She opened the trunk and reached out for the green saree. Nalini somehow loved the colour green . It made her feel peaceful. But then suddenly she thought of him ! Nabin loved maroon . She never liked it but if Nabin liked it , then she loved it . This was her philosophy in life. Finally she draped herself in her chiffon maroon saree with a heavy pallu work with a matching blouse. She opened her bangle box and wore the matching glass bangles. She loved bangles of different colors and more than anything the sound that they made while her hands swayed in motion. Her hands looked beautiful and elegant. She then smiled at herself when she looked in the mirror. She put the maroon coloured bindi and looked at the watch that hung on the wall. It was about 5:20 p.m. The evening show would start sharp at six pm !
Nabin would be here any moment. After all he had promised her to take her to the movie this time! First day , first show !! She had to fight with her Malkin yesterday to take an off today! It was not easy ! She sent out a small prayer for Nabin to reach on time. After all today was their anniversary. Not of their togetherness but they chose to run away from the village together to this city just before a year earlier !
Well reason was love and hate , both. They loved each other & people hated them for the same. The villagers & even their own family members had vehemently opposed their unison but Nalini and Nabin could not stay apart. It was a bond that started as an affair and had molded itself as an invincible force between the two young souls.
Youth, as they say has immense potential in it . It helps you dream even the most feared dreams and some are lucky enough to achieve them as well. Both the love birds had dreamt a life where they would make their own life choices, live life on their own terms, to have less but to own up their lives. That night was such nightmare when they both had escaped the dungy lanes of their remote village. It was a miracle that they both are alive today !
The city did not welcome them with open arms. They struggled to find a spot in this huge crowded space. Thankful that at least it did not eject them out. The crowd of the city was maddening and seemed forever restless . It was suffocating at times. But this crowd also helped them to get lost in it and lose their identity which they wanted more than anything else. To have an invisible existence was their motto.
Nalini was playing with her bangles while these thoughts played in her mind. Nabin was not perfect. He felt cold many times and was difficult to understand. He would often forget many important aspects in their relationship . She could never remember Nabin taking her out or buying anything for her. Not that she demanded anything. But like all women she too wanted her tiny bit of pampering in their difficult life! When they started courting each other she had wanted Nabin to gift her bangles. Nabin had never cared till date about it . But Nabin was loyal to her and that was one trait which made Nalini fall in love with Nabin again and again, even if it seemed quite impossible many a times.
It was her Rahim Bhaiya , the bangle seller who regularly visited her house from whom she bought bangles that matched her suits. Every month she would wait eagerly for her Rahim Bhaiya. ‘Chudi Lelo, Chudi Lelo’ ( Buy Bangles ) would be his call out when he wanted the whole village to come and purchase bangles from him. There would be bangles of every color; plain, silver coated , gold coated and some with intricate work. Nalini could afford only the plain ones. Rahim Bhaiya always smiled when she bought the bangles. He knew about the forbidden love affair between Nalini & Nabin. He had gifted a dozen of red bangles to Nalini few months before their affair became the grudge of the entire village. It was Rahim Bhaiya who had showed them the way out and managed to confuse the mob that night. She had safely carried the red bangles with . When they both would earn enough money, she would get married and wear those bangles on her wedding day. It was her only dream as of now.
Tears filled her eyes, as she could clearly see the face of her Rahim Bhaiya dancing in front of her eyes. He had a smiling face and a pleasant personality. He was loved by all in the village. All the women would wait for him and he had forged a bond with almost all. He would refer all the women as Tai, Kaki, Amma , Didi, Mausi . But Nalini was Gudiya for him. Nalini had learnt later that the villagers had finally beaten him to death when Nalini & Nabin successfully went missing. They accused him of belonging to a different caste and hence was the reason why their women & daughters, their pride were being compromised. Love was never enough as a reason . Well it never is!
Just then there was a knock on the door. Nalini looked up to see Nabin through the peep hole of the door . She was happy that at least today , she will live a different life than her every day life in the chawl, even if it meant for few hours! A fantasy world on the 70 mm screen awaited her!She hurriedly opened the door. Nabin entered the shanty and threw himself on the bed. The smell of alcohol filled the house.
“You drank today? We do not have time, Nabi !! I just have today. We discussed this … how could you?” Nalini was almost in tears.
Nabin looked at her. “Why the hell do you want so many things. I brought you along with me. I do not go and sleep around! Have I ever cheated ? Tell me? Is it not enough !! IS IT NOT ENOUGH ??” screamed Nabin at the top of his voice.
“Well, neither do I sleep around with men, Nabi !! I wanted a small thing from you today and you promised . Why are you so difficult to love? I think I do not know you as a person sometimes” ,cried out Nalini.
“What ? What did you say? Cheat… !! Who knows what you do when I go to work? See, today also you are wearing that same glass bangle that Rahim gifted you. Why can you never wear the ones that I bought for you ?How many times did I tell you to throw those bangles away ? Why is it so hard for you? Who knows may be he gave you many things other than those damn bangles!! “
Nalini froze as she heard the words. Nabin was so senseless that he never cared to understand that he had never gifted her any bangle in the first place. She risked her pride , her entire life for this man !! She went against the whole world for her love. Words hurt more than a sword they say. Nabin today had teared apart her character and crushed it like a wrapper is crushed. She could not breathe, let alone defend herself. An unbearable pain jolted her whole body & mind .She turned towards the open door and walked out. Nabin closed his eyes and remained still on his bed.
Four odd hours had passed by now ! It was probably hunger pangs that woke up Nabin from his slumber. He sat on the bed with a heavy head and looked around .
“Nalini … Nalini !!” He called out when suddenly he remembered the series of events that had happened a little while ago. He held his hair in both his hands realising what he has ultimately done ! How could he say such words to the love of his life. He loved Nalini because she was an easy going person. She was the only one who knew how to handle Nabin and may be Nabin took her for granted many a times. They had fought many a times earlier but today Nabin had crossed his limits for sure! The slap from his boss at the garage for a minor mistake in the morning had brought out the worst in him and he had lost all sense today . He stood up quickly and headed out of the makeshift house having the roof that was covered in a blue polythene. He ran around asking for Nalini . It was all in vein .
After many hours of thorough search he was informed that the local railway police officials had recovered a badly mutilated body from the tracks that ran beside the basti where they lived.
Nabin was called upon to identify the body. He trembled as he slowly removed the white sheet covering the dead body. It was mutilated and beyond recognition. Nabin cried out loudly when he saw the hands wearing the same maroon glass bangles. It was Nalini, his Nalini! He lost her forever when he had began thinking that he owned her! He was inconsolable when the constables pulled him out of the mortuary.
In another parallel universe of this world, the Malkin was boiling with anger when the maid did not show up in the morning, It was only a day’s leave as per the pact!
“Munni, I am done ok. Call up Shobha Aunty and ask Puja to come to work from tomorrow. This Nalini is cancelled. Tell her I will pay her 200 rupees more from what she used to take earlier. “She told her daughter while sending a tweet.
I need to bunk office with same confidence as the house – help does these days! #justsaying
“Yes , mumma ! I never liked this Nalini female. Her glass bangles made so much noise. How irritating was it na ?” She said while busy tweeting
Severe cramps! I am bunking my classes today! Men will never understand. Periods hurt! #voiceyourpain
Just then the nearby school anthem started playing.
“Hind Desh ke Nivasi Sabhin jan ek hein,
Rang roop besh bhasha chahe anek hein…”
( The inhabitants of the country of Hindustan are all one,
even if they have different color , look ,attire, language …)
PS: this story is the imagination of the writer and is a piece of fiction. Any resemblance to any incident or character is purely coincidental. The fiction is weaved solely for the purpose of content creation.