Lecturer in English,
Department of Applied Sciences and Humanities
Atal Bihari Vapayee Government Institute of Engineering and Technology,
District Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
Mukta closed her eyes and was ready to jump, but was startled by a phone call. It was Raksha, her younger sister. Raksha was excited about their cousins marriage, for about half an hour she went on about how she is going to dress up, which songs they are gonna dance on and what not. For obvious reasons she could not disclose her plan to her sibling but for a moment, Mukta forgot what she was doing and got immersed in talking while looking at the pinnacle of woods. But just one word uttered by her sister brought her back to reality….her reality. The word marriage which brings smile, hope for better future, feeling of love and trust for everyone was just a mirage for Mukta. In a moment, she was transported ten years back when she was jubilant, courageous and gregarious girl.
Everyone was congratulating Mukta’s parents on her wedding day eulogizing the perfect couple. Parents swelled up with pride. Watching her parents swelled up with pride, Mukta was ecstatic on finding the love of her life through an arranged marriage. Vilas, her soon-to-be husband was a gem of person and had promised her unconditional support at all odds. What made her fall in love with himinstantly was when he accepted her biggest concern with grace that even after marriage she can take care of her parents along with her in-laws.Rarely to find a man who is ready to give a free hand to his woman.
Mukta was completely mesmerized at the beautiful turn her life had taken. There were moments of panic, but the compassion flowing from every nook and corner made her feel at ease. Her opinion that no one can comprehend her notions and responsibilities, took a complete 360o turn.
With all the jubilation and perplexed feelings she got ready for the night. Stomach growling, limbs shaking, she sat waiting for him. Atlast the door opened, and her heart missed a beat. Like every other newly wed bride she was unable to decide, should she hide her confounded mind or should she display the coquettish feminine look. She had hardly decided but was startled as he sat next to her quietly. Mukta’s heart started thumping wildly. She was now experiencing everything what she had read in fiction and poems.It was so real that she could just feel the lines of the poems coming alive.
But wait why such silence has engulfed the air… say something to me… here I am waiting to hear about your immense love and to be immersed in your love…
Mukta thought Vilas is also in a similar situation. Two meetings, a few calls and now marriage bells, how are we supposed to react….but life is full of surprises and you are the best surprise of my life.
But before Mukta could pour out her feelings of love and respect, Vilas said something which still reverbrates in her ears “We will be husband and wife for the world but behind these closed doors there will not be any relation between us.”
Mukta was dumfounded, she could not believe what her ears just heard. But unmoved Vilas continued, “ I will give you freedom and will support in your endeavors as promised. We will be husband and wife but in this room whatever things you are expecting will never fructify”.
But what is the reason? Have I done something wrong? Is there any problem?
No, there is no problem. Its just I am not ready yet (Mukta took a sigh of relief). Its just I have so much of work pressure. Also I have pledged my life for the cause of society. To serve the society selflessly I need to be free from the family tensions.
Ohh….these are just marriage hiccups. Ours is an arranged marriage, thereis no need to push the things. Take your time, its better to know each other and then proceed.
Mukta smiled and retired to sleep dreaming of a better and lovely future……
Mukta returned from reverie and rememberedthat next month it will be ten years since she had consented to be prisoned in The Doll’s House. With each passing day things turned from bad to worse.Vilas had moved to another apartment leaving her behind with his parents asking Mukta to fulfill her duties of Daughter-in-law. Once independent, bright and self-assured Mukta was now becoming a depressed, lonely and irritable Mukta.
Today, the last nail in the coffin was when Vilas’s relatives started blaming her for being barren. What pinched her was her own behavior rather than others perspective.From when she became so docile that she was now accepting the fault without any rationale. How much she has sacrificed and how long she has to? Is this her fate? We talk about digitalisation but when is the society going to change. Everyone is educated but the family norms and duties are still beyond logic. She tried persuading Vilas numerous times but in vain. Now his family is blaming her for believing Vilas and allowing him to withdraw himself from marital life. Each moment is drawing her close to suicidal thoughts. So, now …….She has decided to put a stop to all this, made preparations, but that last sentence on the phone call changed something in her. Mukta, I will be waiting for you… miss you a lot. Raksha has no idea what she did. This last sentence made her think… her role is not just of a wife or daughter-in-law. She is first a daughter then a sister and its only later that she had entered into other relations. She has to perform her role exemplarily. If Life is a Challenge, she has to FACE IT. It’s her choice either to be brave and independent Nora or to be delusional Blanche.
Night concedes to the dawn of new day and sun rays penetrated into the room. Mukta gets ready, and closes the door of her dark room FOREVER…