I was grown up listening to stories from my Grandma and Mother about fairies,Kings , Gods, Demons and many more.But my favorite storyteller was, “Sachya”, the Dark Coloured girl with the most beautiful and expressive eyes i have ever seen, her actual name was Satyabati but we called him”Sachya” , her parents too. She must have been fifteen or sixteen at that time. Let me explain I am from Berhampur also called the Silk City, A Small City in the state of Odisha and of course India.
I was around five or six years old and those were the early eighties.Our Street was like a small village and Power Cuts in those days was/are common (in most parts of India), most eagerly awaited time for children.
After school in the morning children are expected to study and do their home works in the evening after the evening prayers. We ,the children clan used to pray God let the Lights go off and we are free to play and run.
Now I had a strict Aunt and Grandma shouting at me to study the whole time so that i could make a successful man out of it. My Mother was as gentle as a cow always showing me two fingers, for choosing one when father was away for business. I always asked her what is she choosing but she never told me, but now i understand she was asking me whether Father will arrive sooner or later.
And Sachya lived just in front of our house with her parents and three brothers in a small hut, lets not count them and get to the point.
She was the most popular storyteller in our street among all the children and I was her favorite one and had the privilege to sit in her lap and listen to the most wonderful of wonderful stories.As soon as the lights went off mothers started to lit the oil lamps, children disappeared from their study places and everybody knew, where to find them. Never mind it was a daily routine for two hours or so. I was the first to reach her place and clung to her and then the rest team came and there started a plethora of expressions, We laughed , got terrified and even cried with every story she told us. She had got everything in her basket to buy a child’s mind but she loved me the most.
Everyday after school and playtime my only aim was to reach satya and listen to my favorite stories. I got bundles of scoldings for frequently missing from and found out at my favorite place. She was a south indian and she fed me with my favorite food item, “Idli and Sambhar”, – Steamed Rice and Black Gram Cakes, Hot and sour mixed vegetable curry with drumsticks, you will love it. And my Grandmother discovered along with my aunt that i had already filled in my stomach at Sachya’s place. So started my adventure,”how many times we have told you not to eat at their place, you are no more our child , you belong to them , go and stay with them” yelled my Grandma. I hated this caste remarks but that was the time and ran to Sachya. After i fell asleep she left me at my mother.
So days were passing by and i was now a twelve years old boy but my fascination for sachya’s stories and her friendship were all the same “my Treasures”., my elder cousin would too join with me.
Now Sachya’s brother got married and i often saw her sister-in-laws brother”Babu” making frequent rounds to her house, i didn’t liked him at all at the very first instance. Whenever i went to her place he was present smiling at me and straightly expressing “When I Am there why are you here”.
So this cold war was rooting deeply in my heart and mind. Now Sachya’s all attention went to Babu, she now avoided me and also was not sharing stories with us . She would just smile and tell us to come later.
Now in Odisha we have a very old festival”Kumar Purnima” , worshipping the Moon God ,meant for the Youngs. A day of playing, sweets and delicacies, pujas and girls pray to get a husband as beautiful as the moon. It falls in September- October full Moon Day. Children wear New Clothes,and get money to buy toys and gifts. Elders play card the whole night and sleep the next evening after seeing the stars. SO when everyone is busy enjoying young couples get a time to meet secretly and express love. When Sachyas parent went to the Temple, Mr Babu arrived and i had to exit from Sachya’s House. I asked her why are you getting so close this man, i don’t like him and went away running.
I was busy playing with my cousin , suddenly my Grandmother yelled, Oh Lord how times have changed , how people have become shameless, kissing each other before marriage, God forgive them from their Sins pointing Sachya and Babu.My Grandmother was a God-Fearing religious and an orthodox lady and that was the eighties.
I didn’t liked the remark and straigthtly went to Sachya and poured out,” I Told you not to be friend with this Man, but you don’t have the slightest care, i can’t tolerate this man any more, either you tell him to go away or i will break his head with a stone or puncture his Bi-cycle”. Instantly Sachya told me get of there or she shall complain to my grandma for misbehaving.
My world was shattered , i could not believe my ears, how could she do this to me, i listened to each and every story of her, kept our friendship even after getting scolded. I cried for an hour long and so and promised myself never to look at her face, or talk with her. My Mother knew me and fed me some Idli and Sambhar and felt a little Good.
It has been six months or more I had not visited sachya. And one good evening she came with her wedding card to invite us. I Just ran away to the front door when she entered inside our house , never to look at her. She asked my mother what happened and was explained everything. Before she left , I was standing outside the door, she came near me , i didn’t looked, and asked me if i will attend her wedding. My Expression was a”Big no”. Everyone from my family went to attend but i didn’t go.
So Time passed and now I was a sixteen something young teenager with fresh tiny thin hair on my upper lips( Mustaches) and have just fallen for a girl in my high school. Some wonderful new days will describe later.
One evening i was landing my bi-cycle I saw a fat woman with large expressive eyes coming near to me , at once i recognised ” Sachya”. She was holding a small boy, her son. Now She was fat but her eyes the most wonderful and expressive in the world i have ever seen.
She asked me, “Are you still angry on me?”
I simply blushed , before could say anything she continued, “Hmm, Mustaches, now yo are a grown up Boy”.
I Smiled and laughed. She invited me to have some Idlis at her place. I agreed and went Some Day. What an idiot i was she married the man she loved. And she was doing something that was meant at that time.