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Long, lonely vigil for lost love

Last spring, she was walking the lanes of Lake Town with the man she loved, full of hope and happiness. Today, she spends desolate days and numbing nights, in a corner of the courtyard leading to her lover’s door, waiting in vain for him to return.

Pompy Pal, in her twenties, has been on a dharna, on P.C. Ghosh Road, where the man who had pledged his love to her used to live before ditching her and marrying another.

“Amit promised to marry me. He did not keep his word. He cheated me… But I still love him. I can do anything for him and nothing can stop me from loving him. This is my battle for love and, one day, I will win it… He will come back to me,” says Pompy, a picture of desperate devotion on a slab of cement.

And those around her can only watch her lone vigil in wonder. Manjushree Tita, one of the tenants in Amit’s house, says: “Eto koshto manush korte pare, Pompyke na dekhle bojha jay na (Seeing Pompy, one can realise how much pain a person can take)… She spends the nights here, just sitting on a concrete slab in front of their door. I give her water, so that she does not fall ill. I give her mosquito-repellent coils to save her from the bugs… What will happen to her'”

Pompy, estranged from her husband, fell in love with Amit last year. “I used to work as a credit-card agent with a foreign bank, where he was one of my colleagues,” she recounts, unmoving, under the blazing April sun.

“I left my husband’s home in March last year and filed for a divorce. Amit then expressed his love for me. Initially, I did not reciprocate, but gradually, I, too, fell in love with him… I left my job as he did not want me to work. He rented a flat for me and said we would be married soon.”

On January 29, Pompy’s love-nest came crashing down. That night, Amit left her for another girl, without telling Pompy a thing. Pompy took an overdose of sleeping pills but survived the suicide bid. She was admitted to R.G. Kar Medical College and Hospital, from where she was discharged on February 4. It was then that Pompy heard of Amit’s marriage.

“I didn’t know what to do. I turned to various people for help and even met local CPM councillor Anup Mitra… Then, I decided to start a solitary struggle to win back my love,” she says, sitting quietly in a brightly printed sari.

Asked why Amit had deserted Pompy, the boy’s uncle says: “One day before Amit’s marriage, we came to know that he had a relationship with Pompy. But it was too late… What is the point of staging a dharna here'”

But there’s no stopping Pompy. And residents of the Lake Town locality, watching Pompy wait for Amit, are in a strange state of shock and awe. “The way she is expressing her love is quite amazing. She is just sitting there in the open, day and night,” says Biswanath Kundu, owner of a grocery shop close to the heartbreak house.

Initially, Pompy was refusing food, but the people in the para have convinced her not to starve “for the sake of her struggle”.

Members of Patipukur Adarsha Sangha, a club close to where Pompy is on a dharna, reiterate that the girl has been fighting all alone. “She did not come to us for help. But we are supporting her. We understand what she is going through and are there for her,” they said on Wednesday.

And through it all, the girl appears to bear no malice towards the boy who “ruined” her life. “I don’t want to lodge any complaint with police against Amit… I don’t want him to be harassed by anyone. All I want is to spend the rest of my life with him. Why' Just because I love him.”

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