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Still cries the Nightingale

by Tukumoni Mahanta
(Tinsukia, Assam, India)

Aparajita Baruah is a beautiful lady with a big red bindi and prominent vermillion in her forehead. She has recently joined as a Principal of Kendriya Vidyalaya ONGC Nazira. Coming back to the school where she had started her career as a contractual Spoken English Teacher, she has become nostalgic. She can still remember where she waited for the interview on the very first day.

“why don’t you apply for this job?”-said Aparajita’s brother who was reading the newspaper in a very serious manner at the dinning table. Aparajita snatched the paper away from him and looked into the eligibility criteria for the job. The final result of her masters had not declared then. She finished her examination just ten days ago and was waiting for the result. Her parents had already declared that they would not support her anymore if she wanted to continue further studies. They wanted her to get married to a suitable bachelor. “Girls become old at the age of twenty.”-her father used to tell her. “Look at Nijara. She has remained a spinster in spite of doing M.Phil in Economics”-added her mother. Nijara was her cousin who had a brilliant academic career but she was not the marriage material type. Aparajita’s mother always thought that it was difficult to get a suitable match for a highly educated girl. But Aparajita had no faith in typical arranged marriage. Being a girl belonging to the upper caste, she knew that the boys parents and relatives would come first to meet her and would judge whether she had all the qualities to be the daughter-in-law of the family or not. Moreover the horoscope should also match. She did not like all those customs and always wanted to do love marriage. But she had not met her ‘prince charming’. She had realized very well that economic independence is required if she wanted to delay marriage for sometime.

“Will you take me to the school?”-Aparajita asked her brother. He replied that he would definitely accompany her as it was the first interview of her life. Kendriya Vidyalaya ONGC Nazira required Spoken English Teacher. She can apply for the post as they needed a graduate with honors in English. She made a beautiful curriculum vitae which she had learnt in the pre placement training provided in the university itself and faced the interview. She performed well in the interview except the part when PGT English of the school Mr B.K Gaur asked her to do some phonemic transcription. In spite of reading Balasubramania’s book on phonetics several times, Aparajita got confused in that part.

A few days later Aparajita got a call from the principal of the school to give her the information that she had been selected for the post. The very next day Aparajita joined and became the Spoken English Teacher in KV ONGC Nazira. She was young and energetic at that time. Soon she became the favourite teacher of all her students. Her students shared everything with her and she too inspired them all the time. She also maintained a good relationship with her colleagues. Kendriya Vidyalaya can be regarded as a “melting pot” of different cultures. The teachers are from different states of the country and they work together to uplift society by spreading the light of education. One day Aparajita noticed that while she was taking class in the sixth standard, Mr Jigar Verma who was a trained graduate teacher of Mathematics was staring at her through the window of the classroom. She knew that he too had class in the same period in the adjacent classroom. She felt very awkward but thought that it might be her imagination. Jigar started staring at her whenever he got chance but she did not pay a little attention to him. She only knew that Jigar was from Gourakhpur district of Uttarpradesh. He himself told it while giving his introduction on the inspection day. One day when both of them had recess duty and she was on the playground, Jigar came to her and said-“Madam would mind giving me your phone number? I have to ask you something”.Aparajita gave him her number but did not ask for his number. In the evening a message came in her mobile from an unknown number. She did not possess an android at that time. She had a Nokia 800. She opened the inbox. It was written in Hindi –
“Yashumati mayya se bole nandlala
Radha kiyo gouri hai me kiyo kala.”
Aparajita thought who could send her such a message. She knew that it was a famous song from the film Satyam Shivam Sundaram and was sung by Lata Mongeskar. Aparajita did not reply the message. Next day while she was standing in the morning assembly, Jigar came to her and asked-“ Don’t you reply messages?” Aparajita was startled. She replied, “ I do not reply messages that come from an unknown number.” Jigar then told her that it was he who sent her the message the previous evening. She saved the number and looked at him for the first time. He was tall dark and handsome. One side of his face dimpled into a smile that could easily make a girl crazy. They started talking to each other almost every day. She was mesmerized by the oratorical skill of Jigar. He used
to send her a shayeri every morning that made her morning. He never proposed her directly but always cared for her. When Aparajita had the boring recess duty, he used to give her a Cadbury Dairy Milk fruits and nut chocolate and said, ”Hey gorgeous! You must have lost your temper. Have this chocolate and chill.” He also inspired her to take admission in B.ed as it was compulsory to apply for permanent posts of K.V. She too asked him to do M.Sc. in distance mode as he would get promotion in future.

Aparajita was so lost in love that she became very reserved. she stopped talking freely to her colleagues. She never let anyone guess that there was something going between her and Jigar. Jigar was also an expert in hiding emotions. He told her that since they were teachers they could not show emotions outside.

One day Jigar told her that he would take leave of fifteen days and go home. He also added that he wanted to meet her as certain thing could not be discussed over the phone. Nazira is a small town and Aparajita had acquaintance everywhere. Therefore, they decided to meet at Anandaram Baruah Park situated at the heart of the Sivasagar district.

It was a cloudy day of mid January. Both of them sat closely on a bench of the park. Jigar took her hand and stared at her the way he used to do through the window of the classroom. She felt as if had something to tell her. His eyes were so sad that tears might come out at anytime. “Is everything alright?”-she asked. “Nothing is alright. I have something important to tell you. Just before coming to North East for service I married a girl of my parent’s choice and left her with my parents. Then I met you here and fell in love at first sight. I have forgotten everything. I even have not called my parents and wife for a long time. Last night my Bhavi(sister in law) called me and asked me to come home as my wife is five months pregnant now. ”Jigar told everything all out of breath. Aparajita did not know how to react. She felt as if the land beneath her feet was moving. Then she told Jigar that he should go home and bring his wife with him. A pregnant lady needs her husband always by her side. She came late in his life and he had no right to break the hearts of his family members.

They returned home. She wept the whole night as she lost the first love of life. She blocked him on her mobile. She only kept some shayeries to cherish his memories.

Next day jigar had train at 10.30A.M.Before going to the station he came and met her at the assembly hall. He gifted her a small dairy and she bade him good bye. Aparajita came to the staff room to write her resignation letter. The principal was surprised to see her resignation. He said, “Where will I get a teacher in the middle of the session? Aparajita suggested him to call the one who was in the second place in the panel.

Aparajita told her family members that she had to leave the job due to the work load of central school. Moreover she had to complete her B.Ed. course. In due course of time, Aparajita completed her B.Ed. and applied for the permanent post of PGT English. She became successful and joined as a PGT English in Kendriya Vidyalaya Air Force Roroia. After five years of her service as a PGT English, she became the Principal of K.V ONGC Nazira. The whole stuff of the school had changed then. Only the headmistress of the primary section was the same. She was Mrs Pragati Gogoi who could easily recognize her. On the day of joining they had a long chat about the by gone days.

At night when Aparajita had finished all her household chores and about to go bed, her mobile rang. It was an unknown number and she did not want to pick it up. When it rang for the fifth time, Aparajita picked up the mobile-

“Hey gorgeous! Congratulations for becoming the principal of K.V Nazira”.The voice was so close to her heart and she could not control excitement.
“Hello! Who is speaking? -she pretended.
“This is Jigar Verma speaking. Remember Jigar…..oh my god !You have forgotten me”-Jigar became upset.
“Hey after a long time! How did you get my number?-Aparajita asked him.
“Pragati madam gave me your number. She told me everything about you. Tell me about your family…….your children, your husband, your parents”
“I have a daughter.”
“Wow I have a son who has recently got admission in Army School, Ambikapur. Me and my wife stay in Raipur now a days….and your husband?”-asked Jigar.
“So happy for you. But I decided to remain unmarried and adopted a girl whose parents left her in a very tender age. Now she is my everything. She is just two and half years old and has started going to the play school.”- replied Aparajita.

Jigar remained silent. It was the advent of spring. Somewhere in Aparajita’s garden the nightingale was crying. Jigar could hear the cry of the nightingale over the phone.


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Feb 16, 2022
Beautiful story of true love
by: Your Name:Kiran Khatowal

The writer is good at describing events and make itreal.

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