The Invincible Moonsheen
Part – 19
(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 in America, Udayini, who runs a women’s aid organization “Sahaya”. Sameera feels very good about Udayini. Sameera, who is four months pregnant, says that she wants to get a divorce and the circumstances are conducive to it. In the morning, Udayini tells the story of “Tanmayi” and advises her to think after hearing it. Tanmayi and Shekhar, who met at a wedding, get married with the permission of their elders. They start their new wedding life in Visakhapatnam. A boy is born in a year of their marriage.
In the morning, Tanmayi woke up to a knock on the door. Shekhar was sleeping with his hand on the baby, snoring. She observed him and heaved a sigh, “Why is this love for the child, not for me?
She got up and opened the door, mom and dad appeared at the door. She was surprised, happiness overwhelmed her at their unexpected presence.
She hugged her mother. Jyoti patted her daughter. Her father went inside and lifted up the child next to Shekhar and put him on his shoulder.
Tanmay became emotional and tears welled up.
Jyoti wiped her tears and said, “We badly want to see you, and set out all of a sudden.”
Her mother took the child from the shoulder and kissed him passionately, “Wow, where is my Kannaia, how cute you are… how much hair has grown,…look at this cute nose, how beautiful it is now.” she said looking at the child admiringly.
Tanmay is so happy at her mother’s comments. She said, “Mom, it’s already late, first refresh yourselves, I will bring you coffee.”
Shekhar, who came there from bed, greeted them jovially,”Hi, uncle, hope everything is fine!”
Bhanu murthy who felt elated at his greetings remarked, “Fine Babu…but you seem very lean, perhaps attending very heavy duties?”
“Not at all uncle…it’s because of your daughter’s dishes,” He laughed.
Jyoti walked into the kitchen and said, “Now it’s a better one and a comfortable house Thalli, it’s good, it seems Alludu garu has also changed a lot…”
Tanmay, who is preparing coffee, turned to her and said, “Yes, Amma, we are happy now,” not showing any displeasure in her heart.
Tanmay has another benefit with her parents’ presence. Now she can go to university leaving the child at home. Meanwhile she couldn’t go after her first class. She knew that without minimal attendance she can’t be allowed to take her final exams.
After Shekhar left the house, Tanmay got ready for university and she said to them, “If I am late, finish your lunch,” and she walked out with a notebook.
Bhanu Murthy came out to the gate with the child and asked him to wave a hand to her Mom.
Tanmay was delighted at this sweet gesture.
“I must collect the notes and visit the library for books, above all, I have to collect the income certificate and submit it to the university” She thought to herself about the plan for that day.
Suddenly her attention diverted when someone was calling. She turned back and looked at him. It is Divakar. “Namaste…” he greeted her in a traditional fashion.
She responded with a customary laugh, “How do you do?”
He showed a nearby house and said,” That’s our house…”
“Wow, it seems university quarters,” Tanmay said.
“Yes, My father works in distance education department, as a clerk”
Meanwhile Karun also joined them.
“After a longtime it seems…” Karun said.
“We met a day before…” Divakar said.
Tanmay burst into laughter as Karun intended it for her.
“You look gorgeous when you laugh like this,” Karun appreciated Tanmay, looking at her brightened eyes. He continued, “Oh, we’re almost there in the department, matter of halfway…”
Divakar interfered, “Karun cracks everything into jokes…don’t take them seriously,” Divakar hardly said it with his difficulty of utterance.
When they came to the library, Karun said, “Carry on, I’ll finish the business of depositing books,” and walked in.
Tanmay too would go to the library, but Karun intentionally left her, perhaps he might not be willing to follow him. She sighed and moved ahead.
She is walking under the tree shades, but the heat of the sun is pricking like needles. She wound her saree round her shoulder and kept her plait back. Suddenly when the others around her started saying good morning to somebody, she lifted her head up and found the Head of the department.
Tanmay felt uncomfortable when she missed greeting her Head.
Then she hurried to the classroom.
Ananta came to Tanmay and inquired, “Where is the kid?” looking lovingly at Tanmay.
Tanmay said about him.
“It’s okay! By the way I have little notes with me. See that guy? He’s Raju! There he copies everything in notebooks! Go ahead! and get something to take with you home, return when it gets completed, no issues!”
Tanmay hurried to set out and switched over to copy down.
“Umm… birds of the same flock! But you have amazing handwriting, Wow!” Ananta exclaimed looking keenly into her notebook.
After the copying task was completed, Tanmay went to him and said, “Thank you, you wrote well.
I can’t see Ananta here,” searching for her around.
Raju shrank with shyness and said, “Hope not so urgent. You may take it to finish at your convenience at home too”
Tanmay was relieved and thought to herself, “How such an active girl linked with this shy guy!”
The income certificate brought her some fee waiver, limited to pay a ₹100 payment. She thanked Shekhar only for the benefit she got from him!
The books are available in the library. There is no need to buy them personally. Above all, she can manage classes by copying notes from her circle. Tanmay felt hopeful about her studies.
Bhanu Murthy went outside leaving Jyoti at home.
Shekhar went on a long-time camp this time, so Tanmay felt relaxed.
Jyoti facilitated Tanmay for her studies, attending all chores at home, and looking after the child.
Tanmay developed a deep emotional connection with the department very shortly. She loved the university Telugu department building, nestled in the eucalyptus series of trees, and the poetic fervor in the classrooms and above all those verses echoed uplifting her spirits…
Atajani kanche…Bhumi surud ambara… chumbitha…. She heard the rhythmic music
She reminded a verse somewhere she read…the moon dawn in the Twilight is like a sandal paste bindi spotted on his lover’s hair line.
She was lost in her thoughts looking into the sky. When she heard someone ask her what she’s looking at, she came to her consciousness.
She nodded, “Oh, nothing!”
“I got it, you are in a world of poetry…” He smiled and said,
“Have you got this one? He held out the “Manu Charithra” book.
She looked at him quizzically, how could he read my mind? Indeed she wanted that book badly after she was introduced to it in the class!
Now it’s just right before her eyes!
She felt emotional, paying thanks to him. She hugged the book to her bosom.
Karun observed her curiosity and said, “You are greatly welcome, just command me any book in your mind, I’ll get it, even if it is from heaven or earth!” He giggled.
Tanmay laughed at him pleasingly.
Karun said appreciatively, “Like thousands of moons bloomed…”
He added in a tone of faked pungency, “No use…though a lot of poetry is streaming out here, no word of admiration from the listener…I must walk out from here…” Then he walked towards the lawn where Divakar, Ananta and Raju were waiting for him.
There he recited verses with musical spirit from the great epics.
Tanmay looked at him admiringly and said aloud, “Wow, what an excellent knowledge he had possessed!”
Satisfied with the appreciation, Karun said, “What is there in it, I did my B.A. OL, and I used to by heart Vedic verses from my childhood.”
“We did too, but had we got the talent?
Karun is brilliant! that’s all” Ananta said admiringly.
She added, “Coming to Raju, I must make a mention of his exceptional talent. He had a photographic memory, never forgets whatever he copied”
Tanmay who was impressed about it said,”True, I am… I just imbibe anything I write and no need to read for exams.”
Ananta remarked, “Anything else? except this recital business of Manucharitra?” looking at Raju narrowing her eyes.
“Let’s go to the beach,” he said and got up.
“Okay then, I will meet tomorrow,” Tanmay rose up to take leave.
Ananta remarked, “What? we are going to the beach!”
“And I know, your mother is there to look after your child. It’s a matter of a two hour trip, let’s move!”
Tanmay felt confused at this proposal, with a hesitant mind she said to Ananta, “But I leave… the baby needs feeding and my mother will be waiting…” She wants to go with them indeed.
Ananta directed them to go straight away to the beach saying, “I take her home and we both join there” and started her Kinetic Honda.
Ananta suggested while driving,“Why don’t you get a bike for yourself? you can see your baby in the middle by yourself, even attending classes.”
A good suggestion indeed! Tanmay thought.
Recently Sekhar parked a bike in front of their house. When she asked about it, Shekhar said,”One of my colleagues took a loan from my Boss, as he couldn’t pay back, our boss asked him to surrender the vehicle, without knowing about it to her wife! So tell if the landlady asks about it, it’s ours”
Tanmay decided to ask Shekhar about it when he returned from the camp.
When they approached home, the boy came to her mother lovingly wound around her legs. She lifted up and hugged him tightly.
Ananta remarked, “Your son is very cute with dimples on his cheeks when laughing!”
Tanmay said to her mother, “Amma let us all go to beach, get ready”
Jyoti responded,”No, thalli, I am not interested or strong enough to walk with you. Better go yourselves. I will keep this boy, no problem”
By the time they got down from their auto, Karun was already there, biting a roasted corn.
He greeted, “We have been waiting for you people, good heavens! I thought, “I must have waited my whole life here” teasing at me with a smile.
A bell near a Kali temple rang concurrently, he remarked, “See, how true what I said!”
Tanmay started walking along the dashing waves to the shore, picking her sandals in her hands and lifting up the saree below her knees.
Looking at her anklets Ananta remarked, “Oh, how beautiful are your feet!
When Karun was also looking at her feet, She suddenly dropped the saree down to her feet.
Karun who caught her attention remarked, “Come on, Ma’am we are not going to write any epics on your feet!”
Tanmay looked at his brilliant eyes and said to herself, “This guy has something appreciable in his personality”
Looking at Raju, Ananta ran to him, saying, “Bye Tanmay, meet you shortly.” and fled.
Tanmay felt elated watching the fading sun competing with the blue waters in the sea. The foam on the surfing waves, and the waters spreading onto the horizon.
Wow, what a beautiful sight! It’s a beautiful day! I spent such a great time today after a long while, in the presence of poetry, friends, sea and sky!
She is watching the ships away somewhere happily sitting on the sandy beach.
Karun who came near to her said, “It’s time to enjoy the falling tides, not to squat in sand, come,” offering his hand to her.
She rose to her feet without taking his support and said, “I would rather walk along the soft sandy shore than dipped in waves.”
She observed some disappointment in his eyes.
“Then it’s okay,” He followed along with her.
Divakar enjoying the wavy movements of the shore.
Karun looked around for the pair,”Where are these love birds?”
When he couldn’t find them he said to Tanmay, “Let’s move a bit ahead” He led her forward.
There in the far off distance, seen the half closed dolphin nose dipped half into the ocean. On the other side, in a longer view, the Rishi konda elongated its crest, up to the sky, rooted in the ocean.
Tanmay suddenly said hesitantly,”This is perhaps not fair walking alone here.”
“Oh no! I won’t take you to Rishi Konda. Just walk and come back in 10 minutes. Because you don’t want to get soaked in water.”
Then he said hesitantly, “I…just want to ask you something for a long while…”
Not caring about his words she remarked, “See those birds in the sky! They are like paper boats!”
“Tanu…” He called her involuntarily all of a sudden.
Tanmay startled at this unexpected address. Tears welled up in her eyes. She hid them with her saree, She felt something emotional and her heart began to beat rapidly.
Karun apologetically said, “Sorry, shall I address you wrongly?”
She nodded silently.
“Nothing like that! no one calls me like that…” She wiped her tears.
“You scared me!” He sighed in relief.
“My mother used to call me Chinni, Bujji, Kanna, Chitti, Potti… how beautiful they would be with two letters! Now things have changed…nobody is calling like that…”
Tanmay laughed loudly.
“Thanks..You laughed, By the way, if you don’t mind, I’ll call you, “Tanu…”
“Nothing like that,” She nodded unwillingly.
“Why?” He frowned.
“Only those who had right to address me in such a way can only call me with it”
“Oh, my good heavens! it’s understandable, can I call you …Mayi, then?
“It’s the second half of your name! You call me Runa. Hope you love our new labels!” He laughed jovially.
“Do we need these shortcut names?”
“It’s like something for future needs, by the way, will you please tell me something about your childhood? I have wanted it for a long time,” Karun said.
“Oh, you look like a pure idealist. You tell me first, then I may think of it” Tanmay said.
“By the way, I have a childhood worthy of sort of like you! Father passed away before I knew about him. My sister did too when I was ten. I lived with my mother in a small house and with lots of day to day problems. I led the family doing petty jobs even during college days. I just wanted to win life, so I attended all my M.A. classes. I did my B. Ed., and attended all teacher post positions every year, but I wasn’t granted the grace of God so far”
Listening to his background, Tanmay moved. She said hurriedly, “Oh, I am sorry, but one thing I can do for you, I’ll help you pay your fee,” consciously touching on her bangles.
“Oh, no need. We are comfortable with my earnings to meet our day to day needs, and fee payment. But the help I want to take from you is English language learning. I am not good at English, will you please help me to learn it?” Karun looked at her for her nod.
Suddenly she remembered Shekhar’s humiliated comments on her English proficiency. How rudely he remarked that day she remembered, “You talk English Hey? a countryside folk! You know how our owner speaks ? That’s what English really is!”
Karun admiringly stated, “I happened to see your translation of an English poem, back in your notebook. Wow, it’s a great job! Your language skills are rather amazing”
Divakar who came there heard about it and said, “Tanmay garu, I too want to learn English from you!”
Tanmay elated. She felt something like winning the world.
Meanwhile, Ananta and Raju joined them who were out all the while.
Karun looking at her blushing face remarked, “Wow, looking pink and different, anything special?
Ananta chased him saying, “You…Naughty…!”
Tanmay could not forget Karun’s words even after coming back to home.
She wrote the word Mayi… picking up the stones in the rice involuntarily.
Jyoti observed her daughter’s happiness. She is happy with her studies. At the same time she is feeling uncomfortable somewhere in her mind because of Shekhar’s irritating behavior.
Shekhar will always be in frets and fumes when he returns from camps.
Tanmay anguished about his unusual frets that may hurt her mother’s feelings. She is getting ready to leave on the same day.
She said with Shekhar, “We will leave today Babu, there is a lot of pending work…at the village” She turned towards Tanmay and said, “Tanmay! Don’t worry, we will come to his Birthday next month.”
Shekhar said laughing, “Plan it grandly for your first grandchild’s Birthday!”
He added before Jyoti wanted to say something, “My mother will give you every detail about the function and the formalities you should follow.”
Till evening Jyoti spent her time feeling anguished. Then she said to her daughter, “How can we celebrate your son’s birthday!” she started whimpering uneasily all the while.
When Shekhar went outside, Tanmay said to her mother, “Amma tell him about it …it’s not possible for you, if you accept everything you can’t afford it.”
“Enough is enough! This is how we were victimized every now and then, because of you! Can’t you say yourself to him?”
Tanmay got irritated about her mother’s unusual disturbed mood.
Though she seems to understand everything rationally, when it comes to Shekhar’s issue, she takes it as an intrigue, planned it combinedly by both.
In the evening, when her mother got on the bus, Tanmay said to Shekhar, “Why should they celebrate our son’s birthday? We do it ourselves, if not, better let’s stop this.”
“Hey mad, don’t be stupid! I am not asking for my birthday…it’s their grandchild’s first birthday. You lost your brains, otherwise you wouldn’t think in such a foolish way. Just listen to mother what she wants to do, that’s all”
Tanmay began to fantasize about a horrifying war going to occur shortly in the name of birthday.
(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.