"There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature."
Jane Austen

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A letter to a child

Back in May 2008, I had written a letter. It was addressed to Kuhu, my friend Koyel's daughter. She was turning 1 on May 15, '08 and I wanted the letter to reach her around that time.. though it was intended to be read by a grown-up Kuhu.. the first letter written to her by her Masimoni (or maybe by anybody for that matter)! The letter was in Bengali, although I had my doubts whether she would ever learn to read her mother tongue, as her parents had migrated out of Bengal when she was 8 months old. I had expressed that concern in the letter also.
It was a time when Koyel lived in Faridabad (Haryana), and she did not have an email ID. We were back to our old days of writing letters and were enjoying it. (We were avid letter writers while we were in school and used to write to each other during the vacations, although we lived only a couple of miles apart!)

A few weeks back, while browsing through a diary, I discovered that letter written to Kuhu in May '08! It was never posted and I had forgotten all about it! Along with it, was folded an unfinished letter that I was writing to Koyel, back then. As I glanced through that letter, I was feeling as if I was dragging out ghosts from the coffin. It had details of the various matrimonial prospects that visited Jhimli (my cousin) and the odd matches I had tried to make for her. The image of the presently happily (touch wood!) married  and settled Jhimli peeped into my mind, and the unfinished letter in my hand felt like a piece of history. I saw the irony and knew Koyel also will see it when she reads this letter after so many months. I added a few sentences in the vacant space and posted both the letters together to their present Dombvelli (Maharashtra) address.

The letter reached the destination last evening.

Here, let me say a few words about Kuhu (she has turned 3 this May). She is a very special child... which child is not!! She has a love for books. Both her mother and me are very happy about it. Despite growing up outside Bengal, she knows most of the Bengali alphabets and has no inhibition towards Bengali storybooks. (unlike most of my cousins who grew up outside Bengal and unlike most of my friends' children who have been out of this state since birth). Kuhu loves RabiThakur (Rabindranath Tagore) in her own way!

She does not have friends and has a kind of fixation with her mother (which I hope she will overcome soon). Though I had done the difficult task of befriending her on both the occasions when she visited Kolkata, she does not speak to me over the phone. Well, her mother says she does not speak to anybody over the phone.

This morning Koyel read my letter (the one written to Kuhu) to Kuhu. She listened to it through her routine of getting ready for school -- a routine which generally sees that child throw up. I was told by her mother that she had an elated and proud expression on her face throughout the letter. When the letter was over, she had smiled sweetly and uttered, "Eisab likhechhe.. aamake?" ("She has written these things.. to me?")

The letter had diverted her attention and she reached school without throwing up -- which according to Koyel was the rarest of rare occurrences.

Koyel says Kuhu wants to write to me just as she has written to her Granny a few days back! "Didaan'er chiThiTa toh POST i kora holo na" ("the letter I wrote to Didaan has not yet been posted"), she has grumbled.

I am looking forward to Kuhu's letter, just as I used to look forward to her mother's, years back.