The Invincible Moonsheen
Part – 8
(Telugu Original “Venutiragani Vennela” by Dr K.Geeta)
English Translation: V.Vijaya Kumar
(The previous story briefed)
Samira meets Udayini, a friend of her mother who runs a voluntary organization “Sahaya” to help needy women in the US. Samira develops a positive opinion of Udayini. Four-month-pregnant Samira details the recent developments in her marital affairs that led to divorce. Udayini suggests Samira listen to Tanmayi’s story and then let her decide on her own. Shekhar saw Tanmayi at a wedding party who is studying intermediate, and writes a letter to her about his willingness. Tanmayi, who is a bit emotional, shows interest in him and maintains a relationship with him. The elders of both parties accept their proposal and make them a couple. Tanmayi steps into her Mother in law’s house.
Pinni woke up Tanmayi early in the morning.
“Dear…get up, take your bath and get ready. It’s anyway your Mother in law’s house” She said.
Tanmayi who was exhausted totally from the marriage hubbub still feels wearisome.
“Surprisingly she dreams of chatting with Vanaja, but not of her marriage with Shekhar or her joining their house, What a strange thing!” She said to herself.
She said it with Pinni. Pinni said laughing at her, ” You have been thinking of him until you get married to him. Now you have become strong enough thinking perhaps that he is with you after this marriage.” She said it in a lighter vein.
Adjacent to the room, there is another one. And just a few yards ahead a small bathroom with a metallic sheet roof there. It’s altogether squashy and wet because of the crowd. It’s rather uncomfortable to change dress in that squeezed location. Yet, somehow she managed it and got ready.
The celestial yellow thread soaking wet on her neck, the parani
on her feet and her new attire on her body!
Wow! She felt something pristine herself watching in the mirror! How long has she been dreaming of this?
She said to herself, I must take care of Shekhar all her life for his adoration towards her.
“Oh, my anonymous friend! Goodbye. All with my love and affection I will transpose You into my Shekhar!” Suddenly a smile bloomed on her lips.
She walked out silently from the room. Everything is strange to her in this new ambiance.
She could not dare to look where Shekhar would be.
Hesitantly she stepped into the kitchen. Devi, who was there already serving coffee looking at her, smiled and said, “Hi, hope you slept well last night! Seems you have already completed your bath.”
“Ha… Attaiayya, can I help you now?” Tanmayi asked her.
“Oh no!…just not now! wait a couple of days! Evening we had the reception. The main chore is supervising the cooks. See whether Shekhar wakes up or not, I will send him coffee” She said.
Tanmay’s face brightened with delight.
She rebuked herself for not being aware of Shekhar who is staying in the next room, and slowly opened his room.
Though the table fan was blowing very hard on him making noise aloud, Shekhar was sleeping terribly. A ten to twelve-year-old boy was sleeping on his side. Perhaps a relative’s kid. Tanmayi looked at his fair face for a while passionately and suddenly she turned her face when someone passed by the washroom, and then she walked out briskly.
She walked out, passing all the rooms of the house to the backyard. The garden seems unattended, filled with a lot of rubbish and waste material. No flowers on the plants except a few kanakambaram flowers here and there.
Pinni who came there quietly said, “Your aunt likes flowers. She has the habit of plucking flowers and decorating every corner of the house. See! No flowers on any plant!” She laughed.
Tanmayi observed Devi has always had a lace of flowers on her head.
The relatives were sleeping on folding cots everywhere around the house in and outside.
It’s not either a village or a town. A semi-urbanized one. The drainage in the backyard overflows on the road and whenever you come to the back yard it’s altogether unbearable with the stench of the foulness.
Plenty of unlikable things she is experiencing in the house. Particularly there is no upstairs which she commonly loves more. She remembered her house suddenly and her thoughts went homeward.
“Don’t look sickly, dear, your parents and our relatives will come for the evening reception, cheer up!” Pinni jovially said Tanmayi.
Tanmayi was greatly relieved and her heart started dancing in delight.
Shekhar came there from nowhere and said, “Wow, the new bride already got up!” raising his eyebrows playfully.
Pinni walked out silently and sat somewhere around watching both.
Shekhar just went ahead one step into the room and said, “Wear a fairer sari and get ready, our peddamma wants you to take the temple.”
She looked at her sari, “Isn’t it nice?” She said to herself.
Meanwhile, Devi came there and said,” Oh! Poor child, her mother didn’t seem to buy new silk sarees. She sent the old one.”
Pinni, who doesn’t want it to be a fuss, came there and said, ” Oh, nothing like that Vadina! Indeed She sent the new one which she kept in my box in a hurry.” Pinni took out the sari she received from her sister.
Tanmayi, who was baffled for a while, could not understand anything that was happening there.
Tanmayi brought her mother’s two sarees which she loved most. Though they are old she loved them.
After coming inside Pinni said consolingly, “If your mother knows about your Mother in law’s attitude, she wouldn’t have given you the old ones though you insisted.”
Tanmayi welled up in tears.
“Sh…! don’t cry, if anyone sees tears in your eyes it’s not fair. These things happen.” Pinni said it in a lighter vein.
When everyone was about to leave for the temple Pinni said derisively, “Why does anyone go to the temple after breakfast?”
Meanwhile, Shekhar hired an Auto and called for all to the board in.
The Auto was packed tight with kith and kin and traveled 6kms.
Tanmayi was excited to see the temple far away on a hilltop 200 steps ahead.
Tanmayi said with Shekhar, who was climbing the steps a bit ahead, “Why don’t you tell me about this excellent temple earlier?”
Shekhar retorted with a pun, “Sure, the beauty of it surely learned reaching home, after climbing to and fro!”
Everyone broke into laughter.
Tanmayi climbed up the steps briskly.
“Oh! Peddamma you are still there! Shekhar looked down at her. She was 10 steps down.
“Your wife is like a stick and lanky and so she climbed so easily with you, but I can’t keep up with you! I come with your uncle, but before it you both go and book tickets for vratham” she started gasping.
“Our Peddamma is better than your Pinni, she is still lagging” Shekhar took Tanmayi’s hand into his and started walking up briskly.
Tanmayi felt it was real Sapthapadi and her spirits elated.
She held his hand firmly and said to herself, “Shakku! lead me always just in this way!”
Watching those massive Deva ganneru trees abundant with flowers, and enjoying the fragrance prevailing in the air all along the steps from the fallen flowers Tanmayi suddenly stopped in the middle and took a flower from there and kept it in her plait.
She felt something bewildered when she thought of her dreams filled with these Deva Ganneru thickets.
” Oh, my Sweetheart! Won’t you present to me a heap of these golden Deva Ganneru flowers with your hands?” Tanmayi went away in her thoughts emotionally while climbing the steps easily.
Tanmayi hugged Jyothi as soon as she stepped into the hall.
Jyothi looked at the sari Tanmayi wore which she gave to her sister and exclaimed, “What is this, what happened to that Silk sari?”
Suddenly Tanmayi held her hand and grabbed her into the room.
“Leave it Ma!” Tanmayi said with her mother.
Now She is in a very pleasing mood and forgot the weariness of her visit to the temple. She continued, “Mom! It’s an amazing temple. Do you know how beautiful it is?
Jyothi felt relieved about her daughter’s happiness.
“Do we all get back to our home Mom, tonight?” Jyothi, laughing at her daughter’s innocence, said, “No, we only go after the reception, You and Shekhar would come tomorrow.”
Though they were seated together in the reception, Tanmayi and Shekhar could not have a chance to talk to each other.
“It’s rather boring” Tanmayi felt.
Tanmayi just has to pay attention to the relatives of Shekhar with a traditional namaste and with a customary laugh as and when someone greets the pair in the reception. Shekhar was energetically receiving everyone with a smile on his face leaving Tanmayi uncared though she wants them introduced by him. She knew very few of them.
Shekhar’s father seemed to enjoy the occasion of receiving the guests. But her mother didn’t seem to be involved in it.
Meanwhile, Tanmayi, who was a bit concerned about her quietness, said to Shekhar, “Why is your mother not talking with anyone, muted simply like me, though she knew everyone here?”
Shekhar with his unaltered smile said curtly, “Learn how women should behave watching my Mom!”
Tanmayi suddenly held up her head looking sharply at him. But he is looking somewhere, not caring about anything.
“Stand in good posture, the video should be well shooted and must be appealing, remember that this is going to be watched by every one of our relatives,” Shekhar said.
Until night around 11.00 pm, the reception went on in the Shamiyana in front of the house. The new bride and groom received blessings all the while sitting and standing now and then. Still few people are coming from the village. “Did you see our enormous quantity of kith and kin?” Shekhar boasted with Tanmayi, laughing at her.
Shekhar’s uncle who was busily involved in writing the log book of gifts suddenly remembered about us and said,” Somebody should give them to eat!”
Until then nobody bothered about us.
Though Tanmayi was exhausted by the prolonged reception, the visit to her temple early in the morning and the thought of going home the next day made her cheerful.
On the morning of the third day, they reached home. The older women of the relatives performed the dristi with red water before stepping into the home.
Narasamma hugged her daughter-in-law.
The new couple prostrated her for her blessings. She blessed the couple, “Long live happily!”
Vanaja and Sudhakar came in the evening.
Tanmayi ran towards them and invited them warmly.
Vanaja wore a nice sari and adorned her hands with bangles richly.
The yellow thread on her bosom and the vermillion bindi on her forehead looked beautiful and new.
Sudhakar was of a good height with a fair complexion to Vanaja. The pair looked great.
Tanmayi said to Vanaja, “Oh! You both are fabulous, you know?”
“The same I wished to tell you Tanmayi! You both should lead a beautiful life and your journey with Shekhar would be the happiest one!”
Tanmayi and Vanaja happily introduced their new partners to one another.
Though Tanmayi could not find much time to spend with her dearest friend, she felt a great relief after her visit.
Vanaja got up and took leave and said, “We are leaving for Raychur
tomorrow. He has no leave.”
Tanmayi got up and hugged Vanaja, “I wish you all the best”
“Same to you! Do write letters. Keep up these happy spirits ever! Your face brightens with delight, you know?” Vanaja said admiringly.
Meanwhile, the photographer came there. Tanmayi asked Vanaja for a photograph of all four.
Tanmayi felt happy with Sudhakar and Shekhar as they both happily chatted with each other.
In the evening they got both of us to get a head bath.
Looking at the sari that Shekhar’s mother brought for the nuptials shocked Tanmayi.
It’s a kora color saree with yellow spotted dots with a yellow-edged polyester mix. Routine wear at household chores.
She expected it so greatly!
Instead of a golden-edged white silk saree, what kind of saree is it on such a memorable occasion?
She didn’t have any matching yellow-colored blouses at least then!
She looked at her and was greatly disappointed staring into the mirror. The pink saree with a pinkish blouse and a lace of Jasmine flowers on her head and the richly garnished Kumkum on her forehead!
This is how the most awaited dreamy first night with Shekhar is going to happen!
There is no choice of speaking. The bride should hold her head down, speak less, and keep smiling. That’s all. She learned a great deal in these three days.
Shekhar was more charming in her pure white dress.
Around 9.00 clock we were asked to sit face to face on the mattress, inside the bedroom, for the game of throwing the flower ball. They stood around us.
Many other petty performances like tumbling coconuts under bed etc., upset Tanmayi and she bore all of them silently.
Somehow they left us at 10.30 pm alone.
Tanmayi closed the door, fumbling.
When Sekhar took her into his hands she suddenly felt weak and collapsed on him.
Shekhar, who has been very hesitant even to touch all these days, abruptly pushed her back and came up on her very bluntly.
Tanmayi, who could not foresee Shekhar to be so harsh, was aghast and about to say something, but Shekhar huddled her face with his own.
Before she could make out what was happening to her, Shekhar was engaged in his way accomplishing whatever he wished for.
Tanmayi who dreamed of plenty of romantic chats, exchanges of sweet nonsense, lovely talks, and many such things now writhed with the pain of the First night.
Her heart pulsated against his rude brutality. Her soul didn’t want him to see his naked body. She closed her eyes tightly and let the brutality pass out silently.
The thought of lovemaking between two bodies which she fantasized is now devastating. Shekhar showed his beast face that night.
The first intercourse left her with excruciating pain.
With ten minutes of intermittent breaks, for eating those puddings he spared, and came back again and occupied her. It’s a spree of hell Shekhar did to her seven times before daybreak. Though Tanmayi intercepted whenever he pushed her back, Shekhar went ahead not caring about her.
Tanmayi was badly inflicted with pain physically and mentally as well.
Why could anyone say that the First night would be a torment?
She was afraid of looking at his face.
She took a head bath early in the morning after confirming his sleep. She felt something dead in her soul and body.
She went to the backyard and looked at the sky like a mad one.
Jyothi who saw her there asked, “What are you doing here Tanmayi?”
Tanmayi suddenly busted out looking at her mother.
Jyothi grabbed her into the room and said, “Shh…don’t cry…everyone around us watch!”
“Mom! I never go to that room!” Tanmayi said miserably.
Jyothi, comforting her daughter who was altogether in a run-down condition said, “Go! have some breakfast and milk and sleep well! Everything will be alright soon. These things happen in the beginning” saying that she walked away.
Pinnies and Attaiyyas made fun of her all day.
She could not believe it was a responsibility as a wife towards her husband.
Shekhar was very typical during the day and happily chatted with everyone.
His new designation made everyone prudent and respectful.
Though the house was filled with relatives, Tanmayi slept thoroughly till lunchtime.
When both were eating, Tanmayi looked at him. He simply laughed at her as if nothing had happened.
Why did this man behave in such a way with me, though he is decent before everyone?
Tanmayi could not understand anything about it.
She thought of avoiding the night with Shekhar that night.
After some time she thought, “No, I must talk with that man tonight by all means.”
(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.