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The wind was quite strong and the waves were voraciously making their presence felt by pounding on the cemented boulders that were uniformly dispersed throughout this densely populated Digha sea beach. There were throngs of tourists in the nooks and corners of this beach.The persistent monsoon showers were pelting down even some minutes ago. But as soon as the rain unfastened its grip, the sea beach was once again rejuvenated with the fervor of the tourists.

I was accompanied by my wife Malini and our 6-year-old son, Nil. It was a sudden plan and we have arrived at the newly built section of this quaint beach town. Malini was busy looking at some temporary shops that were dispersed around the seashore. But I could hardly take away my mind from the incident that took place a few minutes ago. We were about to check in a hotel where I saw Arnab at the reception desk.

He was also startled for some time but he soon revived his composure and started informing me about the tariffs of the rooms. I soon completed the formalities and asked him about his whereabouts. He gave a wry smile and answered all my queries. I learned that he was the assistant manager of this hotel and he had bagged this job after he completed a hotel management course. However, I observed that he was not quite keen to extend our conversation and seemed to be more inclined towards the disbursement of his chores.

So I did not bother him much since I realized that his behavior is quite justified after what transpired between us. However, it was quite difficult for me to evade his memories. Many flashes of old memories were constantly trying to dominate my mind. Arnab was true quite a bosom friend of mine a long time back in college. He was the one with whom I could confide all my secrets, emotions, and feelings.

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I could visualize those days where we used to travel together to our college in Central Kolkata by enormously crowded local trains. We had other friends also but the bonding between us was quite superior. My thought processes soon drifted me from this bustling beach town to our college library and canteen. The first few months of college life would be etched in my memories until my last breath.

I could never forget the surprise birthday bash that Arnab had arranged for me with the help of other friends. But like say that memorable phases of our lives are often shortlived. But I could no longer maneuver my thoughts to the rest of the events that unfolded to my utter dismay since Malini noticed my absent-mindedness and enquired what was wrong with me. I had not mentioned Arnab’s name even once in the last eight years.

But I was keen to inform you about Arnab. She was a bit startled because she knew almost all of my friends as I keep in touch with most of them and asked me whether Arnab was just a batchmate and was not such a close friend of mine. I had to relent since I was not prepared to divulge everything at this point. Although I promised myself that Malini has to know everything, there should not be any secret between us.

To be continued….

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