Short Stories >> Vichoro >> Dark Husband (Karo Ghot)
Written By: Smt.Sundri Uttamchandani
I burst out laughing looking at the wheat-skinned boy. Putting her arm around me and kissing my forehead, my grandmother said, "Well done dear Shamlee! You have saved our family honor. If you had rejected even this boy, your brother had already decided to leave you unmarried all your life".
I was surprised and said, "Amma I have not accepted this boy at all". and immediately I called my brother and told him, "Brother you have chosen such a boy for me that I don't even have to light a lamp!"
Brother said, "This means that you have approved of this Deepak, isn't it?"
Hesitantly I said, "What Deepak (lamp). Call him Chandrama (Moon)"
Brother immediately went to the other room and brought Deepak out. Keeping my hand in his hand and sprinkling Coca Cola on everyone he said, "Congratulations. Congratulations…Is there anyone who can bring two flower garlands to complete the rituals..!"
Frowning, I kept looking at brother, waiting for him to look in my direction so that I can tell him, "What nonsense is this?" But he didn't look in my direction.. He had no time for that. In a jiffy his wife appeared with two garlands. Friends from both sides also appeared. They made me stand facing the groom. I had decided not to look at this dark skinned fellow. I stood with my head bent down. My friends raised my hands and put the garland around him. I was seething within. I thought to myself let this dark idiot be happy for now. But when he will hear that Shamlee had got engaged just for fun and now refuses to get married, he will jump like a camel that jumps looking at the ocean.
I suddenly realized that something heavy is hanging on my neck. Oh God, it was the garland! I noticed that it was sewed with dry fruits, apples and currency notes. I thought that he is dark but rich. But immediately my mind rebelled that that I should not get tempted by money. Of what use is the money if one has to look at a husband who is like the black burnt out glass of a lantern? What is the use of living such a life? But what is this? A Brahmin has appeared now. Wearing saffron clothes and a bright face he looked like he had walked out of mythological books. Suddenly he placed my hand on Deepak's dark hand and began reciting mantras. My hand looked so fair and beautiful that I fell in love with my own hand.A thought that the identity of light is known by the blackness of the darkness. Just as I was trying to release my hand from his dark hand, Deepak pressed my hand. In fact I’m a difficult person. I get irritated even if someone does that jokingly. But his pressing of my hand was so strange that my hand was in his control and my body became weak in intoxication. My mind cautioned me, "Shamlee if you don't be careful today this magician will make you his wife. "But I where was the strength and courage to free my tender hand! Again as I was trying to free my hand he pressed it so firmly that my whole body experienced a lightning. My body had no energy left now. Then I saw that the Brahmin was placing a dried date in our hands and was tying our hands with a red thread. My mind said, "Oh Shamlee this is getting too much.." My mind jumped like a devil, saying, "The ball will bounce back with same force that it is thrown.. wait and watch how I will teach everyone a lesson".
My friends had all pulled the couch near us and I sat on it to save myself from fainting. But I felt that there was an electric current flowing through my hands and I felt heavy.
Though the Brahmin was not saying anything but still I could clearly hear the wedding rituals being read in my ears. As soon as the wedding was over everyone got busy eating. As soon as the dark groom was offered a Mangola he brought it to my lips. I was so thirsty in this suffocating atmosphere that I finished three fourths of the drink in one gulp. But then I see this strange guy gulping down the same drink. He bent down and coming close to my ears he said, "If the Mangola can become so sweet touching these lips then they must be magical lips..." Oh my God! I almost died. This dark groom had had almost cut off my head. Already my hands were tied, my breathing was heavy and above all this was his extremity! Such love was never shown by the rich or good looking buyers. They were only pulling and pushing. My friends spoke into my other ear, saying, "Perhaps he is telling you sweet nothings". I burst out laughing. One of my friends said, "You are blooming. You always said that you won't accept such a dark groom.."
I thought to myself that this friend is jealous of my luck because she was rejected eight times. I was laughing even more because this dark groom had put a piece of sweet in my mouth and whispered, "Don't eat the whole thing. Just take a small bite. The fruit eaten by a parrot tastes so sweet.."
I told myself to stop laughing or I would get bogged down by taunts from my friends. The Brahmin untied the thread and I got free and took a deep breath. I told myself that I'm going to complain to my brother so much that he will remember all his life. Just as I took a step forward I saw that my friend who was rejected eight times was standing near my husband and saying, "Will the wheat skinned Krishna's gaze fall on his sisters-in-laws or not?" As my dark husband looked at her I froze and coming near him, I moved her away and sat next to him.
At the wedding my sister-in-law had worn for me rings in my fingers, bangles in my arms, a diamond necklace and anklets in my feet. Since I had rejected ten fifteen boys perhaps my sister-in-law's love was over flowing.
The anklets in my feet were stuck in the threads of my sari-fall. Just as I bent down to free my sari, my husband bent down and freed my sari with both his hands. My mind said, "Shamlee would those fifteen rejected boys whom you had thrown in the waste paper basket done this for you?"
The devil within me jumped, "Whatever it is. This dark fellow is only fit for Goddess Mahadevi. Get up and remove brother's turban".
Just as I tried to get up I realized that this dark man had caught my sari. As I gave him an angry glance he said, "Why are you looking at me in public like this? Are you slaughtering the already slaughtered one?" And the hand that held the sari had also got my blouse in his grip.
Normally I would have laughed at such a thing. But this was too sudden for me. I tried to press his hand by pressing myself against the sofa. But what is this? My back felt some scorpion bites. I was struggling. This gentleman moved his hand from the back. During the farewell I told my brother in his ears, "You played games to get me out of the house. Just wait and watch what I'm going to do".
Pretending to cry, brother said, "Oh my sister, my dear sister, now you are an outsider.. If our parents were alive today they would have seen you dressed as a bride.." As he embraced me I too began to cry like a silly person. Sobbing I bid farewell to grandmother. The dark husband was as waiting for such a moment. He took out a perfumed silk kerchief and started wiping my tears…Oh I was actually crying!
I was made to sit in a beautiful car and somehow I reached this dark man's house. While bidding farewell my brother had handed me a crumpled piece of paper. At the entrance of the home, my mother-in-law brought a bowl of milk in front of me and I gave the piece of paper to my husband to hold. During the ritual of sprinkling the milk the neighboring women were praising my beauty. My husband's mother was holding a lid over my head. Making me sit on a beautiful new carpet, embracing me and kissing my forehead she said, "The daughter-in-law is the beauty of the house. Always remain under this lid".
The young girls were impressed by my ornaments and more than that my features, saying, "This is a Radha-Krishin couple". Someone said, "Today you are like Gods and Goddesses, Bless our daughters that they too should get such husbands and families".
Oh God these women are out of their minds. When I got free and changed my clothes I remembered the piece of paper given by my brother. I looked at my dark husband and asked him in action about the paper.
Oh God! Deepak had burnt out. The way he handed me the piece of paper as it was an order of a hanging given to a jailor. The dark fellow had become even darker. At that moment I visualized the eyes of a goat about to be slaughtered. I opened the paper hesitantly. It was written, "Forgive me sister. You must be remembering today's date and if you want to return back accepting it as an April Fool's joke nobody will blame you. Actually I did not wish to take it so far but Deepak had created the joke and made it real. Perhaps I feel that way. But you are free because I have already taken a promise from Deepak on this". As I finished reading I realized that the slaughtered goat's eyes were on me. What did I see when I look up. An earthen lamp that has oil, a wick and even a match box but no light. If I wish to see its light I simply have to light a single match stick.
Gradually a smile appeared on my face because I saw that the fused bulb was also smiling. There was light in the earthen lamp. Oh My God. So much love! My body was full of passion. I felt like embracing this dark Krishna in front of everyone.
Laughing within, the beautiful Shamlee of my imagination was lost in some forest. Sitting by the river, splashing her feet in the water she was saying, "Finally you have become a bride of a dark husband!"
- Translated by Arun Babani