Chandrilota - 8

Distance can adversely affect your bonding with an individual, we were always afraid of this. I had asked her what she would do if there was someone closer to her who could meet her emotional needs, I think she had contemplated the possibility of such a situation much before I had asked her. She was silent on the issue and since I knew her quite well, I had not pressed the issue further.

She was doing well at the art institute, Prof. Nabokov was deeply appreciative of her and she was doing well in her personal circles as well. She had made a few new friends - Sonja, Augustine and Vladek, all remarkable people in their own right. Vladek was a classical painter with a post-modern sense of humor, he really was weird and extremely witty. Sonja was a juniour lecturer at the institute, she worked mostly on sculptures and would talk about Rodin to anyone who would listen. Augustine was actually a student of Philosophy from Fiji, he had taught himself Processing and Javascript and had made an interactive art canvas for one of the biggest ad agencies there. This resulted in him coming to Moscow. Augustine was perhaps the quietest of the lot.

Vladek would send chain mails on a weekly basis to all of us, this turned out to be annoying at first when most of the mails consisted of gifs of cats, usually reacting to cucumber. After a serious reprimand from me and Sonja's hilarious poem 'O Vladek, my Vladek', there had been a change of content - we now had to put up with Vladek's discussions of hypothetical foreign policy (I did think that some of his responses were appropriate for Quora).

Chandrilota was happy, and that made me happy. She was finally living her dream, in another few years, she would received her M.A. and then she would be equipped to face the real world as an independent artist. I always liked her idea of publishing work through small independent studios instead of the bigger ones, it made her less mainstream, perhaps even avant-garde but she always had a small group who would come to their exhibits. It was a small crowd but a really supportive one, hence their attempt at crowdfunding had been successful. This would enable Chandri and another senior student of Prof. Nabokov to fly to Berlin, just ahead of the Berlin film festival to paint a mural on the side of a large building. This move was widely supported by the graffiti artists in the Berlin area as they felt that it would make graffiti art more mainstream, perhaps be treated as an 'art' instead of being called an act of vandalism. Graffiti artists like King Robbo and Banksy had paved way for a new generation of street artists who could actually make money from their work.

'I'm sorry I can't Skype on weekends, I really am. Artur is killing me with work!'

I said that I understood her, she had wanted this badly and now she was finally on the right path.

'Tell Artur that if something happens to my girl, he is going to have that stupid nose of his broken. And I'll not leave Nabokov moshai either.'

'Do you know that he always gets asked if he wrote Lolita ?'

I chuckled, reminding myself that I would have probably asked Prof. Nabokov the same question myself.

'All right, I'm going to get dinner. When is the defence ?'

'19th and you know I haven't prepared any slides.'

'Once a jackass, always a jackass,' she shook her head.

The next two weeks were hectic, we hardly had time to speak. She left for Berlin and I got ready for my presentation. This was until the messages started flowing into my inbox:

Temporary messenger group: the mural xoxoxo (Augustine G, Maitraya K B, Vladek S, Sonja W, Chandrilota S)
[Unnamed group created by Augustine]
[Augustine added Maitraya, Vladek, Sonja, Chandrilota]
[Augustine changed the group name to 'the mural xoxo']

Augustine Gonzalvez (30/05/2018 00:38) : Yo dude, you've a ring ?
Me (30/05/2018 00:38): Wait, what ?
Augustine Gonzalvez (30/05/2018 00:39) : Such romance, much waow!
Me (30/05/2018 00:39) : Umm .. what's going on ?
Augustine Gonzalvez (30/05/2018 00:39) : She's made you immortal.
Augustine Gonzalvez (30/05/2018 00:39) : <media omitted>

[ The media is a picture of a brick red three storey building, on one side seems to be a freshly made mural. I see a two giant raven perched atop a staff, spreading it's wings, snakes coiled down the staff.]

Augustine Gonzalvez (30/05/2018 00:40) : Bwahaha! Luuurv hits the chest :p
Sonja Witten (30/05/2018 00:40) : You should marry her when she visits you this time, you know!!!
Vladek Smirnov (30/05/2018 00:41) : Sorry for intruding late into the conversation! @maitraya, I agree with @sonja.
Vladek Smirnov (30/05/2018 00:42) : <link omitted>

[The link is a bollywood song, I hear Udit Narayan after years. My blood boils as 'Are re are ye kya hua' starts playing. I am secretly glad that this is not a Mithun song. ]

Me (30/05/2018 00:44) : Fucking hell, Vlad!
Vladek Smirnov (30/05/2018 00:44) : Tu ru ru ru ru ru ru ru .. tu ru ru ru ru ru
Sonja Witten (30/05/2018 00:45) : :p
Me (30/05/2018 00:45) : I hate you guys :(
Chandrilota Sengupta (30/05/2018 00:46) : Hlw hlw
Me (30/05/2018 00:46) : fuck
Vladek Smirnov (30/05/2018 00:46) : Oh hi @chandri! @maitraya was just telling us about the big ring that he got!
Sonja Witten (30/05/2018 00:47) : and how much me would like to see you as his wife ... :o
Vladek Smirnov (30/05/2018 00:47) : ...and that I would be his best man!
Augustine Gonzalvez (30/05/2018 00:48) : hehe ... you young people .. my blessings

Me (30/05/2018 00:48) : ...
Chandrilota Sengupta (30/05/2018 00:49) : You guys! ... So, about the ravens.
Vladek Smirnov (30/05/2018 00:50) : Guys, I just realized that I'm late for an auction to buy the world's smallest large screen television. Gotta go! Ciao.

[Vladek has left the conversation]

Sonja Witten (30/05/2018 00:51) : Me too, going to set some homework.
Augustine Gonzalvez (30/05/2018 00:52) : I also realized that I have to meet a long lost twin brother of mine who was separated from us during a carnival, hehe, Bye!

[Augustine changed the group name to 'for i can't help fallin' in luuurv with you']

[Sonja has left the conversation]
[Augustine has left the conversation]

Me (30/05/2018 00:54) : so, the ravens.
Chandrilota Sengupta (30/05/2018 00:54) : One moment.

Me (30/05/2018 00:57) : You still there ?

[Chandrilota changed the group name to '39039820']

Chandrilota Sengupta (30/05/2018 00:58) : So Huginn and Muninn, I finally decided to get some inspiration from your essay. It wasn't easy, and I was not sure whether you would like it at all ... I mean, it's not something I do everyday.

Me (30/05/2018 00:59) : It's beautiful.

Chandrilota Sengupta (30/05/2018 00:59) : So this ring ...

Me (30/05/2018 01:00) : Your friends are the most evil assholes on the planet !

Little did Chandrilota know at that point that I had a small box tucked safely into the locker of the almirah, maybe it wasn't very large or impressive but I had spent almost a year on this, and it was a labour of love.

Distance can adversely affect your bonding with an individual, this statement is perhaps not true. I smile sometimes, when I realize that with my Chandri, we had created a world, a Midgard between Moscow and Kolkata where Huginn and Muninn, thought and memory, could fly freely. At the end of the day, they would then sit on the shoulders of the all-father, Grimnir, Odin to give him valuable advice. This was her way of responding to my apprehensions.

Huginn and Muninn, perhaps they were us.