Short Stories >> Kheryal Dharti >> Better not to have shown (Tehikhan te Dhekharyun Na ha)
Written By: Smt.Sundri Uttamchandani
When Naina's sister got married and went off to Ajmer, her heart was filled with loneliness and depression. In a small town of Devlali, she had enough free time after school and she would spend time with her dolls made of cloth and plastic.
After almost a year and half her sister came to stay to her maternal home. This time she brought her twins, a boy and a girl. Naina then forgot all about her dolls. The kids were so beautiful and happy that Naina told her mother, "Just wait and watch mummy! I shall not allow Didi to take back these dolls".
Didi said, "Just look at this foolish girl.Oh, my parents-in-laws got their son married at an early age just for these dolls. After twenty years another child has been born in their house".
Naina went and caught her mother's sari palu and said, "I too want such dolls like Didi".
Then aunt pulled her cheeks and said, "So should I start looking for a groom for you?"
Naina went to her father and said, "Papa, will you agree to grant me something?"
She was her dad's darling and he told her, Why one? You may ask for two. Why should I not agree?"
Naina lifting her index finger, said, "One thing- get me married like Didi..."
Controlling his laughter Dad said, "But why? What's the hurry?"
"Now lifting her second finger Naina said, "Second thing, I want two dolls like Didi".
Dad took Naina by her arm and brought her to her mother and sister and controlling his laughter he said, "Listen to what she has to say".
Naina went close to her sister and whispered in her ear, "Listen Didi, I want such dolls like yours at any cost. You search any groom for me and I shall get married".
Didi burst out laughing, "I did not know that you could be such a dumb idiot".
But Naina did not care for anybody. She just desired these dolls and was ready to get married for that!
One of Naina's cousins had come to stay in her house from abroad. He was to get married. Naina quickly went to her aunty and whispered in her ears, "You tell Pap to get me married to this guy".
Aunty pulled both her cheeks and laughingly told her, "You will look like a bell tied to a camel's back".
Next day Naina's mother was busy showing the cousin's horoscope to a Pandit, to find out his marriage prospects. Now Naina was adamant and nagged her mother to show her horoscope to the Pandit too. The Pandit told about the cousin's horoscope rather quickly, but when he saw Naina's horoscope he was shocked. He said something softly to Naina's mother and she too was in the same state.Naina put her arms around her mother and asked, "Tell me mummy when am I to get married?"
Naina's mother touched her head lovingly and told her, "Look how young you are still? The Pandit says that when you grow up he will tell us".
But the mother had lied because the next morning Naina, while snuggled in her blanket overheard the conversation, "See what this daughter of ours is doing? Every day she is asking her sister about this and that boy. I just keep silently watching her. How do I tell her that the Pandit says marriage is not in her destiny?"
Naina‘s face was inside the blanket but her ears were listening to everything. She threw the blanket and jumped up, went to her Dad and embraced him, saying adamantly, "No Papa the Pandit is a liar. I will definitely get married".
Dad lovingly touched her head and said, "Ofcourse my darling will surely get married. But it is illegal to do so before eighteen years of age".
Naina sat down sadly, her hand ion her chest.
Five years passed by but very slowly. Naina had grown into very sensible girl. Didi had settled in Singapore with her husband. One day a young man came with a parcel from Didi. It was a beautiful make-up set. The boy said, "Didi has told me to hand over this make-up set to her sister in her hands" While taking the set, as Naina looked into his face, she was attracted to him. Well combed hair, thick and curly, clean shaven face and the best of all were his eyes like sunflowers which looked at her and said, "Write to your Didi that you have received the set in your hands".
Taking the set, Naina closed her eyes. Stumbling here and there she reached her room somehow. As she opened her eyes she could only see his eyes. She thought to herself, "Oh God!"
Naina's father had returned from the bazaar after buying fruits. With great excitement he told Naina to cut some fruits for the guest, but he suddenly remembered something and his excitement died down. Naina was standing for a while before the dressing table like a statue.
The next day aunty came home and clapping her mother's hand told her, "Yesterday the boy Sajjan who had brought a parcel for Naina has liked her. He will get married in a week's time and take Naina with him to Singapore".
Naina quickly asked, "And Honeymoon?"
Aunty was wide eyed and said, "Only God can deal with you! There is no demand for any dowry and you still ask for Honeymoon!" Naina's heart began singing. She took aunt's hands and said, "Sorry aunty. So sorry".
Sajjan's parents had already seen Naina before. They were just waiting for Sajjan .So the engagement was to took place after two days and the wedding after a week. But the engagement ring was not in Naina's destiny as on the day of the engagement; aunty came panting early morning, saying, "Sajjan's boss is after Sajjan's father that Sajjan should get married to his daughter..."
"Oh, she is older to Sajjan by a few years" said Papa.
Aunt replied, "But the boy has to take into consideration his job too isn't it?"
Then her father said with relief, "So we were saved in the nick of time. This guy seems to be a business dealer".
Naina was stunned listening to this news. She began complaining to the image of her dark curly haired Sajjan in her heart. Her mother came and consoled her, "Just wait and watch. I am sending a message to the match maker for a great match for you". But it so happened that the proposal brought by the match maker was of a groom who was cock-eyed. Mother told the match maker, "Guryani, why have you brought such a boy with a defect for my beautiful daughter?"
Guryani was surprised and said, "Why are you looking at the defect in the boy? Just look at the family....Your daughter will deal in millions".
Naina gave a laugh. Guryani asked, "Why are you laughing?"
Naina understood. Looking down she said, "There was a raid on a very rich family in our neighborhood. Their black money was found hidden in the beddings where they would sleep"
Now dad too folded his hands and told Guryani, "We don't need a rich family that will look down on us. We have seen how the rich make their daughters-in-law feel low".
Guryani left but Naina was in deep thought, wondering "When will my marriage take place so that I can invite all my friends for the wedding?" Thankfully that day arrived soon. The groom's family wanted an early engagement. Naina's parents were sad and they were whispering to each other, "What is the point of getting our daughter engaged when there is no marriage in her destiny". But it was difficult to swallow the truth. Finally the engagement took place and the marriage day too came. Naina's mother was busty from early morning in rituals. Dad was worried, "Our Naina is getting married against destiny".
Naina's heart too started beating. Most of the wedding rituals were over. Naina's sister and aunt had reached the dowry to her in-laws place. But there were whispers around that the groom had run away.
Suddenly Naina received a letter in which was written, "Naina Devi, Please forgive me. I am not able to get married now. There too many favors of my uncle on me but this wedding was against my wishes and I am almost dying under the favors. I shall earn enough in a couple of years and will be able to keep you happy. In the meanwhile if you find a better suitable groom than me, please go ahead. I shall not put any restrictions on you..."
Listening to this the mother fainted. Naina came to her senses. She told her mother, "Marriage. Marriage. Marriage. I don't know in what illusion I have got into. Had I been a doctor or professor it would be so much better".
Guryani shouted, KARAN KARAAVAN AAPEY AAP. (THINGS HAPPEN ON THEIR OWN) Who believes in Karma nowadays? If a girl gets married it is believed that it is her destiny. If she gets divorced, they say...What will they say? In Sindh the girl's destiny would be revealed at five years of age. But now it is not revealed at twenty five years. What does this mean? All this is rubbish. Even the Pundits don't know the infinite mysterious. Can we keep such a lovely beautiful girl at home because of such crazy thoughts?"
But Naina's parents were quiet. Finally Guryani said, "But will you do something for me? The colony people are after me to get them a teacher who would teach Sindhi to the colony children..."
Dad called Naina and told her about Guryani's proposal. Naina immediately agreed. Mother too thought that if there is no marriage in her destiny let her do something useful. But it so happened that as soon as Naina began teaching in the colony, Guryani was flooded with quite a few proposals for Naina. Finally one day Guryani brought Nanak and his parents to Naina's house saying, "Listen this Nanak and parents are after me to somehow get them a principled girl like Naina..."
Naina's parents were impressed with Nanak because his nature was as good as his looks. But they were reluctant thinking about her destiny. But the groom's parents were aware of all this as they had heard it from Guryani. So they were well prepared and had brought a ring too with them. As Nanak wore Naina the ring, she started blooming. Nanak's mother embraced her and said, "She is my daughter-in-law from today".She took her gold chain from her neck and put it around Naina.The marriage took place after two days. Naina came with her husband to her parents' house for the rituals. She laughingly told her father, "Papa the horoscope gave me so much pain! It was better not to have shown it!"
- Translated by Arun Babani