Nepali Kalasahitya Dot Com Pratishthan


Usha Sherchan

Third Colour

Who can see the intense conflict inside me? Who can see the landslide that is continuously occurring inside me? I'm unable to be open with anyone else nor can I express my feelings. This time around my family members, who are unaware of my psychological trauma, are not only insisting for my wedding but also making me see young girls' photos.
Firstly I am a smart son with nubile age and yet again we Rajput community consider marriage as a matter of prestige and pride. I look very handsome. More than this, I am a wealthy father’s single son and equally brilliant in my study too. My personality seems much above than any parents’ criteria to choose bridegrooms for their daughters. Or, let’s say, a prince in any girl's dreams—tall, dark, handsome and yet a single heir of prosperous family. Unfortunately, my inner personality completely contradicts to what I look externally upon which no any second person except me is familiar. To whom shall I share my pains when even my mother is unaware with the person inside me?

Today a different activity is being held in our home. My sisters are selecting a beautiful photo of a girl who is qualified for my marriage. Photos of many girls are spreading on the table as if food grains are being dried under the sun and sisters are busy in selecting best from them—taking one and throwing other as if they are culling impurities from rice grain. Sporadically, sisters are breaking into boisterous laughs passing comments on each photo while my father and mother are nodding their heads over the comments, making swelling their chests with pride and joy. Poor fellows! They know nothing that my world is absolutely different from their speculation. Seeing them active in choosing a girl, I feel uneasy in contrast to their cheerfulness and I feel I have waded myself through an ocean of sorrow. Despite my endless efforts, I find myself unable to join in their illusory happiness. But I lack courage to check their towering enthusiasm and joy, at least for this moment.
Finally, out of those beautiful photos, my sisters, with the consent of all members excluding me, select one that was fit for me and my family from every angle. Since the photos also include bio-data, my sisters find a match with our standard and they selected a girl and passed in front of me. Only not to break their hearts I look at the photo with a look of indifferent but don't speak anything in reaction. Either understanding my silence as my consent or because of my parents’ desperateness for my wedding, the sisters aren't only requesting the Lami (a mediator in marriage), who had brought the photo and bio-data, to fix time to go to see the girl but they also tell him to ascertain the day of marriage ceremony.

I can't sleep throughout the night. Frequently I am restless with the waves of impatience. I spend the entire night even without blinking eyes. I feel as if I have spent a whole era, not a single night.
Since the Lami has already fixed the date and time to see the girl, my father and mother are dancing in air in such a way that they are cotton furs floating in air. They are busy in weaving plans for seeing a girl for their son—a girl who is not only from a decent family, well educated, gentle and suitable for their son but also she is glimmeringly beautiful. My sisters are thousand times more curious than my parents. Why shouldn’t they be? I'm the only brother of three elder sisters.
I’m tired of fighting the battle that occurred in me throughout the night. I’m extremely exhausted as if my soul is leaving my body. Where shall I pour the grief of my wounded heart? My condition is exactly synonymous to a he-goat that is prepared for sacrifice. Being unaware of all these matters, my family members, for finding a girl of their criteria, are being romantic with the thought of opening doors for their daughter-in-law.
Perhaps being motivated with the thought of outwitting any loopholes for any comments against her son from the girl’s family, my mother is instructing the sisters to pay extra care for my preparation.
My sisters are smart enough. They've come in my house dragging their expensive Saries (chief garments of Hindu females wrapped round the lower body) and wearing ornaments. They've smartly dressed in such a way that they are the brides instead they are going to see a girl for me. They've also brought designer Serwani and matching shoes for me which reveal our family status. Because all of my three brother-in-laws are from well-to-do and aristocratic families, no one is less than the other. Looking at the sisters’ fashion and dress, it seems they are exhibiting their high status. Environment of the whole house is like Holy, a festival of color, but poor I, who is neither bedraggled in the color of the Holy nor I am in the condition of pouring cold water into their sweet dream. If fact, I am not interested to go to see the girl.
No sooner my father had transmitted the message of my delay, my mother advocates in favor of me, "It's a matter of going to see a girl, and it definitely takes time, doesn’t it? Why are you in such a hurry? Don't you see all sisters are busy in preparing their brother?"
I, being a helpless puppet, am beautifying myself to satisfy my sisters’ wishes. If fact, I've been like a lifeless mannequin made of plastic. As body temperature is going down gradually, I’m transforming myself into a crystal of snow.

My mother is my creator and she loves me very much. Why wouldn’t she do? In fact, I was born after her three daughters. Who would know me better than my mother on the importance of having sons in our society? Frequently, I have been listening from her mouth that she was tortured of listening abrasive remarks when she had only given birth to daughters. After all she had begotten me at the time while she was living with tortures and inexpressible pains after she couldn't give birth to a son. She goes on reiterating that she could manage herself because of her husband's love and sympathy when she had only given birth to daughters. There is still mutual cooperation, trust and good understanding between my father and mother. They really respect each other's sentiments.
I’m more intimate with the mother than the father. As mother starts to love me, indistinct rays of hope are illuminated from some corner of her heart and a bud of trust is grown up but immediately they disappear like water bubble.
What can I do? How can I do? To whom do I share my feelings? I can't even imagine telling the truth to my father. I can't pour cold water into the dreams of my sisters by telling revealing the truth and I don't like to break their dream like a mirror. Oh God! In what turning have you left me making me unable to rise again?
All are climbing down ladder with the Sagun (items used in the marriage for good omen). Besides, instead of being opened, my heart is sinking into a pit of apathy. The heart is growing weaker, tilting here and there like a boat that is in doldrums in the middle current of river water.
I am stepping down following the instructions of my sisters and also pondering on how much they would be excited in my wedding while they are in such a condition even in the day of seeking the girl?
Like a small group of marriage procession, our car moves on the road as if that is running through my chest dividing into two parts. The more the girl’s house is nearing; I feel a wide distance with the girl with whom I am supposed to marry.
What do I say to the girl's house? It’s better to say a mansion which is decorated like a bride itself. For our reception, all elderly and senior members of the girl's family are standing in queue at the door. Joining both hands for our respect, we are being requested inside for seats. I am feigning to look bright and happy which I was not.

I am not unaware that my real thoughts shouldn't be manifested in me.
The huge mansion's grand decoration is exhibiting its grandeur. Besides, all members of the family seem to have promised to leave no stone unturned for our greeting. After being welcomed warmly, we are cordially asked to have seats on sofas in guest room. The Lami introduces the family members one after other among us.
The girl’s side expresses happiness for being able to get the bridegroom of their choice. And yet, they don't forget to say that the girl too is no less than anyone else. But my attention can't turn towards them though much effort I did. I am entangled in a cob-web of my own tension.
Like the full-moon slowly descends down the earth far in the horizon, a fairy nymph is climbing down ladder supported by her kith and kin. Instead of being charmed by her beauty that looks a princess of any fairytale, my heart is fleeing towards repulsion. Here, my whole family members are staring her without blinking their eyes getting the girl thousand times more beautiful than they saw in the photo. Seeing a beautiful glowing fairy marching slowly towards them, their satisfaction is manifesting in their faces which can be noticed clearly.
In my case, how should I put my words before her? What might she think after that? If I have to tell something, what's that exactly? How can I remain silent? My heart is saying that to push her into darkness by playing with future of such a beautiful girl is a big sin. As her feet are stepping towards us, black cloud of despair is almost covering me. How hard I try to make my face bright it is becoming paler as though it has been covered by mist.
During the cordial exchange of greetings and introduction between the two family members, she illuminates the environment with her saccharine smile. My face, instead of glowing, is becoming dim like a torch with lessening the charge. She gives a quick glance at my pale dark face but stands speechless.
May be because of thoughts that we can know each other better, our families provide us an opportunity to talk in private. I feel relief for being able to escape from there like a released prisoner after a long time but I immediately feel as if I have reached to another prison as I enter into the girl’s chamber.

Silently, I am standing in her room without budging at all. Getting no words finding to utter, I don't see any alternatives rather than sitting like a statue.
Thanks almighty! She was not only a beautiful girl but also frank and open so she herself breaks the silence.
"Please, be seated here comfortably!”
I sit down without uttering a word in the place she indicated.
I see your face quite gloomy. Instead of being happy on seeing me, I feel you are becoming sadder. Are you sick? Or is there any special reason?

In response, I try to say something but can't.

Please tell me if there is any special reason. It hasn’t yet become too late and you are also not compelled to go against yourself and you are free to decide.

Only then I get a gut to open my mouth. I tell her, "My family is very happy on seeing you and you too aren't less than any fairy queen. But how to say that it's my misfortune that I can't accept you. I can’t push your bright future into the tunnel of darkness. You deserve for a thousand times better groom than me. So please reject me instead I do the same to you and break this relationship before they try to tie the nuptial knot between us."

"May I know any concrete reason behind what you are saying?" she reiterates in an astonished tone. I humbly request her, "I have an intimate friend whom I love deeply. I even can’t think to live a life without the friend. But my family members are all in dark about this and being unable to express it with them; I am requesting you for it. You too don't push your life in darkness. By sharing all this, I’m not trying to hurt you, nor have any ill intention of playing with your sentiments. Please be assured that you are an ideal lady possessed with all thirty merits, god hasn't made such a perfect girl for me. I’m unsuitable for you from any perspectives. So I’m requesting please reject me." She said.

The girl also wonders and starts pondering over what I say unexpectedly. Probably she is thinking what kind of guy I am. Instead of being delighted with happiness from the heart, he is trying to reject me. Everyone, who boasts of themselves, die to get a glimpse from me, they hang around me to be martyrs in love like moths surround light despite the fact that I never care them. But what a contrast, this guy who is accepted by my family and by me is rejecting me.

Furthermore, the person for whom I want to become a martyr for the first time is ignoring me. Hence, the Ganga River is flowing in opposite direction. How is the girl whom he likes so much might look like? Is it she who became the reason of my rejection? Is it that she is an inter-caste? Because of this he is taking help of me since he lacks courage to tell it with his family? With such things in mind, flurry of questions might have filled her mind.

Probably we spend much time in the bride's room than our family had expected. All smiling, my second sister come to call us and she not only conveys the message that all of the members are waiting for us but also take us out of the girl's room with her.

I can't dare to declare my decision. Neither my family members thought it necessary to listen my words. Happiness is manifesting into their faces. In the meantime, I secretly steal a glance from her and plead her to reject me but I don't know why she doesn't even utter a single word without budging at all.

There is not only the management of dinner for us but also they have already served various items of sweets in the name of making our mouths tasty to share the moment of joy. My parents, sisters and brother in laws are all the happy and having the delicious sweets with much relish. But the sweets aren't sweet for me but they are sunk upon poison. The luncheon continues for long.

After the dinner is over, we are cordially doing farewell to each others before we return to house home. My sisters don't go with their husbands but enter into my car. I am trying to escape from the marriage but this is lagging behind me. I just feel of escaping from the situation but at the same moment my sisters are following me. What more they need? They aren't not only bantering with me but also talking and praising the girl’s appearance and attitude.

And they were demanding varieties of matching Saris and accessories. Though there isn't any necessity of such things for them, gifts which he woman get from their maternal houses is most precious thing for them. Poor, my sisters! Who are making castle in the air—how to settle the marriage, what things to be done and who to be invited?

Though my parents and brother in laws have already reached home, they are still talking all about my marriage there. They are completely thoughtful with the ideas of my marriage in the absence of groom. My mother is looking too happy by finding the daughter in law she expected. She seems to be fully committed so not as to leave any loopholes at the marriage of her son who was born at the time they had desired. What to say to the father who is now flying in air to join his happiness with his beloved no matter how much worried he was about the family when his wife was unable to give birth to a son. At the time when the relatives and neighbors might force my father for the second marriage, my mother had given birth to me. It is certain that he won’t do any compromise at the marriage of his dear son. He seems as if he is trying to exchange money with prosperity.

Thinking that beautiful dream of my parents and sisters was going to be crushed and their plans would go in astray, I am becoming like a void tree spoilt by termite from inside. Oaf! My inner wound is going to burst right now. What shall I do in this critical juncture? I am helpless like a boxer is laying supine. And it’s not my wish but a compulsion or may be it's my destiny. I’m in a to do and not to do condition.

Today also, I pass the whole sleepless night. How can I express my sorrows when my heart is really unstable? I think it is good to tell everyone instead of sitting like a crow in fog. This veil should be opened one day. Thinking that I would fall in deeper quandaries in case I delayed much, I make a call at the girl’s house.

"Hello! May I ask you to whom you are looking for?" a delicate voice is heard from other end of the wire.

"Yeah! I like to talk with you," I said after introducing myself. "I spent the whole night thinking about you, your family, my family and about our future."

"Yes, Yes I’m hearing. Ok do tell me what things did you think in the night?"

"I can't be opened with my mother despite being too close with her. I think my mother will understand me but I don't be able to gather courage to tell her. I have called you. Had it been the matter of me only, there would be a different thing but actually it is a critical moment for me and my heart doesn't accept to degrade your life so I’m taking help of you. Last time also I had made you a request to reject the proposal but don’t know why you stayed incommunicado," I clarified.

"What's the reason? Please tell me why do you like to reject marriage and I will try to convince my family."

I am in dilemma on how to tell with her.

I don’t know what she has thought but she speak, "Tell me who the girl is? Whose daughter is she? Where does she live? Is it she because of her you are trying to break the relationship before it is jointed?" She pours a flood of questions one after another.

I tell her that she should have patience to hear all these things and start to say, "May be you'll start hating me in case you can't digest it. But we can’t live by hiding truth forever though you hate me. Everything will come out one day. What kind of pain we should tolerate in this earth? In fact, it's not actually in our hands neither in our parents’? If there is someone, it is just our god."

Being more impatience she asks me. "Please don’t beat about the bush and be clear and tell me for which girl are you going to reject me?"

I also say in response, “That is the boy, not a girl."

"What...!" a dismayed voice and surprised tone echo. "What did you say? Not a girl but a boy? Am I listening right?"

"Yeah, yeah….what you've heard is true. Yes this is not my girlfriend but a boyfriend without whom I feel incomplete. Actually I can’t live without him. Or let’s say we even can’t think to live without each others. That's why I’m requesting you for the rejection of the marriage.

It is true that an earthquake would occur in our home once they would find about the rejection from the bride's side. It isn't strange to get ashamed when they would get actual reasons behind this. And there are no any questions of not degrading the prestige of my family.

I am rejected from my family when they knew about the matter. My mother too can't do anything and surrendered for father’s prestige ignoring her maternal love to me. I don't have any options rather than following the father’s peremptory order. My mother, who always kept me in warmth like birds in brooding, she used to become happier than myself in my happiness and used to be sad when I used to be sad. In fact I was confident that she would never go against my will. But the faith that I had was all destroyed when she doesn't speak any words for my defense when father is telling me to leave the house.

In such, I am compelled to bear the punishment of crime that I didn't committed.

Is this my mistake to be born like this? Is it my fault? This third color isn’t in fact my weakness but my introduction, my identity. Instead of accepting the reality that how do I become dust in their eyes, but I the pupil in their eyes earlier. Even in the love and care of my parents, I have been compelled to tolerate discrimination. And I have been deprived from my natural rights.

Now I am living far from my family, relatives and society with my boy friend. We have a different world where we are and happy. Still I feel some discomforts, may be because of the kaleidoscopic thought of my family especially—my mother. I have been feeling discomfort possibly because of the invisible thorn or anything else?

Perhaps in others' eyes I might be roaming into a dark tunnel but in the subjectivity of my perception, innumerable fireflies are glistering. And probably it would be impossible to feel such experience for any other person.

Translation: Ramchandra KC

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