The Invincible Moonsheen

Part – 13

(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-helping organization Sahaya in America. Udayini greatly impressed Samira. The four-month-pregnant Samira details her inclination toward divorce and the causes that lead to her decision. Udayini tells her to take any decision after listening to the story of Tanmay.

Shekhar writes a letter to Tanmay, an intermediate-studying girl, who saw her at a wedding ceremony. Tanmay, a bit passionate, develops an interest in him and gradually comes closer to him. Elders welcome their proposal and get married to them. Shekhar and Tanmay started their new married life in Visakhapatnam. Tanmay gets pregnant in half a year. Tanmay wants to pursue her education


          “Hey, let these vegetables in this bag set right properly. Take this hundred rupees for your daily expenditure until I come back,” Shekhar said.

          When Tanmay couldn’t respond to his words, Shekhar continued, “Hey, can you hear me? Don’t engage much with your mother on the phone. If any need arises, consult a doctor and adjust the amount.”

          Tanmay calculated mentally, “If I talk STD in the daytime, it costs Rs. 10 per minute. If I talk after 7 o’clock, I can talk 4 minutes with the same amount, as the STD is in the corner of the street. It’s not a problem to talk after 7 o’clock. I have to go to the university to submit the entrance application form, which costs at least 40 rupees for the round trip. In case I have to go to the doctor, I need to pay 50 rupees. What about auto charges? The milk packets are Rs. 5 per day. Oh, no! this amount is insufficient.”

          “Hey, where are you now? Are you listening to my words?” Shekhar asked her.

          “Umm…” she lost in her moods and nodded her head absentmindedly.

          “What do you listen to me?” he posed, keeping his hands on his waist.

          “About the money…”she tried to say something.

          “Not just that, if you have any needs, you can call my uncle or aunt. They will take care of you at their home. Don’t make any fuss calling your parents,” he said.

          When Shekhar left for his village, the loneliness at home brought her happiness and peace. That night, she slept well without any disturbances or psychological anxieties.

          The next day, she went to the university to submit her application. She wore a light-colored cotton saree and wrapped the edge of the saree on her shoulder. She counted the money again.

          She thought that it would be better to go by bus rather than an auto since the amount was not sufficient for the round trip. She wrote down the bus route numbers on a slip of paper and inquired about the stops where she needed to get down. However, she still felt hesitant.

          She walked to the bus stop. The passengers were hanging onto the exit door. She skipped 2 to 3 buses due to the crowd.

          “Is it possible to travel hanging like this?” she thought to herself. Meanwhile, a bus with less traffic stopped in front of her. When she got on the bus, somebody offered her a seat, assuming she was pregnant.

          She suddenly felt like a free bird as she ventured out into the world alone for the first time. As the bus moved forward, stopping here and there, she made a determination not to seek help from others and to be independent.

          When the conductor shouted “University,” she came to her senses. It was a long-cherished dream for her, she felt excited while walking with a kind of shivering in her feet.

          She walked for a while from the main road and entered a big hall where 50 to 60 people seemed to be working on the three-floor office building. She climbed up to the second-floor hall and felt exhausted.The files on the tables were piled high, making it difficult to identify who was sitting behind them.

          She asked a peon at the door, “To whom should I give this application?”

          “Why couldn’t you send this application by post?” he looked at her from top to toe.

          “We live in this neighborhood,” she said courteously.

          “Well, go to that 10th table,” he said.

          The clerk at the table, who didn’t pay any attention to Tanmay, said, “Keep that application on the table.” not even lifting his head from the files. 

          She walked out towards the four tables surrounded by a cluster of green trees from the parking lots. It was noon, and the sun was very bright. Many people were walking this side and that side, holding files and books in their hands. She saw a few students chit-chatting as well. She suddenly had a thought, “What if I go around the university?”

          When she took a turn, she looked at the canteen. She asked the first person coming out from the canteen, “Would you please tell me how much time it takes to have a round trip to the entire university?”

          “The university is very vast. By the way, which department do you want to go to?” he inquired.

          She suddenly remembered that she must know from which department she is about to take her studies.

          After listening to her response, the man said, looking at her stomach, “In case you want to have a trip on the campus, you must have to go to another gate, but it’s not so easy going by walking rather than on bus or auto.”

          “Thank you, sir,” she said.

          While coming back home, she thought, “I must gather some money above all to make my trip successful next time.” When she reached home, she was totally exhausted and fell on the bed, eating a small quantity of rice. She began to study from the booklet supplied along with the application form by the university.

          Shekhar came home late at night. Without taking a bath, he directly came and joined the bed. She felt some unpleasant filthy smell.

          She pleaded with him to take his bath and come.

          “What is this fuss at this moment? I came after traveling a difficult journey even without a reservation,” he turned to her side.

          She felt disgusted to please him by deriving bodily pleasures through her. She expressed her displeasure.

          “Hey, when did you learn such things? Though I came after a long diligent week, there is no pleasure here,” he remarked sharply.

          How long had she fantasize about sharing her beautiful life with Shekhar? How long had she been waiting? But she couldn’t expect the reality of life to be so crooked and horrible! Before her marriage, she fantasized a great deal of dreams in which Shekhar approached her in a neatly dressed white attire, lovingly holding her with his soft hands. He was a most loving man to her.

          She couldn’t feel comfortable when he came to her without a shirt on his hairy body. She felt disgusted by his presence. When he was unclean, she felt uncomfortable even touching him. The more disgusting thing about him was his wretched mentality rather than his body.

          “What are those piles of books at home? Are you calling me stupid?” he asked.

          Tanmay couldn’t understand the relation between her studies and his stupidity.

          She asked the same.

          “What? Why did you go to university? Just to ridicule me for not attending college? Are you expecting me to cook in the kitchen once you have your MAs certificates and join a big job?” he asked.

          “Not at all,” she nodded her head.

          “Don’t you want me to see you live a typical life as a wife with one or two children and a simple job, happily married to a husband? How do you manage your studies with an infant child born soon? Do you want me to see you going to college with the child?”

          She couldn’t understand Shekhar’s intentions—whether he wanted revenge or just wanted to openly blame her. She turned against the wall and began to sob silently.

          “Hey! Stop that bloody crying. It is irksome and unbearable,” Shekhar said.

          Tanmay began to feel pain in her heart. “I was rather peaceful the whole week when he was away, but now his torture has started.”

          Very casually he assaulted her body like a beast, causing her pain for his selfish pleasure. And the beast had no connection with the soul. She endured the oppression patiently until the completion of a sort of rape, for his beastly pleasure.


          Shekhar went on a camping trip just a month before her entrance examination.

          The wounds inflicted upon her mentally were not easily healed compared to her physical wounds. Tanmay was fully engaged as long as Shekhar was out for work. Studies were her only solace. Every time she closed her books, the excruciating pain seeped in.

          She straightened her neck to see when the gate creaked.

          Jyoti and Bhanumurthy were standing right there!

          She jumped to her feet and lovingly hugged them.

          “Why didn’t you tell me that you were coming when I called you last time?” Tanmay asked them. She felt uneasiness on her mother’s face and asked, “Mom, is everything okay?”

          “Umm… the foul smell of that buffalo dung is felt even in the hall, and the bathroom has no air passage! What sort of dungeon is this, Thalli?” Her face twisted in aversion.

          Tanmay remained quiet, listening to her mother’s comment.

          “Your mother-in-law claims that this great guy is doing a great job! And that great lady, when we asked for your Seemantham, refused on the pretext that they have no such custom to escape the expenditure of the ritual! They held a knife to our neck until we sent cots and other things…” She didn’t stop until she spat out her anger.

          Bhanumurthy was sitting outside, lighting a cigarette.

          While the rice was cooking on the stove, her mother looked into the rice bag and exclaimed, “What happened to you people? Eating ration shop rice? What a pity! Oh God!” She was in shock and horrified.

          Tanmay couldn’t understand if her mother was genuinely showing pity for her or speaking in distressed pain.

          “You insisted on marrying him yourself. Have you benefited in any way? Or at least benefited us? Your mother-in-law made a phone call to get the mattress immediately after we arrived here, borrowing some money.”

          She blew her nose, tears in her eyes.

          Tanmay felt guilty in her soul because of her wrong decision; all of this had happened because of her. She started to feel pain and inferiority, thinking that both of them were inflicting pain on themselves.

          On that evening, Bhanu Murthy bought a new mattress. He said, “Thalli, why don’t you come with us? You can stay with us until Shekhar comes. We are just going to Gajuwaka uncle’s house, and we’ll leave for home the next day from there.”

          Tanmay lost in her thoughts. If I leave without informing Shekhar, he will surely create a mess. If I continue staying here, I may not fare well in the entrance examination when Shekhar is at home. This is the best time to face the examination, despite any obstacles.

          At this moment, it’s not important whether she gets a seat or can handle the obstacles with a small child in her lap during her educational pursuit. The only thing she cares about is how to sit for the entrance examination at hand.

          She felt guilty about her parents’ departure in such a short time. She said to her father, straining to keep her sorrow down, “Not at this moment, Daddy. By any means, I may be coming next month, so better… I’ll wait for it.” She looked pitifully at her mother, who was reluctant to stay in the unpleasant atmosphere.


          When Lakshmi made a phone call the next day to Tanmay, she made a remark, “What? Your parents came and left you by evening? They could have stayed with you for at least four days!”

          “They can’t stay here, Aunty! They asked me to come home. But I just stayed here to prepare for my exam…” she smiled forcefully.

          They both came outside as they heard some noise. An astrologer was seen stretching out his paraphernalia on a gunny bag, with a parrot and cards. Two to three neighborhood women gathered around him.

          “Come on, this is an expert fortune-teller. Check your luck,” Laxmi called Tanmay.

          Tanmay, laughing at her, said, “I don’t believe in such things.”

          The astrologer held the card close to his eyes as if he prayed, looking deeper into Tanmay’s eyes, he said, “Amma, don’t underestimate my parrot’s fortune-telling! You’re going to have a son… your supporter, your strength… you are stronger, and nothing will disturb you. The sky’s the only limit for you!”

          Tanmay looked at him curiously and thought to herself, “Why should I care for this man’s words?” She simply laughed.

          The next day, they went to see a doctor. The doctor advised a scan.

          “Can we know the gender by scanning, doctor?”

          “Of course! But it’s illegal to disclose. Yet, for your happiness, I’ll tell you. It’s a ‘Male Child’,” the doctor said.

          She suddenly remembered the astrologer’s words. He said, “Your son is your support and strength…”

          “Yes, what he said is quite right. How graphically he put it, reading my mind!” she thought to herself.

          She felt something positive. Yes, this child of mine relieved me quite well from my distress! So I’m chatting with my son, not with my daughter!

          Shekhar was saying something aloud while driving, “Hey, I knew it earlier. Whose seed was it? In our families, the first child is always a male child.”

          To avoid the thumps from his driving on her stomach, she held it with her hand for support.

          “Nanna! You shouldn’t be like this, male!” she whispered to her baby. The stomach suddenly shrank inside as if he heard her words.

          Shekhar stopped at a coconut water vendor.

          “Probably I may go on camp the whole next month. Your parents already prepared you to take home for delivery, so better call them to come before the day of my departure,” Shekhar said.

          Tanmay reminded herself of the date of the entrance exam. It’s exactly the same day Shekhar is leaving for camp.


          Bhanumurthy alone came that day to accompany Tanmay. Before leaving for camp, Shekhar said to her, “Take care of yourself until you hand over my son to me. Where are the qualified doctors in your countryside hospitals? Go to our home from there before delivery time. My mother already talked with a doctor for your delivery. Get in touch with her and update her on the things going on.”

          “Yes, he is right. There is no qualified doctor in our area, but of course, what your mother says is also important,” Bhanumurthy said to her daughter.

          Tanmay was not attentive to whatever they said as her mind was stuffed with thoughts of the entrance exam. She didn’t feel any pain to leave him. Bhanumurthy accompanied her daughter to the exam center.

          “Why all this, Nanna, at this moment?” Bhanumurthy hinted at his unwillingness about her studies.

          She simply laughed at him in response. 

          Then she strained to climb up to the third floor to her exam hall. While returning, she heard someone saying, “To get a seat in the university, one should get a qualifying rank of less than fifty.”

          She counted the scheduled dates very fast. The admissions will start after her delivery and during the three-month period of staying at home.

          She whispered to her baby, “Let’s wait and see, Nanna, what destiny is awaiting us!”

          She said to her father, “Daddy, I just would like to go to the seashore before we leave for home.”

          Bhanumurthy proposed, “Let’s go then, right now!” He called for an auto.

          Though the sun was very bright, she sat on the shore quietly, watching the foggy mist of waves dashing the shore, making her eyes blur. She was enjoying the peace of mind that was absent at home. She ran her palm on her abdomen cheerfully. In response to her mom’s feelings, the baby inside her stretched out.

          When she looked for her father, he was away strolling along the beach with a lighted cigarette. She looked around. Her dreamy ocean and beautiful city lay before her on either side. Far away, those mountain peaks peeped into the sea on both sides, and the horizon where the heavens meet the earth.

          She ran her hand in the sand fondly, “Oh my dear loving friend, farewell! I have dreamt about you all along in my life. I am living here very near to you in this most loving city. Forgive me for not faring you until now, this inefficient creature all these days. Spare me this cooling breeze till my comeback!”

          As if they heard her pleading, the clouds broke away to shed the rays of the sun. Now the water sparkled bright. In distant waters, one or two ships floated behind the cascading curvy froth, undulating like paper boats on the waves.

          Tanmay rose to her feet when she saw her father approaching. They went to the railway station one hour before their scheduled train.

          Laxmi stood outside until their auto moved. “Come back safely with your beloved baby!” She fondly patted her with her hands.

Tanmay became emotional and her eyes welled up with tears.

She held her hands a while and nodded her head.

The Auto drove away.


(Continued next month)

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