Sunshine - continued
by Pragati Bakshi
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Bus stopped near the project complex of DVC. Arsha regained her alertness and responsiveness to the surrounding ambience. “Didi, the same old man with empathy said “From here you go inside the campus, there are four bungalows in an array, the last one is that of bara sahib’s”. Arsha murmured thanks and stepped out of the bus. A red bag on her shoulder, and clad in turquoise saree the lovely Arsha stepped inside the campus. Last in the array of old styled bungalows, the biggest bungalows stood plunged in melancholy (this was what Arsha sensed). Cautiously with nervous her contour and managing the rapid palpitation she pressed the call bell. Within few minutes, an old man, too dignified to reside a dilapidating bungalow opened the door. “Iam Arsha Sharma”, Arsha introduced herself. “Yes I know. Come in, Mrs Sharma.”
Arsha was taken back. How could a stranger know her marital status which she many times forgot! In fact she got married for sake of flaunting the married status to her family and society. The vacuum in heart that she carried from maiden hood days was even larger now. The deep voice of dignified elder person brought back to her surroundings.
“Please be seated, Mrs Sharma, Iam Debashish Shandilya, Kaustubhs’, said father. The prior intimation through Facebook
made me aware of your arrival today.” Debashish’ words were very confusing. “Mr Shandilya, I came to meet Kastubh, It was his Facebook account where the information was shared.”
“Yes I know”, said Debashish. After a short silence, clouds of sadness engulfed his proud face. “Mrs Sharma, Kaustubh and his wife are dead. A nearly a fatal accident killed his wife on road and Kaustubh fought for survival, just to meet you but succumbed to his injuries”. Debashish stopped abruptly. Time froze! Arsha soul surrendered to bleeding death of time. “Kaustubh” her whisper was poignantly audible. “Yes” said Debashish his, eyes were red with tears. He called someone, and with the rustling of curtains, a tribal woman appeared carrying a two months old sleeping child. “Mrs Sharma, this is our Arsha. Kaustubhs’ daughter.
“Arsha”, whispered Arsha. “Yes, Our Arsha. Two hours before his death Kaustubh with great struggle wrote this and asked me to hand over to you”. Debashish handed the baby to Arsha.
Among piles of paper from a wooden closet he drew a piece of paper and gave to Arsha. With trembling hand Arsha unfolded it. It read, “Arsha, my Arsha is yours now”. Arsha gently clasped the baby. Tears fell uninterruptedly washing all her life long accumulation of agony and insecurity. New life with a new Arsha now awaited her. ***