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 Love Defined For All Times- A Short Story. 

About my Favourite Song.  Manasa Maine Varu.  An evergreen Malayalam song from the screen version of the novel, Chemeen, penned by Thakazhi, sung by the celebrated Bengali-born Indian playback singer Manna Dey.  A ballad of romance, longing and loss, after over six decades, it still marks a high point in the Malayalam music world.  You can listen to the melody in the following video.   

Love Defined For All Times- the Short Story.

How much she wished for the man who enchained her with the ceremonial thread in matrimony to show up.  Were all his intimacy and peckings during the pre-wedding romance only a show?  The women in his home are packing away the gold-all belong to her--all she had worn only once.  The gold necklaces- come in different classifications and categories and symbolisation. 

At the jewellery shop, she had felt inferior in front of the saleswomen-she was unknowable of all the significance of gold in which they showed mastery.  How could she?  She had only minimal gold.  The listing down of the wedding trousseau from the event managers had sent her father into a panic attack. The poor man organised all of them through loans from somebody.  Only the night before the wedding, her home turned into a wedding home -when they arrived at her home with everything packed in fancy cases.  

Her father had become a grumpy old man in the days after her engagement. She wiped away the wetness in her eyes with her fingers.

"The boy has a reputation, coming from a family of high social stand- his father the director of a finance company.  We can only dream of..." Her father repeated those words like he was in a trance.  

"It's our daughter's luck," her mother mollified him.

"But how can we meet his family's demands?" Her father cried.  The sorry State of a loving father who used even the last cent of his salary and additional earnings for his daughter--to meet the expenses for her tuition, hostel and pocket money.  For her to survive in a city far away from home and achieve her qualification.  When she witnessed the flood of agony in his eyes, she hated herself--a girlchild's destiny to be obliged in the cruel current of tradition. 

'They're friends," her mother stopped short with a naughty smile shining on her face.  Her mother never showed that appeal while she listened to her mentioning her friendship with Ashir.  

"Ashir got a transparent image of our finance; Shruthi cannot stop without mentioning that to him." That was when she got the shock--she had never thought of that--even if she had, she would never do that!.  How shameful is it to disclose your poor state of finance to your lover?  And she wasn't poor-has earned a master's degree in technology.  Like her friends in the US, she could make dollar money. 

Those women have completed weighing her gold and packing them into their caskets. And then they trudged towards the inner parts of that cement structure, leaving her alone.  

She was about to transition from a bride-to-woman and be with the man who married her, following all the wedding rituals. 

It was all for love that she decked out using all those finest things in life arranged by her father using borrowed money.  Ashir's promises to her were all show--all for grabbing her money, showing off the facades of his family and a cement structure home of no use to her.   His women have left her naked, shedding off her gold and dignity!  

Until the last moment, she had hoped for his appearance to lament the women's act that the gold is her property; it must stay with her, and they leave her to mind her own business.  

Why has that name suddenly shone in the sky of her gloom and disgrace?  Since she was in class 1, in whose shadow she walked the talk and who provided her all the cover and protection in life.  Could she have sustained her life alone, let alone her education, in that faraway place where a woman cannot appear without escort, even in daylight?  At every nook and corner of it, a danger awaited her!  

Had he chosen the same institution as her, keeping that in mind?  An arbour, a space to unwind herself and open her mind unreservedly--he.  Hadn't she considered why he was doing all that to her! And hadn't she ignored her mind harping on that?  Hadn't she cruelly played down on all the signals he had presented before her in his closeness?  How intended she was to satisfy her ambition to scale down the heights in life where the son of her favourite teacher was not enough.   

Oh!  Mahi, will you please forgive me?

"Take this with you?" A group of young girls approached her; a cheeky one with a dimple on her cheeks like that of Ashir held a glass in her hand, which she slowly moved towards her.  

That was the sweet milk- the symbolic inducement to anticipate the sweetness of the ritualistic union she would soon have.  


In the streetlight, she could easily recognise the glittering of that Blue Lexus from a distance.  As it purred and stopped before her, no second was needed for her to jump inside it.  In the same solemnness, when it purred away, she was choking with a thousand apologies.  How insightful he was to not ask her anything.  Keeping steady on the wheel, he was again her charioteer. 

At one point, he glanced at her.  That was enough for him to grasp everything, and she began to breathe straight to unleash her chest from the load of the past hours.  She ran away from the Palacious concrete structure of one of the most influential families in the district, in the governing State.  How could she?

That was easy!  There, everybody was a stranger to everybody else.  The men languished in the upper chambers of the buildings- shouting invectives, rambling, slurring.  Women folks in their inner circles were analysing the style of her gold, the groom awaiting the bride's coyish footsteps and anticipating the sweetness of his masculine onslaught on her.  The girls around her were in a sleepish, dreamy existence, pausing in front of the cameras, texting and messaging.   

She quickly pulled her mangal sutra out of her neck, dropped it into the glass of milk, pulled her phone out, and dialled Mahi. 


When the car stopped, she remained in the passenger seat. Mahi opened the car door for her.  Again he didn't ask her anything.  What were the emotions on his face?  Before she could study them, she was in her teacher's hug. 

"Come on, Shruti," her teacher was resolute as always. 

"I am sorry, teacher," she mumbled as she entered the living room that she wasn't unfamiliar with.

"Tell me one thing," her teacher sat with her.  "You did it on your own.  My son is not involved in anything."

"No, only he listened to my distress call and came to collect me."

"Early morning, the police will knock on my door.  I should know how to answer them.  Don't worry.  Now go sleep."

Shruti dreamt every event of that day, including her marriage, was a bad dream.  In the middle of the night, she got awake.  Somewhere in the distance, she heard the mournful rendition of that song.  Manasa Mineee varoo.  The romantic appeal of the passionate lover to his love, who had left him, to come back to him and how he longs for her closeness.  

Her head lowered in the shame of her insolent approach to Mahi's big heart and his longing for her. 

Soon the police would come and knock on Mahi's door.  They wouldn't believe her teacher or Mahi!  Either her appeal that she was running away on her own mind from her marriage to Ashirwad Makkoth, the son of the business magnet, Gokul Makkoth.

She collapsed onto her bed and wept onto her pillow until it turned soggy with her tears. 

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