A Secret Wedding
A Secret Wedding
“Why people don’t like me, why always they fume to even look at my face. No, I didn’t do anything wrong to anybody, but why? But why? But why?” this is the question that kept buzzing on Madhavi’s head. She knew she wasn’t crazy, but she had lost peacefulness a long way back. Maybe it was three hundred days ago when she had a moment to smile that too a costly smile. Yes, her brother Badri had brought a gold chain to present for her first wedding anniversary. She didn’t smile because she got the gold chain, perhaps this was the first time her brother had come to see her after the wedding. It happened secretly, she didn’t invite her family. Even if she did, they wouldn’t have attended. Her parents still hate her. They can forgive anything she had done, except one thing. What was that?
There was a knock on the door, only one knock, just to let know that I’m gonna enter. The door opened slowly but there was a cheerful roar came in from the next apartment, the children were watching replay of IPL on TV. The cook jerked back as if someone is going to catch her. You can see the fear in her face. The fear of confronting a lady who was bedridden for two weeks now. Yesterday she asked Madhavi for two days' leave to go to her native, but Madhavi didn’t accept. When the cook tried to evade at 2 am today Madhavi stood behind the main door just like a ghost. The cook’s ears trembled and drove back, not speaking a word.
“Madam, have some breakfast, I brought ghee roast dosa for you. Your favorite dish in the morning,” the cook said, her voice was low like a buzzing bee. Madhavi heard but she didn’t reply.
The cook felt nauseating because the reeking smell came out of this bedroom. She wanted to clean it up, but Madhavi didn’t let her do it. When the cook couldn’t stand here anymore, placed the plate on the table next to the bed and turned back towards the door. But a sudden thick voice tied her feet on the ground.
“Stay here, don’t go away.”
The cook took a deep breath and gulped down.
“Do you want to live or die?”
What was the question? Everyone wanted to live a peaceful life.
“I want to live,” the cook said.
“Okay, if you can answer my question, I’ll let you live,” Madhavi said, wiping a tear from her left eye. She wasn’t yet ready for the breakfast. She still snuggled down into the blanket. Her head was tossed aside on the pillow. Her right index finger was swirling around her mobile phone.
The cook wants to get out of this home as soon as possible. But things were getting worse as days passed. It had been five days since she had gone to her house. She was forty-two years old but didn’t get married. She worked as a cook at least fifteen houses earlier but never faced a fearful situation like this.
“Tell me, madam.”
There was a long pause. Only the pressure cooker whistle sound heard from the other house, the aroma of chicken soup didn’t last long with the awful stench in the room.
“Should I kill you or not?”
The cook’s head was shaking now, out of terrible fear. Until now, she had some confidence that she can leave today at any cost, but after hearing this, she had lost all the hope she had.
God, please save me from this psycho, the cook’s eyes told.
“No mam, you shouldn’t. I have done all the good things for you. You should never think like that. Please leave me, mam. I’ll get out of here. I want to take care of my mother who is suffering from lung cancer.” The cook said in a shaky voice.
“Ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa……..” Madhavi’s arrogant laugh echoed fiercely in the room.
The cook didn’t wish to talk anymore; she sprung out and tried to close the door. But it was late, Madhavi tossed out of the bed like the hidden tiger to attack a deer, she caught the left hand of the cook, whose heart was beating like a drum now.
There was no more talk. A sharp knife had tasted the oozing blood of the cook. The left hand was severed.
“Have a good day, my dear,” Madhavi said slowly as looked at the cook who lost so much blood and feeling drowsy. She didn’t dare to respond. She knew she is in hell and can’t escape just like that.
“Madam, leave me….leave me….” The words came out slowly like drizzles in the monsoon.
Madhavi brought a bunch of cotton from the drawer and wiped the blood caressingly like a nurse. The fear had not gone yet, thick beads of sweat formed on the cook’s forehead and crawling down to her neck.
“But why………………..” Madhavi shrieked like a flash of sudden lightning. The cook crawled back as if she was going to cut off her head now.
Madhavi started crying, “Why I’m behaving like this? What happened to me?” She looked at the cook benevolently and continued, “I’m sorry Janani Akka for what I did. No, I shouldn’t have behaved like this. No, I shouldn’t….I shouldn’t,” she bobbed her head sideways as said.
The cook didn’t reply but looked at her doubtfully. She knew her life was half gone already, if she stayed here even one day, her dead body only go out of this house. She went out and bolted outside. Madhavi didn’t resist her and came back to the bed and looked outside the window as if she had never seen the swaying coconut trees in the garden before.
Her phone rang the ringtone from Minsara Kanavu movie. Poo pookkum oosai, the favorite song she always liked to listen. A sweet memory quickly passed in her mind. The day when her boyfriend proposed to her for the first time. She can never forget this day even if she died. She was sitting next to her friend Rishita and talking about the project after just came out of the discussion room. Twenty members of a strong team in the company. Nandu (to be her boyfriend) also was part of her team. He had joined the company the same day Madhavi had joined. It had been ten years now. But they both had never talked to each other. Not even a Hi. On the first day, when she introduced herself to him in the canteen while taking lunch together, he didn’t reply to her at all. He avoided her all the time. When the project lead put Madhavi and Nandu in the same project, Nandu talked to the senior manager and restrained from the project. That really had hurt Madhavi and that same day when everyone got boarded in the bus she went to Nandu and spoke “What are you thinking about you, ha? Why the fuck you get out of the project? Do you think you are a Romeo? You little bast…….” The other employees didn’t interrupt but only starred at her for speaking like that. But still, there was no response from Nandu. He just put on the earphones and listened to the music.
Angry Mandhavi left the place, sighing. Probably this was the first and last time Madhavi had talked to him. They don’t even see each other. This continued for about five years. On the successful five years completion of job, the company had recognized them and gifted a beautiful portrait along with ten thousand cash reward. The team members demanded them to give a treat, but both of them rejected bluntly because they didn’t want to see each other. The next year, management had asked both of them to work together on a project as their skillset needed such collaboration. If Nandu or Madhavi wanted to say no to it, the management was ready to fire both of them. It was a game-changer project for the company. Madhavi said no straightaway. But Nandu said okay only if Madhavi won’t talk with her throughout the project. Madhavi first hesitated then took it as a challenge. To everyone’s surprise, they both collaborated without talking to each other and successfully delivered the project to the client who was delighted about the outcome and praised them immensely. Madhavi or Nandu’s interactions came only through emails, that too they won’t address their names or end with best regards or whatever. They strictly post the content and get a reply. No chit-chats, period.
One day, Madhavi wondered sitting on the balcony, sipping a coffee on Sunday morning, watching the sunrise. There was some unknown happiness that sprang up in her soul, her eyes were colorful and emitting happiness like radiation. Such vivacity she had never met in her life. Thinking all day about Nandu. She knew she had some special feeling for Nandu, but she didn’t want to tell him. Days passed. Her relentless passion for him increased steadily day by day. But Nandu didn’t show any additional care towards her. She knew he is a rigid person as if she didn’t exist in his world at all.
Tuck… tuck…. knock on the door. Madhavi didn’t open the door. Her mind flooded with her memories about Nandu. If anyone dared to disturb, she was going to beat them for sure. She adored him all the time like God. But what happened suddenly, why she was like this? A Pyscho?
“Madam, open the door,” The police on the other side. The cook managed to escape this terrible house. She was admitted in the hospital. She didn’t tell to police about Madhavi, but the neighborhood lady who was close to her asked her stubbornly. The cook disclosed the incident to her, who in turn informed to the police.
Madhavi turned her face, disgusted. She bellowed a sharp cry.
“Fuuuucccckkkkkkk you, get out of here.”
The police were taken aback by her perverse behavior and forcefully opened the door to go inside. They remanded her in police custody and let her take rest for two days. Actually, the doctor who examined her asked the police to give rest to her since she wasn’t recovered yet from the mental trauma. The police had asked why she was mentally affected. But the doctor said that it’s better to ask this question to a psychiatrist. When they brought a psychiatrist all that she told him was Nandu….Nandu…..Nandu.
“Who is Nandu?” the psychiatrist asked the inspector, Guna. He wiped the sweat from his head with the kerchief. It took more than three days to get this response from her. That too he had to give her a shock treatment (Electroconvulsive therapy). He wasn’t supposed to do this, but he felt useless otherwise.
“Nandu is her husband. This information we got from the cook. Did she reveal anything? Like why she was mentally upset?” The inspector was eager to know about her.
The psychiatrist took a deep breath and looked at his eyes, “No, so far I can’t conclude. She is mentally very upset to speak anything with others. She looks at everyone with fear as if they are going to torment her. In fact, she had cut the cook’s hand in her defense.”
“But…….” Guna ran his forefinger on his nose and closed his eyes for a moment.
“Tell me, Mr. Guna,” the psychiatrist said.
“I don’t know if it helps much. The cook said Nandu ran away from home two weeks before. Maybe that would be the reason?”
“No way, sorry to say it up front,” the psychiatrist said and continued in a bold voice, “From my fifteen years of service I can clearly say that she was not mentally ill because her husband left her. It was hard to accept that fact, but it won’t create such a severe mental disorder for her. Of course, it would have hurt her badly. But not like she became a psycho or behaves abnormally overnight. I hope you understand my point,” he averted his eyes on Madhavi who sat in a chair untidily, “There would be some strong reason behind this case, hopefully, I need a few days more to know this.”
“But are you sure you can get this done in two days?” Guna said he was feeling displeased about the progress of this case. He thought he can close it today after his report.
“To be frank, I don’t know. It may take one day or one year, who knows she may not speak for years also,” he said, “But let’s try.”
Nandu and Madhavi had gone to the beach and had a wonderful night. It was Madavi’s long dream to see the full moon by sitting on the beach and lacing her hand around her husband’s waist. They both got married after ten years of a successful journey in their company. It was a big surprise that Nandu had visited Madhavi’s cubicle and gave a file with a gift. She was about to drop the gift on the floor unnoticed, but Nandu caught it and handed it to her. She watched it without any expression as if it was something related to the project. He gestured to her to open the gift.
“Will you marry me?” Nandu said softly, not looking into her eyes though.
The gift that he had given to her was the beautiful Barbie doll, which said yes my dear love. Madhavi was surprised and thrown to heaven by God’s touch. Have you waited for ten years to speak such words with me? That’s really crazy, she thought. But her joy was boundless and she didn’t know what to respond. She finally hugged him. The officers clapped as looked at them from their cubicles. The next Sunday they got married inviting all the employees, except Madhavi’s parents who refused their relationship bluntly.
“Such a beautiful night, my dear,” Madhavi said to Nandu. The breeze was slightly heavy as her hair swayed in front of her face. The waves were crashing to the sand relentlessly.
“I love you, my dear,” Nandu said.
A tear escaped from Madhavi’s left eye, “I am sorry, I couldn’t bear your child.” Her embryo got aborted last week. It was only three months back her pregnancy was confirmed by a doctor. But there was no reason why it was suddenly aborted. Their dreams shattered. She couldn’t even have the courage to see his face. Tears rolled down. Nandu held her head as wiped the tears with his index finger.
“Hey, don’t cry baby. You don’t think about it always. God surely bless us to have another baby. Don’t worry,” he said caressingly. He was sad too, but he didn’t show it to her. His heart only knew how much pain he took in his stride.
They left home after having dinner in a hotel. They ate dosas and some mango juice. They returned late at eleven-thirty, the cook was staying inside the home. She usually locks the house and handover the key to the neighbor lady before leaving, but today she stayed.
The door was opened.
“You didn’t go home?” Nandu asked.
“No sir, I was feeling tired to go home, so slept here,” the cook said to him.
Nandu went to the bathroom and washed his face. The cook started preparing milk for Mahdavi as she usually drinks at night.
“I don’t want milk today. If you already prepared it, give it to Nandu,” Madhavi said and sprang to the bedroom, feeling exhausted.
When Nandu came out of the bathroom, a sudden swing of the bat hit on the back of his head, patttt……pattttttt . Blood dribbled on the floor like a leaking tap. He immediately fell on the floor unconscious.
“Check if he is alive,” the cook said to a man who stood like the trunk of a tree.
The sturdy man placed his finger under Nandu’s nose and announced in a low voice, “He is dead.”
“That’s a good shot. Put the body in the sack and drop it in the sea. Go now,” the cook instructed him in a whispering tone.
She took a coconut in her hand and walked to the bedroom cautiously.
The door creaked open slowly, but Madhavi was already in deep sleep. She hit her on the back of her head forcefully, but not a drop of blood was seen. God knew what really happened to her.
The big guy had left the house with the dead body of Nandu and tossed him in the sea. He was a fisherman and he knew exactly where to throw so that sharks can catch it.
The cook woke up suddenly from the hospital bed as if she had told everything to the police, fear lurked behind her eyes. Her bosom heaved up and down. She looked around and gulped water from the tumbler. Then fell on the bed to sleep again with confidence that nobody can find what she did.
But God knew, lady!