“In the gentle waves, forgotten or recalled;
I would swim always, you mark it or not.
I would touch you, feel you; in breezes besotted.
I would love you always, you feel it or not.”
A group of five friends, only four then, read the last verse that was with them, sitting around the bonfire after 10 years, during their reunion. It was written by their unforgettable friend, Saahir, who was no more amongst them. Not that he was no more to write or breathe, sleeping on a bed of snow; cold, calm and still (as his friends believed). He had just left the pentad all of a sudden without any notice or information, leaving everything behind…his popularity, as a lyricist and singer, which made him famous not only in his college but also in entire Darjeeling. He was named to be the ‘Voice of the Hills’. He left his love, his writings behind; that were the reason for him to live, a matter to defy for few of his foes that lead to misunderstandings at times in their group, finally breaking ‘The Pentagonal’ into pieces in his absence.
‘The Pentagonal’ was a musical team of five college buddies namely Saahir, Suvreen, Ronja, Tarun and Bala. Its creator was Saahir. A popular band in history, it was ruined to dust due to the sudden departure of Saahir, 10 years ago, on the graduation day.
Sighs! “What on earth is the use of reading these lines? When he is not there, what shall we do with them?” Bala rued.
“No! Please don’t say like that! He is there, he is surely there. I find him every day when I listen to our songs, read his lyrics. All we need to do is find him. What’s wrong, man! Where did he go?” Suvreen opposed.
“Guys, guys! Relax. We will find him. He has left us with tons of questions; we need to find him to know their answers. We will find him,” chimed Tarun.
When the trio was busy buzzing, a beautiful lady sat at one side, staring at the burning logs for hours, all by herself. She was lost in a world of thoughts. Many reflections and memories crowded her mind. She had so much to ask but, couldn’t. Deep introspections took her down the memory lane that she had left behind 10 years ago. Then, she and Saahir were immersed in each other’s love. They rocked the stages with their compositions. She was his Muse. ‘The Pentagonal’, the brain child of her love, was then a history. None could write such soulful lines, compose such mellifluous melodies. He was the life source of the team, the root and anchor of ‘The Five Roses’ (as rewarded by a renowned artist after a smashing performance at the College Fest). Obviously, they couldn’t make it up to the mark as the pentad. Hence such a decline was inevitable.
“Kire! Raag korechish? (Hey, are you angry?)”
“Na, raag kore ki hobe shuni? (What would I gain being angry?)
“Achha! What’s your problem with Tarun? He is a nice guy. He admires you, drops you home, then? I believe he deserves to be your boyfriend, Girl! (Saahir giggled)”
“Shut up! Listen, I am warning you for the last time, stay away from him. He is not a good guy. The way he pretends to be good friends with us, actually he isn’t such. Believe me! I heard him yesterday talking to someone about you. He was using very bad words. So Please…”
“You overheard! Aha! That’s not good!”
“Saahir! Please, I wasn’t eavesdropping. I was just going to my classroom when I heard him talking.”
“Aw! Anyhow, I trust him. He must have been scolding someone over phone for rebuking me.”
“Na re, temonta noy. (No, it isn’t like that.) Please. Trust me! Do you think I will lie to you? I want you to be safe and happy. I want ‘us’ to be happy. See, once we pass our graduations, Baba told that he will get us married!”
“Are you serious? I mean, he won’t spy on me! (Saahir winked)”
“S-a- a-h- i-r!”
“Okay! We will. Listen, after the graduation day farewell tomorrow, I will take you for a drive. Father-in- law won’t have a problem I guess!”
“Hey! My father is quite cool about all that. He won’t mind.”
“Okay then. I will wait near the college gate. Come soon.”
“Where are you going? Sit for a while…”
“Darling, I have to meet Tarun at his house. We have to check all our instruments before sending them to the college tomorrow.”
“Not again! Can’t he do it alone? He states himself to be an expert! What kind of expert is he?”
“O, Allah! Forgive this girl. She is just messing with a genuinely nice guy.”
“Oh! Now all’s my fault. Listen, if you don’t stop now, you are going to repent one day. Then I won’t be able to help you.”
“Please elucidate how am I going to repent? Losing you to him?”
“Saahir! Don’t ever repeat that…”
“I am kidding! Chill. I will be careful. I am going. Bye. Take care.”
Ronja distinctly remembered their last conversation. She had warned him to be careful. He denied and now he has lost her, rather she has lost him. Her kohl-rimmed eyes were wet thinking about how she didn’t even bother to reply to his departing words, neither did she look back at him. Who knew it would be her last visit to Saahir, his handsome face, his charming personality yet gentle manners!
“What happened Ronja? Say something!” poked in Tarun.
“Hmm! Did you say something?” Ronja replied as she came out of her reverie. The winters of Darjeeling had grasped the relation of the two since last few years. Silence swallowed them again.
“What’s the plan guys? Shall we keep on reading his works or work out a plan to find him? Mujhe bahaut bhookh lagi hai (I am very hungry!)” Suvreen broke the silence.
“Bhukkad! (Greedy),” teased Bala.
“Ok, let’s focus! Ronja, please arrange for dinner! We are starving,” chimed Tarun. Without a word Ronja left. She had to make dinner for all.
Part 1- http://www.yoalfaaz.com/27693