Amol kept staring at the photo of the girl. She is hot! He said to himself. A perfect match, his cousin-sister would say. He knows he is handsome and he deserves a hot chick too.
Or is she hot? She has definitely that forehead of Snigdha. But does she manage to get those thin, fine lines on them while laughing, brows lifted? Does she sway like Snigdha when she has got those lines? Ah! this girl has got that mild uppish curve on her lower lip. Does her lips look like that of a conchshell when she presses them together -- as in Snigdha?
He minimised the window as his colleague, actually a minor boss, passed behind him. Though he doesn’t care if his office gets to know that he is getting married and is a paid member in all matrimony sites, but he is doing this for the last one year. People must be laughing at his back. They don't dare in front of him. He has this image of a weirdo in his office, though he doesn't know why.
His funda in life is very clear. He would have girlfriends, if possible more than one, but he is not going to marry any of them. He doesn’t love any of them. he is in fact, incapable of loving anyone. He trusts arranged marriages. It’s all arranged. It’s an agreement and he loves the concept of not getting overburdened by love. He doesn’t mind responsibility but not when it’s heavy with the burden of love. Not at this age. He is thirty, definitely not a virgin with any belief in loyalty either.
Hidden in his cubicle, Amol maximizes the window again. Yes, this chick is hot! He got to express interest.
“Dear Mr. xxxx, we liked your daughter yyy’s profile. If you are interested in our son’s profile, please get in touch at this email id or call us at ****** between @@@ and %%%.
//// Amol’s (the prospective groom’s father)”
Amol quickly writes the mail and clicks the send button. Who’s next?
Well, a cigarette may be. If this girl falls for the bait, he will meet her like the one he is meeting this week. It’s always a great fun to meet unknown girls and talk about their past love life, “did you ever had a relationship,” he would suddenly throw at her. He loves to see what follows. He sometimes tags Anando with him and introduce him to the girl as some old college friend who he bumped across just now and who can be ignored while talking about serious issues like future ...
Anando is the epitome of an ambitionless life. He is ready to go with you to any place you want him to take. He will sit like an afghan hound at the same spot where you leave him. Patient, motionless. He will drink his chicken soup with the same indifference as he sips his roadside tea. He will smoke his cheap cigarette with the same expression as he smokes cigar. He is the strangest and sweetest creature Amol has ever seen. When asked what’s his goal in life, Anando will answer with a bright face, “Enlightenment!”
“What the fuck is that?”
Anando will wear that all-knowing smile, “not for you immature. You will have to take many more births before you ever come to realize what it is, looks like this is your first human birth from the animal form … it’s not a concept for you. Enjoy the world as it is … this suits you.”
Amol would burst out in laughter … “Anando, see that girl? Did you notice her big boobies?”
“any human body is a depository of excreta and piss … says my guru …,”
He comes to the verandah of his windowless office. From the spot where he is standing at the sixteenth floor, the view is faboulous. You can see the city, the sea, the vessels -- both commercial and that of armed navy. Taking their photos is strictly prohibited and if caught in the act, while on the boat visiting the ancient caves at that distant island, you will be pulled down on the army speedboats and punished.
The beauty is, any damn guy can just fire a rocket from a handheld rocket-launcher on those Army ships from this spot where he is standing. Funny!
While smoking his sixteenth cigarette for the day at 2 pm, he is suddenly reminded of his mom’s call. Apparently his father is taking undue advantage of the neighbours. That his son is a television journalist with a reputed English channel has an immense impact in his locality back home. Thanks to cable television, people in that small, sleepy, bitchy town see him frequently in television! He is the pride of his town. According to the last unconfirmed report, one small kid has confessed, he wants to be a ‘Amol Sarkar’ when he grows up, at the annual cultural function of the locality. He has become famous at the place where it matters the most. He is famous in his small, sleepy, bitchy town.
And he has attained the marriageable age too.
His father is precisely taking that advantage. According to his mother’s call last night, his father goes out for morning walk, now regularly and comes back home only late in the morning. On his way, he will have tea at atleast three houses along with parathas, luchis, sondesh and other delicacies. All thanks to the troubled fathers of different girls who must now be married off. He doesn’t refuse when a person invites him for a quick tea and five minutes of chat. After having his brunch at that place, he doesn’t refuse the other person too, waiting for him to pass through the road absent-mindededly, for a quick coffee and for a light talk on today’s politics.
Within the age bracket of tTwenty-one to thirty-two all the girls are acceptable for Amol, his father had one professed in a club meeting. And he also announced his intention to get Amol settled at the turn of the next year. Calls and photos started pouring in and increased exponentially. At the age of fifty-seven, Amol’s father spends his night watching the nubile eighteen to thirty-threes, hundreds of them, for his son … late, very late at night, often skipping the sleep for the morning walk. Most of the time he sleeps after coming home from his healthy morning walks. With a full stomach, the voluntary-retired public sector clerk starts snoring like an animal. At least two hundred eyes of the fathers of hundred girls are fixed on him. Like a central banker who gives rate hike hint and the market reacts, he throws wordy hints and the world around him is thrown into chaos. He wished he fathered five more boys like Amol. Noh, his wife was not game. Bitch!
Amol knows his father’s nature. This man loves to pamper people with a hope that he will be pampered back. There is no difference between a kid and his father. This man never took a responsibility in his life. His duty towards the family started and ended with giving the money to run the family for the month. Amol doesn’t love his father. Only that his hatred for him has reached such a level that he has started pitying him.
His mother though, is a different human being altogether. she is made of steel, or possibly tougher material than the world has discovered so far. She has an indomitable spirit and is as immovable as Himalayas.
But Amol doesn’t want to spoil the fun of his father. Just a few years back, he was after the same girls. He had a reputation of being a dirty character, that of a playboy. As it happens with a person who has got a reputation of a playboy, he never got a chance to play with anyone. His proposals were turned down with a rebuff and often leveled as sleaze.
The same parents would give him a dirty look and shut the windows or snap the curtains when he used to pass near their houses. It’s a sweet revenge that he is taking through his father. God is there for sure.
He knows he will marry none of the girl from his locality. He would marry someone whom he ‘arranged.’ That’s why he is in every matrimony site and spends at least two hours of his time checking his prospective brides. Anando, his roommate is at the receiving end of his obsession. Anando calls Amol a Psycho.
Actually, he got one chance in his life to live up to his reputation. But he never could play with Snigdha –the only girl he ever loved, ever worshipped and the only human being who ever understood Amol. Even now, Amol’s criterion for the girl she plans to settle down with in life is that she should have traits of Snigdha. Whenever she sees a girl’s photo, Snigdha’s smiling, innocent face flashes in front of him. He searches for that same hint of sparking laughing eyes in those photos.
Some girls matched that criterion and he went to meet them at cafeterias, tugging along Anando with him.
Snigdha and Amol were in college together when they decided they must tell their parents about the relationship.
When he broke the story at the dining table, Amol’s father immediately congratulated him. But his mother’s face darkened. Snigdha was from the same town. In a small town like theirs, everybody knows everybody else and his mother had seen Snigdha growing up. She was easily one of the most beautiful girls in and around and was a lovable character. But she was suffering from an ailment, a seemingly incurable one. Snigdha had a small hole in her heart.
His mother put her foot down. Amol didn’t eat for the whole of next day. His mother tried to reason with him but Amol didn’t speak a word to her. in the evening his mother came to him, crying.
“Amol, eat something.”
“I can’t give you permission beta, she is a good girl but she is a patient.”
Amol kept silent.
“Amol, listen to me. I pray to you … forget her my son. Anybody but her Amol.”
“But Mom, I love her.”
“And we love you Amol, you are our only son.” His mother broke down hugging Amol.
Amol went to meet Snigdha the next week. At the bank of the Ganges, Amol told her he cannot continue. Snigdha kept staring at him with her round, bright, surprised eyes. Like a calf at the loss of her mother, her eyes were wide-opened , terrified … she kept looking at Amol but couldn’t say anything. She was speechless, Amol, the only person she ever loved, the only person for whom she can give her life, the only image that is there in her mind is leaving her! She kept staring in disbelief at Amol’s brooding face struggling to avoid any eye contact with her. Tears rolled down her cheeks but she couldn’t cry. Her voice was choked.
Amol left her there. When he was starting his motorcycle, his criminal mind was flashing the last interaction with his parents on this issue.
He remembers, that evening, after some high drama, his mother started smiling at him. Lifting his face she kissed Amol ‘s forehead.
“If that makes you happy Amol. I know you are made after me. I know you will always remain faithful to any thought that has come into your illogical mind.
I wish you luck boy. Be happy. I promise I will keep Snigdha as my own daughter. We will give her a good treatment that her family cannot afford now. I have no issues if you marry her even now. You are our only son. We can take care of you very well. Perhaps people will say bad things, especially as you are unemployed. But do we really care son?
Go … do whatever makes you happy. Always be faithful to your heart. Go son, go, bring my daughter home.”
That’s when his father entered.
“Hey, Amol! I heard that girl has a hole in her heart? You are crazy or what boy? Who wants a patient as a partner? Leave her … as if there is any dearth of women in this world … huh! Girl who can breathe even without nose! Huh! Crazy diseases you have got today! What will people say? Your friends, who are sympathizing with you now will start making fun of you after some time. You will become a widower at the day of your marriage, I tell you, how about that? All I thought was that my son picked up a girl for himself and now I don’t have to worry … okay listen you Amol’s mother, I will be late … we have the semi final of bridge competition at the club. For god’s sake, eat your dinner and don’t wait for me … unless of course, if you want to hear how I again won this match … ha ha.”
The last scene continued to flash repeatedly in front of him. Amol didn’t have the power to look back. He could feel the vacant stare of Snigdha rushing to engulf him in nothingness. He accelerated fast to take the first corner that came his way. He started hating his father. He started realizing, for the first time, that he is not entirely fashioned after his mother. His blood has coward gene in it. He started hating himself. He wanted to kill his father for passing that faulty gene of his to him.
Snigdha passed away after two years, may be of a broken heart. Amol’s hatred towards his father peaked into indifference.
watch out for her story. this time for sure.