Bishwas and the Lady
“What nonsense!” the lady snapped at me. She had sounded cheerful before but now she was furious. Why this sudden change of mood?
“You misinterpreted my fury as excitement,” she said. I was finding it difficult to believe her as she continued, “I wanted to see if there is somebody else who finds his catchphrase pretentious. I came here to punch him on his face for what he did. But you’re just praising him. You’re so naive. No wonder he tricked you into believing he is good. You don’t know him at all. He is a man with zero commitment. He never keeps his promises. Does not even try. It’s so ironic that you saw bravery in that coward. “
“Calm down, please. What happened? Why are you so bitter against him?”
“If you’d been in my place, you’d have been bitter too.”
“Oh, is that so? Tell me your story then.”
“It’s not the story I want to share with a stranger but I will tell you.”
The lady narrated her side of the tale–
After I completed my SLC, I convinced my parents and came to this City of Dreams to continue my studies. The money my parents sent was never enough. So, I started to work at a restro as a singer. It was not easy to work there. Drunk men with lustful intentions scared me everyday. But as it was helping me in paying rent and fees and I had trouble finding another job, I could not leave it.
Life was continuing in this mundane way until Bishwas came to me after the end of my singing session that Christmas evening, and said, “I have seen you before, haven’t I?”
Because that’s one of the most cliched ways to talk to a stranger, I didn’t give much attention but as soon as he took the name of my college and said, “I have seen you there”, my eyes widened.
“I go there myself,” he said adding more to my shock. I had never seen him before. Neither here, nor in the college. Could he have been stalking me? I was shaking from inside.
“Are you alright?” he asked.
I tried to speak but no word escaped my throat. “I’m sorry if I scared you. I had no intention of doing that. I came here with my friends for the first time and we all thought you were familiar. That’s why I came to talk.”
“He does not sound bad to me,” I could not stop myself from commenting.
“What’s wrong with people these days?” The lady grimaced. “Always jumping into conclusion without knowing everything!”
Having got the taste of my own medicine, I smiled sheepishly. I felt exposed. Thank God she could not see me in the dark! Without waiting to think anything, however, she continued–
You were right, though. He did not sound menacing at first. He had an extraordinary charm. . . .Ugh! Why am I praising him?. . .. Anyway, he used to come regularly, sit on the table close to the stage, and praise me after I sang. One evening, Bishwas came with a stranger and said, “What’s the point in singing here? Nobody seems to recognize your talent. My friend, Sarun here makes music and sells them pretty good. You should now be a professional.”
We made three songs within two months. Everyone who listened to those songs, praised them. We could not earn more, however, because we lacked money. Sarun’s studio was small and I put a lot of money in the recording. Bishwas provided help from his pocket money but it was not enough for aggressive marketing.
Meanwhile, Bishwas and I fell in love with each other. (Yeah, fell in love because it only gave pain afterwards). Neither of us confessed at first. Whenever we were together, Sarun used to tease, saying, “You two are in in love and I can see that in your body language. Why do you keep denying?”
We would just smile and brush it off. On the New Year eve, after I finished singing my song (I had become a local celebrity) a year after we met, Bishwas climbed on to the stage with me and confessed his love for me in public. A lot of emotions came rushing on my mind and I broke into tears. I confessed my feelings, too. Sarun could not stop smiling. His gut feeling had been proved.
A couple of months later, just as I was about to climb on the stage, Bishwas said, “You don’t need to sing. What’s the point? Nobody wants to hear you sing. All they want is you.”
“But you’re the one who has me,” I winked.
“I don’t know. What if someone takes you away from me?”
“No one will take me away.” I went closer to him and looking into his eyes, asked, “Don’t you trust me?”
He did not answer. I felt cold inside. Bishwas had always said he trusted me. I had always believed his words. That day, however, I saw a different Bishwas. It’s not that I had not been noticing that he had changed. I had chosen to ignore because it didn’t seem like big deal. After all, change is inevitable. But his lack of response was something else.
When I ended my performance, Bishwas was still at the back stage. He came to me, grabbed my hand and said, “What’s the point in singing like this, dear? I can meet all our needs even if you stop singing.”
“But you supported my journey and it has just begun. Why do you want me to stop?”
He looked at his feet and said nothing.
“I want answers, Bishwas.”
He did not utter a word.
I lost my patience. Furious at him, I said, “How do I know what’s happening in your head if you don’t say anything? Why do you want me to follow you without a question?”
“Because I love you and I want you to be with me. If you continue singing, I can’t be with you.”
I felt like he pushed me off a huge cliff. I lost words. I could not believe what I heard. Bishwas had said many times before that his parents would not let us stay together because of my caste. But he had always said that he would convince them. Even if he could not convince them, Bishwas had assured that he would never leave me. His name means trust but I should never have trusted him.
He left me. Never even looked back. I cried for days. Sarun helped me during that hard time. I completed my studies, learned English, Korean and Spanish, got a scholarship at a reputed university and returned a month ago. I had almost forgotten about Bishwas but he would not let me forget him. Last week, he knocked at my door. (Oh my God! How did he found where I was living? I don’t know. I should have asked!)
“I’m here to invite you to a party,” he said. “I have hurt you and I understand. But would you come just for the good times we had?”
I stood dumbfounded. “Should I go or not?” I asked myself a number of times. When I finally realized that I could actually punch him in public, I decided to come. But where is he?