She always loved to write and dance, it was in her blood. She had been dancing since age four. She knew singing as well and classic rocks, they would drive her crazy. She also wrote poems, essays and songs. But most of the times she kept to herself, her writings which she never shared. It was for her, locked in the closet. She could not recollect where she kept the keys; maybe she had lost them in the tide of life. Let it be she thought, keys are worldly and doesn’t create any emotional values but what she missed were the words which she had written decades back.
It’s her second trimester of pregnancy. She was carrying his blood. He knew she loved “Lolita”. He called her Dolly, Lo Lola Lolita and sometimes Dolores Haze.
“I have lost my keys, I cannot write anymore” she had told him once.
“Start a new one, I give you a target. You had read Madam Bovary, right? So for me make a creative write up in 800 words” he had replied smiling.
“Now that I am pregnant, sorry I will not read Emma as it will affect our love child” she said somewhat angry.
“No it won’t. Start writing again. Forget your keys, do one thing, start writing on a table cloth, you love knitting, so knit your words on that table cloth, our love child won’t get depressed and will learn knitting from you” he had laughed answering her.
“Shut up, I lost my words and you are making a mockery of me. I will never read or knit. And your child I will hand over to you once I deliver, just go away, don’t make me angry” she had answered. But deep in her she knew she had to give him 800 words in the same way she was carrying his legacy in her.
That night of their love making she had laid on a soft mattress, sheltering her nude soul under the velvety sheets. He had gazed upon her and smiling he had said “Where are you hiding, Dolores Haze?” His eyes fixed on the golden waves that gently nuzzled down her neck reaching below her shoulder blades. “If God’s are real, then Dolly you are a masterpiece” he had said just before blowing off the candles.
“No, not in front of Lord Buddha, please. I chant every day, he will not like it” she had pleaded.
“Lord Buddha had a son, you know that Dolores” he did not give her a chance to speak now.
Second trimester is less tiring than that herculean first trimester. Fewer vomits and fewer tablets now. She reached for Vladimir Nabokov “Lolita”.
She had read Madam Bovary in her school; she was barely fourteen when she had read the novel. But now understanding Emma was difficult. She felt for Charles, he was a shy boy, was shabbily treated, and married a wrong woman who died a premature death and then he fell in love with Emma but did he actually deserve such life? Charles became a lunatic in his last days when he found those letters which Emma had written to her lovers. He screamed, he cried for his Emma; he died a lonely miserable death and that child Bertha? She did have her parents but yet was an unloved orphan.
Her rage went towards Emma, but then she realized Emma was a victim of depression. Maybe she was never loved as a child. She was sitting on her desk; thousand questions flew when unknowingly she fell asleep on her writing desk.
He came and found her sleeping. Without waking her up he took her drafts, closed the book. He glanced at her. These days he finds her face glowing, just like a dove, she looked tender, and she looked like a mother to his legacy. He stared at her for a while and settled on the couch with his own book.
She woke up, rubbing her kohl smudged reddened eyes she was about to start her writing when he said “Dolores you need rest, don’t you?”
She looked back and replied “When did you come? Why didn’t you wake me up?”
“Why would I? It happens to women I know that. During early stages of pregnancy it happens, now stop thinking of Emma and focus on Aamir Khan” he grinned answering her questions.
“You know they are talking of my transfer, they are saying I need to move to a different city, but I will cease to exist if I don’t write, I can’t leave without them” she said looking sad.
“Listen to your heart, you will have an answer” he pulled her closer to him.
“They don’t understand, no one understands, they think I am crazy, they think I should stop writing” she almost broke down.
“Didn’t I say, I love strong women? Didn’t I say stop being emotional” he said stroking her reddened cheeks. She didn’t reply she just asked him to hold her, and said “Don’t make love tonight, I can’t, I am reading Emma”. He smiled “No I won’t, I can understand, I also understand how you feel now reading that book as compared to what you had felt in your teens”.
She could not speak a word, instead she buried her face on his chest and wept, she knew he didn’t like tears but she couldn’t hold herself. He could feel her tears, it did wet his Tee, yet he just held her and stroked her hair. He didn’t say a word, they lay in embrace for long when she said “Shall I fix a drink for you, I have also made some fish fry, and you can have with your drink”.
“Go, bring it, and get yourself some drink as well, but only wine. The other drinks will hamper the unborn” he said.
She came back with the drinks and those fish fries which she had learnt from her mother. These days the smell of fish chocked her but she had made it for him as she knew he would be coming to meet her.
“Dolly when you feel the stab of the book stop reading it and do not write either. These are basics of writing” he said. “Now sing those songs you love, your Hindi movie songs” the familiar one sided grin.
This time she sang the song from Carpenters “Oh postman look and see, if there is a letter a letter for me, oh postman….. ‘’
Then she also sang “I came from Alabama with a banjo on my knee, I am going to Luciana my true love to see, Oh Susanna don’t you cry for me, I came from Alabama with a banjo on my knee”.
She laid on his chest all the while him holding her as she sang her songs she loved. She cried when she sang “Forever” of Dolores O Riordan –
“Please be strong, carry on
Come whatever may
In the dark, in the dark
Never be afraid
Cause once in a lifetime
The young ones fly away
Only once in a lifetime
Young ones fly away
I will stay here
Forever and ever, I will be around
Forever and ever, I will be the ground
That you walk on
If you fall, if you fall
I will be beside you
If you call at all
I’ll be there to guide you
There’s something between us
Words can never say
And only once in a lifetime
Young ones fly away”
She also narrated some funny poems which she wrote on Dear Dr Algebra. He listened, all he did was to only listen to her songs, her funny poems when he spoke “Dolly, you talk a lot, you don’t have patience, you love to talk, your cousin is different from you, she is quiet and you are a chatter box” he pulled her nose when she turned purple and said “You have no good words for me and you always have to say something bad”.
Breaking in a broad grin he replied “Those who praise in front of you lie, the one who praises will not speak in front, but their actions speak a hundred words, silly Dolly, don’t you understand?” he kissed her lips, cupping her face he had said “I know why you cannot make love tonight, your school mate is unwell, you love her, you also love Emma and it goes without saying you love me like crazy, so sing your songs tonight, cry if you wish for your friend, I won’t say no to you tonight but don’t read the book, give a break”.
He sat all the while holding her, listening to all her songs when he said “Can I leave now Dolly?”
“Why don’t you stay tonight, just tonight, please” she pleaded.
He listened to her. He stayed that night and fell asleep in her arms. She looked at him and smiled, stroking his hair whispering to her baby she said “Baby do you know the secret, your father goes mad each time he sees the tenderness of my smiling face”.
About the Author:
Rimli Bhattacharya is a gold medalist in Mechanical Engineering from National Institute of Technology, and also holds an MBA in supply chain management. Her essay on mental illness in the anthology “Book of Light” published by Speaking Tiger Publications caught much attention in literary circles. Her writings have appeared in several magazines. She is also a trained classical dancer (Kathak & Odisi forms).