The Invincible Moonsheen
Part – 6
(Telugu Original “Venutiragani Vennela” by Dr K.Geeta)
English Translation: V.Vijaya Kumar
(The previous story briefed)
Sameera comes to meet her mother’s friend Udayini in America, who runs a women’s aid organization “Sahaya”. Sameera, who is four months pregnant, tells Udayini that she wants to get a divorce and the circumstances are conducive to it. Udayini tells the story of “Tannayi” and asks Sameera to think over it. After seeing Tanmayi, who is studying intermediate, Shekhar likes her and writes a letter…Naturally emotional, Tanmayi gets interested in Shekhar. Both of them get to know each other. Marriage proposals start from both sides.
“Granny liked him pretty much from the beginning, but Mom somewhat disapproved of him,” said Tanmayi, with Vanaja looking vacant somewhere.
“Not like that, your Mother wishes for your well-being, that too, you’re their only daughter, who knows more than her? Yet, speak with her once, perhaps she might feel Shekhar doesn’t fit you” said Vanaja.
“Nope, it’s impossible…I dare not speak anything about Shekhar with my Mom. I don’t like to rethink once a decision is made.”
“But they are… with dowry pursuits,” said Vanaja laughing.
“But I’m serious,” Tanmayi said with a rounded mouth. ” They went again yesterday for further talks.”
“Oh!… What progressive news! You naughty, Why don’t you tell me all the while?”
“Dowry enhanced, My mother asserted on Aadapaduchu lanchanaalu. Finally, we committed to everything. Shekhar’s mom suggested a downsize in gold which my parents offered me. They demanded everything in cash, and these people were concerned about my future… When my grandmother said all these issues, I cried…” she paused and said, ” By the way, they fixed marriage Muhurtham.”
“Ah! this good news in such a simple expression! “You had a lot of fun all these days…but why this cynical tone now?” Vanaja rapped her knuckles on her lovingly.
Hmm…She deeply sighed and said, “I’d rather be distressed at the bargains since my marriage pursuit, does it need to be entertained just to live together as a couple?” looking into twilight deeply.
“Look! We’ve no guts to entertain any love marriage freely when the elders are involved, such things are quite common. Hadn’t we seen plenty of such marriages? Outsiders only see the external pomp in a marriage, those who are involved feel the real hardships. Don’t get into those issues deeply, everything will go well. By the way, when will they have the Muhurtham?”
“I feel rather uneasy to say! It’s fixed just the very next day of your marriage!” Tanmayi said disappointingly.
“It means You can’t come to my marriage and Me to yours! Forget it, we meet when this is finished, Don’t forget me after my Rayachur settlement! Laugh Yaar! Leave those financial matters to the elders! take it easy, otherwise, you lose your composure, and the people around you,” said Vanaja, making the atmosphere light.
“We both two plants
Hoped to grow into big trees
With multiple branches
She read those written lines again and again.
“You came on time, Daddy brought Wedding Cards, see…!” Her mother said to Tanmayi.
Oh! Are wedding cards already printed? She took it into her hands disinterestedly, hiding her notebook behind her. She has been preparing it since morning.
Chi || la|| sow|| Tanmayi
Chi || Shekhar
Very formal wedding card. Since her childhood, she has been used to the same coinage of words. Just change of names. Even the color is also the same.
When she was about to say something, Jyoti said a bit derisively, ” Even those card prices also went up, what could we do, everything went up high, whenever we proposed this marriage…there, they enhanced dowry!”
Tanmayi got hurt whenever her mother made her pricking comments.
She felt wretched and guilty and said to herself, “They seem disheartened because of me, if they would have fixed the marriage by themselves all these things wouldn’t have happened.”
She ran upstairs with the notebook.
“How the days would be in coming May, this year the sunny scorching days had started as early as Pongal went”
The housewife on the opposite side was chatting with the passers-by.
Tanmayi sat down near her most loved sannajaji creeper.
“It would be so nice if I tell those four lines to Shekhar to be printed on the wedding card from their side,” She thought to herself and laughed at her idea.
” If I write a letter? When could it reach Vijag? When could he talk about it with his parents? These things never happen!” She reposed again and stopped thinking of it.
Tanmayi passionately loves writing under the starlit flower creeper in the evening light.
She opened the notebook and wrote, “Dear nameless friend- “
“Oh! How beautiful is this idea! We can tell this anonymous friend, whatever we will, and what we couldn’t with anyone!”
“Friend! I don’t know how you would be, and where you might be. I know pretty much you don’t read my letters, yet, I want to share with you, I’m just a trivial creature here, a flower bloomed in the sannajaji thrush…When she started writing she felt thrilled.
She scribbled four pages. She evoked her soul as if she were directly conversing with that secret friend. She mentioned those four lines that she wished to be added to the wedding card, and finished the letter saying Goodbye! Friend! Enough for today”
The following week her Degree final year exams started.
Vanaja said, “Don’t think much about marriage and funk exams!” and she added,” Of course, you don’t! You’ve got a special quality you know! Though you are stuffed in thoughts, whenever you come to studies, you simply come with a different head, and sack marks!”
“Perhaps, the reason might be that no other things give me composure than the books and studies I suppose,” Tanmayi smiled and said.
Yes, when she’s with books she forgets everything. This is her boon.
Purchasing of Marriage outfits day approached. The bride’s costumes should be bought by the doubled amount of the bridegroom.
Clothing should be mutually reciprocated or paid in cash.
They all decided to go shopping combinedly.
Just before a day, they intimated, ” We do shopping later, and you people purchase within this budget.”
Jyoti felt despaired as long as the shopping went on. “The budget is in no way good for nothing, best sarees are beyond it.”
Tanmayi likes gold-colored silk sari very much.
“You mean whole zari sarees?” the salesman asked.
“Hmm… how could it be possible to give away half of it to the bride, if we buy whole zari sarees within the budget!
Tanmayi watched her mother’s face and the salesman’s who chuckles
at her silently.
The zari sarees they picked up in the budget did not even have a palm-size zari.
Tanmayi handed over the responsibility of selection to her mom and kept quiet.
Jyoti likes dark colors. She chose dark green, and dark red colored sarees as usual.
Tanmayi likes light colors. At one moment she switched over to ask her mother for a sandalwood-colored sari but constrained herself not wishing to hurt her mother’s feelings more.
The marriage date was approaching.
Tanmayi felt sick on one end for she will be leaving home, and on the other end, happy with the imagination of her new romantic life.
She was absent-minded the whole day and for every question, she nodded and stumbled upon the question “what?”
At dining, she scribbles on the dining plate and flushes into laughs, and suddenly leaves the table.
After the 11-day earlier ritual of a wooden pole, her mind began to float in the air.
As Vanaja’s marriage preparations are also going on, they could not meet each other in the meantime.
The notebook was intended for an imaginary soulmate.
Suddenly a smile bloomed on her lips when she was reminded of her secret friend.
She opened her book. She looked lovingly at those Bapu letters written with a fountain ink pen. She wrote one side of the page with that ink pen to avoid smudges on the other side of the paper. She never preferred ball-pointed pens.
“If I paste any related picture or poem to the opposite side…”
She picked up Andhra Jyothi weekly and turned on a page. The poem on the page and the picture attracted her incredibly.
She cut the page carefully and pasted it on the first page.
Tanmayi was greatly relieved, recalling the memories of reading here and there some parts from the book.
” Friend! I can’t help not talking with you for a moment and being relieved!
Do you know how beautiful it is to write those things and listen to the whispers in my ears in the vanishing evening twilight?
“Friend! Hope you don’t feel bored with my sweet nonsense!! How long should I spare these lengthy days…I will soon talk to you again about where the Earth and Sky meet!”
“I feel suffocated here. Yet, I feel relaxed while talking with you, as if I enjoyed the hill stream keeping my feet in the water! I won’t reveal to you the stormy things whirling in my mind. Tell me charming things, I will listen to you.”
Three days before the marriage they readied her as Bride. Applied turmeric, gave her a head bath, and got her to wear a new sari by in-laws.
Eyes darkened, Kalyana Thilakam painted on her forehead. Kept a dark mark on her cheek. Looking at herself in the mirror she felt something untidiness in her makeover! Yet she felt she looked beautiful!
They added Jada gantalu to her braided hair and strewn it with flowers by the womenfolk.
Narasamma flapped her knuckles in appreciation of her granddaughter.
Jyoti was busy in the kitchen and told them to call her once the makeover was finished.
Peddatta bought a dark orange colored chemmy sparkling printed sari on which Tanmayi felt, “If it was a golden colored one how beautiful it would be!! It would be a great outfit for this occasion!”
Tanmayi wasn’t used to sari wear until this moment, in addition, it was a fancy one, and so she spent most of the time adjusting it.
Some of her relatives also bought dark-colored sarees. Tanmayi was disappointed with them.
Nearer relatives came and blessed her with akshathalu long-distance relatives started coming one by one.
By evening everyone came and the house was filled with fun and frolic. Babies crying, exhausted women at ovens, men engaged with play cards.
And the others belong to none of those categories wandering to and fro there hurriedly.
The only photographer in that village came there peacefully at 11 O’clock. He took two shots asking those who were blessing them to take them aside. The Kumkum on her forehead already magnified wildly from the heat in the atmosphere and started trickling down. Her nose reddened.
She thought about how the photo would be, and reminded Vanaja suddenly, if she was there she would certainly have checked such things.
She looked at her 8 years Thodu pellikuthuru. She seems to be enjoying the blessings rather than herself.
Tanmayi asked her, “Will you have a look at Vanaja once?”
That girl said, “Do you know Vanajakka gets ready for a bridal morning today?
She nodded, “That’s why I’m asking you to go there. They won’t allow me to go!” and she laughed.
The woman who was listing the gifts grabbed the girl down by her hand to resume her seat.
Tanmayi suddenly remembered Shekhar, perhaps he was also getting ready for the bridal day! she wished to see him.
Usually, the bridegroom wears a white dress. Shekhar used to say he doesn’t like full white suits. How could he be acknowledged, I must see.
She just loved to imagine Shekhar in a white dress.
She wanted to scribble something on paper, but no chance. The whole day she was confined to a chair and if anyone called her “Tanmayi” she had to go there for blessings, returning to her seat. Early in the morning they pleated her wet hair hard and the sari she wore was not well habitual and the plat with loaded flowers brought her a headache.
The house was packed with relatives. All they lay in the rooms dispersed and crammed one after another.
Tanmayi slept with her Attaiah upstairs. Staring into the skies she felt her heartbeat when something suddenly flooded her. She closed her eyes and saw Shekhar on the wedding stage on the soft sandy seashore where the Earth and Heaven met. But for some unknown reason, she has been listening to her heart beat very fast since morning and feeling tense.
She used to experience this in her childhood as and when she listens to bands and high-decibel sounds. The bustle of the festivities at home made her uncomfortable.
The next day the same feeling continued.
She suddenly remembered Vanaja’s marriage event and felt disappointed. At least mother would have attended there if it was in the village. But the temple where the marriage is going to be celebrated is 50 km away. away from there. Hope everything is going well there! She sighed.
Shekhar’s relatives came there by evening. Some nearer relatives didn’t come. The Next day morning, marriage!
It’s informed that Shekhar and family come on that bridal morning.
Jyoti felt nervous and said, “What is this, we obliged everything, we arranged vididi and dinner here for them, but why did they decide to come the next day?”
Tanmayi worried about the things that were happening and that she hasn’t been wanted all these days. Shekhar didn’t come that day.
The whole night seemed spent without sleep to everyone. Though the kids were sleeping soundly, a baby seemed to be crying somewhere late at night.
On the floor, the preparation of sweets was going on.
Tanmayi was sleepless and feeling anxious and gripped in a strange kind of mental agitation.
“Don’t go panic, don’t presuppose any odds, everything will be alright”
Tanmayi herself conditioned her soul, consoling her inner self.
(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.