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.]
“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.