Short Stories

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“Namaste Dadima, is Pavithra at home?” asked Vishwas while bending down to touch Rajyalakshmi’s feet.“Oh Vishwas! Is it you? Please come. I will call her,” she replied affectionately.Kalyani heard Vishwas’s voice, came out and asked, “How are you Vishwas? Please have breakfast. I am making dosa,” she said affectionately.“I will be delighted to have the dosas prepared by you maa ji. Where is Shravan?”“Shravan,” Kalyani called her grandson. Shravan saw Vishwas and came running towards him shouting, “Daddy!” Vishwas lovingly picked up his son, hugged him tight and kissed him.“Daddy, I will not talk to you. Why didn’t you come last Sunday?”“I was travelling. Sorry, very sorry,” Vishwas said while running his fingers through his son’s mop of hair. “You were absent on two Sundays. So you have to buy me two ice-creams.”Vishwas laughed and said, “OK. Your wish is granted.”Pavithra came rushing and said, “Sorry for having kept you waiting.” Vishwas looked at Pavithra who had just come out after a shower. She was looking very fresh like a fragrant flower. Vishwas kept staring at her. She said, “Shall we make a move? The principal has given an appointment for 9 o’clock,” said Pavithra.Once in the car, Pavithra said, “I had applied to two schools. When I went to the first school, the principal said that both the parents have to come. I had clearly mentioned that I am a divorcee. Yet that stupid woman said that I have to come with my husband.”“Now we are going to a school called ‘Little Buds”. I think we better not tell them that we are divorced since you have no objection to attend parent-teacher meetings.”“I think you are right. We both have agreed to take equal responsibility of our kid. I am always there whenever the need arises,” he said kissing his son. Pavithra looked at both of them and felt relieved.<<<< “Oh! You are up! You slept for a long time. Did you take a day off from office?” asked Rajyalakhmi.“Vishwas and I decided to take leave from office since we both got delayed at the school. Later we took Shravan to a morning show, had lunch at a restaurant and came back home,” said Pavithra.“Did Shravan get admission in the school?” Rajyalakshmi wanted to ask something but ended up asking something else. “Why did you take Vishwas along with you?”“These nursery school admissions are such a pain! They wanted both the parents to attend the interview. That’s why I asked Vishwas to accompany me.”Rajyalakshmi silently looked at her granddaughter for a while before saying, “Pavithra, whenever I see you and Vishwas together I feel confused. You both seem happy in each other’s company. I cannot understand why you are separated? Vishwas is a nice person and so respectable towards us…”“Yes! You will definitely think he is very respectable because he touches your feet every time he sees you,” said Pavithra laughing.“He is fine as a friend. But as a husband he failed to live up to my expectations. He did not support me as a husband,” countered Pavithra.“I am unable to understand the present generation. You people split up for insignificant issues. You girls have become arrogant due to the financial independence that you all enjoy. Is there a man without any flaws? Lord Rama himself is faulted for banishing his wife due to hearsay.”“Remember marriage is like a photo which has to be framed if it has to remain blemish free. A photo that is not framed becomes dirty, wrinkled and ultimately becomes unrecognizable. If a marriage has to survive then this ‘photo’ has to be framed in the institution called ‘family’. The egos of the partners have to be buried under the glass frame and it is only then that marriage can brave the storms that are likely to rage…”“That’s a great interpretation granny, but we have had these kind of innumerable discussions in our house before,” said Pavithra.“Yes, but we have failed in making you change your mind. As long as you are here you will not understand the challenges that life throws at you. Your parents are taking care of all your needs and hence you are able to progress professionally. You will realize the value of a husband when you have no support system,” remarked Rajyalakshmi provocatively.<<<< Pavithra and Vishwas were introduced to each other by common friends. They became good friends, then became lovers, had a whirlwind courtship and got married within a year of their first meeting. Within three years everything was over and she came back to her maternal home like a boomerang. The only difference was that she had gone single and came back with a son.Ranga Rao had tried to counsel his daughter. “Pavithra, don’t take a hasty decision. Think over it. Vishwas is a nice person.”“Daddy, I have tried, for two and half years, to adjust. I am not blaming anyone. But experience has shown me that it is not all that easy to adjust. I had no peace of mind.I hated the idea of giving importance to silly things,” explained Pavithra.Kalyani had warned her daughter before the marriage itself. “Their culture is entirely different from ours. The daughters-in-law are expected to stay at home and take care of the family. You are used to a carefree lifestyle. Do you think you can adjust in a joint family? Do you think you will be able to cope with such drastic changes in your lifestyle?”“Vishwas has told everything about me to his family. Even I told them very clearly that it is impossiblefor me to give up my job. It is a joint family, but everyone seemed very nice to me. They have servants to take care of everything. I will go to office in the morning and come back in the night. So where is the time to have any kind of misunderstanding? Even if there is some problem, I can rely upon Vishwas to solve the same,” assured Pavithra.After this assurance there was no reason to raise any objection to the proposal. He had an MBA degree and was the Executive Director of their family-run pharmaceutical company. They owned a palatial house, a fleet of cars and were generally counted as a wealthy lot.Ranga Rao performed his daughter’s marriage on a grand scale. The rituals of both sides were followed strictly during the wedding. On the wedding night, Pavithra innocently asked Vishwas, “How do you people manage to bend so many times in a day to touch the feet of the elders?I am not used to this kind of custom. I don’t know how I will manage.”“It is not a big issue and this is not the time to talk about it,” said Vishwas naughtily.They both did not realised that those small issues would snowball into tricky issues and rob them of their peace of mind and create a wide chasm in their lives.<<<< “Pavithra… are you free this evening? I want to talk to you. Can you come with Shravan to Lumbini Park?” said Vishwas, calling after two months.Pavithra and Shravan reached Lumbini Park. Vishwas played with his son for some time and then left him to mingle with other kids. “Pavithra, I have a very good job offer. I am planning to take up the same,” he said very enthusiastically.“Why do you want to work for some other firm? Is there any problem?” asked Pavithra, sounding very surprised.“If I take up a job elsewhere, I can stay independently…”Pavithra was taken aback. “Why? What happened? What made you take such a decision?”“I took this decision for your sake…” he replied. Pavithra’s face turned red. “If only you had taken this decision earlier, we wouldn’t have had all these problems. What is the point in taking such a decision now? It’s too late,” said Pavithra in a disappointed tone.“Please Pavithra don’t say that.I have understood that it is ‘Better late than never’. Staying away from you makes me very unhappy. You can never imagine how much I am missing Shravan since the past one year. Pavithra, let live together.I will never get a better wife than you. And I have realized this after our separation. Let us give our relationship another chance. We have been staying separately for over a year. We have understood where we had gone wrong. AndI am sure we will not repeat those mistakes. Let us at least try,” said Vishwas sincerely.“Will your family accept this? Have you told them? What did they say?”“Both my parents were hurt. My mother even suggested that I should marry a girl from my community. My father has agreed to our setting up a separate home, but is unwilling to allow me to leave our family business and take up a job elsewhere. In our community if a son sets up his own establishment it is viewed as an insult. That is why I could not dare to do this immediately after our wedding despite knowing you were finding it difficult to adjust.”“For my sake why should you leave your family? I will feel guilty…”“That is what I like about you Pavithra. Your greatness is that even in adverse situations, you never blame others.I know that my mother and sisters-in-law have often hurt you by their words.Yet you never said anything against them.I could not support you in those days becauseI could not change my thinking and neither could I dareto break away from my family because I was still dependent on them,” said Vishwas taking Pavithra’s hand into his.“Pavithra, I love you. It is now thatI have realised how much I love you,” confessed Vishwas. Pavithra’s eyes turned moist. “Vishwas,I must tell you something. The fact that we are separated has not registered in my mind till date. Every night as I lie in bed waiting to fall asleep, I keep asking myself, ‘why did we separate?’“My grandmother is very fond of you. She has a very good opinion of you. She keeps telling me thatI cannot get a better life partner than you.”“So let us first break this good news to her,” he said happily.<<<<“Granny, I am going to remarry soon,” said Pavithra hugging her grandmother who was seated in the hall. Vishwas was standing at the threshold.“ I had let go of her due to my foolishness. But now I have realised what a blunder I had committed and now want to remarry Pavithra,” said Vishwas Rajyalakshmi’s happiness knew no bounds.