Miles Away

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Story of a middle class girl of an ordinary town getting married to a man working in the IT sector in a metropolitan city who never tries to understand the emotions of the so called wife.

Submitted: October 25, 2018

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Submitted: October 25, 2018

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Miles Away…

When the elders in the family planned the marriage, it was just a kind of event for him, just like completing a task in the work he had been doing for his company.

“Now you need to find a house in the city for your family”, his uncle insisted.

“Hmm!” was his response.

Partying, travelling with friends, freaking out during vacations and things like these were his priorities. Being in the metropolitan city had been a fascination for him.

But for her, marriage was a celebration. She had her own dreams and whims and fancies when the elders planned the marriage.  She was ready to do anything due to her respect for her elders. Kamala …she was called so. The shortened version of her name Kamalambal. Her childhood friend Annamalai was after her. They did their schoolings and colleges together. Annamalai had an essential part in her life. He was her good friend with whom she had no secrets, no hide and seek. Though she had a sort of affinity for him, though she had a pinch of love for him, though she knew very well he was in love with her, she did never open her heart to him as she was very well aware of the social barrier that stood in front of them, their community variation.

“I can never imagine anyone in my life other than you Kamala,” often Annamalai reminded her. With the dream of possessing Kamala in life, he was much focussed towards his life and career and of course, as planned he got into a very good job after his university education. But Kamala was persistent that she would not repudiate the words of her elders or defy her elders though Annamalai was very well there in her life, especially in her heart as the most significant person though she did not reveal him that she was in love.

“You may leave this village getting married, but I will never forget you and never accept any other girl in my life,” once he told her. She did not say any word, but had the belief that once after she getting married, he would think of a life and would get married to some girl.

Kamala’s marriage was finalised with Mukunda, a software engineer. Mukunda was like God to her. But she was just a normal girl to Mukunda, just a middle class girl from an ordinary village who though had a university degree, did not know anything about his Jaava, .net, C and C++ or about onshore and offshore. Girls in ultra modern apparels and jeans had been the real educated lot to him. Her M.Sc degree in Bio-Physics from a renowned university was nothing in front of his BE in Electronics and Communication Engineering.

“When are we travelling to Bangalaore?”, she was much engrossed to know as she dreamed a life with her man in the new city that she had never seen in her life, as she had fantasised a journey with him leaning on his shoulder, sleeping on his lap, being hugged by him during the journey in an air-conditioned, red painted Kallada travels that she had frequently seen whenever she went to the nearby town with her dad and mom for some festival purchase.

“We cannot leave appa and amma as they are getting older day by day. Someone has to be here taking care of them. I will call you once in two days and will meet you once in three months.”

How could she deny as she had been taught to be an obedient wife like her mom who had been submissive and respectful to her father throughout her life.

Amma’s advice was always there in her mind. A wife should never show her apathy towards her husband, should not negate the words of him, should never nag the husband, and should always show a pleasant smiling face.

Nobody thought of asking her if she was happy in life as it was the belief that should be happy normally after marriage. She too never bothered to think of the unhappiness she had been facing after the marriage.

Her friend Jane came home one day to invite Kamala for her marriage.

“I am not sure if I would be attending because I have to get permission from my in-laws. Most probably, I may not since my dad-in-law is a bit strict.”

She used to wait for Mukunda’s call but most often her waiting went in vain. Mukunda did not bother to meet her as promised. He started visiting her only once in six months or so. She missed so many celebrations, marriages and get together.

“Is marriage a constraint in life?”,  once she felt very bad.

She dialled Annamalai’s number. All these seven months he had been waiting for a call from her as he did not want to make a call thinking that would be disturbing her  life. He picked the call, but there were no words from her side.

“Hey Kamala, speak something. What is happening there?”

She perspired, became panicked, went wordless, shivered, sobbed and disconnected the call.  Sweat dripped off her face.

“If appa knew, if amma knew…my God!” she ran to her wash room, opened the shower and stood under the cold shower for some time. She changed her apparel, ran to the pooja room, prayed in front of her Devi.

“Sarva mangala mangalye…” she chanted the prayer in a haste and fright.

“Husbands would be answering for the sin of the wives.” Her grandma’s words echoed in her ears.

“The husband of an adulteress would be facing a pathetic end.” Her grandma’s words were piercing her ears.

“Rama, nothing of that sort should be happening to my man. Forgive me o God!”

She grabbed her phone and dialled Mukunda’s number.

“How often should I tell you not to call me when I am at work? Be sensuous Kamala.” He bellowed and disconnected the call.

Mukunda came home that weekend. She thought he would take her out somewhere, but he had been fully occupied with his phone. He had higher priority for his friend named Ankitha who came all the way from Jodhpur, leaving her parents and home for job. During lunch, during dinner, even when he was on bed, he had to ensure he was calling Ankita who would be lonely without parents.

“It has been six months now…will you please take me home for a day?”

“See Kamala, if you want to travel, you can travel alone. Why me? I have nothing to do there.” It was his response.

Whenever she was passing by, she could hear him telling Ankita, Anki, no dear, cool dear…

“I have been away from my home, my parents, my native place, all alone in this new atmosphere with two strange people in the name of in-laws who can never even understand that I have a heart, I have a body made of skin, bones and flesh with emotions in it, likes and dislikes.” She pondered for a while.

“Kamala, you cannot do anything”, echoed her inner voice.

Of course, nothing could be done. She was just a woman with confines and precincts.

Mukunda had consideration for her only on bed as she was able to quench the thirst of the man in him but even then his concern for Ankita was stronger. As usual after a stay for three days, he travelled back to Bangalore. His world was different there where he had no place for the feelings and pain of Kamala, the so called wife and no room for her loneliness, agony and desolation.

Kamala made a call to Annamalai.

“Kamala, tell me. I did not call you as I did not want to interfere in your life and bother you.”

“I know…”, she muttered.

“Tell me Kamala.”

She had no clue what to say and what not to say. She did not know the reason for having dialled his number. She just wanted to hear his voice. She just wanted to have a feel that she had someone to call in her pain and anguish.

The sun was dipping below the horizon where the bloody sky was smiling at the crimsoned earth that was being lulled by the dark roaring sea.

“Kamala, time for the wick to be lighted.” Her mother-in-law from her bedroom.

Kamala kept the phone aside and went to the pooja room.

The lamp she had  lighted illuminated the dark gloomy room.

 

 

 

 


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