As the end of the wall came into Ganesh’s sight, his heart began to beat wildly. From the wall’s corner he would be able to see Madhurani. He began to trace quick steps. Sada was still following him. But Ganesh was neither aware of Sada or of people he was passing by. Ganesh was extremely eager to meet Madhurani.
Then the moment came. Taking a turn at the corner, Ganesh was able to see Madhurani sitting at her cash-counter. She was engrossed in her work. He was anxious that she looked at him and that he got drenched in the ardent ness of her eyes. He went and stood before Madhurani.
“Yes..Ganeshrao.. what shall I give you? A cigarette?” Madhurani gave him a casual glance and asked.
Ganesh realised that all the dreams within him had shattered. She spoke to him as she would to a total stranger. He did not expect her to treat him like a stranger especially considering the manner in which Madhurani had taken his leave the other day. Ganesh was shocked. Whatever was happening was completely unexpected. He began to feel that the earth under his feet should give way and draw him within. Ganesh’s face fell. He did not know what to say. “No..I needed one Lux soap,” he said just to say something. Two cakes of lux soap were already lying in his room. But now the situation was such that he simply had to buy something.
“Or shall I give you Wheel?” Madhurani reminded him of the previous incident and laughed aloud.
Ganesh gave a weak smile. He somehow felt that Madhurani had seen the disappointed look on his face and was now trying to make fun of him.
Madhurani took out a cake of Lux soap and placed it in his hand. His hand strangely trembled. But this time, purposely, she had gently dropped the soap on to his hand. He was thoroughly disappointed. Taking out money from his pocket he paid her and began to return with a disappointed look. Just then Madhurani’s enchanting voice reached him from behind.
“Did you go home for two days?.. I missed you a lot.”
Ganesh turned and looked at Madhurani. His face had suddenly brightened now. Madhurani was once again giving him an ardent look. He felt like going back to her.
It won’t look nice…
He turned and with a renewed vigour began to walk towards his room. He began to think. I am so stupid…
In front of all her customers how could Madhurani express her inner feelings.
But she could have at least touched him gently.
But when returning she had again given him a sign.
The fact that she had taken note of his absence for two days meant that she indeed felt something for him.
(to be contd.)
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Anil Ekbote