Today the entire hustle-bustle of Rajesh’s wedding reception. Rajesh had intentionally selected a spot, neither at an over-crowded town centre nor too far outside the village, surrounded by the green lawn. Under the pretext of reception, all of Rajesh’s old college friends, had purposely gathered and were chatting in a group, just for the sake of nostalgia. Suddenly, through the crowd they saw Priya entering there and all the chat stopped instantly. Priya, of the college days and the one now, was appearing to be radically different. At that time she was a youthful girl on the brink of adolescence and now she was a fully-blossomed beautifully charming woman. Perhaps, none of them had ever seen so well-dressed and that is why they were sensing that striking difference. All of them were staring straight at her. Priya gave a mild smile while paying a glance at everybody and all of them too responded at her in the same manner with a mild smile of recognition.
After reaching near the group, she gave the bouquet to Rajesh to congratulate him and said, ‘Congratulations and wish you a happy married and prosperous married life’.
‘More than being happy, prosperity is important’, somebody from the group commented, and once again the group was revitalized.
Then Rajesh too took the lead to introduce his wife to Priya.
‘Priya, meet my wife, Kamal’.
‘You need not tell me what is clearly visible’, Priya funnily replied, ‘Only telling the name is sufficient’.
Everybody endorsed her remark with another stroke of laughter.
One friend, then explained, ‘That’s not the matter Priya. Telling that is also equally important. What happened once is that once during the wedding of a friend of mine, both his wife and her sister were mingling enthusiastically in the crowd and our friend did not bother to specifically introduce his wife to all of us such that throughout the wedding we were assuming his wife’s sister to be the actual wife of him’.
Once again everybody passed through a stroke of laughter.
‘Under the pretext of some other friend’s name’, somebody clipped, ‘is he telling the mischief he has committed in his own wedding reception?’ and one more thunder of laughter passed through.
‘This is my friend Priya’, Rajesh attempted to introduce Priya to his wife, ‘Myself, Priya and Vijay, we had an excellent group during our college days’.
‘How shrewd is Rajesh’, somebody seized at the opportunity, ‘in order to avoid any misunderstanding he has carefully inserted Vijay’s name in between’.
That comment sparked off another round of laughter.
After seeing Kamal feeling awkward, the same friend offered an explanation to Kamal, ‘Don’t take me seriously, I was just pulling Rajesh’s legs. It’s all in the fun’.
But, the same friend continued to say, ‘I cannot give the same guarantee about Vijay and Priya’.
Now it was Priya’s turn to blush.
‘Look at that, look at that’, another friend of them jumped at the opportunity, ‘how pinkish have her cheeks become immediately after joining her name with Vijay’.
Priya was continuing to feel blushed and she was confused how to react over this.
‘How is that Vijay has not yet arrived?’, Rajesh took the lead to change the focus of whole discussion.
‘He will definitely come, haven’t you given him the invitation or forgot it while keeping all your focus on wife?’, somebody else said.
‘Oh No! He is my best friend! Will such a thing ever happen?’, Rajesh quickly replied.
Few moments passed in peace.
‘So Rajesh? Have you made any plans for honeymoon or not?’, another friend started making fun of Rajesh by turning to change the topic under discussion.
‘Of course yes!’, Rajesh replied with meaningful gesture at his wife.
Now it was Kamal’s turn to blush.
‘What plan have you made?’, Rajesh’s friend does not seem to be in any mood to spare him.
‘Simla’, Rajesh replied.
‘Oh! Only domestic!’, I had thought you would go out of India.
‘It takes long time to reach out of India! He doesn’t have that much patience to wait!, yet another friend taunted.
Discovering that the discussion is becoming increasingly mischievous and absurd, Priya moved from there to another group of guests, by formally saying, ‘Excuse me’, under the pretext of finding somebody from the acquaintance.
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Girish Katre (GirishKatre@gmail.com)