Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Dreadful Determination! Part-16

Part-16.
      
 The story so far:

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.  All their friends, but Vinod flew away from the brood for life’s needs. Vinod was in the look out of a job. Urmila’s father, Venugopal with conventional beliefs didn’t agree for their marriage.Urmila was forced to wed Aravind. She got separated from the groom on a lie the next day itself. She had told him that she was a habitual consumer of Phenobarbital medicine. Obtaining no response from Vinod she phoned up to him. Vinod obtained a decent job and he became ready to wed Urmila. This time Vinod’s parents resisted since Urmila was a divorcee. As both remained single, the parents came down from their stance.]

Now pl.read.



  “Ay! What are you doing here? Are you dreaming? Didn’t you buy anything? I have spent a lot of time in selecting these things. If all the items are pretty, it is difficult to select, ,” a series of questions and statements arose from Anupama, when she got seated near Urmila.

Urmila’s friend, Anupama wanted to purchase some baby garbs and toys for her girl baby. Urmila was to buy some arrays for herself. Anupma went upstairs to procure her needs asking Urmila to select her items from the ground floor. Both the ladies are now the faculty members of a reputed college in Cochin City.

 They were fast friends and at times they went for shopping together even if it was for one person. They both had gone to the textile house in the super market after the classes of that day. And thus the person who Urmila saw with a similitude of some familiar face sent her memory to the backyard of time. So after rummaging half-minded around the garment area, she had occupied a seat arranged for refreshments in the shop. Her mind taking leave of her motive, moved after that individual.

That was why she went on a journey over the entire episodes of the past. Though she was not much sure about his identity, his chic way of dressing had thrown some light upon her one-day-familiar ex-husband.  Again the twosome-the owner of the familiar face and his companion- came back to the mall to exchange his purchase with something else. After that he passed through the   area where Urmila had placed her body avoiding purchase. But they didn’t fall into his views.

“See; see Anupama, I think I know that man.”

“How? He is Aravind.  He is staying in an apartment in our flat-complex for the last one and a half years. Do you know him?”

“Yes, very well. Is he married?”

“Yea, he has two kids also”.

“What happened to you, Urmila? Who is he? Is he from your village?”

“No, I’ll tell you everything. It is a big story.”

Aravind had changed his job forgoing a small loss in his salary because he preferred his indigenous state to settle down.And thus he had hired an apartment in Anupama's neighbourhood.

Anupama was eager to get unearthed the story that lay underground with Urmila. She drove her friend to a restaurant nearby and both sat on either side of a coffee-table.

 After concluding the story, “I am happy now, I enjoy this life in a working-women’s boarding-building. No botheration, no compulsion; if you want, you eat; if you don’t, don’t,” Urmila.

“Don’t be silly, we have only one life, we should live it fully. We have to undertake family challenges. Otherwise what is the use of life?”

“Now it is late, Anupama, leave it. And I don’t want a marriage against his parents’ wish. Vinod and I don’t have any contact now. Actually I don’t know what he thinks about me now.”

“What late? You are in early thirties. Don’t say anything like that. If not Vinod, marry somebody else. Don’t surrender before set-backs.”

“No, Anupama I have decided to live like this. I don’t want to repeat anything.”

“Don’t speak foolishly, get married quickly,” Anupama, being slightly elder was using the right of a sister.

Urmila grinned coolly without expressing any emotion. Anupama couldn’t read anything on her visage. Both departed for their asylum.

Urmila had ceased her phone-calls with Vinod and she had totally left the idea of entering into a wed-lock. She sought the amity of books including some scriptures to recoup her loss in love. She was slithering more into a spiritual level. But one could not say that she had renounced the material life.

Occasionally she visited her parents and Sharmila, who was a mother of two now. Urmila presented herself for her sister’s nuptials as if she was only a relative. She just did what she was told. Her gloom did not allow her to sparkle hither-thither.

One day Urmila visited Sharmila who was a resident of Trivandrum. She loved the company of Sharmi’s diminutive tots and they reciprocated in their lovable ways.

  “Vinod is still a bachelor,* chechchi. I heard he doesn’t obey his parents to marry someone,” Sharmila was trying to create a spark in her sister’s mind.

“So what! Sharmi. I can’t do anything in that,” Urmila smiled as if she was hearing some news about an alien person.

“What happened to you, Chechchi? Why are you punishing Vinod? He didn’t do any wrong to you.”

“A marriage with his parents’ support is difficult and I’m not for any other method, Sharmi. Now leave it, it is a closed chapter.” 

Next morning she departed from there nodding in denial for all the attempts of Sharmila.

So far neither Urmila asked anyone about Vinod nor did anyone inform her anything about him. Rather none possessed the fortitude to break the ice. But she knew that in spite of her earlier request to Vinod, finding someone suitable, he had sought bachelorhood. But that information also made no ruffles in her decision.

One day Anupama to her better half Rajesh, “………….and this is what happened with Urmila. Shan't we help her?”

“Why to poke our nose into unnecessary things? If she doesn’t agree, it may turn a headache for us. Anyway let’s try,” initially it was the way Rajesh replied to his partner and then felt a little sympathetic.


He did one thing that he wiped off the black ashes of Urmila’s action from Aravind’s mind. 

* Elder sister.




Friday, April 24, 2015

A Dreadful Determination! Part-15




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.  All their friends, but Vinod flew away from the brood for life’s needs. Vinod was in the look out of a job. Urmila’s father, Venugopal with conventional beliefs didn’t agree for their marriage. Finally father held a proposal close to his heart for Urmi. He finalized it despite all the resistance from Urmila. He thought time would bless her with glee. The wedding took place. Urmila got separated from the groom on a lie the next day itself. She had told him that she was a habitual consumer of Phenobarbital medicine. Obtaining no response from Vinod she phoned up to him. Vinod obtained a decent job and he became ready to wed Urmila.This time vinod’s parents resisted since Urmila was a divorcee.]

Now pl.read


Vinod waited and waited for the wound in parents’ minds to heal. It didn’t, the time widened it instead. The tree of Time was shedding its leaves into days, months and years. Nothing turned in favour of them. Vinod at one point stepped down to the level of register marriage. Urmila straight away annulled that approach because she knew that Vinod was always against such a process and more over it might affect her dignity as a faculty member in the college.

 Finding no way out the twosome started losing hope. It that brings grandeur in man’s life is hope. It holds a person up, while drowning in distress. Hope guides one to devote more time in duty and so one attains the required result.Urmila made up her mind to accept the downbeat verdict for their litigation of love filed in the court of destiny. 

Now she learned many a thing from the environs and experiences of four-five years. Time filled in her ample maturity to think in sensible lines. More over the spiritual lectures and discourses she used to attend in the temple nearby had changed her a lot. She learned to override passion with reason. She inferred that God had not chosen Vinod as her groom. And hence arose all those hitches and hindrances.

 “Man proposes, God disposes’, but a lot many times he approves also his proposals. I’ll go with whatever he has kept in store for me. Probably my desire may not be worth-approving,” she was turning a little philosophical,“Let happen what the God has decided for us, both of us together shouldn’t suffer. You find out another girl and marry her. No use in waiting and wasting our time like this. Let’s reduce the number of our calls. May He unite us in our rebirth.”

Though miserable was the decision, she managed to calm down and console her ‘self'.

The sentences she spoke fell as a loud summer-thunder in Vinod’s aural organs. He couldn’t believe them.
“Is it Urmila who spoke like this?” he wondered. He couldn’t digest the matter.

 Nevertheless having less or nil response from Urmila, slowly he too adopted less regularity in dialing her number.At the same time the esteem he had held for her had no losswith regard to depth. He did not rather could not close the shutters of his mind solely against her. The width of the distance from mind to mind was stretching, though the heart at times, was reluctant to be far.

Urmila’s parents tried all the ways and played all the tricks on her to find a fiancĂ© for her. They told her to find out a person of her option. Nothing ended in success. She remained cool on all the proposals. She was contented with her singleness in life. She felt as if she was a free bird perching in her own nest; she didn’t become an introvert though. She didn’t want a second person to impede her personal affairs.

Again flowers faded from herb, decade. Vinod lurked in vain. Neither his parents nor did Urmila deviate from their stance. And his parents were vigourously looking for a fiancée for their son. Vinod became more reticent and rigid. He got fully confined in his job. His visits and calls to his parents declined in number. He conversed with his parents only matter of fact.

 Their gloom began to multiply in high degrees. Hence they stepped down or had to step down to the level of accepting his affair keeping aside their unwillingness, Who would initiate it again?’ remained as an unanswered question. Their ego lurked for their son to bring forth the subject once more. In fact not ego but their fear of facing Vinod’s reaction, they locked their lips. Consenting to propose Urmila for him after all the exercises may infuriate him. Once he had given a stiff response in negation for all the proposals. He voiced very loud, “I prefer a bachelor’s life. Please do not disturb me, aren’t there unmarried people in this world?
 Eventually Vinod took a decision not to repeat the family-cycle, “I may become a father and this kind of history may repeat. I can’t predict my attitude in my fatherhood. No such impediments I have to face, if I am alone. There are so many single people with satiated lives.”  

All the philosophies slaved his mind because obtaining Urmila he felt, was Herculean. But if she came to his life, no doubt he would receive her with serene warmth and gracious tenderness.

                                                                                                                        [To be contd.]

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Dreadful Determination! Part-14



The story so far:

 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.  All their friends, but Vinod flew away from the brood for life’s needs. Vinod was in the look out of a job. Urmila’s father, Venugopal with conventional beliefs didn’t agree for their marriage. Finally father held a proposal close to his heart for Urmi. He finalized it despite all the resistance from Urmila. He thought time would bless her with glee. The wedding took place. Urmila got separated from the groom on a lie the next day itself. She had told him that she was a habitual consumer of Phenobarbital medicine. Obtaining no response from Vinod she phoned up to him.]

Now pl.read.

After nearly an hour, Vinod’s phone started speaking. As usual he said hello after the ‘hello’ from Urmila. They had chosen to say ‘hello’ after recognizing the voice from the receiving end, otherwise they would put the receiver down in the disguise of wrong call. And the caller-id concept was not common then and so their original id nobody could identify.

 “Did you call me, Urmi?”

 “Yea, you might have understood everything. No move from your side.  I’m afraid! By the by why didn’t you come for the marriage?”

 “I knew it was you, who called me. I just waited for your call. I waited for the turbulence to subside a bit at least. Don’t worry, I am with you. I didn’t come for the marriage because I was not able to see you with another person. Tell me what trick you played there?” his glee loomed in words.

 “Trick, no, seeing the frowns on my face he suspected something. He didn’t ask me anything. Though he turned morbid he left me home. People may cook a lot many stories. Let them be story-makers. I’m least bothered”.

 The sadists dance on the sentiments of one who suffers. And so there was no deficit of stories when they heard about Urmila’s immediate return. She kept the secret covert from Vinod also. She was not able to foresee Vinod’s action or reaction.

“What about your parents, Urmi?”

“ Achchan and Amma are sad. That is my worry. Otherwise I am happy.  I have an interview in Srevidya College in Cochin City next week. Achchan will take me over there. If I get that, they’ll get a relief.”

Though Vinod was not convinced by her reply, he evaded  interrogating her further, "When she becomes mine, I'll come to know the real reason."

 “ Aah! Let’s see. One thing Urmi, if I have a partner it will be by any chance you. None can enter my mind. It is full of you and you only, Urmi,”

 The exam-results, which Urmila eagerly lurked for, loomed amidst all the hitches. The   goddess of education blessed her with a laudable result that had bagged for her appreciation in abundance. She passed the news to her lover first who showered on her all sorts of adoration.

Urmila got through the interview and was selected, as she stood shining in her academics as well as the interview. And more or less she owned a stunning personality. She joined the college as a guest lecturer and that was for only six months. Subsequent to that period Urmila would be absorbed on regular basis, provided she paid a substantial amount to the management. It is nowadays a kind of deal, despite the candidate’s credible credit and caliber. Urmila’s father without a second thought sought the post for Urmila. She chose residing in a working females’ boarding house.

The earth had accomplished her revolution once. In the meantime Vinod gained an opening in a class II vacancy of a government department. He had fared well in the UPSC test and interview. It was in Hyderabad. Telephones of public booths aided them to keep their unrelenting desires intact. They had fixed time schedule to serve that purpose. Vinod had access to his official phone. He didn’t want to misuse it for his personal use.
 Gradually mobile phones also began their stay in the society.  They were given a reception full of warmth by people especially the youngsters.

 Poor land phones, they were treated secondary. Vinod and Urmila were no exception and their mobile phones acted as busy middlemen helping them transmit their courtship talk.  

  After the counselling, mediation and such other attempts, divorce from Aravind was granted by the court. Aravind stood calm and gave a firm reply in negation to the court’s question of reunion. But he never exceeded his decency and decorum and maligned not a bit Urmila’s position.

“I don’t want to continue this,” rigid was his decision and Urmila’s silence signalling parting made the process easier.

“The much cherished dream is going to be true,” words automatically leaped out of Vinod’s lips. His mind was dancing with glee and glory. The person sitting next to him in his office raised his head and drew horizontal question marks on his brows. The glee on Vinod’s face solved the puzzle occurred in his colleague’s mind.

When the track held things in way slick, Vinod took a couple of days’ leave towards the weekend to go home. He presented the matter to his father with an optimistic spirit of fullest length, for he was sure about his father’s affirmative nod.

 O! Alas, an unanticipated reciprocation was the outcome. The sound that carried the words so rude penetrated through Vinod’s ears. The words were daggers that stabbed his heart left and right. He was witnessing a visage never familiar to him so far.  

“Don’t you feel shame?  She is a divorcee. Won’t you get somebody fit for you? Her parents didn’t agree earlier; now don’t expect us to agree for this marriage, the chapter is closed, ”Sreekumar’s language was totally stern and inconsiderate.


In Urmila’s sanctuary the word wedding had been deleted from her people’s conversation. They had a sort of delicacies to talk about the topic. All were kept in dark  with regard to the reason for divorce. So they left things to the destiny.

                                                                                                                                    [ To be contd.]

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Dreadful Determination! Part-13



The story so far:

[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.  All their friends, but Vinod flew away from the brood for life’s needs. Vinod was in the look out of a job. Urmila’s father, Venugopal with conventional beliefs didn’t agree for their marriage. Finally father held a proposal close to his heart for Urmi. He finalized it despite all the resistance from Urmila. He thought time would bless her with glee. The wedding took place. Urmila got separated from the groom on a lie the next day itself. She had told him that she was a habitual consumer of Phenobarbital medicine.].

Now pl.read.

Urmila uttered not even a word. Guilty feeling though had shadowed her conscience; she had no scruples about executing it. Yes, she was fully determined to follow her sordid decision. He sat there in mute stage for a while. His mind was in puzzlement as he didn’t know what to do. His reason and passion started a tussle whether to inform the matter to Ama or not. His reason found the win and decided to cover it from her.  And after much additions and subtractions he decided eventually to subtract her from his life. 

“My Amma lives for me only. If she comes to know this, she may break her heart. She dislikes cheats. So I won’t tell her anything. Next morning itself I’ll drop you in your house. You are not coming back. You will stay there only. I’ll find some reason to tell my mother about dropping you.”
And he did what he said. He made his Amma believe that Urmila had to undergo training for a job nearer her village. She would be staying there for a period.

“Here is your daughter, let her stay here only,” callous were his words.

“Why, why, what happened?” Urmila’s parents together.

“Please don’t act, you know everything,” he left her in her residence and left home fast.

Achchan and Amma didn’t pronounce any word. “Urmila might have told him about the affair,” suspected they. A deadly mist of sadness spread all over there. 

Days crawled; Aravaind journeyed back to his resident city, Bangalore to join his company after cancelling the leave. Interrogations were responded in one or two words.  He dissolved his mind completely in officials. Soon he put a full stop to his job in that company and joined a new job.

“I think I can’t adjust with that girl, so better to be separate,” the response to the interrogations from others.

Amma also found something fishy after long.But she and Urmila’s family couldn’t elicit the real reason for their separation. The way paved for this end Urmila kept furtive in her thoracic chamber away from the reach of even Vinod and Sharmila. Sharmila tried her best by hook or by crook to get the covert matter unearthed.

 “Aravind and I cannot adjust with each other. We got separated,” though equivocal was the reply tendered by her to people, they were forced to believe that. Since the mobility of mobiles didn’t have company with humans at that time, they couldn’t express their mutual communication skill. And therefore   Aravind and Urmila could not measure the circumferences of their innate personality traits before the wedding.

Urmila felt a heavy bag off her hand and she became a free bird. Still her mind didn't leave her like that. It took her on the course of an introspection, “Am I right to do so? My parents would be frauds in Aravind’s eyes forever. Perhaps he may not see them again. His worry will end soon. Another marriage will settle things for him. If he doesn't disclose the matter of medicine-intake, no one will come to know about my trick. Perhaps he looks like a man of ethics. He won't tell anybody, I think.”

 Two weeks or more she waited for Vinod’s call. As she grew unrest, she picked the receiver ensuring none’s presence around. The other end didn't respond in Vinod’s voice, but in his mother’s sound, “He is not here, gone out. Who is there?”

“A friend,” quickly she cradled the phone.

“Did she recognize me? Hmm! No, she was in a hurry and she hasn't heard me clearly,” solaced, she herself.


                                                                                                                                     [To be contd.]

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Dreadful Determination! Part-12




[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.  All their friends, but Vinod flew away from the brood for life’s needs. Vinod was in the look out of a job. Urmila’s father,Venugopal with conventional beliefs didn’t agree for their marriage. Finally father held a proposal close to his heart for Urmi. He finalized it despite all the resistance from Urmila. He thought time would bless her with glee. The wedding day reached].

Now pl.read.

Image result for kerala nair wedding stage decoration          Image result for wedding hindu thalam
        

Image Google

 As her four-wheeler reached the wedding auditorium, Urmila descended from it. Sharmila, their kin and the beautician assisted and accompanied her to the greenroom. And the beautician carried out the remaining part of the make-up. Vestured in purple conjugal array Urmila looked like a princess as narrated in the Holy Scriptures. Her colour and the saree’s  colour were vying each other for the win. All the pairs of visual organs present in the hall followed Urmila. Her visage had a special prettiness in make-up, for which she was not devoting time much. And now all the eyes fervently awaited the groom’s arrival. 
                                                                           
The groom, Aravind stepped down from the automobile along with his mother and some others like dear and near. Aravind had lost his male parent at his tender age. From then Malati , his mother never thought of a life other than guiding her kid to the correct destiny. And hence she possessed a soul sure with satiation.

The groom though not equally weighty as Urmila in looks, seemed nix behind her in poise. The party enjoyed a grant reception when a boy, Urmila’s cousin had offered a garland and a bouquet to the groom after washing and wiping his feet in a pious manner. Generally younger brother of the bride should do it.  Urmila had no brother.

All the things that had to follow the reception journeyed rather soared in their usual unique fashion. The wedding stage was adorned with fresh flowers, a traditional wooden measuring jar of grains filled with paddy grains and a coconut flower bunch kept on top ( nirapara) and a conventional sacred oil lamp(nilavilakku). The respective parents led the lad and the lass to the wedding platform.

 Their entry to the propitious platform was very conspicuous. Gals clad in cute garments carried flower plates with lighted coconut–lamps (thalam).  They were entrusted with the job of escorting the persons of the day. Both the groom and the bride were made seated and the rest of the  processes like tying marital symbol (thaali), exchanging garlands and finger rings, gifting special apparel to the bride by the groom, offering the girl’s hand to the boy by father and taking rounds around the platform by the couple took place in the ordained succession.

The laddie and lassie felt lassitude a lot but covered it within the blankets of grins to the guests. The muscles on their visages took a turn of aching even.The parents and kin as the dessert of the rituals served them dessert, milk and plantains. The guests all rushed to the dining and took their seats behind the feast-leaf.

When the couple reached the groom’s abode they were received by the mother who had reached earlier. She handed a lighted sacred lamp to the bride.

 The Sun as an uninvited guest watched things well and rendered selfless service by shining brightly everywhere. He let not the rains to trouble the couple and spoil their garb in envy. He bade adieu to all after accomplishing his duty well.The night moved to her bed and started sleeping under the blanket of dark. People all withdrew themselves to their caves for a comfy sleep  as their energy was exhausted in the day’s excitements.

 Urmila slowly moved to the flower-fragranced bed room. Her steps were firm because the predestined rigid determination had dominated over her mind. She being fully conversant of the revolutionary upshot, put forward her steps to execute all that. Rather her mind seduced her to do that, to deceive all. She had only one mission i.e. the union with Vinod. In fact she solaced herself that everything is fair in war and love.

She was holding a glass of milk in hand and handed over it to Aravind according to the instruction by the elders.He sipped one-third and the rest she had had.

“I had heard only about ‘Love at first sight’, but experienced when I met you. I wanted to talk to you over phone. However I couldn’t,” Aravind broke the silence.

“You are actually broadminded and large-hearted. The other alliance-seekers were turning away their faces when they knew about my disease.”

“Disease!What disease?” his sound was loud with high anxiety. 

“I habitually take Phenobarbital medicine for over anxiety, sometimes it becomes seizure. Now I am alright. If any break in taking medicine……,” he didn't allow her to complete the talk.


  “Cheating! Your parents are cheats, Ho! What a cheating? They never told us this. O! No, I cannot bear with this. They wanted only to load you to someone. They cannot unload you like that,I won't allow,” Aravind was mad with ire. Suddenly he lowered his loud voice to cover things from his mother. He didn't want to throw her into agony.

                                                                                                                              [To be contd.]

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Ancestral Orchard!

Here I have not taken ancestors or the science involved in the study.It is about some decades ago. I have just imagined that the children were free to move to places they liked and play games they preferred at that time.Only restricted restrictions were there.


Ancestral Orchard!

Flowers from gardens
Ancestors', blessings from God,
I pluck as I see.

  Walk in old-old time-
Orchard I; mangoes and
  Cashews swing in wind.

Turn little men to 
Fairs, their vacant time; golden
 Balls of wild jack, wink!

Carts scent to little
Noses wind; stones hit fruit;
 Gold balls fall in base.

Little legs run, pick
Fruit; gluttons snatch, suck, fight,hit
And beat, they play well.

Blows on little thighs,
Tears in eyes; kiss dearly and
 Hug finally moms.


For Carpe Diem Haiku Kai

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Dreadful Determination! Part-11

 I am back after a long sabbatical or busy schedule to be with my companion blog spot. Sorry, I couldn't complete this story.I think now I can step up to its conclusion without any procrastination.

 Part-11

[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.  A squad of six used to engage themselves in kiddies’ amusements a lot. Urmila bloomed into the synonym of beauty and Vinod grew into an example of adoptable personality-traits. All the friends, but Vinod flew away from the brood for life’s needs. Vinod was in the look out of a job. Urmila’s father,Venugopal with conventional beliefs didn’t agree for their marriage. Finally father held a proposal close to his heart for Urmi. He finalized it despite all the resistance from Urmila. He thought time would bless her with glee.]
Now pl. read.

Urmila concluded the routine journey through the domestic chores. Then she placed herself among the rectos and versos of the novel which she was engrossed in as though to make her plight a bit light. Her mind was watching the arrangements which her parents were engaged in. They were talking about the list of kith and kin to be invited, ornaments to be procured, array to be selected etc.etc. Not even a single word made its exit from Urmila’s mouth. It was time for Venugopal to leave for bank. He didn’t ask Urmila anything about it nor did he ask Sharmila also. He was proceeding to the procedures on the belief or make-belief that things will move on the smooth path.

“I shall come home a bit early today. Where are Sharmi and Urmi? Tell the children to make their list of friends. We’ll sit together and process the invitation ‘formalities’.

Urmila watched Amma’s visage while nodding in response to Achchan. The facial muscles were curved and stretched in agony. Taking into account her mother’s anguish Urmila woke up from the self-created lethargy and entrusted Sharmila with the preparation of the list and the latter in turn awaited the night to carry out the assigned job.

After the cuisine routines Sharada made her entry into the bath area and Sharmila took the weekly magazine and embarked on her berth in the bedroom. Viewing none near the phone Urmila held the receiver in her hand and dialed the number, entrenched in mind. Luckily she had had Vinod on the receiving end. Both of them ensured that none was there in their proximity. Vinod faced no objection from his elders because they always stood by him.

“Vinu, I can’t get you, but I want you. I have taken a decision. It may not sound good to you. I can’t marry a stranger. No way can I accept a person not at all known to me. I can’t spend my entire life with a person like that.”

“So what are you going to do?”

“Listen well. I have two options. One you have rejected, the elopement. I  had mentioned it ealier. The other you may get panicky. But listen well. This marriage will fall on me without fail.  I can’t escape from it. Amma is getting crushed between Achchan and me. I feel sorry for her. T..H.E.R..E ..F..O..R..E after marriage I’ll go with my plan, though it is a bit unethical.”

“But, Urmila, what is it? Don’t do silly things. This is life, not a game. Tell me what it is. I shall be with you.”

“I can die for you, but can’t live for another person. Wait and see what I’ll keep in store for you. So don’t ask me now.”

Urmila, perceiving her mother’s footsteps slowly cradled the receiver. Then her bed patiently received her. She sank in the rectos and versos of the novel again. Vinod kept quiet though was he skeptic about her plan. At the same time he didn’t want to hurt her with queries and questions.Nevertheless an unknown vexation verily shadowed his mind.

Eventually the day significant much to Venugopal and trivial to Urmila knocked at the door. Urmila just danced as a puppet in accordance with the strings that her parents and the other kin pulled. No one could read her mind, as she bore not any expression on the face.

The customary rituals that are observed conventionally had no dearth with her also. Usually wedding-eve sees procedures like venerating the elders, receiving the guests, accepting the gifts and serving luxuriant juices and snacks to them. It is believed that the veneration of elders-presenting them a betel leaf with an Aracanut   and a coin kept inside and touching their feet- earns blessings for the lass (Dakshina). The lad has no escape from this path, as he does it in his area. Urmila without any pause conformed whatever was required and instructed by others.

The wedding dawn winked at everyone that had opened their eyes before its rouse. After the personal hygienic chores in the morning Urmila sat on a chair for the beautician to perform all the prettifying art work on her.

“Will all your friends come, mole? None were there for the eve,” Amma while inserting a piece of idly to the lips of her dear daughter, as  Urmila’s full physique was under the beautician’s control.

“No, I haven’t invited anyone. They want to see Vinod marries me,” Urmila drew her mother nearer and mumbled in her ear. She didn't want the third person’s ears to absorb the matter.


[To be contd.]