• Shreya Teresita

Feluda Too Had a Love Story

© Carpe Diem Tales/Ipshita Mitra
Feluda Had a Love Story (Graphics by Ipshita Mitra)

The cigarettes hadn't become a habit for Feluda yet; the eye for truth-seeking was still getting polished by the dog-eared Sherlock Holmes books. The lanky Prodosh Mitra — aka Felu Mittir — then just freshly into his 20s, would turn up at the Sealdah station every evening with a wandering pair of eyes, to catch the last Barasat local.

Every day, he would be one of the handful to board the train. Every day, he'd climb on into the very last compartment and hang by the gate, waiting. With every passing moment, his heartbeat would quicken. Would today finally be the day she misses it!

But then, every day, just as the train was about to leave the station, she would come running and jump on at the last moment. Every day, she would re-enter Felu's life at at fag end of the night with a crashing, reckless entrance that left everything about his calm demeanor unsettled. She was his storm.

© Carpe Diem Tales/Ipshita Mitra
Graphics by Ipshita Mitra

The last day they met, it had rained. As she stumbled in, the train compartment, already heady with the scent of wet earth, filled with scent for her rose perfume. Her dark green saree, the loose strands of hair from her braid were dripping with rain water. Panting, she leaned back by the door, facing Felu.

"Kaner dul ta kobe kinle?" he asked her — ‘When did you buy those earrings?’. She looked surprised.

"Ki kore bujhle notun?" — ‘how did you know they were new?' she asked. Felu smiled.

"The stones on them haven't come off yet, which means your nails haven't yet had the time to pry them off absentmindedly. They still have the original studs, which means you haven't had the time to lose them yet. And most importantly," he walked across to her and lightly touched her ear, slowly tracing his finger down to the earrings. "I have never seen green jhumkas in your jewellery box."

She didn't respond; her expression remained unreadable. Felu’s sharp observation skills were familiar to her. She knew he could read her mind on her face if she gave it away that easy. So she held back and took a deep breath.

"My fiance gave them to me," she said steadily. Her eyes did not let go his gaze as she said that. He, after a while, turned away.

As the train began to roll, she stepped closer to him and rested her head on his shoulders. He shifted a little, but didn't quite push her away.

"Please. Bas, aajker din ta," she whispered — ‘just for today’. They stayed like that for the next few minutes, loosely holding on to each other, as the train jostled towards the next station where their journey together would end.

There, Felu got down and headed home, lighting the first of his many, many cigarettes. She, unnamed and lost, rode away in the last Barasat local to a different life.

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