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  • Debashree Ghosh

Seashell earrings

It was our last day at Puri, orissa.

Having enjoyed seven awesome days, and nights, it was our final evening in the city of Lord Jagannath. We bengalis visit Puri often, almost like once a year, still we feel like this is the best Seabeach in the world where you can simply sit by the sea, listen to the waves, munch on peanuts and chat with your family and friends for hours. Maybe the word "leisure" was invented by someone actually enjoying leisure at the Puri Seabeach.

Even though it was like our annual visit, we always made sure to buy something or the other for our loved ones at home, in Kolkata. Simple Showpieces for the adults, seashell jewelry for the ladies, random toys for the kids, and the famous khaja for all. This time too, we bought gifts for all our loved ones but I forgot to buy a gift for my little cousin. So while everyone was getting ready for checking out at the hotel and leave for the station, I told them to continue without me as I have to go to the beach market immediately and buy some toy for the little cousin!

I went to the beach alone. I bought a beautiful small seashell owl for the kid and decided to return to the station. But I still had time to catch the train, so thought of saying a 'goodbye' to my beloved Bay of Bengal before leaving this beautiful city. This was the first time I soaked my feet in the sea, alone, that too in the dark! It was a different kind of excitement!! But then, I saw this old man there, on the beach, looking for something in the sand. It was dark, so I turned on the torchlight in my mobile and asked him "have you lost something uncle? " He seemed worried as if he had lost something really valuable. He replied to me in bengali "I am looking for a seashell earring! I have one with me, but lost the other one of the pair! "

"But I don't think you can get it back uncle, the waves might already have taken it away into the sea, besides its so dark and slippery here! Don't go any further into the sea at night else you might fall by the current of the strong waves!"

"What will I tell her? She'll be so mad at me! This is her only seashell earring pair and I have lost one! "

"Buy another pair for her. If you don't mind uncle, can I buy one pair for aunty? You look like my father, so I'll be really happy if you allow me to buy a pair of seashell earrings for aunty! " I told him enthusiastically! Looking at the condition of his clothes and shoes I thought of helping out this poor old man. But his reply shocked me.

"No beta, you can't. We came here on our honeymoon. I bought this pair for her. She took such great care of this simple earrings that she wore it on our fortieth anniversary and surprised me. It was my first ever gift to her, so she kept it with utmost care. We wanted to visit puri this year together and this was supposed to be our second visit to puri. She decided to wear her wedding saree and this earrings to commemorate our strong companionship of 40 years! But I lost her last month. Since the tickets were bought already, I decided to come alone. And I bought her seashell earrings with me. I dipped them in the sea water to make her soul feel the warmth of the sea. She couldn't be here in flesh so I wanted her favorite seashell earrings to get their promised second Puri tour. But a big wave imbalanced me and one of the earrings fell into the sea! I've been searching for it for so long but can't find it."

I felt astonished by these words. In a world of ever changing tastes and fake love stories, the bond between this old pair of strangers surprised me to the core! I calmly told the old man, "Leave it there uncle. It now belongs to aunty. She sent that big wave to take one earring from you,but left one for you as well to remind you that just like you two were parts of the same soul, these two earrings too now belong to the two of you, till you meet her again, when your souls become one and the pair becomes complete!"

Even in the dark, I saw droplets in the corner of his eyes. We both bid goodbye to the sea and left.

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