ENLIVENING STORIES OF MARRIED MEN AND WOMEN
This book is a collection of short stories for the married men and women. Marriage has its own twists and turns – some may be good, while others may be bad. The characters depicted in this book, through their actions, give you lessons for a smooth marital relationship. First and foremost amongst them is the truth that a wilful hard-headedness will do more harm than good in marriage. The characters depicted in this book are wise enough. They learn to be cheerful and contented with their lot in life and do not kick against the pricks. They are good listeners, respect one another, have a good sense of humour and are willing to adapt and also accept the fact that you can’t change your partner.
In fact, through their actions, they teach you that for a happy marriage, it is not enough to simply adhere to the “give and take policy”. They tell you that you need to go a step further and “give and only give”.
The fascinating stories in this book are sure to enrich and enliven your married life.
Contents of "Enlivening Stories of Married Men and Women"
- The Fraud
- Grandma’s Advice
- The Embarrassment
- The Beauty Queen
- Another Love Story
- The Obliging Husband
- The Prediction
- The Cage Bird
- The Spy
- The Refreshing Drink
- The Grand Fall
- The Boss
- The Silent Killer
- The Tormentor
- The Loving Sister
- The Cyber Husband
- A Leap in the Dark
- The Pampered Child
- The Immature Girl
- The Modern Wife
- The Proud Father
Ganesh entered the room rather nervously. He had been a very shy person all his life and dared not look a girl in the eye, except his two sisters, for whom he had toiled all along his life, even sacrificing his own studies. After graduation, he had been interested to go to the States to develop his knowledge in Software Technology. Unfortunately, when he was doing his final year in college, his father passed away and being the eldest son in the family, the responsibility of getting his two sisters married fell on him. Abandoning the idea of going to the States, he now began hunting for a job. Since their mother had also left them years back, he had taken a vow of educating his sisters and also get them married. It took nearly ten years for his vow to be fulfilled and now that he was bereft of any responsibility and also well settled in a job, one of his Uncles settled his marriage with Uma. And today was his first night.
As he opened the door and stepped inside, he was delighted to see his bed decked with flowers. But his pleasure was short-lived, when he found the bride sitting in the corner of the bed sobbing ! Pulling a chair close to hers, he sat facing her. Trying to console her, he said, “I understand you are missing your family deeply ! You may feel free to share your thoughts with me. I can’t bear to see you crying !” But the kind words only added fuel to the fire. Immediately, Uma got up and blurt out, “I don’t like you ; nor am I interested in this marriage. My parents had forced me into this marriage without seeking my opinion.” The sharp words pierced through Ganesh’s heart. But somehow, he tried to retain his composure and maintain his cool.
Ganesh had witnessed many ups and downs in his life, but this was one knocking him down. He did not reply to her sharp words and calmly said, “Well if you don’t like me, I can’t help it. Whatever has happened to you, I am not responsible for that. You should have been bold enough and protested to your parents in the beginning itself. By being reticent, you have not only ruined your own life but mine too. Now that the marriage is over, you are helpless and so am I. As you have daringly conveyed your feelings to me, I promise not to bother you in any manner. You can chalk out the future plan for yourself and whatever be the decision you take, I shall abide by it.”
Next day, his sisters left for their homes. Ganesh had not spoken a word to them about the last night. He did not wish to wound the feelings of his happy sisters. After seeing them off at the station, Ganesh returned and cooked food for the two of them. He asked Uma to join him for lunch and waited for her. But Uma was adamant and refused to eat anything. This provoked Ganesh. He told her firmly, “While you are free to take your own sweet time to chalk out your life in my abode, I don’t like to see you sobbing all the time, refusing to eat anything. You can’t die in my house starving like this. If you promise to eat something, you can stay here ; otherwise I would have to inform this to your aged parents.” Hearing this, Uma entered the kitchen and had her lunch.
Life had been indeed very cruel to Ganesh. From his childhood, he had been facing one storm after another. His mother left him when he was hardly five years old. His dreams of higher studies in the States had also been shattered with the death of his father, leaving him with a huge responsibility of taking care of his sisters. He enjoyed bringing up his obedient sisters but after their marriage, there was a great void in his life. To overcome his loneliness, he had agreed to the marriage proposal of his Uncle, even without seeing the girl. He was dreaming of a wife, who would take care of him with loving care ; but fate had dealt a severe blow to his life. Somehow, Uma’s statement “I don’t like you” had got well registered in his heart. Never did he feel the urge to ask her why she felt that way about him. To him, it did not matter anymore. Uma was now to him, just like another sister, cropped up from some remote corner of the earth – and it was his responsibility to at least keep her alive under his care, if not happy.
But God had been ruthless with Uma too. She was born in a middle class family and was the fourth and the youngest daughter in the family. Her parents were very strict and brought up their daughters in a disciplined manner. Her father was a Government servant. With the provident fund loans, he had settled the marriage of his three daughters amicably, as soon as they completed their schooling. However, when he retired from his service, he had a bulky amount with him. He did not wish to hurry the marriage of Uma who was hardly eighteen years old. He wanted to send her to a college. That was how Uma had been lucky enough to step into a college and enjoyed the laxity which was denied to her other sisters. She had also got a good job immediately after graduation in a reputed multinational company. That was when the real problem started.
It was hardly a week after she joined the duty, when she chanced to meet a smart young man. He traveled in the same bus, which she boarded everyday and got down two stops before hers. One evening Kumar introduced himself to her, telling that he also worked in the same organization where she worked and this was his first job. He had come all the way from Kanchipuram, leaving his parents all alone, just for this job. He further told her that he was presently staying in a hostel and would be pleased if she could find him a house with a low rent, as the rates were sky high in Chennai and the owners demanded a huge advance too. Uma promised to help him within a week’s time. But on the same day itself, she found some time to telephone her college friend Arathi, whose father was in Real Estate business. Arathi was very helpful to her, for on the next day itself, she gave the address of a single bedroom flat, which was near her office. Uma then passed on the message to Kumar and introduced him to her friend. Thus blossomed her friendship with Kumar.
Everyday, they chatted for an hour in the bus stop. The friendly relationship slowly turned to love. On some days, they would skip office together and roam in the Marina beach or go out for a movie. Uma never had any reservations and spoke to him freely with an open heart. One Sunday morning, Uma told her mother that her boss had asked her to come to office, to clear off the pending works and went straight to Kumar’s house. It was Kumar’s birthday and he had invited her for a feast at Hotel Taj. After a sumptuous meal, they had gone out for a movie. And on that day, while parting, Kumar had expressed his wish to marry her.
Since then, Kumar started dropping her near her residence everyday, in his motorbike. Uma too, deluded her parents and visited his house on almost all Sundays. On particular Sunday, she told Kumar that she was feeling very sick drifting around like this and asked him to come home and meet her parents. But Kumar was reluctant and he promised to inform their love affair to his parents first and then send them on this errand. Generally, Uma would leave by afternoon, to join her parents for lunch but on that day, she continued to linger around in his house. Probably, it was the pleasant weather that prevailed on that day as the sun had disappeared all of a sudden and the weather turned cool. The dry leaves kept falling off from the trees and the breeze blew up the mud. It was as though a dust storm had started. Very soon, the clouds began to gather, resulting in a light drizzle. With a few minutes, it resulted in a heavy downpour, and the place all around was filled with small puddles of water.
Uma began to feel the chillness. She wrapped her arms around her shoulders to keep from shivering. Kumar on noticing it, switched off the fan in the hall. But this too, was not helpful and Uma’s teeth began chattering. Immediately, he took her inside the bedroom, where it was warmer, compared to the hall and asked her to relax a little. When her whole body was rocking, he decided to help her out. Using all his might, he began massaging the souls of her feet and palms and slowly her body warmed up and she stopped shivering. His touch sent tiny ripples down her spine and she wished he continued doing this to her. She lay there numb like a lifeless doll trying not to disturb him from whatever he was up to. Slowly, he was massaging her whole body and she never bothered to protest. Suddenly, when a thunder blasted, she clung to him, as if he was her life saviour and he lay down besides her soothing her fears away. Just then the power went out, and the place was in total darkness. Instead of lighting a candle, they continued to remain in darkness. The power returned within a few minutes, and the room was filled with a flood of light but by then, Uma had darkened her life for ever !
Later, she felt ashamed of herself for being unable to resist her bodily temptations. When she expressed her feelings to Kumar, he simply brushed it away by telling, “after all, we are going to be married shortly, so what is wrong in that ! Tomorrow, I am going to talk it out with my parents and bring them along with me and settle the marriage.” And Uma was thrilled to hear the words from him.
On Monday morning, Uma was anxious to know the decision of Kumar’s parents. But Kumar had not turned up to office that day. In the evening, she left early from office and went straight to his flat. Kumar was sitting on the sofa with a heavy book in his hand and was deeply engrossed in it. On seeing Uma, he closed the book and apologized to her, “I was not able to go home yesterday. Just after you left that day, I received a letter by courier. It was from a company in States, asking me to attend an interview at Hotel Park Sheraton on the 15th of this month. I had, in fact, applied for a job in the States, a few months back, and now I have received a response from them. That is why I have taken a week’s leave to put in all my efforts to get selected for the job.” On hearing this, Uma was dumbfounded. But Kumar was quick to pacify her, “Very soon the two of us would be flying to the States.”
From that moment, Kumar got himself busy with preparations. He had no time for Uma. Uma too, decided not to disturb his study. After a fortnight, Kumar turned up to office and Uma was happy to see him. Kumar informed her that he had got selected in the interview, and he was going to resign from his present job. He invited Uma to his house the next day to help him in packing up. The following day, Uma had gone to his house and offered her service. At the time of his leaving, Uma’s eyes welled up and Kumar promised her that once he got settled in his new place, he would inform her his address and phone number. He also told her that he would appraise his parents about their love affair, before leaving for States and they would be coming to meet her shortly. Also, when he came to India for his vacation, he would wed her and take her along with him. At that time, her friend Arathi had also come there to give him a send off and Kumar, while handing over the keys to her, said, “I shall send you a cheque next month towards the rent which I am due to you.” Then he took leave of them.
More than a month had passed and there was no response from Kumar. Life was miserable for Uma at home. In the meantime, her parents had consulted an astrologer as to when it was the right time to perform her marriage. The man after going through the horoscope said, “The auspicious time for her marriage is right away. If you don’t conduct her marriage within a month, it would invariably get delayed for another three years.” The words of the astrologer worried them. Uma’s father made haste and started registering her name in all the matchmaking centers and also advertised in the newspapers, seeking a good bridegroom. Uma was depressed about the way her parents were hurrying her marriage but, however, she dare not tell them about her love affair. She kept telling her mother that she was not interested in marriage right now. But her mother only said, “All your sisters had also told the same thing in the beginning but after marriage, they hardly have time for their aged parents.”
On the other hand, Ganesh’s Uncle had found the details of Uma appropriate for Ganesh. Immediately, he noted down the address and came to Uma’s house. On seeing the girl, he was pleased with her and took all efforts in settling this marriage. Uma had not told her mother about her missing periods and this was what made her panicky ! She hated everyone around. She became sulky and never spoke to anyone. Even without saying goodbye to her parents, she followed Ganesh to his house. And Ganesh was the poor victim of all her pent up emotions.
A month had passed after her marriage. She started appreciating Ganesh for his gentleman behaviour. The world never doubted about them and believed them to be a good husband and wife. But inside, Uma was taking her own sweet time to decide on her life, the freedom, given by Ganesh. Now, she realized that it was high time that she decided about her life. There was no point in leading a life without any rhyme or reason to her existence. She prayed to God to help her out from this tragedy. Suddenly, she remembered something and was filled with a surge of hope. The time to resolve her life was nearing after all. After Ganesh left for office, she ran to the nearby telephone booth and dialed Arathi’s number.
At the time of leaving, Kumar had promised Arathi that he would send the balance rent payment within a month. Although, being a close friend, Arathi was not aware of the developments in Uma’s life. When her friend came on the line, she asked her if Kumar had sent her the promised cheque. Arathi told her that she had received the payment just two days back. Uma then requested her to read out the address on the cover. Arathi rummaged her drawer for the envelope and on finding it, she read out the address to her.
After noting down the address, she thanked Arathi profusely. On reaching home, she took out a paper and pen and began writing to Kumar. Since, Ganesh had promised to abide by her decision, a divorce would not be difficult at all and thus she avoided the news of her marriage in the letter. She wished to know about the steps he was taking for their marriage and also revealed the fact that she was carrying his baby and requested that he rush her a reply advising the future course of action.
Uma waited at the doorstep anxiously for his reply, everyday. She would return dejected, after the postman passed by her house without handing over any letter. But one fine day, she received an airmail envelope. On seeing the address, her confidence bolstered and she tore open the letter in a haste and started reading it. Kumar had written :
I am really shocked to read your letter, but very much helpless right now. Here, there is plenty of opportunity for one’s career growth and I wish to utilize the same to my utmost. This leaves me with no time for marriage and family. I just can’t think of a committed life for at least another five years and it would indeed be very wise of you to get married to someone else, instead of waiting for me. As for the baby, please abort it immediately.
She felt very humiliated on reading the letter and tore it into shreds. How easily had he skydived off from responsibility. God had indeed punished her enough, for giving into temptation. Though she was aware of the consequences of getting involved with a man and had read and heard pathetic stories of how women suffered by men who had abandoned them, she was for a second, unable to listen to the rules of her mind and had listened to her heart. No one was going to find fault with Kumar because he is a man. How easily, he had asked her to abort the baby, without being aware of the physical pains she had to undergo. She cursed herself for behaving in such a manner. She was now the helpless victim of a fraud. That day, when Ganesh returned from office, Uma told him that she wished to go and stay with her parents for a while. Ganesh asked her, if he had to accompany her too, but Uma preferred to go all alone. Next day, instead of going to her parents’ place, she went to the nearby hospital, and got herself admitted for an abortion. After two days, she returned home. Well ! The final curtain had at last descended in her life. Her mind was cleared of all the confusions. She had been duped by God for no fault of hers. All that her fault was, that she had got carried away by the soft and kind words of Kumar.
During her one month stay with Ganesh, she realized that he was a kind man who cared for the feelings of others. Such a man should not be deceived and so she decided to divulge the truth to him. She was prepared to face the storm. If Ganesh was willing to accept her for what she was, she would start a new life with him and on the other hand, if he refused, she would leave him peacefully. At least, then she would be satisfied that she had not betrayed him in any manner.
That evening, when Ganesh returned home, he was in for a surprise. The lamps in the puja room were brightly lit and the fragrance of agarbatti wafted across in the air. Uma was wearing her wedding saree and on seeing him, she said, “Today, I am going to decide about my life. However, it fully depends on your decision after listening to my confession.” She led him to the puja room and narrated the whole story of her life, without skipping a point. While Ganesh sat there dismayed, she concluded, “Now it is your turn to decide about your life. As for me, I am prepared for anything ! If you can’t accept me for what I am, you can very well divorce me. On the other hand, if you so desire, we can begin our life afresh ! Now, the ball is in your court !”
Ganesh was sitting silently without commenting anything. Though Uma had told him, that she was prepared to accept his decision, whatever it be ; his silence filled her with tension. She felt the heavy pounding of her heart and her fingers began to tremble.
Ganesh was an invincible and optimistic man ; one, who was prepared to take the good with gratitude and the bad without self-pity, as they chanced to come his way. Clearing his throat, he slowly got up and began, “I was never given an opportunity in this life to take a decision. From a very young age, I have learnt to accept my fate that I was destined to. Like others, I never had big dreams or goals set for my life, and I grew up with a feeling that God has his own plans for me ! I have learnt to resign to my fate. I have also grown up the hard way and I somehow can feel the pangs of suffering undergone by others and always make it a point to ease the sufferings of others, in whatever possible way I can. And if I can ease your sufferings and make you feel happy in any manner, I would be willing to accept you wholeheartedly. Our scriptures are full of advice for us not to entertain the sense of doer ship in doing good as well as for bad deeds. If you wish to forget the past, and start life afresh with me, I am willing to readily accept you as my wife, without regrets.”
Uma felt genuinely honoured by Ganesh. She was rather moved by his touching words. Unable to control herself, she fell down flat on to his feet. Very soon, Ganesh felt his feet turn wet. He remained standing there, letting her cry her grief away for he knew, crying on a loved ones, soothes the mind and he wished to give her that comfort so that they can start a new life after that.