Sakhi's Laghukatha

Posts Tagged ‘Marriage

Taunts

Posted on: July 12, 2011

“Did you read this today?” asked Rahil, “Men need to cuddle and women need sex to be happy in a relationship.” He was referring to the latest research outcome reported in the newspaper. “Really, hun?” he smirked at his wife, Sati. Sati’s face crumbled with embarrassment.

She was timid and more docile when it came to the physical intimacy with her husband, even a year after their marriage. But his regular taunts were getting on her nerves. It wasn’t that she was not interested or was frigid by any mean. She had a healthy libido but somehow Rahil could not just arouse her. She could not help it!

But enough was enough… she looked at her husband and smiled like never before. Rahil could sense the difference and was taken aback. Something was changed in Sati suddenly. Sensuality oozed from Sati, her kohled black eyes, her big red kumkum bindi, her long loose hair, her sari draped lithe body… everything seemed different. This was not Sati he was used to. He was a bit scared at the transformation. Sati moved towards Rahil with a grace of a tigress. She came and sat on Rahil’s lap and started muttering sweet nothings in his ears. Rahil could hear blood pounding in his own ears. He sat there dumb struck. Sati went about the task at hand. What ensued was beyond Rahil’s wildest imagination. He was taken to heaven and back and then back to heaven again. Sati did not wait for Rahil to take her anywhere, she took Rahil with her. The journey started tentatively and became more adventurous as they went ahead. Sati looked at her exhausted husband and his shocked, idiotic smile. He did not know what hit him but he was not complaining at all. Sati gathered her clothes, went to wash room and smiled; a satisfied, triumphant smile; at her own reflection. She could see Rahil, spent and sprawled on their bed. She half turned and smirked at the sorry figure he cut.

She looked at her reflection in the mirror again, redone her smudged kumkum bindi and murmured “Sorry Jay, but I could not take the taunts any longer. Hope you understand.” With that she was gone to her daily chores and called out to her husband to come and finish his breakfast.

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Yes

Posted on: February 21, 2011

“Why are you not ready yet?” shouted Meenu’s mother with irritation. Meenu’s eyes welled up yet again. She was going to be subjected to the torture once again. She went into her room and stood in front of the mirror to assess herself, which she did a lot more often these days.

What she saw was not comforting, especially just minutes before the prospective groom’s arrival. She heaved a deep sigh and started getting ready for the circus. She took out a mustard coloured kurti with crimpson patyala salwaar and crimson dupatta with golden border. It was a beautiful dress and accentuated her pleasingly plump frame. She put a small red bindi between her well shaped eyebrows, applied a little lipstick and let her beautiful, dark, long tresses loose. She appraised her reflection in the mirror again and smiled a bit. “Not bad”, she thought.

As soon as her mother saw her, annoyance showed on her face again.

“How many times have I told you not to wear such bright clothes! Look at your colour…” she scoffed her off.

Meenu tried not to be perturbed, and in any case, this was not the first time that she was ridiculed by her mother. She always sought her mother’s approval and the quest continued in adulthood, though in vain. She stood there with downcast eyes which made her mother even more irritated.

“Now just don’t stand on my head and hope that this man likes you else…” her voice trailed off as she rushed to open the door. Her mother’s voice modulated to a sweet melody as she received the guests.

Meenu knew the routine by now. She had to wait till she was called for and go with downcast eyes and not to speak much. She sighed again and looked up as if asking God, why he had chosen her for such torture. She shook her head in resignation.

She used to be such a happy child. Her mother was always like this but her father loved her a lot. He used to make up for all the hurt her mother bestowed upon her. He never compared her with anyone. He loved her as she was and she basked under his love. She was an intelligent child too, did well in school and went on to become an engineer. Her father was ecstatic when she won gold medals in university examinations. Her mother was hard to please though. She could never come to love her. She chided her father for his affection for their ugly duckling.

“All these medals and certificate will not help in marrying her off!” Meenu had heard this line so many times that it lost its edge, so to speak. Her father would kindly smile or wink or make faces after her mother to make her smile. It was also his way of telling her that don’t take her seriously, you are doing fine. And her heart would swell with love for her father. He would hug her and they would go on to discuss something about current affairs or politics or something silly as which boy was after which girl in the college or how stupid boys were! They would laugh together and her mother’s venomous words would be drowned in their love.

Meenu was awakened from her reverie by her mother’s harsh voice.

“What are you doing standing like a wooden doll?” Meenu smirked at the word “doll” and followed her mother to the lounge.

Even though she was told to keep her eyes downcast, she stole a look at the prospective groom and she froze in her track. Was this a joke? Had he not seen her picture before coming over (she no longer looked at the pictures since she thought it was a futile exercise)? What was the problem with him?

Her heart started beating faster. He looked like a Greek God to her. He was fair and handsome, polite and soft spoken. She cursed herself for not looking at his biodata. She hoped he was not just good looking. As she was floating in the air, her eyes fell on her mother and her jeering look brought her down on earth. She looked at the man in front of her and compared herself with him mentally.

“What is point of coming here and mocking me? One look at me and he will be out of this house. Why insult a girl like that?”

But by the look of it, he was still having polite conversation with her father and stealing looks too. He did not seem like he is going to run away. Their eyes met and he smiled softly at her. Meenu’s pulse quickened and she blushed. His smile broadened at her discomfort.

“Did he make out that I am blushing? Oh come on, Meenu, whom are you kidding? With your colour? Keep your feet firmly on the ground.” she reprimanded herself mentally.

She was startled when she heard her name. He was standing and she knew the meeting was over. As usual she was rejected because she did not fall in the conventional category of being beautiful. No one noticed her delicate features, beautiful coal lined eyes or long, flowing dark hair. No one was interested in her intelligence. It did not matter that she was witty and could make a guy laugh till tears ran down his cheeks. It did not matter how beautiful she was from inside. All that mattered was that she was chubby and dark. She had all the qualities to make a good wife, she had it in herself to turn a house into home, but no one was bothered about it. Her eyes welled up again and she sat there with her head bowed.

She was startled again at her mother’s sweet voice calling her and she looked up to see that he was still standing and looking at her with a quizzical look on his face.

“Shall we?” he asked. She was bewildered as to what was going on. She looked at her father and he smiled at her with his usual soft smile. “Go, talk to him” he nudged her towards him.

More that surprised, she was shocked at the turn of events. “He really wants to talk to me? ME?” she could not believe it but here she was, following him in their garden to find a suitable place to talk.

What followed was unbelievable to her. She could not believe her luck. They talked as if they knew each other always. They seem to share common tastes in music, books and even food. It seemed like a fairytale to her, too good to be true!

“I think I am fine with this match. What do you think?” he asked her. She could not believe her ears. When she did not reply, he went on.

“I can understand if you do not want to answer right away. You do need to sort out by yourself if you would want to spend your entire life with a stranger. A stranger who has a three year old paraplegic daughter!”

In the last two minutes, this was the second time that she could not believe her ears. What did he just say? A three year old paraplegic daughter?

He was saying something and stopped in mid sentence when he saw her shocked face.

“You knew about my daughter, didn’t you? I had told your parents at the off-set.”

She was no longer with him.

She wanted to look into her father’s eyes just once before saying yes.

Storm

Posted on: January 30, 2011

It was as if a volcano had erupted and she was burnt alive. The scars were not visible but they were there and quite deep. She was so shaken that not a single tear was shed.

There was not a single place in this house where her mother had not left her fragrance. Zeenat remembered her soft hugs and her vibrant smile, her constant chatter and love-filled anger. Zeenat knew and so did everyone else that Zeenat was her mother’s universe. As Zeenat grew up she became more of a friend to her mother than a daughter. Lately Zeenat had started teasing her mother about the glow on her face and twinkle in her eyes. She would blush like a young maiden and then they would both giggle.

How she missed her mother!

Suddenly Zeenat felt extremely lonely. Now that the relatives had also gone, the house seemed like a haunted place. It was only her dad and her. Zeenat was never felt close to her father and now that the bond that tied them together was gone, she felt even more alienated. Zeenat felt a pressing need to be with her mother. With trembling hands Zeenat opened the box in which she kept all the cards and little gifts her mother had ever given her. She spread them all on her bed and hugged them as if she was hugging her mother. Zeenat opened them one by one and revisited each event with the most precious person of her life.

While going through her treasure Zeenat came across a sealed envelop with no name on it. Not only was she surprised but a little scared too! She opened the envelop with trembling hands and thumping heart. She was not wrong; the letter was indeed from her mother!

“My Dearest Bunny,

I know you will find this letter sooner than later.

I want you to know that I love you very much. You are my daughter, my friend and my confidante. Since you came in my life, this life felt like worth living. You filled colours and laughter in my mundane existence. You gave me reason to look forward to evenings when you would be back from your classes. When your friends came over our place and complimented our friendship, how proud I felt! That time was very nice and I felt blessed.

Then one day he came in my life and life looked even better to me. He was everything your father was not. In his presence I felt alive, I felt myself. Do you remember, you said one day that I sang well? Baby, I always sung well but I had forgotten that I could. He made me realize what all I had lost in all those years being wife to a person who did not even acknowledge my existence. If it would not have been for you I would not even have lived this long. I know that what I did would never be acceptable in our society. But it felt just right.

Everything felt just right and suddenly one day you saw us together when you came home unexpectedly. I know you saw us together. You went away and did not even ask me anything. You tried your level best not to show it on your face, but I did see confusion and hurt there. I wanted to talk to you but did not have courage to look into your eyes, did not know what to say.

I think I will never be able to look into your eyes. I don’t know if it feels such a right thing when I am with him, why I feel so miserable when I think of facing you. I do not have answers but I am sure that I will never be able to face you. At the same time, now I can not imagine my life without him. I can not choose between the two of you. So, to end this misery I will have to go.

Please forgive me.

Ma

P.S. I love you very much.

Zeenat kept staring at the paper in her hand. Slowly tears started trickling down her cheeks and turned into a storm. She felt as if her heart was being crushed. She crumpled the letter and hugged it tight as if her life depended on it.

“Ma, if only you knew how happy I was for you!”

fiction_stamp2“Come on, yaar! I think when one is older the need of a spouse is even more. Be it a man or a woman.” Pankti remembered her own words when she had vehemently defended elderly remarriage among her group.

“What if, God forbid, your father was to do the same? What will be your reaction then? Pankti, it is one thing to talk about something and other when you actually have to follow it!” Krish had argued.

“No, I will always be at my dad’s side if he chooses to remarry after my mother!” She had replied strongly. The discussion went on and ended without a consensus. That was about two decades ago.

Pankti had never, ever thought that she would have to take such a decision in her life. The only difference was that the decision was to be taken for her mother instead of father. Why call it a decision? Her mother had given her a choice… a choice for her mother’s life!

Of course, Pankti was not averse to the idea. Or was she?

Why, then, since she has heard of it is she so upset?

Were her debates and the talks of (elderly) remarriage just empty talks? No. And, anyways, who was talking about marriage here? They just have decided to stay together, a few days at her mom’s place and a few days at “his” place.

“Then what’s your problem?” She asked herself.

Though she was still not comfortable with the whole idea, she had agreed to meet with “the man” whom her mother thought was a “very nice person” and “she would love to meet him”!

As the duo approached him, pankti was increasingly feeling nervous. She looked at her mother and could make out that she too was not in her usual chirpy mood. Pankti went into a kind of a shock when she met Mr. Shah.  He was not at all what she had conjured up in her mind. He was a slight man with a pleasant personality and slowly she became comfortable in his company.

“What did you expect, idiot!!” She reprimanded herself. “He is supposed to be 65 years old, about your mother’s age.”

But his grey cells were nowhere near 65 years… he was a jovial man and well versed too. Slowly Pankti relaxed and forgot how apprehensive she was before coming here. And she looked at her mother, her smile was worth anything.

Later that night when she was thinking about Mahadeve i.e. Mr. Shah, she realized that she never had any problem with her mother being friends or more with anybody. But she was afraid of how the other person might turn out to be. It was as if she was thinking about her child’s matrimony and not her mother’s!

Today when she endorsed their friendship with a smile she truly felt she had become her mother’s mother!! 🙂

fiction_stamp2Khyaati woke up with a start. She tried to get up but slumped down due to excruciating pain in her left leg and she was hurting all over too. She was disoriented and didn’t remember what happened and where was she. She tried to focus around her but couldn’t recognize her surroundings but could make out that it was some sort of a hospital. She just lied there and tried to remember something, anything but she couldn’t come up with anything. As if a part of her was erased from her life! A grumpy, middle aged woman came to her and gave some sort of a shot in the tube that was running in her right hand. She remembered that she was with Kenshuk on her honeymoon. But how did she come here? What happened to her and why was Kenshuk not with her? So many questions clouded her mind. She wanted to ask the nurse about herself; what had happened to her, how did they get her here? But she couldn’t form the words. She lay there and closed her eyes. She dozed off again.

*****

She heard a lot of hushed voices and she tried to open her eyes. There she saw Kenshuk and tried to smile. There were worried lines on his face as he stood there listening to somebody who seemed to be a doctor in his white apparel. She tried to call him but she couldn’t talk. Her eyelids felt very heavy as if somebody had put a lot weight on them. She dozed off again.

*****

She opened her eyes and saw Kenshuk sitting besides her reading something. Her mom and dad and in-laws were all there. She tried to look around but her neck hurt a lot. The room was different. Kenshuk saw her and was on his feet at once. He ran to call the doctor and within a moment the room was abuzz with a lot of activity.

*****

She wanted to know a lot of things. But right now she was just pampered. The aches and pains were getting duller and she seemed to be her old self again. But she felt something amiss since she didn’t know what had happened or how the accident occurred. About two months were erased from her life when she was in coma and nobody was willing to fill in for her. Today she was to be discharged and was very happy to go home after so long. Once at home she pestered Kenshuk about the accident and why only she was affected. What happened? How come there were a lot of stitches around her private parts and also on her hands and legs. There were a lot of questions and now she needed the answers. Kenshuk finally snapped.

“You were raped!!”

Damn, he didn’t want to sound so rude. He had rehearsed it umpteenth time in his mind. The words didn’t sink in at first. Kenshuk covered the distance between them in a stride and held his wife with all the love and affection he had for her. He had thought of this moment and thought he was prepared for it. But he was wrong. He just held her as she broke down in his arms. Suddenly she felt a lot of emotions; anger, shame, furious rage, guilty and much more… with in a few minutes. She didn’t know what to feel and how was she going to face herself. Once she stopped crying Kenshuk told her how she was found in a dump at the side road from where she was taken to the local hospital and the rest was history. Her family had tried their level best, pulled the necessary strings and the case of rape was not lodged with the local police and they were able to get her to her hometown. She felt numb, didn’t know what to think, how to respond! She stayed there in Kenshuk’s arms for God only knows how long. She felt blessed for her husband and the family. The next morning was the worst. Everything started closing down on her. She couldn’t look in her mother-in-law’s eyes. Had she tried she would have found more love than ever. She couldn’t understand her own behaviour. She was also angry at her violator and her family too for letting him (or them) scot-free to ruin some one else’ life. She was angry with God too. She was angry with Kenshuk for being so understanding. She hated her being. She knew it wasn’t her fault but still she felt the way she felt!!!

*****

She looked at her 7 year old and felt blessed. The horrid incidence is far behind her. She has come to terms with the life with lot of love from her family and a great psychiatric help. She still doesn’t trust people around her baby completely. But she tries, tries hard not to become paranoid. She has battled the demons in her own way and she has won most of them.

His eyes turned into saucers when he saw her for the first time. And when he saw what she was offering him, he was on cloud nine. He simply loved candy-floss! But the moment she kissed him on his cheek he wiped it clean.

Kush didn’t like girls kissing him, yet! In his entire life of nine years he had allowed only his mother to cuddle him and kiss him. He loved being held by her. Oh, how he loved it! But it was more than a year now since she did any such thing. He blamed himself for being naughty and requested God often to send his mother back. He promised him he would behave himself and never, ever upset his mother. But God never listened to him. Now it was only him and daddy. And daddy too had changed since mom went away. He rarely smiled and was keeping himself busy all the time. Though he played with him and also told him stories at night, Kush’s young brain analyzed that his father was also missing his mother the way he did!

But for the last couple of months, daddy had started smiling more often. Yesterday he even whistled while making him the breakfast. Kush felt good. He missed his mother but he wanted his daddy to be happy, very happy!

Daddy said that one of his friends was coming home for dinner tonight and so he had to complete his homework earlier. Kush loved guests. And the attention they showered on him.

And true to that this sweet aunty got him candy floss. He loved candy floss, but that I have already mentioned earlier.

She seemed to be sweet and talked and laughed a lot. And daddy, too, was laughing a lot. It’s been so long ago that daddy had laughed like this that Kush didn’t even remember.

He sat there with them eating his candy floss and sulking. Usually he would not sit with his daddy’s guests for long. But today he refused to budge. He didn’t know why he was suddenly feeling so low and why his eyes were brimming with tears.

“That Lady”‘s visits became more frequent and Kush started feeling alienated. His temper tantrums increased. Daddy was at lost. He didn’t realize what was wrong with Kush suddenly. He was getting worried. He tried to talk to Kush, he tried everything possible but it seemed as if Kush had shut doors. When Kush didn’t light up while watching “The power rangers”, daddy couldn’t take it any more.

“Kush, I want to have a talk with you, a man to man talk. Can I trust you?” daddy asked.

“Man to man?” Kush looked at his father, a bit confused, but intrigued. This was the first real response daddy got from Kush in weeks. He got strength to go on further.

“I am in a dilemma. And I need advice from you. I think you are the only person who can help me.”

Kush didn’t know what to say but he was all ears now and felt very important as his father thought him to be his confidante. He looked at daddy intently and urged him to go on.

“You know Jui, the friend of mine!”

Kush got tensed at the mention of “That lady”. Daddy felt the reaction and was now doubly sure about the problem. He had hit the bull’s eye.

“I am thinking whether I should continue my friendship with her. I do like her company but… you know, I am not really sure. She is a girl, you see!”

Kush’s face lit up. Daddy felt a tug at heart.

“I like her a lot and she seems to be the best friend I had in a long time. But I am not very sure. What do you say?”

Kush was in a dilemma now. He had not anticipated this.

“I think you are the only person whom I can talk to and can rely on the opinion. Do think and tell me.”

With that daddy bade good night with a peck on his forehead.

Kush’s little heart went into topsy-turvy. He sat there for a long time and thought “hard”, as hard as a nine year old could think.

But before he went for the sleep he had made the decision.

After a long time Kush slept with a big smile on his face.

Related post:

Remarriage and Indian Society

How many years have passed!! 10? No, it was exactly 12 years since she last saw this sea. She used to love coming here. When Maanushi was a toddler, her parents used to bring her here and she would giggle and laugh and loved riding on her father’s back. As she grew older, parents’ place was taken by a bunch of friends and they used to hang out here. Sometimes till wee hours debating on anything and everything! How many times had they saved this world from economic crisis, from terror attacks and even UFOs!!!

It felt like home coming. She inhaled deeply as if to keep the essence of the sea within her. She was elated and way too nostalgic!!

It was getting darker and she decided to head to their “once favourite” café. Maanushi felt as if nothing had changed in these years and yet, so much had changed.

That applied specifically for her friends, Ketki and Manan.

Maanushi was to stay with them till she got her accommodation from office. She tried to convince them to stay in a hotel, but they would not hear of it. In a couple of days she could make out that Ketki and Manan were not whom she remembered from her past. They had grown to be different people.

Ketki was not as bubbly and Manan has become considerably quieter. In all those years they talked on phone or kept contact on chat, she never felt anything amiss! She attributed this soberness to the hectic work schedule they followed.

Though Ketki was happy to have her, she seemed aloof; not only with her but with Manan too. Something was seriously wrong. Both were tight lipped and she too didn’t want to prod.

As the days passed, her friends’ drift was the last thing on her mind, as something else was eating at her heart and mind. In the last few weeks she realized that Manan was popping in her head way too many times than needed. His thoughts kept Maanushi occupied even at night. Just a thought of Manan sleeping in the adjoining room gave her a warm feeling. She kept going back to their conversations, replayed them in her thoughts and kept staring at her laptop screen during work hours.

She knew, Manan was not to be blamed for the state of her heart. He had never, ever given any hint in that direction. She tried reasoning to herself saying that this is just a physical attraction since it’s been a long time since she had a male company.

But that did not change the fact that she had fallen head over heels for her best friend… and best friend’s husband!!!!

She wanted to be held by Manan, not like his usual hugs. Not a friendly hug but a hug of a lover. She wanted to be close to him, close enough to hear his heartbeats. She wanted to be the part of his being.

She had dated a couple of men earlier but she had never felt this way for any of them.

She was confused with her own feelings. She did not feel guilty. And, yet, she knew these feelings were not acceptable to the society and probably will not be acceptable to Manan too!

But who is going to tell him, anyways!!!

No, she will not run away from him. She can’t even think of doing that. But she can’t tell him and risk the rebuke. Also she needed to understand her own feelings, whether it was temporary attraction or pity or what???

No, she won’t run away. Instead, she would test the waters. Who knows what is in store for her! 😉


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Sakhi's Laghukatha by Sakhi (aka Dr. Dhara Shah) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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