Culmination of Childhood Love. (Short story) part II.

(Continued from part I)… At this Padmanav’s heart began to pound more rapidly. He did not know what to say or do.
Should be speak the truth? His strength of character at last made him speak the truth. He said: “It’s
me Padmanav from baalinagar”. But Padmavati had forgotten her heart-dear Padmanav. Time, and
her engrossment in her family affairs had made Padmanav and her teenage love affair with him,
erode. She could not recall who that Padmanav was who was phoning to her. She replied:
“Padmanav? I am sorry; I do not know who you are”.
Padmanav tried to say something. He was perplexed by her response. He had not
anticipated this remark from her. Although he tried to, he fumbled. No words came out of his
mouth. He could only mumble some “I mean ….” when Padmavati cut off the line, hearing no
definite answer from him.

Padmanav was dismayed. Never had he thought the outcome to be like this. But he was like
all true lovers-relentless and persevering. He waited for a week. Then he phoned at that number
again. This time also it was Padmavati who picked it up. She had saved the number last time and
recognized it. She enquired of Padmanav thoroughly and then she recalled Padmanav, her childhood
lover and was at once moved. She could not believe that Padmanav had been remembering her
from so long a time. This time she talked for a long time, for about five minutes, long enough for a
person who just one week previously had ignored Padmanav as ‘unacquainted’.

In this way, from that day onwards Padmanav and Padmavati, often and on, began to talk to
each other over the phone, the caller every time being Padmanav with Padmavati anticipating the
call each day. Of course Padmanav advocated the preservation of the good and so he would phone
to her every alternate day or, in between two or, even three days. In this way they would talk and
talk and would reminisce their love of a decade and a half earlier. During these conversations also,
Padmanav learnt that Padmavati had, through sheer zeal and determination, graduated herself
through the distance mode of education; that she had passed the Teacher’s Eligibility Test (TET)
Examination in the Primary Level and is ready to be appointed as a primary school teacher in any
school of Assam; that she supports widow remarriage and herself may remarry if she gets the
chance; and many other things. All these phone calls and conversations were for Padmavati a mode
of passing the time in this dejective state while for Padmanav, it was only an effort to rejuvenate his
love which had been seized from him cruelly by Nature and fate. Of course only time can tell if it will be really

A year passed in this way when, the state Govt. opened the appointments for Teachers in
the Primary School Level. In the same year, Padmavati’s grown-up daughter also appeared in her
matriculation. Regulative, as the appointment of the selected teachers are given in districts other
than the residential one, Padmavati was appointed as a teacheress in a village primary school some
kilometers distant from Sonari Town, where Padmanav’s family had settled after his father’s
retirement. This prompted her to seek Padmanav’s help in fixing a small two roomed house for her
to stay, although her school was a little of five km. outside the town. All went well and in a few
months she joined her school and began living in the two-roomed rented house with her daughter,
sometimes visited by Padmanav, who was her only acquaintance in this new town. After some
months, her daughter passed her matriculation with high marks and so her daughter singly returned
to the capital and her father’s home to study at the most reputed college of the city. After her
daughter left her, Padmavati felt lonelier. During the day, she would be busy with her students and
so did not feel so lonely; but after she would return home and especially from late evenings till her
dinners, she would feel the greatest loneliness. She would think of someone who would sit and stay
with her and be a company to her and pass her time talking with her. At this stage Padmanav filled
up the voidness in her life.

As stated earlier, Padmanav worked as a mechanic in his own garage. It closed at Sunset and again re-opened the next morning. So after he would return home, Padmanav had a whale of a time
with him. During the initial months of Padmavati taking up residence in his town, he would visit her
sparingly, once or at the most, twice in a month (although he felt eager to visit her always). But
when Padmavati over the phone, spoke to him of her loveliness and requested his company, at least
on Sundays, he became enthusiastic. Lovers always find a way to fructify their longings and
Padmanav was no exception. He at once grabbed the opportunity of visiting Padmavati on Sunday
evenings. They would gossip for an hour or two and have a tea or two together. Cell phonic-
conversations and the face-to-face conversations of Padmavati with Padmanav gave her immense
satisfaction. It also helped her to shake off the loneliness and boredom perceived by her after her
daughter left her for her studies. After some weeks were passed in this manner, Padmanav mooted
the idea of showing Padmavati the historical and religious places of the town. So every Sunday
afternoon, they would embark on Padmanav’s scooter and observe the temples, monuments, parks
and other places inside and outside the town. Padmavati was thrilled with this change. Being a
widow, she had no qualms about going out with Padmanav or, his coming to her house on every
Sunday. But Padmanav being an Assamese knew the Assamese society and its dark cultures like the
back of his hand. He was not only eager, but also careful.

Padmanav’s rendezvous with Padmavati had the desired effect in that although Padmavati
did not care a bit, word went around town that Padmanav had at last found a girl of his choice. And
the colleagues of Padmavati also began to tease her after hearing these rumors. Lovers are
shameless or, tend to remain so and, these rumors only profited Padmanav in that he can show to
the world, and also to Padmavati, that he truly loved her and so is willing to sacrifice his reputation
for her sake. But uncaring Padmavati, after some weeks of these outings, succumbed to the jibes
and teasing of her colleagues and so spoke out her schooldays-love affair with Padmanav to them.
This prompted her colleagues to suggest her to start her love-affair a-new and also voiced the
concept of re-marriage, although Padmavati had no such thoughts at that time. And although she
supported widow remarriage, she felt a cold fear of experiencing it in another place and among
unacquainted people. As the days passed by, Padmavati found her colleagues’ jibes and jests too
much to handle. So one Sunday evening, after they had gone out on their weekly outings and
Padmanav had come to drop her at her house, over a cup of tea, Padmavati raised the issue:
“Say Padmanav, I have something to ask you, although it may be your personal matter. You
and I are almost of the same age and so have crossed thirty years of age. You are at the prime of
your youth and so have reached your marrying age. And although amounting a little less than any
jobber, you have been earning a stable income through your garage-profession. Pray, why do not
you marry? I inquire of you.” At this question of Padmavati, Padmanav felt shy. He kept silent for a
long time. Visual recollections of his love-filled days with Padmavati in his teens flashed before his
eyes. He wanted to tell Padmavati that he loved her and wanted to marry her, but he could not. It is
not easy now, he felt, as he had done nearly two decades ago. A time gap, their maturity and the
fact that Padmavati was the wife of another man, made him ‘bounce back’. He wondered what to
say. Then seeing that Padmavati was eagerly waiting for an answer, he said:
“I have not found the girl of my choice.”
Padmavati, ignorantly: “And how the girl of your choice should be or look like?”
Padmanav, after pretending to think: “I … Don’t know ….Like a girl whom I loved or…”
Padmavati: “In that case, you have a lover. I had already guessed it. Say, why didn’t you
marry her?”
Padmanav, lying: “I proposed marriage to her. But she married another man.”
Padmavati: “Does her memory haunt you?” (to be continued)

Published by indrajyoti dutt

Hi folks, I'm an ordinary guy who sells both life and general insurance to earn a living. I also have interest in writing and reading and so have opened this blog at WordPress. I hope my writings and other posts will be noticed by you and will also be commented upon to make them better and entertaining in the near future. Wishing the best to you all out there. Have a great time.

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