Outskirts of The CITY
By Vijay Mahindran
Priya was in bath. It was clearly heard that Catherine was talking to someone. Mr. Suriyaprakash ( shortly called “ SP” hereafter) had already sent tow SMS when Priya was taking bath. Mobile phone was found ringing continuously.
“ Who is on mobile?” Priya asked Catherine.
“ S P”
“Tell him I am in bathroom”
Priya knows that this is not the time for him to call her. He used to call her only during the meals interval. But SP had asked Catherine to give the phone to the bathroom.
Priya got aversion.
“ Can you not tolerate till my bath is over” Priya scolded him.
“Why you had not replied to my SMS”
This added anger to Priya She used to see the SMS during her bus travel. The travel was convenient to her to reply and delete the unwanted SMS.
Priya is a receptionist in a star hotel located at Palace road. Her duty is 9 to 9. Sunday is the only holiday for her.
On one occasion SP had a look on her when she was returning to hostel after her work. He used to travel in the same bus route of Priya. Both their eyes met as a lightening casually. She observed that his eyes were gazing over her body only. Love started. They exchanged their love in air-conditioned cine theatres, roof top restaurants, auto travel etc., for the past 6 to 7 months. Priya in her soap foamy fingers opened the SMS and read it. It was informed in the SMS that she should come in blue color dress only on that day.
Priya in a louder voice “I will wear any color of dress of my choice. You need not dictate terms”.
But SP did not care for her telling “ Blue color Blue color” repeatedly and switched off the phone.
He was found forcing Priya with his desire even in petty matters. Priya had hated such of his actions.
Ctharine had discussed this before two days back. They are found standing on the open terrace of the hostel in transparent nighties without in skirts exposing their breasts.
“ SP is torturing me. He had taken me to a beauty parlor and and asked me to get my hair-style reduced to half length. When asked he says it is troublesome form to give kiss to her.He compelled me to come in blue color suridar. I know where he calls me? His friend’s house is at Tirunagar and it is now locked. He had taken me to that house. He wants only to enjoy me. I am thinking to drop him” Priya said. Catherine agreed this.
“ I have to go to Nandini Nursing Home. Are you having time this Sunday?”
“Necessary should go? You too got trapped”
“sss speak calm”
They got down and gone to their rooms. When they are about to lie on the bed, knocking sound was heard from the door. Catherine opened the door. Hostel warden entered into the room with a new girl. The warden introduced the girl as her name is Backialakshmi shortly called as Packiam and she has to stay with them in the room.
Catherine called her affectionately and asked to sit near her. Priya was eager to know about the new and chatting with her. Priya had completely forgotten about SP on that night. She was in dilemma from his morning phone whether to accept his desires or to drop him. Catherine left without saying anything as she had to join a job in one computer
institution on that day.
Priya got into the bus in confusion mood. She was in yellow. She adjusted her inskirt without anyone’s notice Her mind was wavering what to reply for the SP. She did not
care the romance of the couple seated in her opposite in the bus. The husband was seen to put flowers on his wife’s head and his wife prevented with her hand. Later she adjusted
to allow her husband to put the flowers on her head. Priya moved her face towards the window. Later she did not care for the couple till she got down from the bus.
She walked to the hotel along with her colleagues. She found Vignesh and Malathi at the reception. Priya went to the dressing room and dressed in the uniform. She found SP was standing as expected.
“Get leave and come with me” SP.
Priya did not ask him where to go. SP also did not tell anything and left murmuring with
Vulgar words. She had forgotten about him. No contact either in person or mobile was made.
That day is last Sunday of the month. Thirty days passed forgetting the blue dress. Priya and Catherine were found keeping silence after they returned from Nandini Nursing Home. They did not observe anyone. They didn’t care for the eyes of those gazing their bodies. They went to a tank nearby. Children were found playing on the ground of waterless tank. Among, one was found whistling at Priya. She smiled. Gentle freeze, yellowish sunlight, enthusiastic children’s face made her fell brisk. She had not got
Feeling till now. They sat on the green grass of the tank . They purchased some peas and
cut mango pieces soaked with chilli powder and salt. Excess salt and chilli powder were
wiped out with paper. They began to bite . Catherine casually turned to the otherside. She tapped Priya’s hand and showed the Packiam and SP were chatting. Priya got irritated seeing this. It is known to her whether her angry is on SP or Packiam. Priya and Catherine returned to hostel.
Later Priya could not talk freely to Packiam. A silent gap prevailed between them. But
Catherine was found talking to them about his boy friends and their doings. Priya got jealous how Catherine makes her fit to mingle with all the boy friends at the same time. She came to know that the scent and color of the dress of Packiam is the compulsion of SP. She decided not to open her mouth on this. Priya felt more jealous on Catherine than Packiam. She was tempted that she should make herself to be more sexually attractive to
Gent’s eyes. She realized her cut was irregular which was too short. Mirror revealed her
half cut of hair length. She thought the punished hairstyle should be blessed with long hair style. Vignesh, her colleague, had already told her, long hair style will make her more beautiful. He had told her twice about this. When he was in reception, he used to wear off his shoes and sacs and touch Priya’s legs with his toes under the table as it was casual.. Priya knows this and did not object. She thought tat she should have selected him. He is the only son of his family and got a own flat. He was found with two credit cards. She realized of her foolishness of loving SP. Now she decided to convey her love to
Vignesh on the very next day when he is on duty. She slept calmly on that day.
Packiam stayed in the hostel for two days without going for her work. Catherine asked her
“Do you not feeling well?’ Packiam did not reply as she was in depressed mind. Her idea was how to commit suicide in the hostel premises itself. Her menses was stopped for more than 40 days. She had told this to SP. He did not care this even as a news. He observed her as a passer-by. He did not either console or comfort her. But he recommended for abortion.
Unable to bear this shock, she began to quarrel “ I will not
agree this even if I die”. She immediately left the bus stop.
Her desire was only to marry him and give birth a child. Then when she tried to contact him on mobile, it replied “Switched off”. She had searched him in all places they had met. He was not found anywhere. When she contacted the office where he said to be at work, “no such person worked here” was the reply given to her.
Packiam was in tears. She recollected her memories of the company with him in blue suridar for sexual intercourse and the imaginary life she had with him. Two days passed.
With these thoughts she decided to commit suicide.
Suspicion rose to Catherine. She confirmed with Priya that Packiam had not used Napkin for the past one month. When Catherine enquired this with Packiam she admitted her
guilty in tears.
After some days later, Priya also consoled Packiam saying “Don’t worry.
You can be changed as erstwhile Packiam without anyone’s knowledge. Catherine also shacked her head agreeing this.
Next Sunday Catherine got into an auto with Packiam for Nandini Nursing Home. Priya told
that she had already informed the matter and made arrangements to her known nurse. Before the auto started Packiam took her hand with affection and requested her to
throw away the blue color suridar to the waste Bin.Packiam told her that she should not
see the blue suridar when she returns from the hospital. Priya agreed to this.
Meanwhile Priya noticed her cell ringing. It was from Vignesh asking her to come to a particular spot with a choice of his dress.
Translation of tamil short story ''NAGARATHIRRKU VELIYE''
தமிழில் இந்த கதையை படிக்க கிழே உள்ள லிங்கை கிளிக் செய்யவும்