Unraveling ‘Those Almond eyes’

She is an enchantress who weaves magic with her verse. Her words resonate with unsung melodies.  Soft, ethereal, passionate, melancholic - she is the one and only Maitreyee Bhattacharjee,  a writer extraordinaire and the author of Iche holo tai.

She liked weeding the garden, dissecting art and playing music, especially the raag Behag, which floated around her at night along with the waft of jasmine that she had so lovingly nurtured. Perhaps not necessarily in that order, but nothing was orderly about her..And yes somewhere star gazing, talking to oneself also fitted in. She had the most beautiful almond shaped eyes ever..it was not her opinion but that of the many people whom she met..except that He didn’t see it ever..she had a beautiful soul too..which He probably felt but never spoke about..there was nothing to speak..it was there..so He presumed it would be..just be.. much like the old oak box that had been lying in the bed room as a part of a family heirloom that had been passed on, ornate, gleaming from the polish that was applied every other day..It stood proud in its gleam its beauty in its agelessness and yet no one opened it, no one was curious about it.. When children came home they played around it..over it sat on top of it..in spite of knowing it might break but no on tried to open it, seek its soul, or ask it questions of yore..

Her heart would break when she saw the children lunge over it carelessly, treat it like it did not exist or have a soul apart from what its beautiful exterior stood for...No one had bothered to explore its interiors and find out the timeless treasures that she was sure it contained..or even the dust that would tell her of her ancestors ..of some love story hidden in soft love letters gone sour over the years..She wondered at times like this from time to time..if  He would finally see those almond eyes, someday..somehow..really see them when they were old, crinkled with laughter and eyes filled with tears..of a life lived well but tears so many that the eyes did not hold..and from time to time they rolled down..full of the passion of what yesterday could have been, the promise of future and the knowledge that nothing of what she dreamt was reality..they were best dreamt of and shut behinds chest large or in the dying embers of a loved one fallen asleep ages since now..

One day she came home to the buzz of a lot of activity going on in the house, she liked that, at least it broke the stillness of the silence that seemed to be a never ending one...but then her head suddenly shot up. The buzz came from the bed room.. The room where the chest was kept, had someone touched the chest, revealed its interiors in unloved haste, had it been molested of its dignity and grace? She rushed to the chest, her chest... and saw men clamber over it...How could He? The eyes they questioned, in painful loss of trust. 

He had never of course felt the soft touch that she was, the tenderness with which weeds in the garden were given a decent burial, the way the flowers swung to her when she caressed them and sang to them, why the bees visited again and again, why the birds sang songs to her and her alone..And yet amidst it all he had not felt her..like he never felt the chest or its love, or its softness, of being there for them as they were for it..yes, he had never opened his eyes to her, or to it she thought....he had never felt the longing of the chest..of its desire to be more than ornate.. to find in its depth love that had been sealed and kissed and departed for..centuries old ..but that which remained new to those who had the eyes to see, the soul to feel. 

A cry like a nightingale with a voice lost yet, arose somewhere, olive eyes gone red, she flung herself on the chest..no body understood its priceless-ness.. practical eyes questioned her moves, her opposition to have it opened to prying, unloving eyes,  moving it, destroying  its fragrance , it’s virgin purity, she would never allow it...she had to open it that day she knew..but not like this, not like this never.

If one had to die..one deserved a decent burial, she always thought, no one deserved to die alone, unfelt, on the streets of carelessness, crying out for the love of being understood one last time, before a decent burial of all the mortal remains of what remains of mortality...she heaved and sighed and pulled the chest..the hands had creased since long..she looked at them now, dusty but filled with a sense of purpose it seemed..it seemed he noticed her fiery eyes for the first time..the strength in those hands for the first time, the will to protect shamefulness the first time..Realising that here lived a soul beyond the body of what had been a wife in one age, where marriage was a game of dolls. 

With soft breath of expectations and hush of the prayer, she touched the box, with infinite tenderness of a long lost child, one who had come home to see its mother in the shadows of her life flitting away in some dingy lane gone murky....As he watched her perhaps for the first time from a distance in some sort of trance that her passion had invoked, he saw what he had only heard whispered, the almond eyes, now beautiful with passion and the sting of tears..there was a strange tenderness to them as if she were giving birth for the  first time and suckling her infant to her breasts large, not knowing what to do, not knowing how bitter sweet the feeling would be.. At long last as if after ages..with creaking hesitancy of years of love and longing, she opened the box and peered in..nothing spilled over..no genie..no treasure..no purple haze, not even the twinkle of a pearl gone grey...

In the corner of the hugely empty box lay a little scrap of paper, tainted with age, carelessness and haste of things gone wrong. It read:

“Sometimes I think..just for a lark
Had it all been different..
Show me how love and life would have been-
Had you learnt to love without disintegrating..

The children would have asked in jest someday
Over a game of scrabble..
Had we loved?
The eyes shall light up in their dimmed existence of normalcy
And shut down in the forever of lies
“No..perhaps not”…Love does not let go!”

She wept..and he noticed..for the first time..Some where some strains of the Behag floated down..


  1. The grace of her refined prose and the beauty of the emotions weaved are unmatched..Will read it again. There is so much to learn from this post. Do it more often Purba...

  2. I am way too mesmerized to say something substantial at the moment.
    This lady knows where to strike gold, how to envelop the reader with a sense of unjustified longing for inner peace.

    I would love to read more of her and I am so glad that you suggested me to definitely read it.

  3. I had to read it 4 times, because each time I had some confusion. As Alka has said in the comment above that the prose has been written in a refined manner weaved with emotions.
    Maybe, I don't have the wisdom or maturity to perfectly understand and appreciate the deeper meaning which this story contains. But, I do appreciate the style and the way it has been written. :)

  4. :) Good one. Emotional.
    But to be honest, I have never had such experiences with relics or Forefather's paraphernalia passed on from generations to generations.
    Except for a daily dairy which my grandpa used the rest of all my inheritance were crap. :(
    I hate to say this but it is the truth.

  5. Perfectly weaved words spreading an essence of pure emotion, guest author is good, too good. This is the first time I am reading this genre on your blog, and for a change it \m/. Like Alka ma’am said; “you should do this often.”

  6. Thanks for this Purba & to all the readers here :) Am glad people could connect in their own ways to this post. Kartik, like you neither do I have any heirlooms as inheritance..not even a diary :) this was just figment of an imagination :))


  7. Maitreyee....I wanted to share with my readers an experience called Maitreyee.

  8. nice and poignant..not sure if this is prose or poetry..but whatever it is, it draws you in.

  9. it connected somewhere. it made me sad. it moved me. thats the beauty.

  10. The words can play and do magic, it just depends on you string them together in sentences which evoke emotions, express feelings, talk love, tell about moments of loneliness and longings! A fantastic piece of work, after a long time I read a story which is a composition of all the above!

    Maityree, thumbs-up to you!

  11. oops! got a typo in your name

    Maitreyee: thumbs-up to you!!!

  12. So simple, yet moving.

    Nice post! Hope to read some more. Soon. :)

  13. That was beautiful. very different!! Loved the beautifully crafted post and the emotions are just captivating.

  14. Pzes...I will have to disagree with you with the simple part. It's a highly evolved style of narrative called stream of consciousness :)

  15. Lovely post...each word goes deep within

    Do enter my giveaway here

  16. Read it twice to let the emotions sink in. Mesmerizing,to say the least!
    Thank you for the wonderful post Purba.Maitreyee, it was an awsome experience.

  17. Beautiful Purba!
    It moves you with a silent pain that moves with every expression!:-)

  18. Looooooooooooved the note on the scrap of paper:-)

  19. Mesmerizing! Awesome emotion filled tale on heirlooms- or so i presume:)Unfathomable love from dear ones leave us such priceless gifts. Great work by Maitreyee.

  20. Poetic! Somewhere it struck a chord in me. Love the way Maitrayee has woven words, building up emotions. Must read more of her!

  21. This ones high!! Very well narrated with beautiful use of emotions!! Loved it! Thanx for introducing this beautiful lady to us :)

  22. You should read her poetry on her blog - her brilliance always leaves me speechless.

  23. Really good. At least, I liked it very much. It was like a beautiful song. It's still buzzing in my ears. I could even visualize the almond shaped eyes while reading it and the chest too. I could see a woman holding the chest tightly to protect it from being violated. Very vivid.

  24. Those dots didn't let me breathe.

  25. All I can say is..this isn't merely a blog post..its a piece of poetry!

  26. Never read something so beautifully poignant in a long time. The box was a metaphor for the woman with the almond-shaped eyes and perhaps all women out there, who unquestioningly live a life where nobody cares enough to peek into the soul within.

  27. Samadrita..you are bang on..the box is indeed the metaphor fora woman who is any woman..passing throught the eyes of loved ones unseen & undiscovered many a times..thanks so so much everyone for your kind words..& mostly to you Purba for this opportunity to connect here with so many. Love

  28. Great style here. I loved the free flowing prose, as you think types. I will probably visit back again and re-read. Kudos to the writer.

  29. Purba,

    A very touching post.

    Take care

  30. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.A moving post....

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