Once again a time in Shimla…..

It’s a beautiful poem written in prose!
A poem that tells us about a beautiful feeling called love. A poem that is also a saga of hope and despair- arrow of cupid targeting someone’s heart and then a painful feeling when heart bleeds-when heart breaks!
‘When she smiled’ by Ritoban Chakrabarty made me nostalgic-reminding me of my good old days-thinking of someone special under the twinkling night sky-recapitulating those priceless moments again and again-wishing those moments worth million zillion diamonds to happen again and again and again!
May be it’s my story-may be it’s your story-may be it‘s everyone’s story! When there was no internet-no chatting-no face book-no what’s app-when the teen age was the time of first addiction of love-he felt in love of her!
He is Mrityunjoy- a Bengali teen of fifteen who’s long and difficult name is the soft prey of his friends and she is Akanksha-a class mate of our protagonist Mrityunjoy. And true –it’s a heart warming romance-but not the typical Mill’s and Boon’s novel. More than a story of romance- it’s the story of a boy getting bigger in a whisker-it’s the story of realization-it’s the story of discovering himself.
It’s a long introduction –so let us straightforward go into the story. It’s a homecoming for our boy-back to DAV school at Shimla from the army school at Chandigarh after two years of study there-and “even through the distance between shimla and Chandigarh is a mere 120 kilometres, they are worlds apart in almost every aspect. Landscape, culture, people, lifestyle-you name it.”
The army school has changed the boy-psychically, mentally and emotionally. In the words of the writer
“The cute, chubby, round, stout kid who went to Saininik School returned home after a month on a weeklong vacation. When I rang the bell, Mom came to the door and actually asked “How can I help you?” I was dressed in my khaki military uniform and had lost at least ten kilograms in a month.
My own mom didn’t recognise me for a few seconds. It was golden.”

Academically inclined he was from the very beginning- partially thanks to his family environment, partially thanks to his genes. But army school taught him how to breathe under the sky- how to shape the man is hiding inside the boy-how to take first step into the stairs of life.
And in Sudhir sir’s tuition class he discovered another aspect of life-a special feeling that was unknown to him till then. He met Akanksha-and it was the love at first sight for him. He was too young to distinguish between infatuation and love, but
“Not only was she pretty but I felt some sort of thought wavelength connections too. You should never let go of a girl with whom you have such a connection.
I thought about those dimples one last time before falling asleep. Good night.”

Some special incidents take our lives millions of light years away-sometimes! Such a rare incident happens in their lives too, it was a quiz session when both of them were in the same team. He got her phone number (it was not today’s world when mobile numbers are exchanged after first days introduction) and
“I didn’t say anything. She didn’t say anything. We just looked at each other for a few seconds. We had somehow communicated through our eyes that this was my bloody mistake, but it wasn’t such a big deal. It was not the end. In fact, it was just the beginning.
Then she smiled. Her dimple never looked so alive. She had forgiven me. She had forgotten the incident. Even she realized that our friendship was much more than a blank call. It had the potential to be a million proper calls. We had just started with a blank call. Maybe we all do.”

Did the boy was right in fathoming the depth of their relation? Did the relation have the strength to fight against all odds, accept everything that may come into their way? Did the relation was built on the plinth of trust, faith and dependency?
Or is it not a relation at all? Only some memories of passing moments……….
Fading with time, shades of pink transforming into shades of grey………………..
This story is not an uncommon one. In fact it is a story of adolescence-the story of finding own destiny . But nobody tells the story in such a trustworthy language! Nobody tells the story of transition from the perspective of a boy next door.
Here Ritoban is unique! Here Ritoban comes out absolute winner!
Simplicity in Ritoban’s style makes it golden-giving it the ornate touch or the Midas touches…………
Thank you Ritoban –for presenting a piece of our adolescence once again……..
I will present a line from the conclusion of the book, which will say it all
“I probably would have experienced a different life,
But if it weren’t for that smile, I wouldn’t have the life that I am so grateful for every single day.”
Hopefully that will not act as a spoiler……

Read more about the book at
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