Tejimola's Aai - contd
by Rianka Sarkar
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This time when Dipen came, he brought me words from Tenkhuwa gaon. The news of Teji’s beauty has spread far and wide and Teji’s father has seen a match for her. Lined up suitors visit their house to ask for her hand but Teji refuses all saying, “none can love me more that deuta”. How wise of her to understand this at such a tender age which I had never heeded to think? In her I see now the younger me. When Teji’s father had come to see me, I was a young blossoming village charm that every man wanted to win. Stacks of proposals came to my father’s hand to seek me for marriage but he wanted a man who could give me all luxuries and happiness of life. Dhon was the most eligible bachelor deuta thought for he had a house of his own with a dheki. I got swayed with the dreams of love, marriage and husband, whose non-existence Teji has realised very early. Perhaps while she played in the house, subtly she observed me. Perhaps I never had the competence to realize what Teji has understood well.
But now I can only ponder over these waste years to be forgotten soon. The subtle bonding I have discovered with the girl I so much hated once, has made me realise all my follies very late. For none is doomed at my misdoing, Teji is happy with his father and so is my husband and I was a lesson for her. Therefore I have to discover my contentment here amidst the loneliness and acknowledge my existence that I had been ignoring all these years. *** Notes
1gaon : village
2Outenga: Elephant Apple, popular in Assamese cuisines
3Boiddo: doctor in olden days
4omita khar: An Assamese cuisine prepared with papaya and a kind of alkali extracted from the plantain trees.
5alu pitika: A popular Assamese cuisine of mashed potatoes.
6Mekhela: (mekhela sador) The indigenous traditional two piece dress worn by Assamese women.
7Kharu: A kind of bangle.
8Dheki: An agricultural tool used for pounding rice, separating the rice from the husk.
9Nao: a boat
11Apong: A homemade rice beer popularly made in many parts of north-east India.
15Kesuwasur: A kidnapper of children
16Bhoot: A ghostReferences
Baruh, Dutta Nripen. Old Mother’s Wise Tales. Guwahati: LBS, Jan 2017
Das, Nitoo. “Tejimola.” Muse India 38. July-August 2011
Goswami, Uddipana. We Called the River Red: Poetry from a Violent Homeland. Sapna Author’s Press, 2009.