You can often see them together .Walking down the street... leisurely ... living every moment of their togetherness . It doesnt seem that they met only a few years ago.
Each winter morning they signal to each other across the fence between their gardens. One waits in the gentle morning light filtering through the mango leaves until the other joins .The delight they feel upon seeing each other seems to spill over and you can almost feel the extra warmth in the sunshine as you pass them by. And then they set off. They stroll down the street and into the open grounds . The frolicking butterflies hovering over wild flowers welcome them. The buzzing bee takes a peek at this duo hoping to catch the tune they hum. A few pups try to hinder their paths . But they go on... unmindful of the amused glances they receive from passersby. An unfinished cemented block in an isolated corner of the ground beckons to them. They sit here, side by side , at ease, perfectly tuned to each other .
They return. Slowly. How good they look together. Tall and graceful . Their eyes , that have seen so much, can still twinkle mischievously. Language could never be a barrier for this twosome. The perfect communication via broken Bangla and hyphenated Hindi can be any linguists case study .
Evening sees them together again. Many a times while returning from office, I offer them a lift which they politely decline. At times they include me in their tete-a-tete and leave me laughing heartily over a much repeated chutkulia*. As I retreat , I cannot remain untouched by the purity of their bonding.
A few winters pass. Earlier, they had conquered words... now they have eliminated them entirely. Their ears no more receive them. They continue with their singing and humming... voices reflecting their indomitable spirit.
Winter whithers gradually into spring. Its time to part. Come winter and they would meet again...but deep within they are aware. One of them may not make it. Each passing winter strengthens this fact.
I see them again, venturing out. I run up to them with the hearing aid in my hand .
“You forgot to wear your hearing aid again, Papa. At least wear them when you are outside.” I said , putting them into my fathers ears.
“Ghosh babu has out grown them. Each time I return from Kanpur, his hearing ability further plunges. Now he doesnt hear a thing even with that contraption in his ears. We communicate by writing and signals. So dont bother me with this any more “ he said and turned slowly with the aid of his walking stick towards his approaching friend. Ghosh uncle waves at me through his greeting ?“Radhe Radhe”. I simply smile back knowing that my words reach him no more .
They set off again...two octogenarians, two friends... humming their favourite bhajan, leaving me amazed ... enveloped in the fresh fragrance of friendship.
*chutkulia ? a very small joke
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