The Blue Flower


White sheets of undulating snow could be seen as far as his eyes rested. Kimaj let out a sigh and picked up his shovel stacked against the wall and walked down the stairs leading to the road, covered with thick white blankets of snow. His nose stung from the cold but he dragged his shovel across the snow, nevertheless, towards the main road to clear up the snow that has accumulated from last night’s excessive snowfall. It was almost like a daily job for Kimaj, but never did he feel any boredom from doing this. His father died when he was only 10 years of age. When the sharp claws of poverty groped his recently widowed mother and himself, they both picked up any job they could that would at least keep the shelter over their heads. It has been 15 years that their doings remained the same on the contrary of the advancement of time.

Far in the 1980s, Zuluk hadn’t yet bloomed as a tourist destination, as it is today. Sikkim had been incorporated into India, in 1975. A bright morning of tourism hadn’t yet had its dawn in Zuluk and Kimaj knew of very little ways of earning the daily penny. There were very few clusters of families then, in Zuluk. Most of them did similar jobs, on a scale smaller or weaker. Very few tourists would knock their doors on their way to the Baba Mandir or upper.

Kimaj was humming some tunes to himself while clearing the snow off the road. He had been doing this for years and yet the snow still somehow enchanted him. The white cold powders, somehow, soothed him within. He pushed his heavy boot-studded feet against the edge of the shovel and collected a pile of the snow on the board. Carelessly, he toppled them across another side of the road which overlooked the rough edges of the cliff. The road was slippery and so were his tunes. He heard the oncoming chirrups of a bunch of schoolgirls heading his way.

It was 10 in the morning. The sun rays glistened against the shiny surface of the snow. His shovel glistened, too, against the sun rays. He looked up towards them and his eyes brightened up at the site of Keshang walking with her friends. She donned a bright pink Kurta and a heavy matt-black trench coat, coarse and dull. Her fair cheeks reddened when her eyes met his. She walked towards him and tried to devour him with her eyes as much as she could, all at once. Kimaj’s lips curled upwards as he traced her cascading rolls of burgundy hair falling back against her shoulders.

Kimaj and Keshang had created a relationship a few years back. Both the family is very well aware of the love interest but in two opposite ways. Kimaj’s mother loved Keshang, not only as a person but also as a pawn to further her own economic prospects. Keshang’s parents reversely tried to damper the warmth as much as was possible within their limits. To nip the blooming relation in its very bud, Keshang’s Father had used force and pressure, but all to vain. A few years have passed and they still seemed flowering.

Keshang’s father was a more well-to-do person in the same business as Kimaj’s, but he also had his feet, dipped in other places as well. Along with providing lodging for tourists and guiding them through the tour, he also had his hands in sending labor for the army barracks up in the Nathang Valley, with some more shares of works here and there, and thus, he ended up being a more influential man than Kimaj could ever be. With Kimaj’s limited knowledge and the more limited financial resources, he was prepared for a very limited scope of tasks at hand. The vast world outside the Zuluk seemed to have just like a shadow or like a ghost to him.

Keshang and Kimaj would steal time out of everything and run down the slopes leaving everything behind them for few secluded moments. They would run along the oceans of valleys covered with myriad colors of orchids. Nothing could put a bigger smile on her face than the tingling of the orchids in her nose and lips. They used to lay for hours within the flowers and she seemed a Goddess wrapped in all the beautiful colors of the world as she lay on the bushes of flowers. Kimaj usually tore a flower or two and run them down her cheeks to her neck and below, stopping only to bite her neck. The wild smell and sensation of being amidst the flowers increased his attraction and desire towards her. Nothing felt warmer for the two than being in each other’s arms and taking in the other’s warm moist breath. They would hold hands for hours and when their lips collided together, their souls became one in the lap of snowy Nature. Kimaj had always been enchanted by the sensuous curves of her body. He viewed her body against the background of the setting sun. The last rays of the sun hit the perfect spots on her body. He loved watching her most in dark-colored dresses when her bosom glowed, wrapped in a dark shroud of linen, against the red sun and the green and white terrains. He often made moves to fulfill his sensuous desires. Many times, Kimaj was on fire when he touched her milky white breasts and made them purple red by the wild kisses and bites. The smell of her body ignited a ring of fire in his veins. He wanted to taste and mingle with her beauty completely. He just wanted to have her completely to extinguish the sheer fire of love by burning the cells completely. But every time she made him stop by saying that their religion did not approve it before getting marriage. Kimaj never understood what is relationship between religion and losing virginity before marriage. And he murmured “that is why a good priest always fail to be a good lover in our real-world of natural way of love-making. That’s why religion cannot be the food of the wild lovers.” Every time he became sad but did not insist her. It was possibly because he really loved her and love must be accompanied with a sense of respect to each other. But besides this, Kimaj couldn’t force her in fear of stirring the water which was already rippling under the bridge. Her father was a wealthy man, who was already against their relation and he didn’t want to create any more difficulties.

Kimaj still remembers the day when he first saw her. Clad in a blue salwar, her open hairs hung lower than her back. She walked right past him, with some books in her hand. Her gang of girls swarmed her from each side. He couldn’t even get a proper look to keep his days going. He knew who the Keshang’s father was and his authority in the area. So, he decided to make her his partner in his world of fantasy, to get himself some warmth in the long wintry nights. The problem arose when over the next few days, Keshang began leaving signs and marks of her interest on her way. One fine day, as Kimaj saw them passing, he noticed a girl from her posse leave behind a note near his feet and sprang off with the group. He picked it up and found a time and place noted on it. Since then, whenever they met, Kimaj always brought her some lovely blue flowers as a form of remembrance of the day he first saw her in that vibrant blue salwar.

Lets flee far away and never return to this place where fate interrupts us of being together”, she said, often. A very considerate and patient, Kimaj tightened his grasp on Keshang’s palms, looked at her eyes, curled up a smile and sighed. He knew never it would be possible for him to acquaint himself with any other forms of work. He was, as if, born with a shovel in his hands, to clear the roads and provide lodgings to the needy people. So, he said inwardly every time “Beyond the hills and terrains of Zuluk, everything is strange to me.” Kimaj brushed his hands against each other and warmed them up. Then, putting his hands against her cheeks, he explained to her that it would be difficult for him to adjust anywhere else and given the limited area of his knowledge of work expertise, he wouldn’t be able to settle anywhere else, let alone support her needs as well. Moreover, it wouldn’t be viable, as well, to uproot his mother from a place she had spent her entire life or to leave her at such a place to be haunted by the loneliness and solitude of the dark wintry nights. Kimaj put his hands over Keshang’s and lightly kissed her. As they hugged, they both felt some ecstatic chills run through them. A pang of desire suddenly rose in both of them. The touch felt extremely eerie and warm at the same time. Kimaj looked at her eyes to fathom her feelings, only to find them filled with tears and a look of fear. He did not know if he would ever get to hold Keshang the way he wanted; the way they both wanted. Soothing words were futile as both of them were tired of this game of hide-and-seek from her father. He wanted to run away with her, some place very far from the maddening fear of her father and the society. But his hands were tied down to Zuluk more than even what he could ever imagine. They locked the day with a kiss and heavy-heartedness.

Kimaj would often lay awake, in his bed. On several nights, when he could hear some shards of a same male voice coming off from his mother’s room. He always turned to his other side and tried to drown the noise with his pillow shut right across his ears. The sheer walls hardly left any personal space between the two of them and now, the last bits of her integrity hung in tatters.He disgusted himself when the shrieks and moans from the next room aroused sensations in him as well. Growing up all he had was his mother to call a relative. But how did relations jumped out of the window in front of money and desire? Amorous feelings engulfed him as the noise increased from the other room. It was never the image of his mother in situations like these. But even the face and visage of Keshang couldn’t drown the guilt as he unloaded himself on those cold wintry nights. How life was difficult for them in seasons when customers were not flying so much in full flung. This voice was known but the face remained always shrouded in mystery to him, yet the process- habitual. He never questioned his mother, ever, from where the extra bucks came in to mend the roof or carpet the floor. Everything went about in silence.

But then there arrived a day when the world came crashing down on him. Kimaj had never attached himself to the dealings of his mother. Their skies were different, although their roof was the same. Kimaj was a reasonable man, a man of logic. He was out for the entire day for some work down at Nathang Valley. His mother was in charge of the home-stay. He left in the early morning to get his work done fast so that on his way back, he could meet Keshang and make up for the energy lost in the day’s work. It was almost in the mid-afternoon when his work was done and he was on his way back. He knew Keshang couldn’t meet at this hour, so he decided to rush home and check for logs of wood had dried properly. As he entered the house, the noise of love-making, loud and clear, filled his ears and mind. The noise, as usual, came from his mother’s room along with the known male voice which was shrouded with a mysterious face. He went to his room and waited for the face to reveal itself finally. He waited with bubbling curiosity as the noise stopped coming from the other room. When the man came out of that room with the dazzling rays of sun, the cruel reality set in and expressed itself in naked passion. Finally he realised that money, or the lack of it thereof, wasn’t the only reason for which Keshang’s father disapproved their relation. The illegitimate relation of Keshang’s father with his mother was more than he could bear at that moment and he decided against meeting Keshang that evening.It was that bitter truth which his lips neither allowed him to unfold to her and neither his heart could tolerate with a vague smile. But he took the decision to finally quit. Next afternoon he met with Keshang and told her to put a stop to their relationship permanently. Keshang could not believe her own ears. Tears rolled down through her white checks. She repeatedly asked him the reason. But he remained still and mute. The only words that Kimaj uttered “An orchid cannot fight with a big-tree. And I cannot take the risk of elope you against the will of your father as I have nowhere to go. The more we mingle, the more we would suffer.” Kimaj hurriedly left the place leaving behind her Keshang and the beautiful setting sun. And a week passed away since their last meeting.

It was one of the coldest days of winter. Kimaj’s Room was dark and cold. His fireplace had run out of any wood a few days back and the incessant snow hadn’t let any of the rest wood dry out properly. His tipsy eyes vehemently wanting some sleep. But his drunken body was restless. He sifted the sides on the bed but sleep was not near his eyelids. Suddenly he heard some thud on the wooden window. He looked at his shabby watch and It was 11-45 at night. At first, he thought it to be hitting of snow. But the thud continued. He stood up and took his axe. And as he opened the door, a cold gust of wind blew past him. A sudden feeling of coldness gripped him. He saw a silhouette of a girl standing against the moonlight. Light fell on her open hairs and it glistened like glitters. A sweet smell filled the room instantly.

Keshang entered the room and closed the door behind her, already leaving Kimaj with astonishment. It was past the hours when Keshang could and would roam around, let alone visit him. She threw her wet shawl down on the floor and hugged Kimaj. Kimaj, still bewildered, wrapped his hands around her waist. She felt too cold to touch, may be from being dripped in snow, perhaps, he felt.

Keshang whispered lets us flee tonight; I cannot live without you. I tried but failed.”  Kimaj was motionless. The words of her were like a needle that penetrated his heart. A trance engulfed him totally. His Keshang was in her arms after a week, a long week. He just nodded and whispered “Yes, let us flee. I shall take you to that unknown world. I can’t live without you, too.” But then rational thought crossed his head. As appealing as it may seem at the moment, Kimaj was well aware of the snow outside. How difficult it would be in the dark along with the snow to add on everything. He calmed her down and came to know that her father would be marrying her off soon. He opened her clutched fingers and saw some crumpled blue flowers within her grasp. He pulled them, drenched in sweat and snow, placed them on his night table and calmed her down. Kimaj murmured “ let us stay together tonight and I shall take you with the first ray of the Sun.” He took off her trench coat and seated her on the bed. Her face looked paler than usual and she was awfully cold. Their eyes met and he gave her a comforting smile. He kissed her on the lips and closed his eyes.

Kimaj still couldn’t believe that he was in bed with his beloved Keshang. He knew he wasn’t dreaming anymore as their lips melted into each other. He knew she was enjoying his touches as he knew he was enjoying hers. As they lay naked on the bed, covered with sweat and lust, he didn’t know how to cover his naked emotions, which lay bare before the beautiful face of Keshang. Her soft moans and her fingers dug into his bare back were enough to make him forget all his day’s fatigue. The carnal pleasure of love-making has turned him into a wild boar. The sound of their moans and the noise of the bodies meeting each other, filled the silence of the night. While their bodies lay intertwined around each other, sweating and drenched, Kimaj panted for breath and looked at Keshang’s over his bare chest. She was sleeping, peacefully. He removed some tresses of hair from her face to get a better look at it. Her beautifully round face looked white as if drained off of every bit of blood. But she looked at peace. Her eyes and lips and her entire visage spoke thousand, even without speaking a word. His tired body couldn’t gaze for long and he drifted off to sleep which he coveted for a long time.

Kimaj woke up to some vehement taps on the door. Sunlight was peeping in through some nook in the window. It was very bright. He found the bed empty. Loud bangs continued on the door. He dizzily opened the door.

His mother stood there, pale, flustered and flushed. Out of an array of the few gibberish words, he could only make out “Keshang”, “dead”, “fever”. Trains of thoughts were forming in his head as he tried to join the independent words together into a sentence. Every sentence, as if, cut a wire from his heart. Land was slipping beneath his feet as he was trying to fathom the happenings of the situation.

He ran as fast as the snow and his feet would allow him. The stingy cold air didn’t bother him, nor did the slippery roads. As he entered her house, he could feel an atmosphere heavier and more silent than the cold air itself. Dried eyes and perched faces were abounding. He found her closest friend sitting on the balcony and went towards her. She burst out crying when she saw him. Last night around 11.40 PM, Keshang succumbed to the evils of pneumonia that has been bothering her for days now.

Keshang was a very petite girl, very much prone to illness. Resistance was low in her immunity and medical help was rare in the region. Her parents had been thinking of carrying her to Kalimpong– for further treatment, for a very long time, but time never gave them the chance.

There were hardly any words that Kimaj could perceive. His mind went blank and numb. Keshang’s bulky brothers showed him the door, whilst accusing him of their fate. He stood outside her home long enough to take in the situation and yet not understand the world around him. He didn’t know when he had reached his home and sat on his bed. It had been a while. The sun was shining brightly amid the multitudes of commotion running through his mind. Digesting the truth was bitter but what stung him more was how could she come to him and spend the entire night with him when she was already dead? Was everything just a fanciful concoction of his brain or an unfulfilled dream looming over his shoulders?

Kimaj lay on his bed, awestruck. Rivers of tears were flowing down his cheeks. Kimaj was turning on his sides when his eyes fell on the crumpled dried-up blue flowers lying on his table. He got up and took them in his hands. Reason and logic have left him. He vividly remembers them from the last night. A cold shiver ran down his spines when he understood she had come down to him for the last time to quench his unfulfilled desires, once and for all. He looked down at the flowers once again, his hands shivering. He was feeling giddy. As he touched the surface of his pillow with his light headedness and blurred vision, the sweet smell of last night, again encircled him, as his eyes closed to the last ray of the light before him.

One Comment on "The Blue Flower"
  • Rima Banerjee Reply
    May 24, 2021 at 10:41 am

    Keep up your hard work..Brilliant!

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