Skip to main content

FACE BEHIND THE VEIL

(TRANSLATED FROM ODIYA" ODHANA AADUALARA MUHA" - WRITER - TAPODHAN PANDA) The Story was Published in April 2015 Subscription of KATHA - An Odiya Story Magazine" 

Disclaimer: I liked the story so much that  I thought to share it with my Non odiya speaking friend world wide. It's soley an literary attempt. Happy Reading.

FACE BEHIND THE VEIL

“The more I want be close to you, the more you are getting away from me Manoj. Why?”

 These words of Mugdha broke Manoj’s abstain mindedness.

He looked at Mugdha dazedly.

“It’s not even one year of your job and you have applied for advance, that to a huge amount. I have requested you not to do so, but you said you will repay it back by working in late night sift after the general sift. Even you did not took a rupee from me. Our other friends told you not to do so; even also you did not heed them. In return you listened them commenting – Is it so a lean period for Monoj?!!”

I know something is troubling you, Am I not anybody for you? Tell me what I cannot do for you?”
Manoj looked at Mugdha again sadly.

It is an intimate moment between Manoj and Mugdha. Mugdha was trying to make Manoj realize how much she loves him, by trying to help him out of the financial crunch Monoj was going through. She had requested him for this meeting after the office.

Both of them joined the office roughly a year before. Manoj joined a graduate engineer trainee and she as a personal executive.  She was knowingly inclined towards Monoj after she realized about difficult past of him from her colleagues. She was disparately trying to win his heart. She had heard many a things about Manoj. Even she has heard that he was about to marry, the marriage did happen but he returned back alone.  When his colleagues asked about it once in the office during one leisure discussion he became serious and left his seat. Since that event no one in the office ask anything about it afterwards. Some say that after that event the girl with whom Manoj was to be married, eloped with her lover. These are all fuss, false story of some remote village. But since that event he has become silent, every time abstain minded, even she had seen him with most eyes.  He does not stay in the trainee hostel along with other trainees, but have rented a small flat in an old apartment in the city suburb. She has never seen him socializing during event organized at office the office club during special days and holidays. When asked about these events he just declined with a fake smile. She has been trying her best to find out is actually troubling Monoj.  But have failed to measure the depth of the despair that has engulfed the innocent Monoj to the core. He has been very sincere about his works rather it is his only way in which he has been trying to dilute his sadness. With pile of files around him demanding to monitor the material composition, ratio, and recyclable residue of the waste all throughout the day, whenever he has taken his eye off, those have mate with hers. And she has realized that he has understood that she is been trying to help him. It is today she had made him stay along with him after the office, by pursuing him drop him at his house, And she have brought him to this lonely place where she can open up with him.

She failed to read the sad eyes of Manoj. She desperately wanted a direct answer from him.

“Is that event troubling you?  Why are you trying to live in the past? You should forget it as if it was a nightmare. One cannot go on holding up such pity things for life long. You need to get rid of it. It is not you only who have faced such difficulties. Many have marriage disputes. Many have witnessed similar fate. Wipe that event from your heart. Please keep my suggestion”

“But what you can never wipe off, what you can never forget of, you have to live with it only, Mugdha”

“I will never let you live like this, Manoj, I love you, I love you more than anything in this world, more than my life, Manoj”

Monoj’s eye became moist with these words of Mugdha. He has never imagined that a heart is so near to him and loved him more than anything which he has never realized.

“You are beautiful, intelligent, well educa”ted and belong to a well to do family…..”

“But that is not my identity; I don’t want to live with that identity”

“I am just a heart and the heart to love you”

“One who is living in a monetary crunch, who has applied for advance in his a yearlong professional career. And who is trying hard to repay it back by working overnight week long. It is unwise to fall in love for such a person. It is nothing but you doing unjust to yourself”

“I don’t understand what is justice or injustices. Even don’t want to know about it. Just I want a “Yes” from you. Will you disappoint me?”

“A qualified person like you should not fall blind in name of love. You have to understand that. A golden future is ahead of you. A beautiful dream is waiting for you.”

“You are my that dream. You are my golden future. Those Wish and despair; laughter and tears; You are all. And I have taken this decision”

Mugdha’s lips trembled. The afternoon rays of the shedding sun brighten her face while the mild breeze autumn was trying to dry up the sweat on her forehead.

“Even I was also seeing this dream, Mugdha! Don’t I want to fill that dream with colours of realty! But I know I will never be successful. Even I try hard for it, I can’t. Just like an incurable disability of me.”

“This disability is just a weakness in your mind.”

“Even I wish it would be, I wish God proves it to be as such.”

“And just for that your Mugdha is knocking at your doorstep. Just to keep you away from all troubles and make you happier by trying to find a space in your heart. I am waiting for you.  Every day I long for the office time. Just see you, to see that momentary reflection of me in your eyes. The thought of you, make me come early to the office and fix my eyes on the gate. And I just wait for you. When you enter our eyes briefly meet and you give me a smile. My heart leaps with joy. You will never understand my pain of waiting for you. Every minute become like an hour.”

“You are imaginative Mugdha! You will never understand the cruelty of reality. And that cruelty of my reality is standing before me as a challenge”

“I know Manoj. I know that reality of your life. I have heard many a times. That event of your marriage. The girl with whom you married eloped with her lover. You returned back. I understand Manoj, I understand your Pain. I know that girl is unlucky to have rejected you. Why the God chose a talented, compassionate, goodwill bright engineer to suffer like this?!”

“I am not suffering Mugdha. That girl is suffering. Who on that day married me”

“It is not, she has chosen her fate by eloping with her lover.”

“Don’t say such Mugdha. Although she is staying with her lover, but she can never come outside. She can never show her face to the outer world. To make her love into reality her lover is struggling and getting defeated slowly. She has never realized I have fallen with love for her the very moment I have seen her. Even the love for her is afresh in me”

“There is no meaning in that love, Manoj!”

“You can think so, because you can never understand the reality”

“Don’t say like that. You don’t know what you have with in you.  I know you have been betrayed. I know you have been deprived of the love you wished for. But I will fill that heart with my love. Believe me”

“But the reality will defeat you, Mugdha.  It will destroy all your beliefs and then you can never forgive me!”

“Never, never ever”

 Mugdha parked her vehicle near the road leading to Manoj’s apartment. Neither she attempted to come along nor did Manoj invite her. But both of their hearts longed for the invitation and persuasion. Mugdha returned back.

Like this, it went on. Whenever she finds out that Manoj will start early after the general shift, she has never missed the opportunity to give him a drive to his apartment.  Even Manoj have never declined her offer. That duration becomes a beautiful stream of happiness between them. The flowing sound of that stream mesmerizes Manoj. Both exchange glances of intimation and a subtle love blossoms. Whenever she find suddenly Manoj is away on leave from town for few days. she becomes restless, Her longing for Monoj increases. When he returns back she never complains. Never requires a complaint.  Manoj realizes it when her eyes become moist with emotions. So on the love grows. It is not that the whole office realizes the development but colleagues of Mugdha suggest the relation should be sealed with marriage. But Mugdha thinks that Monoj might need more time to realize the depth of her love. To have it confirmed on one such occasion when she was driving Monoj to his apartment, she keeps her proposal.  After hearing her proposal Monoj Looked at her with affection and said, “You Know, Mugdha, I am Married”

“I Know, and don’t want to know more about it as that marriage doesn’t have any value”

“A man marries once, not every time. Even if that marriage bring him misery, I cannot throw off that responsibility”

“Do you love me or not?”

“I love you a lot Mugdha !, I respect your love for me. Only lucky ones have the privilege of such kind of love. I am obliged before you”

Mugdha was mesmerized with these words of Monoj. It was first time she was hearing from Monoj that he loves her.  For a moment he glanced him with devotion and then she hugged him tight.
“And I want that obligation of yours, to be sealed with marriage”

“I want you once come to my house. And you can witness my love there more. And you can reflect yours with deep emotion”

Mugdha’s heart leaped with happiness as she hears the invitation from Manoj.

“Will you not come to witness my love?”

“I will, definitely I will. But not today, after four days on the Sunday. Please don’t do over time on that day.  I will knock at your door steps”

“I will wait for you, to welcome you, Mugdha”

The four days were unbearable for Mugdha. What not were filled in her minds. It was difficult on her part to glance at Monoj in those four days in the office. Those were secret thoughts.  She wished to offer her everything to her love. She wished to oint the bleeding heart of her love, she wished to fullfill his moods with her fragrance.

The day came. A car was parked at the apartment gate. Manoj escorted Mugdha to his flat on the 1st floor. She followed him slowly. It was the most waited moment. It is reward of her efforts.
She enters the room. Manoj, indicated to her to sit on a small modest sofa. Beside it was a small flower vase decorated with fresh flower on the teapoy. It was just a decoration to that undecorated drawing room. Mugdha sat on the sofa.

“Where? Where you have kept you love? In which corner of your heart? In which part of this room?
show me?” With a mischievous smile in her face, she rose up from sofa to Monoj to hug him.

At that very moment a woman in sharee covering her face in long veil came out from the living room and stood before her.

“Who is she? Who is she, Manoj?”

Manoj looked at Mugdha with sadness.

“She is my love, and I am her lover. A lover who is getting defeated every moment”

“Tell me, Monoj, Who is she?” Mugdha’s fore head was filled with perspiration.

“She is my wife”

As if the cloud burst on a huge fire.  The night that was filled with so many beautiful dreams will get so distorted by the cruel rays of morning, was out of her imagination. Her whole body trembled. She could not hold her tears. She struggled to hold her composure. She felt betrayal. She has never imagined finding her helpless in such a situation. What to do and not do, she kept on looking at the woman and at Monoj in turns. She was perplexed; will she leave the place at once or ask a stern answer from Manoj. She kept silence. She controlled her tiding emotions. After a moment she looked at the woman. With broken voice she asked, “Will you not raise your veil? Will you not reveal your face before me ”

With this request, the woman tried to return back to the living room hastily.

“No, Mamata, this will be not right. She has come to see you”, said Manoj.

She turned back and stood there for a moment. Slowly she removed her veil from her face.
Mugdha, was shocked to see the face.



“What?! Like this! What happened to your face?”

“On the day of our marriage she was beautifully decorated as the bride. We were about to get married. When she was coming to the Mandap for the marriage, I heard the noise of a man – “ If I shall not have you, no one can never have you” – That man threw a whole bottle of  acid on her innocent face and left her burnt as a result of unsuccessful one sided love. The marriage was cancelled. The musical event became a chaos of horror. That event has stanched her beauty of her face. Many parts of her hand and chest are also burnt. She cannot properly lift her right hand. The eyelids of one eye is completely burnt. And with the other one she cannot see properly. Months together it took to save her life. Even though I left the job but I have never left her side. Relative from her side and my side have said many things and said to quit. But I have not. They have told since the marriage has not happened in reality, I can marry once again. But I have denied saying that if the event would have happened moment after our marriage, should I have left her. Why should I leave her alone now? Hence I have brought her here too live with me as my wife and she is my wife.  What not she have thought before the marriage, all her dreams to lead a beautiful life with her soul mate. I  am just living for her.  Trying to make her maiden dreams filled with reality. What she is of now is  result of  many plastic surgeries. Still I have not loosened any hope. She has always hid her face behind the veil and even always hid it from me. But she has always waited for me at this window for my return form office till late in the night. She has even seen in her faint vision from this window when you see me off in the afternoons at the apartment gate. She has never complained of your hugging.

But instead she had said, “You marry that beautiful Girl. Make your family. And leave me alone with myself. Please don’t suffer for whole life for me” She did not tell out of complexions even not shed a tear of emotions rather I have broken down in tears and have taken to her to my hearts with devotion.
I have no strength to ask of you this, But Will you not forgive me Mugdha?”

There were no words in store for Manoj; Mugdha kept on looking at Manoj. 

A moment after she turned towards Mamata. She could see  lines of tears rolled down from the distorted eyes down to the burnt lips of that innocent woman. She went near her and hugged her tight with her heart filled with compassionate emotions.


...................................................................................................................................................................

"The image is also clicked from the Magazine"




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Telling Tuan & Tuin story To Mili

Last time during Durga Puja, when I was on a holiday leave and was at Bhubaneswar with my parents, one of my cousin, his wife and their 3 yr old, Mili came to see me. Mili is altogether an innocent packet of joy, a lovely little girl and have a very sharp mind. As we all elders did our chitchatting, she seemed enjoying one or other object in the house. If she happens to touch some fragile kind of things, her mom use to give a occasional warning like............
No Mili No No...............wooo baya.
For almost every things in the house, her mom started saying wooo Baya (common phrase to frighten any little kids in Odiya Households). Poor girl didn't find anything to play, break or tear. She missed all the privileges she is used to at her home. She was then so bored that, she stared making faces and pinched her papa and said ,"Papa, Lets go home" many a times.
I felt sorry for the poor little angel and thought to cheer her up. I asked her,
"Baby want to listen a story?…

Hand Pump Ka Pani

Hand Pump Ka Pani - One Act Play in Hindi Place: Any Indian Reserve Forest Time: Present Age, Early Winter, Day time.




Characters:

    Yamini (Protagonist):  Age: 34. Is a house wife and but a botanist by passion. She loves nature and flowers. Dressed:  Kurta and leggings.

Dr. Bhaskar:  Age 31.  A Phd holder in English literature. He is a boastful person who thinks himself as Mr. Know all. Dressed: Track pant and T shirt.

Anju: Age. 25.  Is a modern girl. She is a Techie. She thinks herself as very beautiful. Dressed: Jeans and T shirt

Naveen: Age 27.  Is a sportive man and is a former body building champion and is a trekking guide. Dressed: 3/4th & T shirt

Sambhu: Age 21.  A college student and an admirer of Naveen. Dressed: 3/4th & T shirt

An Old Lady:  A mysterious woman. She is dressed in white, her hair dishevelled.
Props: Hand Pump. Image of an abandoned temple, forest Back Packs. (5 Nos) Scene: I Five of the characters enters the stage. All are tired and thirsty. They are lost in a deep …

Hunting Jankha

People In the villages of odisha, specifically of those in the coastal regions, strongly believe on 'Jankha'. Stories of existence and exploits of such creatures are heard with utmost curiosity. From street side gossip to bed time stories, Jankhas are popular everywhere.

What actually Jankhas are? In stories and gossips it is described as a short glowing monster made up of gold. It is said that they originate from the age old unclaimed treasures hidden beneath the ground. At night it emerges from ground and travel in search of other hidden treasures and make them as their part. They are harmless to all creatures except human, as humans try to capture them and convert them back again to lifeless gold and gemstones. It is said that if one successfully hunts down a Jankha, should drop freshly cut self blood over it which will then turn into a heap of treasure.But Jankhas have some kind of mysterious power by which they can fatally injure human. But Human beings are adventures, …

The Pani Puri Wala

Who doesn't like to eat Pani Puri, firm round yellow crispy puri made up of fried maida, filled with spicy mashed potato with tart water.... Wow!! only the thought of it fills mouth with water. Standing around the vendor with a small leaf plate in hand, waiting for the turn to be served again is something that everyone must have experienced. Generally called as Pani puri Wala, they are also with due respect referred as 'Bhaina' (Meaning Brother in Odiya) by college going girls. If given option, these girls will choose to live on only and only Pani Puri for life long, happily without any complaints. Boys too like it but not as the girls do. As a matter of fact I too had a great affinity for Pani Puri.

I have tasted many a times form different Pani Puri Walas in Bhubaneswar. But specifically I remember of one who sold in the market complex near our residence. His name was Basu. He was a fair lean and tall young man around 23 years. I was his regular customer and regular cust…

Murchana – The Melody of the Hills

I Murchana was the most silent girl in the engineering college. Hardly anyone could notice her, when she would pass by. Although everyone liked her, but she avoided company and preferred to remain confined to her melancholic world. She was a short innocent girl from a tribal district of Orissa and was fairly average at studies. She was never the subject of discussion in the college or in the hostel, as she was nowhere near the realm of those categories of students who were always the point of discussion, gossip or admiration. It was only in the 3rd year, she started becoming free. Though it was very rare, to see her face lit up with a smile. But whenever she did, I couldn’t help admiring her beauty. More or less I started secretly liking her and always searched for an opportunity to start a brief talk with her. Every time I approached her for anything, she would welcome me with a smile. By the beginning of 4th year we became very close friends and batch mates tagged us “The Silent Pai…

Mandan and Ubhayabharati

It is an extract from Ubhyabharati By Nabakisore Raj. Originally written in Odiya Language I have tried my best to reflect the thoughts of the author in English. Wish all of you a nice reading.

Mandan Mishra & Ubhyabharati were renowned figures during the times of Sankaracharya and were known the for their peerless knowledge on vedic scriptures.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Everyone in the family was happy in the proposal of the marriage for Mandan. 
Mandan has never perfectly seen Ubhayabharti. She occasionally comes for a visit to her brother’s house and returns after staying for few days. It was strict instruction from Gurudev. A brahamchari should never see a woman’s face. And Mandan strictly followed the instructions.

He has only seen her hurrying feet under the beautiful pink or blue ghagra. Those beautiful pair of feet painted with red alata, decorated with a pair of paaunji, makes one think of…

In Love with a Monk

It was month Sravana, the city of Mathura was looking like a young maiden as if blushing at her own beauty. The night sky was lit up with a crescent moon, playing hide and seek with the dark clouds. The moist sweet breeze from east blew the tender branches of the trees. But that doesn’t make any difference to the saffron clad, hair shaved, tall young monk. He only knew what the enlightened taught.
‘What ever be the situation treat it equally, for nothing lasts for ever. Behold Dhamma, it will show you the path’. And he held it above his esteem. Where ever he went, the crowd admired his words, respected him, showered flower in his paths. But the enlightened had taught him, ‘Upagupta never ever remain in that place where you get much respect’. So he has traveled so long to this city. The city, which was new to him, so as he to the city. He have walked for days with little food. Though tiered physically, but his conscience was alert and active. He thought to rest for a while, and began …

Hotel Kabristan View

What??!! Hotel Kabristan (Cemetery) View? Yes it’s true, when I got down from the bus at Hyderabad at 4 am in the night, a cheerful autoriksaw driver was there at the doors and asked “Auto Sir?”“Yup”“Where?”“Some hotel nearby, any budget hotel.”He gave me a ride to a hotel in Afzal Nagar. It was like any other, standard hotel. I booked a room and the room was No 303. As I have opted for a non A/c room, so no sooner I went inside the room, than I switched on the fan and opened the window. As I opened the window, what I see, was huge cemetery, with small big tombs of dead souls visible under the mercury lamp post. I became restless. Although I was not afraid; a grown up man am I; but I was.I thought people opt for hotelsWith lake viewBeach viewValley ViewBut my hotel gave me a Cemetery view, and that was not incredible.It was still dark then, I was just wanted to leap on the bed and sleep. But sleeping was impossible, with a closed window, and it was also impossible with an open window e…