Sandeep sat alone in the corner table at the Coffee House. This was his table for ages, since the time he had come to study at Presidency. Every day he used to sit here. The people around him kept on changing but he was there. At times, he remembered the first economics class in Building 3. Prof. Sen had picked him up at the end of the class as the “brightest mind of the year”. While he felt shy and looked down, he could sense a pair of eyes on him. He picked his head up and that’s when he first saw
Years passed. They graduated out of Presidency. Sandeep searched everywhere for a job. Nothing could be found.
He still sat at the corner table at the Coffee House. Shades of grey appeared in his hair, the glasses kept increasing their thickness and the world around him continued to change.
Tara sat alone in her house that morning. Her son had gone off to college, his rooms were emptied out. Her daughter no longer considered her as her best friend. Her husband was out on one of his usual business meetings. For some reason today, she remembered a bespectacled face, more than anything else.
Her best friend had told her on the night of her marriage, “Every girl has her own 'What if’, It’s best never to think about them” and she had followed it to the letter.
But today she knew she had to know the answer. In a trance, she took her car out and drove from her South City Residence, crossing the mess of Moulali and Sealdah to reach coffee house. She stood at the corner, looking at him. In her heart, she felt ashamed of herself expecting him to still be there. She looked at him and a forgotten poem came into her mind. She imagined him saying,
Amar Bilupta Hridoy,
Amar mrito chokh
Amar Bilin sopno akankha
Aar tumi Nari
Ei sob chilo sei jogote ekdin
Suddenly a familiar voice called out. It was the same voice she had heard years ago, calm, composed but with a hint of laughter. It had not changed. Sandeep was ecstatic as he called out to her. He knew all about her life and wanted to know more. As always, it was her talking and him listening. It seemed life had not moved on.
After three long years they moved out. And realized she did not want to lose a friend once again who knew her so well. And while she knew, it was unkind, she also knew this time she was ready to be his friend as well. She was a wife and a mother but she could also be a friend now.
And that would be a new beginning… from what could have been a long long time ago.