Friday, January 29, 2010

Employment

Part 5

That weekend Veena plans to visit her village with fifteen thousand in cash to pay the merchant for the loan taken for her education and such other expenses. Ghatla had a ST bus stop on the outskirts of the village and so she after alighting from the bus walks the distance which is not very long. There was no telephone facility, so she could not pre-inform the family, knowing that there will be nobody except Aai in the house, she enters the compound of her small house, a well kept but poorly decorated verandah she enters and puts her bag on a side and settles on the swing installed there. Veena relaxes quietly with her eyes closed, reclining on the cushion put on one corner of the swing she tries to take a short nap. Veena did not know for how long she was sleeping there but after some time she wakes up and looks around. She sees her dog, dumpy; he had come near her knowing her and had already commenced sniffing her feet. Actually that touch had broken her sleep. She gets up looks around, how is it that there is nobody around for so long? She marvels. Calls her Aai aloud and that does the work, her mother pretty busy in the kitchen runs out hearing the call. They see each other and Veena hugs mother tight. Mother pats on her back kindly and that reunion stays for some time. Slowly they separate, mother looks to her daughter with a demure smile, her eyes filled with tears of joy. Veena holds her bag and opens it; mother is looking on, not knowing what her dear daughter is up to. Veena takes out a thick packet and puts it in mother’s hand.

“What is it, dear”! mother asks in choked voice.
“Just open it; you will see it for yourself”! Veena
Mother opens it with quivering hands; finds a pack of brand new hundred rupees notes. Mother, looking to that, a mixed feeling of surprise and excitement looks to Veena with a question mark on her face.
“Aai, this is my first salary”. Veena

This explanation relieves her mother of first shock and now she looks very happy; cuddling Veena with profound pleasure her mother looks choked with feelings of gratitude to god; looks up as if wanted to thank him for his favours. All things Veena was watching with contentment, tears of joy flowing; her eyes she wipes clean and they both stroll slowly inside of the verandah.
“What you plan to do with this money? Are you giving it to your father”? mother

“Aai, I want to repay the first installment of the loan merchant has given to us for my education; don’t you know. And now you tell me where is Baba”? Veena says all this in one breathe. They were still standing on the door and so were quite visible from the small alley on which they were staying. There one familiar figure of Gangubai appears and on seeing Veena the woman enters the compound uninvited.

They all greet each other and Veena touches feet of elderly woman with reverence, that being the custom of the village to greet the elders. Veena’s mother proudly tells Gangubai that Veena has come with her very first salary to repay the loan of merchant for which they were really very much worried. And shows the pack of notes to her. On seeing that, Gangubai putting her palm on her mouth simply shouts with great astonishment and satisfaction. Her eyes twinkling repeatedly she keeps looking to the girl with astonishment and pleasure. From her manners it was clearly seen that Gangubai was very happy about it.

“You, Veena, are really very great girl; any body in the village will be proud of you now. You are going to make Ramachandra feel really very proud”. Gangubai utters spontaneously. Then suddenly she turns to Veena’s mother and elucidates that she has some very urgent work and so she must move. Before leaving the place she invites Veena to her house. Gangubai was staying in a house adjacent to that of the merchant, Ramnath.

Gangubai moves swiftly and almost running comes to her house and calls Charu, wife of the merchant. There is a small wall between the two houses and from her place Gangubai could easily see Charu cooking in her kitchen.
Gangubai’s voice when she calls Charu was such that Charu comes to know that something very urgent Gangubai wants to share with her. Cleaning her hands wiping on her sari sides Charu a woman of forty, a little buxom, fair in complexion trots near the adjoining short wall and signs to Gangubai, enquiring about what is the news.

Gangubai with a broad smile on her face tells her that Veena of Ramchandra has come with a lot of money to pay to the merchant to ward off the loan. That was a good news to Charu, she smiles and the two women continue their conversation about the girl with smiles on their faces. Both agree that Veena is a very good girl and as they talk about it; Ramnath the merchant peep out of the back door to see what the two ladies are all the talk about.


This Story continues in the next posting.
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