[Urmila and Sharmila are sisters. The elder one Sharmila was in love with Vinod, her neighbour, even when they passed through the school-age. Father had brought proposals which she resisted tooth and nail, though she knew not the result. Two-three ones she escaped on the pretext of studies. She recalled her baby-hood memories in which Vinod always sided with her in all the activities. A squad of six used to engage themselves in kiddies’ amusements a lot. Whenever Urmila tried to retrieve her mind from the memories, it did not obey her. Again it went on a tour to the backyard of mind. Urmila bloomed into the synonym of beauty and Vinod grew into a handsome personality. Finally father held a good proposal close to his heart.He finalized it despite all the resistance from Urmila. He thought time would bless her with glee.]
When Venugopal retorted in negation he had not at all considered Vinod’s family’s present status or their mutual stanch friendship. Urmila tried all the ways and means for a cancellation of the proposal. Sharmila’s indirect and Amma’s silent seconding couldn’t do any good in cancellation or even postponement of the schedule.
All her exercises fell in vain rather turned Achchan unfaltering.
Urmila was under a kind of house arrest. Her mind became sad-sodden. Heart grew heavy. Mobility remained more or less confined within the domicile’s walls. She found none in her aid, as all their pals had developed their wings and migrated elsewhere on the look out of their prospects in life.
Urmila’s land phone hadn’t had a caller id. So Achchan’s absence she spent with the telephone. She talked to Vinod about the hurdle that hindered their courtship .Amma, whenever witnessed it, rebuked her but not much intensely.
“You obey your Achchan, mole. No parents will think ill of their children. Achchan does everything for your good only,” Amma used to tell her.
“What good? That guy is not my choice.”
“What choice, once you start your life, you will forget everything.”
Amma, Sharada sided with Urmila in Achchan’s absence, where as she also was in the camp of Achchan when Urmila was not in their proximity. She wanted a settlement for the stressed situation.
Days gave way to nights and nights retorted equally to days. Wedding without delay was on the cards and literally on w.cards also. Vinod and Urmila found no way to put their cards on the table. They were in a tight corner. They wanted an escape. The telephone medium they maximum utilized to trade their words. But nothing turned fruitful.
“If I had a job, I’d come to meet your father. I’d tolerate even insult,” Vinod voice contained contempt as he was helpless.
“Let’s elope and do register marriage, shall we? I can’t imagine a life without you, Vinu, ” Urmila was painfully sobbing.
“O! No, Urmi. That is foolishness. Even if you are a divorcee, you’ll be dear to me. Eloping I can’t stand with. If you can pull on a little more, things will come in our favour,” Vinod conveyed a ray of optimism.
As the calling bell rang ’Ding, ding’ they put a semi colon to their conversations. It was the gas agency man with the gas cylinder. Urmila led him to the kitchen corner to replace the cylinder for the empty one.
Slowly-slowly the sun migrated to the western countries. The night arrived putting on her bright hat on the head, lit some lamps and kept them hither-thither in the sky. All the lamps appeared flickering with a twinkling blaze.
After the supper Urmila and Sharmila withdrew their appendages to their shell. Both engaged themselves in extracting some means from the coagulated situation. Nothing struck their minds.
“ Amma is getting tensed, Chechchi. She wants to see you happy. But she doesn’t want go against Achchan. ”
“I know that. When I see Amma I pity her.”
“Achchan has started inviting people. He is very happy. Now no other go. You have to accept him, Chechchi,” Urmi in a pessimistic tone.
Urmila did’t say anything and Sharmila slowly lay into the lap of sleep. Urmila got off from the bed and stood near the window. She was a bit delighted to see the moon smiling and the stars winking at her. Her mind once travelled through the path of the conversation with Vinod. One of his statements glimmered as an invigourating spark in her mind. She allowed her mind to gradually take a determination. Yes, it was a determination, a dreadful determination.
Achchan-father, Amma-mother, Chechi-elder sister
[To be contd.]