The Secret Companion

The Secret Companion

The fading rays of the golden sun caressed the land, turning it into matt golden. The soil threw a fresh aroma in the air, calming the warm dusk.  While the greens were melting into grey, a girl in her late teens was humming the song, “ye raat ye chandni phir kahan……sun jaa dil ki daastan”, along with the radio.

The song ended and the host announced the next song on the show “Aap Ki Pharmaish”.  She listened carefully, as the host spoke names of requesters in her sultry voice.  “aur Tanuja Mishra Sabalpur se”.   She smiled. “Tanuja Mishra”, her identity, which was only enlivened on her favourite radio show.   No one including her parents remembered Tanuja Mishra.  She was Tanu, a girl who was expected to be an ideal daughter and grow up into a perfect wife just like her mother.  

“Tanu………..” She heard her mother Sharda’s loud call along with the rumbling of the tractor.  She quickly switched off the radio and fulfilled her responsibility in the kitchen towards the men of the house.  

While Sharda was serving hot chapatis to her husband, he said, “Well, finally the date of marriage is fixed.   I’ll sell some part of the land to match their expectations.  We cannot find a better match than this for Tanu.”

“Yes, you’re right, we’ll have to ensure that everything goes well.  Tanu will live happily in the city”, said Sharda    

Tanu overheard the conversation of her parents but she had nothing to say.   No one other than the Radio cared for her “choice.”  She quietly accepted the destiny and wrote a new postcard before she slept.  This time she requested, “panchi banoo udti phirun mast gagan mein….”

Soon she was married.  The colours of dusk and aroma of soil were left behind, as she moved to a metropolitan city with her husband.   With some latest electronics in her dowry, she brought along her secret companion, the Radio.  

Her life was nothing beyond an ordinary housewife, who effortlessly fulfilled the obligations of being a woman.   Time flew and the vintage radio was now replaced by hi-tech music systems, postcards by SMS, and “Aap Ki Pharmaish” had turned into the FM radio contests.  

Tanu never stopped conversing with her favourite companion, and the radio always respected her choice.  She saturated all her emotions by soaking in the lyrics, and at times dancing to the tunes of her “choice” in solitude.    It felt proud, each time she heard “Tanuja Mishra” on the radio.  Gradually, she started to interact with the Radio Jockeys and won some contests too.

Today, she was wrapped in the white sheet, ready to submerge in the soil before the aroma of the dusk.    Perhaps, her heart couldn’t take it anymore.    Panditji started to recite the final mantras, and on the other hand, Radio Jockey announced, “Winner from last week’s contest is Tanuja Mishra from Delhi, and here’s the song of her choice”.   The song plays, “aaj phir jeene ki tammana hai……”.  

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Vandana Saxena
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