Young , brilliant and a personality of bewitching beauty, Monica was the woman in the town much talked about. When she came to college on her private car, every body would tend to look at her. Her gorgeous hair , dark blue eyes, the majestic glance, and attractive smile, were sufficent testimonies to prove her a perfect modern lady. Her elegant dress , and an air of majestic walk were known to everybody in the neighbourhood.
Monica had been living in a luxurious flat with her daughter in the down town beside a telephone booth. She was living with her daughter Rosa, who was doing a shool . Rosa resembled many characters with her mother, except the hieght.
Rosa had been slightly wild when she began to live with her mother. She had almost forgotten her father's interrogation whenever she used to be late in the evening, as her mother didnnot bother about these matters like her husband whom she often called "a person made of another kind of soil". The husband and wife reached divorce just because of some attitudinal differences in life: a sharp difference to see things. Many times the husband and wife had hot argument that had annoyed the family environemnt.
Actually, the couples had their ways. Freedom, personal happiness, and lack of social restrictions were the dreams of Monica, who didnot like to go by the idea of social responsibly and duties. The most important thing for her life was to attain success and enjoy the life to the fullest extent. Contrary enough, the husband, Pukar, had some diffrent visions. He believed in the life that was bound with social responsibility .And, on many occassions, he differed from individualistic approach of Monica . As a matter of fact, Monica, after her Master's from American university, seemed to be curbing her to be a diffrent girl. Just after marraige, she asked her husband to live separately, but he seemed to be reluctant. After she joined the job, their relationship came to trouble . There were other reasons as well. Rupak's spiritual and moral
background didnnot fit to Monica's epicurean values of life who rejected everythng in social and moral except success.When he found her drunk in the evening, he gave a long lecture of womens' role and duty which led them a situation of non- communication for a couple days. Monica frequently left the house and stayed with her parents, almost indiffrent what went to the husband.
As soon as many freinds knew about their relationship, they tried to persuaded for reconciliation. However nothing bridged the widening gap, and virtually it ended in divorce, with bitter experiences of legal course of actions for the claim of the child for two years. Finally, the daughter was handed to the mother legally , citing a reason that she could make best care of the child at the time when the legal provisions were as powerful as they were in the west.
The repurcussions of divorce fell on the two families, and they accused each other for the break up of the marraige. Monica's father asked her daughter almost half of the property of her husband. Monica, however, didnnot claim any property of her husband, challenging him, challenging the society as well, and trying to prove herself a radical woman of the modern kind. She was perhaps the first woman who had no
financial hope from her husband after divorce. Many friends and relatives tried to persuade her to claim property legally, but she made a very refuting remark at their suggestion:
" How can you believe that I will take property of that man who is different from my ideals of life. I don¡¯t think even my daughter will need his single penny."
All relatives and friends left interest in the matter, and just said hellow to them . Monica soon joined the international non governmental organization as program officer with good earning possibilities. Her fluent English , and diverse knowledge of social issues helped her gain popularity in the private job sector. She changed job one after another, hoping for more possiblities of attainment . On her promotional tours and seminars, she flew to many parts of the world. She had opportunity to drink many foreign whiskeys, to buy new dresses that were shockingly new to
her many friends, to read many new novels that many had not been aware of. On the other hand, the husband established a boarding school in the neighborhood, and pushed his quotidian life.
After the divorce, the husband and wife were really alien , as Monica left
relationships of all the persons tied by her husband. She even warned Rosa not to make any contact with her fathe. She became so angry when she discovered that Rosa accepted a dress given by her father on her twenty third birth day. She never the parties where there was possiblity of encountering her husband. Though she met him many times, she tried to feign as if she were a stranger. Time also brought them to diffrent realm of life . Monica began traveling on the fashionable car, and the poor husband bumped through the street on old moped.
Time rolled on its own course; it passed through many marks and scars. Monica's b usy schedule, lavish parties, and meeting with top bosses made her very choosy in many things. She developed a sort of professional relationship with her new freinds and invited them to her residence. She was very happy the way her friends liked her painting , dress, and drinks. On many occassions, she felt flattered , and one could easily perceive her glow of her face smile in conceited pride.
" Madam you have become a model for many women. I think you set an example in the area, and many will know how important is personal freedom and happiness in life than the bondage of the family,"
one of her co- worker flattered.
" Of course, this is a lesson to those husbands who think that wives are just their mercies, " another friend joined in.
Monica smiled, and there was an explicit happiness her face. Being happy, she asked her maid servant to get another fabulous whiskey she brought recently from Japan . It was very good give and take between friends and Monica. The friends relished the best foods and drinks , and Monica relished their praises for her. In the evening, some five or six, her coterie of friends were in the dining room and made plan for parties, and travels in different hilly stations and resorts on week ends. Monica, however, did not know the buzzing air of the town . As she was very dashing, assertive, modern, versatile personality for many, she was also much talked cake in the town. People began to talk about her, especially her relationships with many big bosses. Many such rumours reached ears of her husband, who did nothing but drank some more pegs of
In certain pretexts, Rosa , too, had disliked her relationship with some of her friends. But Monica didnnot hear, and commented all such rumors as "fuss of markets". Rumors also spread that Rupak was in courtship with a beautiful lady teacher of his boarding school. People taled that Rupak and the lady had been dating for long time, and they were ready for marital relationship. There was some water in the matter. Once Rosa bumped through them in the supermarket. Rupak just said hello to her, as if he were unknown man . Rosa got shocked, saw the lady in her father's company . In the evening, Rosa shared the incidence with the mother during dinner describing the lady as" tall, lanky, with ruffling hair, black complexioned, in outmoded sari, not smiling, and odd looking it . Monica pretended not to listen to the details, but her eyes seemed merged in some jealousy . After long contemplation, she spoke indignantly, " Who cares such bitches of the town?"
The mother and daughter sat in the drawing room and watched the most favourtie serial.When the wall clock struck ten, they both went to bed. As usual, she fetched a bottle of whiskey, and set it on the tea table.
That it was mid July, and the whole surrounding was muffled by the sound of the rain. . She saw outside surrounding, a strange noise of torrential rain, and sporadic sound of some insects were frequent. For sometime, she concentrated on reading the new novel, but just ruffled some pages lazily. She felt herself occupied in some alien thought.
"What is the matter I dont have sleep today ?" She murmured herself.
Her mind was moving somewhere. It was the same incidence of the day shared by Rosa during dinner. Though she was trying
to divert her attention, she failed. It was perhaps the first time she was thinking about Rupak after the bitter experiences of the divorce. She tried to sleep, and sipped the whesky in a gulp. Turned off light . But no help. Strange feeling gripped her mind. She even stopped her favorite music that was playing for half an hour. She got up , sat on the chair, lighted a cigarette. Within time , another thought gripped her. She liked to see the family album in which there were some of her photos during college days. There were a number of photos of Rupak, the man with long hair, and French beard at thea time courting her. As she concentrated more on the photos, she was lost in a reverie to have been in his company through parks and cinema in the dusk, eating banana and laughing at his casual jokes. She was the most famous banana eater of the college, and friends used to call her"banana lady. " Even on one occasion of her birthday party, Rupak had wrapped banana as birth day present. When she opened the pack in the evening, she couldnot beieve her eyes and tured frenzy in laughing. Immediately, she made a call to him, both of them laughed on the phone until the receiver fell to the ground.
As she was lost into her past reveries, Rosa knocked on the door for some medicine she had kept in the drawer of her room. It was hard time for her to hide the album under the bed. She set the book on the table, and hid the glass under table.
"What took you so long, Mom? Were you sleeping ? She asked.
" Nothing, I was reading." she retorted
Monica opened the door, looking at her surprisingly.
"I need some medicine, I think I have kept in the drawer."
"Are you awake , too? Monica asked.
" I feel suddenly severe pain on my head." Rosa said.
"Take this medicine and sleep. Do not think much. This is not your thinking age." the mother spoke in instructive tone.
No sooner Rosa was leaving the room , she stopped on the door. Something struck into her mind.
"Where is our family album, mom?"
"I really don't know it . Monica responded in a very suspicious voice.
"But what are you doing with the album in this midnight?"
"I just want to see some of my photos of the childhood." Rosa said. As Rosa treid to rummage through the cupboard to find her album, Monica got angry and slapped on her head . Soon, Rosa left the room sobbing .
As a matter of fact, Monica didnot want Rosa to find her weakeness. She had said many times that she didnot want to remember the past days . So she tried her best to dissuade Rosa , when she became so stubborn, Monica had to recourse to beating. Monica didnot sleep whole night, and a sense of guilt consciousness overpwered her.
In the morning, Monica apologetically entered Rosa 's room who was preparing her exam. Monica sat beside her and began to fondle her hair coaxingly. Rosa , not much responsive, kept herself busy to read and turn the pages indiffrently. Meanwhile, the maid servant brought tow cups of coffee, and placed on the tea tables. Then, Monica began:
"It's no matter." Rosa responded.
"Why did you need the album in the night, even not waiting the morning ?"
"I was missing Papa so intensely. I was surprised when he did not speak to me yesterday in the supermarket. I had never imagined that he would be such indifferent to me," she told without any fear.
" Don't worry. I am with you to care . Why do you pine for a person who lived in another realm of world, completely different from ours ?" Monica spoke consolingly.
Despite several attempts to calm, Rosa wept. Monica too had numb eyes, and she left the room. Though it was an important day for her in the office, she thought not to go, and made a call to her office secretary and told necessary information about the files that were to be worked on. She remained in the room whole day, and asked the maid to bring food for her in the room. In the evening, she set a table in the veranda, and saw things around the locality. There in distant, one couple seemed to be working in the kitchen garden. The man was digging, and the woman weeded. They were planting some flowers , may be some stems of the flower plant. Monica saw it until the work was over. The man was playful, and his wife just laghed at his jokes, and he was patting on the back many times in course of works. perhaps asking her to be fast. As she was lost in so much laughing, he grabbed plants from her and would begin planting, cursing he, who laughed. Monica set her eyes on the work consistently, laughed at herself, but was startled when the maid brought a cup of coffee.
Experinces and lessons learned in life are very wonderful. Many people forget lessons within lapse of time, no matter how philosophic and profund they are.However, nobody forgets the lesson in course of life. It is a great teacher, and real leveler of human personality and fate. And, when people begin to know the lesson of fate, they get started to be fused with another reality that they never imagine . Sooner or later, there is the fate to grip this middle aged woman.
Monica faced rather unexpected situation soon after her Canadian INGO withdrew financial support to Nepal . Citing the one or another, it stopped all the financial support to Nepal. This l incidence brought an unprecendeted situation in her life, especially her financial and social status. Within days, her working contract got terminated. But she was very hopeful to get another job. Nothing just that happened . Job became had matter due to conflicts in the country. Monica did not have money in the bank accoun; she had recently brought a car.There were many pressing things that required money.
Rosa was in need of some money for her further study in America, her favourite Columbia university where her mother did master. Her monthly expenses were hard to get maintained, and what about her rent money for three months, telephone bills, Rosa's training fee for classical music, dues at grocery store. It had been almost a month she had not gone to restaurant.
To ward off all the dangers of financial troubles, she needed some amount of loan, but in vain. All her close
friends made one excuse or another, and many of them began to ignore her when they met her in the market. Helpless in despair, she tried her best to sort out financial problems and tried to write some articles for the papers. But it all proved to be a drop in the ocean . Each day, things were going from bad to worse: she was watching things go to lurch in front of her eyes. She sold the car and solved some pressing needs, but that didnot soothe her financial trouble. When she began to walk on foot as a common woman , she felt being disgraced by the people of the town. She felt her pride and prestige dwindling each day, and treid to shift from the town to somwhere a quiet place. The grocer and vegetable shops didn not show that much respect as they used to . They simply laughed at her uneasily just to pave courtesy, and she fairly knew that. The other day, the house owner came to her and threatened to leave the house and pay the dues as soon as possible. In dismay, some time she felt that she was the most miserable creature of the world. However she tried to prove herself a fulfilling mother to all the wishes of Roas with the little money she had. Still rigid and firm, she never wanted Rosa to know all the difficulties. Rosa 's frequent demand for money was troublesome, and she was in a dire need of job at least to fulfill Rosa's expenses. If not she was sure that Rosa would go to her father.
One day, an idea struck to her mind. She thought a way to solve her financial troubles: to find a job as teacher because she used to be good English teacher before she joined other enterprising jobs. But it was off season, for many schools were almost in their half session, and she would have to wait for sometime to get a good job. Against her pressing need, she didnot have time to wait for good one, but offer any at her disposal. Sshe was sure that they would not give a job until she met them in person.
It was the month of May. The sun was just over head, and she walked in search for finding a potential. As she passed through the sign board of " Lotus Boarding School ", she wondered for a while, standing beside the gate. A lady teacher was looking after the nursery children who were playing during recess. She did not ask about the Principal, as her need was more prominent than the name of the principal and his whereabouts. She went to the waiting room. A young lady was on computer, who asked her to wait for sometimes as the principal was busy talking to the parents . So, she thought to go out and see the lively children at their play, and stood beside the wall. If she had waited inside the waiting room, the things would have been diffrent from what she faced . She would have alredy gone from the room just reading the name plate of the princiapal, banging door behind her. However nothing of this sort happened. No sooner the principal was free, she was called by the lady in the waiting room.She entered innocently, but saw a strange and shocking thing. She felt the ground of the heel felalling apart .She could not believe her eyes. The principal was nobody else, but Rupak, her husband . Hardly was she able to see his face, Monica lfet the room so hastily surprising the lady in the waiting room. The lady entered the room of the principal whether there had been something between them. But she failed detecting anything wrong, as the principal was in his same pose, but a bit different in look.
"What made the woman leave such hastily? She was waiting for almost an hour patiently, but went out within time." the receptionist wondered.
"I told her that there is no job at present . She went way. That is all it." The principal asserted snobbishly
Monica had hard time to reach her apartment. She didnot see the road , and never cared whom. the heat was so scorching and she fet her mouth perched with thirst. As she clung through her gate, she thre her hand purse annd rushed to the room. The maid servant saw her go and throw the purse from the kitchen she was working. But she never imagined what happened to her.
"He would be lying on the bed, may be turning his head aside as you enter through the door. Sometime, it can be the case that he would be pretending to have been slept wanting you to go closer to him and fondle you. In many other pretexts, there may be the time he would be reading a book or any other magazine just ruffling the pages lazily waiting for you. In some situations, you may find difficult to initiate talk . There can be many situations that require you to suit to. You should only speak as much as is required .Try to share things only what makes him feel good and pleasing." These are common teachings for a girl in the traditional community of Nepali family if the marriages are arranged, by their elder sisters, other friends and married ladies about proceeding of marriage life on the day of honey moon . However it was not the case for her. Her elder sister said many things before marriage to her when they were preparing a bridal dress. In course of the talk, the elder sister, Sama, began to tell what happened to her on the very first day of the night, laughing , and then with burst of giggles, as if she were recalling the clumsy reminiscences: " He rather turned out to be out spoken, and candid in all the matters." I had no problem. Everything went out as many brides would expect. He was rather hot in the matter . He did not wait for the time. Sexual relations are must and you should be ready. No husband is such fool to waste such best time in life. And so is the case for the wife as well. "
The two lonely sisters were drawn to the noise, the banging of the door. Five or six of the friends entered the room and thanked Suma, the bride, but chided her in stubborn noise that she was so cynical not to share such a news like marriage just a week before they met in the village market. Shy and timid, as usual, Suma told them that it all happened within moment:"... as is said you know marriage is not made, but is already fixed in the heaven." She was very articulate and assertive with perceptible glow in her face .She shared all that what a candid girl could. At the same time, she became so thankful to the friends who had made all that possible , otherwise it would have been just a dream.In her thankful words, she was so emotional, " It is all made possible due to you friends. I had very difficult time as there was constant pressure on me to choose someone else instead of him. You know, the parents, till the last time asked me to rethink about the decision. But how can I ? I am very confident that the courses of love marriage are better than the courses of arranged marriage. "
It was just three months' affair that pushed them to such decision. Once they met in the picnic organized by the NGO, and came closer to each other due to the internet. What was more appealing to Suma was his intellect and practical wisdom.
After the bantering talk with freinds, Suma began to get occupied in the preparation, and showed all the presents being packed. She also showed the best presents to the bridegroom on behalf of her.The jewlry box was there on the cupborad, all wrapped in the red paper. Suma unwrapped the paper, and showwed her ear rings, necklaces, and other things. One of the freinds of her wore the neckalace and began to dance in frenzy. They all began to cheer and people were really shocked outside out of the noise coming from the young girls.
On the day of marriage, Suma wore the best dress she had chosen some five days ago -- yellow colored , vermillion linen sari, and the most precious silken hood gleaming with the best attractive folds covered with sapphire and green colored shawl perfectly fitting to her. For the first time when she was brought to the place of Swyamber, she looked as magnificent as a fairy sitting
on the bank of the pond.
The bridegroom set glance on her, but diverted his attention in a fear of being detected by the persons present . The flash of video cameras, gossips, casual bantering, and jokes ran into the air , and the verbal repartee between the team of bride and bride groom ran for hours. The head priest, an old man with slinging eye glass on the lower part of the nose, constantly asked the bridegroom to perform the rites , for he was rather slow, and the priest had to repeat him things time and again. The young girls made headlong jokes on him, and he laughed nervously. Somewhat puzzeld , he treid to pose him normal and watched things in furtive look, dispalying smile as far as possible.
It was almost midnight. Only half of the rituals were over and much was expected in the morning .The Kanyadaan, one of the most meaningful rites, is to be held in the morning . It is the altimate ritualistic rite of the marrige in which the father of the bride hands his daughter to the bridegroom with some being dictated by some mantras . After the rites are performed, the father along with all his clan, drink water dripping from the feet of the bride and bridegroom, pouring water on their feet constantly till the act is over.
After the ritual was over, there was deep feeling in the face of the parents. However Suma was not so despondent as many brides seem to be. It was all the lot that brought her to this day. She had no repentence to reject all the offers in marraige . One
engineer , a good earning background of the neighborhood, had been courting her for some days. Another young man with a foreign degree had asked her hand for marraige. There were three young probable candidates on the list proposed by her parents who were living in the city waiting for the words of the parents . So bravely she rejected all the offers of the suitors, and made a choice for that meagre earning school teacher who was teaching at a high school.
In the beginning, her father was rather uneasy with the idea, and persuaded her to forget the man. However all his efforts went vain, for she threatened to leave house and marry him if any force was imposed on her. At wit's end , the father gave in saying:" It is all your choice. We were trying to make you happy. If you are so set in mind, we have nothing to say. Whatever makes you happy is our choice."
When she heard this, she rushed to her bed room and made a call to her much expected man who was desperate to hear any news from her. For a couple of days, he was in a little bit doubt, for he had, on many occasions, felt some sense of indifferent behaviors from the parents of Suma. Once in the last month when he went to pay them visit, the father did not pay much attention to him, but concentrated on other matters. Not only that, Suma's mother did not ask him for a cup of tea. This event of indifference had made him feel that he was not lucky -go-lover , and would soon face a desperate luck awaiting . Yet, he had little hope left on part of Suma, but she was not in contact for so many days. He didnot know that she had been town to attend one marraige party.
Babi tried to sort out something , and contemplated alot. When there was no hope left, he thought to resign from the post of teacher and leave the place, since he would not like to be seen by them in the market , especially the parents.
Mr. Babi was shy , but assertive young man . From the very young age, he had diffrent interest: he had good fascination for poetry and music, and had won many school level competitions. He wanted to pursue a profession of creative writing, but thought that it would not be means for survival. As a boy from the traditional Brahmin family, there was chance for him to continue a profession that his father chose. But he found the profession too old, and he had no interest in it rahter. If things had gone well, he would have started a profession of singing . But that dream did not favor him because he could not continue his musical class. During his college life , he had shown a little interest in politics and had involved into college level politics. But later, he found all this "bogus non -sense" despite the fact that he had good chance to be popular among his friends. He also thought to start a business, but he had not sufficeint money to start one. On one occassion, he set his mind to go abroad for earning money, but he didnot sell his property on time for the money required for depost .Many of his dreams came under crush when his father died taking all the proeprty with him. The family spent most of their property on his medication, which was a great blow for the family.
In all courses of his unending ventures, he found himself a person climbing a mountain , but failing all the time like the stone in the myth of Sisyphus. The internal conflict of his personality and the outward surrounding pressed him a lot . Sometimes, he was so philosophic in mind and thought that nothing in the world mattered that could make a person happy. On many occasions, he thought to commit suicide, make robbery, take loan, and leave the place for better mental solace. However, his mother's ailing health condition deterred him to take any bold decision on his behalf. He chose to compromise with the time and go by the blitzing wind of the fate. His interest of literature and philosophy made him submissive to his fate, but his quest for happy life posed him a sort of transition of one kind or another . But there was a radical fire in him ; and he despised all those moral and social pressures . Because of this nature, people of grey hairs despised him.
Babi had some dislike for those people who believed in privilege and took it for granted. He was always contrary to the ideas of Suma's father who boasted of his privilege, downplaying human virtue and integrity. This was a fact that made the two people antagonistic to each other . More so happened when Babi went against his political campaign in the Municipality election and helped the opponent. Since then, the relationship was on the smear, yet there were good chances to come the two persons closer. As soon as Suma's father knew that she was in love with him, he began to feel so dismayed. He went to meet Babi and proposed to leave the town, and if he did so , he would be give some money. Suma's father already knew that Babi's family background was not of the privilege class in the society. His father was a simple priest, earning a little money for their family through his pujari profession . But the old man's fate didnot favour him and he had no way other than to comply with his daughter's will at last. Perhaps there was one more factor working in the mind of the father that he was not easy with the bride groom. He had felt a bit disgrace in the case of his eldest daughter who married a person she chose. It was a simple marriage in the temple which killed his social dignity, who wanted to show his pride and position in the neighborhood . He was sure that if Suma chose the same path of her elder sister, he would have another blow in the neighborhood. He had confided this fact to his wife many times:
"See, our daughters are spoiling our position in the society. They have nothing to do with our social position and pride. They take marriage is just a fun . I have not forgotten the bitter backbiting of the people regarding our position. What will happen if Suma marries that good- for- nothing man ? "
His wife , always helpless, had nothing to do, and said:
" What can we do ? You tried your best to foil the marriage, but what came out of it ? I think we should take things easy. If our girls think that they are master of their fate, what can we do ?"
In that night, he and his wife sat on the sofa . As it was raining hard, indicating rainy season with all its muster. The husbad sighed many times, cursing his daughters. They remembered the hard days how they had reared the daughters . When his wife had given birth to two daughters , things had been very unexpected. The mother- in -law, his mother did not speak to her daughter in law for many days. She was not happy because she was the only woman in the village to give birth to daughters, one after another . After she gave birth to her youngest daughter, the mother went on to pilgrimage for a month. There was not sufficient food in the store. The husband and wife took loan from the neighbourhood and managed this way or another. When she came, she became so furious and said to her son, " You must think of your marriage, as this wife is no more help for you ."
The poor wife did nothing but wept through out night, looking at her husband and asking for his mercy. On one occassion, the husband was changing his mind, coming to the words of his mother . Thanks god , he got a job in another town and the marraige idea was no more in the house when the mother in law died .
The husband and wife recalled all the past days. But they relied on the immediate matter frequently. The husabnd in his talk turned out so emotional : " Are the girls just curses for people? Why they go against the will of parents ? "
But the wife said nothing, just sighed . Whole night they discussed, and in the morning the husband had to go the town for the purchase of things for marriage. So they slept.
Coming Sunday was the day for the marriage, as it was settled after much consultations with the local priests. They said that Sunday was the perfect day for the marriage, since the boy and girl had nice time according to their horoscopes. The marriage took place. After the marriage, things came to normal relieving all of them, and Suma's father , in a way, was happy because this time nothing such happened like the last time.
After two days of marriage Suma was seen in her father's house with her husband in an early morning , following her husband , the coy and smiling fellow in elegant suit. The elder sister, Sama, was there standing, and as soon as Suma approached, she caught her hand and both of them entered the room , and shut themselves.
" Now tell me, your experiences of the honey moon. Any thing special? How was
the first time?" She proceeded asking so many questions. Suma laughed , but remained silent, rising curiosity of her sister.
"Actually nothing happened. Even we did not have time to have sex . I think time did not mean it ." She said rather absent mindedly.
" Nothing happened ? What you mean ? On the very first day of marriage, nothing happened ? " The elder sister questioned as if the whole earth were collapsing.
" Believe in me. Nothing happened . We just held in talk." she reaffirmed.
" What a strange thing, nothing happened. It is the very day of conjugal life to know each other in terms all aspect, love, sex, emotion. You guys did nothing !" She spoke sarcastically, with sneering sort of look.
Actually nothing happened on the very day of the marriage. Babi's mother had already warned them that they had to get up early in the morning for all the rituals. They were to take early bath, go to temple, and perform some rituals up to midday. Most of the time, they held into talks, and became emotional, thanked their freinds . Babi recalled all the hard times. They talked many things and laughed till midnight . On the second day, Babi wanted to complete the paining that was left unfihished so long, and Suma came close to him, watched him do his work. She liked him while painted with the brush stroke smiling at her affectionatley . As she felt tired , she slept , and did not know what Babi did afterward. In the morning, they found themselves in the party hall at father's home. That was all it .
But Suma felt a bit uneasy after she met her elder sister. Some strange ideas thronged to her mind. More suspicious she became when she remembered the night. She thought it was not good time for her as her sister had explained.
The whole day, Suma was alone, showing no interest in food and drink. She did not go to her husband. Neither did she go to the party hall. Some strange behaviors she showed to the friends when they entered the room. And her elder sister made sure that she had something wrong with her. She lied on the bed for sometime and treid to sleep, but no help. Then, she got up, and drank some water. Her head was so heavy, and she felt she was becoming mad. In the day time, many of her friends came again. They were the same friends who had discovered her love with
the dream man. They also asked her how she spent the very night. However, Suma did not respond to them, citing that she was feeling rather uneasy from the morning .
" It is all that act. We know. Dont pretend anything. I guess you made good time with your dream boy. " one of the friends spoke .
"Believe me . Nothing that sort." Suma said in despairing tone.
Her friends also must have felt something wrong with her. They left . After they were gone, Suma took out all the bridal dresses, the beautiful sari, the twinkling bangles, and the mangal sutra, many rings on her fingers. She juxtaposed herself in front the mirror. She found herself the most ugly woman in the world. When she closely observed her cheeks, she found a dry layer and some tiny pimples. The portrait of lotus flower which was her precious painting looked ugly. She sat on the chair for some time, and felt her head was spinning round. She sipped the glass of orange juice, but just spat out .
She opened the window. There was an uproar of talk and burst of laughing. Babi was sitting in the middle, talking to his freinds. Suma opened the door and went to the hall. She caught Babi's hand and took him along with her. Many people looked at her strangely. Babi, too, was felt so strange, but didnot ask any question until they were shut in the room.
After half an hour or so, the both husband and wife seemed walking down together hand in hand. Suma wore the best dress. After the two newly married couples joined the freinds, one of the freinds asked them what was the matter that pushed them so strangely to the room.
Both of them laughed looking at each other.
" Oh, it was a deal to settle ." They both laughed. And the freinds, too, laughed and the party kicked on till late night.
A Headless Situation
For many days, it was not good time for me from writing point of view as if I were facing a writer's block despite my several attempts to write something that would be noteworthy to put in black and white. After Manahe village trip, I was really enthrawelled by the fictional writings of the Korean novelists and short story writers, amazingly interesting and artistically innovative. From the novel of Lee Dongha to the modern writer, I came through several writings of the outstanding quality, which fact I had never imganined before I came to Korea. In my country all the years of literary reading, I had barely read one or two stories of the Korean writer, but was not in a position to assess their literary production the way I did soon I read several stories and novels in my beginning days in Korean. On saying this, I don't mean to say that that Korean poetic writing is not that much powerful as fiction. Korea has produced several outstanding poets, and personality like Ko Un who was nominated for nobel prize for literature.I dont know why I was so much drawn to novel and short stories. I was also jealous of the beautiful stories written by very young writers, mostly the females who have proved thier literary mirth in international level. I read stories of many stories written in idiosyncratic style on diverse issues: social life, family life, women's psyche, morality, social anomalies, torture, and miserable conditions of life of the women, matter of sex and so many. All this cherished experinces of mine motivated me to push my pen. Though I was making some efforts in writing some stories and novel, they were not published as my poetry did. So, there was writerly stigma clinging to me, and it would be only all right once I produced something worthy. Until now, my incomplete novel was just personal waywarding of literary musings. By reading storeis and novels of the distinguished Korean writers, I seemed to have passion to write something. I determined to write no matter how far I proved myself. No fear though, whether it would be simple, medicroe, or just insignificant. It was a drive for me to taste something that I had never been abreast with.
I had no a powerful subject to write. I was also mindful of the fact that good writers dont need big subject for writing. Creativity comes along in its own way. However for me, it was most challenging task I have read many good writers's stories as if they were playing with wind, and trifling with lark, and listening to the woods, talking to the immaculate sea water . Even being aware of all this matter, I was helpless on not finding a good story to write. However I didnt totally give up the venture of writing one. To some extent, I was sure that I was not that creative person. If I had been, I could have written a story outright. Newton discovered such confounding gravitational theory just because he saw an apple drop. James Watt and Archimedes became such great inventors because they paid attention to common things which many other people didnot. But pity on me. I was not finding just an imaginary fact, a fuss making game !
In this kind of dilemma, I was having a sense of uneasiness for some time, hoping that a story would come to me and shake hand saying" " Get ready, I am here."
In course of meeting some Korean writers, I was passing through Jamsil sub way , and was waiting for my train to come in the humid day of July.
In the month of July as is humid and rainy, there was every possibility of rain , so people seemed to have umbrellas. Some people surrounded the metropolitan map to eye their destination; and some indifferent passengers stood in their weary face , resolute and calm startling their bodies as soon as they heard the train was arriving . Sstanding beside a an elderly lady who had two bags, one umbrella and a small wallet in her hands, I was waiting my train. The train arrived and many of us entered. Coincidentally, I found the same lady before me standing with all the two bags. The train kicked its destination and inadvertently I was watchful to the activities of the lady. I saw her standing managing her two bags, and one wallet as there ware no seats left. It was perhaps beyond her knowledge that she dropped her transport card that fell almost under her heels. Just then, another man sitting next to her pointed out.The man kept on pointing, but the poor lady seemed to be confused. The poor lady moved her whole body, but was in confusion. Finally, the man pointed the transport card through the point of his umbrella. Settling her two bags properly, the lady knew at last as what was the fact. She raised her left leg and found the transport card lying.The lady exchanged her smile to the man who looked rather concieted .
I used to see many events in course of bus and sub way, but not much intricately touched was I as I became touched by the event of the transport card. I didnot take it mere quotidian experinces of daily life--that keep on happening time and again in the lapse of moments. The transport card event haunted me many times despite my several attempsts to forget it. In the growth of human civilization, events like these are common in any country, especially in the materialistically pacing like Korea; and paying interests in events like these is to wrangle over an ass's ear.But to me it was a different sense impacting me, and I was drawn to this event not because I wanted to show sympathy with the lady, or sketch something that may shape some some pages of my experience. When I came back to my room, I sat on the chair and thought about the same event, and the face of the lady revolved around me.
I posed several questions. Why did the man hesitate to speak to the lady ? Why did he just point the transport card throuhg the umbreall ? Why do we people refrain from communication to each another?
All these questions thronged into my mind, and gradually drizzled out like unexpected shower during the spring. After much concentration, a new thought dawned into my mind. I forgot the appearance and event long before and delved into some penetrating idea. I thought I found a source of writing somethin that I was questing for.
In a way to resolve into the issue of transport card, there were several other questions simmering each after another moment. Why human speech is becoming less in the modern world ? Are we really busy ? Or do we want to hide into our own realm of life without bothering about others ? If the man had already spoken about the transport card under her heel, the poor lady would not have moved into clock and anti-clock direction. But he pointed through umbrella, making gestured sign wihout speech. It was almost hard for the poor lady to settle her two bags until she found her transport card, and then sighed for long time.
After my long concentration, I took it mere specimen of human apathy, that we are trying ourselves to get detached from people and going to the waste land of mental ruthlessness each day. Therefore the simple event was folding various mazy ideas into mind.
I would take this embedded with several shreds of connotations. In course of development of technology, undoubtedly, we take that things that have changed from the past, and we have to upkeep with changing pace of the time. We have to prove our manhood leaving others back, therby toppling the acme to prove better off. At the same time, can we totally negate the existence of our human duties, that are generally unasked. Why we are becoming rigid like corpse that gets stiffened after the life is over. Is it necessary to give up even minimal duties for the society and people? In what way are we advanced ? Where will this ruthlessness to take us ?
I think we human beings are different from other creatures because we have some advanced faculties of mind. We interchange, interact, respond, and make reactions to the things of the world. During holidays, we go to park and holiday destinations just to listen the birds sing, the rivers flow with eautiful sounds, and animals make beautiful noises. However, we ourselves are trying to be speechless. We are going to one realm of sppechlessness, where we will speak to ouselves, our fates, and destinies. Why are we afraid of speaking ? What is harm to speak to someone if we manage ? I dont think speech may make any problem until a person is totally sick . What is the secret of this speech abstainment ? Then, there are some secrets. First, we think that when we speak to someone, it is associated with a problem, since speech and interaction will encroach upon our privacy and bring us to trouble. Second, we dont wish to enter into the common realm of reality avoiding our own mental reality . Third, we seem to have an illusion that the common realm of reality is non of our business. I cannot enumerate many other. But I conjecture that this sense of skepticism has made us an effigy, just an effigy of blood and flesh, but not of humanly sensibilities.
When I was student of phonology ( a branch of linguistics), I had an opportunity to know that we produce sound from different process and involvement of different organs. I still remember that there involve some organs like pharynx, epiglottis, vocal chords, lips, tongues, palate, alveolar ridge, teeth, tongue and many others. And our sound gets reproduced through a speech mechanism. I don¡¯t think we are not willing to communicate just because we want to save these organs. I am pretty sure that something different is the cause behind all this. But what is this anyway ?
I take this phenomenon as culture of heedlessness, as well as a fostering culture of body signs. Linguists have long before thought of body sings or body languages that play quite effective role in the non- verbal communication in certain situations. But we must muster out to find a body communication so that we do not have to use all the speech organs, to be precisely, no use of head. I wonder that the linguists may find body language in the future in order us to start headless communication like that lady did in the train compartment. I guess there may be several possibilities of body communication. The very first and foremost is : there will be one single body language in the world as we are the same people if we don¡¯t have our heads. No Christians, No Buddhist, No Moslem, No Hindu . Similarly, there will not be so many languages--- just one body language. We sometimes hear that some nationals like Indians want there language be spoken in United Nations. All this dispute over!
With all this possibility, I sometimes wonder how a headless man would look like. Sure, he will be almost a headless effigy set on a wall--sprawling body, filthy look, wading gate, lanky legs, faltering gestures, and what more. I still remember my mother stern voice : "Honey, throw all these headless toys to the dustbin. They look quite ugly." If I didn¡¯t throw them away, my mothers would throw them away beyond my knowledge. In the pretext of this, I also find myself in difficulty to envision a headless man.
In the realm of this thinking, I sometimes enumerate headless possibility of the man from the past to the present. To me, heedlessness is associated with dark, dismal, danger and ugliness. Not only in normal life but even in literature also, heedlessness is commutated to loss of identity and disgrace. I can give you a proof. Shelly wrote a poem entitled "Ozymandius", a king whose headless statue signified just hopelessness and frailty of human life. Head therefore means something order, symmetry and significance.
In any religion whether it be the religion of West or East, head is taken as the central part. We go to church , temple or mosque and bow down our head and confess to make us man from the sinning creature. We weep when our beloved ones leave us. We can see our mirror and true to glorify ourselves that we are perfect creation of the universe. We sense gentle wind passing through our windows and watch the moon pace through the clouds in trifle. It is the head that has made us to face all the daring bruises of history. It is our head we have learnt to live a lofty ideal of togetherness. It is the head that has tried to live a life of dignity and blessing. It is the head that has pushed us to the best possibility of life.
I cannot think of headless possibility. There is another reason. Brought up into a Hindu culture, during my sacred thread time, the chief priest had told me that the head is the divine part of the body, below head up to buttock is the humanly part of the body, and below buttock up to the toe is the demonic part of the body. How can we live without head ?
I cannot think therefore to find a possibility of headless man until humanity thrives in the world. But the lady's pointing again with the umbrella sometimes makes me feel to be wrong. How do you think it about ?