The Last Wicket

Monday, April 8, 2013

For some time now, Dinesh had considered himself the most eligible bachelor in the town. It was a realization that had dawned on him lately, as all of his friends had become householders. Not that he had intended to remain unmarried. It was just that he couldn't find a bride to his liking. He had wanted a wife as beautiful as Madhuri Dixit, who would also get along well, working with his mother in their joint household and not spout abuses all day long like his two sisters-in-law.

The most eligible bachelor didn't have any competition in the town. All the youngsters were little boys, having grown up before his eyes. They had to yet find jobs and make money. It would take them years to have a bank balance as swell as Dinesh's, which he had sedulously accumulated, selling paans, garnished and folded betel leaves, in a makeshift shop called khomcha. He also sold cigarettes, gutkhas, candies, and other knickknacks. Sometimes when a girl, rather a full-fledged woman, he had known since childhood stopped by with her children trailing behind, Dinesh would happily offer them free candies, otherwise he was very careful with his inventory. Most of the girls were married in the neighboring villages and would frequent Indrapur to visit their parents.

He remembered these girls fondly. Those were the days when girls used to dress up properly and were coy. He never had enough courage to talk to any of them back then. He didn't like the current crop of jeans-wearing girls—too forward and independent.

Dinesh was also keenly aware that as the competitors had been reduced to almost zero, so had his prospects dwindled. Therefore this time when a friend of a friend, a sincere and soft-spoken person, showed him a picture of a coy girl, suggesting a match, Dinesh didn't take long to give his consent. He had rejected many proposals in the past. This girl in a green sari, wearing a big red bindi on her forehead and lots of bangles looked beautiful, rather divine. He opened his diary and glanced at her picture once again, and then watched his own face in a narrow mirror of his khomcha. He liked his kohl-lined eyes. His smile revealed his paan-enriched mouth. His sunken cheeks looked as inviting as ever. He tucked away the lock of hair falling on his right cheek behind his ear. Though his hair had thinned and greyed a little, it was hardly noticeable, as he kept it groomed with oil.

Dinesh was excited at the thought of breaking the news of the fall of the last wicket of bachelordom in the town of Indrapur to his fellow shopkeepers, though he was still double-minded whether he should invite them all for his baraat and other wedding functions or keep it a family-biradari affair.

Then one day the matchmaker told Dinesh that the girl’s family wants to come over to Indrapur for the wedding, which was actually convenient for Dinesh. He also gave Dinesh a few more pictures of the girl and told him that the family was very poor and needed some financial help. Dinesh was so deeply in love with the girl that he didn't mind helping her family. After shelling out a substantial amount to be given out to the girl's family, Dinesh found courage and decided to make the wedding a memorable event. He invited everyone he knew. The tent-wallahs and the band-wallahs were all his friends, and gave him good discounts.

Dinesh managed everything efficiently, and the functions went on smoothly. This was the first time he had opened his purse so liberally. Even his warring sisters-in-law were merry and tending the guests happily. Many ceremonies later, he was finally alone with his sweetheart in a small room filled with a single bed.

He found the young bride bundled in her red sari looking at him apprehensively. She didn't look anything like the pictures. This could be because of the eerie garish makeup, thought Dinesh.

He touched her chin lovingly, and said, “Go, wash your face and come back.”

She covered her face with a ghunghat and walked delicately out of the room. Meanwhile, Dinesh furiously chewed a paan. The bride returned, but she still looked different. It must be the clothes, thought Dinesh and started unraveling her sari.

The girl resisted him, and said, “You turn around... I will myself remove all this,” indicating her jewelry and clothes. She sounded a bit hoarse, but exotic.

Dinesh turned his back to her and sat on the bed expectantly, hearing the clinking of her jewelry, rustle of her clothes, and zipping of a bag. “Are you done now?” he asked after a while.

“Please wait for two more minutes,” she said in her husky voice.

Dinesh now heard the sound of zipping once again, so he turned around instinctively. His bride was a young boy in shirt and pants with traces of makeup still on his face. And before Dinesh could react in any way, the boy picked up his bag and ran away from the house.

20 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It happens in India. Hope this doesn't happen to this gentleman: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/9969397/Indian-millionaire-takes-out-advert-looking-for-slim-childless-meat-eating-wife.html

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  2. ROFL....totally unexpected!!!

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  3. Errm...oh boy!
    Interestingly, this is exactly how the best of us get fooled while chatting with unknown people on the internet!
    That was a story with one twisted ending :)

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    Replies
    1. True, internet is an extension of real life. You need to be more careful :-|

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  4. Very interesting story.Enjoyed reading it. Poor Dinesh!!

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    1. Thanks Usha ji! Such cruel things keep happening to even good people!

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  5. Uhoh! Now that has vanquished even the traces of any vestigial thought I might have had about getting married :)

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    1. The story is not meant to discourage you, but only to warn you against the con men :-)

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  6. I have heard of brides absconding with jewellry ,but a boy?What resourcefulness---maybe he was jobless!!!!!!!

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    1. Clearly jobless, unless you consider 'playing bride' to get money as a job :-)

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  7. Thank God it turned out to be a human. I was expecting an eight armed alien in the end who would abduct him.

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    Replies
    1. Great! I will use such idea in future :-)

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  8. Liked this twisted tale but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
    http://current.com/community/90039020_chinese-husband-finds-out-his-wife-is-a-man-3-years-after-tying-the-knot.htm

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  9. Ouch!
    Now, who will mend Dinesh's broken heart?

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    Replies
    1. This incident has certainly left him broke. Such cruel things happen to good people all the time....

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