The Invincible Moonsheen
Part – 7
(Telugu Original “Venutiragani Vennela” by Dr K.Geeta)
English Translation: V.Vijaya Kumar
(The previous story briefed)
Samira comes to meet her mother’s friend, Udayini, who runs a women’s aid organization in America. Samira had a good opinion of Udayini. The fourth month pregnant Samira sought a divorce and she relates what conditions made her take that decision. Udayini tells Samira that she will tell her the story of Tanmayi and after listening to it she may make her own decision. Shekhar meets Samira who is studying intermediate in a wedding ceremony and writes a letter. Tanmayi who is emotional becomes interested in Shekhar. They both meet and are introduced to one another. Elders who positively responded to this proposal into marriage.
The marriage is going to take place tomorrow morning, which Tanmayi is eagerly waiting for.
Shekhar should have come by this time. But for some reason, they are coming the next morning.
Our people obliged every demand from their side and made this happen, what would they want more? Tanmayi couldn’t sleep well in her disturbing thoughts.
She became restless thinking about it. Marriage became an obsession to her and her heartbeat increased, at the same time she is feeling a sort of fear of whether everything goes well or not.
Though she is sleeping upstairs with everyone around her she has become lonesome in her swarming thoughts. Observing her anxiety, Attayya said, “Go to sleep early! Otherwise, You’ll be looking tiresome in the wedding ceremony”
Tanmayi took her soft hands closer and fell asleep.
She forgot everything until her mother woke her up, calling early in the morning, “Tanmayi, they came!”
Watching her delightful glowing face, they began to tease her.
First Shekhar’s mother and a few others came there, Shekhar had not yet come.
Shekhar would come up with his father. Tanmayi heard about that when some of the relatives whispered, “It’s ridiculous! The bridegroom hadn’t arrived till now!”
The Pradhan ritual started. Women only participate in it.
While the chanting of mantras was going on, Devi put a yellow thread in Tanmayi’s neck and whispered three times in her ear “Their daughter-in-law… “
Tanmayi blushed in delight and said to herself, “I’m their daughter-in-law” henceforth.
The news of the bridegroom’s arrival was announced by somebody that they were waiting on the outskirts of the village.
The music band rushed there at once.
An embellished car decorated with flowers at the corner of the street, and the band party in front of them marching ahead. Tanmayi watched curiously through the window panes from upstairs.
Her heartbeat increased suddenly.
No sooner had the bridegroom entered the premises than his dress changed as the Muhurtham approached. Shekhar was not in white clothes. I was changed into an old half saree. They started the Mangal snana ritual for both of us. They removed the toenails, applied turmeric paste, and gave us a head bath.
The hubbub of various sounds and the musical instruments, the kids’ hilarious shouts, the whole atmosphere is inaudible to one another.
Tanmayi couldn’t get a chance to see Shekhar in this ungainly situation. She managed to ask a question, “Why this unusual delay?”
Shekhar paid no attention to her inquiry, he skipped away as if unheard.
We were taken separately and led us to change the wedding clothes.
As the Muhurtham fastly approached, they wrapped me around with a sari hurriedly. Some applied Parani to my feet and the others twined my plait. Just in ten minutes they got me ready for the wedding ceremony and led me to Mantap.
She doesn’t have time to check how she looked in the Sari or the other things like kalyana thilakam, disti chukka, etc. Moreover, the sari was not liked by her, and at least not allowed to wear it peacefully.
Shekhar in his white clothes glowing brightly. Her aunt already warned her not to see him directly. She tried to look at him, narrowing her eyes.
They covered me with a nylon thread saree over my silk saree in a cross pattern on both of my shoulders.
They joined jadagantalu to my wet plait and a heavy chrysanthemum flower plait. She felt dragged back. She asked for a jasmine flower plait but eventually, they bought a chrysanthemum flower plait as her mother felt it lasts long not withering.
On one side Tanmayi and her parents Jyoti and Bhanumurthy and the other side, Shekhar and his parents sat on Pelli Peetalu. A curtain was held between the two parties. During the Kanyadanam ritual, she looked at Shekhar’s feet with Parani which were bright and robust on the bronze plate. When mother was pouring water her father began to wash Shekhar’s feet. Tanmayi felt uncomfortable inside. “What sort of custom is it? Washing the feet of a younger one by an elder! My father, a man of respect, who never bowed his head before anyone, is now washing the feet of a young man just for the sake of me,”
Before the curtain was upheld Jeelakarra Bellam was kept on the heads of them. When the curtain lifted off Shekhar’s face wonderfully appeared like a dazzling moon. His hand upon her head and my hand on his! “Just swearing on one-to-one living forever”
Tanmayi felt amazed, emotional, hesitant, extremely blissful, and highly confused. When she lifted her eyes to stare at Shekhar’s face he winked her eyes laughing happily. She blushed and bowed again.
The moment he stood up for the Mangalya Dharana she was lost in her spirits suddenly. Someone lifted her plait and held it. Shekhar tied three knots to the thread with the small-sized two mangalyams around her neck. She greatly loved mangalyams as big as coins. But these are altogether unnoticeable; maybe both parties couldn’t be negotiated well enough in this bargain! As soon as that thought came, the enthusiasm evaporated.
Tanmayi liked the ritual of talambras and the rings probe in the vessel very much. But at the same time, she felt uneasy about such childish things while many people were watching.
People were coming to splash the axinths one after the other, offering them gifts or money. Writing in a notebook of those gifts and money by somebody very serious, looked contemptuous to Tanmayi as if they were collecting the debts!
Both of them were raised from the Pelli Peetalu and seated in two chairs in the wedding hall. But not a chance to talk to each other. People are coming one by one and blessing continuously. Tanmayi asked why he was late…
“Is all that necessary now?” he said looking somewhere.
Shekhar insisted they take the bride with them when the wedding feast was over. They did not spare to wait till evening.
Tanmayi experienced another headache thinking about her mother’s unpleasant attitude all the while during the wedding ceremony.
Fortunately, nothing unpleasant has occurred.
They asked for 2 hours for arranging the paraphernalia to send the bride with them.
They hurriedly set up 2 pairs of clothes for her. The next day’s reception will take place at Shekhar’s house. On the 3rd day, they have to come back.
The very next moment of stepping into the car Tanmayi welled up with tears. She broke suddenly. She felt something and realized that she was lonesome and leaving her beloved parents and grandmother and getting away from there forever.
She doesn’t feel happy about her marriage life with Shekhar. Crying..crying…crying ceaseless agony gripped her.
She has been weeping all along for half an hour. Shekhar is chatting with his uncle who sat in the first seat not paying attention to Tanmayi though he held her hand in his lap.
Now and then he pressed her hand hinting to stop her crying. He exclaimed at her all of a sudden, “Hey, why are you weeping? Are your parents not coming to the reception tomorrow?
Tanmayi was shocked at his unpleasant shout. She expected he would call her Tanu… caring and loving, but he called her rudely “Osay!” Moreover, he couldn’t understand her feelings of agony in leaving her parents!”
She suddenly remembered Vanaja, “We all four meet after marriage” “What Vanaja may be doing now? After coming back home I must meet her.” She said to herself.
Tanmayi who was lost in her thoughts thinking about her “marriage that went everything against her wishes” suddenly came to consciousness with Shekhar’s words.
Her agony multiplied, she tried to control her emotions but the pain grew ten times.
She took back her hand from his grip slowly and retired back, closing her eyes.
Shekhar cautioned and shrank back.
The aroma of chrysanthemum flowers nauseated her. In addition, the weight of 5kg of rice in her lap added more burden to her.
The anonymous friend suddenly flashed into her memory.
She said to herself, “Oh my friend! Give me some strength, lead me ahead.”
She opened her eyes and looked at the retreating trees through the windshield. The hot air blowing outside made her nostrils burn.
She asked Shekhar for water. Uncle told the driver to stop the car at the coconut shop on the roadside.
Tanmayi looked at Shekhar.
“You don’t get down,” Shekar said to her and got ready to get down of the car. As the knot that tied both with the cloth cannot be delinked, he stood there at the door.
She extended her sari’s edge as much as she could, bowing her head down. She gulped down the liquid from the coconut silently.
“Thank God, at last, you stopped crying!” Shekhar said when the car was ready to gear up.
“Hello! This Brahma mudi binds us only on this day, don’t expect more every time.” He joked. A giggle cracked out from the front seat.
Tanmayi didn’t find it laughable. She leaned back wearily to the back seat.
Shekhar shaking her shoulder wakes up saying, “You’re so bluntly sleeping as if the whole night sleepless! What a girl you are! Get up, we reached our village!”
“Oh, my anonymous friend! I leave you now, Don’t bother, I’ll come again, don’t sob near the falling flower creeper…!” Tanmayi spoke quietly with her anonymous friend.
Tanmayi hoped Shekhar would take her close to his bosom and lead them into his home saying, “Dear, let’s step into our dream world together!”
She looked confused when the things around her inverted what she has been engaged in her thoughts.
“Why those reddened eyes, as if having drunk!” Shekhar broke into laughter.
She expected Shekhar would take care of her more than her parents but she was greatly disappointed on the very first day.
She expected somebody would invite her into her mother-in-law’s house with the ritual of disti and harathi but no such sign around there.
She recalls plenty of such great occasions in her relatives’ houses how the newly wedded bride set her foot on the threshold and invited her with singing songs, painting parani keeping mettelu… Oh!
how many dreams she has for these beautiful moments!”
She upholds her sari, watching her toes with mettelu. They are looking beautiful on her lengthy toes fitting well. Looked into the mirror. Her face looked greasy and the bindi on her forehead melted down on her nose. Her hair was matted with the Jilakarra Bellam.
The plait that was worn out pressed to her seat almost withered and hung awkwardly.
“Wash your faces first, You should go to sprinkle the odi biyyam in Uncle’s houses,” Devi said to the newly wedded couple sitting in the hall.
The knot was still there on the edge of her sari and so Tanmayi took off the shoulder and kept it in the chair and walked into the washroom.
She suddenly broke into tears, remembering her home and her kith and kin. She doesn’t feel comfortable in this new ambiance. She wants to say, uncle and aunt. She wants to get back with them.
When she came out, Aunty came to her and said, ” Oh, my Sweet, you’re looking so beautiful in this makeup. Let me keep bindi,” She lovingly pinched her cheeks.
Watching her tears Aunty consoled her, “Don’t be nervous, this is your house now onwards, in the beginning, it’s quite natural, everything will be alright soon”
After the sprinkle of odi biyyam episode in the relatives’ houses, they came back. Tanmayi was altogether exhausted.
Shekhar was jubilant and enjoying the conversation.
Tanmayi felt Shekhar’s father did not seem pleasant in his disposition.
She thought he didn’t like her.
Shekhar passed an order not to talk with him before others. Tanmayi feels discomfort and wants to sleep immediately after eating something, as she hasn’t slept the previous day.
Aunty came in laughing and whispered into her ears, “Muhurtham for nuptials fixed, the day after tomorrow, at your house”
Tanmayi blushed looking at her vacantly, not revealing her feelings.
When the knot untied after dinner she joined her aunt in her bed and fell asleep immediately.
The next day reception was at Shekhar’s house. The sari selected for her is medium-colored parrot green with pinkish pallu and somewhat better than Tanmayi.
Shekhar dressed up in an odd combination looking strange. She thought, “He is handsome so whatever color he wears, it fits well on him”
The hubbub went on the whole day with visitors coming and going. She could not find time to talk with Shekhar face-to-face. When she tried to talk with him in the reception, he said, “Not now, later”
(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.