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THROUGH THE BROKEN GLASS


Greetings, cherished readers and listeners! Prepare yourselves for an enchanting journey, as this tale is brimming with mystery. As you embark on this adventure through "Through the Broken Glass," I warmly invite you to become an integral part of our community by joining the membership of this site and subscribing to my mailing list. Your thoughts and opinions are highly valued; please feel free to share them in the comments section. Besides, consider subscribing to my YouTube channel for more engaging content. I wholeheartedly welcome all forms of feedback, be it praise or constructive criticism. Your insights are crucial in enhancing my journey as a writer and podcaster. Immerse yourself and enjoy the experience.



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INTRO 00:00:00


Welcome to OBSCURUS, your weekly dose of paranormal fiction. Every Wednesday OBSCURUS features new short stories and serialized novels written by novelist, screenwriter, and voice-over artist Biswajit Banerjee. The realm of the paranormal stretches far beyond the usual horror story. So, while you will get to listen to lots of ghost stories on this podcast, there will also be many tales of lesser-known paranormal themes. To get us started, here's your host Biswajit Banerjee. 


HOST TALK 00:00:47


Hello and welcome to OBSCURUS. I am Biswajit Banerjee, and I am your host for the show. In this episode, I will narrate the story of a man who regrets the pain he inflicted on his ex-girlfriend.


Before diving into the story, I request that my readers and listeners visit my website, biswajitbanerjee.com, and become members. The website contains all information about my creative endeavors.


Also, I would like you to visit obscurus.buzzsprout.com, my second website dedicated to this podcast. All OBSCURUS episodes, transcripts, and chapter markers are available on this site.


 We would be immensely grateful if you decided to become a patron of this podcast by supporting this show. You will soon find us on Patreon and other websites where you can make your donations. Dear Readers and Listeners, please subscribe to my YouTube channels as well. Check the links in the show notes or the description if you are listening to this episode on YouTube.


Will you be taking my upcoming course, Spoken English for Non-native Speakers? I have designed it to help those who are not native English speakers and are desirous to develop English fluency.


Now it's time to get into the story. A young man breaks up with his girlfriend over something small and nonsensical. He comes to his senses soon after and realizes how much he wronged her— but it's too late by then. She has no social media presence, and he can't find her anywhere. Will the man ever be able to apologize? Let's see what happens next.


THROUGH THE BROKEN GLASS 00:03:40


Written and performed by Biswajit Banerjee


The strange world accessible through the broken glass!

00:03:53


The two-day conference was over, and I was back in the hotel room. I represented my company very well, or at least that's what my colleagues told me. We were scheduled to catch the return flight from Heathrow the next day in the evening.


After a quick shower, I put on my nightgown and went to bed. Exhausted from the conference, I needed rest. I was about to drift off to slumber when I noticed something strange about the curtain covering the window wall. The curtain bulged forward somewhere close to the center as though a draft was blowing it from behind. But no part of the window wall was open - I had little doubts about that since I had checked all the windows and doors before going to bed.


When the bulge grew, I got out of bed and walked to the window.


00:05:13


Upon drawing the curtain back, I found a large break in the glass. Oh my goodness! How did that happen?


Shaken to the core, I quickly moved to the door and checked if it was locked from the inside. It was. I looked back at the window to make sure  I hadn't imagined things. But the glass, indeed, was broken, and the wind was blowing the curtain into the room.


Before I could call for help, I realized it was daylight outside. How could that be? It had gotten dark an hour before I returned to the hotel. The wall clock to my right showed it was around 9.15 p.m. In the next second, I also realized the wall window opened into what looked like a green field with meadows. Impossible! My hotel room was on the fourteenth floor! What was going on? Was I staring at an unknown dimension?


00:06:42


In a daze, I walked to the window wall and stepped out onto the grass. As I took in the surreal sight before me, a gentle breeze caressed my face and hair. Children played over meadows while couples walked hand in hand, enjoying the lovely weather. Somewhere close by, a stream gurgled, and a bird sang merrily. I was confused and scared but also felt exhilarated at being part of this strange new world - THROUGH THE BROKEN GLASS.


No dwellings or buildings were in sight, only trees, grass, and wildflowers as far as my eyes could see. I ambled a bit, trying to make sense of what I witnessed.


00:07:47


Then I saw her - my girlfriend, oh, I mean my ex-girlfriend. Close to twenty-three years had passed since I saw her last. Time had no effect on her looks. Pooja still looked in her mid-twenties, and her beauty, as before, took my breath away.


She was with a group of people, laughing and talking animatedly. But then she spotted me and her laughter died away. We locked eyes briefly before she broke away and walked toward me.


"Akshay," She said softly, "I guess we are meeting after two decades"


"Pooja," I whispered still in shock. "What is this place? Where are we?"


"Don't you know?"


"No, I have no idea."


"It's a place close to the north pole."


"A place close to the north pole!""That's right.""How can that be? It is not cold at all."


"Maybe you are confusing this place with planet Earth. The places close to the north pole on planet Earth are cold. But this is not Earth.


""What are you saying, Pooja?"


"Well, I am telling you the truth, Akshay. You are now stationed on the planet called Dulzomium."


"Come on now, there’s no planet by that name."


"Akshay, there are millions of planets in this universe. And Dulzomium is one of them."


I shook my head unable to trust what I heard. Things were all too much for me to absorb.


Pooja reached out and touched my arm gently. "Hey, are you all right?"


I nodded still in a state of shock.


"Akshay," she said rounding her fingers around my arm, "it's been years since I have seen you. Let's not waste any more time discussing things of little value. Come with me, and I'll show you around this place."


I hesitated momentarily but then I realized there was nothing to lose. So, I went with her.


Pooja showed me around the green and beautiful landscapes. She pointed at a meadow with a lovely smile and said, "Come, let's sit down and talk."


We sat down on the summit of the meadow and gazed at each other for a long time, unsure of what to say. Finally, I broke the silence.


"Pooja," I whispered, "I am not sure what's happening. My hotel room was on the fourteenth floor and I walked into this place you call planet Dulzomium through a break in the glass of the room's window wall."


"How does it matter how you got in here? What matters is you are here."

"Am I dreaming?"


"Who can tell? Our entire existence could be a dream - our experiences may be no more than a sequence of dreams. Some are good, and some are ..."


"Bad, you mean?"


"No." Pooja moved her head, "heartbreaking ... some are heartbreaking."


'Heartbreaking' - well, I knew at once what she meant. More than twenty-three years back, I broke her heart. Only if I could move back in time and change things.


We started out as colleagues in a small firm. I was the junior copywriter, and she was the senior art director. Our professional bond soon turned into something more. We fell in love and began dating each other.


However, I struggled to establish myself in my career while Pooja's career was on the rise. She got opportunities to work on some big projects which took her away from me for long stretches of time. I felt insecure and jealous, and I hated Pooja's association with other men in the advertising industry.


Often I would pick fights with her and accuse her of cheating on me. Our fights became more and more frequent.


Around that time I got friendly with another girl called Neetu. She was new in the advertising industry and was full of admiration for my work. I started spending more time with Neetu and soon fell for her.Pooja was devastated when I told her I wanted to  break up and begged me to give her another chance but I was too blinded by my infatuation for Neetu to see sense.


After the break-up, Pooja left the advertising firm we were working in and joined a reputed multinational company. Months later I learned she had been posted in their Madrid office.


In the meantime, I married Neetu. Within a month of the marriage, I realized my mistake. Neetu was not the girl I thought she was. She was possessive and manipulative. Often she would pick fights with me and accuse me of cheating on her, just like I had done with Pooja. Our frequent squabbles led to divorce in less than two years of marriage.


Pooja and I had lost touch with each other over the years. But I never forgot her. I often thought about her and regretted how things ended between us. It was all my fault! 


Though professional success came to me in good measure, my personal life was a mess. I had a series of short-lived relationships. None of them could fill the emptiness in my heart left by Pooja. Only if I could meet her one more time and apologize for the pain I caused her! 'Sorry, Pooja, sorry, I have been such an idiot. Please forgive me," I would often imagine myself saying to her. Every now and then, I checked the web with the hope of finding her, but she had no social media presence. So, years passed, but I never got the chance to meet Pooja or apologize.


00:16:01


And I found myself here now, face to face with Pooja after all these years! Was she real? Or was I on a wild flight of imagination? What was this world? Why was Pooja in it? Regardless of what was happening, it was an opportunity to seek her forgiveness.


"Pooja, I am so sorry for what happened between us," I blurted out. "I was an idiot to have let you go. You were the most wonderful thing that ever happened in my life., Pooja and I ruined it all."


"The past is the past." She smiled through the hurt. "It cannot be changed. What matters is the present."


"But the guilt inside is killing me, Pooja. I have to apologize for all the pain I caused you. Please, forgive me."


"There is nothing to forgive and forget," she replied. "Both of us have moved on with our lives. That is all that matters."


I looked into her shining eyes, and I knew she was right. The past couldn't be changed. All that mattered was the present. And in the present, we were nothing more than strangers.


"It was nice meeting you, Akshay," she said, standing up and turning to leave.


"Wait!" I got up, too, and called out to her. "Where are you going?"


"I have to go now," she replied. "But I will always remember you."


"When can I see you again?"


"Why do you wish to see me again, Akshay?"


"I don't know," I replied. "There is something about you, Pooja, that makes me feel at peace."


"I am glad you felt that way in my presence." She smiled again. "But this is goodbye, Akshay."

"Can't I ever get in touch with you again?"


"Well, you could try," she said. "if fate wills it, we will meet again. +447996210028."


"What is that number?"


"If fate wills it, you shall know."


And with that, she was gone. I wanted to run after Pooja, but my legs felt like lead. I stood there, rooted to the spot, helplessly watching her disappear into the crowd. As I cursed myself for being so unjust to Pooja, a stone fell from the sky and hit me on the head.


00:19:17


I woke up with a start. It was all a dream! I was lying on my bed, sweating profusely.


Daylight was streaming in through the window. When I inspected the window wall, I saw no break in the glass.


Even long after waking up, I couldn't get the dream out. It felt so real! I could still see Pooja's face and hear her voice. What did the dream mean? Was it a sign from some ethereal source?


As I bit into a sandwich and sipped coffee, I tried to recall the name of the planet I had visited in my dream. "What did she say the planet's name was?" I asked myself. The dream's events crossed my mind, but the planet's name still evaded me.


Suddenly, it hit me - she said the planet's name was Dulzomium. Oh yes, Dulzomium it was! I had a strong intuition the word meant something significant, and I looked up the name 'Dulzomium' on the internet. No luck for me! No results! Then I tried various spellings but still got no results. It was as if the word didn't exist.


I leaned back in my cushiony chair, deep in thought. My intuitive faculties nagged at me - the word had some hidden meaning. The more I thought about the strange place, the more convinced I got that Dulzomium was not just a random word.


In a flash, I got up and looked through the net again. After a series of permutations and combinations, I finally unearthed the import of the word.


00:21:38


In my dream, Pooja didn't say the planet was 'Dulzomium.' Rather, she spoke two words in quick succession - 'Dulce' and 'Somnium.' In Latin, 'Dulce' stands for sweet, and 'Somnium' stands for a dream. So, the expression 'Dulce Somnium' means sweet dream. The English equivalent of the planet's name was 'Sweet Dream.'


I concocted an expression in my dream that made sense in Latin!. The saying 'Dulce Somnium' was not only the name of the planet in my dream but also perfectly characterized my experience - it was a sweet dream, indeed. But how could my mind think up such a fitting phrase in Latin? Believe it or not, I had never studied Latin--not even one simple word. Could my subconscious be so powerful as to spontaneously use a language I never learned?


"Now, wait for a second," I whispered. 'The number ... Pooja also gave me a number, didn't she? What was the number?"


I frantically went through the events of my dream in my mind.


"What was it?" I asked myself impatiently and tried hard to recall the number but couldn't.


"Well, you could try; if fate wills it, we will meet again" - those were her words before she gave me the number. Those words echoed loud and clear in my mind. But the number ... no, the number still eluded me.


"Don't give up," I said to myself.


00:23:53


And then, in a sudden surge of inspiration, I scribbled a number on the paper - +447996210028


"Yes!" I shouted in triumph. "That's it! That's the number!"


Don't ask me how the number suddenly came to me. It just did. Perhaps it was my subconscious working overtime. Or perhaps, as Pooja said, it was fate.


But whatever the reason, I had the number now. And I knew at once what I had to do with it.

I quickly dialed the number from my mobile phone. After a few rings, somebody answered at the other end.


"Is this Pooja?" I asked breathlessly.


00:24:52


After a brief silence, a voice said softly, "May I know who's on the line, please?"


"Is this Pooja?" I asked again, ignoring her question.


"Yes, I am Pooja," she said."


"Pooja, I am ..."


"I know who you are. Perhaps you don't know that I don't have any desire to speak with you.


But I certainly want to know how you got this number."


"It's a long story," I said.


"I don't have the least interest in you or your stories. Just tell me how you got this number," she said, her voice heavy with anger.


"This is a London number. Are you based in London now?"


"I suspect you've been keeping tabs on me," she said coldly. "I am warning you if you don't stop, I will take legal action against you."


"Pooja, please listen to me," I pleaded. "I am not following you. I ... I just want to talk to you."


"We have nothing to talk about."


"One chance. Please give me one chance to see you. Trust me, you won't regret meeting me."


"Meeting you! Are you suggesting you will come all the way to London just to talk to me?"


"Pooja, I am already in London. I attended a business conference for my company. My return flight is at 6 p.m. Not much time is left before I leave London. Please, Pooja, please meet me once."


After a long pause, Pooja said, "Where are you now?"


"Hotel City Grand."


"Are you kidding me? I work in that Hotel."


"Really?"


"Yes, I am a senior management functionary. Which room are you staying in?"


"1403."


"What! I am inspecting the passageway on the fourteenth floor, standing in front of room number 1403!"


"Wait, I will open the door."


"Listen, I am not interested in meeting you."


I hung up the phone, rushed to the door, and opened it. And there she was, Pooja, standing in front of me. For a while, none of us said a word. In my dream, she hadn't aged and looked as beautiful as she did more than twenty-three years ago. The indications in the dream were wrong - she was more beautiful and youthful now. Time seemed to have had the opposite effect on her.


"Pooja." I broke the ice.


"Strange, I can't believe this is happening."


"Do you have time now? Can we talk?"


Two of her team members standing a few feet away from my door were eyeing us with curiosity.


"Angela and Robert," she said to them, "do you mind if I take some time off? Can you finish the inspection on your own?"


"But Pooja, the procedure is complicated, and I am not sure we can do it without you."


"It's okay, Angela. I trust you to follow the procedure. And don't worry, if anything goes wrong, I will take responsibility."


After giving them some instructions, she turned toward me and said, "Let's go to my cabin."


00:28:57


I followed Pooja as she walked down the corridor. We reached a room on the first floor and went inside. As she closed the cabin door behind us, I was enveloped in her perfume - a heady mix of jasmine and vanilla. It was intoxicating and took me back in time to those beautiful days of my association with her.



"Sit down," Pooja said, pointing to a chair before her desk. As I sat down, she sat on the edge of the desk and turned her gaze at me. "So," she said, "tell me, why are you following me?"


"Pooja, I am not following you. Yes, I tried to find your whereabouts on the web, but you have no presence on social media."


"And why have you been trying to locate me?"


"Well, I just wanted to say ..."


"Say what?"


"Say 'sorry' to you."


"What a joke! You think you can say 'sorry' and all will be forgiven?"


"You may or may not forgive me, but I still wish to apologize for all the hurt I caused you."


"Really!" She said in a mocking tone.


"Pooja, I was stupid and immature back then. I made a mistake. I know that now."


"A mistake! Is that what you call it?"


"I am sorry ... really for the way our relationship ended. It was wrong of me to just vanish from your life."


"Wrong! Do you think that's all it was – just wrong? Do you have any clue how much suffering you caused me?"


"I know, Pooja, and I am really sorry."


Her eyes now had tears, but she quickly brushed them away. "You trashed me like tissue paper," she said. "You ruined my life."


Suddenly she got up from the desk and moved to the other side of her cabin. Pooja stood there with her back to me, looking out the window. I could see her shoulders shaking. Pooja was crying silently.


After a while, she turned around and moved back to the desk. Pooja sat down and looked at me. "I loved you," she said in a soft voice. "I really loved you."


"I know," I said quietly. "And I am sorry."


"You don't know anything," she retorted. "You have the least idea how it feels to be betrayed by someone you love."


"Pooja, I ..."


"Shut up! Just shut up! I don't want to hear your excuses. I don't wish to hear anything from you. Just go away and leave me alone."


I got up from the armchair and walked toward the door. When I was about to open it, Pooja said in a voice full of pain, "You broke my heart, Akshay. You broke my heart into pieces."


I opened the door and went out. Oh, I felt shattered as I closed the door like destiny had ripped my heart out. The pain was unbearable. Only if I could go back inside and hold her in my arms, but that was not possible anymore. But then I heard her calling me from her cabin, "Akshay!"


00:33:09


When I entered her cabin again, she said, "You didn't tell me how you got my number?"


"Pooja, you will not believe it if I tell you."


"Believing a cheat like you is difficult; that's another thing. But you may still tell me."


The dream, Dulzomium, the meadow we sat on, her giving me the number - I narrated the whole thing to her.


Pooja was quiet after I finished my story.


"It seems you don't believe me."


"Leave now, Akshay. Don't ever try to contact me."


00:33:51


I arrived at the airport around 2.30 p.m. for my flight back to Delhi. I didn't have a pleasant experience meeting Pooja, but I came to terms with the truth that the unpleasantness was inevitable. Both Pooja and I had moved on with our lives.


The cab driver helped me place the luggage on an airport trolley. Before I could walk toward the airport entrance, I heard someone calling my name.


I turned around and saw Pooja walking toward me.


"Pooja," I said.


"Did you really get my number from a dream?" She asked.


"Yes, Pooja. I did."


"Although you are a cheat, I wish to believe you this one time."


"Thanks, Pooja."


"How a dream can pass on a message like that, I don't know, but I believe it did. So, probably fate wants me to forgive you."


"Will you forgive me?"


"The weight of guilt on your heart is not less than what I went through. So, yes, Akshay. I forgive you."


"Thank you so much, Pooja!" Tears welled up in my eyes.She hugged me.


"Take care, Akshay."


"You too, Pooja."


"Goodbye."


"Goodbye."


Walking into the airport, I felt like a huge load had been lifted off my heart. Finally, I was free. It was THROUGH THE BROKEN GLASS that I saw the light of my soul! And that light led me to a new beginning – a beginning without any past baggage. Thanks, Pooja!


OUTRO 00:37:33


Thanks for listening to OBSCURUS. If you like what you heard, please subscribe and visit biswajitbanerjee.com for more information about Biswajit's books, movies, documentaries, and other creative pursuits. We shall see you next Wednesday with another episode of OBSCURUS. Till then, take care! 

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