Dumbstruck7 mins 145 7 mins 145
I was unable to comprehend what I was listening to. I was awestruck for a moment. I did not realize what was happening to me. Was it real or was it not. Is she really deaf and dumb? Is that the reason she messaged me not to talk and only messages, at the first instance itself. Was I such a fool that I could not understand. I was ok to remain silent and express through the eyes, now when the reality dawned why is that mind is unable to digest. Was love at first sight a misnomer? Did I still love her or in the mess of reality and dream was I sandwiched. Am I questioning myself of the decision or facing reality. When I was thinking through this Lakshmi patted me, and asked by shaking her hands what are you thinking of. Words did not roll from my mouth. I was not even sure what Lakshmi has said to her father and sister. Has she introduced me as her boy friend, whom she is in love with, or as just as a friend? Never I had asked about this. Suddenly I am put in front of her father and sister. It was like when the tap was opened assuming that it is cold water it turned to be hot. I was dumb for a moment. What an Irony I thought, she is dumb, unable to speak, and I am dumb due to the circumstances. She was great, as she did not hide anything with her family. Everyone in the family has known me. What a way to live I thought. She can always live with pride.
Lakshmi Sister Radha asked me, If have come to see the deity too. I stood there for a second in silence. I was not sure which deity? She then says to her father and Lakshmi let us proceeds towards the temple, as we have to finish praying the God before they arrive.
I also slowly move towards the sanctum sanctorum along with them. I was confused if I should be the by the side of father sister or Lakshmi. Slowly I put myself between Radha and Lakshmi. A few minutes we walk in silence.
My mind started asking who are they? Whom are they waiting for, what is happening. I muster courage to ask .
I ask Radha whom are they meeting with. Radha Says lets pray God first and then I will tell you. Since I insisted she says that a family is coming to see Lakshmi for their son Ramesh. He is also coming along with them.
I felt a sigh of relief. I do not know why. But it looked like a heavy weight in my head was reduced. But my heart started questioning if it was a right feeling. Nevertheless this decision of calling somebody was not my decision it is her family decision hence I thought perhaps Lakshmi is not in the mood to love me. If so why did she say so many things about my eyes. I was not sure.
But on the other hand I was also thinking if they had said that we have come here to discuss about marriage with you, whether I would have accepted after knowing that she was deaf and dumb.
I pray God Anjaneya and thank him for giving me a big relief. Else I would have been in a confused state. I have not even revealed to my family that I have a girl friend and I have loved her. All of us pray and take Prasad. We come out of the temple.
Lakshmi takes her mobile out and texts to me.
“While I was standing in front of the Lord, I could not think of anything but for your Eyes. Im sure God will show me the right path”.
Nothing else was written. She perhaps would have expected a response to that message; I smiled and shrugged it off, as fingers were reluctant to type anything at that juncture.
We come out of the temple. A gentleman waves to father of Lakshmi from a distance where four of them were sitting on a portico. Perhaps Mother father Son and daughter I thought so. Lakshmi’s father waves his hand too and all of us reach the portico.
The Gentleman on the opposite side asks about me, perhaps they have already known each other as family before coming to see the Girl, Or photographs and family details perhaps would have been exchanged already. Even before I utter, Lakshmi starts telling in sign language but before that Radha says our family friend who had come to visit the temple.
I could see Ramesh was very smart; he had come neatly dressed, would be about 6ft tall, and wore spectacles too. Peeping through the spectacles I felt that perhaps he has lost sight of one of his eyes.
Lakshmi's father places both his hands on the shoulders of Lakshmi and signals to them this is the girl. He also takes a bunch of certificates and news paper clippings where she had topped the district in tenth standard. In the meantime Radha talks about her sister and says she is the best lady on earth. She says she can paint extremely well, and she also shows an interview which was published in a newspaper of she having sold the paintings and donated the money to NGO for child welfare. She says she has given her exams for Graduation in the current year and she in all probability will be university topper in B. Com as her marks in the first two years represented such numbers. She also says she has done this in the absence of our mother who died when we were really young and the entire household work was taken care of by my lovely sister.
I slowly call Radha by the side and ask her, what’s the boy doing, as they had not revealed anything. Radha says that the boy’s details were already with them. He was 30 years old and serving as an officer in a Nationalized Bank, he was an eye blind due to accident, and was a divorcee too.
Laskhmis Papa asks them if they have liked his daughter, everyone of them look at the other and looked like a general consensus prevailed and give a signal as though everyone liked her.
Lakshmi was restless, she tells to Radha through action, just reveal that too, and do not hide. People from the other side of the family were not sure what it was; they perhaps felt that Lakshmi did not like the boy.
The mother asks Lakshmi Did you like the boy, and if you do not like the boy there are no issues.
She waves her hand and says to signal, no not that ,not that.
For a moment, the entire group was in silence, but Laskhmi still pestered Radha, that she reveals. My palpitation started increasing, I was sweating, was she talking about our affair. But we never had expressed each other of our love hence there was no chance of Lakshmi talking about me I thought. Still I did have my own worries and I was waiting for the things to close positively.
Radha then tells to them,
Lakshmi was raped when she was coming from the college when she was in standard twelve. Some crooks raped her. She feels that you people should know this information. She does not want to hide this from you all. Post which she stopped her studies for three years as she was bullied in the college, and she went into a long depression for three years. She underwent medical treatment for the same. Later Papa decides to admit her at college in Guntakal instead of Anantapur . And she will be graduating in the current year.
Once this was revealed, there was pin drop silence. I too did not know how to react, as much as the other family too. The family which said, that they were ok, slowly started whispering, and the mother of the son , says give us a days time for us to think through and get back.
Lakshmi held her head high, with a great pride; she smiled at them, touches the feet of their parents, and shakes hand with the other two, as all of them depart. Lakshmi’s father looked worried. She goes and pats her father as if not to worry. He hugs her in his arms and wipes his tears off.
I stand there watching the scene in awe.
To be contd.