Dekha Hobe by Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay
Translated by Gouri Datta
We will Meet Again
There was a world as chequered as a colorful quilt in our childhood.
There still remains the earth beneath my feet, the trees around, the sky above. I inhale deeply.
But no, I cannot now smell the mysterious scent of wilderness from a garden wet with the winter's mist.
Our Santal gardener used to burn leaves to make a fire. That smell had frequently wafted me to the memory of another birth. It reminds me of the fragrance of my mother's body.
The smell would alert me even in the middle of a deep sleep –when my mother came to bed very late.
I would make sure to turn towards my mother and sleep.
Those were the days when we would get new books every year for new classes.
What fragrance was imbued in each page of those new books!
I remember picking kadam flowers and using them as balls to play with. The kadam flowers' pollen stuck to our hands and feet.
What else did we have then? How much does a person's childhood have?
As soon as the afternoon light died, the world was captured by ghosts.
It was hard to go from one room to another. We would stay close to each other in that large house.
But as soon as dawn light broke, we would awaken to jump out of bed and out the door.
The world outside was wondrous. The sun arose, the sky was blue, the trees were green. All were just like the day before. But I would still look at it with amazement. I would think- I don't think I saw it just like this yesterday.