Waiting By The Riverside

It was raining hard in the evening. The villagers forecasted the river to overflow by for the next few days. She was sitting in the courtyard in deep thoughts. She had to make it at the riverside by night. This was her chance to go away and start a new life. Her marriage had been fixed in an orthodox Brahmin family in the next village. The man was a widower with two children. The marriage was fixed because no other family came forward to accept her in their house.
Madhu saw Samar for the first time at a friend’s wedding. She was busy preparing her cousin for the wedding. She went to the kitchen to order food for the ladies. The cook was busy tasting the kheer. She told him to get snacks for the ladies assisting the bride. The cook looked puzzled. Madhu got a bit impatient with him, when the head cook arrived. The head cook told Madhu that the man in front of her was not a cook. He was the owner of the wedding hall. He had just stopped by to give his regards to the new couple. It was love at first sight for Samar. He liked her tongue in cheek expressions and the way she ran away to the bride’s room. From the next day, he was frequently seen on her street to get a glimpse of her. When she came to know this she got worried. She was pursuing graduation through distance education, because her family was struggling for finances. She stopped going out often. She remained in her house most of the time help her mother. Once when she was going to give her exams, he stopped her outside the exam hall and proposed her. She told him to stop this craziness. He told that he understood her resistance towards him. He said that he won’t force her in a relationship, but he had become addicted to her, so to catch her glimpse at least once a day. He said her that he will wait for her to change her mind.
Madhu just tried her best to ignore him for a couple of months but she knew she was also getting attracted to him.  It then started from secret exchange of glances and reached till secret meets where Madhu started to know him and enjoy his company. She resisted in the beginning because it would turn into a big communal issue in the village. But Samar was a daredevil. He did not care about anyone’s opinion. He belonged to a family of landlords, who had been converted to Islam, during the Nawabs rule. The whole stretch of villages belonged to Samar’s family. He promised her that his family would agree to their decision once they eloped and got married.  Unfortunately, one day some people from Madhu’s locality spotted her with him. The news spread throughout the village and the alliances who requested for Madhu’s hand declined to talk about it now. Only one alliance was got fixed in the end and her father was very eager to get her married. Samar’s family also heaved a sigh of relief, when they heard the news.  But Samar had other plans. He wanted to elope with Madhu and move to the nearby town, and expand their family business. He had planned the whole the set up. Madhu would sneak out of her house to buy to meet her friend’s place, where her friend would help her with the disguise. She would reach the riverside by night.
Her father had been trying to explain Madhu to forget Samar. He was a nice guy according to her father but a muslim. She would not be welcomed in his home and won’t be able to get accustomed to their way of living. He also tried to manipulate her thinking by telling some rumors about the family and how they tried to dominate the village during the Nawab’s rule.
As planned, Madhu left the house and reached her friend’s place. The friend’s mom saw Madhu and started advising her on married life. Madhu later left the house as planned.

One year later….
Madhu was busy with her daily chores. She had to do most of the housework because she was the youngest woman of the household. The other ladies would be busy criticizing her and reminding that she was a childless woman.
 Madhu had gone to the riverside to fetch water. The riverside was isolated recently due to the recent flooding. She was fetching water, when she saw a reflection of a man beside her. When she turned around, she saw Samar. She shuddered for a second just stared at him. He went away without saying a word.
In the evening amidst the usual scorns from the women around her, she remembered the night when she returned home instead of reaching the riverside where Samar had arranged a boat for them.
That night Samar had waited for her, when he got the message that she has changed her mind. He took the boat and did not return for a couple of years. He went to the town and expanded his business. Madhu got married to the widower, the next week. After the marriage, she came to know that the man was twice her age and he was always travelling for work. She was married to him, to take care of the children.
The news of Samar’s coming had spread to the house. He was rumored to be buying and selling some property in the village. The women of the house were concerned about this because this house was under a loan and had recently changed hands to Samar’s family. Madhu’s in laws had taken loan a long time ago for stating a business but due to loss, they were unable to repay the loan.
The whole evening was spent in heckling on Madhu’s love affair and Samar’s coming to the village to make their life miserable. Madhu got used to this from the beginning of her marriage. She chose to marry according the family’s wishes because her decision would affect her family’s social standing. She found it hard to accept the outcome of her decision in the beginning. The family never ceased to mock her character and ridicule her habitually. Her husband was not a home usually and even he was there, he never bothered to enter the discussions. Madhu did not even remember when was the last time she had talked to her husband. He was a dull and lifeless person. Most of his life was spent in travelling and gathering money to pay the loan. His wife died due to illness and could not be saved because the savings were not enough for the treatment. His brothers continued the family legacy of performing poojas at different households. They did not pitch in because their earnings were enough to contribute for the loan and take care of their family.
The next day went surprisingly silent with hushed whispers about the coming of Samar. His men arrived as expected. They waited from the afternoon for the men to arrive. The passersby saw this whole affair became the gossip of the village. Madhu’s brother in law, Ram arrived, the men started talking to him in the house entrance. The noise was attracting crowd and he had to plead them to come inside and talk. When they came inside, he pleaded for more time to repay the loan. Samar’s men asked Ram to talk directly to Samar for more requests
Ram assumed, since Samar was associated with Madhu, he might pardon some amount for them. He went the next day to meet Samar. Samar welcomed him in and treated him well, which was surprising for Ram, because Samar’s family was not known for generosity in their village. Samar finally asked Ram about the loan. Ram said that were a large family, so it is taking longer than expected to repay the loan. Samar replied that he was ready to pardon the whole loan for a condition if Madhu was sent to him as his keep. Ram had a hint of this kind of a demand from the beginning. But he did not expect it to come out so bluntly from Samar’s mouth. But to Ram, it was a good riddance.
Madhu was sent to Samar’s house the next day, on the assumption that she would have to plead for writing off the loan. After reaching there she came to know that she had been tricked. She was sent to Samar’s room. She saw Samar the second time after he came here. He had a smirk on his face. She finally confronted him “I thought you must have moved on. Why are you troubling my family? “You got it wrong, I just helped them. They would be celebrating now as I have written off their loan. ” Madhu asked him, “So this is your way of revenge because I deserted you at the river?”   “Why is it so easy for you women to jump into a fire and sacrifice for your family. The family that threw you to hell.” She said, “I had to do it. I had no other choice”
“Fine, stay with me now, you have no other choice. You had a chance of becoming my wife, new become my keep. I am doing the same that you have done to me. I know what a miserable life, you have spent in that household. At least I am giving you a second chance to live”
gpogkpergtregt gpogkpergtregt
22-25, F
Jul 10, 2010