Soon Ibna catches Shree Nath and now they are walking together to see the farm. Veena standing at the door of the cottage keeps looking to them with incredulity a misty smile on her face shows that she was appreciating the couple. After some moments she turns to the room and keeps noticing the contents of that room. It was a small room of about twenty by fifteen size with reasonably large doors opening on opposite sides facing east west, there were two windows on the north side. The farm was located on the north side of the cabin and so through the widows it was possible to see the farm. Veena sees a heap of bags filled with fertilizers and other chemicals and a bag of seeds kept on one side. There were farm implements kept well arranged in one corner and a few things were kept hanging on a thick rope that was stretched across the length of the room. Walls were not white washed for, may be, many years and so they bore spoiled look. A stool in one corner was having a pile of old books on farming techniques and that appears to be the only reference library with which Shree Nath was doing his work. There was nothing very interesting to Veena in that room and on finding that she shifts to one window and prefers to keep watching the tranquil on the farm. Veena attempts to locate if she can to see what the two people are doing but due to fully-grown plantation of some creepers bearing some fruits she could not see much on the farm. However, occasional whisper of there conversation she could take note of but she could not understand what was the talk going on in them. Her feminine curiosity arose sharply and almost instinctively she heads towards the door on the west side and comes out of the room, begins to walk in the direction she was getting the voices. After passing through the hedge around the cabin she comes in the field. Voices become more clear now and she keeps walking in that direction, finds them standing near a sunshade watching a creeper loaded with cucumber fruits. Ibna was asking about the various treatments required for the plant and Shree Nath was replying assiduously. Their conversation, as Veena was expecting, was not and so she feels very guilty about the way she was suspecting the two young people. She looks nervous on that but then recovers soon and joins the pair. Veena had never taken interest in the farming but on seeing Ibna’s interest she develops curiosity for the subject and after going close to Ibna keeps listening to the discussion. What surprised most Veena was, the way Ibna was speaking Marathi. Here was a short pause and at that Veena retorts to Ibna, “How is it that you are interested in the farming and that too all of a sudden?”
Ibna looks sharply to Veena and with a casual smile replies, “Oh, yes, I am now interested in the farming, do you know Veena, agriculture was one of the subjects I had chosen during my higher studies in Zeda University from where I passed for management. Khalil Ibna Hasham school of agriculture I have attended to get my preliminary on animal husbandry and there we were thought Camel farming”, and on saying that Ibna begins to laugh. Veena again looks embarrassed that she poked her friend but recovers looking to her brother she asks, “So professor Saab how do you like this student?” the question had dual meaning and that came from Veena almost unconsciously. Shree Nath looks startled and for some moments keeps mum, but then he recovers and with a smile retorts that presently he appreciates her and feels very confident that Ibna shall pick up every bit of farming very soon. Veena on hearing this reply confused about what was the import of this reply, was it a reply to apparent meaning or to hidden one? Nevertheless, as if Ibna understood the reply aptly moves closer to Shree Nath, holds his hand firmly, and keeps looking to Veena confidently. All this was not expected by Veana and so she looks all the more nervous. Veena wanted to vent out her emotions and so asks Ibna, “How is it that you speak so good Marathi? We never speak in Marathi!” on that Ibna giggles and now further strengthening her grip on Shree Nath’s arm retorts, “I can learn Marathi if I want to, there are classes in the city to teach it.”
“You did all this without informing me?” Veena vents out her surprise and distress.
“I wanted to surprise you! If I have to stay with you and aunty I must know your language and that was the purpose, but it came handy today with your brother” Ibna
Looking to Shree Nath Ibna poses, “Shree, how was my Marathi?”
Veena sees Shree Nath appreciating her courage and looks to his sister bewildered. Veena putting her right palm on her eyes, closing them contemplates, about the possibilities of any such future and feels frightened, she visualizes a kokanastha Brahman man and an Arab girl! How can such a thing be possible, she wonders? She looks to Shree Nath, he appears quite relaxed to her. Veena is flabbergasted and also some feared. Ibna was standing firmly but with her eyes down. Veena sees the couple in this new perspective and almost likes the pair, keeps on watching them for some moments with a silent smile on her face. Nobody was saying anything. They instinctively slowly begin to move towards the cabin.
This Story continues in the next posting.
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