A Memory by Souris

How beautiful and pleasant the sunshine is!

How green the trees are!

I have not seen them so green in sheen hitherto at any point

Why didn’t I see them at all till now?

I have seen neither the trees nor flowers as yet

Why so?

memoryThe cool breeze is touching the entire body of mine and making me thrilling altogether with emotion

Why so much of joy just for a touch of the cool waves?

We have to shut the glass doors and cover ourselves with rugs.

Why so much of ecstasy resulted in me after glancing the trees breeze and sunshine!

Is it for gaining health after a long stint in the hospital taking complete bed rest!

The attending nurse advised me

you go and roam around the green garden .You feel relaxed

How many coloured flowers!!!

The eyes are getting dazzled with those glistening Flowers!

And oh! These glistering Flowers!!

 

How long it was there? How many years had it been?

Where am I before being admitted into this hospital?

Am I not hither to wandering freely around the trees and flowers?

Where? Where?

The painted walls

Oh! I am recollecting them. Glass windows carpets, the artificial flowers in the vases.”

Not at all like these flowers.

-2

These flowers are with life, breathing and almost on jumping spree. So high in colours

And with a lot of sheen after actually the sunshine sprinkled on them

In the vases those flowers are all life less ones.

They are like dead bodies of the living flowers.

And are like motionless pictures hanging on the wall

Out side there is a lot of din filled with sounds

Tring– tring —bur —bur— dub ——-dub

What are all these sounds?

And why so?

They are all car horns. There used to be a car in those times.

Moving on foot how beautiful it will be?

In those times we were not at all on foot any time.

We were going out only in a car

We? Who the others were along with me then?

Some were accompanying me all the time.

It was sizzling a lot with all cushioned soft seats inside

Very happy times they are!

Are they really comfortable then?

Was it giving joy at all?

May be then!

Walking will be always good indeed

We were almost moving out in car only and not at all other wise.

The driver in complete khaki uniform

Khaki dress and with khaki cap

Who are others with me in the car?

-3-

Somebody with bald head was accompanying me.

Ratnam!!!

Is it he?

No he is a respectable person

That spectacles, suit, hand stick

I saw him even in the hospital sometimes.

Doctors and nurses are administering some thing to me.

The water shined on the glass of specs like drizzled rain drops.

The lips shivered a bit.

Why/ who?

Why I moved with bespectacled man always in the car

Those roads black topped ones dust and dirt

My beautiful lace edged shoes!

Will they not get spoiled?

The tissue saree I wore may get crumbled

If I walk along like that

All people around me would just laugh at me.

Why do they laugh?

No they just laugh at me some how

Why? If I walk here

There is grass almost resembling a soft cloth in the shoes.

It is very delicate too.

Why shoes?

Nurse will get angry if I don’t wear the shoes

Once again she orders me to lie down flat on my bed without looking at trees and sky.

—  4–

 

She then administers all sour medicines

Why so much of ecstasy in me at present?

The heart is getting intoxicating indeed

Is it because of chloroform?

No

I am however not getting sleep at all.

The sunshine in me is flowing like a stream full of flowers and fragrance.

What is this fragrance?

Is it from my inner body?

Or from the blood of mine which is now recovering from the disease.

From where did this fragrance spread?

They are jumping into the air from the bushes.

It seems to be running fast into me from the white flowers.

The flower petals are dropping down from the green leaves duly smiling.

Oh! What is this happiness? What is this excitement indeed, after looking at these flowers?

Is this intoxicating fragrance from those flowers only?

I have seen it some time long back.

I saw it somewhere.

I am not able to recollect now the exact time and place.

I am not getting on to the name of this tree.

I should enquire with the nurse.

How I am alive till today without having a glimpse of these flowers at least for once till now

Why I lived at all till now forgetting the glimpse of these beautiful flowers?

Why I forgot these flowers and their name too which are giving me so much of happiness indeed.

But I am getting on to a remembrance that I saw them yesterday only.

And experienced this ecstasy yesterday itself,

—–5—-

Some glittering and beautiful memories.

They are like broken coloured glass pieces with a shine

All shattered memories

They are getting on to the mind unclear.

Having experienced some time back and forgot them for unknown reasons are once again coming to the fore streaking into the mind’s frame.

And once again getting them recollected is just experiencing the ecstasy in full

My nerves, my blood, my mind, and my heart they all are rejoicing over the recollection of the past experiences which were

Once enjoyed and forgotten by me for one reason or the other

.

They, without my knowledge have preserved secretly those sweet and rare memories safely and securely with them and DID not reveal them distinctively to me till date.

It is like the honey bees collecting and preserving the nectar for themselves.

These flowers are very close to my heart and dearer to me.

I have seen them some where with somebody.

Where? With whom? Where are they? Why they are not here around?

Not here exactly but somewhere else other than this place.

Not now but some time back in the long past.

Really those flowers are very dearer to me and my heart.

That person also deserves the same relating to these flowers

Better than the fragrance of these flowers some sweet essence from other lips intoxicated mine.

Under this tree itself the white flowery petals fell on my dark curly hair similarly under these black fore head, those eyes do exist like two water lilies.

I developed his acquaintance only for collecting these flowers to say the fact indeed.

In the green grass slanting on to the tree he was duly glancing through his half closed eyes and gestured towards me with hand signs and wanted me to sit there besides him.

======6====

Why don’t I agree to his proposition and oblige him by sitting besides as desired by him?

The silk frock may get crumbled and my mom may hit backing in retaliation

I have to go I say to him and if you go I won’t give you flowers

In that lean inner corner of his eyes how much noise does erupt…

Mummy scolds me

Okay then come on. I’ll give you

He rushes some bunches towards me and put them in to my plait.

Come again

Anxiety and affection is admixed in his voice.

If you give flowers I surely do come.

What has happened to him?

Where has he gone?

He is addressing me as

Kamini!! Kamini!!

Why do you term me like that?

You are the queen of these flowers!

That flower plant is exactly like this only.

That idea came sharply to my memory

Do you marry me? I will give you flowers as many as you want!

He opened up his heart on one day.

Oh! If you collect flowers for me I will marry you

A stream of joy flashed in his eyes like that of a lightning.

Did I marry him?

No. I am recollecting all the past.

My mothers had an infinite joy. She kissed gently me with so much of ecstasy surging around.

A good matrimonial alliance came to me from Delhi.

They possess property, employment and prestige too in abundance.

——-7——

They are my pride and ardent desire too in those days.

A sweet piper’s music [nadaswaram], green festoons, lavish shamiyana erected and all above

Our House is full of near and dear relatives.

Cars outside the premises, my ornaments, pearls, diamonds, and emeralds were sizzling high in the brightness of the gaslights.

In the shadow he stood with a pathetic face.

In his hands those glistening kamini flowers.

He with a gesture wanted me to go nearer to him.

My walk was beset with very much ego splashing so high in higher echelons.

As you have not come I brought these flowers for you

There is no place in my plait. That is already full with jasmine flowers.

You promised to marry me.

Agony and despair from his inner heart just blushed out in that question I guess

Can you give all these ornaments to me?

A surprise crept up in his face.

Are those more intimate to you than my flowers?

Who need your flowers?

They are available every where in needed quantities.

Even if you don’t require I can only give these flowers. Thus saying, he disappeared like the last tune of the pipe.

There is no trace of him or the flowers grabbing my mind there after.

I forgot all these things in my delightful riches and exquisite pomp.

After four days my life was back to loneliness.

All relatives, cars and also the marriage party at last left the place.

The ornaments on my body are now weighing high with heaviness.

And I almost lost the fancy for them too.

I am languishing now for those flowers.

—8—-

I am unable to behave properly without their vivid presence and avowed fragrance of those flowers.

I am unable to make it for my self.

I rushed to that garden.

Suryam give me those flowers!

Tears were rolling down my cheeks.

Oh my queen of flowers. Have you come down to me?

He hugged me in the midst of flowers.

There are fragrant kisses showered on my wet cheeks

˜Kamini I can’t live without you! He uttered deeply with an unknown passion

You also get married and you also definitely forget me.

He almost behaved like a weaning moon with so much of despair drowning him to the depths.

He rained on my lap with flowers showering in full bloom.

I am afraid of his glance. I shivered with a fear from the flowers.

I fled away without looking backwards.

An unknown pain reigned in me.

An unbearable pain in those flowers. Nerves strained a lot with pain.

I threw away all the flowers.

Whenever the fragrance and his pathetic face come to my mind I feel unknowingly very very bad.

A trip to Delhi was on new set up of family. My husband was in a high position…

Still he could not wipe my vice out.

When I feel about Suryam his face, his tears shroud me altogether. My in laws thought it because of my home sickness.

Immediately after my return to my home, I rushed to that flower garden.

Suryam! Suryam! I enquired

Who? Came the reply so fast!

IS Suryam not available here? I continued my quest

Who are you?

 

—9====

I am his sister.

He is no more there on earth

Why?

When? How?

Some months back.

He is rather sick since long and could not get back to normalcy

He advised me to give you all the flowers whenever you come to collect the flowers.

Shall I get you flowers now madam? She inquisitively asked.

I cried aloud in bigger tone instantaneously!

There after I never visited that garden once again

I got a hard feeling of itch in my soul

I tortured myself hitting on the flowers and recapitulating his memories too in silence.

I somehow enjoyed this hard stand.

Riches, status, affection showered by my husband throughout my daily routines helped me to forget the past so soon.

Now when I glanced at those Kamini flowers

All the formidable memories that were squarely hidden underneath the deep depth of valleys down the mountains

And kept in me like priceless treasures however are well kept behind the sea stocks

And also like an inferno erupting from the lower columns of earth

Came to the forefront.

Despair dropped down heavily from the heart

Suryam! Suryam!

What happened to you?

Where are you now?

Are you able to hear me!!!

Give me the fresh flowers from your hands

=====10====

Come nearer to me

My head is reeling under heavy pressure of tensions

I sat under the tree.

Petals of the flowers are showering on my head

Suryam! Are you raining flowers on me from up above the sky so high?

White dress and spectacles are coming very, very nearer to me.

What madam you are sitting under the blanket of snow!

Come in!

It is not good for your age and health!

The nurse duly cautioned me.

Don’t throw me once again to the dark rooms!

Please allow me to feel better under this tree of flowers.

What is that? Ratnam, come in

Our son-in-law and children came over here to see you,

Said my bespectacled husband.

Daughter? Son-in-law? Have children too?

When did all this happen?

Between these children and those kamini flowers.

Suryam and these flowers are a forgotten story to tell the truth.

What is the relation between them and me?

I am not the queen of flowers

I am a wife, mother, mother-in-law and grand ma too—

Yes! Life is only real to that extent in true sense.

[End]

Translated by Ravela Purushottama Rao, and published on thulika.net, July 2007)

(The Telugu original, smruti was written during 1946-47 and reprinted in aadivaaram Vaartha, 28th May 2006.)

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