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Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  The nemesis of the knot

Tina Elizabeth Paul

KPMG Global Services

The nemesis of the knot

She was lost in all the noise, the hustle and bustle of the local train. Somehow the chaos outside put her at ease. The commotion made her mind lose all the confusion inside. She felt relieved that for now she just had to sit through this journey. She wished that her station wouldn't come.


As her eyes caught the board of her station, her mind stumbled back into reality. It reminded her of the phone call again. She could feel her mind racing. "If this goes south, what would I tell my friends? How will I go back to work and face my colleagues?" - she thought to herself. 

She sat glued to her seat not wanting to leave. Just then she felt someone's hand on her shoulder. She turned and saw her colleague. 

"Hey Mel, what are you doing here? I thought you were on leave for the engagement. Aren't you supposed to be home? You have to save yourself from getting a tan, girl."

She froze and without giving an answer, rushed out of the train giving her colleague a half smile on the way. She hurried up the stairs. She walked as fast as she could to the entrance of the station. She thought to herself -"This can't be right. Does he even know about this? Im sure he doesn't. Yes, if he knew, he wouldn't have let this happen. Obviously, he is in the dark. I just need to talk to him and all this will be sorted out. "


She decided to go to the park nearby and give him a call. She searched for an empty and isolated bench so that people wouldn't listen in on the conversation. His phone kept ringing and with each ring her heart picked up the pace. Finally he answered the call and said - "Hello!...." 

She tried to regain her composure, and replied - "I know there is a suitable explanation for whatever happened. Was it some sort of miscommunication? Oh, silly me, how would you possibly know, you weren't even there when they spoke. So, let me explain. Your mum called up mine this morning and said that without the dowry amount given as cash, this wedding wouldn't proceed.  I was outside, getting the final corrections for my gown and my sister called me up and asked me to get home as soon as possible. She sounded worried, so I pressed her on what the matter was, in spite of her repeatedly telling me that it had to be discussed in person. 

Oh God, im rambling on again about insignificant details, sorry. 

Anyway, can you imagine that mum made such a demand? I mean was she upset about something?! What could have taunted her? It couldn't be that she doesnt trust us, could it?" She waited for him to respond impatiently and continued -"Hello, can you hear me?"

He said -" Yes, I can. I'm still here", and there was a long pause. 

Annoyed, she enquired-"What's the matter?"

He said - "I knew about this" 

She screamed - "What???" 

After a long pause once again, he continued- "This is something my parents decided, Mel. I dont have an opinion on this"

She asked -" Okay, but do you think this is fair?!" 

He replied -"Well, this is something they want. Just give them the money in cash. What's the big deal, anyway? You would have to transfer the money to mum's account if it weren't for the liquid cash. You didn't think it was going to be okay to keep it in your account, did you? Let's leave it to them to decide, shall we? Why do we have to get in the middle of this? Lets talk about... " He continued speaking about the wedding preparations. She couldn't hear the rest of the conversation. Her mind wandered off. She could hear people in the park speaking. She could hear birds chirping. She could hear the street vendors. But she couldn't hear what he was saying anymore.  The rest of the conversation didn't matter. There was nothing more she had to say. She had heard enough. She took the phone away from her ear. She sat there, fighting back tears, looking into the distance, reminiscing all the events that led till today. She remembered how, even though she hadn't much faith in the institution of marriage, she had accepted this proposal that her parents had arranged, owing to his 'less-husband-more-friend' demeanour. She regretted how amidst myriad conversations about their likes and dislikes, she had forgotten to ask about the principles and ideals he held, about life. 

She looked at his name one last time and hung up. Her hands and feet had turned ice cold, even though the sweltering heat of this summer day was piercing through her body. She bent over and wrapped her arms around herself tightly. Then she straightened herself, took a deep breath, got up and walked home. 


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