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HOMECOMING by Suchismita Ghoshal


by Suchismita Ghoshal

Rows of catkins fair across both ends of the railway track. The soft cotton-like clouds of the sky indicate autumn. Shovan's mother is busy re-arranging and cleaning the house by changing everything - old bedsheets, curtains, naps, sofa covers etc and has been working since morning with a depressed mind. On the other hand, Kartababu [Bengali word for mentioning 'husband'] is sitting on the couch with a cup of tea and with each relishing sip, he buries his face in the newspaper.

"Even a year ago, Shovan was at home, right?" Shovan's mother says in an almost tearful voice.

Shovan's father can understand the gloominess of his wife and says, " So what happened? Please don't be upset. He will come this time too!" Somewhat saddened by her husband's words, Shovan's mother angrily bangs the cleaning rag on the cupboard and says," How can you pretend like you know nothing about Shovan? Don't you know he hasn't got his leave-request approved? Just three days left until Mahalaya! It's knocking on the door." No sooner than two drops of tears come out of her eyes, Shovan calls up. An exciting message comes from the other side of the phone, "Maa, I am coming home on 'Durga-Saptami'! Maa, I have managed the leave with great difficulty!" Now with the disclosure of the happy news, Shovan's father's stunned face after seeing his wife's tears has started flashing a smile. Mother's heart is full of happiness. With almost disbelief in what she just heard now, Mother reaffirms in a husky voice , " Are you really coming, my son?" Shovan says reassuringly, "Yes, maa, yes! Got 5 days off. Stay good. I'm keeping it now."

On the one hand, parents are greatly relieved. On the other hand, when Shobhan hangs the phone up, his eyes go to his manager's WhatsApp message. "Shovan, as you are taking leave, remember that you will get your November salary with a deduction of Rs. 2000/- from your salary for 5 days!" The salary is only 20000/-. On top of that, he is a fresher with experience of 8 months! Shovan gets a bit confused right now, but the mother's smiling face and father's immense love mixed in bringing Padma's hilsa fish and mutton from the market are probably much greater than the price of two thousand rupees. He smiles and replies, "Okay, sir!" Actually this is what Bangalis call the ringing of the Durga Puja bells. For expatriate Bengalis, 'mother's arrival' means a call to return home!

Suchismita Ghoshal is a skilled poet, writer, story-teller and ambassador of peace whose works have gained her name and fame in literary community.

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