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The Deal - Part I

by Lakshmi Menon
(Bangalore, India)

The evening shadows lengthened, the young girls working in the nearby garment factory blocked the roads as they walked back home, chatting and laughing.

Susy looked at the time piece on her table in the small two-room house where she stayed with her husband since the day she landed in the city as a new bride.  The time piece showed thirty past six, and she sighed heavily.  Arun had asked her to get ready by 5 p.m. to go for a movie. He had managed to get two tickets. He had taken her out  on a few occasions, and only once for a movie, that was immediately after their marriage.  

Susy wore his favourite silk sari, light pink in color with a thin zari boarder and a matching blouse, decked a flower on her neatly combed hair, and put on her gold  covered necklace. Since he had told her they would be eating out tonight she had not cooked anything at home.

She was happy in her 8 month old marriage though Arun was not earning enough to give her a comfortable life, which she was used to in her parental home.  She had to fight very hard to become Arun’s wife, and leave everything behind, including her doting parents, and her two younger brothers.  Reluctantly, Susy dialed Arun’s office phone. 

“He has taken permission and gone home by 5 p.m,” answered the receptionist in her usual sweet tone.

Disappointedly, Susy put back the phone in the cradle and waited for his scooter sound.

Suddenly, the phone rang. “Is it Mr. Arun’s house?” asked a male voice at the other end.

   “Yes,” replied Susy attentively. “But he is not here now. May I know who is speaking?” 

“Madam,………I’ve a bad news for you…….” 
“mmm……………what news?” 
“Mr. Arun had an accident and he is now in the hospital……...”

Susy couldn’t hear anything further. When she opened her eyes she was on the bed and the neighbours were around her looking anxiously.

 Three months later Arun came out of the hospital, when his injured limbs were healed, but the doctors couldn’t restore his eye sights. By then Susy had a twenty days old baby in her hand, and was desperately looking for a job.  Susy had expected at least some help from her family at such a crucial situation, but
they were least bothered about doing anything for their estranged daughter.

Through some relatives’ persuasion, her father decided to take her back provided she went home alone, leaving her husband and the kid, for good. But for Susy, it was out of her imagination. She had nothing more precious in the world than her love to her husband and their baby. 

She persuaded Arun to bring his widowed mother to stay with them so that she could take up a job entrusting her baby in her mother-in-law’s hand.

Within a fortnight, she got a job as a Receptionist, with the help of her neighbor.  Arun was unable to carry on with his job as an Accountant, without vision, and ultimately he lost his job. Still Susy didn’t hate him, or cursed her destiny, instead consoled him and extended her full support. She worked very hard to meet both the ends, and prayed to get back Arun’s vision, and to get back his full strength on the right hand which was partially lost during the accident. 

As the days passed, Arun became more and more depressed and preferred loneliness, and even persuaded her to go back to her parents, if they were still willing to accept her back. Her response was in the form of a question.

 “If I had such a fate would you leave me and go, Arun?” asked Susy with tears in her eyes. 

Since then he decided not to bring up that topic any more between them. But he still felt guilty for spoiling her life. Though he had liked her at the first look at their friend’s house, Arun had never dreamt of earning her undivided love and making her his life partner.

Susy was the only daughter of her well to do parents, father an engineer and mother a headmistress.  They had almost fixed a marriage proposal for their daughter with a doctor who worked abroad. But by then Susy had no place in her mind for another man since she had already liked the soft spoken Arun, and her portrait he painted for her. 

Against all his advice, she decided to lead a life with him, and eloped from the college, leaving an apology note to her parents.

Read the remaining story.
Part II here , Part III here
and Part IV (Final)

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