The Singing Portrait
- Part 3 -
By Kangabam Ranjan Singh *
Azad made a smirk when Anand said so.
But Anand continued, "I thought myself that this portrait will keep our memories fresh even if I don't live with you. But I know now keeping this portrait with me will only hurt me more. So, I'm giving it to you, your singing portrait, my last stroke from my brush. Please accept it."
"No, Anandji no," Mumtaaz cried. "If it is your last portrait, then the song I sang today will be my last song until my soul leaves my body." Saying it, Mumtaaz picked one of the brushes from Anand's pocket and pierced on her throat with its opposite pointed end in a flash.
A few drops of blood flew and settled on the portrait.
"Ashok, Ashok wake up," Kanta shook my shoulder.
"Oh what's it?" I asked him sleepily. It was my entire dream.
"You were sleeping off," he told me. He was holding two cups of coffee at his both hand. I checked my watch; it was half past midnight already. I was sleeping for about fortyfive minutes. Would Kanta believe me when I told him about my dreamy encounter, I guessed myself.
"You missed the whole Drama," Kanta said as he gave the coffee.
"What do you mean?" I enquired surprisingly.
"You won't believe me." .
"Just tell me what happen, forget about convincing me."
As usual, Kanta held his breath and said, "When I entered to kitchen to make coffee, he sighed and continued, "I could hear the same song which I used to hear few nights before. I was about to call you but thought finally to confirm the source first. Soon, I reached the drawing room myself and turned the light on. I could see the portrait and the song coming from it."
My interest grew in Kanta's narration more and more. My heart begins to beat faster and I could feel a peculiar sensation in my body.
He carried on, "Then-
"What happen then?" I said. Does the figure inside the portrait began to animate, I thought myself.
"The door bell rang."
"Yes, when I opened the door, a tall and leaned fellow was standing. He was sweaty and was in bit nervousness. He seemed to be running here to my door and was surprised as I opened the door immediately after the bell rang.
"He introduced himself as Aditya Ghosh, nephew of Anand Ghosh. He asked me if I could accompany him to the next floor above immediately.
He also told me to bring the portrait which was hanging near the wall clock. He said his uncle told him to do so.
"When I looked upon the portrait, it was still singing but the scene does not surprise my visitor. So I carefully brought down the portrait and to my horror, I realised the portrait didn't sing at all. The soft song now came from the wall.
"So without making any word against him, we climbed the next floor together. I'm sorry I didn't call you there. Then we entered a room, which is just above my room, where I saw few persons standing around a bed. On the bed laid a very old man, tall and thin. Aditya told me, he is Anand Ghosh and is sick. He is more critical since Mumtaaz's death.
"Anand Ghosh was playing Mumtaaz's songs in an audio tape player. Aditya further told me he had been playing that every midnight since Mumtaaz's death and the routine stopped for two days when his health was very much critical.
"All my false idea washed away; the song which I used to hear few nights before came from the audio player, Ashok," Kanta told me.
"So what had happened to the portrait?" I asked him curiously.
"Oh yes, on seeing the portrait on my hand, Anand Ghosh kept the player aside still playing and stretched his arm to the portrait. I stepped toward him and gave the portrait. He took and looked at it lovingly. Tears rolled upon his wrinkled face from the sullen eyes. He embraced it and made a silent cry and then he laid still. He did not move anymore but still, the music continued to play."
Kanta finished his narration and asked me, "Do you know who Anand Ghosh was?"
"Yes, he was an artist and he was in love with Mumtaaz Begum. But due to the difference in their religion, both of them ended their life separately and sadly."
Kanta was surprised at my reply so I told him the whole stories which I saw in my dream of the singing portrait.
- Concluded ...
* Kangabam Ranjan Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on July 08, 2011.
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