Vijay entered the reception venue from the gate the very moment Priya moved away from the group of Rajesh, his wife and his friends to another group of women. He was accompanied by his family i.e. his mother and sister too. Vijay’s mother was a barely educated woman and his sister was slightly elder to him and introvert in nature. After entering the reception venue Vijay started glancing here and there but Rajesh was completely attentive of him and he was well aware whom Vijay was searching for. When Rajesh stared at one his friends and gave a mysterious smile the entire group of friends too noticed Vijay and they also started smiling in the same mysterious manner. Yet, Vijay was unaware of them and he was continuing to look here and there as though searching for somebody. Just then, one of the friends standing in that group raised his hand and said loudly,
‘Here! Here! Come Here! We all are standing here!’.
Another boy from the group said sarcastically to Vijay, ‘Mr. Rajesh, the host of this function, for whom you are searching, is waiting for you here’.
Now Vijay was left with no choice to pay attention to the group and he approached Rajesh and his friends on the dais along with his mother and sister.
‘Think of the devil and the devil is there’, one from among the group said, ‘just now we were talking about you only’.
‘At least once in lifetime, please manage to reach in time’, one of them mischievously said to Vijay.
‘Why? What happened?’, Vijay could not figure out his contention and he asked.
‘My friend! Till this moment she was standing here only’, Rajesh whispered into Vijay’s ears knowing fully well of the presence of Vijay mother, while pointing at Priya.
Vijay looked in the same direction where Rajesh was pointing at and noticed Priya there. Priya too was looking at him alone and they both exchanged a sweet smile of acknowledgement. But Vijay found it little odd to immediately leave the group of his friends behind and approach her. Perhaps, she too faced the same problem since she was standing among all ladies.
‘This is my best friend Vijay’, Rajesh introduced Vijay to his wife.
‘Yes! Yes! You had introduced him in our wedding’, Rajesh’s wife said, ‘I am aware of it’.
Vijay handed-over his gift-box to Rajesh and said, ‘And this is my mother and my sister, Shalini’.
Rajesh, in turn, handed over that gift to one of his friends standing nearby and bowed before Vijay’s mother to offer his respect. Rajesh’s wife too followed him and bowed before Vijay’s mother.
‘Live a happy life together’, Vijay’s mother blessed both of them.
‘Didn’t you get your father along?’, one of them asked Vijay.
That friend asked this question and suddenly the atmosphere in that group became serious because almost all of them were aware that Vijay’s father was almost always be under the stupor of liquor and Vijay would always avoid carrying him along since he was known to be very whimsical. Similarly, he would also avoid taking his sister along because of her introvert nature. She too disliked to mingle with group of people and therefore Vijay would rarely take her anywhere along. But today Vijay had brought his sister especially for Rajesh’s wedding reception since Rajesh had insisted for it. Apart from her introvert nature there were many other reasons why Vijay would avoid taking her along which were very awkward for him to describe. Therefore, if at all anybody would insist, he would simply put up the problem of her nature as an excuse. That way, Rajesh had insisted Vijay to bring his father along and had personally invited his father too which he too had willingly accepted. But Rajesh was well aware that he would not come and Vijay too would resist him even if he expresses his desire to come. On the other hand, even Vijay found it convenient to carry his sister along, instead of bringing father, because it was one and the same to honor Rajesh’s desire. Therefore, conveniently, he had sought to bring his sister along. Finding that the entire atmosphere had become serious, Rajesh was puzzled about how to restore it back to normal. Since everybody in the group was knowing about Vijay’s father, Rajesh was aware that the one who asked such a question was either ignorant about Vijay’s father or had intentionally asked that question to put Vijay in an awkward situation.
‘Mother! Please come here to meet Vijay’s mother and sister! Were you not so keen to meet both of them’, Rajesh addressed his mother and found a good excuse to change the topic.
Rajesh’s mother came there and after the exchange of few smiles, she carried Vijay’s mother and sister to the same group of ladies where Priya was standing. Priya smiled at Vijay’s sister, Shalini, and also offered her respects to Vijay’s mother.
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Girish Katre (GirishKatre@gmail.com)