“So this is what you do all day long. Eat, drink and sleep!”
She was startled by a husky voice. A man in his early 40s, unshaven and visibly rude had just kicked the center table.
“She might be tired. Have some mercy on her. Leave her alone.”
Amminniamma, Satheesan’s Mom, had always tried to protect her.
Marriages are made in heaven.
She had just turned 18 and given her +2 exams.
Amma called out, “Maalu, get up and get ready. Go to the temple. Today is Monday.”
She turned to the other side and slept off again holding on to a pillow.
Amma called out again, “Maalu, get up before Acha comes back from his regular paddy field visit.”
Suddenly, Malini disappears from the bed only to be seen fresh and ready to go to the temple in the next 15-20 minutes.
“Today is Monday, pray with whole heart to Thevar.
He’ll get you the best life partner.”
She smiled shyly and walked slowly towards the temple.
It was 5.10 am and the edavazhi (alley) was visibly deserted. Apart from the sound of insects from the trees, it was only the sound of her anklets. The blades of grass on the ground seemed to be blushing upon the divine touch of her bare feet.
Suddenly, she felt a hand on her mouth and then she was pushed behind the mud wall of the mango yard opposite the temple.
Nandu, the temple priest’s son, held her tightly and kissed her furiously. The pooja materials, flowers, the koovala garland for Thevar all fell on the ground and were getting crushed underneath their feet. Malu’s dreams too got crushed with those petals.
A brief pennukaanal chadangu (a traditional arranged marriage scenario wherein the groom, his family members and friends see the girl at her place to ‘assess’ her suitability) followed by a low-profile wedding. It indeed was like padi adachu pindam vakkukka (a custom performed when someone is considered dead for the family).
The door of the bed room decorated for the Shanthimuhurtham (first night) that was shut by Satheesan barely 15 minutes back was pushed open and Amminniamma saw Satheesan rushing out of the house angrily.
The room was visibly messy after a a one-sided battle.
In a corner of the room sat Maalu without any expression of anger, sorrow or frustration. Just looking into some far away space blankly.
Since that day, Satheesan has pledged to make her life hell by all means he could.
Honesty is the best policy.
Maalu was coming back from the temple pond and sees Nandu with his wife Remya and their 2-year old daughter. Remya is Achuthamama’s (Amma’s brother) daughter. She asked,
“Entha Maalu vishesham onnum aayille?”
(Translation: “What Maalu, no good news yet?”)
Closed in the darkness of her self-created shell, she still used to dream of her Prince Charming, who’ll come riding on a white horse to rescue her. The moment she used to close her eyes, she could hear the horse trotting. She could see him approaching. His face bright and cheerful, pouring in oodles of positive energy into her.
She is startled by the noise of the glass of water that Satheesan just threw on the floor. While picking up the broken glass pieces, a piece pricks into her foot. Blood is oozing out.
She had forgotten, she had no right to dream.
Maalu smiled to herself.