-by KParthasarathi Thursday, October 11, 2007
Mangala did not fail to notice a young man trailing her wherever she went. This has been happening since a week. He kept a safe distance but was observing her movements meticulously. She dodged him many times but could not shake him off. She could surmise that this should be the handiwork of Mukund, her husband. He is a coward, never open and always doing things on the sly. Her marriage has become a disaster. She cursed none else than herself. She remembered her father telling “Mangala, be careful. I don’t like the look of this fellow. “ She was mad in love with him and dating him almost for a year. He was also an engineer like her and working in another firm. She met him at a common friend’s party.Tall, dark and muscular, he was the dream guy for any woman. Suave and charming in manners, he swept her off her feet. She was adamant in marrying him. Her parents gave in unwilling to displease their daughter. It was all hunky dory in the beginning. But she soon realized she had made a mistake in her choice.Mukund was not straightforward. Given to boozing and partying, he was not a home bird. She had heard from some of her friends that he was a Lothario. She wouldn’t believe them thinking the charges were the outcome of jealousy. She soon became a mother of two kids. He insisted that she relinquish her job and take care of the home. Her dad had meanwhile passed away and mom stayed in an ashram.
In nine years of married life, she found that the relationship was not close. She realized that being married to a handsome man may be good but the more important thing is the kind of person one is wedded to. It is the latter that determined the quality of married life. She discerned a growing distance these days from Mukund.He came usually late in the night and sat before TV with a bottle. There was hardly any conversation except in monosyllables. He frequently stayed away the whole night under some pretext of work. The cell is invariably switched off. A couple of times she got a response that he was not in office when she rang up the office in the night. She suspected of his having a mistress or a couple of them. One day when he had gone out to a nearby shop, his cell that was left behind rang. There was a woman’s voice”Mukund, are you there? You are supposed to spend the night here with me.“ It got cut when she did not respond. When he made the usual excuse to work in the office that night, she confronted him with the message. Cornered, he brazenly said “Yes, I have friends and I spend my time with them. I find their company more interesting than yours. What is it you are going to do? Divorce, you wish to seek. Take it.” Shocked she kept quiet sobbing at the same time. He left the house immediately.
She decided to teach him a lesson in his own way. After the kids left for school, a black car would come daily to pick her up. She would return by 3pm when the kids returned from school. She ensured that neighbours saw her leaving daily.Mukund received a typed letter “Do you know where your wife goes daily after you leave for office? A well wisher“. This rattled him so much he employed a private agency. The agency fellow confirmed her daily outings but could tell no more as to whom she was meeting. He decided to accompany the sleuth. When he saw her in well dressed clothes enter a house, the sleuth confirmed that this was the place she was daily visiting. He barged into the house in great anger calling”Mangala, I have found your secret hide out. Come out with your lover if you dare me.” After some minutes Mangala came out with her mother and other lady inmates of the house in ochre robes.
Mukund felt awfully embarrassed before their silent presence. He said with remorse “Sorry, Mangala.I have been a fool in assuming something different.. Kindly excuse me.”
Without uttering one word she produced the petition for divorce from her bag. Her mom said “Mukund,It is good for you to think about this carefully.Mangala has secured a good job too. Why carry on this pretence of a relationship that has turned sour? If you think you have turned a new leaf after six months, you can approach her. Please leave her alone for the present”
Mangala intervened to say “Sorry mom, I do not like to live with this person any more. I regret for ignoring dad’s warning on the first day that this man appeared to him a fake. I do not want to repeat the mistake.”
Was Mangala right in her decision to break the bad marriage or should have given him a chance?