Short Stories >> Kheryal Dharti >> On mid Landing (Whicha Dakan te)
Written By: Smt.Sundri Uttamchandani
Saheli said,"You should have stopped him Annu!" Anila had a hopeful smile on her lips.
Saheli said, "Even if you had uttered just one word, he would have never got married".
Annu's whole being became a picture of an unfulfilled desire. She said, "you are so immature. If one loves someone then he finds all other flowers like thorns".
Saheli said, "Now he is worried about you. It is just two years that he is married. He wants you to talk him on the phone and not disconnect his calls".
"It is not just the phone, but even if he comes face to face I refuse to talk to him Sajjan himself had left me. I had not left him".
Saheli leaned against the window and was lost in thought. Annu could not sit on the chair now. Restless, she got up and started pacing up and down the hall.
Saheli sat on the window sill. For a while she kept gazing out of the window and then she began watching Annu pacing about the room. At last she said, "You too are quite eager to meet Sajjan".
"Where am I denying that? But I am not ready to break his family....like you"
"Like me? What do you mean...?"
Saheli's face became taut. She retorted sharply, "Do you think I want to meet Pritam to break his family??
"Whether you like it or not, just see that when you meet Pritam once, how his home will break".
Saheli kept looking at Annu with wide eyes. "Why will Pritam's home break? He in fact loves his wife and daughter a lot".
Annu said mockingly, "But you should not forget that she is his wife and you are his Saheli!"
"Don't say 'so what'. Man is made of such material that he always likes another woman more than his wife. He just gets excited by another woman's love".
"Pritam is not like one of those excited men".
"If you say that ice never melts on heat, I shall agree with you, but if you say that a husband loves his wife more than his girl friend then I shall not agree with you".
"This means you are quite clear that you will never call up Sajjan? That poor fellow had had come to me from so far".
"No mean no".
"But looking at your restlessness I am reminded of the drama lover who cannot see the drama because he doesn't have money, but he doesn't even go home till the drama is over. He just continues sitting on the stairs".
"Think what you like" Annu said this and banging the door she went away.
That night till late, Annu kept writing in her diary, "Saheli has given me such an exact description for my state - 'Sitting on the stairs'...Thankfully she did not call me TRISHANKU.She could have called me the statue of Somnath which is worshipped by people beyond limit. But when Mohamed Ghazni had destroyed all the pillars of the standing Gods... and thrown away all the magnets from the walls of the Somanth idol standing on an iron rod, the people who found this idol on the ground must have felt more shivers than the harsh winters. And when I, made of iron rod, like the Somanth pillar, had fallen for Sajjan then our Ramleela troupe must have gone through the same shivers. A girl of my status who never allowed anybody to even come close to her, openly sat close to Sajjan. Oh that attraction of that magnet that disrupts the inner world! How strange was that attraction! Why has it died today?"
Leaving the diary midway Annu got and paced the room...If Sajjan comes here now and tells me that the mother of his child has died then perhaps I would surround him like the branch of a tree...Her hand automatically went to her eyes. Feeling her fingers wet she burst out laughing. "What madness am I thinking? Is this me- Annu?" She got up and stood before the mirror of the dressing table. She touched the dark circles below her eyes, "Oh" This sigh made a frost mark on the mirror.
Annu moved away from the mirror as if she freed herself from some image. Again she went to the dressing table and continued writing her diary. "There are dark circled under my eyes. How do I say that they are a result of the sadness and pain I have gone through? No. They could even be the result of the happiness that I have experienced...Saheli atleast said this. Sajjan gave me so much joy that I felt I had cancelled off all my bad Karmas of my previous lives, and now these happy times would stay with me till the end of my life...
But I did not realize that the happiness would be even a more slippery lover than the sad days. Sajjan had given me so much joy that my entire being was satisfied. He left marks of happiness on my entire body. He left no place. One day, during those happy times, he said, "Annu I feel like seeing a form that is even smaller than yours".
At that time I felt I had grown cold as if a slab of ice had fallen on me. Oh my mind! The separation from Sajjan had begun at that moment. Perhaps that disorganized life that we had started in that far away lonely house was responsible for this. We were sharing love day and night like the birds. Such a fast speed! The river of love did not nurture the neighboring banks but its force took away all my relationships like the valuable trees and farms. Why did I consider everybody as strangers? How blind I had become! I never cared for anybody. I felt that my life at that time was like a river which was flowing with a force and after crossing the mountains when it fell with a big bang then a storm of waves erupted.
The day Sajjan came and told me, "Annu my family has forced me to see a girl"
"Did you go to see her?" I asked.
"How was she?"
"She was okay"
"Did you kike her?"
"Yes, she is good".
I couldn't take it anymore and I got up to go, "I have a headache".
What is this? Sajjan who would put me in his lap and fill me with his love on hearing about my headache. He would press my head, apply balm and somehow would make me feel fine. He would not leave till then. But today, "I shall come back after your pain is less" he said and left. And I kept looking for his hands on my head like a blind woman...What is this love of man for a smaller form? How he falls down the steps of humanity in a moment! Oh you fallen Sajjan, don't ever be mistaken that Annu will ever call you again. Annu had loved you, considering you as the sky...I did not realize that in reality you were only a bucket of muddy water in which I had only seen the reflection of the sky...
Oh Saheli! Saheli. What all you have done to make me sympathetic towards Sajjan, but you have opened so many old wounds! Saheli you do not know that 'this is the Annu that Sajjan rejected'. You don't know what kind of curse these words meant to me. it was impossible for me to move out of the house. Thankfully my younger sister helped me in time. She told, "He has rejected you. He has become disloyal. So honest people of the world will curse him only..".
I hugged her and said, "Your vision contains so much truth! My mind has brightened like a thousand volt bulb..".
Saheli had it not been for my sister's words, I would have never been able to move about with respect.
Oh mind, there is nobody excepting you in the pages of my diary. There is no hiding anything from you. Listen, this female mind of mine is perhaps made of traditional values, or perhaps womankind is like this only. Otherwise why would I call out to him over and over again? Sometimes I wonder that Nature has been so unfair to me... To a woman! At times I feel that Nature has been kind to me and I am not wandering like the man for small or big forms.
Yes Saheli, I am sitting on mid staircase. The drama is playing in the theatre, it is ending, people are coming and going, but I am simply sitting and watching the bucket of water in which I can see the reflection of the sky. I shall not put my feet in the water and dirty the sky. Why? Because that will destroy the nest.
I don't know what sins I had committed that Sajjan separated from me and now I don't wish to destroy a home and disturb a few more of my lives! No Saheli, I shall not call up Sajjan.
Saheli you may ask what is the harm in calling up Sajjan? You don't realize that by making a call he will totally get attracted to me.
Oh my mind! You will consider this as my pride. No mind, this is my renunciation... Don't I know that once Sajjan comes this side; his love will surround me completely? The man who has not forgotten me after loving his wife for two years, will he go back once he comes here? Even if he does go back then he will offer only chaff instead of grains to his wife. My renunciation is my loyalty towards womankind... Sajjan, today I am rejecting you...Feel the pain of that rejection... Take back this pain of rejection from me without any wounds.
- Translated by Arun Babani