An incomplete and inappropriate love storyDecember, 1990:
The young man was running with his bag. But he missed the train. The express train from Bolpur to Howrah (Kolkata) had just left the station. There were some local trains upto Barddhaman. From Barddhaman, he could get other trains to Howrah, but the route from Bolpur to Barddhaman was not good and there were cases of armed looting in these trains. So, he decided to wait for the next express train which was scheduled after one and a half hour.
While the young man was killing time on the platform of Bolpur station, he saw her. In the book stall just beside the chamber of the Station Master, both of them tried to purchase a famous travelogue written by Neel Lohit (Sunil Gangyopadhyay), but there was only one copy of the book in the stall. The girl was evidently from Vishwa Bharati University, but unusually she was alone. So, in the evening of December, the young man and young girl started talking. The young man gallantly offered the only copy of the travelogue to the girl. The girl accepted the book with silent gratitude. Both of them took the same train. The girl told that she was studying at Vishwa Bharati University. She was returning home at Barddhaman, because her grandmother has met with an accident in their home. The girl got down at Barddhaman. Before getting down, she told the young man that she would be returning to Bolpur within two days if her 'dadi' was okay. She would then return the book. The young man bade her good bye and resumed his journey to Howrah humming a romantic tune. No. he didn't ask her name.
The young man extended his weekly leave for one more day. And yes, the co-incidence happened! He could find that girl waiting at Bardhaman station. The girl also saw him, smiled to him and boarded the same compartment. The chatting resumed. The journey from Barddhaman to Bolpur was extremely short for both of them. At the Bolpur station, the young man asked the name of the girl. The girl smiled, lowered her head, and told the name, her Department and the hostel where she stayed at Bolpur.
Hearing the name, the young man started feeling dizzy. He could not reconcile with the fact that the girl S was from another religious community. With a peculiar sense of betrayal he returned to his work-place.
After suffering tremendous emotional upheaval, he took a decision. He informed his parents that he would not be coming home in the next week-end due to heavy work-load and went to Vishwa Bharati University to meet S. S was astonished to find him outside her hostel. She never expected that the young man from another community would come to meet her.
The platonic (?) love of the young man and the young woman from two different religions continued for two years. They came very close to each other, but never dared to discuss the next logical step. The abrupt end of their relationship came in September 1992, when the young man got a much better job offer in Delhi and the girl completed her Masters degree. In another cold winter evening in November 1992, S bade the young man goodbye in front of the Wheeler bookstall of Barddhaman station.
The Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express stopped at Barddhaman station. A middle-aged man got down from his compartment, which was incidentally just in front of the Wheeler bookstall. He looked towards the stall with great expectation, but could not find what he wanted. The train started moving. The man re-entered his compartment. He could not find S waiting for him in front of the Wheeler bookstall at Barddhaman station.