Deceived is a story of two sisters and a man who is confused about his love for the crippled singer and the beautiful vibrant lass.
The morning was unfurling her cloak of pale red with a tinge of yellow. The dewdrops were melting silently under my bare feet as I crossed the garden to reach the tall coconut tree upon whose head the birds were rehearsing their early flight.
Under it, there was a narrow but steady bamboo dais. Previously cactus tubs were placed there like the border soldiers in green helmets. But then they were gone and for me, it became very easy to make the rostrum my seat.
From here I could hear the buzzing of impatient bees, the humming of ladybugs, the chirping of birds, quarrelling of squirrels and above all I could hear the song- the melodious, sweet voice from the opposite house. I had heard many folk tales concerning the hypnotizing effect of enchanting music. The probity of those tales I perceived first in that voice. The notes made me dizzy, lost and desperate. I wished madly to touch the songs, to touch the singer.
I came there, in that low-populated pastoral canvas, one month ago as the winter started crawling early than the city. The weather was soft and pleasant. I came here as the branch manager of Nirmalyapur Co-operative Bank. This was my second posting after I joined the job three years ago. Before that, I stayed in Birhanpur, just near my village. I could easily go there on weekend. But it was not so easy after I was pushed into that god-forsaken land far from the fringe of the city. I was not so sorry for that as there was none in my house except uncle and aunty and their sons. My parents died long ago in a car accident when I was in college. But my uncle and aunty loved and pampered me above their sons.
In that one month, I never saw her…never a trail of her mundane existence peeped in my world. Only her voice knocked on my door, my heart, in my sober contemplations as well as turbulent passions. I sat there imagining how beautiful she must be…
I murmured, whispered, assured myself and felt blessed and excited. One day I would meet and pay my homage to her.
One afternoon when I was returning from my work I heard some bustle in that still house. Loud voices, sweet gargles of melody and laughter impregnated my alert senses. I opened my window and fixed my eyes in that direction forgetting all my chores. Like a sudden flash of lighting, there was a face…the most beautiful face I ever saw. My heart leapt in a fluorescent flare. Hope immersed me with stubborn resolution.
I could not shut my window even when the sound subsided and darkness crept over the chimney. I couldn’t concentrate on my work, got late for the office and left early. In my ledger book, minor and major mistakes took dominance.
My life became frantic and desperate. The radius of my life kept pivoting around that one face. In my heart, a furious desire to own that intangible dream started growing like a volcano, ready to erupt.
My aunt and uncle came to visit me. Finding me in that dishevelled state they planned to talk to that house owner.
The girl whom I saw at the window was the younger daughter of the house owner. She had completed college and was preparing for some training. Her father accepted the marriage proposal after considering my qualification and ardent interest. She also had an elder sister but as she was crippled she couldn’t get married.
I showed no interest in that crippled daughter though I felt sorry for her and thought about her future as it was associated with my would-be wife. Yes, I already welcomed her and accepted her as my wife.
Finally, that long-awaited day came. My relatives joined me there and it was a grand celebration. I never felt such excitement in my life.
At night the hustle and bustle stopped and everyone felt tired. We all gathered in a flowery room and planned to spend the night with music and song. Her friends were there embellished in ornaments and sarees, like a bunch of roses tossing in the pleasant spring breeze. When we sat together I requested the first song from her. Her furrows deepened and she looked at me in an unknown wonder.
“I cannot sing.”
Her voice had some determination and truth. I felt perplexed. I gaped at her in confusion and disbelief.
“But” I stammered, “Every day I heard you singing from my window. Why are you telling lies?”
“I don’t tell lies. But you are also right.”
Keeping me in abysmal chaos and confusion she dashed out of the room.
After sometimes he returned pushing a wheelchair. Placing the wheelchair close to me she knelt and hugged the girl seated there and said,
“Please sister, you didn’t attend my marriage; at least sing a song for me now. I’m your sister. Bless me with your sweet voice.”
The girl looked at me. If sadness had any palpable existence, her face was made of it. When her eyes met mine she smiled. Then she greeted me and muttered something. But I was deaf and dumb.
As she started singing, under my feet I perceived those melting dew drops, those fresh mornings, and the smell of wet mud. Her voice lashed on my sensation, touching the ceiling, the chandelier, the unblemished canopy, quivering my nerves, my veins in undefined agony. Her gloomy face was getting brighter and brighter as she tripped on the crescendo of scales. Then she stopped as if a bird alighted on the branch after a long flying…tired but contented.
After a pin-drop silence, vigorous clapping swiped over the room. Her sister hugged her and then turning towards me asked excitedly,
“Does not she sing beautifully?”
I was sitting there, holding my heart in my throat, my eyes blurred with tears and a mouth half-open to say…
Hey, I am Munmun, the phoenix fabulist who wants to tell you stories. I love to read stories and I love to weave stories. I feel life is an amalgamation of multiple stories, colourful threads, and threads of pain, pleasure, hope, and hopelessness. We just need to pick those hues and arrange them, knitting them with our own emotions and perception. So let’s celebrate the stories of life.