“Savitha! Where are you? I can’t find a pen in this house!”Exclaimed Sathya.
“I have to get you everything,” muttered Savitha under her breath. “Look inside the drawer,” she shouted from the kitchen.
A rough noise of pulling the drawer and slamming it shut reverberated all over the house. Then all was silence.
“He must have found it; doesn’t even acknowledge,” Savitha steamed with irritation.
“Yes, yes, your majesty has to be told everything, otherwise my head will be chopped off,” said Sathya with vicious sarcasm. Savitha shook her head and her abundant, long hair fell loose and she tied it in a tight bun again
Sita, her neighbour was sitting in the kitchen listening to the couple’s tiffs. Sita was her close friend and both of them shared their joy and sorrow over the kitchen platform or sipping a cup of tea in the veranda. Sita never had any disagreements with her husband. They got along well and she could not understand why her friend and her husband were constantly at loggerheads.
“Savi, why do you get annoyed over small things?” she had asked her friend many a time.
Savitha got hurt by her question. “Do you think he is on the right when he shouts at me unnecessarily? Am I to eat the hurts and insults silently? I am also human, not a pet animal.”
Sita had given up when she saw tears in her eyes. “I’m sorry dear. I didn’t mean it that way. I suggested a way to avoid arguments. I didn’t say who’s right and who’s wrong.”
“It’s all in the horoscope,” Savitha confided in her one day.
“Horoscope? How do you mean horoscope?” asked Sita.
“My mother was not for this marriage. She had consulted an astrologer with our horoscopes. He said,” Total mismatch, lady. These two can’t see eye to eye on anything. They may get separated or even some danger may befall your daughter, if you get them married.”
“If such was the case, why did they get you married at all to him?” Sita wondered aloud.
“All because of my father. He was stubborn in finalising this alliance, as they are related to him. And that was one more reason my mother did not want to go ahead with this.”
Sita clicked her tongue and kept quiet. Their’s was also an arranged marriage, but their parents did not go for horoscope matching as her husband did not have a horoscope. The exact time of his birth was not noted , it seems and they had no way of framing a horoscope for him. Sita could not understand her friend’s situation. Even after begetting two children…….., well. It was their life.
She took leave as she was going to attend a wedding with her husband shortly.
Sita was shocked beyond words when she attended the phone the next day. She was totally incoherent when her husband asked her what the matter was.
“Savi, … it’s Savi. She’s in hospital,.. accident,” she stammered.
“But only yesterday you had gone to her place!” exclaimed Jeevan, her husband. “What kind of accident?” he asked.
“Fire accident, they said,” said Sita, still agitated. “I dont’t know if her husband is behind this,” she blurted out.
“What do you mean, silly,” chided Jeevan.
But Sita, however much she tried, could not dispel that thought from her mind. Sometimes her mind seemed to have uncanny ways to revelation of truth. Sita prayed that Savitha survived that accident. From what she heard, she could guess that her condition was pretty bad.
Sita literally ran into the hospital, found Savitha’s room and barged inside, while a nurse stopped her with disapproval. “Madam, this is no visitor’s time,” she said sternly.
“Please, she’s my close friend,” sais Sita. pleadingly. “I’ll see her quietly and go off,” she promised.
The nurse smiled and said, “O.K, but only for five minutes.”
Sita nodded and tiptoed near Savitha’s bed. Savitha’s eyes were closed. Her face on the right had some burn wounds. Her left hand too had some.
Savitha opened her eyes and after a few moments seemed to recognize her asked, “Sita! Oh, am I in a hospital? Where’s everybody?”
On hearing her voice Savitha’s son and daughter entered the room. Sita saw them only then.
“How are you aunty?” they greeted her. Last time she saw them was about a couple of years back.
Savitha put out her unhurt hand and held sita’s. Tears welled in her eyes. “Remember what I told you about horoscopes?” she sobbed.
“Sh! Children are here. Moreover you should not cry,” Sita tried to pacify her, and only then noticed with shock that Sathya was not anywhere around.
“Let the children know what a fool I had been,” screamed Savitha. She was getting a little breathless and the nurse entered with a syringe.
“Now would you all stay outside, please,” she said in such commanding tone, that all had to go out immediately. Sita mustered some courage and asked sita’s daughter, “Where’s your father?”
“What can we say aunty! His condition is worse. He is in the ICU. Till now we were there.”
“What! What do you mean his condition is worse?” Sita askes with shock.
Savitha’s son replied,” Oh! When my mother asked to ring you up, I didn’t tell you that father tried to save mother when her sari caught fire, and in the struggle, the synthetic shirt and pants he was wearing had caught fire and he was badly burnt, all third degree burns. Mother became hysterical on seeing his condition. We were worried that she would do something to herself. She is being given sedatives to sleep. But gets up so often.”
Sita looked into the room through the window. Savitha was muttering something with her hand pointing at her, while her eyes slowly closed.