About The Perfume of Promise

It was Sashwat who wanted to marry Gauri. This was when their entire fairly parochial locality was abuzz with the irregularity of her younger sister Uma being married before her. But Sashwat was younger too, the same age as Uma. And just this fact alone had Gauri extremely reluctant. Yet the marriage did take place between a silent unsmiling Sashwat and a nervous, misgiving-ridden Gauri.


Married life was not easy either. The new household was forbidding and unconventional. Her job had been given up and now there was practically nothing to do. These were minor. The fact was that neither she nor Sashwat had established even the minimal balance required to live together for life. That inability made her unsure. And spurred Sashwat to anger.


No one really knows how marriages are. Each experience is unique. Sashwat’s predisposes him to take a drastic step. He chooses to leave home for the US: cutting his losses, hoping never to return.


Only 7 years later, he visits India to attend a funeral in New Delhi. Thoughts of his father and his childhood home draw him to a brief stopover in Kolkata. He is surprised to find Gauri still there. His anger and some unresolved issues compel him to seek answers to that disaster that was their marriage. The answers he finds are not what he expected.


About Tread Softly

I had always known that I would have to submit to my family’s choice of a suitable groom. It really ought not have mattered which brother I eventually ended up marrying. As the replacement groom, the older step-brother, Abhinn, was a curt and unsmiling stranger on whom was thrust as an onerous duty this wedding, and consequently, me. 

As I witnessed his far-removed lifestyle firsthand, the irreconcilable nature of our lives and their contexts enforced distance and silence. On our parts. Mamun, his aunt, was voluble in her utter disapproval. It is ironic then that she achieved in death what in life she hadn’t – the final severance to this ever-tenuous, impossible bondage.

If anything had compelled my acceptance of this situation, it was a good understanding of my background: of the societal pressures on my parents and of how my hometown, Manoharpur, views any broken marriage. Ultimately these considerations defeated me and I returned to Kolkata, and temporarily, to the household in my quest for an alternative foothold.

As my fledgling bookstore grew, so did his unmistakeable romance with Geetika once disrupted by our ill-advised marriage. These are facts. And beyond bare facts are lives touched by the magic of proximities and their infinite contradictions.

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