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|Author:||Rose 2 [ Wed Jan 03, 2007 3:07 am ]|
|Post subject:||Jinadari's honeymoon|
Narrated by Sriyani Vithana
Translated by S. T. Aleckman
Strings of crepe paper of all hue hung on the ceiling were all of a shake. Jindari's relatives-all sprucely decked in multi-coloured attires restlessly moved to and fro, along the main hall of the house, like a bevy of butterflies, in flight. As for Jinadari, all these looked like a continuous stream of lit light bulbs dancing rhythmically upon a giant pandal, since her eyes were blurred with tears. Seated in the settee somewhat close to her was the bridegroom who occasionally had a word with her, appeared like a giant bear that impatiently waiting to grab her, she fancied. She wished if she could move a wee bit away from him for a while. On second thoughts, she realised that it was a futile attempt - as if a drowning man trying to catch at a straw, in a rescue bid. The looks of joy and broad smiles levelled at her by her close relatives appeared to be mere apparitions who were trying to take her alive to the underworld, she surmised. She peeped through the window to find that a string of batta crackers, hanging from a twig of the nearby 'Belli-tree, at the end of the compound was about to be lit. In a short while, the very crackers will be exploded-along with her heart, she feared. Jinadari pressed her forehead against her right hand in an attempt to suppress her giddiness.
Jinadari's little finger was tied with his, while standing on the dais (Poruwa). Later, she signed on the dotted line, avowing themselves to be inseparable partners for the rest of their lives. Though she tried to fly as free as a bird, her immediate past promptly unfolded before her. Her first love! How he bade goodbye to her undefiled love! A person who correctly fathomed the depth of true love-yet realised that it was unattainable! In chronological order, all these unrolled before her. She cast a furtive glance at her white-stoned ring, glistened on her middle finger of the right hand.
''Don't remove this ring''
''No I don't do it even on my wedding day'' It was how she promised him. All these days, it remained on the small finger of the left hand, as he bade her. She had to give room to the wedding ring receivable from the bridegroom. So she changed the lover's ring well in advance, to the middle finger of the right hand.
''Did I do a wrong? Was it not a breach of promise?'' She queried herself. ''Here is another present. This is to be worn on the first night.'' She reminisced. Instantly, the tears were coursing down her cheeks and finally wetting her pectoral region. 'Look, the bride is crying! Oh it's natural that she cannot live with parents through her life.'' So saying, the elders tried to pacify her. The bridegroom and bride's intimate friends joined them, in a bid to placate her.
In an hour on the dot, Jinadari will join the husband, in their joyous journey. Again she had a vacant look at the sitting room. With the small salary she drew, she managed to put up her house in the manner white-ants build their ant-hill, little by little. What a struggle it was! Now she is forced to part with the possession of it. And forever! Yet, she could make up her mind, as it will be inherited by the family-members. She was also in a position to bear up the loneliness caused by the absence of the company of her parents and brothers.
She remembered what her mother hinted at her, since she could not find a suitable partner, ''Though you make Welitalapa (a sweetmeat), you cannot take it home with you!'' Jindadari did not believe in marriage unless and until she found some money, since she was constantly 'broke'. Yet she took great care not to offend her parents. ''With an empty hand , how to get married? How to demean myself? Nor I can wound feelings of the parents.'' These were the very words conveyed to Piyasoma, her first love!
The 'largesse' she got, the only consolation in her life was none' but Piyasoma himself, she thought for a while. The first love is now withered like a cluster of fragrant flowers. It was Piyasoma who resuscitated her broken heart and rendered her a new lease of life, like a Jeevaka. ''The person who stood so close to me in sharing my happiness and sorrow for six years is in fact stood so far from me-as a lover in my real life!'' She surmised. He was not only a married man, but also a father. He was a standing monument in her life, she conjectured-Furthermore, ''a pond full of water!
'The music blared from the cassette recorder was ear-splitting. Some drunken guests were trying to dance to the tune of music, though unsteady in their movement. ''As if the pleasure is theirs!'' she muttered to herself, as she could not give v'ent to her pent-up feelings. The loud noise was located by her. She felt sweat was streaming along her nape and lower down. She pressed her handkerchief against the visible plunging neckline, bared at the back. ''Is it sweating?'' The bridegroom asked. ''No'' was her prompt reply.
The next song transmitted was the very ditty Piyasoma used to sing melodiously in her presence. Jinadari liked it immensely. However, she was unfair by Piyasoma, she suspected.
Piyasoma held a responsible post in the institution where Jinadari worked. Although he was married, she held him high for his insight and maturity in advice. Piyasoma stood in good stead to dispel the gloom cast over her unmarried life. ''However much you confess, womankind is such that you will take the first opportunity to leave me in the lurch.'' Piyasoma's prophetic words re-echoed in her ears. Though he loved her very much, she began to realise that his love was beyond her grasp. Day in day out, she was haunted with the need of marriage.
''Why don't you marry? What's your age?'' Some people used to pose those nagging questions at her. She called to mind the day when the mother asked her younger brother to marry the girl of his choice, but his words were rather encouraging: ''Mother how can I think of marriage ahead of my elder sister?'' Yet Jinadari thought that it was an indirect attack on herself. By then, there was a marriage proposal from the very bridegroom, though she was sitting on the fence. At last, Jinadari changed her mind. She confided in Piyasoma all about it.
''Doesn't matter. Go ahead! How long you can wait like this?'' She was bewildered as to whether it was a blessing or a sinister proposal. As it was a sincere statement, she consented to the marriage proposal. Lo' and behold. From that day, Piyasoma got closer to her. So was Jinadari. Whenever they met with, Piyasoma cried like a child. Thus she was in the horns of a dilemma. Yet at the end, Piyasoma was edged out.
''Let us get ready. The auspicious time is ticking by,'' An elderly person signalled. The dancing party dispersed. The others, all of a dither, moved to a side. The newly married couple got up from the settee. The bride knelt before her mother's feet; then they clasped each other and hugged them in rotation while shedding their tears of joy and affection. ''I am going because all the time you were pressing me for this. Otherwise, I would have remained a spinster for my life. And for the sake of Piyasoma too!'' These were the very words she muttered. Visibly her mother could not hear her, yet, through the faculty of a sixth sense, she knew what it was about!
The 'Mal-Vedilla' hung on the main threshold exploded; the tiny pieces of tinsel paper scattered all over the bride's outfit and the bridegroom's suit was on added splendour to their joyous going-away journey. The lighting of crackers echoed and re-echoed.
''Light those crackers, so that I can hear the thunder'' Those words of Piyasoma flashed across bride's mind instantly. The decorated motor vehicle meant for their going-away appeared as a cemetery-bound hearse in disguise, she suspected. With reluctance, she followed the bridegroom to the vehicle and cast a parting look at her parents and brothers with her blurred eyes, well moistened with tears.
The lighting of crackers ceased and eased; the decorated motor car was inching forward. How many times she had walked all over the village and all along the road as a free bird, she guessed. She knew that in a few minutes, they would go past the round-about of the town where Piyasoma and she set their eyes on each other for the first time. Often she was kicking her heels until Piyasoma came to the very round-about. Her heart went a pit-a-pat. ''By now, Piyasoma must be with the bottle. After all, I have done a foolish thing.'' So she wept inwardly. The 'honeymoon-car' is steadily moving forward, escorted by a few other motor vehicles. She was inquisitive about every motor vehicle that overtook hers, to find out whether it was Piyasoma's!
She peeped through the car-window in order to catch a glimpse of Piyasoma. The bridegroom muttered something in her ear. Apparently she did not hear it, though she nodded. ''I am very sorry. Why are you going?'' She recollected these painful words-once falteringly flowed from Piyasoma when his eyes were welled up with tears.
What amount of hardships he had undergone, for the sake of Jinadari? She knew pretty well that he loved her from the bottom of his heart. Her undying wish and prayer was that through the samsaric journey Piyasoma would be hers. Instantly, tears of joy or remorse steamed down her tender cheeks, profusely.
''You have cried enough.'' The bridegroom noted. She felt herself that it was his first order. She tried to bury her past and dwell on the present. Yet, her first love was deeply rooted in a corner of her heart, as an etching on a stone plaque.
The decorated car came to a dead halt in the compound of a picturesque hotel. She got down from the car and coyly followed the bridegroom to a well-appointed room of the hotel. An aide brought her leather suitcase and placed it on the table. The other suitcase belonging to the bridegroom was kept on hers later. While opening her new suitcase she remembered that most of its contents were presents from Piyasoma. In the mean time, she observed that the door of the room get locked up. Jinadari changed her trousseau and sat on the cosy double bed in a pensive mood. For a moment, she closed her eyes when she felt that Piyasoma's image was gradually fading out of the room.
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