Memoir

My Sweet Eighteen

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They were eighteen, dark and green. Yet, they seemed as untold legends for me. Eighteen in all, gracefully they stood, erect and tall, in a row sprouting luxuriously. Such was the beauty commanded by the seventeen Debdarus and one Nageshwar in front of our quarters, in Arundhutinagar, that they evoked in a heart many a tranquil thoughts for reflections. A man without a name planted them within the police compound. And for seventeen seasons, our officer Shri B. K. Ray attended to them. Expansion of roads led to the retreating of the compound wall. So, they moved outside and stood as guard, proclaiming their gracious presence. No electric cable dared to pass overhead, so glorious were they. The majestic strength creates an awe and makes the hands tremble that think to harm them. These eighteen guard us and guard themselves.

A day ago, a glance forty feet high as they whispered against the blue skies left me humming the popular number of Roza

 

Dil hai chhota sa chhotee see aasha

Mastee bhare mann kee bholee see aasha

Chaand taaro ko chhune kee aasha

Aasmaan me udane kee aasha….

…………………………………………………………

This little heart has a little wish

This playful mind, its simple wish

To touch the moon and stars I do wish

To fly in the sky is my wish ….

 

‘How far could they reach?’ I wondered. I surfed. The answer was – a Debdaru or the Indian Fir Tree could grow beyond 40 feet. A Nageshwar or the Indian rose chestnut could grow almost 100 feet!  This made my longing keen; a desire to see them touch the sky mesmerized me.

Trained in police I fancied them as Eighteen poles with green fluttering flags. With their symmetrical pyramidal growth, willowy weeping pendulous branches and long narrow lanceolate leaves they manage to steal from me each time I pass them. They whisper and only to me:

 

Mehak jaau mai aaj toh aise

Phul bagiya me mehke hain jaise

Baadalo kee mai odhu chunariya

Jhum jaau mai banake baavariya

Apanee chhotee me baandh lu duniya…..

…………………………………………………………
This day I will be fragrant thus

As those in the garden of flowers

Drape myself in the veil of clouds

Dance in steps of a Bawariya

Knot the world in my plaits of hair ….

Spring graces its boughs with delicate flowers. Fruits come and birds feast. Winter sheds their old garments and summer adorns them anew. O what melody as the falling leaves touch the ground! What symphony as the other tree patiently waits to let its leaf fall at the moment a leaf of its friend rests on the ground! It reminds me of our relay race; the partner waits to take the baton and then continue his run. So, the season of fall brings the music of leaves that do not drop at once. Man is a trivial being who is yet to unravel the truth behind the sing-song effects of dripping drops and those of leave that fall. My heart broke into a song –  ‘Jhara patago ami tomari dole….. O fallen leaves, I am one with you….’

Early showers make them green. They enchant me swaying their slim maiden branches now covered with fresh leaves. Green leaves of the Nageshwar flush with red and pink; the white fragrant flowers enthroned in between. The rays of the sun and the drops of the rain frolic in these juvenile leaves. I watch their mystic play whenever I chance upon it. When in play they swing and sing:

 

Swarg see dharatee khil rahee jaise

Meraa mann bhee toh khil raha vaise

Koyal kee tarah gaane kaa armaan

Bijalee kee tarah machalu yeh armaan

Javanee hai laayee rangin sapana…..

…………………………………………………………

The heavenly earth blooms here thus

I too blossom heart of heart

To sing like the koel, I do wish

To flash like a lightening, is my wish

Many hued dreams youth does bring ….

 

Arindam Nath

Arindam Nath is an IPS officer of 2003 batch of Tripura Cadre, presently posted as DIG (AP & OPS), Tripura. An extremely successful officer both in the field and desk-work, he is a recipient of the President’s Police Medal for Meritorious Service (2011) and the President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service (2018). Prior to joining police service in 1990, he served as teacher at Kamalpur Class-XII School for four years. He has also earned good recognition in the field of literature. As on date, he has authored ten books. His books are ‘Tarmuj Pagla O Anyanya Galpa’, 'Sub-Inspector Karamchander Diary’, ‘Dui Bhubon’, ‘Amar Priya Ashtadashira’,‘Nam Rekhechi Banalata’, 'Gaidyamoy Prithivir Akhyan' and 'Ate Jate Khubsurat' in Bengali and ‘Bridging Souls – A Journey from Mahabharata to Bharata’ and ‘I Adore’ in English. His stories revolve around his day to day experience of life.

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