By Moinak Dutta
‘Okay mummy, I know what you would say … no! I’m not ready to get married! I told both you and dad! Not yet ready…’ Poorvi said this in a huff.
‘But Poorvi, we are not growing younger; besides Adi is also thirty one. You know, he and Deepika have decided to settle down. Now tell me how can we just marry off our younger son when his elder sister is not yet married? What would people say?’
Soudamini tried to convince Poorvi.
‘What is Adi saying? Is he going to get married soon? He and Deepika? If so, why are you getting worried? Let’s arrange for their marriage. But do not say what people would say. Last time, the only time, I put up with a wrong guy thinking what people would say, that simply drove me crazy…now that I am out of so-called marital bondage, please do not plead with me for a remarriage. Yes, you are aging, yes Adi is going to get married. All these are irreversible things like most happenings in life. Like my short-lived marriage. Like my divorce within six months of marriage. Like all the beatings I received from that male chauvinist in his drunken stupor. Tell me, have I not suffered? Why are you not thinking of me? For God’s sake!’
Poorvi blurted out. She tried to hold her calm, but it is often a difficult proposition, a very difficult one, to keep calm when there is a storm brewing somewhere within.
Soudamini fell silent for a while.
Poorvi could hear her sobbing.
‘Mum, I did not want to hurt you…or your motherly feelings. But see, here I am okay, earning money to sustain myself alone. Do not worry. These days many women live as singles. They don’t do it as something fashionable, as you often think. They do it by choice, a very deliberate choice. Have you forgotten how Bidyut would come home late at night or early in the morning from his duty and pounce on me? How he would yell at me if I failed to wash his uniform or underwear one day.’ Poorvi asked.
‘Not all men are like Bidyut. This alliance seems good. Please come home next week and meet this man. He is not in the police. He is a fund manager in a reputed investment company…’
Soudamini tried to drop some hints about the new alliance that they had selected out of a dozen they had received through post after they put an advert in the matrimonial columns of a daily.
‘Put an advert again?’ Poorvi asked, thinking whether she should laugh or be angry.
‘Yes…’ Soudamini said.
‘You and dad are incorrigible…’ Poorvi laughed as she felt more pity for her parents than anything else.
‘Okay, for you I would come home next week. But this would be the last one and promise me no more adverts without my prior consent.’ Poorvi said, half condescending.
‘So that’s the way our company works. We just put money into the most reliable hands. As a fund manager, I have to work at tandem with our team which collects data and collates them.’ Dibyajyoti said.
Poorvi had already taken half of the cuppacino and after hearing so much about funds and portfolios and market and equities, she felt jarred.
God knows what this man will think when he will have sex with me, if I marry him. Will he then too think of money?
This strange thought appeared suddenly to Poorvi and all she could do was to smile.
Dibya perhaps thought she liked how his company works. ‘Our company, Poorvi, is one of the oldest…’ He was about to talk about the difference between different funds they handle, when Poorvi asked for the table attendant.
‘Can you bring the bill please?’ Poorvi said as soon as the table attendant arrived.
‘So, Poorvi, here is my number…’ Dibya brought out his card.
Poorvi took it.
‘Tell me one thing, what do you expect from a woman who is a divorcee, if she becomes your wife?’ Poorvi asked as they came out.
‘Oh! You are a divorcee sure, but that is only a technical issue. Your marriage lasted for six months, ain’t so? And you got no children! And you got a fairly good job, earning around six lac a year.’ Dibya asked.
‘And…’ Dibya paused. He seemed to be hesitant.
‘Tell me one thing, you had sex with your ex? And if so, how many times within those six months?’ Dibya said. His face looked like that of a mean pig.
‘Many times, and for your info, I enjoyed having sex with my ex-husband, putting his hands tied up to the bedpost.’
Dibya’s eyes got fixed on her. He was staring! Like a pig.
After bidding adieu to Dibya, Poorvi went straight to a bar. She ordered three tequila shots. When the bartender placed three tequila shot glasses side by side on the table, Poorvi looked at them. There were some bubbles at the brink of those glasses. Those floating impermanent bubbles.
A song played at the bar. ‘Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy…’
Poorvi took the shots. They were lovely. There was a slight burning feeling in her throat. But that was better, much better than all the burns she had borne within.
Moinak Dutta is currently engaged as a teacher of English. He has been writing poems and stories from school days and many of his poems and stories have been published in national and international anthologies and magazines. He was awarded prizes for poetry and short story by Get Bengal, a philanthropic organisation, in 2017. His debut fiction, “Pestilence”, was published in 2009. He has subsequently published two more short stories with Lifi and Xpress Publications. Moinak loves doing photography, apart from listening to music.
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