The Invincible Moonsheen

Part – 24

(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.


          Tanmay remarked walking along with him with a smile, “What can anybody think of your bearded face?” 

          “Oh, Mayi, I just want to say a lot of things… How can you go away like this all these days?” Suddenly he became emotional. He was gasping for his breath.

          She attempted to say something about “Shekhar” but held her emotions back. Why should I say anything to him, I have not had any clarity about how my life goes. 

          “Umm…I could guess what you have on your mind…You are thinking why should he know anything about my matters… My mother’s health is spoiled. I lost my part-time job. I got only the fourth rank. It’s not what rank I got but the eligibility for merit scholarship is only for the 3 rank holders. So that hope is also gone. Above all, Your absence…” He broke into tears.

          “Oh come on, Runa! I didn’t intend to hurt you, I had my headaches. Then she opened the gate and invited, “Please get in, let’s have some tea!”

          Karun walked into the gate quietly.

          “Will you freshen up?” Tanmay asked.

          Not replying to anything he walked to the book rake and picked up the book Amrutham Kurisina Rathri.

          He turned on a page and started reciting a poem from the book.

Gaju kerataala vennela samudralu 

jajipuvvulaa attharu deepalu 

Mantra lokapu Mani stambhalu 

Na kavitha chandanasala sundara chitra vichitralu

Agatha badha patah patangalu 

Dharma veerula kurta ratta naralu nadalu 

Thyaga shakti  prema rakthi Shanti sukti

Naa kala karavaala dhagha dhaghaa ravaalu

Naa aksharalu kanniti jadulalo thadise dayapaaraavathaalu 

Naa aksharalu praja shakthlu vahinche vijayairaavathaalu

          May I rightly say, if I said you have a great heart forTilak?

          She wondered at his comprehensive skills, “He knows everything!”

          Looking eagerly at other collections he remarked,  “Where is our Karuna Sri?” He already started his verses.

          Tanmay went in and brought tea cups.

          Looking at the half-opened books on the mat on the verandah Karun asked, “Mayi, will you please tell me one thing, Why do you starve for studies like this with a small kid?”

          Tanmay skipped it and said, “Come on, Are you going home? Let me come with you. I just want to see your sick mother.”

          The house owner who came out while Tanmay was locking the door, observed with a dubious face at Karun said, “Amma, will you tell Shekhar to talk with me once?

          Tanmay nodded to him and walked outside wrapping her saree around the shoulders.

          Karun said, “My house does not deserve to be visited by people like you!”

          Tanmay remarked with stress, “It’s nothing to do with your house, it’s all about your Mother.”

          Before they reached the bus point they took two to three turns and at one corner Tanmay observed that Shekhar’s uncle’s scooter passed by her side. Tanmay couldn’t understand why they didn’t stop. She felt that they wouldn’t have recognised her.

          After a long journey by changing two buses, they started walking.

          Tanmay exclaimed, “It’s a long way!”

          “Umm… still we walk further!” He led her towards a hilltop colony. Though it’s wearisome to walk uphill Tanmay climbed up it with some difficulty. Karun was walking quickly.

          Leading her towards the house he alerted her to take care of her saree which may make her fall on the wavy road.

          The house was a small hut, almost on the other side of the hill.

          Karun said, “This is a government place sanctioned to lower-income groups. We live with our grandfather. He clarified the doubt wore on her face.

          It’s a round-shaped hut with a cane woven closer. A few cooking vessels and two iron trunks, a kerosene lamp hanging to the roof. She never had seen such poverty-stricken huts in her life. She felt surprised and looked at him appreciatively. She found his mother on a wooden rotten old cot.

          When she struggled to wake up, Karun stopped her and said, “No…amma, she is Tanmay!”

          She was malnourished, very lean and lanky. One leg was badly swollen because of a filarial infection.

          “Wow, You are Tanmay! Well, My son always reminds you!” staring at her curiously.

          Tanmay sat on the torn mat spread on the floor.

          The woman wore a vertical kumkum line on her forehead and some dried pea-shaped beads around her neck. She looked like a sanyasini.

          In a weak low voice, she asked, “Nanna, will you have your meal?”

          “Don’t bother about us Ma, we will have it.”

          “Babu…You haven’t eaten anything since morning”

          She continued, “Amma, he wakes up early, takes tea and gets away. Only one meal at night. He cares for all but never takes care of himself.”

          “Where is grandfather? Karun inquired.

          “He went to the temple to bring prasadam.  “Amma, I am completely exhausted. I take rest, please don’t think otherwise,”

          Then she turned to the other side to sleep.

          “Will you eat something?” Karun asked Tanmay.

          She nodded her head horizontally saying no.

          He picked up some food from the vessel, a curry made from a seemingly snake gourd and a non-fried snack on a plate.

          She asked him for a snack and after biting it she asked him to let her out to have a look at the backyard.

          Karun smiled and said, “Okay! but be careful about keeping a distance from my mother’s wet sacred cloth! That won’t be touched.

          She looked at the torn piece of a saree curiously. It’s almost dripping in water! This is what they call a sacred piece of cloth! May it be a belief! but why should I infringe on modesty when they are very particular about it? She maintained a distance and stepped ahead. A creeper with a few tender snake gourds was there and seemed about to die. From there, a small hilltop was prevailed by bushes and thorny green trees but what may be there on the other side cannot be expected. The hut was in bad condition to survive any moderate storm.

          When she was getting in, Karun got out to wash his hands.

          At that moment his mother asked, “If you don’t mind, may I know your surname please?” 

          Tanmay knew the purpose behind her curiosity. It’s about knowing her background like caste etc.

          Tanmay, satisfying her doubtful inquiry said, “We don’t belong to your community, Amma!”

          “Well, It’s just a customary asking, Don’t feel otherwise, Amma! My son already told me how you are pursuing your studies while struggling with a small kid.” 

          “It’s true Ma…My goal is to complete my PG and Doctorate!” Tanmay said strongly. Suddenly, as she was reminded of her kid, she swarmed with his sweet memories and was compelled to talk with him.

          The woman said with deep breathing, “Well Amma, please help him in his studies. He works hard day and night but bad luck clings to him like mine!”

          Karun pretended irritatedly, “Have you already started your series of sorrows? Why don’t you sleep a while and cool down?”

          When Karun dropped her at the bus point she suddenly said, deeply engaged in her thoughts, “We must get JRF Karun!” 

          Tanmay was completely occupied with the thoughts of fellowship while coming home. She recalled his extreme poverty and his tenacity. Poor mother! She had lots of hopes for him. Of course, any mother would hope the same.

          Tanmay stopped at the STD Booth in the corner of the street. When the kid buzzed on the other side, she felt elated and decided to go to her son at once.

          Yes, the weekend may be the right time to visit home, so that I can return by Sunday evening.


          The next day they met at the university canteen.

          Tanmay initiated brightly, “Hello to all! I decided to prepare for JRF from the very next day. I know it’s tough, but we can win by working hard.”

          Raju carried the spirit and declared, “I join you with Ananta.”

          Divakar, looking at Karun, was elated and promised, “Well, I will provide old question papers with my father’s help.”

          Karun remarked emotionally, “It’s a goal to all of you, but it is my life and death. I must challenge it!”

          “Well, then,” 

          Tanmay took out a piece of paper. She noted the schedule of the exams and the scheme of preparation. The subject division may be listed out first of all. Collection of materials and books and finally notes making.

          She said, “Above all, we will divide the work before we start our preparation.”

          Karun intervened, “No one should forget that everyone should read all the materials we gather. Not only multiple-choice questions, we have essay-type questions. A good grip on the subject is very important. I will deal with Sanskrit, The history of Old Telugu literature, and the grammar.” 

          Ananta and Raju declared, “We both prepare notes on modern literature and optional subjects.”

          Tanmay said, “I will deal with English, Math and Linguistics,” looking at Divakar.

          Divakar said, “I j…ust gather.. mm…materials and books”

          Tanmay wrote down the assigned names against the rows.

          She said enthusiastically, “We will get xerox copies of the prepared notes every month or exchange notebooks otherwise. We will allocate the last three months for recapitulation. In the last 4 weeks, we will practice the timing in writing.”

          Karun added, “We should meet every weekend to appraise whether everything is going on track or not”

          “You mean here?” looking at the scorching sun, Divakar giggled.

          Ananta poked, “Umm… then on the beach”

          Raju seriously remarked, “Oh it’s not the issue of place whether meeting or not that’s all, we will meet every day if possible.”

          “Let’s decide the meeting point, say library, or in front of the department bench, or under the canteen tree…etc.” when Ananta was thinking of possible places, Tanmay said, “Add our verandah.”

          Ananta looked at Tanmay suspiciously.

          But Tanmay prompted her to add it unquestionably.

          They all got up happily and proceeded.

          Tanmay remarked, “We should add the JRF end of our name on the notebooks.

          Divakar innocently asked, “Why? Will it be a part of the exam?

          All they laughed at him.

          When Tanmay got onto a bus Ananta followed her and jumped onto the bus.

          Tanmay looked at her questionably.

          “Oh, I am going to my uncle’s house ahead of your house on the same route,” Ananta smiled.

          “Well, drop by our house, let’s have some tea. Shekhar is not there.”

          While getting into the house Ananta picked some sannajaji flowers from the creeper. She exclaimed, “What a beautiful thing it is growing flower plants around the house!”

          She loves flowers. Ananta plucks any flowers like Nandi vardhanam ganneru whatever she finds and flips them into her hair. 

          Tanmay brought tea and a thread for flowers.

          Ananta hesitantly asked, “When will your guy come?”

          Tanmay said about his Nellore stay.

          Ananta felt happy. “Well, thank God, I feel free now and wish to stay with you. we can meet here every day then.”

          “I have no problem,” Tanmay replied happily.

          Tanmay locked the door and followed Ananta up to the bus point.

          Ananta sighed, “Before marriage, I rode on the bike but now on buses…we don’t want to depend on parents now Tanmay! So I gave away my vehicle to my sister to avoid oil charges. After the completion of studies, we must get a job. otherwise, it’s very hard to cope with! May this goal be fulfilled or not!”

          “Don’t worry! everything will go well!” Tanmay soothed her spirits.

          That’s what I like in you, Tanmay!… At any adversity, you feel bold and never embarrassed, and share your courage with others!”

          The house owner was waiting at the door for a meter reading when she stepped in after coming from the bus stop.

          “Will you please show the torch?” The owner asked her.

          He went inside, took the reading standing on a chair and came back.

          When she held out the torch to hand him, that man giggled awkwardly and pressed her hand intentionally.

          Tanmay felt disgusted as if an insect crawled on her. She jerked away, loathing his presence.

          “Why? Aren’t I equivalent to your friends? stressing the word friends awkwardly.

          She stormed out and shouted, “You get lost, Otherwise I will call your wife!”

          He walked away without any repentance quietly as if nothing had happened. Tanmay became pale in dismay and began to sweat profusely. She controlled her shiver and comprehended that the lady was away from the house. She consoled herself and decided to tell this issue to his wife. She felt it very urgent to bring it to the notice of Shekhar and also about her arrival here. At the same time, She was also worried about his reaction. She developed a headache thinking of him. She was facing troubles after troubles.

          The next day is Friday. 

          She thought, “If this night is spent without any untoward thing, I can go to the village the next day. After coming back I can stay with Ananta.”

          She closed her eyes and recalled her anonymous friend, “Oh my friend, please stay with me and fill my spirits with courage tonight!” 

          She tightened the latch with a ladle, kept a chair across the door and went to sleep.


(Continued next month)

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