Read #1 book on Hinduism and enhance your understanding of ancient Indian history.
Read #1 book on Hinduism and enhance your understanding of ancient Indian history.

Sudha Narasimhachar

Drama


4.8  

Sudha Narasimhachar

Drama


Late But Sweet!

Late But Sweet!

13 mins 235 13 mins 235


Ananthu got a call from the hospital that Guru, his elder brother, suffered a heart attack. Ananthu rushed to the hospital. He turned emotional and nostalgic, as he sat in the hospital lounge.


His mother, before her death, called all her children and said, “My dears, I will not live long. I led a very fruitful life and all of you kept me very happy. But I am very much worried about Guru. Today, he is fit and fine. But what after a few years? He needs a companion. You all should not let him live alone. Take care of him”.


Ananthu was in his intermediate course. Guru was pursuing B.Com in the same college. Guru was a very bright student. He was sincere, obedient and studious. So, he would spend long hours in the beautiful, huge library, after finishing his classes. Ananthu was bright too but not very studious. He did not want to miss the fun of youth. Thus, immediately after classes, Ananthu would set out with a bunch of his classmates to enjoy Mysore and its birds.


It was on one such evening, that Ananthu spotted that beauty, the girl in a light blue half-saree with a long black plait! “Look at her hair!”, said Ananthu to his friends. They all turned around and looked at her back. “‘Wow”! He could not forget that beauty!


The exams were nearing. “Ananthu, where do you loiter till eight in the night? Do you remember the exams are just around the corner?”said his father. “I spend time in the library Appa”, said Ananthu sheepishly, while Guru gave him a dirty look and asked, “Which library my dear brother?”  


“City Central Library. There are very good books there”.


“Oh, so our library has all bad books!" said Guru sarcastically.


On the next day, Ananthu entered the library. He went around looking for Guru first, instead of looking for a book. He spotted Guru. And who is that beside him? Ananthu went closer and was stunned to see that girl, the long plaited angel. He did not know girls from the college next door also used this library! He had wasted two precious years. His spirits rose and he quickly grabbed an Economics textbook and sat right opposite to Guru and that girl. His heart was thumping loud and Economics was off his mind. He made sure Guru looked up at him!


Since that day, Ananthu went to the library regularly. Guru and that girl too would be there. ‘Was she coming because of Guru?’ Ananthu doubted. But he never saw them talking to each other.  


It was a Saturday. Classes closed by two. Ananthu was hungry. He would normally run home to have a quick lunch and then go out with his friends. But, now his routine had changed. He had to go to the library. He went to Gundappa’s hotel nearby, which was the students’ favourite hang-out. As he sat with his masala dosa, he heard Guru’s voice and turned back. He was stunned to see Guru and that girl chit-chatting. Ananthu started sweating. He quietly gulped his dosa and went home.  


 Firstly, he was disappointed that the girl, whom he wanted to court was his brother’s friend. Secondly, Guru, the good and obedient boy, had a girlfriend!   


Ananthu started observing Guru closely since that day. Guru always went out on Sunday afternoons. One Sunday, Ananthu followed him stealthily. He saw Guru enter that huge mansion. Ananthu slowly reached that gate and saw the name board, ‘Jagadish Reddy, B.A., LL.B’, Advocate. After some time, Guru walked out with that angel happily.


Ananthu went home. He was shocked. That girl’s family knows Guru. But nobody in Guru’s family know about this affair. Ananthu felt very cheated and angry. He felt sorry for his parents, who were so simple and trusted Guru so much. How could he do such a thing?


 Guru had completed his B.Com with flying colours. His father very proudly said, “Ananthu, see what Guru has achieved. Rajeeva could not complete his degree. You are lucky. You must use the opportunity. Don’t loaf around with your useless friends all the time”.  


Ananthu’s face reddened. He wanted to break the news to his father. But he had no guts. He had to wait for the right moment.  


“What are you planning to do further Guru?” asked his father.


“I want to pursue law Appa.”


‘Oh, right! You love law! I know why you are interested in law’, said Ananthu in his mind.    


“I am very happy for you today Guru”.


Guru met Anandi. “I am very happy that I have reached the milestone for which we both were waiting so eagerly. Your father promised to speak to my parents after I complete my B.Com. I have also hinted to Appa about my plans to pursue law. You have just a year to go. Study well Anandi”, replied Guru.


Anandi and Guru spent the day, watching ‘Chitchor’ and dining at Gundappa hotel. Their dating spots were limited - Gundappa Hotel, the park near the palace, the college library, liberty cinema occasionally and of course, each other’s hearts. Guru was in fact scared to break the news to his parents, as they were very orthodox Brahmins and would be shocked by his selection. But, since he had always been a ‘good son’ in their eyes, he thought they would eventually accept.  


“When will you speak to your parents Guru? I am really worried.”


“Shortly Anandi. Don’t worry. Nothing can come in the way of our relationship. I can think of no other girl in my life. You are my love of life”.


Anandi gave him a neatly gift-wrapped book. “What’s this Anandi? Do we need such external aids to show our love for each other?”


“Guru! I just wanted to make this day a special day for you. That’s all. Open it and see.”


Guru opened the wrap and it was an English translation of Kalidasa’s Shaakuntala. Guru was touched.  


“Guru, this is the best love story that I always liked. It shows how a girl smitten by love forgets the whole world and how much she suffers when her lover denies to recognise her. I wish and pray we both are never separated.”


It was a Sunday. Kamalu athe of Kollegal landed on that day, with her daughter Anuradha. 


“Bhimanna, now that Guru has finished his degree, don’t you want to get him married? Rajeeva is married and settled. Latha too is married. Hema is still young. I want to propose Anuradha for Guru. You know how difficult it is for an uneducated widow to run a family and take care of a teenage girl. I hope you remember Amma’s words.”


Bhima Rao was taken aback by this sudden proposal. Yes. Of course, he remembered. His mother told him, “My child. Kamalu has had an unfair life. She did not study and we got her married very young. Her husband died when Anuradha was just 3 years old. Since then, she has been leading a very tough life. You have 5 sons. When Anuradha grows up, help Kamalu Athe by getting her married to one of your sons.”   


“Let’s see Kamalu. I should consult Guru too. These days, marriages are not that easy. I will speak to him.”


  That night, Appa spoke to him about the proposal. Guru was very mature and wise and did not want to give his father a jolt at that moment. He just said, “Appa, I want to study further and don’t you think it would be too late for Anuradha to wait until I complete my law and settle down?”


He somehow evaded the discussion on that day. But he was tense as to how he would tell his parents. He met Anandi as usual on that Sunday and they were walking along the lake. He told her about Anuradha. Anandi was disturbed. Latha and her husband had come to the lake with their 3-year-old daughter. Guru was flabbergasted when Latha suddenly appeared in front of him.  


“Hello Anna!”


“Oh, Latha. What a surprise!”


“We came just two days ago to attend a function. We are visiting you all tomorrow.” As she spoke to Guru, Latha’s eyes were hovering around Anandi. Guru felt very uncomfortable, as his brother-on-law too was staring at Anandi, who too looked shocked.  


“Bhava, this is my friend Anandi. Anandi, she is my sister Latha and this is my Bhava Arun. They live in Hassan.”


After a few minutes, they left. “Latha, do you know that Anandi is the daughter of Advocate Jagadish Reddy? This man handles the cases of my company and hence I visited him many times. He introduced her to me.”


“What? Reddy? What is Anna up to?”


On the next day when Latha went home to see her family, her mother told her about Athe’s proposal. Latha could not control herself.  


“So, what did Guru say Amma?”


“He says he wants to pursue law and Anuradha may not be able to wait that long to be married.”


That’s it. Latha blurted out. “Amma, he definitely wants to pursue law because his would-be father-in-law is an advocate, after all!”


“What are you saying Latha?”


“Amma, yesterday we met Anna near the lake. He was walking with Anandi, daughter of advocate Jagadish Reddy.”


Radha Bai was shocked. Yet, she tried to cover up, “So what? She may be his friend.” Just then Ananthu entered the kitchen and heard Anandi’s name being mentioned.  


He added, “Amma, don’t be so innocent. Guru is seriously having an affair. He spends all his free time with her. He even goes to her house. I have seen with my own eyes.”


All hell broke loose! Bhima Rao was very upset. “I did not expect this from you Guru. How could you hide such a big issue from us, who trusted you so much? And don’t you know we are orthodox and would definitely be against this proposal? And what about my word to my mother and your athe?”


“But Appa, don’t I have a right to choose my life partner? I was about to speak to you but Lata broke the news to you before me.”


“Yes. You have a right to choose your life partner. But you should have thought about us and our practices too before you went around with this girl. They are not even vegetarians. No way we can accept her into this family. If you are still insistent, you are free to walk out and get married. Forget us forever!”


When Guru related this to Jagadish Reddy and Anandi, they were very disturbed. Jagadish said, “But I always thought you had already informed your parents. Their reaction is quite normal. Which parent would like if their ward had been slyly going around with a girl? I will try talking to your father Guru, but I definitely would not like you to ditch your family for a girl, because I would not like my own son do it.”


Jagadish Reddy went over to Guru’s house but Bhima Rao did not budge. He said, “Sir, it’s not about the caste. There are many things that your daughter may not be comfortable in our family - our eating habits, our status, size of our family, our practices! Love is blind Sir but practically, life is very different. We are not for this proposal. I am sorry.”


Guru was upset and spent all day outside home. He spoke to none. He even did not eat properly. This cold war went on for months. His father called him one day and said, “Guru, don’t blackmail us this way. If you marry a Reddy girl now, your siblings may find it hard to get life partners, because Mysore is still 50 years behind Bangalore! If you still want, go ahead and marry that girl. But please stop this cold war at home.”


Anandi said sadly, “Guru, what your father says is true. If we marry, your entire family will be unhappy. I will ever live in guilt. I do not want such a life. Let us part as good friends.”


Guru secured a job in a private Bank and left for Bangalore but before going he told his parents, “I have decided to forget Anandi for your sake. But do not force me to marry anybody else.”


He stuck to his promise and lived alone in Bangalore. He got along well with all his family members but could never forgive Latha for her abortive announcement of his love to his parents. He did not speak to her, despite her repeated apologies. She was very sad and could never forgive herself for her blunder. Her parents died of this incompletion.  


The doctor came out and said, “Mr. Ananth, you may go and see your brother. He is steady. But please do not talk to him.”  


When Guru was discharged, Ananthu wanted to take him to his house but Guru refused. Ananthu visited him once in a way. 


 After their break-up, Ananthu heard nothing about Anandi. He did not even know whether she was married. Guru kept ‘Shaakuntala’ that Anandi had gifted near his cot and led a lonely life.  


Ananthu was on his way to Guru’s house and was waiting near a signal. He saw a woman with a long plait walking past him. He suddenly felt goosebumps all over his body and followed her until she turned into a small street. He stopped by near her. She was taken aback and looked up. Yes, this was Anandi. “Aren’t you Ms. Anandi?”  


She hesitated and replied, “Who are you?”


“I am Ananth. Guru’s brother.” 


She blushed. “Oh! How are you? How is……?”


“I am fine madam. But Guru….”


“What happened to Guru?”


“He just had a heart attack and is under rest. How are you? Where are you?”


“I am good. I live on this street.”


“Your family?”


“I lost my mother in my childhood. My father passed away six years ago. My brother lives in the US with his family.”


“Your husband, children….?”


“I got married but divorced my husband within a year, because he was not interested in me but only in my wealth. I live all alone. I work for an NGO.”


Ananth had a flash. “Madam, would you mind meeting Guru? He will be very happy.”


“His family?”


“He is still a bachelor Madam. He lives with your memories. He retired from a Bank and lives all alone.”


On the next day, Ananth took Anandi to Guru’s house. “Guru, you have some special guest today. Guess who!”


“Don’t tell me Latha. I don’t even want to see her face.”


“Come on Guru! Why would I bring her here?”


On seeing Anandi, Guru broke down. Ananth left them in privacy and walked out, wiping his tears. He wished for at least the last few years for the two of them would be a peaceful life together!



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