Short Stories >> Nakhreliyun >> Double faced (Bherupi)
Written By: Smt.Sundri Uttamchandani
"You are wearing a nice sari"
"What nice!" Indu said, smoothening the pleats and shaking the border at her feet and looking up she said, "I am wearing it simply because my Shammi bought it. Otherwise I have a high taste. On my own I would have never purchased such a sari".
Kamla was chewing a chewing gum and looking at Indu she asked, "Shammi sounds quite a modern name. Is this your husband Shamdas's name?"
Indu started laughing, "Did our Sindhis ever have such beautiful names before? Mothers called their children by weird names like, 'Mirchu. Bugdo.Kkatu. Mithu...His name too is Shamdas but I liked the name Shammi. Just imagine 'Shamdas'... Compared to such along name, 'Shammi' raises such a nice and delicate feeling..."
"Oh" Kamla laughed. "You have described the name 'Shammi' in such a way that now I am curious to meet your husband".
"Come over, all friends to my house. Meet my husband and also taste my hand-made snacks...Then you can analyse".
"You have put a wrong meaning to the word 'Analyse' Indu".
"It is an old word but because my mom used it so I liked it. It means description or definition...It doesn't mean praise or analysis".
"Oh...I misunderstood. By the way, how many members are there in your organisation?"
And one day Indu invited Kamla to come and see her house and eat her snacks.
Kamla praised the black embroidered cushion kept on the couch. As she was still looking at the T. V and Video cover, she heard a male voice from behind the decorated wall of the hall. She saw that Indus's husband Shammi was angrily removing his shoes, "You never listen to me. I never have liked these shoes with laces and woollen socks. The blister burst while I was walking and I returned..."
Indu was standing at the door of the hall. She came forward and removing his socks, she looked at the blister.
As Shamdas was shaking his head in pain, he noticed Kamla. Gathering himself he said, "Whom have you called here Indu?"
Shammi presumed that he had spoken softly only for Indu to hear, but even Kamla heard these words and closing her ears with her hands she went away towards the couch, picking up the newspaper from the table. She began reading it.
Then Indu came in and taking Kamla by the arm, led her to another room, saying, "Hope you did not mind it Kamla?"
"What will I mind about?"
"It won't help to take it to heart. One of my brothers too is like this. Thankfully my husband has a polished way of talking..." "What would he have said?"
"Instead of 'Whom have you called? 'he would have said, 'has your friend come Kamla? You look after her and give me a band-aid. I will put it on my blister".
Indu took a deep breath and grew silent. She started scratching the floor with her feet. Looking at her Kamla said, "On the contrary you don't mind. Have you not heard,
Tulsi iss sansar mein,
bhaat bhaat ke log.
Sabse hilmil raheeyo.
Tulsi, in this world
there are many types of people.
One must adjust to everyone
like the relationship of the boat with the river".
Indu took her hand thanked her and went to the other room to put a bandage on his wound.
Shammi was blowing on his wound, cooling it after applying medicine.
Indu said, "Show me your foot, I'll put the band-aid".
"Give it to me! I'll put it myself. You go and attend to your friend first". "Why are you getting irritated? I thought you were at work. I was on leave so I invited my friend".
"You had a holiday, so you invited a friend! You cannot live even a single day without these girls".
Indu looked up like a goat about to be slaughtered and quietly went away in the other room. Kamla was ready to leave, with her purse in her hand.
Indu smiled and said, "Sit down. Why are you standing?"
Confused, Kamla sat on the edge of the chair. Her gaze touched Indus's cheeks with love. Indu lowered her eyes.
Kamla said, "Men sometimes get into such moods. You don't worry. I shall come some other day to meet Shamdas in a right mood".
"Some other time?" Indu gave a jerk.
Kamla left. Looking at her leaving, Indu kept thinking for a while, "Why is so that when a woman enters the house there is a ritual of covering her head and sprinkling milk. But for men there are songs (laadaas)?I wonder if these unfair rituals are man-made or fallen from the sky..." The silent sky did not answer. Indu closed the door and came to Shammi.
Shamdas asked, "Has your chewing-gum friend left?"
Indu looked at her husband.
He said, "Am I telling lies that you are looking at me like this?"
Indu did not answer. She went into the kitchen and began washing the cups-saucers. Suddenly she felt her hair being pulled and as she turned around, Shammi was standing. He said, "So you love your kitchen more than your husband?"
Indu was cleaning the cups with a toothbrush. Showing a shining cup to Shamdas she said, "Look how it is shining".
"Keep shining these. I am leaving".
Indu wiped her hands quickly but by then Shammi had reached the door. Even then Indu came to the door. She kept watching her husband go. Somewhere far away the earth and sky seemed to be meeting. A black cloud had come over the sky and Indu quickly closed the door and came inside.
- Translated by Arun Babani