A Qualified Wife
By Nirendra Dev
A Short Story
Note: Nirendra Narayan Dev (nirendev1 [at] gmail [dot] com), an
acclaimed political journalist, is a special correspondent of The
Statesman, New Delhi and author of the books Ayodhya : Battle For Peace, The Talking Guns North East India and Godhra A Journey To Mayhem. Nirendra
was born and brought up in India's northeast and his father served with
paramilitary force Assam Rifles. His blog is at bestofindiarestofindia.blogspot.com.
We have previously had an opportunity of talking to the author and have posted the audio recording of the interview.His earlier short stories published on Washington Bangla Radio are The Pawns, Arms of Comfort, The Guiding Sun, Soothing Moon, Patrons of a Letter Box and Anniversary Night.
A professional photographer on the first wedding night spends entire time taking photographs of the bride, a computer system operator would waste time trying to find some faults and correct it and at the end sum up the story: it’s system failure. The bedtime joke made fascinating reading to Amalendu Dutta. Leaving aside the tiny joke book, he walked towards the window. It rained heavily all evening and the sky was still overcast and black rain-laden clouds drifted across the sky. He could feel the smell of mango wafted up in the air. Another summer has come; sultry summer. There is no running away from Kolkata’s summer, he wondered. “Diney machchi, ratey masha … ei niye Kolkata (Kolkata in summer time is never complete without flies in day time and mosquitoes in the night)
But he knew, some poor people would probably rejoice it more than the winter. Last winter was unexpectedly chilly killing scores of people in the city. People are born, grow up, marry and slowly die to get another birth, may be; may be not! Mere thought of the words ‘marriage’ and ‘marry’ some how has left Amalendu slightly puzzled more than disturbed. What’s this institution of marriage after all, he wondered staring outside towards the sky as if he was looking for a heavenly answer.
To Amalendu, however, the marriage essentially meant some adjustments here, some compromises there. Human life is most of the time a puppet whose strings are held in society’s mangled hands. The wedding knot is a proof of that. But still, wedding is essential part of one’s life. His bachelorhood is a proof in itself that things are not yet organized. His life is still directionless unlike most of his ‘married’ friends and colleagues – who have routine to follow; - time to move out of home, time to return. Time for their weekends, family picnics. It was not only Amalendu’s personal choice, even his parents have been insisting on him to settle for the wed lock.
Unknowingly, having thought these, he glanced at himself in the mirror. The problem was not about the need for the marriage. He has well reached that stage. The thought of marriage; and an imagination of a fair lady coming out from his bathroom in night gown would cast a magical aura around the room. The mood would turn festive.