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27 Jan 2014

A Happy Beginning

Posted by vas in My Stories | 2:25pm


"Oi Pentappa!" she yelled from the kitchen. She ran upto their bedroom and called again,"Pentappa! Wake up!"

A sleepy handsomely-set face looked up at her. She burst into laughter. He put on his spectacles and asked her, "Naku inka ardham avvaledu (I don't understand)... Why is it so funny?" She beamed at him as she recalled their pelli chupulu (a pre-arranged meeting for match-making)...

"Pentappa? What sort of a name is that," she had thought to herself while she was getting ready for the ceremony where the groom and his parents visit the would-be bride.

She didn't complain one bit, in fact, she was hell-bent on marrying the man her parents chose for her. Her friends would try counseling her against it, highlighting the disadvantages of an arranged marriage - "you know the groom better if you chose him yourself," etcetera etcetera...
 
After all the introductions and formalities were done, the groom and the bride were left to talk alone (while the rest of the family eavesdropped through all possible nooks, doors, walls..) She nervously looked up.

Instantly, she burst into a fit of laughter. She tried controlling herself but burst into more laughter as she saw his perplexed deep brown eyes under smart spectacles. She wiped tears from her eyes and through giggles apologized to the handsome well-built young man seated in front of her.

"It's just.. your name.. and you.. I'm really sorry... Hahaha.. Oh god! Where are my manners..." she blurted finally. He smiled and said, "My grandmother named me after her father. She loves me very much and so do I. Hence, I chose to keep the name."

Thus, after 8 months, the marriage hall adorned a flowery-board reading 'P A Reddy weds V Subbalakshmi'.
 
Subbu laughed every morning in the same way like she did when they first met. It was the same laugh that morning too.

"Subbu, it's been two years now! How can it be still funny... Subbu? You alright?" He ran towards her as she swayed sideways before fainting.
 
"Subbu..." A faint echo woke her up. She looked around, she saw her husband rubbing his brow in serous conversation with a doctor theough the glass panel in the door. He looked at her and his expression eased, he smiled weakly. She could sense his tense aura, something was wrong.

He excused himself and entered the hospital room. "Hey! How are you feeling? Don't worry Subbu. Nothing serious. They just want to keep you here to conduct a few tests just to make sure everything is alright."

She smiled and said, "Are you consoling me or yourself?" He laughed, but she detected a missing note. "Of course I'm sad," he said as if he was reading her mind, adding, "they want to keep you away from me for four days!"

She smiled and finally said, "But I feel fine. Why do I have to stay here for four days?"

 "Like I said, they want to carry out some tests to make SURE you are fine," he replied. She started speaking, but felt a sudden pain in her abdomen and winced. He rushed to her side and stroked her hair gently and whispered, "Yes, I will call your mother. Don't worry about me, I'll eat outside. Just rest."

He stayed with her till she fell asleep. She silently thanked him as she drifted into a blank painless world.
 
She woke up to find her mother beaming by her side. "Congratulations, my dear! You are pregnant!" Subbu's eyes went wide, "What! Mother, when did you come and what are you saying? This is a dream. Subbu wake up!"

 "No child, you aren't dreaming! You are pregnant! The baby is 2-months old!" her mother exclaimed.

"But..."

 "No buts Subbu! It's happening! Now let's get you out of here. The doctors are discharging you. They said you must have fainted due to weakness and the extra burden. We must make sure..." Her mother's voice rang in the background. Subbu was puzzled. It wasn't possible.
 
Her thoughts were broken by a running Pentappa who hugged her tightly. "Let's get you home Subbu! Lots of things to plan and sort! A new member is arriving soon." He grinned from ear to ear.
 
While completing the formalities at the hospital reception, Subbu recognized a familiar face, a face long forgotten, she wanted to approach him, but didn't know what to say... He looked at her, smiled and he raised his hand to wave but, froze and turned never to look back...
 
It started raining outside like the same day one year back when Subbu had received a phone call. "I told you I would come back for you," the voice rejoiced on the other side, but Subbu had turned cold...
 
The wipers swished to and fro on the windshield. Subbu jerked back to the present. She smiled as the raindrops trickled on the windowpane. She always loved rain from a distance. She didn't like getting drenched in it but enjoyed the showering drops from a cozy, warm, dry place.

Subbu looked across at an ecstatic Pentappa driving merrily. Her mother sat behind them and started thanking all Gods in the entire universe for having blessed them. "He's going to be an Architect Subbu," she said.

Subbu turned and smiled, "Mom! He isn't even born yet. But it's igoing to be a.."

'A Girl!' Pentappa chimed in. They all reached home singing songs and Subbu soon forgot her worries.
 
As they were getting off from the car, Subbu felt so weak she couldn't move. Her chest heaved as she found it difficult to breathe. Meanwhile Pentappa was by her side and already carrying her into the hall of their house. He was whispering something but she couldn't understand him, but somehow it soothed her. She relaxed and slipped into a dreamless sleep.
 
Subbu opened her eyes after 48 hours. It took her all her might to keep her eyes open. She saw a drip on her arm and her teary-eyed mother by her side. "Thank God! You scared us all Subbu! Now see..." Her mother's voice was swept into the background by her brain. She was analyzing a lot of stuff at once. "Mother! Where's Pentappa?"


Don't worry about him child..." she said. "Mother! Where is he?" The intensity in Subbu's voice made her mother rise and call her son-in-law.
 
It was still raining outside and the voice on the phone resounded, "Lakshmi! Where are you? I'll come to get you wherever you may be." "You are too late Bhanu," Subbu had replied...


"Subbu," Pentappa touched her arm ever so lightly, and she replied coldly, "We need to talk." 

They both looked at her mother who was already retreating from the room. After her mother left, Subbu glared at Pentappa, "What's going on?"

"That's what I'm asking Subbu... What is going on?"

"Come on, Pentappa. You know exactly what I'm talking about. The baby. The bouts of fainting. You reading my mind."
 
I'm your husband! I know you! I know when.. What's on your mind!"

"Pentappa! I remember! I know!"


He turned pale and turned to face her directly.


That one phone call. That one rainy day flooded three lives... Subbu recalled how dazed she was when she first saw what Pentappa was capable of. She loved him too much to ask any questions or demand any answers. She had pretended that she knew nothing and that day never existed.

But now? She had seen Bhanu again.. Memories of her college days, and the day Bhanu came searching for her, the day she saw something that shook the roots of her belief in their marriage, that day she chose to forget... all came rushing back.

After the phone call, Subbu cancelled all her appointments for the day. She stayed at home waiting for Pentappa, choosing not to bother him at his workplace. When he finally arrived, she didn't mention anything. She tried to be as normal as possible, but by bedtime and when all the servants had retired for the day, he asked her gently, "What is it Subbu?"

She looked at him with blank eyes which slowly brimmed with tears and she broke down in his arms and recited a chapter of her life which she thought was best left in her past.

Bhanu was Subbu's classmate in School. He had proposed to her then and she didn't take him very seriously. They got into different colleges in cities far apart and Subbu had thought that that was the end of it.

Bhanu on the other hand tried hard to keep in touch with Subbu. Since Subbu believed in prioritizing stuff in life, being in a medical college she couldn't afford to be in a relationship with him or anyone else for that matter. She had told him the same, but his reaction was something she hasn't expected anyone to ever say to her.

He said, "I understand Lakshmi. I respect your decision. I will work hard. Very hard. I will become a big man and come searching for you. It may take 5 years or maybe 10 years. But I will come.. I will come for you."

She thought that after they quit talking, Bhanu would soon forget her. He would find someone someday and she would be left alone. But then, the phone rang, Bhanu had returned.

"Prove to me that your husband loves you more than me. He can keep you happier than me. He can protect you better than me. Then, I will leave never to show you my face again," Bhanu had said. To this Subbu had replied firmly, "It doesn't matter to me. What's most important is I love Pentappa! He's my world now!"

But, Bhanu was determined to challenge Pentappa as he thought nobody deserved Subbu except him. Subbu didn't know how to explain to Pentappa or what to say to him but he simply said, "Let him come. Don't worry. Go to the hospital tomorrow. People need you. I'll take care of him."

The next day Subbu left for work as if nothing had happened the previous night. Well, she didn't remember any of it... Just as she reached her room in the hospital she realized she had left her locker keys at home. She groaned and drove back to home. She was standing at the door when she was hit by a strong gush of wind.

She almost fell to the pavement but forced herself up and went near the bushes of the lawn beside their home. She stood as if struck by thunder. Her breath was stuck in her throat. She stared as Pentappa and Bhanu appeared out of nowhere after which Bhanu ran.... He ran as fast as his feet could carry him. Subbu took a sharp breath in and then couldn't breathe for another 5 seconds before she hit the ground.

Until today she had not uttered a word about the incident. Now, she asked, "What is within me? Who are you, Petappa? Are you even Pentappa?"

A long silence stretched between them. It was so loud that Subbu felt her head would explode. She never imagined that silence could madden her so much. But she wanted to give him a chance to explain. She was forced to leave this trail of thought when she realized that she was no longer in her room.

They were floating... In void... She tried to speak but she couldn't utter a word. She stared wildly at Pentappa. His voice echoed in her head, "It's alright Subbu. I'm with you. I will not let anything happen to you. All you need to know is our baby will be very special... And we need to accept him as he is..."

months later, a healthy baby boy was born to Subbu and Pentappa. Completely healthy and kicking with life. Subbu regained her health and the baby grew rapidly. Subbu didn't question Pentappa anymore about anything.

Nobody knows what she remembers or what she conceals from the world. But one fine morning she said to her baby boy, "Shresht, you must use your special abilities to help anyone in need..."

Well those inquisitive about his special "abilities" can only read about those wonders in his mother's black leather-bound diary, which she threw into the deep blue sea, along with the rest of the contents of her brown rosewood chest, after she died an "ordinary death" after leading a full "ordinary life"...

 



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