Murder Most Foul - 7
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Sudha repeated the question "Will you marry me or not?"
Again shocked and thrilled Sudhir said "Please clarify one point if you don't mistake me. All along you had been saying that you did not want to become a film actress. But now you have already acted in a film. Why?"
She said "Under compulsion from my parents. After all I cannot do anything independently. I am totally dependent on them".
Sudhir thought for a few minutes and said "OK, if that is the case you will have to act in more films in the near future also if your mother succeeds in getting more assignments for you. Since you are still dependent on them you will do so as they tell you, is it not?"
She said "Yes, since I have no choice in the matter".
Sudhir asked her "So in that case, how can we get married and keep that as a secret? No, no, no. Again I am telling you, forget me and embark on your career with your god given talents and good looks".
Sudha smiled again but sadly this time and said keeping her hand on his hand "Sudhir why don't you understand my feelings? I am sure that you don't believe me still. I am very serious about it".
"And let me tell you clearly that I am doing this for 2 reasons. I love you very much and want to marry you".
"I also want to tell my parents that they should not take me for granted. If they feel that they can compel me to do things as they want, I wish to show them that I have the capacity to take my own independent decisions".
"What do you have to say for that?"
After a little pause she continued "Let us work out our plans in detail some days later. Now my idea is as follows".
"Let us quickly get married in a temple as I told you a little while ago. I will stay in my house, you continue your studies and finish the engineering course. Let us keep our marriage a complete secret except for the few of your close friends".
"After you complete your course and get a job, let us announce our marriage and start our life together, OK? After all only one more year is left for your studies to get completed, right?"
By now Sudhir's resistance was crumbling. He began to think that perhaps what she was telling him was the only way to solve the problem.
But he was also scared. Getting married in a temple as suggested by her may not be very difficult but would it be possible to face the consequences afterwards?
He said after a long pause "You are making the most exciting offer to me, but it will be most unfair on my part if I exploit it to my advantage. So give me some time to think over the matter".
She studied him fondly for some time and then smiled. "This is why I like you Sudhir. In spite of getting such a tempting offer you are so level headed and absolutely fair. Any other man would have used the situation to exploit it as you have so rightly pointed out".
They dispersed after that dialogue to meet again after 2 or 3 days with Sudha reminding him to come back with a positive response.
Sudhir discussed the matter with his very close friends who knew about his secret feelings about Sudha. They had been very sympathetic with him in the past and were always egging him on to come out clean with Sudha and talk to her courageously expressing his love for her. But he could never do that.
Now that she had so clearly expressed her own love for him and also her extremely brave plan for their marriage his friends told him to forget everything else and plunge into marriage preparations.
When Sudhir asked them how was he to handle his parents they told him that it should not be a problem since there is plenty of time for that, since one more year of college has to be completed, a job to be obtained etc. By that time he himself would have created the necessary spade work to explain things to his parents.
When his doubts cleared thus, things moved fast. They consulted a few astrologers to find the most auspicious muhurat for the marriage.
They also went and made enquiries with a few temples to find out their conditions to conduct such a marriage.
They found out that there was no problem in getting married in a temple, but some temple officials advised them that it would be better if the couple made sure of certain basic societal requirements as follows: that both of them were major, which required a proper birth certificate.
They would also have to provide their address proof showing the details of their families with the names of their parents and any siblings also.
The next condition was that they should give them a marriage invitation card also as per regular marriage invitation cards showing the particulars of the boy's and the girl's parents, the date, time and the place of the marriage.
If all such documents were given to them the temples would gladly conduct their marriage. They explained further that all these conditions were needed since they did not want any problems afterwards from any persons including the parents of the couple or the police, since the police will file a case against them if the couple were minors or if the parents registered a case against the temple etc.
They fulfilled all such conditions and got married in a Krishna temple in a symbolism for a love marriage! His friends took a few photos and gave copies to both of them for their safe keeping.
She went back to her house quietly after the marriage, he went back to his hostel with his friends and both of them continued with their regular activities for the following few weeks.