The Invincible Moonsheen
Part – 9
(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.
The First night experience became a nightmare for Tanmayi. She was appalled by the ghastly behavior of Shekhar.
She could not get time to speak about it with her mother as the whole house was filled with relatives. Jyothi tried her best to persuade her as and when she got a chance to talk with her.
Tanmayi understood that there would not be any use to disclose her feelings to anyone. She has two ways before her. One avoiding the night or talking straight away with him.
The evening adornment started. Jada gantalu, Jasmine flowers.
Against all their wishes Tanmayi wore a Punjabi dress. Pinnies and Attaiyyas chuckled.
Tanmayi walked away during dinner not eating well. She assumed that they might have noticed her silence with Shekhar, but she didn’t want to care about it. She drank milk and simply went inside and sat on the bed with a book. All the folk gathered in front of the door and broke into laughter. Pinni who was empathetic to her feelings came inside, sat beside her, and ran her palm on her back consolingly.
“Dear, Why didn’t you eat properly, what if you feel famished at night?”
Tanmayi broke into tears with her soothing words.
She led her aside and asked, ” Anything else, Why?
“Nothing Pinni!” She wiped off her tears silently.
“I understand your feelings…I suppose, it’s all about leaving your mother, isn’t it? The village is after all a matter of a few hours away!
Not at all a distance of concern! You can easily come and go whenever you wish. You are a newly wedded bride! Won’t cry like this Dear!”
“Umm…” She nodded her head.
“Oh! I just forgot to tell you, Vanaja’s sister came in the morning when you were sleeping, and gave you this paper.” She took out a folded paper and handed it to Tanmayi.
Tanmayi quickly regained her spirits, taking the letter into her hands.
How do you do? I have plenty of things to share with you, but I have very limited time. We are leaving today. I hope now and then if you come with me how delightful it would be! Umm…what could we do? All such things never happen! Do you know how decent Sudha is?
I am nervous about the first night, how it would be with an unknown person! But I was greatly relieved after I spent the night delightful. How decent he is! He became a friend of mine, shattering all my fears. Hope you started your dream life with Shekhar more wonderfully rather than mine. I just love to hear from you about all such things. We are footing into a new world of life and new hopes for life. I can’t say how delighted I am. I know you are also feeling as well. I couldn’t hide my joy to listen to your sweet lovely things with your brightened face shimmered with extreme pleasure. Be brave always. Whenever you want to talk with me you drop me a letter. I will immediately respond to your letter –
Tanmayi folded the letter and felt greatly energetic and assertive. She stepped into the room boldly.
When Shekhar came in she bluntly said, “Today I am not feeling well”
” It’s Okay, You go and sleep, who asked you to come to me?” Shekhar said laughing at her.
“Umm…Why didn’t you listen to me even though I dissuaded you?” She said seriously.
“Oh! The reason behind your stillness all day is that!” He laughed more aloud.
“It’s rather fun to you it seems, Do you know I just am afraid of you, …I…I… just…”
Before completing her words, He stopped her and said yawning drowsily, ” You know, my friends boast about their First-night adventures…I overcome every one of them, Bye, I am sleepy, You have slept thoroughly the whole day,” saying this Shekhar swung around and ready to sleep.
Tanmayi suddenly felt remorseful for it.
Just to boast about it before his friends he did such violence?
“Didn’t you think of me at least once?” She charged at him snappily.
Shekhar was asleep by that time.
Tanmayi suddenly broke into tears and began to cry. She could not control her tears though she tried intensely.
Tanmayi’s reddened eyes became a laughing stock to all her relatives the next morning. Tanmayi felt shameful about it.
Everything got ready for the return journey after the Three nights.
Bananas, sweets, and Chalimidi got ready for the paraphernalia. Tanmayi first of all, kept the book in her suitcase, “Amrutham Kurisina Rathri ” gifted by Vanaja on her birthday. She kept an icon of lord Buddha, a pinion, a few pens, and her diary in her suitcase.
She looked at the bookshelf worried. She went to the backyard and said farewell to every plant. She climbed upstairs and sat down beside the Jaji creeper. For no reason, she was engulfed by a storm of anguish. She kept her head in between her knees and began to sob.
She looked around despondent, feeling vacant.
“Why do you go upstairs leaving everyone here that too at this moment leaving for Attayya’s house?”
Listening to her mother’s harshc comments she got down quickly.
They reached Shekhar’s house in the evening.
Shekhar said, ” Hey! Why do you sit there idly, while my Mom toils in the kitchen? Go, help her!”
Shekhar’s mother, looking at her son adoringly, said,” Oh! Come on, boy, She joins tomorrow onwards! You came just today!”
“Let her join Mom! We leave Vijag next week. When will she get a chance to help you?”
Tanmayi looked at him pale. He didn’t say anything about their moving to Vizag.
Devi sarcastically said, “Your Attayya simply sent two containers in the name of paraphernalia, for a newly wedded couple, plenty of things like cots and plates needed when they started living together.”
Tanmayi did not want to stay there for a moment. She suddenly recollected Pinni’s words. “Don’t answer back to any harsh words of your Attayya, just keep quiet. Any victims of harsh treatment are always not bad ones. Keep patience.”
Tanmayi started working on chapatis quietly, assigned by Devi.
Tanmayi could clearly understand Devi’s discontentment with her through her rude hand movements.
“I let them know about those appliances through this one making a call…” Shekhar’s words pinch Tanmayi.
The whole week Tanmayi spent in Shekhar’s house was confined to the kitchen from dawn to dusk. Shekhar heeded his father during the day.
She rinsed the dishes after lunch and evening dinner preparation.
Devi takes a nap at noon. During that time Tanmayi wrote a letter to Vanaja.
She asked Attayya, “Where is the Post office?”
Devi looked at her in awe and said, “Ladies won’t go to the Post office in this house. Ask Shekhar for stamps. Why didn’t you ask Shekhar in the morning to post it ?”
The next day she gave it to Shekhar to post it. He said curtly,” Why so haste writing letters to friends? Don’t engage in such businesses during your stay here except helping Mom. Spare such things after shifting to Vizag!
Tanmayi could not make out what difficulty was there in it, she has been accustomed to a kind of insensitivity for everything. She kept quiet, not responding.
In Shekhar’s house, no one sleeps until late at night.
Tanmayi had the habit of going to bed early, so she could not abstain from going to sleep early.
After dinner, she boldly approached Shekhar who was chit-chatting hours together with the bikers outside.
Shekhar, who saw her, came to the gate and said, “Get back, I just come” in a low voice.
Shekhar came in after one hour and said, “Do you think I will simply fly in if you call me? What do our friends think of me then except a henpecked? Never entertain such meddlings, while with my friends. If you feel sleepy go to bed”
Tanmayi skeptically asked, ” May I go to bed early…?”
“Oh, Yes! If my mother permits, “he said sarcastically.
Just before the day of their shifting to Vizag, Tanmayi’s parents Jyothi and Bhanu Murthy came with certain household appliances for the couple. Then they went out for a visit to a relative’s house.
Devi mockingly said, “Your Attayya brought those gifted plates so lavishly. She also brought a seemingly used water filter, cooker, and such and such things. These people had no soul for their only daughter to buy new things at least! What about the cots and other things…Huh…?
Shekhar said aloud, “Hay! Hear me? Tell your people to transport a cot and dressing table straight away to Vizag through Navatha in a week”
In the evening Tanmayi’s parents came to take leave.
Tanmayi could not find a way to outburst her agony. Finally, she managed to say, “Mother, Why didn’t you bring the cot and other things…Shekhar…” When she was about to conclude it, suddenly her mother stopped her and pulled out her bangles from her hands briskly saying,” Take these! We left nothing except these! Sell them out and get whatever you wish.”
Tanmayi broke down. Looking at her, Bhanu Murthy soothed and said, “What is this? This is not ethical when our daughter was in such nervousness” She turned to their daughter and said reassured, ” Dear, don’t bother about those things, we went out for that only, in four or five days they will be in your house. You can buy a mattress and other things for yourselves.”
Shekhar scornfully remarked after they left, “Umm…these people seem low-grade, whose grandfather provides a mattress complimentary?”
Tanmayi has no room to cry out to the heart’s content in the house.
Her heart heaped up layers and layers of gloom.
My parents think it’s a marriage purely on my will and anything damaging from Shekhar’s side must be borne by myself.
Shekhar’s family on the other hand firmly believes that they have disowned many benefits by marrying me.
Her condition is just like a betel nut between the cutter blades.
She thought back to Vanaja now and then. It’s quite depressing to miss her at this critical moment.
She had only one option left with her, her unknown friend.
She took out the paper and wrote, “Oh my unknown friend!
Pull me out from these hardships”
They reached Vizag at 3.00 pm catching up on the morning train.
Tanmayi felt peculiar emotions footing into the station of “her dream City”
They reached Shekhar’s grandfather’s house with the bag and baggage by Autos.
She felt greasy on her face. She suddenly said, “Why is this greasiness…”
“That’s the case in Vizag…! Salty wind,” Shekhar said.
Shekhar’s younger uncle’s wife came out asking, “Hope you have had a happy journey!”
It’s a two portions house on a big campus.
“In one portion my uncle lives, and in the other, our grandfather” Shekhar explained. He carried the luggage to the adjacent single-room outhouse.
“This is our house” showing the room Shekhar said.
Tanmayi looked around. It’s altogether a single tiled room filled with misty cobwebs and dirty walls.
An elevated platform is there for cooking purposes. Outside, there is a common bathroom, and the alley to it is muddy and water-soaked.
Not giving time at least to have a look at the surroundings, Shekhar said, “It would not be modest to sit here like this, you go and talk with our Attayya. I will join you after I finish my bath. Okay, you first arrange in the bathroom everything, soap, towel, and clothes”
Tanmayi walked out silently with her greased face and said, “Pinni garu, May I help you? She cleared her throat.
Call me “Hyma Aunty!” You know it’s Vizag, not a countryside village. She said laughing.
Shekhar’s uncle Shiva, who came in there, asked, “Hmm…how is your husband? Is he taking orders from you?
Shekhar’s grandfather with her toothless mouth laughing audibly said,” Come on man! Don’t harass the girl!”
Tanmayi, embarrassed at their behavior, quietly stood there lowering her head.
“Take tea?” Hyma held out a glass.
Shaking her head crossly she said, “No thanks!” Aunty.
Shekhar who came in fresh, finishing his bath, took the glass from her hands and said, “Thanks Aunty,” and he gulped the tea briskly and quickly started his bike and disappeared saying simply, “I come night”
Tanmayi said, “Aunty, I’ll come after finishing up my bath…and she walked away silently.
When she closed the door she felt suddenly exhausted. She plopped to the floor unfurling a mat.
She took out her diary and scribbled, “Oh my unknown friend! I came to you… I am ready to surge like a sea for you who haunt me like a sky…!” She suddenly fell asleep.
She woke up when someone was slamming on the door.
(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.