Ganesh came to the taluqa and was back home. At home there was his wife and a cute son. But his mind was left behind in that village – near Madhurani. He was eager to return to Ujni, to Madhurani. Some holidays came in between otherwise he would have reached Ujni long back. Had he returned during holidays, it would have made people unnecessarily suspect him. The two days of holidays dragged on like two long months. He had already packed his bag and kept it ready. Just to while away some time.
The eagerness with which he looked forward to return to Ujni …
With same eagerness .. perhaps with even more anxiety … Madhurani could be waiting for him.
He began to think.
After all, no matter how much you try to control the feelings in your mind
A person is not happy unless he expresses them.
Though just through a sign, Madhurani had expressed her feelings.
From the time I reached there I must have caught her fancy.
Otherwise why should I sense the intensity of her ardent looks…
Which also made me drawn towards her …
That she should be drawn to me like this ..
Leaving so many others, to choose me ..
Indicates that there must be something in me, too.
He was proud of his looks. Whatever it be, it was important that she had revealed her mind to him. For, it would not have looked nice had he gone after her passionately
Finally, the day dawned. The Monday. The day for which Ganesh was waiting eagerly. Even today Ganesh did not feel the discomfort of the journey to Ujni. Throughout the journey, he was seeing Madhurani, with arms spread wide to draw him into her embrace. Who was sitting next to him in the bus … What the other passengers in the bus were doing … What scenes were passing outside his window … He was aware of none of these.
The driver applied the brake and the bus stopped with a jerk. It was Ujni. Ganesh’s face broke into a smile. Today, he struggled to get down carrying his bag before all others. He came out of the bus. Maybe, the crowd had jostled him out. On coming out he glanced all around.
Could Madhurani be waiting for him at the Bus stand…
Hope is such a mad thing.
He tried to tell himself.
How could she be here?
Did she know when he was coming…
Just then Ganesh saw Sada walking towards him. Ganesh ignored him.
“Oh, Ganeshrao.. its you… For a while I didn’t recognise you,” Sada stood before him and said. Ganesh tried to move ahead avoiding him.
And what is this Sir … You are looking as if you have rolled like a donk… in the village’s dump yard,” Sada said following Ganesh. From his talk Ganesh understood that he had wanted to say “rolled like a donkey.”. but an afterthought had made him avoid saying it. Ganesh paused and looked at his clothes. Trying to be the first to get down from the bus, they were wrinkled and were soiled by the dust coming in through the window. This time he had not made any attempt to avoid dust. He patted his hair with his palm. Even the hair were tussled and perhaps also coated with dust. Ganesh felt ashamed of standing before Madhurani in such a condition.
“Give it to me, Sir … You must be tired.. I’ll take the luggage,” Sada said.
“No.. I’ll manage..” Ganesh said and began to trace quick steps – towards Madhurani’s shop. He was dying to meet her.
(to be contd.)
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Anil Ekbote