To the girl I met during Ganapati utsav,
It was my first time in Mumbai. I was still trying to connect the lines of the sleepless city. And adventitiously, Ganapati festival hit Mumbai to overwhelm me. I timidly showed up at the society’s Ganapati feast. In such an evening of drizzling rains and the boisterous Ganapati festival, your eyes met mine! You were wearing a green-pink paithani silk in Marathi style. And you were looking fabulous. Your Marathi nathani (nose pin) made your face even sweeter; the small crescent moon bindi on forehead snatched all my concentrations. You smiled at me and one thousand chandeliers lit up. A smile simply crept into my lips.
You said, “Take a modak, it’s delicious” holding a big bowl of modaks before me. I don’t like sweets but I took one just to make you happy.
“Thanks” I uttered.
“New here?” You asked spreading the luminous smile.
“Yes. From Kolkata”. I replied.
“Happy Ganesh Chathurthi” You greeted me.
Your happy face made me happy inside.
“Same to you” said I. I wish I could show you how fast my heart was beating at that moment. I waned to talk to you. I wanted to say “You look beautiful”. But my lips lost words. You got busy distributing sweets among others. I realized, suddenly all my sadness, boredom and homesickness are gone and I am loving this evening. I am loving the Ganapati festival. I am loving life once again. I am not lost anymore. I looked at lord ganesha. He is staring at us with omnipresent eyes. I asked for blessings.
My eyes searched for you once more. My eyes wanted to get a glance of your face but you were nowhere. Finally, I discovered you at the feet of Ganapati Bappa. You were sobbing. And a girl was trying to console. I hesitantly walked towards you. The crowd was light by the time; the rain had stopped.
“What happened?” I asked. She looked up hearing my voice. The teary eyes were too sad to look at. She continued to sob while the other girl replied.
“Her lover Amrut died last year during immersion of Ganapati. Today the incident completes one year.” I was shocked. I don’t know what to say. She was hiding so much pain under those greeting smiles. Slowly, I held her hand, “Girl, I will give my shoulder whenever you want to cry.” I don’t know what magic my words did but she tried to erase the tears and looked at me.
“You don’t even know me.”
“I will” said I. Once again her “nathani” winked at me as she tried to smile amid those tears. No one noticed a nerd Bengali boy won the heart of a Marathi girl.
That Bengali boy