An auto rickshaw came and stopped near the gate of the Bungalow’s compound. Ganeshrao got down from it. He was wearing a Nehru shirt and Pyjama made of khadi. His dyed black hair was gleaming. As soon as he got down from the rickshaw, he took out a five rupee note from the right side pocket of the Nehru shirt and handed to the auto rickshawala Taking long strides he then began to go towards the bungalow when a voice called him from behind, “Sir..” He turned back.
“Sir , here… have the rupee…the fare is only four rupees,” the rickshawala took out a rupee coin and held it to him.
“Let it be, “ Ganesh said indifferently and continued his walk towards the gate of the bungalow. There was confidence evident in his walk.
On entering the compound he did not pay attention to the crowd sitting under the trees. Even that day a crowd had gathered to meet Madhurani. Ganeshrao, without hesitation and without any doubt, wrote his name on a slip of paper and confidently handed the slip to the person at the counter. He then began to look out for a vacant chair to sit until his turn came. There were no vacant chairs anywhere around. But as soon as he went there a few villagers stood up respectfully saying “Come here Sir.., have a seat, here”. They offered him their own seats.
Possibly this was the affect of his newly acquired confidence or his impressive khadi clothes. It truly seemed to him that the world had changed drastically. No, the world was the same but he had changed himself. That day he did not have to wait for long sitting in the chair. Soon his name was called out. As soon as his name was called out without caring for people around, he walked in with the newly acquired confidence.
When he reached Madhurani’s cabin, without slightest hesitation and without seeking anyone’s permission, he pushed the door and went in. Madhurani seemed to be waiting for him
“Come Ganesh” she smiled and welcomed him in the familiar singular with a smile.
He too returned her smile and went and sat next to her. He was surprised at the change that had taken place in him.
Truly, can a thing make a person so strong?...
Yes. He had with him Madhurani’s secret that had made him all powerful.
A few moments passed in silence. Both were trying to read from each other’s face. Ganeshrao came straight to the point. “I came to know about Sampatrao… it was very tragic,” he looked into her eyes as he said this.
Madhurani averted her eyes and looking aside said, “Yes, it is truly tragic.”
Ganeshrao noticed that it was for the first time that she had avoided looking into his eyes.
“I think his son is quite grown up,” Ganeshrao added.
“Yes, he indeed is. Now the responsibility of father’s politics has fallen on his shoulders” Madhurani said.
“I thought of calling on him once”
As Madhurani gave him a startled look he added, “Just to console him… Madhurani took the hint that Ganeshrao had dropped.
“I am tired of meeting people right from the morning… Come let us go up and relax a little,.” Madhurani quickly changed the topic and said.
Ganeshrao felt happy that the weapon he had used on her had produced good result. But not revealing anything on his face he said, “It is fine with me.”
Madhurani got up and, walking to the door, said, “Come this way… here…”
He looked into Madhurani’s eyes. Her ardent looks….
The same look that created turbulence in the onlooker’s mind….
But it was the first time that Ganeshrao courageously met her eyes.
She walked ahead and Ganeshrao walked behind mesmerised. He was certain that his long standing desire was now about to be fulfilled.
Madhurani led Ganeshrao to the second floor, straight to her bedroom. The bedroom was decorated with several costly articles. Ganeshrao was seeing such costly articles for the first time. But he did not reveal anything on his face As soon as he stepped into the bedroom he held Madhurani’s hand and passionately pulled her into his embrace. When a person stops caring for his life he is filled with so much courage,
On this occasion Madhurani did not show any sign of reluctance. It was as though she herself was eager to melt in his embrace. And then the things that took place not only had Ganeshrao’s initiative but there was equal, if not more initiative on behalf of Madhurani.
(to be contd.)
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Anil Ekbote