When you grew up and realised your dreams cannot be fulfilled here, you packed your bags and left me for greener pastures though I am much greener than the world you have chosen for yourself.
This is not the first case of desertion. I have over the years suffered numerous relocations. But those have not affected me as much as your departure did.
You spent hours in productive idleness; your intimate interactions with the elements of nature gave me immense joy. The leafy branches fanned your eccentricities. Your moments of solitude by the riverside tried to capture the languid flow of life. I thought there is at least one individual who enriches himself with the gifts of nature.
Your exit makes me feel sapped. As if my earth has diminished strength. These are not ephemeral outpourings of an aggrieved heart that has lost someone dear. These are scars that do not heal with time.
I am still a foolish romantic who believes you will come home one day – like a true lover always does. Wherever you go, no matter how far it is, I am going to haunt you in dreams, in your wakeful state.
All that has been absorbed over the years will gush out of your pen as beautiful expressions – treasured by the new world of your choice. You will feel inclined to disclose my name in the acknowledgments. The secret affair will be revealed to the world. Maybe that day you will feel an urge to return here, and possess the beauty that you left behind.
I cannot promise to remain chaste for your imagination. It is going to be tough henceforth – with beastly humans ravaging me and trying to sell my body and soul for profit. I cannot promise to preserve all that you admired in me. Change is said to be the order of nature, though I am a reluctant subscriber.
I admit the world I gave you was not picture perfect. But it was pretty close to the ideal world one could imagine growing up in. I remember giving you a small scale industry of chaos, blended with modest shots of toxicity, to stir the creative cauldron of your mind. What you see now on a much wider canvas in the new dystopian world is the full-blown, awakened state of that kindled imagination.
I offered you the combination of invasive modernism and simmering conflict with nature. These low-intensity clashes inevitably sow the seeds of powerful thoughts that conquer the confines of time and space. Unfortunately, by the time these should have ripened, you plucked yourself out of this place. Such brutality left me in a flood of tears.
I know what has remained within you will keep exploding in the big city, and with each explosion you will acquire something dynamic from the material world. But remember, it is the small town that has nourished your thought process. Pay glowing tributes to me or write something to express regret and remorse. The least you can do is to make me feel that you were compelled to leave due to external pulls and pressures. I cannot believe that you went away willingly. I had seen your ashen face in the darkness of that moonlit night – when you boarded the bus to the city of your dreams.
There are so many memories associated with people, objects, nature and everything else your unique sensibilities valued in those years. These form deep, rich layers of experience within you. The small world of imperfections you have observed through various eyes is likely to recur as a theme of your choice. I am sure you will keep returning to it, again and again.
This wistful rumination blankets me with warmth in this biting cold of opportunism. I am sure you will scream on the pages and tell the big world that the small town has always remained close to your heart. Though you have extricated yourself out of its grip, the small town grips your mind all the time. When I get to read such a piece from you, it will be a pleasant reassurance to mitigate the agony of separation.
Even though you are in the arms of a well-endowed, charming mistress, far away from your true and pure love, your whole existence misses my gentle caresses. With the passage of time, these cravings will get wilder and wilder. Your urge to reunite will experiment with new creative forms. I will be overwhelmed with joy to know that you madly crave for what I gave you in abundance all the time, something you got without asking.
When you grow plants on the small balcony of your apartment, you remember the wide expanse of unutilised space in the backyard. The air-deprived three sides and the jostling for inches of space to bloom will tell you how difficult it is for nature to blossom in the big cities. When nature itself cannot grow well, how can human beings expect to grow well?
I wish to conclude this rambling account with positive vibes. But I fear the day of your return more than anything else in reality. When you come to me with hopes of revival and replenishment and I do not have anything left to give you. Sucked, dried and abandoned.
Before that happens, I should change my character, my complexion, my constitution, my soul and everything else that can be changed; wear a new face that makes it impossible for you to recognise me. Perhaps in a few years, this will happen. I will become a less small city or a much bigger city like the one you have chosen to settle in.
He works as a senior copywriter in Kolkata and his first novel, Pal Motors, will be published this year. His stories and articles have been published in The Bombay Review, Earthen Lamp Journal, Tehelka, Open Road Review, Deccan Herald, The Assam Tribune, Femina, and The Statesman.