Wouldn't I ever meet Tina somewhere?
I returned home from Mumbai after spending summer vacation at my uncle’s house in Shimla. I was then a student of Class XI. One of the flats, opposite to our house, which had remained vacant for sometime, was found occupied by a family.
When I asked my sister she said 'Oh I totally forgot to tell you, Mr. Sen and his family have moved in very recently and you know what, they are very nice.'
'How many of them are there in their family?' I asked.
My sister, Priti, is only two years younger than I and we have always been like friends. She looked at me, smiled and said 'They are three, Mr.&Mrs. Sen and their only beautiful daughter.'
' Yes I think I have seen their daughter. A very pretty looking girl was standing on the balcony.'
'She must be Tina. They are very nice people and Tina is a very good singer too. Knowing you, you can fall in love with her easily.'
My curiosity started to grow very fast. Before I could ask anything my sister said ' Tina comes here every evening and she is very friendly.'
' Will she come this evening ?'
'Of course she will, you have to wait my dear brother.'
My sister had more things to say but had to run upstairs at the call of mother.
I lay in bed after lunch with a story book but to be candid though my eyes were on the book my mind was somewhere else! To be precise, I kept on thinking about what my sister said and just could not wait for the evening to come.
Soon I fell asleep and was awakened by my sister just before evening. I had a quick wash and got dressed up as if I would be going out but sat in the sitting room watching TV. My sister smiled . She understood the reason of my staying in – Yes I really wanted to see the girl next door. A few minutes after the door bell rang and as I opened the door there stood the very beautiful young girl with a smile on her face.
I asked her to come in, take a seat on the sofa and said ' You must be from next door, Are’nt you?’
'Yes, but how do you know?'
'Well your name is Tina, you sing very well'.
'Not that well really', she laughed.
'Well I have not introduced myself.'
'You are Priti’s brother, I have seen your photo in the album, Priti has shown me.'
My sister came hurriedly ' Well I don’t need to introduce you to each other, Do I ?'
I smiled and so did Tina. Parents came and we all sat around and had a good chat.I am sure I fell in love with Tina straightway. It was love at first sight! She was tall and slim , had long black hair and beautiful eyes.
Tina visited our house every evening as a routine. She took admission in class IX in the same school where Priti went.
Six months gone by , I was then deeply in love with Tina. I could feel that she was in love with me too. My sister told me one day ' Tina must be in love with you. She talks about you a lot and says all good things.... how smart you are, how gentle you are and so on and on and on...'
During the Durga Puja I accompanied my sister and Tina to the Puja pandals and all my friends started telling me how lucky I was to have such a pretty girl next door. I laughed. Little did they know that she was lot more than a next door girl to me.
My sorrow knew no bounds when one morning Mr. & Mrs. Sen and Tina came to our house to express their sadness that they would have to leave the area for good. Mr. Sen was working as an Officer in a Bank and he had been transferred to a branch far away from where we were.
Tina’s eyes were in tears. In the evening she came, Priti was upstairs, I hesitated for a while but as she sat in the sitting room I expressed my love for her, she looked at me and said that she would miss me immensely.
‘But can’t we meet again?’ I asked .
She handed over to me an envelope and asked me to read later. 'My telephone number is in the letter, please phone me, won’t you?'
My sister came , she was also very upset. We were all talking when Mrs. Sen came in and asked Tina to come home quickly as all packing had to be completed . Tina had to go.
I took out the piece of paper which read 'I have never told you but I know I am very much in love with you. Surely we will meet somewhere soon, please ring me at the following number and ask Priti to ring me too.'
I showed that piece of paper to my sister and kept inside the pocket of my pair of trousers.
Hours I stayed awake that night thinking about Tina. It must be very early in the morning when I fell asleep and by the time I was up from bed she had already left!
In the afternoon I went to the market with a friend of mine as he had something to purchase and wanted me to accompany him. He tried to cheer me up saying ‘ Come on my Friend, don’t be so upset. She is yours and she always will remain as such.’
‘Do you honestly think so?’
‘ Of course my dear, you just wait, things will eventually work out nicely for you.’
I thanked him for all his kind words. There was heavy rain on our way back home and it rained so heavily that we got totally drenched in no time.
Returning home I went for a bath , threw my shirt, vest and trousers in the washing machine.
Next morning when I realized that I had Tina’s small note in the pocket of my trousers it was too late!
I found the piece of paper totally in mutilated condition and there was nothing that I could read , in fact the piece of paper started falling off in pieces. I told my sister about what happened and she was very very upset. She feared that Tina won’t be able to contact us either as she didn’t know our telephone number!
'Anyway don’t worry I would try to find out from my friends if anyone had her telephone number' but days passed her telephone number could not be had from anyone.
Many years have gone past. I remember Tina even today and wonder if there would ever come a day when I would run into her somewhere and tell her the reason why I have failed to contact her?