She seemingly wanted to contradict the titles given to people like her, but something held her back.
Honestly, I have never seen any writer up close.
She must have been a moderately famous one, for I noticed how even the door man at the small eatery looked at us.
We were at the station.
Few minutes back at the platform we met. She was sitting on her luggage and working something on her laptop when a sudden whiff of breeze took some papers from her hand and threw them on the platform.
I picked them and handed them to her. She smiled. I pictured the whole thing as something very cinematic. Or it might be I had seen clippings of movies where the hero met the heroine that way. And their eyes surely got locked on each other’s.
But I have never taken interest in literature. Crazy stuff without least logic that’s how I looked upon literature, specially poems. Stories…well, some I liked but then big fat books running for pages?
They made me sleepy.
But this woman.
The pages I collected were letterheads with long passages typed neatly.
‘Malabika Sen Sharma, Wordsmith’
It was written.
Not a writer?
Malabika wanted to have coffee and snacks. She asked if I could join her.
I agreed. Not because Malabika was good looking. But because those pages had that strange description of her profession.
‘yes! A wordsmith’
I noticed her smile had a sense of self attained authority.
‘and what do you do?’
I asked, taking my second sip of the brew and a bite at the sandwich.
‘I? I work in I.T.’
I claimed with pride.
She smiled again. Her eyes did not have that usual appreciative lustre which I had usually faced while declaring my job to strangers.
‘and what you do?’
I asked Malabika.
‘I make words…’
‘How can one make words? Words come to us like packaged things. They are part of our language system, by default, I mean…’
I tried to elucidate.
‘Have you ever thought that words which you think coming to us by default, are actually coined by someone or some group of people at one time?’
She asked me.
‘Yes…I got it! You are a linguist! A language expert!’
I tried to show off little bit of knowledge I had retained about language.
In my graduation days, while learning communicative English, our teacher once gave an enthralling lecture on Language and its origin. By some providence, I got reminded of it faintly.
Pure girlish giggle of hers.
Suddenly she looked much younger than she looked.
Her face looked like a sixteen year old’s.
‘Nah! I am not a linguist, boy! I am a wordsmith!’
She asserted, with playful disobedience.
‘So you coin words and earn living by that?’
I tried to be serious.
‘Is it a job or a business?’
I asked again.
‘A job of course!’
‘And you work for?’
‘a publishing company’
I retorted and concentrated on finishing off the sandwich and coffee.
Got the train to catch within half an hour or so.
Malabika asked, seeing me hurrying through a bit with coffee.
‘Really? For me too, same’
She seemed excited.
I got surprised.
‘Train to Allahabad? Yours?’
‘Yes, a little boy mine’
‘Little boy? Yours? You are almost of my age and I am not a little boy in any sense’
I thought she was joking.
‘As a wordsmith, I give you this name, cherub, how is that for the rest of our journey? I mean I will call you cherub? Will you mind?’
‘Of course I will!’
I showed my dissent.
‘My name is Dhruvo. You can call me Dhruv.’
‘Okay Dhruv. I call you Dhruv. Now let’s walk out to the platform’
Malabika said, agreeing.
The bill we paid together, each of us bearing the half of it.
As we started moving briskly through the platform, its moving passengers, vendors, etc; I felt bad for being so obstinate to Malabika over just my name. Would it really matter if she called me ‘cherub’?
I asked myself.
Few minutes from now she would go to her compartment, me mine.
I finally told her when she was about to put her luggage into her assigned coach.
‘For showing my dissent over a trifle issue…you’re calling me cherub.’
‘Its okay… and, moreover Dhruv, it showed you are a cherub! A little angelic boy…happy journey friend and thanks for the company at the cafe’
‘Yea… when the train would stop at Allahabad, could we meet then?’
‘We could but you would have to promise me that when we would meet at Allahabad, you would give me a name, is it okay with you?’
‘But I am not a wordsmith like you…’
I tried to protest.
‘You need not to be one’
I waved her and walked to get to the door of my coach.
Next afternoon when I got down from the train at Allahabad, found Malabika at the main gate.
We both went outside.
‘So…tell me, got any?’
‘Yes, notebook, now let’s go out and catch a taxi first to the hotel where we are to attend our first launch of digital word processor.’
Moinak is a teacher by profession and a published English fiction writer and poet. Got two critically acclaimed English literary fictions to his credit namely "online@offline" and "in sarch of la radice". Many short stories and poems and essays by him found their ways in dailies, magazines, journals and webzines. Lives at Kolkata. Loves to do travel photography.