TODAY -

You are So Beautiful
Part - 2

By Pangamba777 *

I was awakened back to my real world when I saw the beautiful Full Moon high above the sky. It was a Full Moon night. It was supposed to be a romantic night. I was outside the office building now. The Full Moon shone bright and beautiful in the sky. Cold breeze started blowing. And it was a beautiful night.

The office building was a large one. It housed many companies, mostly call centers/BPO/KPO companies. Around it grew trees and had a spacious beautiful garden.

It was around two o'clock in the morning. As I was waiting for her outside, I had a mixed feeling. I was happy that she agreed to come with me outside... alone... on a Full Moon night. But my heart ached inside at the thought of losing her.

While I was staring at the beautiful Full Moon, pondering about the night and about her, I was caught by surprise when her sweet voice came from behind, 'Hi.'

I turned to look at her, 'Hi Somi. You came out so soon.' I had no idea how much time I had spent in my reverie.

'I thought I was already late.' She smiled.

We met several times in the past. But that night was different: we both were alone... and on a Full Moon night. So words didn't come out so easily. I guess she had the same feeling too.

We started walking around the garden. She looked more beautiful that night. Her beautiful moon-like fair face was glowing in the moon light. Her thick silky black hair fell softly on her back so beautifully. From time to time a couple of strands of hair would stand up gently and fall down slowly on her back whenever the night breeze blew. It was a beautiful sight to behold.

While walking around the garden, I broke the silence of the Full Moon night, 'Somi... i dam em?' She taught me in Mizo language, 'how are you?'

'Yamna nungairiye.' [I am doing great!] She laughed heartily in Manipuri. 'Nangdi Kamdourige?' [What about you?]

'Dam e.' [I am also fine] I said with a broad smile in Mizo.

'Oh, you speak Mizo so well now.' She laughed.

'Well, it's only bits and pieces, you know. You taught me, dear.' She smiled shyly without saying anything.

I wondered many times how she spoke Manipuri so well. I wanted to ask her many times in the past but I didn't. 'Somi, how did you learn to speak Manipuri so well despite being from Mizoram?'

She looked up at me apologetically and said, 'Pangamba, I am so sorry. I never told you this before.'

'Don't be, please dear.'

She was silent for a while and said, 'I wanted to keep it as a secret.' And then she broke into laughter. I also laughed with her.

'Oh, really? I thought you shared everything, didn't you, huh?' I said wryly.

She thought a moment and smiled, 'Pangamba, if people don't keep secrets, there would not be such a thing called secret. I hope you do keep secrets too.'

I was stunned. 'Well said, my dear.'
'I learned it from you. You taught me, dear.' She laughed again.

Suddenly, she was hesitant, but continued, 'Actually I was born and brought up in Churchandpur district in Manipur. I studied in a Catholic school in Churchandpur till my fifth standard.' I was surprised instantly. She turned out to be originally from Manipur! I felt more closer to her than ever before.

She stopped a long moment. Suddenly I saw her beautiful eyes begin to wet in tears. O my God!... Why...? I was shocked instantly. Immediately I felt terribly sorry. I stopped and turned to her. And I hesitantly touched on her shoulders softly with my both hands, 'Somi, please... I... I am so sorry. I really didn't mean to hurt you in anyway. I just didn't know it would hurt you this deep. I just wanted to know... but don't tell me anything now if it hurts you so deep.'

'No, it's okay. It's not your fault, dear. I am just a bit emotional.'
I kept wondering inside. And she continued after sometime, "You told one day, 'It's hard to hide anything from our memories,' so true. Whenever I try to forget the ghosts of the past, they come haunting at me. And it's very painful."

'I am sorry; I am not getting at you exactly. Is it someone you loved in the past or is it something else?'

'Pangamba, have you ever heard of the communal riot in the mid-90s in Churchandpur?' She asked me without answering my questions.

I searched through all my memory lanes of the past and said, 'Oh! yes, I heard about that. I remember one day, our Hindi teacher who was also from Churchandpur at that time was sharing about that in class. I think I was in Class VII or VIII at that time. What had happened... if you don't mind telling me...?'

We started walking around the garden again. The beautiful Full Moon stared upon us both.

She began to speak after a thoughtful while, 'I was in my fifth standard at that time. The riot occurred right at the place where my family stayed.'

'Oh.' Suddenly, I came to know she was fighting to control tears. What's going on? I was groping in the dark.

'I remember, houses were burned down and ransacked; people were being killed just because they belonged to a particular community.' She stopped a long moment and then continued, 'I was a little girl at that time...' and she began to sob in tears, 'That riot cost my father's life; I lost my father. I loved him so much....' She cried in tears aloud.

O my God! Quickly, I gave her a hug, 'Somi, I am really terribly sorry for your, Dad; I never knew that. Forgive me, dear.' I should not have asked the question in the first place. 'Somi, I never want to see you in tears this way; please don't cry, dear. Again, I am... I am really sorry.'
She was overwhelmed in tears. She couldn't say a word.

After a while, I made her sit down on a garden bench. We sat quietly, and I held her close to my heart. She was still fighting tears. I felt very bad myself: I made her cry.

After around 10-15 minutes, she came back to her normal again, and said in a low voice, 'Pangamba, I say sorry; I made you feel sad to night.'

'No, dear. I should apologize to you in the first place; so my apologies, Somi.'

'No, please.'

Then we were silent a few minutes. And she started to speak slowly, 'After that riot, we shifted to Mizoram. But my relatives still stay in Churchandpur to this day. While in Manipur, I learned to speak Manipuri right from my childhood. But now, I have forgotten many Manipuri words.'

'Oh, I see.' I kept my words to the minimum. I didn't want to see her cry again.

'Pangamba, have you ever been to Churchandpur anytime?'

'Yes, of course. But I have been there only twice...' I wanted to say 'many times' but I couldn't lie to her.

'Only twice? That's very bad. You should visit there more sometime. But I know these days, the situation there is not good. So please be careful when you go there.'

'Oh... thanks for some good advice, sweet lady.' We both laughed together.

We were silent for a while. She started to look up at the moon so bright and beautiful. I also looked up at the moon high above the sky. At last, I broke the silence again, 'Somi, how do you feel when you look at the moon to night?'

She felt shy a moment and said slowly in a low voice, 'It's so beautiful.'

'Somi, let me tell you what. You look more beautiful than the moon, dear.'

'Oh! Really? Please don't even compare me with the moon. I am not beautiful.' She said shyly with a little smile on her lips.

'Are you really sure?'

'I said I am not beautiful.'

"Then, how would you feel if I tell you 'you're damned ugly girl'?"

'Oh... Tell me first from your heart, and let me see how I feel.' She started to laugh.

My God! Caught on a wrong footing. 'Anyway, you are so beautiful, dear.'

'Oh, really?' She grinned, and said after a moment, 'Pangamba, let's talk something else or let's go inside.'

'You got bored?

'Not that I get bored.'

'Okay. Let's talk romance then. You may be quite interested in it.'

'Oh, now I see. That's why you called me outside on a full moon... huh?'

'You got me wrong, dear. I won't do anything to you.'

'But anything can happen anytime.'

We were silent for a few moments. And I took a deep breath and asked her, 'Somi, do you love me?'

She looked at me in surprise for a long moment and said jokingly, 'Pangamba, it's a tough question, dear. Please ask an easy question.' And then she broke into laughter.

I thought a moment and said, 'Somi, how much do you love me?'

Notes: Names changed and some facts ommitted in this story.

To be continued...




* Pangamba777( a resident of Mumbai) writes regularly to e-pao.net . You can contact the writer at pangamba777(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)in . This article was webcasted on February 02, 2009.

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