Wednesday, October 16, 2013

SMILES TEARS AND HEART BREAKS IT WAS NOW TIME TO PART. ROSY, UNESCORTED BY any member of her family had spent the day with us, mostly with me. The rest of her family members had joined us only for tea and were now leaving. Papa ji , Rosy’s, autocratic, father, as he was called, after a perfunctory ‘Sat Sri Akal’; impatient, already in the driver’s seat, Mama lingered a bit, slightly bent with both hands folded while taking her leave. Rosy casting a long and lingering look at me took her seat along with Ruby in the car, who also gave me a parting smile. Bang, bang the car doors closed, the engine started and revved up with the clutch released the rear wheels spun and slipped on the gravel, finally bit and the beige coloured Fiat 1100D shot out of the gate on to the Circular Road. And we turned towards the main house each one wearing a smile for different reason: my brother for a difficult meeting gone on smoothly, my sister in law for having retrieved a difficult situation by her quick and deft thinking by bringing Rosy from her home for us to meet and me with my head swimming in Dopamine with a dopes smile plastered on my face in a hurry to place a LP on the turn table, jack up the volume of the amplifier to share with the world my feelings. On the other side as the car speeded up on the narrow roads of Dalanwala with Rosy’s miffed father keeping the accelerator pressed to the floor, Circular road, Lakshami road and it only when the car hit the slightly broader East Canal road that the three occupants of the car gave a sigh of relief. Mama found her voice; “Sardar Ji” that is how she addressed him, “How did you like the boy. She enquired. “Silence.” “Han Ji.’ she prompted. “How could you approve of him, he has no manners, no respect for elders. Haven’t they taught him to respect elders?” He hissed. “He is unfit to marry my daughter.” He decreed with anger written on his face. The charged atmosphere in the car ignited and exploded leaving every one stunned. Rosy seeing her new world collapsing even before it had seen the first dawn, broke in to silent tears. Ruby, had acquiesced to the relationship, trying to hold on to her status of the decision maker of the family who did not know how to react. Mama, though taken aback, well aware of her husbands pressure points started planning the strategy as how to mollify his hurt feelings and bruised ego. E C Road, Eucalyptus road, and Rajpur road finally the car turned in to the gate of their house, breaking hard he brought it to a screeching halt. Banged his door he hurried towards his room, with mama meekly following, to his bottle of rum, with the other two characters scurrying to their own corners with their own confused thoughts. It was a clash of culture feudal versus urban and rural: one still tied to the past the other trying to break from the past. The whole crisis was due to the fact that I had not touched his feet: De rigour in their family and a taboo with us. He took to his bottle, his incoherent ramblings, growing with each glass that he downed, that only Mama could follow and understand. Her pleadings and cajoling were to no avail nor did her streaming tears have any effect. He calmed down only when she agreed to gain some time, to break the engagement. Rosy could not sleep, twisting and turning in the bed, struggling with the storm brewing inside her. Was it a mirage, she wondered? It was unsettling and confusing to her young mind: the positive impression I had created on her, the know each other stage was yet come, the mild attraction combined with the rising desire for my company was a strange new feeling difficult to cope with, love was yet to bloom but not too far away. All these new unfamiliar and strange feelings combined with the fear of the whole dream collapsing, especially being aware as to how difficult and resolute her father was, creating havoc inside her. Some how, the mother and the daughter prevailed and assuaged the hurt feelings of the old man and cajoled him to give-up his opposition to the proposal. But that is a different story, sad and sordid better left untold. Unawares of what had transpired on the other side of Dehra Dun in the last 24 hours every thing appeared normal to us when we landed at their place the next afternoon: even Rosy came and sat next to me, proud of her new status. I still shudder to think as to what would have happened to me if the wish of the peeved father had prevailed. Possibly no tears would have shed by me but I would have been saddled, without doubt with a permanently un-mandible broken heart.


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