Broken Roads - a new ending

This is a story unlike many you will read. It is not a feel-good story, there are no twists, no happy endings. There is a man, but there is no hero. There is a heart, but no love. There is a God, but no miracles. This story is based on simple truths, yet built on wicked lies. This is , in the end,a fictional tale. Because the truth often is stranger than fiction.

August - 11:50 pm
The lie was over for another day. His mask removed, he could again settle down for another night, awaiting the darkness to embrace him. Perhaps today would finally be the night..sleep would come rapidly.Perhaps there would not be enough time for the thoughts to come..for the inner darkness to envelope that of the outside. He knew better. As they unleashed themselves on him again, he once more let the tune play in his mind. The never ending tune.

6 months back - Valentine's day
He sat back. Watched the clock strike midnight. Valentine's had come and gone. He was still in disbelief. He looked across once more at the other side of the bed. His newly-wed wife was not there. She had not been there since the last 3 weeks. She was in town, he knew, yet she had not even bothered to spend the day with him, preferring her parents with whom she had stayed the last 3 weeks.. an sms demanding a rose. That was her acknowledgement that today must have been a day for love, for couples. He stared at the package under the bed, visible in the mirror - mentally pictured the necklace he'd saved up for since the day he knew he'd be marrying this girl. The plans he'd made for her first Valentine's with him.
A week later
He tried to think straight. Nothing was making sense. He had heard the words from her mouth but couldn't understand what the phrases meant. He replayed it again in his mind. He had confronted her finally when she came home. Wondered aloud why the girl for whom he's given up his freedom, even when a shotgun wedding was demanded was being so aloof. Why she had preferred to spend Christmas, New Years, his birthday, his parents anniversary and now Valentine's away from him? Why did she not see the pain she was causing to all at home ? "Valentine's? But I don't love you. I never have !" 3 days on He listened numb. The words were flowing rapidly towards him. They were making sense. How he wished they weren't. After 3 days of tensions simmering over, she finally came to confess. He wished it had been a confession of momentary anger. It wasn't. It was of a betrayal that seemed so ridiculous, it could only be true. Of how she had never loved him, but knew he could adjust to anyone, something she needed since she never trusted people. How her family knew and hence pushed for an early wedding to avoid the truth coming out. How she "expected to fall in love" with him over the next 2-3 years. How he'd just have to adjust till then. That was his USP, after all, wasn't it?
April -
He sat opposite his best friend. Their best friend. The first person he had told since this had all began.

"So she never changed even after that? Even after that day she admitted to you what she'd done?" "Why the hell did you put up with it?" "Are you mad?" "So now she's gone abroad to her family for a vacation? She's been having a vacation for so long. Only you would be stupid enough to let her carry on even after that. What are you gonna do now ? Have you decided that ?"
" I'm gonna ask her to do whatever she wants. Blast them properly. Her parents knew. That's why they rushed into it. They must be really ashamed right now!"
"They better be, pal.."
I'll try reasoning with her. She can't be so stupid, ya. I just find it so hard to believe she'd do something like this. Sure, not many were comfortable with you marrying her, but come on, the two of us know her best in this college. I'll mail her. Let's see."

2 days later -
"Ummm.. I mailed her. The reply was kinda weird."
"What did she say?"
"She told me she'll never be keeping in touch with me ever again"
"WHAT?!! What did you mail her ?"
"Nothing man..I just spoke of adjustment..of the value of commitment. Of learning to live a new life and leaving her family. Seriously, what is wrong with her?"
"It's the mom..I know it. Her word is gold in that family. Whatever she says becomes the truth automatically, facts be damned. I spoke to her via messenger..the same girl who categorically denied loving me was suddenly full of "I love yous" continuously..full of "oops, by mistake i forgot to mention that i love you in the heat of the moment" statements. She stopped once i told her she'd been coached."
"What're you gonna do..."
"I still have to tell my parents of my decision..."

May,week 2 -
After awhile, surprises lose their glow. Being numbed by shocks tend to do that. He should have been surprised, but it didnt matter. His parents, whom he expected to kick him out for actually doing something like this, were actually supportive. They too had felt the pain of being rejected by their first daughter of the house, wondered why the girl never spent any time with them, why they only saw her at meals. Now they knew why...
"Let's see what happens when she comes back. We'll talk to her."
"No, they'll say we're harassing her then. Leave it."
"Her parents informed us that she's found a workplace away from here where she'll work." "When was I, the husband, supposed to be informed ??"
"They said they tried calling you.."
"They never did.."

May, week 3 -
"Son,Her mom called. Begged us not to tell people. Said she'd come in July and work things out." "So till then ?"
"Till then, don't tell your friends."

June, week 4 -
He sat in the train, willing it to go faster. The cacophony around him was just a silent buzz. He needed to get home. His mother's voice on the phone came back to him.
"Something's wrong with your father. Come down now."
"What happened?"
"He came home after going out. He couldn't recognise us. He kept crying for your wife and mother in law. He kept crying of being cheated and finally fell unconscious. He woke up again. But he's not replying to anything."
"Did you take him to the hospital?"
"No, the vaidyar is coming to see him now"
"Take him to the DAMN hospital..forget the vaidyar!!"
"You come quickly.."
The ride home would be the longest few hours he'd ever taken. He had heard calls like this before. People cushioning the blow that someone had passed away. Requesting them to come home cause smeone was sick. He had had to do it himself for a friend once before. Memories flooded in. Could it be too late? Was it already too late? "Damn it, I will not cry...I will not cry...I will not cry..."

His father was alive. This was not to be the final call. Since falling asleep again, he had recovered some memory..enough to tel them he'd been to the in laws relatives house. Calling them up had helped fill in the spaces. "They had told him that they figured there was a trap for your son early on. Because they too knew the manipulations of the mother too well from experience. They couldn't tell us because they were only knowing us by relation. The shock of finally confronting the truth got to your dad. They told he seemed lost while leaving their house itself. He couldn't remember what he was talking about and just wanted to reach home. They offered to drive him home but you know your dad. He never seeks help. How he drove home noone knew. How he even recognised this house is a miracle."
He entered the room. His father lay there asleep. As he watched, a single tear fell from his father's eye. He finally broke down and cried that day.

2 days later -
His father sat across him on the verandah. Both knew this would be a long conversation. New stories had come up in the last 48 hours.
"Son, what do you know of black magic ?"
"I make fun of it. I know some people believe in it but I don't."
"Do you know of anyone who practises it ?"
Both looked at each other. Suddenly, the son knew what was coming. "Oh No!"

His mind wandered back to an incident in January when his wife, sister in law and their mom had rushed into the house excited. All had begun jabbering athe same time. It had taken awhile to calm them down and then listen to them. They were excited because they'd finally been able to solve the other sister's marital problems. "But we were sure it was heading for divorce. You yourselves had said that."
"Ha ha!! But that was before we used a tantrik. He gave us a powder which we added in his drink. That fellow who was shouting at us on the spot became like a dog!! You should see him. Now he's so quiet and timid. Ha ah ha.. now we can continue this marriage in peace knowing fully well he wont get into a single fight with my daughter"

He looked at his dad."I want you to come with us to see someone , son. He will be able to check and see if the same was done to you."

July, week 1-

"So what did the witch doctor find?" his friend asked over the phone.

"As expected, he said there was something in my tummy. That it had been put by my mother-in-law though he didn't even know who I was. I dont know what to believe, man. A part of me prefers not to believe in this..to think it was rather my stupidity that got us into this mess rather than that such evil exists.That everything I believed in was a lie"

"Wake up, man. Everything was a lie. Accept it. Be strong. Your parents need you as much as you need them. Let's see what happens when her mom comes.When is she due?"

"I dont know. She never called after that day when she begged us not to tell anyone. That was 2 months ago."

July, week 3-

Home seemed such a travesty of a word. He sat there. He had arrived when the news came, but he was too late. The mother-in-law and sister-in-law had come as a surprise, knowing he was out of town, knowing his dad was sick. They had played their check mate - They had taken away the girl from the husband, just as they had taken the child away from the first son in law..he had 3 years to repent and come begging. They threatened they would be going public now..tell the public how bad a son in law he was and how lucky he was to get a girl as sweet as their daughter. That he had not told the public this because he feared his brother would get no proposals . How they could make the girl say anything they wanted so the son better fall and beg for forgiveness or else they would make him a laughing stock in society. They had reminded his father of how they had spread stories of incest when the first son in law didnt dance to their tune. It need not be ruled out again. After all, wasn't the wife's word golden in any house?

"How dare they!!" He screamed finally at his mother. " We shut up for their sake..at their insistence. We could have thrown that girl out so long ago. Instead even after all this, we let her into the house. And now they're coming and blackmailing us just as they did with the first son in law"

"Calm down!!"

"What calm down! Let's tell the world the truth! Let the "

"No.."

"whole world know she's blackmailing us. That she did black magic to her son in laws.That she"

"SHUT UP!!"

He stopped. His mother looked at him, eyes afire.

"You got us into this. Who asked you to believe such a girl? We were all going along fine. You fought for them when they asked for hurried marriage. You nearly lost me my husband, your father!! And now, you want to tell the world!! What can you tell them? What proof do you have? That they did black magic? That they black mailed us? That the marriage was a love marriage? Is it written in any marriage certificate that this is a love marriage? Tell me? "

"But we..we cant let this happen..we did nothing wrong. There must be a way."

"Some stories CAN NEVER BE TOLD. Accept that. We dont have proof. We have nothing." Its upto you..If you dont beg, you risk ruining this family. Your brother's life. Our name."

"What should I do?"

"What you always have..follow your heart..stand for what you believe in. The name you make from now on..Let that be yours. Consider that you have reached zero again. Think of the worst they can say and prepare for it. Everyone talks of how you face troubles head on. Let this be your biggest challenge. Le them do your worst. As long as you friends and family are with you, dont let society bring you down. They may have the God men and the influence.. show them that isn't enough to break you down. We have lived our lives. If it meant that we die isgraced by them for no fault, so be it. God will punish the guilty someday. "

Present Day - 8 am

The phone rang. He looked at the time. It was the start of another day. The darkness outside had passed just as the tunes within had finished. It was another day. He picked up the phone. The call was from home again. It was his mother.

"It has begun. They have started the insults..accept it. Take each day as it comes now."

"I will."

"We will always be there for you." Click.

He looked accusingly at the idol of the Lord Of Prosperity that sat at his table.

"So this is what doing good results in? This is what prayers are for? So that we can be cheated when we do our best. What kind of a God allows such pain to happen. You know I did my best. And now look at me. Because I dont have influence like them, because I dont have the backing of a God man like them, I must be ruined. What kind of God are you?"
The idol sat silently, condemning him without a single word to his own guilt. He showered, dressed and left. The mask of happiness had to be worn again for the outside world..the sleepless night ? Oh, just another hard working oil burning session of work. As he left the room, he muttered a prayer to the same Lord " Oh Lord!! Let today not be the day I crumble..let today not be the day I crumble.. let today not be the day I crumble.."

The door slammed shut and the idol could hear no more what the man had to say.

Epilogue :

The idol stirred with the winds that lashed at it from the open windows. The raindrops poured on it,cascading it. To anyone looking it would appear the idol was crying. But more than a tear, the droplets adorning it seemed to give an altogether new hue to the idol..it almost looked as if the idol was actually smiling, a wicked smirk.

At his friends house, as he read , the words his mother told him flashed back at him -" Some stories can never be told" Was that really true, he wondered? Wasn't there always a way...


THE FINAL EPISODE

Thus it would come to be in time that the truth would be revealed.. of how mother and daughter knew long before they chose the unwitting fool that they needed to end the wedding fast as per the horoscope and get married a second time by the end of the second year for prosperity to reign. Endorsed by a living God , the plan would reach fruition successfully. It would unfold too late that she had revealed her plan to a batchmate long ago, that her relatives who attended the wedding all knew of the family's motives. It would reach a point where while the man wondered if a reconciliation was possible, his wife had already found her next suitor - a truer devotee of the same Living God who had married them less than a year back, finding no contradiction in giving her divine blessings twice in marriage to the same girl, even while the girl's own father doubted the morality of it. After all, a truer devotee would abide by her rules, wouldn't he - allowing her to be judge, jury and executioner unlike the blasphemous youth who turned his back on her divinity ?

Thus, it would reach a situation where while the fool awaited his last days as a husband a year after he last spoke to his wife, in the house he once graced, wedding celebrations were already set for the wedding to be held in the same week as the divorce.and he would be left with ample time to wonder - if love ever existed in her heart, of how much a God's words can influence your decisions and marriage , of how you can plan to destroy your own wedding to fulfil a prophecy - of the power of a GOD to influence lives and treacheries.


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6 comments

  1. OK... I must say.. its an intereseting story.... and its been narratted with the usual charm that you had even when we were in class together (remember the MCB excercise?).

    But I'm sorry. Did the story end half way or was it your abstract modern style of leaving the rest to the reader's twisted imaginations? :)

    Anyway, enjoyed it. :D

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  2. haha..uday. consider it an "abstract modern style"..that seems the best way, doesnt it?

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  3. hmmmmm...
    r u planning to write a 2nd part for this? or end the story as it is ?

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  4. rest assured..there will be a continuation..

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