SURVIVING – Part 2

The ride to Tarangampadi was an adventure so to speak! The roads were narrow and pot holed and the bus very crowded. She occupied the ladies seat and drew more attention from the other passengers than she deserved. But then girls wearing jeans and a khadi kurta were not common those days in those parts.

He was extremely amused by the stares she was getting – “Are you a part time film star? Everyone is staring at you!” . “They are staring because you are with me! A rare specimen like you obviously attracts a lot of attention” she shouted back loudly.

Thus they went on with their conversation shouting  to be heard above the noise of the rattling bus. She had become so used to the din that when they got off at Tarangampadi she found the silence deafening!

They made their way through the beautiful arch into what could only be described as  the past. The streets were cobbled and she felt that she had walked into some small town in Europe.

At  the convent. Sister Veronica instructed one of the workers  to take their luggage upstairs. The boy made the embarrassing mistake of assuming that they were married and put both their luggage in a single room!! He explained the mistake and the fellow opened another room opposite hers!

“Just imagine.. this chap thinks that I am your husband! What a fate to condemn me to!” he said as he closed the door to his room! She was fuming with anger!

But it was difficult to stay angry – the place was so beautiful and so picturesque!

They trudged along the roads towards the beach and from there eastwards to the fishing hamlets- small shacks or tiled houses almost touching the coast. The men were coming back from fishing and there was a shore auction of fish going on.

“Come and look” he said gently pushing her towards the centre of the circle. He picked up a fish and told her the scientific name and then the English name. She asked the women standing there the Tamil name.

The rest of the day passed by very quickly. They realized that there were a lot of women who were involved in the small fish trade. Some of them were not going to the market that day and so they stayed behind chatting with them. Renuka, a thirty something woman became their guide- she had twin daughters –identical little girls each with a huge black bindi and an equally large beauty spot on their cheek! She offered them lunch- rice and fish curry. He ate it with relish while she explained in embarrassment her vegetarian preferences

The afternoon passed into evening- they met many others- old men like Pachaimuthu the traditional head who was a living encyclopaedia on the fish varieties on the coast.

The sun began its movement down the horizon painting the western sky red. They were done for the day! “Shall we go to the fort” she asked?

He nodded as they made their way out to what could only be called a deserted building standing on the cliff. The sole government employee in charge of the management was already part intoxicated. He gave them out the two entry tickets as they made their way up the ramparts of the fort.

There was a wonderful sea breeze blowing. The catamarans going for night fishing were bobbing about with only a lantern on them to indicate their location on the dark sea.

She felt very much at peace with herself and somehow his presence there next to her seemed to be the most natural thing on this earth! The wind was blowing more strongly now and her hair was flying all over her face. She secured it firmly with two strong clips on top of her head!

“You have beautiful hair” he said. She looked at him surprised. This was the first time he had said anything  like that. It felt strange …She was glad that he could not see her blush in the darkness

A church bell was ringing somewhere. “Come let us go.” She said gathering her things. “Scared?” he asked her

“Of what? Ghosts?” she laughed. “You know very well what I mean” he said cryptically. She kept thinking about this all through the night preferring to eat in her room rather than face him over dinner.

The next morning they boarded another bus and went southwards towards Velankanni – the place known as the Lourdes of India- to the Shrine of the Virgin Mary revered by all in the region – irrespective of religion!

She found it strange that despite being a Christian he was not interested in coming inside the church. “ I am not into religion. I get enough of it when I am with my mother” he grumbled. She went in alone and lit some candles. “Did you pray for a husband like the hero of the novel” he teased her when she came out.

There was a wedding going on inside the church. She stared at the bride resplendent in a white and gold sari. “Beautiful isn’t she” she asked him without realizing it! “Too fat if you ask me” he replied ! She punched him on his arm as he yelled out saying “Oh my god .. my wife is beating me !”

“Shhh.. idiot what are you saying” she glared at him. People passing by stopped and smiled. She was feeling very embarrassed now.

As they went back to Tarangampadi that evening she went alone to the fort.

“ Would you like to get married in a church ?” she heard him ask. She started! She had not realized that he was standing behind her.

“Why do you want to know? Anyway, considering I am not a Christian it is highly unlikely” she replied

“Supposing you were to marry a Christian?” he asked looking at her intensely.   “No!” she said

“No to what? Marrying a Christian or getting married inside a church” he persisted.

“I believe that love is beyond religion. So marrying a person of any other religion is not the issue. But I think such marriages should begin on neutral ground. Religion should never be imposed on either party” she replied  softly.

“So will you agree to marry me at a registrar’s office?” he asked with a smile

“What..” she whispered.. and started walking away towards the beach. The kids playing there surrounded her clamouring for her attention.

“Hey leave her alone. I was talking to her” he said trying to pull her away from the brats.

“I don’t know.. But Why me?” she asked  finally facing him

“Why not? You are the nicest person I have met in my life. You are intelligent and smart and you are…” he said.

“You forgot about the nice hair” she said with smile.

“Does that mean a yes?” he asked. She nodded!

The waves danced around them joining in their joy!

 

( to be concluded in part 3)

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. KP
    May 08, 2012 @ 17:51:08

    a well written sweet love story with no kinks and lots of details about Tarangampadi and the people there.Thanks

    Reply

  2. anilkurup1959@gmail.com
    May 08, 2012 @ 18:32:18

    I comment here as a lay person and certainly I’m no expert at critique.
    I like the ending. Though I feel that quite a bit in the middle was wanting in the build up. Perhaps more subtle use of words and phrases or conversations , may have given a better build up to the ending of the pleasant tale.
    The ambience in the fort/church and the sea side can be more delicate I feel.

    But again , I must say I like the simple plot and the good ending.

    Reply

  3. Bikramjit Singh Mann
    May 08, 2012 @ 19:48:02

    ah ha blisssssssss.. she said YES..
    I loved the way he go to ask wat he wanted , why does it take this long to ask ..

    waiting for part 3 🙂

    Reply

  4. Jack
    May 08, 2012 @ 21:50:04

    Meera,

    Waiting for next part. Do I think what I think is right?

    Take care

    Reply

  5. Kameshwari-kate
    May 08, 2012 @ 22:25:24

    YES! What a sweet story. There is a gradual build that took us to where we may have assumed this would go. It has been a long time since I indulged in a love story. Looking forward to part three.

    By the way: my husband never asked me to marry him. He fished around with silly questions until I asked him why he continued to ask goofy questions. When he said, “I’m thinking of asking you to marry me, but these questions seem easier right now.” I can relate to the experiences of the characters in your story.

    Reply

    • Meera
      May 09, 2012 @ 10:03:53

      @ Kameshwari- thanks for visiting this blog. Glad you like what is turning out to be a rather “long winded” story! Hope you like the previous ones too

      Reply

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