It was not this cold back in 1997, yet colder than ever. For, life had stopped then in ways more than one. Only sobs would erupt out of the huge volcano of silence that surrounded my inner self. I would sit alone inside the mosquito net and let my vacant sight wander into the pages of Tintin Comic Books. I would sit inside the mosquito net all day, all night. And think of nothing.
Then one day Dadu came and said that I will have to go back to school again.
I was a kid.
I had a very strange way of taking things in back then.
Horlicks. And seddho bhaat. And lots and lots and lots of books. Yes, this was my diet for everyday. I would make myself gulp in letters, words and sentences of Feluda. It did not matter whether I understood as long as I was absorbed enough to shut off my ear-drums to the talks of condolence and suggestions. I did not like Feluda or Tintin much. I did not like books where boys and men do all the stuff.
But still I read.
Still, when I sit quietly under my lep at the dead of night and watch Maa’s nostrils beating along the rhythm of her breath as she sleeps, I hear those swallowed cries that entered my little heart as the bangles were broken.
A child broke that day. Along with the shankha. The pola. The loha.
That time of the year will always be back again. Evenings will always arrive like familiar fogs. Orange suns will always disappear without trace. Neon lights will always cast longish shadows. And a child will always sit by the dimly lit mosquito net and read alone.