The Invincible Moonsheen
Part – 21
(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, Udayini, who runs a women’s aid organization “Sahaya” in America. Sameera gets a good impression of Udayini. Four months pregnant, Sameera tells her that she wants to get a divorce and the circumstances are conducive to it. Udayini asks her to listen to the story of “Tanmayi” and pursue her to make her own decision after listening to the story. Tanmayi and Shekhar, who met at a wedding ceremony, go to marry with the permission of their elders. After the marriage they started their new life in Visakhapatnam. A boy was born to the couple in a year of their marriage. Tanmay engages in her studies deeply and enjoys the friendship with her colleagues forgetting all about her household disturbances. Her parents came to stay with her for a month while Shekhar is away on his long-term camp.
On the very first day of her exams, Tanmay felt scared. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply before looking at the question paper.
The subject professor came in half in the midway of the exam and enquired, do you have any doubts?
Tanmay stood up and was relieved to ask the last question that was bothering her all the while.
The professor frowned, looking at her suspiciously, “Had you ever been to my class?”
Tanmay, who in no way expected this, was suddenly embarrassed.
“We have talked a lot about this in our classes. Need I detail now at this moment? Why do you people come to universities not attending classes?”
Tanmay who was totally dismayed welled up with tears.
The professor walked out. Tanmay couldn’t control her tears. The invigilator pitied her asking, “Water please?”
Tanmay nodded. She didn’t want to waste her time going out for water. Time is very important.
Ananta who followed her outside of the exam hall categorically remarked, “Hey, take to heart? leave it! That professor is indeed a very nice guy. we have to be surprised if he doesn’t talk like that. As the department head, he needs to check attendance of students. Doesn’t he? Perhaps he didn’t know about your personal reasons and the situations that led to your absence. Come with me, I will introduce you to him”
“No Ananta, I am in fact not in such a mood to meet anybody!”
Tanmay recapitulated the past event when she walked into his cabin inviting her pleasingly. Today it’s totally unexpected.
True, She said to herself, Of course, I was disobedient not attending departmental head classes, sometimes failing to greet him one or two times involuntarily.
“So you have reasons, including the absence of his classes!” Ananta added.
Karun, who intervened in the middle continued,”He is a nice gentleman, he doesn’t care much about it. What we require is just marks, that is all” and laughed making the air lighted.
Tanmay suddenly looked at him. She remembered Vanaja, her only friend in trouble. Karun and Ananta replaced her place, encouraging her in many respects when she came to Vizag.
Yet, she felt something uneasy in her heart. A few of her recent experiences drilling her mind. That day the professor infused a doubt in her brain asking her: “What do you do with this Telugu MA?” and now the question of her absenteeism!
“It’s not the problem that arose, I couldn’t cope up with the subject without attending regular classes. I must talk with Shekhar. I won’t be scared of him. She strongly decided to make it clear with him.
Shekhar came the night before the last exam. He broke no sooner had he come, “Hey! you came without my son! Are you really a mother?”
She knew that something would happen like that so she got prepared with a suitable answer.
Shekhar remarked, “Oh! what love you people have on him! In such a case, why didn’t they celebrate his birthday?” He continued, “Listen! this is final, he will be brought up with us, or with my parents. But not with your greedy stuff no more, understand?”
Tanmay couldn’t care for his words, all her attention was about her studies and exams.
Late night Shekhar came to her. Tanmay was totally absorbed in her exam preparation. He looked at her clumsily and remarked, “Hey, You blew up totally mad!”
Tanmay looked at him strangely.
“Enough is enough, wind up your stuff and sleep. In the morning we are going to my grandfather’s house” He curtly said.
Tanmay shuddered at his proposal. “Next day? nope! This is my last exam. We may go day after tomorrow”
Shekhar yelled at her,“Hell with your exams, toss them out, you built your bloody world with books. Do you at least remember that tomorrow is our marriage day, you stupid? Or should I recall?”
How can she forget it? It was her dream of marriage. She dreamed lots of things with him. She loved him and longed for a beautiful life with him.
“Hey stupid, get ready tomorrow to take the blessings of my grandfather, and then for lunch at my aunt’s house…”
Shekhar’s way of behavior is always the same when he’s at home. He suddenly proposes to go somewhere and invite someone home to eat. She never disappointed his demands and cooked for everyone even at odd hours. Wherever he proposed she followed him without any hesitation.
But this time she will lose her last exam if she follows him.
The exam will be finished by 12.00 and she can follow him in the afternoon without much debate. An accustomed lifestyle to her.
She said it firmly.
Shekhar, disgusted at her stubborn reply, turned his back to her and fell asleep. She knew that he’s so adamant that she couldn’t convince him. She thought of getting over that trouble somehow. She decided to leave early in the morning before he woke up. She couldn’t sleep for a long while feeling disturbed.
The last exam is Sanskrit.
She recalled a sloka from kumara sambhavam of Kalidasa recited by Karun.
vikara hethou sati vikriyanthe ye shaam na chethaamsi tha yeva dheeraa even in disgusting conditions, one who didn’t succumb to them and strong in spirit keeping away from the influences are the real heroes even in the adverse conditions one who didn’t succumb to them and strong in spirit keeping away from the influences are the real heroes.
She changed the phrase and then she felt she was filled with courage.
“Hey, have you been doing any yaaga for the exam since yesterday?”
Karun who approached there remarked watching Tanmay totally absorbed in a book sitting under a tree in front of the department even by 8 o’clock.
He looked into her reddened eyes and said anxiously, “Mayi, is everything okay?”
Tanmay felt emotional and she looked at him with tears in her eyes.
“Yes, I am fine,” she nodded.
“Wow, good heavens! I really felt something odd looking at your weariness on your face! Okay then let us go and have some coffee”
They walked together towards the coffee house.
The canteen was busy with students bustling around enjoying coffee and snacks even at the early hours of the day.
when she saw someone eating the hotty idlis she felt her appetite increase. These days she couldn’t eat well because of the anxiety of exams.
“Not coffee, let us eat idli” She proposed.
She added, “I will pay the bill,” looking at his hesitant face.
In recent days Shekhar was very magnanimous, keeping some money occasionally in her hands. When she asked how do you get money like this, the answer was, “You dummy head, you cannot understand even though I tell you. How long can we survive with this meager salary? I started a business with my friend on the sea. Don’t reveal it to our owner or to my boss at any cost!” She didn’t have an eye on the silk saree and the gold chain he bought yesterday.
“Hey, where did you go?”
Karun exclaimed at Tanmay, totally absent, bringing the tiffin plates.
“Wow, nice idlis, delicious chutney!” She started eating hurriedly.
Karun looked at her surprisingly, “Oh, liked it? Great! We suffer to eat our meal here”
When Tanmay got ready to pay the bill Karun interrupted her and took out a 50 rupee note from his pocket that was folded nicely.
Why? It looks like a carefully preserved note!” Tanmay remarked.
“Of course it’s…My mom gave it to me to use in difficult times.” He laughed.
“So is it necessary to use it now? Tanmay tried to stop him.
Karun said, “It would be a great memory of our first dine together. It’s hardly a half an hour for the exam. We should move fast within five minutes. We can talk about it sometime,” He walked out hurriedly.
Tanmay doesn’t like his attitude particularly in such moments. He goes ahead very fast as if not willing to walk along with her to the department.
She sighed and followed him.
When she finished the exam she felt suddenly debilitated. She didn’t know whether it was because of the completion of a task successfully or out of stress she underwent during her exams.
Ananta proposed, “We must go a movie”
Tanmay stood up hurriedly to leave the place as if she remembered something.
“Hey girl, why are you jumping away?”
“I must go,” Tanmay replied curtly.
She didn’t want to say anything about it.
Karun’s face turned red with a bit of anger, he said sharply, “Leave her! She is always like that!”
Turning towards her said twistingly as if he was defeated, “Will you please at least say when do you meet again?”
Tanmay who was totally upset said, “I must go to my child and leave at once for my village” Ananta exclaimed, “Oh, it’s true, okay! We must meet after the results are announced. Just before a week of reopening of the college they keep the results in the department notice board. You forget everything about your studies and spend your days with your lovely baby at least during the holidays.”
“But…” Raju wanted to say something.
Ananta intervened, “Ah, for everyone’s information, I have good news for you! Both of our families accepted our marriage proposal. During holidays they fix dates.”
Raju wanted to say something, “Everyone of you should attend…”
Before he completed the sentence, Ananta intervened saying, “Ah, Tanmay! you said your husband may not have leaves! Okay no problem”
Tanmay understood her hint. “Yes of course, anyway congratulations to both of you! You knew everything, Shekhar may not get leave and I don’t know when I would come back from the village. Please don’t think otherwise.”
Ananta came close to her and said in a low voice, “It’s really not meant for you Tanu…”
“Okay to everyone, all the best Ananta!”
She waved her hands and got ready to take leave.
Ananta came with a proposal, “Come with us at least up to the bus stand.”
“Hey let her go, it’s already late for her!” Karun showed his disappointment.
Tanmay understood his pain, but she wasn’t in a position to think of it at that moment.
As soon as she got off the bus she ran to the phone booth.
When she was responded to by his lovely child, she felt very happy listening to his sounds of joy.
“My love! I am coming to you nanna just tomorrow! eat well, sleep well till then!”
The kid responded happily to her mother’s voice.
Jyoti said, “Amma! He is doing well, don’t bother about him!”
When she reached home Shekhar was not there.
She took a head bath and wore the silk saree and the necklace he bought for her.
She looked into the mirror and felt very happy looking at her saree. She enjoyed the moments of joy waiting for Shekhar to go out.
A pang of disappointment suddenly sprouted in her heart. What is the use of her beauty when Shekhar doesn’t like her! She sighed.
She remembered his nasty behavior and irked.
What wrong she had done? She loved him so intensely that he would reciprocate it. Has she mistaken him believing that he loved her? She tried for the answers but she didn’t get any.
She was swarmed with questions. “Aren’t I capable of attracting him like the other girls do? Is that the reason why he is doing such nasty things?”
She sank down to depression. Soon she fell asleep.
She woke up when it’s almost night.
Shekhar was nowhere. His whereabouts were unknown.
She felt hungry and went to the fridge and drank some milk.
Suddenly her promise to her kid was remembered. She made a decision to start home early in the morning. She drew out the suitcase and began to get ready. She was feeling discomfort and uneasy in her mind.
She was totally disturbed. She couldn’t notice when Shekhar came in.
As soon as he got in, he started shouting at his top voice, “Hey, stupid, what wrong did I do to you? How dare you go out on the marriage day to relish and roam with a stranger?”
She gazed into his reddened eyes, “Drunk?”
“Answer to me first!” He flared.
“What can I say?” She turned to the other side busily engaged in her work.
“My uncle witnessed everything about your high drama of you eating and roaming with someone! This is what you’re doing in the name of studies!” He yelled.
“I was hungry then, so I went to the canteen with friends to eat. Is it wrong to go with classmates? You never understand me, leave it!”
“Yes, I am a fool, a stupid without studies! A stupid in great trust that his wife is a piece of fire! Oh for this entertainment you left the child at your mother’s house! How tactical you are!”
“Stop!” Tanmay shouted in disgust.
“You Dirty soul! Why should I stop? Everyone was asking cheaply in our relatives house when I went there alone, where is your wife and with whom she went! Getting ready to elope with that guy, Yeah?”
He fell upon the bed and started snoring and blabbering like an idiot all night.
Tanmay walked out and stood quietly gazing into the sky filled with twinkling stars.
“Oh my anonymous friend! Where are you? How long can anyone live on this earth? What is his longevity? What moments of pleasure can anybody get on it? Please let me grant at least one minute to live peacefully and happily!” She folded her hands and fell down crying silently.
She wept for a long time, her cheeks smudged with tears.
He himself has committed plenty of wrongs, but he is blaming me.
As an average girl she thought a handsome boy was a blessing to her. He loved him passionately and unconditionally. What was she getting now in return? Wounds to her body and soul, wounds that never heal.
She came inside and wiped her tears. She looked at Shekar who was sleeping like a beautiful child. A devil may personify his body when he wakes up perhaps.
She searched for a pencil and a piece of paper and wrote on it.
“I am going to bring our child from the village. For your information, I am not degraded as you thought, and as much as you are!”
She got on the morning bus and occupied a seat. Soon she fell asleep in the morning breeze.
Suddenly she woke up when the conductor was shouting to get down at the stage where she took the ticket.
She hurriedly walked into the house and found his son playing busily.
When the boy recognised her mother coming, he began to toddle towards her. She dropped the luggage and ran to him. She lifted and hugged him to her bosom passionately. Her eyes teared with emotions.
She kissed him and said, “I’ll never leave you again!” She became relieved from all sorts of pains.
As usual she didn’t receive any phone calls from Shekhar for ten days.
Devi made a phone call after two weeks passed, with an order that their grandchild must be at their home as soon as possible.
These things are very common to Tanmay. So she decided to stay at their mother in law’s house till the completion of the vacation. Her mother tried to stop her.
“No Amma, it’s not a good idea to stay here. I came here without his willingness. He didn’t support my studies and fought with me every moment. If I stay with them, at least his ego may be satisfied.”
“Okay Amma, as your wish. This kid is totally accustomed to us. Even it’s difficult for us to stay away from him” Her eyes flooded with emotion. Tanmay’s decision was final.
As soon as she reached her mother in law’s house, she began to tune herself to their mode of customs and traditions. They left the kid to Tanmay just to feed him and make him get ready in the morning. She spent all the time in the household duties and kitchen. Whenever she found any of her time, she spent it on writing notes. She prepared notes on those books she read in the first year MA course. Sometimes she jotted down some of her silly stupid feelings.
While the whole family was busy watching the new channels on the TV, Tanmay spent her time with books. Her mother in law was very curious about Tanmay’s writings. One day when she came out from the bathroom, she found that the book was lying open. She giggled, imagining the reader’s psychological condition when they stopped at the letter she wrote to her anonymous friend.
Just before a week to the end of her vacation, Tanmay approached her mother in law. The baby was in her lap playing.
“Attaiah, in one or two days, I am leaving for Vizag.”
“For what?” She didn’t even look at Tanmay.
Tanmay put a blank face for her question.
“To our house” Tanmay said firmly.
“Shekhar said everything about you and your pastimes there! You need not make this world happy with your great degrees. Stay with us. Whenever Shekhar gets time he comes to see you!” She is very stubborn and harsh.
For this unexpected development of events, Tanmay felt shuddered; she choked in suffocation and a chill ran into her spine from her feet.
(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.