You wake up to a cold morning on bijoya dashami. There’s a muddy lethargy from last night, but the eerie stillness in your chest has not broken. You desperately prey for a way to stretch the quiet. The phone rings on and off, pronams and ashirbad exchanged over 1000 kilometers of telephone wiring.
Lunch is at home today, you escape with five fistfuls of rice and patla macher jhol, your mother insists it is. One half of a raw banana for the constipation you invented earlier that day. If there was something exciting you’d mention it now, so- the history project is going well.
It rains for the first time in two weeks in the afternoon. The laundry is still out, but you leave it there, there’s nothing you can do about it at this point. Your sister loses both rounds in the chess competition. The evening is wet, there’s a rainbow over the woods of eucalyptus. Your grandparents enjoy it more than you or your sister do. You can hear the sound of the dhak fading away as the procession moves towards the lake. The cries of jay ma resounding in the town centre die as the night descends. The clay idols of gods disappear under water, a last look at the world from a tilted mirror, before they return to shapeless earth at the bottom of the lake. You weren’t there, but you know the air turns red with shidoor, settling in the dips of collar bones and staining white sarees. There’s a red that you’re scared will stain your clothes and be seen when you touch the feet of your grandparents, but its okay because you’re given a sweet and a hand placed on your head.
You manage to skip going down for mangsho bhat with people you don’t want to meet until next year, when pujo comes again.