The Invincible Moonsheen
Part – 4
(Telugu Original “Venutiragani Vennela” by Dr K.Geeta)
English Translation: V.Vijaya Kumar
(The previous story briefed)
Sameera comes to meet Udayini, a friend of her mother in America, who runs a women’s aid organization, “Sahaya”. She feels very good about Udayini. Sameera, who is four months pregnant, says that she wants to get a divorce and the circumstances that lead to it. Udayini then says that she will tell the story of “Tanmayi” in the morning, and asks her to tell her what she thinks after hearing it. Meanwhile, Shekhar writes a letter to Tanmayi that he likes her. Sameera who is studying intermediate saw him at a relative’s wedding. Tanmayi, who is naturally emotional, starts getting interested in Shekhar. Both met formally at one moment and introduced each other.
As soon as Tanmayi came from Vanaja’s house, Jyothi said, ” Hurry up! I must get you ready for the Pelli chupulu ceremony, they are on their way!”
Tanmayi felt surprised. For me “Pelli chupulu?”
She doesn’t dare to ask anyone what is going on.
“Boy is from Kakinada. an RMP doctor, practice is good, earned well, and recently built his own house.” She then added, “If he asks you anything, respond to him with a smile, ” Jyoti said to her daughter.
Tanmayi lost her mood. Why do they suddenly arrange it without telling me? My mind is already inclined towards Shekar. What if the other marriage party likes me on this occasion? Can I become a wife of someone while loving another person in my heart?”
When Bhanumurthy came and told them about their arrival, her heart started beating fast.
She was absent-minded all the way when they made her for it. She looked into the mirror. She’s lanky and looks like a stick wearing a sari.
Ornaments are sparkling brighter than her. neighbors helping Jyoti in the kitchen.
The neighborhood Attayya came with flowers, put them in the hair and tucked, drew her palms against cheeks, breaking her knuckles in appreciation.
Tanmayi felt Shekhar was revolving around her and talking with her.
What is going on? She felt that he was posing the question straight away to her.
She felt her head was going to be blasted into pieces. If someone tells this to Vanaja, it would be a great relief for her,” biting her lip she kept sitting quietly waiting for the consequences.
It seems he was accompanied by his mother. But he talks about everything about marriage himself.
Jyoti led Tanmayi to the room and stood up. He stared once at her and turned his head to talk with others.
Tanmayi felt suddenly disappointed when she held her head up.
He looked above 25, not at least an average looking, with a dull disposition. Tanmayi suddenly felt ill.
She looked at her mother wondering when they would permit her to disperse from the scene.
Everyone concentrated upon him, leaving her unnoticed, no formalities like Pelli chupulu. She just walked out standing 5 minutes there before him telling her name.
Narasamma led her granddaughter inside.
Though she understood her granddaughter’s sad feelings through her eyes she can’t help doing her any favor in those circumstances. She simply ran her palms on her head and walked away.
“They demanded 2 lakh dowry, but your parents denied the proposals,” Narasamma said in the evening to her granddaughter sitting quietly in distress.
Tanmayi felt relieved and involuntarily embraced her grandmother.
She ran upstairs and gazed at the stars shining over there. She folded her hands in traditional namaste and thankfully pressed them to her bosom.
She felt relieved and something overwhelming in her heart suddenly came down.
She ran down and went near a flowering thicket, plucked a small Chandrakanta flower, inhaled the fragrance deeply, touched those petals smoothly, and tucked it into her plant.
She received another letter from Shekhar next week.
He wrote that he is coming Sunday with her mother to attend a wedding in the village and so he is coming to their home.
Tanmayi decided to escape the moment when he would come here and go away to Vanaja.
She couldn’t expect that she would also attend the same wedding.
Surprisingly she was delighted by his presence against her will when she watched Shekhar. She understood that Devi, his mother, keenly observed her.
Dragging her hand Narasamma led her to Devi and said,” Come on, speak with Devi Attayya”
Tanmayi greeted her with “Namaste” hesitantly.
“Oh! You are Tanmayi! come to me, Shekhar said everything about you!” Devi took her close lovingly, smiling.
Oh, Aunty! What did he say about me? and she threw a mischievous look at Shekhar.
Shekhar smiled and winked from a distance in reciprocation.
She lowered her head in fear that someone would see them.
Devi smiling again said, “You’re blushing so much!”
When lunch was over, Jyoti’s mother customarily proposed, “Come with us, have a look at our house” while leaving from there.
Devi watched carefully the attic in the middle room filled with brass vessels turned upside down upon the walls.
“All these are given to me by my mother. I will give all these to Tanmayi,” said Jyoti.
Devi, smiling and looking appreciatively, said, ” You have only a girl, and you should give away more paraphernalia to your daughter Vadina garu! and they are great strengths to girls, you know?”
While the adults were busy exchanging about the paraphernalia, Tanmayi got a chance to talk to Shekhar,
They stood against the wall in the alley of the backyard.
“Why not write letters,” he said.
“May the elders make a fuss” She fumbled for words looking down.
“I told my mother that I liked you. Wouldn’t it be better if she likes you too? He said looking at Tanmayi tight-lipped.
He is quite handsome when he looks in such a way.
He asked, “Umm…what else?”
“There are plenty! I want to go with you under the moonlight to the Godavari river. Will you take me?” She was delighted to say many such things.
“Boats do not sail on the Godavari at night, why can’t we go after daybreak? Why should we prefer nights in the Godavari in the dark? He said,
“Not in the dark, but in the moonlight…,” corrected Tanmayi in a tone of sarcasm.
“Umm…leave it…Don’t you eat properly? Why do you be lanky like this? He said, looking at her straight away.
Tanmayi took it to heart, yet, she said peacefully, “Though I eat much I do the same”
He suddenly came closer to her and patted her cheek saying, “Okay! let’s move, I’ll come to you again soon.”
Tanmayi felt elated in a rapturous joy and she thought she would have had his palm forever on her cheek.
She said in a tone of displeasure, looking at him, “Just now?” choking down her words.
“Oh, Ammayi! lot’s of work pending, I must go with my father in the evening on some important business,” he said in a very casual tone.
Tanmayi ran inside, listening to her father’s voice suddenly.
When Tanmayi joined intermediate, she decided she was going to be a college lecturer. She had no idea what she wanted before joining there.
She had great respect for Krishna Rao Master, who speaks English fluently and impressed all the children. When she heard that he did his Ph.D. in English, she began to think about when she would do her Ph.D. One day she boldly approached him and asked about it.
He talked with her optimistic that she would become a lecturer one day, and he said, “You don’t need a Ph. D to become a junior college lecturer. You just need to do an M.A., in the relevant subject, but you have to take the entrance exam. For that, minimum second-class marks in M.A is enough. You might know, that this is the world of crazy competition. Faring more marks is always necessary. Doing a Ph.D. not only brings a doctoral degree but also makes you eligible for a college lecturer position. Though at this point it is not necessary to know all this at an intermediate stage, yet, what we want to do in life may sometimes be defined earlier. It is good to know because it depends on the subjects you take in the degree to get settled. You will surely become a lecturer one day, but only if you stop talking like this intimidating,” master laughed.
From then on, Tanmayi started studying English well. At the same time, she grew interested in Telugu literature. For no reason, the passion for both languages stuck in her soul. She always got high marks in mathematics in college, and gradually Tanmayi felt that something that was missing in math was found in the literature.
During the summer vacation, Tanmayi decided to join a college to study English literature.
“These days are not fair, and that boy is looking for this girl. I don’t like the idea to put her in a hostel. You pursue her somehow,” said Jyoti to her husband.
Bhanumurthy pursuing his daughter said, ” Amma, degree college is not in our Village, we don’t leave you in a hostel, better you go for a B.A., degree privately, if required with tuition.”
On that evening when she met Vanaja, she said, “It’s very difficult to study English literature through private study at home, you may be left as a dropout like me! Why can’t you opt for Telugu literature? You have that passion in it, don’t you?”
“I like Telugu literature as well,” Vana! Yet, the thing is, we need to take the other combination subjects like politics and economics. I prefer only history and other subjects.” said Tanmayi.
“Hey! Aren’t you looking for a Telugu Literature, English Literature, and History combination degree? Here you are! You are fortunate, Andhra University is offering a private degree for people like you with the subjects of your choice.” She showed the brochure of the Andhra University.
Tanmayi was greatly relieved and ran home with excitement.
In the first year of Tanmayi’s B.A. study period, few people approached them with marriage proposals but never succeeded.
Even though Jyoti and Bhanumurthy were not in a hurry to get their daughter married, the pressure of their relatives and the marriages of her age group in the neighborhood all made them hurry.
Meanwhile, Shekhar came home for the third time one evening.
Bhanumurthy is not at home.
Even if he said that he was just on a customary visit to their home, nobody was ready to believe it. Moreover, their suspicions grew stronger after they learned about his intentions.
“I have come to see Tanmayi,” he said boldly to Jyoti.
Jyoti looked a little embarrassed and said, ” Umm…! She is an… unmarried girl, and to get married soon…, what would it be like… if you are coming for a girl like that?” She hinted to him that it was improper to come again.
Shekhar said, “Attamma! “That’s what I came to say, if you like, I will marry Tanmayi.”
When Tanmayi heard about it from inside, her heart jumped up in delight and she wanted to dance.
While hearing this, Narasamma came there and said, “That is not the way we follow the custom Babu, the elders should come and ask…” Of course, she felt very happy inside.
“Sure, amma I will bring our elders,” he said.
“They are our relatives, but we don’t know their affairs properly. What should we do?” Jyoti said while talking to Bhanumurthy about this, in the night.
“The boy seems to like our girl. “I have no objection to getting married if our daughter also likes him,” he said.
He said that he will bring their elders to talk about marriage. “Do you know how bravely he asked?” She said happily to Vanaja.
“After all, you want to do a Ph. D. And now You are greatly excited about the marriage,” said Vanaja smiling.
“I will tell him that if he allows me to continue my studies after the marriage, then only I go with marriage proposals otherwise I don’t,” said Tanmayi, but she also knew that there is nothing she can do if he doesn’t permit her to study. But her conscience says he would accept.
“I can’t tell you how happy I was when he asked so boldly. I just go and declare that I am in love with him.” She said again in an inexplicable joy of happiness.
“Oh! Everything is fine, but what is he doing? Even if we don’t need these details to love, we should think about all these things if we want to get married.
Tannayi is not in the mood to care about anything.
Tanmayi was annoyed and said, “Are you always like this?” Instead of making me comfortable for a few minutes, you just delve out serious topics.”
“Marriage is not just floating in the air, everything can be understood after getting married,” said Vanaja.
“You think lakhs and lakhs of excuses for such things, for that… perhaps… you didn’t get married” She bit her tongue and said at once, “Sorry, sorry!”
“It’s okay, but who knows why it didn’t happen? I thought you would know.” Vanaja said, taking it lightly and smiling,
“Hope You didn’t think otherwise! Promise?” Tanmayi said again.
“That’s why I like you, Vana! Who will tell me all these things, if it’s not you? She looked at the sky and said, “Look, I swear upon the moon and that rising planet that I will not hurt you again.”
“Will you please stop the swearing spree for heaven’s sake?
Listen to me, “You are saying that Shekhar is taking care of the poultry farm with his father. That means you should stay in a joint family after your marriage, doesn’t it?” Vanaja said thoughtfully.
She nodded her head vertically and horizontally, “I think so… But lately, as they are experiencing losses in the business, they sent him to their grandparents to find a job in Vizag. If it’s successful, it’s like all my dreams have come true. I can spend my life enjoying the beauty of the waves crashing on the seashore touching the sky. What do you think?” She said, looking into the air hopefully.
“Looking at the self-confidence in your eyes, I hope everything will go in favor of you! However, you should have some control over living in daydreams,” said Vanaja, holding her nose naughtily.
“One more thing. I can join the University straight away and do my M.A. and Ph.D. too. She fancied it greatly.
Meanwhile, Jyoti shouted from downstairs, “Tanmayi! Will you come down please once?”
(Continued next month)
A post graduate in English literature and language and in Economics. A few of my translations were published. I translated the poems of Dr. Andesri , Denchanala, Ayila Saida Chary and Urmila from Telugu to English. I write articles and reviews to magazines and news papers. To the field of poetry I am rather a new face.