathing and needed to be urgently shifted to the hospital. The man was 85, his wife was 74. Without wasting a moment he wore his kurta, kick started his scooter and reached their residence. They were wealthy people, but now at their old age they had nobody to look forward to for caregiving.

In the current times having money is a necessity just to satisfy need for food and medicines. With shops, malls and establishment closed, the city wore a deserted look. People are jobless, sick and most of the times without hope. The cases of suicides have also increased because people don’t know how to cope with the catastrophe. Doctors, nurses, scientists, front line workers all have their shelf
life but still fighting for a better future.
The couple had an old car and their only daughter was settled overseas, so even if she wanted she had absolutely no chance of coming to the rescue of her old parents.

With much difficulty, Nizam brought them to the hospital and after admitting them seated himself in the visitor’s chair. He was unmarried. Every time he thought of settling, the responsibility of father, mother, brothers, and unmarried sisters came in between. But a riot in the nukkad took them all. Now he was all alone but somehow his heart is so wounded that a sapling of a fruitful relationship appeared a distant dream. Often sleep would bring nightmares where he could hear their cries, their pain and a reminder: “No matter what you have to live my son!”

Out of curiosity, but with a mask and protective gear he moved towards the COVID ward. The next few moments were full of astonishment. What he saw, was lying on the hospital bed a very beautiful girl fighting for her life, with the oxygen on, the B.P. and pulse fluctuating and it seemed she would die soon.

With no visitors around he asked the doctor, how much time she had. The doctor had tears in his eyes. He wanted to say something but couldn’t.

Nizam wanted badly a cigarette because it was very difficult to stay calm and maintain composure. But he knew very well that it was not allowed.

He asked the doctor: “Any last wish she had?”
Yes, said the doctor. She is only 18 and her only wish was to get married. She is dying for a man’s touch. She is also a poetess and wants to give her lover a small piece of paper, neatly written, her feelings for him.

Gently, very gently Nizam moved ahead and touched her wrist and it was dead cold and soft. She had just expired.

Before being wrapped in cotton, a piece of paper fell on the ground. It was the same piece of paper that the girl wanted to give to her lover, her hubby and the man in her life.
Nizam was illiterate as he couldn’t continue his education for his family. So he asked the doctor to read it for him.

After hearing what she had written he ran out of the hospital in the open street like a mad man.

It had started raining but his tears failed to come out. Somewhere he imagined that death had touched him as well.

Suddenly he felt someone holding his arm. The touch was soft, tender like the experience he had moments before.

It was a small girl of perhaps 4 or 5, in the terrible rain, abandoned, hungry and needing comfort and care.

Just at that moment he understood the meaning of life and the true worth of relationship!


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