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.]
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.]