“Who told you to wear this pink saree tonight? Don’t you have any other sarees which can match your complexion? For God’s sake, this was my boss’s party and you ruined it by appearing like a clown in front of all my colleagues.”
“But it was a gift from my baba and he…”
“Stop all these bullshit now. The truth is you want to show yourself as someone who can carry every colour no matter what. Isn’t it? Trying to act smart and beautiful which you aren’t!”
Since the day Arijit got married to Kaushiki, he wasn’t really fond of her. It was an arranged marriage and Kaushiki was the daughter of Arijit’s father’s childhood friend. She was born and brought up in Malda, a small town in West Bengal. She was the only daughter of Amitesh Babu, who belonged to a zamindar’s family. Kaushiki completed her graduation from a local college in Malda and soon after she got married to Arijit. A bubbly and a chirpy girl that she was before her marriage were lost somewhere in the ruthlessness of the tough city, Kolkata. And what was her mistake? Well, she was dark and not so attractive!
Arijit’s past relationships were not successful and he had to give in to his ailing father’s last wish of getting married to his friend’s daughter. Arijit couldn’t say no and no matter how unwilling he was, he kept the last wish of his father. The marriage was a lavish one but as destiny had it, Arijit’s father died a month after their marriage. The first night of Kaushiki and Arijit was not romantic at all. Kaushiki had almost slept waiting for her husband at around 3 AM. Arijit arrived at around 4 in the morning and he forced himself on Kaushiki, shaking her up of her sleep. It was a ritual for Arijit but Kaushiki was terrified that night.Arijit was the handsome hunk in his college group and all his past girlfriends were hot. His definition of hot was a fair skinned girl though. The colour of Kaushiki’s skin was the primary reason behind his disgust for her. It’s been a year since they are married and it was for the first time that Kaushiki had gone out for a party with her husband. Arijit wasn’t ready to take her but his boss and colleagues were adamant to meet their ‘bhabhi’. Arijit had no choice!
“Just because you are here with me tonight I couldn’t even enjoy the party properly. I mean, look at you! You can’t even speak proper English and I had to remain glued to you at the party to speak on behalf of you. I am soon going to get a promotion and will become the Senior Marketing Manager of my company. No matter how much I hate to believe this but the truth is you are my wife now. At least learn to behave. The whole day you tire yourself by doing all the household chores and then you sit with your novels, that too the Bengali ones. At least take up a course or something and get groomed.”
Arijit had spoken all these at one breath while driving through the empty roads of Kolkata while coming back home from the party. It was around 1 AM and Kaushiki was blankly staring outside, not answering anything to her husband. Since the day she got married, she tried everything to woo her husband. He took care of him as a wife does but she still can’t remember a day when Arijit had spoken to her nicely or even looked at her with admiration.
“Have you always been this meek? I mean, didn’t you have friends before marriage? I know you didn’t have a boyfriend and it’s out of your league. But at least you should have known how to behave in front of people. Have you seen my colleagues’ wives at the party? They are so smart and they carry themselves so nicely. Learn something!”
The street lights outside were on and some part of the roads were beautifully lit up with LED light panels for Diwali. Arijit and Kaushiki were coming back from Arijit’s boss’s pre-Diwali party. She knew her husband was pissed with her, as always, but she chose not to reply back, as always.
“Won’t you answer? You don’t even have a mouth or what?”
“What? Have you gone mad?”
“I said, Stop the car!”
Arijit stopped the car hurriedly, staring at his wife with disbelief. It was around 1.30 AM and his wife was asking him to stop the car on an empty street of Kolkata. As soon as the car came to a halt, Kaushiki opened the door and blurted out,
“Open the dickey please!”
Arijit pulled up the button below his seat to open the boot space of his car. Kaushiki was already out of the car by then and Arijit came out to ask her about what was going on. Kaushiki quickly took out the iron rod which was kept on the dickey and ran towards the other side of the road. This time Arijit could see two men doing something near the bush on the other side of the road but he was still not able to decipher what they were up to. He ran behind Kaushiki who seemed to be someone else to him at that point in time.
“What are you guys doing with this girl here at this hour?”
There was a teenage girl lying on the road, crying out loud to let her go and there were two men who were trying to molest her but wasn’t able to move properly as they were drunk.
“Who the hell are you, girl? You wish to join us? C’mon babe! We will have one for each of us then.”
Before Arijit could believe what he was seeing in front of his eyes he heard a loud thunder. One of the men were lying on the road by then as Kaushiki had already hit him with the rod on his back. She did the same with the other man and kept beating those two repeatedly while shouting at Arijit,
“Call the police, will you?”
Arijit, still shocked, dialled 100. Kaushiki, after beating the two drunkards for good 5-6 minutes and ensuring that they both were not in a state to revolt, finally relaxed. By then, they both could hear the sound of police jeeps arriving at the spot. Arijit, still without any clue, grabbed Kaushiki’s hand and asked her to move back. The police officers came running, saw the two men lying in front of them, bleeding from the head and moaning in pain. Kaushiki hugged the girl, who was still crying profusely and handed her over to the female constable.
“Sir, did you beat these two men?” One of the policemen enquired about the situation to Arijit.
“No. I did” There was a feeling of calm on Kaushiki’s face as she answered.
The policeman looked quite surprised and shocked. He thanked Kaushiki and asked both of them to leave and assured Kaushiki that the girl will reach her place safe and the criminals will get the punishment which they deserve.
Arijit was quiet while driving back home. At one point he looked at his wife. Kaushiki was staring outside the window, her head held high.
“I was born on the eve of Diwali. I was dark and my grandma didn’t quite like me from the very first look of mine. She cursed my mother. But my dad took me on his arm and named me Kaushiki, the divine power. He told everyone that night that he was blessed by Maa Kali with a daughter who will one day put every man to shame. It’s my birthday today and Diwali is soon approaching. And today, finally, I think I made my baba proud.”
A few drops of tears rolled down Arijit’s cheeks.