• Madhumita Mandal

Rainbow In The Canvas

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

It was summer. Neeti’s eyes were glued to the frame, she vividly recalled her 8th birthday when her uncle had clicked this candid of Neeti giggling with her parents. It had been challenging for her to accept the divorce and the subsequent shift from Lucknow to Kolkata. All that she was left with of her happy family was the framed memory. A notification on her phone broke her reverie, ‘Dev Chaudhary sent you a friend request’. It was that ‘specky’ guy- the guy who was Neeti’s first love.

After reaching the bus stop the next morning, Neeti had a flashback of those days when Dev cycled to school and would often wait at Neeti’s bus stop for his friends, while Neeti waited, herself unobserved and impatient, to observe Dev.

The horn of the bus brought her back to reality. All-day in school she kept thinking about that drizzling winter morning when she had found Dev standing at the bus stop alone. Neeti was dumbstruck. Somehow she still gathered the courage to say “Hi” but the arriving bus’s horn drowned her voice, and Neeti felt as if she was leaving herself behind. After that day those eyes, ever questing for Dev, lost hope since he had gone out of her sight.

And then came that warm summer day which became warmer still because of Dev. Neeti didn’t take long to recognise those intense eyes staring at her, accompanied by a soft smile. Soon she felt goosebumps erupt all over her body amid the soothing surroundings of Rabindra Sarabar. Before that day Neeti had never felt that urge to lose her soul to wander in somebody’s universe. Grains of sand had already escaped from the hourglass of their lives but here they were, in a standstill, lost in each other’s gaze. They made lots of memories in the city of joy. From visiting different places to having tea and phuchka in some unknown lanes, they forgot about the rest of the world.

While they sat at Prinsep Ghat and enjoyed the golden sunset, Neeti asked, “Life is so unpredictable, na Dev?”

“Yes, it is. Never thought of sharing this peace with you.”

They had never crossed the line of friendship but when Dev moved to Bangalore for MBA, Neeti realised the urgency to unleash her feelings to Dev. It was Saptami; yet the chilly air was hinting at winter. Sitting at a CCD outlet in a gorgeous maroon saree and waiting to meet Dev after six months, Neeti held a letter that contained her ineffable feelings for him. Her heart skipped a beat the moment she first saw Dev through the glass window. However, a blink later her world capsized. She was numb, unable to feel the presence of any external stimulus, or perhaps she was too weak inside for any perception. Dev’s bike got hit by a truck. Like a lunatic Neeti ran and found Dev in a devastating condition. Drowning into darkness felt like winter’s embrace.

Four months later, it was summer again. Dev got discharged from the hospital. He’d had a severe head injury that left him temporarily paralysed. Those six months were the toughest for Neeti; from praying to crying, she hardly left his sight. That day Neeti found Dev’s diary while looking for her phone at Dev’s place.


Tomorrow I will finally let you know my feelings. Just wondering how you would react. I still remember the day when I was eagerly waiting for you at the bus stop to talk, before I changed my school. But you didn’t notice me and then your bus arrived. After one year I found you on Facebook, we became close but every time we met I failed to express how much you mean to me…”

A drop of tear rolled down. She thought about how dark the white winters had been, and yet as she let the white summer light in through the teary prism of her eyes, she felt the canvas of her soul painted rainbow.

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