Joined: 15 August 2008
PERSPECTIVES ---- 2
With all the household chores done, she wiped her hands on the kitchen napkin. Taking one last look to see if everything was cleaned and put in its place, she turned to switch off the light. She went to her bedroom which she shared with her sisters. They were sleeping peacefully in their beds. And why wouldn't they? They didn't have upheavals in their lives unlike her. She went to the window and adjusted the curtain. She wanted to view a bit of the night sky from her bed on the floor. She knew sleep would be elusive, in fact she didn't know when she had last slept without a break. She unrolled her mattress and covered it with a sheet. She sat there with her back to the wall.
The street light cast some brightness in the room. However the gloom in her heart was as dark as ever. Where had life taken her in the past few months? Her simple life had got cluttered with complex issues. Why her? Surely Bappa didn't think she deserved this? She closed her eyes and slowly took long breaths to steady her tumultuous mind. Scenes whirred past the back of her eyelids.
She was going as usual in the train. The unruly passengers were pushing and pulling ….. with no regard for the ladies. She was cornered by the crowd and the unwanted nearness of strangers was revolting. A hand had snaked its way between her and the unpleasant person pushing him firmly away. She had looked around to see her saviour. The man was tall and good-looking with a silent yet understanding face. He had made no move to befriend her but had looked awkwardly away.
Her fixing flowers on a festive day on the doorstep of their house had been quite an event. She and Baba had been trying to put up the garland on the threshold. She had been carrying a platter of flowers. Suddenly, someone playing cricket in the courtyard had come running to catch the ball and had dashed into her. She hadn't been ready for that. With the collision, she had spun round with the huge dish, throwing a rain of flowers over herself. He had turned and had started to apologise, when a shout from the other players had called him back to the game.
Her heart contracted in pain at all the memories that plagued her night after night. She couldn't blame anyone for her miseries but herself. She looked out of the window and saw her piece of sky. Stars slowly blinked at a distance. She remembered how the two of them had sat silently in their room looking at one another, their eyes doing all the talking. She remembered how he had bought the silver pair of bangles for her and was too embarrassed to present them to her. His kindness had been evident whenever he had offered to help her with the household chores. She had told him not to do so but he had shouldered the burden anyway. She had been touched by so many of his gestures. His taking up for her against his mother, making a necklace and passing it off as a gift from her parents, his winning the dahi handi during Govinda and giving her the prize, taking her to eat pav bhaji from a roadside stall, putting flowers in her hair, and …. and ….the images were never ending.
She could never doubt his sensitivity. He had given her time to adjust to her new surroundings and settle down after their marriage. He hadn't crowded her in mentally or physically. She didn't realise when she had started falling in love with him. She knew she had because she had begun to yearn for him to return home in the evenings. She would stand near the curtain half hidden and the moment she met his seeking glance, her eyes would fall shyly and she'd blush. Her heart would skip a beat and she would be enveloped in a warm feeling of bliss.
When he had bought tickets to take her away for a few days, she had been so thrilled. He had declared this in front of the whole family. She had been so embarrassed because Sachin, the evergreen rascal, had hooted from behind her. "Honeymoon, Vahini?" he had teased. Life couldn't have been more beautiful. And then doom had struck. And all the ecstasy disappeared. Why did it happen? Vahini's brother! Those photographs…….her mother's unforgiving stance and her own accusing eyes.
What really came between her husband and her? Was it her mother? Was it his mother? Was it her own distrustfulness? Was it her ignorance? There was no need to blame anyone. She was the sole architect of her distress. Why did she believe him to be a womaniser and a wastrel? None of his actions hitherto pointed in that direction. But she had been misguided, thanks to her fickle mind.
Misery was going to follow her if she allowed herself to be lead. Her mother never liked her husband and would never let her return to him. Archana had to break the shackles that deterred any spontaneous action. She had made a start though. She had stopped the engagement to Satish from happening. She had stopped talking to Vahini. She had started to realise the true colours of those around her. Was it too late? Would her husband ever believe in her again?
She had learned that she would have to cut the umbilical cord that still held her to her mother. She wanted to be with Manav. She wanted to be bonded to him. She wanted to see the love in his eyes for her, not the coldness and hatred that she saw lately. Would she ever get the chance to tell him that she had become a woman? And that she was no longer the gawky foolish girl who clung to her mother's apron strings? Had she burned her boats? The very thought suffocated her. She stifled her sobs as she tiredly lay down on her bed. The pillow was getting wet by the steady stream of tears from her eyes ………….
The moon shone down on the sleeping earth. When he peeped through the window, his heart melted at seeing the forlorn figure curled up on her bed. Archana Manav Deshmukh spent yet another sleepless night.
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Joined: 15 August 2008
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