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Sitting in a rickety bus, I was on my way to Shahipur; the hamlet I belong to. As I was peeping through the window; looking out over the panorama of fertile valleys and gentle hills; came in my memory probably the best days of my life- my childhood. So often Jalsa; my best friend; and I traveled through these buses; playing cards and singing songs.
Let me introduce to you all Jalsa; the one who was my backbone when I invested in my business. It was my childhood dream to open a crèche so that their parents could work tension-free. But it had the least scope in my village. I had often shared my interest with Jalsa. She would always say; “You always think for others; God will surely bless you. You will definitely find a place for yourself in heaven.” and she used to smile broadly; chewing nuts.
I required a plot of land in the city to construct my building; but did not had enough finance. It was Jalsa only who gifted me her portion of land which she acquired as per the will after her father’s demise. Therefore, I owe my business to her. I started up opening a two room crèche; but after two decades it has expanded up to almost twenty crèches, six primary schools and two successful senior secondary establishments.
Suddenly the bus jerked and my thoughts ended up at the Shahipur bus station. Like each time; this time also I have informed her that I was coming to see her. She comes to receive me at the terminal along with her son. This time too I was expecting her.
But as I stepped down from the bus I could see none f them this time. I was amazed as it never happened before. I immediately hired a taxi and hurried towards her residence in anxiety.
I reached her lane and could see the crowd around the square. As I leaned towards the crowd I observed womenfolk weeping in veil. I was very sure by now that something unfortunate has happened. My eyes were constantly rolling to and fro in search of Jalsa; but could find her nowhere.
I asked a lady besides me; “What happened?”
She said in a depressed tone; “Jalsaji is no more.”
The words fell on me like thunders passing shivers down my spine. The lady continued; “She was very excited in the morning, somebody was coming to visit her from the city. She was supposed to visit the terminal to receive her. But as he passed the main crossing she met with an accident.”
“But where is her son?” I asked rapidly.
“He is out of the village. We have informed him; he will be here in an hour or so.”
And that was the moment when everything was over. Tortured by doubt and remorse, I felt I was the ultimate reason for Jalsa’s death. Just because of me she stepped out of the house in the absence of his son and she met with her fatal accident. How could I? I cannot forgive myself! Ah!
I did not had the strength to fight with the situation. I went back to the city. After a month I went to Shahipur again. I went to Jalsa’s home and I found Suraj; his son; all alone. He came and touched my feet. I blessed him. We talked for long.
Then probably after two years I received a call from Suraj. He said that he was going to marry the girl he was fond of. He was me to grace the occasion by playing the role of the groom’s mother. He also added that it was her mother’s wish that I must come.
For me; it was the best way to pay tribute to our friendship; to Jalsa. The detachment that occurred after her demise was now reunited.
A thread of love and compassion tied us all together again.