What’s in the letter?!

Love letter, found

What's in the letter?

Whenever I think of my college days, I inevitably remember our hostel and the larks that formed an integral part of our hostel life. Although we managed to have a jolly time on the whole, there was one rule that caused a great deal of resentment. All our letters were ‘censored’ by the assistant superintendent of our hostel before they were handed over to us in the dining hall during dinner. 

The lady in question also cherished the most unholy suspicion of anything she considered to be a ‘love letter’. It could be a request for contribution from the editor of a student magazine, a graphic description of a cricket match from an old school crony, an invitation to a debate, or even an account of an NCC bash.

Anything written by a boy who was not a brother came under the forbidden category and the lady felt it her duty to pull up the culprit for “encouraging the advances of the opposite sex” in no uncertain terms! And that too in front of the entire hostel crowd.

Not that this stopped people from having boyfriends! But the boys in question did not dare to write anything except inane nothings that could pass off for the harmless rambling of a superannuated grand-uncle. Or else, write a pack of postcards instead of an envelope as it was a known fact that the lady barely glanced at the pile of postcards. That is to say, all except Asita’s boy-friend, who was “doing his English honours” in Surendranath College.

Asita’s boyfriend continued to address big fat envelopes to his inamorata and our superintendent handed them over to her with nothing more than a frown.

“Talk of partiality!” cried Rina who had just been severely rebuked because her cousin in Darjeeling had quoted a few lines from Tagore’s Sesher Kavita! Asita smirked. “His language is just fantastic,” she crooned. “Even our superintendent can’t but be impressed by it.”

The rest of us felt highly annoyed. It seemed extremely unfair, even if it were so!

“Let’s have a look at his language,” said Reba.

“No fears!” cried Asita, shoving the letter inside her desk and locking it. But fate played into our hands one day when Asita left her bursting billet-doux on the table by mistake. “Let’s now read the fantastic words that have the ability to strike even our honoured superintendent dumb!” said Rina and picked up the letter. The rest of us surrounded her joyfully. This is how it began:

‘Oh Potentate of my Quintessence,

Although the amalgamation and promulgation of our spirits is tantamount to a paramount phenomenon, your deportment and comportment is beyond my apprehension and comprehension.’

“Gosh! What a jaw-breaker!” cried Tapi.

“But what does it mean?” asked Reba.

“And what’s comportment?” Subrata asked me.

“Ask me another,” I replied, at a loss for words.

“Well, you’re supposed to be doing English Honours too!” remarked Rina accusingly.  “But we don’t go for this sort of vocab,” I replied meekly.  

“No wonder Asita snaffles my dictionary the moment a letter arrives,” said Rina.

“Well, at least she is lucky not to have the superintendent falling over her like a ton of bricks every time she has a letter from him,” I said.

“Lucky?” cried my friends together. “You call it LUCK to keep getting stuff that’s meant to be a bouquet but sounds just like brickbats?”

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