THE DRIZZLING LOVE
All of my students have just left. I do feel a sigh of relief. Today it seemed I was the most wanted since morning around eight. Tomorrow is English language exam of my students and so I had to give extra boost-up. It sounds quite funny as if this class at the last moment makes them highest scorer! But I have nothing to do; I'm the most sophisticated slave of theirs!
Yeah, I'm and I don't mind to be since I have been in this profession of private tuition, rolling life along with my family. Now I'm quite tired. I have to clear my table and clean the room so as to make my bed. Now, it is 10:40pm. I have to chill myself under the shower and have my dinner. My stomach is crying for food.
Suddenly, the silence of the room is broken as my cell chirps.
"Who the hell calls me now?" I murmur and glance at the screen.
It displays the name of Prabir. I do hesitate to take the call. I don't like to talk to him too much nowadays. I don't know why. It may be my inferiority complex, or mixed up complex of superiority and feeling of something that downs me before him.
"Should I swipe the green sign?" I thought myself, looking at the watch.
Prabir is my best buddy, at least compared to others. Our web-length matches, we both share a good chemistry.
If your web-length matches to someone at a high point, you are bound to build a mental relation with him or her, despite some other discrepancies. And this theory suits in our situation, though he is seemingly far ahead of me in every aspect, yet we share good mental bondage.
Prabir is happily married, earning handsome amount of bucks, possessing a good healthy position that demands sacks of respect and fame in corporate, and .. the list is endless. And I, now at 36, and gonna be 37 after a month, do still struggle from morning to night in a sheer uncertainty, to get my bread and burn the kitchen of my family.
"Hey Mrinal, are you jealing?" I asked to myself.
"No, I'm not, why should I? I have never been jealous of anyone's success. I simply think that inspite of my all capabilities to acquire the probable feat, I'm deprived of the certain opportunity. My grudges are against my fate." I replied to myself.
"It is proved repeatedly that you are looser in every aspect since the time you learnt to remember. And the fault is yours. Why do you blame your fate now?" - My other entity asked.
"Yeah, I'm looser and so I do blame my fate." I shrug and look at the deity of Goddess Tara sitting at the wooden throne and it seems she is smiling at me.
Meanwhile, the chirping of my cell ends and the silence reigns back. I'm not alone. The rudimentary furniture of small room, the throne of the gods and goddesses and buzzing of ceiling fan are promising their presence.
I sit on the chair and try to figure out the loopholes behind of my being looser. Everyone is in deep sleep now. My dinner is kept at the corner of the kitchen. None is there to wait for me.
I went out of home, left this city of Kolkata, set my position there at Bangalore, sending money to family as part of duty for being elder child and the only son. Contributing money to the family should be the sole priority of a son is the main mantra that has been chanted into my ears since I was in standard VIII. But I was not in a position to help the family directly and felt guilty for that.
My innocent heart craved to help and so many of my adolescent desires had to be suppressed.
I somehow graduated and my mother declared, "You should now take care of your family. You know the strength of your father, whatever he does now is well enough. We should not expect much more from him."
"What I myself expected from him or anybody else?" I muttered and understood what she indicated then.
Getting a job is never like buying a box of sweets from a shop. But I was quite lucky to get a job of eighteen hundred bucks and my new life started. I started going to work while my mates were chasing their dreams, enjoying life with colourful dreams with the pocket money they used to get which was more than I acquired against my blood and sweat.
Pocket-money, ugh!!! - I got my pocket and shoved my hands many times, but there's no money.
The days went on and seemingly my luck sped up. A lucrative job offer came to my hand and I left my home. The lesson of my transformation started and my life took a smooth way.
More bucks came to my hand. More bucks, more transformation. Money changes all, and it started modifying me. Drinking, arrogance, rash-driving, spending money lavishly, throwing parties, swarm of friends and flock of women - married women were all parts of my transformation.
I was in O.T. of the life and my numerous emotions and feelings were being torn and tested. But you know, the basic never changes. Though I tried, yet I failed to be happy. I felt guilty of something. I can't explain exactly of what I don't know why, soon I fell in an internal turmoil.
My mom got a minor attack and this perpetually put me in dilemma to what to do. Besides, my parents too started nagging me to come back to them. Their perpetual entreaties made me so weak that I had to quit my luxury.
The vehicle of my good luck screeched to a halt - a new turn, a new journey...
I stood up and visited other rooms. All the rooms are shut. Everybody has gone to bed. I come back to my room. The light fills my room, but I may not be enlightened. I should go to washroom and have good shower to cool myself. Prabir's call just messed my mind.
I need a fag now. I think and light a cigar. The phone chirps again and I look at watch, it is 11:45. Again Prabir's name is displayed. I can't restrain myself and pick the call.
"Yeah Prabir, tell me how do u do?"
"Fuck your formality. Tell me what happens to you?"
"What hell do you do nowadays that you don't get time to take my calls? Taking extra vows.." - he shouted. He is good at shouting. He can shout without any reason. This may be the trick of controlling others. You must learn some tricks to control others, or else, people won't bother you.
"Hello, do you listen to me? Sala nautanki, doing drama.."
"No, no, Im here, listening to you. I'm sorry, I failed to get your calls. And Jas, how should I take extra vows? I don't deserve. You are well acquainted with my recent form. I'm living like an insect."
You can't stop him anyway. He cuts me and said, "Yeah, I know. Your condition is poorer than an insect. An insect has a community and partner. And you have none, you frustoo dolt."
"Yeah, you are right." I painfully smiled.
Two lizards are playfully moving from one corner to other on the wall and goes to top. They have chosen a corner and stopped. Their tails are wagging slowly, they are making love - I presume.
"Hey gandu, what's up?" - his voice bangs at my ears.
"Yeah, tell me. I'm watching two lizards, they probably caress each other. The sight makes me feel good."
"Oh, bloody fucker, he's watching lizards making love in his room" - he says to his wife Kothakoli.
"What! He has gone crazy." Kathakoli laughs aloud, and I hear her voice.
"Hey you fucker, stop all these nonsense and listen to what I have to say" - he bossed over me.
"Yeah, sure. Tell me." I said.
"You've to manage sometime tomorrow evening. Nabanita and I will take you somewhere."
"Where?" I asked.
"Not to hell, of course," he prompted.
"No, no, not that, I don't bother in fact. I'm already in hell. Yet it's a general query and nothing else." I said.
"No yet, no but and nothing. You just get ready by 6pm morrow, we'll come to pick u up, ok?" he commanded.
"But please tell me where to go so that I can mentally prepare myself, " - I pleaded.
"Oh really! I tell you in short - to look for some machine for you, ok. Then no more question."
"What! I exclaimed. What fuck do I do with machine?" I blurted.
"Ya, you do. Time's there to reveal," - he smiled a bit and his voice alarms me to reach his hidden waves.
"And ya, Kothakoli wants to talk to you a bit now" - he said and gave the cell to her.
This is his one thing I can't tolerate and get agitated internally that he always feels, I'm bound to obey him. His arrogance and superior feeling rule over his thought process.
"Hello sir, how's life?" - A honeying voice buzzed into my ears.
It's Kothakoli, and she is indeed sweet and a perfect woman. She is the heavenly match for Jas. I sometime envy him, but the way he mixes up and allows me to mingle with his entire family that I'm compelled to feel guilty.
"Hello Sir, why do you keep silent?" she jingles.
"No, I'm not. Tell me what's about you?" - I feel good to hear her as I hope that at least she won't impose her thought onto mine. Though, I'm mistaken.
"We all are fine here, but we haven't heard anything from you for a long time. I thought you are angry with us."
"No, no, how can I be?" - I feel a bit odd. "I don't get time nowadays and unluckily got busy for quite sometime." - I try to establish my importance.
If you tell that you have time to spare or talk to, it means you don't have job, and jobless persons are always less-important and mockingly treated. Therefore, the most of people usually tell that they are the busiest while they themselves don't know what to do the next to kill the time.
"Yeah, you must be, you've got more responsibilities."
"Huh, responsibilities - the bloody hell" - I mutter.
"Anyway, let me come to the point. Though your friend has already told you of our planning, yet I tell you again that please make time for us. We wanna have high-jinks with your presence. Any we don't wanna hear any lame excuses. And if you give so, I shall never talk to you, I swear." - She threatens me.
"But what's the matter - I'm still in dark" - I once again appeal to Kothakoli but she hasn't brought me out of the darkness.
"Sometime darkness encourages you to seek for the light" - she philosophies. "So enjoy the moment for the next couple of hours and struggle to get into the light. Your intelligence and sense of humour will have a good warm up." - She giggles and byes me with wish of goodnight and sweet dreams.
"Hell, how can I have sweet dreams?" - I snigger.
Meanwhile, my strength is lost and stomach is howling with hunger. I need food now and without this I can't think of anything else. This machine is going to break down.
"Yeah, machine" - I snapped my fingers to celebrate as I got what Jas meant I think. He meant machine as human being! But why do they seek for human being for me? - I wonder. Ok, I do better leave this matter right now and let me take care of my appetite. I should make my head working on this matter tomorrow.
"I have to make some calls to change some classes today" - I said to myself. I have done the changes. But still I try to find out the inner meaning of machine.
"Ya, I got" - I mutter.
We used to use this word when we guys flocked together and had had chit-chat, sitting on a bench or a low-heighted wall near some tea-stall, and our eyes got busy in glancing over the girls - some of them got enchanted look and some had swollen boobs.
Some were alarmingly sexy, and some might be ugly but their proportionate figures with distinct necessary curves filled up the flaws. What you think, we the guys always nurture the pervert thoughts, and the gals are sacred, chastisized! You are wrong if you think so.
If you are handsome outwardly, they not only woe you with their feminine demeanour and sexy gesticulation, but also think of the cuteness and measurement of some of your specific internal parts. The only difference is that we the guys expose it with blatant attitudes and they sow their thought behind a strong facade wherein only the whispering works.
The time passes by and my heart starts leaping to meet Jas and Nabanita. It's 5pm and I have to ready myself. I got a black jeans and blackT-shirt bordering the yellowish collar. It looks me fine, I think. I shaved, combed my hair and stood before the mirror.
"Yeah, I look pretty nice, it doesn't look like 36, it may be max 26" - I get obsessed with my look and age.
"Where are you going?" - My mom asks. She only asks when she finds me wearing nice clothes and trying to look appealing. She is quite curious about my each and every move if it is a sort of off-beat routine work. I myself can't make it out what she is always worried about. Her way of intruding into my private life and matters some time irritates me a lot. But I don't want the trifle all the time, especially at the time when I hang out with friends.
"I will go out with Prabir and Kotahkoli. They will come to pick me up." - I replied reluctantly.
"Why do they come? Do they bring some information of any new student or some other jobs? Where do you go? When will you come back?"
"Oh ma, it's disgusting. Can't u think in a simple way without any self-interest? They simply come to meet me as we haven't spent time together for a long time. What's your problem?" - I grudge distorting my face. She got offended.
"No, I don't have any probs. We can't wait for you after 10 o'clock. The main gate of the apartment will be locked." - She reasoned.
"When do you wait for me, ma?" I tempered. "Please leave now."
I don't want any untoward events to be occurred. I folded my hands and requested. She leaves the room mumbling. I don't hear her, I don't want either. I look for my 'Engage' - the D.O. I remember the words of Jas. Once he came to my room, and seeing the brand of DO he said, People who can't get engaged use 'Engage', and we both laughed short simultaneously.
My phone chirps and I expect Prabir over there. Yes, it's Prabir. I swipe the screen and I'm greeted, "Hey dude, come down. We are here." - Prabir said and the call is hanged.
I hurriedly down the stairs and got into the road. I looked around but they are not there.
"Oh, they are on the way and hurrying me" - my hidden annoyance is revealed. Suddenly my eyes get caught at the waves of Kothakoli.
"Oh God, they brought their car and Nabanita is peeping out of window." - I paced forward and greeted them smilingly. Kothakoli got out of the car and told me to sit beside Prabir. He is in driver's seat.
"Oh my God, you will drive! When did u learn driving? I myself dont know, I can't believe."
He smiles, Kothakoli gives proxy, "It's a surprise for you."
"Oh really! It's indeed a nice surprise." I said gladly.
I sit beside Jas and throw a glance to him. He greets me with a friendly smile and a short wink. His hand moves on the gear and the wheels roll on. They both are looking very gorgeous.
With red chiffon and some eye-catching jewelleries Kothakoli looks the prettiest. Her eyes are so deep that I myself can't post my eyes towards her lest they get lost.
"What I'm doing!" - I smack my thought and start talking to Jas.
"Now tell me, where are we going?" - I said to Prabir.
"I told you yesterday, looking for a machine." - He said.
"What you mean?" - I smile a bit and my eyes roll over the back seat. Kothakoli is engrossed at looking out of window.
"I mean exactly what you got, isnt it?" - he smiles back. Both of our thoughts are electrifying at each others.
"How do you say? She's there." - I whisper.
"I hear you both and understand what you talk and think of." - Nabanita interrupts. Her intuition is notably sharp.
"No, no" - I feel embarrassed and don't get words to make up.
"Yes, yes, Sir. I can understand. Don't forget I'm a woman, and it is quite tough to hide anything from a woman in front of her, right." - She frowned with enchanting smile and her head is swaying with a strange rhythm.
"We are going to look for a bride for you" - she jingles.
"What!" - I'm shocked with a jerk and look at Jas. He smiles and shows his thumb up.
"Ay, stop, what hell do u do? It can't be possible." - I screamed.
"Why do you shout? Relax.."
"Fuck your relax. You know my parents and.."
"Hey Gandu, stop thinking of your parents now. You have to make them understand that they are in wrong thought." - Prabir slowly sides the car.
"Mrinal, what's your problem? We know you well and so, we decided to do something for you." - Kothakoli starts counseling.
Prabir interferes and said, "You talk to this stupid bloke for a while, I'm coming back in minutes."
"Ay, where do you go?"- Kothakoli asks. "How many minutes do you take?"
"Don't worry, coming soon. Talk to him." - Jas prompts back and bolts the door. I try to tell him something but Mr. Superior doesn't look at me and treads away.
"Ya Mrinal, tell me, don't you think you should now think of yourself? In fact you too think so, but you can't get the way out. Prabir and I talked about you several times." - She is on and her soothing voice quietens me.
I want to tell her a lot of facts, but my lips are glued. I don't know why. How can I tell her that my mom doesn't want me to get entangled in a conjugal aroma. I tried to tell her several times of my desire but felt ashamed of telling her affront. I do sense of her worry about. Madhu - her daughter, my only sister, is her prime concern.
Madhu is 30 now, but her mental state doesn't match to expected maturity of the age. Once she had had a convulsion and it was detected that she had some neuron probs. She was being undergone the tentative medicinal treatment. She was 9 or 10 then. She was going to school, playing and doing all which were expected. But she was a sort of introvert, failed to make friends in her class or everywhere else she went. She loved to stay alone.
Gradually her educational ground started trembling and soon it collapsed. She confined herself in room, never talked to anyonw who came to home unless she was asked. And this sort of drawing-back attitude of hers was appreciated and applauded by the family members and so-called close relatives.
"Such a girl like Madhu is hardly found in today's era. She is a perfect girl as what a girl should be!" - Many remarked and there was halogenic bright smile spread over my mom's face. She couldn't foresee the imminent pit-holes that had been digging since they stopped Madhus medicine. Why they stopped? - Still I can't get the point.
Her behavior started changing, she became a sort of impulsive, hypocrite, self-obsessed. She was again counseled, but it got too late. Now, she doesn't know how to mingle with people, how to behave, how to deal with the situation she is in.
She was repeatedly rejected by the people who came to see her for their son's bride. This too didn't affect her anyway. She simply does her job and thinks of herself. Though, I can't make out the way of her thinking. She gets out of bed around 7:30am, makes tea for all of us, then has her breakfast and switches on TV and surfs music channels.
Her bulky figure sways gently to the rhythm of music. She spends 2 - 3 hrs in this way and then gets ready for lunch and a good siesta. She again gets busy before the TV screen from around 6pm and devours all the popular mega serials. Then she goes to bed around 9. This is all about her routine work.
Once I protested, tried to make her understand, but Madhu got irritated and threw violent tantrums.
Besides, my parents raised their fingers at me.
"Who are you to tell her? Why do you talk to her like this? She must do what she likes. Don't forget still we're alive" - father roared. Mother muttered and babbled words that couldn't reach my ears. But her facial expression conveyed the message of her discontent. I was shattered at their behaviour, and couldn't understand what my fault was. Still I don't know what wrong I did.
They didn't talk to me for the next 48 hrs. It was thankfulness of God that the electricity bill came on the third day and the father had to talk to inform me. I smiled and thought "If you try to keep some relations in your own way, you must be disheartened; but think of ways to fulfill the desire of others, then you are easily accepted."
Everything went on as usual as I could learn the lesson quickly and heartily. Once one of my aunts told my mom if she was thinking of my marriage as the aunt had a news of a good bride. At this, my mom's face got pale and she logickened how she could go ahead before her younger daughter's marriage. My aunt might want to tell something that I understood through her gesture, but kept silent.
My trance is broken as I heard the opening of the door. Prabir has come back with some accessories. He passes a can of coke to Kothakoli who reciprocates with a spontaneous smile and complains against me.
"He is lost somewhere else. I was telling him something but noticed later that he had kept a deaf-ear. I get worried what he will do after reaching there. This is all about my prestige." - She is continuing to complain against me but Prabir cuts her, "Oh, stop all these nonsense, let me play now. I know well how to make his mind work", and he stretches his hand saying, "Hey pig, take this bachcha valluk." It is Kingfisher a can beer, and it brings my instant grinning.
"Wow! Thanks" - I smile back.
"Hey dude, chill - cheers." - sshk, we open the cover and gulp Kingfisher down the throat. He starts the engine and wheels glide. Within seconds, gear changes and we all accelerate.
"So Mrinal, are you feeling well now?" - Jas asked smilingly.
"Yeah, I'm" - I said with a sudden mood.
"You're looking so cool! The bride will like you." - He said in a known friendly tone.
"Is the bride known to you? I mean, how do you get this connection?" - I ask chillingly.
"Lo! Now he's getting interested slowly. What a magic of bachcha valluk." - Kothakoli prompts hilariously, and there's a burst of laughter.
"Ya Prabir, tell me, the bride is known to you?" - I come to the point.
"Nope. She's not known to him, but to me. She is the younger sister of one of my friends." - Kothakoli enters.
"Oh, really!" - I look at her.
"It may happen that you know her. She may be waiting for you. Who knows how many fields you ploughed?" - Jas grins.
"Shut up, you bloody dolt! How could it be possible?" - I ask in wonder.
"You never know what's to happen the next." - He philosophies.
Yes it's quite right. The events of life may be probable but cannot be predictable. But the question is who should wait for me and why.
I take another gulp of Kingfisher and peep out of window. It's drizzling outside. I don't like drizzle, I love deluge. Heavy shower reminds me of both sweet and bitter moments. Prabir has just told me few minutes before that I may know the bride we're going to see. Who could she be? She mustn't be Rakhi or Sangeeta. I know they are married. Then is she Priyanka? - many thoughts are hitting me.
Ya, Priyanka, I haven't got any news about her since we parted nearly thirteen years back. I have got in touch with a number of women so far, as I love mixing up with women. I like each and every woman. I can't tell about anything in women that I dislike, except tears in their eyes. And this is my worst drawback. But the moments I spent with Priyanka has always been green in my mind. I can't deny still I miss her a lot.
My heart always craves to meet her for at least once. I wish to admit my wrongs before her. I know she has forgiven me but my guilt feeling chases me all the time. It's not that I didn't want to contact her but there has not been any way.
Today Prabir's words give me a ray of hope. I feel enthralled to think of meeting Priyanka after long eras in my mind. I will have no further grudges or accusations against God or my fate, if Prabir's words can be true - if Priyanka is there in place of the bride whom we are going to meet. I mustn't make any mistake this time.
Our car whizzes past the Outram Ghat, I look at Prabir and Kothakoli once. Prabir drives in jinks and Kothakoli talks like a stream running down the pebbles.
"Hey Prabir, where's the place?" I interrupt.
"Yeah, we've come near. It will take 15-20 minutes max. It's nearby Howrah Maidan. Are you getting bored?"
"Of course not. In fact I long to meet...."
"Ay, he's getting hooked." - Kothakoli tweets.
Kothakoli's cell cries out. She receives the call, "Yah, coming soon, we're entering Howrah bridge, ok."
I understand that she received the call from the bride's family.
"Who has rung up?" - Prabir asked.
"It's Debasmita. She wanted to know our whereabouts. They're waiting for us. Kothakoli replied. Then she turns to me with a quite serious tone.
"Mrinal, listen to me. I have something to tell you."
"Yeah, sure. I slide awhile and look back at her."
"Debasmita is my very dear friend. They are two sisters and one brother. Her brother is the eldest and your bride named Suchismita is the youngest. Debasmita got married two years ago. They have been planning of the marriage of Suchismita since she completed her master degree in Philosophy six months back. She's not a so called looker but a good human-being. I know her well. I think she can be a good match for you. You are from Literature stream and she is from Philosophy - indeed a nice combination." - Kothakoli briefs with a decent smile at me.
"Hmm" - I nodded in acceptance. But my heart got a thud.
There's no joy in my feeling. I have thought of Priyanka. My heart craves for a glimpse of her. I want to erase my previous wrongs done to her.
I should have been matured enough 13 years back - the unlucky 13! I shouldn't have fled away. I was a coward! I didn't even confront her. I simply wrote a letter informing her of my incapability to linger the relation. I was too immature to handle the situation. My love for her might not be so intense, or else, I couldn't have done such injustice to her. She didn't come to me, rather I approached her, canvassed rosy dreams in her eyes, swore to marry her and later broke the oath myself. A devil must have a better heart than I had!!!
I met her in a wedding ceremony and my heart set on her. My heart was so meek during those years that it used to slip with no reason and fell into. It may not be love but something else that I can't express. Priyanka was little-spoken, graceful but not gorgeous in appearance.
As she was little-spoken, she might like my babbling nature. Theres a saying that opposite attracts, and it happened to both of us. On that wedding ceremony I got to know that she was from one of my neighbouring paras (locality) and during the courses of time, the number of our discourse gradually increased and we got hooked into each other. We used to meet in a Lord Krishna's temple, sitting so closely that still I feel at the remembrance of the warmth of her flesh.
It was 14th Feb - Valentine's Day, but I didn't have any special liability for the occasion all the lovers usually have. Instead I was busy with my friends who too had no birdies to fly with in the sky of love. Instead, we had booze to celebrate the day. I was not financially stable to carry any cell phone, so there were no hazards of receiving some nagging calls from Priyanka.
But she expected me a lot, waited the whole evening for me in her verandah. Her heart was heavily wounded which I understood later. With the help of one of her friends she came out of home and met me around nine. I felt a sense of superiority before my friends at her sight and came closer to her. She had nothing to say against me or such nonchalant actions, but she had some reactions.
She smiled and handed me a shiny wrapped pack. I became an instant dumb and my hands faltered, couldnt get what to do the next. She gently held my hands and said, Happy Valentines Day. My intoxication was fucked off. I lost my words, feeling hapless inside for the first time not because of her calm presence, but her magnificent thought and heart.
I was speechless for sometime, and it seemed I was groping for words in the dark lush green of my mind. She sensed my discomfort and threw her arms around my shoulder. She gently kept her head on my chest. I wanted to tell something, but felt numbed as her lips slowly came to greet mine
"I love you Mrinal, I do really love you. I can't say if I love you more than I love myself, but I feel my existence in thinking of you."
I wanted to tell that I too loved her, at least wanted to say so to sooth her.
"I know we have to be parted some day. Your family will never accept me." - Her voice was slowly getting choked.
"Why? Who told you all these? I'm sorry Priya, I forgot today is 14th Feb...", but I was stopped as she shook her head as if to tell me not to tell anything. Her wetty eyes looked at me so piercingly and I too stared at her passionately, so intensely that I myself didn't know when my hands wrapped her, and I hugged her tightly.
She too tightened me with her intense feminity and I felt the warmth of her breath, panting of her bosom. I was again getting intoxicated, but this time, for some other reason. My hands robotically started working, the fingers were gradually gliding and making way between Priyas hair. The smell of her hair was wonderful and the odour of her body-spray tantalized my drowsy nerves to be active.
My palms glided over her cheek and her face got reddened. I felt the warmth of her cheek. She closed her eyes and I kissed her forehead, cheeks and my lips touched and caressed the lips of hers.
I took her lower lip into my mouth. Both of our tongue met each other, twisted playfully and we brushed each others. A sudden sound of a footstep alerted us and our lips got parted. She too had to go back and I escorted her to a bit distance.
I decided to talk to my mother regarding Priya. Her face became ruby-red while she got to know Priya was from a other caste family and not a Brahmin. Besides, she was a daughter of a butcher.
"What rubbish, this is your choice! I can't imagine. You immediately stop meeting her."
"But what's wrong with her, ma? You have not seen her yet."
"For Heaven's sake, let me not see. I sahll hang the broom for her at the front door."
"But what she wronged?" - I said petulantly. "She's pursuing her masters in math and aiming to do Phd. She wants to be a professor. She must have a bright career. What's her fault then? She isn't from a Brahmin family! That's all."
"I think I'm enough fortunate for having tied with her. I really can't understand what is done with this entire rubbish caste concept." - I vented out.
I fought back with the fact as I felt a strange impetuosity flowed down my veins just for Priya. My mom didn't say any word and went on doing her job.
"Why are you fighting with your family?" - Priya said to me in a very low voice that evening.
"I'm not fighting, I simply tried to make her understand, but she can't understand. What's wrong with her?"
"Nothing is wrong with her; if my mom were there in her place, she might have behaved in the same way. The problem is deep rooted. You cannot eradicate it over a day or night."
I looked at Priya - a strange tranquility prevailed in her.
"ssh, keep quiet" - she put her finger onto my lips.
"Listen Mrinal, don't get agitated. I know the result, I don't expect anything except your love. So, just do your job and love me as much as you can. Forget all about the consequence."
I stopped talking about that matter and everything went on. We met with each other, spent time and everything was fine. Few months later, one day her father spotted us on the way having had chit-chat and our body-language might signal him that something was going wrong. This aggravated our smooth-sailing relation.
Her father met my parents and nothing could be hidden. My mom was furious. She couldn't expect that I had continued meeting Priyanka despite of her forbidding. She proclaimed that she would kill herself if I proceeded further. I couldn't believe my ears what I heard.
I didn't know what to do, how to cope with the situation. I asked myself, pondered about the issue again and again and the night was gone.
I was fighting with myself. I had to choose any one side. Which one should I have chosen? What could I have done? I had to reach to the conclusion that I had to retreat...
Few days later a news came to my ears that Priyanka and her family had gone to somewhere elese. They left their rented house. My heart broke into pieces everyday but life had to go on. But how could I lead my life? The memories of Priyanka were chasing me. I would have been mad, had I not fled.
I had to flee from myself. And thank God! My luck helped me that time. The opportunity came - the opportunity to escape. I went to Bangalore.
Time could heal my wound but failed to remove the scar that was engraved at the bottom layer of my heart.
Thirteen years have gone but the memory of Priyanka still haunts me. Women may come and women may go, moments will be created and faded away. but the genuine love of Priyanka will be ticking in my heart like the nonstop movement of the hands of the watch till... I don't know how long, might be of my last breathe...
Our wheels slowed down and Prabir parks the car beside a temple. Kothakoli is busy in phone, and in seconds, a middle-aged man and two women came to the road to receive us warmly. One woman was Kothakoli's friend. They shared their womanish giggle and blandishments.
My eyes set on the other people at the alley looking at us and some peeped out of their window. I looked at the house and entered. It's a two storied building with vibrant colours. The outer and inner appearance of the house announces their richness. We are taken to a big room where all the decorative and expensive furniture greeted us.
Kothakoli enjoys the great attention she receives. She starts introducing me with the people present in the room, setting their eyes on me from top to bottom. I sense that they scrutinize my each and every step - the movement of my hands, the way I sit and so on. I myself get embarrassed a lot and felt the trickle of perspiration on my forehead. Only the male members of the house are here in the room and the female members flock together at the threshold.
The girl's father starts asking questions in regard to my family background and my profession. I feel that my interview is going on and my nerves are getting week for the first time, to face this strange interview. I cracked many interviews earlier with zenithal confidence, but this time a sort of awe works in my mind. I don't know why. I want to leave the place as early as possible, and Kothakoli and Prabir heard my mind.
Kotahkoli then asks for the bride, and everyone hurriedly went inside. A few minutes later they have brought the girl into the room we do expectantly wait for. She steps inside slowly and gives smile and pranam with folded hands to each and everybody individually. Her performance is no doubt flawless, and I do realize that her millionth practice has made her perfect.
Despite her bright make-up, I have come to know that her complexion is not fair as my eyes set on her feet. The make-up artist might have only worked on her face and hands. She wore a yellow saree with glittering embroidery. I giggled in mind and looked at Prabir. He has snapped my hands to keep quiet.
The parents of the girl want to know if we have any queries or question to ask about the girl. Kothakoli and Prabir looked at me and I signaled negatively. I want to get out of the place, but they have brought some tea and snacks. Meanwhile, my cell buzzed a while. A couple of SMS has entered and I go through the inbox. I start reading the texts.
"Hey Mrinal, how do u do? I've got ur contact nmbr. from Kotha, I'm da sis-in-law of Suchismita, da bride u came to see. I do wonder, u havent got married so far. I saw u entering our house but didnt come to face u. I hope u like my sis-in-law and I do heartily wish u all the best. Im coming to da room to serve some sweets, and so, request you not to react in such a way that u know me. R u getting surprised at reading this? Pls dont be, this is none but Priyanka. We met 13 yrs back. Bye, see you."
My heart jumped into my mouth and with sharp agility I stood up. Everyone looked at me. Prabir held my hands and asked, "What's up? Anything wrong?"
"No" - I said and sat down. Priyanka steps inside, I look at her. She keeps the plate of sweet on the table accompanied by her other sister-in-law Debasmita. She looks at Kothakoli and shares a decent smile.
Then Kothakoli tells me, "Mrinal, I forgot to tell you about one member of this family." Nudging Priyanka's hand she said, "She is Priyanka, the sister-in-law of Suchismita. She is a Professor of mathematics."
My eyes glued at Priyanka's. We exchanged pleasant smile. I look at others. Everyone smiles...