“How long will you be gone?” she asked hesitantly from behind the door. “2 years” he answered firmly. She let out a small gasp “2 years? You will long forget me by then” she said with hints of accusation in her voice. “Don’t be stupid Chandra! I am just going there for 2 years, not 50!” he answered annoyed. “So, what?” she said retaliating, “God knows what the Sahib do in their nation, they have already ruined ours… besides, will they ever accept a brown skin like you?”. He gave out a laugh “Oh god Chandra you worry too much, I am only going there for studying”. “For studying!!” she said mockingly, “arre look at Lila, her husband went to the Phirengi ka desh for studying and look at him now, settled there with the Sahibs and leaving his wife here”. “that’s enough Chandra!” he answered sternly “I will be going to England and that’s it. I do not want discussions on this topic anymore”. She instantly became silent and even though there was a lot more to say, like her mother and grandmother before her, she perfectly abided by the role of a wife and kept stum.

“What is it like there? In the land of Sahibs?” she asked him a few days later. “oh, it’s nothing impressive, always raining” he answered absentmindedly. Clearly not satisfied with the answer, she repeated her question until finally, in frustration he said “Why are you so impatient? you will see it yourself once I take you there”. This left her mouth wide open. She had been brought up in a conservative household in the nearby village and all she knew was the towns nearby, she had never imagined that she would have to leave her own house let alone the country. This thought terrified her but also it gave birth to an emotion she had not felt since childhood… Curiosity. “you promise?” she asked. “of course” he answered. “swear it on my soul?” she asked almost challengingly. he sighed “yes, yes I do”

The wind was blowing quite hard that day. He stood on the pier, In his Best Kurta and Dhoti with the Round spectacles which made him look like a Mashtarmoshai, patiently listening to his ageing mother give him a huge lecture on things not to do in England. She stood behind her mother in Law, silently waiting for her turn to converse. Once his mother had finished her instructions, he looked towards Chandra ” don’t you have anything to say?” he asked her jokingly. A million thoughts were going through her head, at that moment she just wanted to fall to his feet and beg him not to go but all she could muster up to say was “do not forget me”. He smiled and nodded, slowly picking up his bags he headed towards the ship. After about 15 minutes of waiting, tears and farewells, the ship disappeared from the horizon.

All she could do was wait, pray and hope. For the next two years, these were the only assistances she could provide to him. This forced inaction left her feeling emptiness around her as if with his body and mind, he had also taken his presence and the air around him. All that was left was a slight fragrance, A fragrance which would take his place for the next two years… two years which seemed like an eternity.



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