“How dangerous the people of your village are… they disrupted the meeting that was going on rather well..” Ganesh said to Madhurani.
“Meetings on marriages are always like this…. We can never tell who will raise what points and disrupt the meeting…” Madhurani gave her reaction.
“Whatever you may say… I see Patil’s hand in this”
“How is that?”
“Sarpanch had got it all fixed, isn’t it…I feel that he could not tolerate it.”
“No…Patil would not do any such thing… He is basically a good man… If he were really displeased he would not have held the meeting… that too, in his house…” Madhurani said. Ganesh began to think it over.
How could she speak good of Patil...
It was Patil’s jeep that had crushed her husband…
And he had died…
Frankly, she should not have accepted Patil’s invitation to the meeting..
But should I raise that issue now?..
No, not today. Some other time.
But not revealing any of these things he said, “This is what politics is…”
“I don’t understand any politics… Yet I feel that Patil would never do such a thing… I have a knack of judging people… Did I not judge you…” giving Ganesh a mischievous look she said.
“Women are generally naïve… they do not understand such things.. I have myself seen Patil signalling the Doctor,” Ganesh said avoiding her mischievous glance.
“Let it be, Ganesh…why do you persisit it,” Madhurani sitting at the cash counter said leaning towards Ganesh.
“But someone had to talk … Such a wrong was being done… now what would happen to the poor dumb girl…Seeing injustice being done to a woman, atleast you ought to have said something… I never thought that you would remain silent all along,” Ganesh said quite excited.
Now the expressions on Madhurani’s face changed and she became serious.
Ganesh felt that he had unnecessarily spoken out his mind… he tried to recollect and see if he had said anything unpleasant…
And did he say anything that was wrong?...
“Ganeshrao..” From Ganesh, Madhurani now called him Ganeshrao as she would have addressed a stranger…
“There are several things in this world that are appropriate… but they do not happen… it is all fate… it is of no use whether we say anything or not… you had spoken.. did it make any difference… instead, you also got insulted before the whole lot of people.. even if I had spoken, the same thing would have happened… it is not proper for a woman to speak, someone would have commented and shut my mouth…” now an excited Madhurani began to talk
“No..it is not like that…” Ganesh tried to say something to calm her. Interrupting Ganesh midway Madhurani further said, “Do you think that it would have been better had they got married… is there any meaning to your feelings … Now, for instance I feel that it would be so nice if we both could get married..”
Ganesh was shocked into becoming serious. He began to stare at her.
“But is there any meaning to your’s and mine wishful thinking…all these are matters of fate…”
Is she intending to marry me…
Ganesh fell into thinking.
Is she intending to marry me after breaking my first marriage…
She seems a dangerous woman.
Is she slowly trying to ensnare me…
“You have suddenly become serious..” Madhurani’s comment brought him out of his reverie.
“Don’t worry… I am not expecting much from you… Certainly not, a marriage…Do I look like a woman who would break a home and establish another of her own.. Do I?”
“No.. nothing like that..” Ganesh said with a weak smile.
“Ganeshrao.. you become serious very soon..” Madhurani said sounding a clap on his palm.
So, what does she expect…
Really, even though living in a village, she seems to have such bold and liberal thoughts…
“And you must also be wondering how this woman’s husband was crushed by Patil’s jeep and she still goes to his house for a meeting and speak on his behalf..” Madhurani had again begun to talk excitedly.
Ganesh gave her a startled look.
How could she read my mind…
She is truly an uncanny mind reader
No…it may be a mere coincidence that I thought about it and she spoke on it.
“Now tell me… my husband had got drunk and went in front of the jeep… he had not come with a jeep to crush him… whose fault is it … and what would I gain by harbouring enmity with the Patil…wouldn’t it be like fish trying to be enemies of water,” Madhurani said further.
Without saying anything Ganesh just stared at her.
No, her behaviour conforms to practical reality.
How could a lone woman like her have survived in the village by making the Patil an enemy…
Though Ganesh was looking at her, he was immersed in his thoughts.
“What is this Ganeshrao.. you suddenly get lost in your thoughts..” this time Madhurani shook Ganesh by his shoulders. Her soft touch tingled Ganesh’s entire body.. Again he drifted into the world of his thoughts.
I am slowly getting to know your mind.
Ganesh was looking at her and at the same time devouring her passionately.
(to be contd)
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Anil Ekbote