It was a summer afternoon, on Sunday. Jane was not in a good mood. It seemed that she is half awake and half dead unlike what was expected of her on this fine occasion. She was trying to recollect something. Something that would cheer her up. But her memories seemed at a short of the good ones. Her cognizance consisted only of apprehensions. She looked at her naked body. She ran her hands on her face, staring at the image of her eyes in the mirror. Her eyes were stuck on the picture of God that hung on her wall”. No, not today ” she begged as if the picture would swallow her .She then looked at herself in the mirror and felt that she didn’t look good. ” mother has arranged the best make up man and hair dresser for me. They will do the rest “. She consoled herself. Her emigrating lonely eyes were stopped by the pearl studded white gown that was hung on the hanger. She felt that the gown was too beautiful for her. “The day is mine and so are you. I’m about to marry the love of my life. I will be perfect” she told the gown.
The knocking at the door agonized her. It was her mother. She felt relieved. She came closer , trying to hide her tears.” This is the most beautiful day of my life and you will be the best bride our guests have ever seen” her mother expressed her excitement .
She was ready. Her gown looked stunning. Her make up was complementing her dress. She completed her looks with pearl jewellery set. On her second look into the mirror gave her fear that something was missing. Her now flawless skin reminded her of the ugliness hiding beneath it. For Jane the image was a statue carved out of her previous self. She shouted at her team who dressed her up to be so beautiful. Her father came running to them. She became calm as soon as she saw him. Jane understood his gesture and knew that if she say a word more her marriage would be finished. Her mother kissed her forehead and took her down the stairs . Her mother was the first person to notice her daughter’s missing smile
“I know you are thinking about Manyatha”. Her mother attempted to console her by deepening her wound. Jane missed Manyatha, but now it was the last name she wanted to hear. Her mother’s mention of the name scared her. She felt that her thoughts are echoing all round the house. She came out of the house accompanied by equally beautiful bridesmaids dressed in golden gowns. She was carefully seated in the car. The car rode on to its destination church where she was supposed to get married.
She was a gadabout and enjoyed every place her feet has ever touched. She saw many beautiful places on her way to the church. Though she has passed through this way many times before, everything seemed too different today. She was happy but also anxious. On her way she saw the college in from which she graduated. Next to the college there was a white 6 storeyed building. A Huge name board was pinioned on the top of the Golden Gate. It was written SLSW ( Students Life for Studios Women). She felt it was a hell painted as a heaven. People living there were made of stone. She remembered the first day when she entered the place which was going to be her home for the next three years. Her eyes met the gargoyle made of black metal. It was a huge Crocodile. Water was falling. It was clean but cannot be used for other purposes. A girl was watching the beauty of the fountain without realizing that she was being watched.
Jane was given room number eighteen which she was asked to share with Anamika. On the very first day itself she realized that she will not be able to share the room with such an arrogant partner. Within days she quarreled with her and requested the warden to shift her. Warden stared at her as if she is the problem maker. She was shifted to the room 26 on the 1st floor. Her new roommate was the girl whom she saw the first day.
“I am Jane” she said hesitatingly. The girl smiled widely, it was a cute smile and said “I am Manyatha”.
Jane realized that Manyatha is just the opposite of what she is. Jane was fun loving and carefree unlike Manyatha who didnot have many friends. But she never failed to support Jane’s vibrant nature. Manyatha was less talkative and remained aloof when Jane was talking to boys. Despite the differences they became good friends to best friends.Their friendship was admired and even envied.
Manyatha hailed from a rich and popular family. Her parents developed a liking for Jane. Manyatha’s mother would often compare her with Jane.” Don’t appear before my parents or they would orphan me and adopt you” Manyatha would complain to which Jane would laugh.
Jane and Roshan were class leaders not only in the first year but also in the second year. Both were intelligent and active. Even their teachers relied on them. They were good friends too. Roshan was handsome and good looking.
One day Jane was preparing for her exam in the library. She wanted Manyatha to join her. She called her but her phone was busy. Manayatha would spend a lot of time in the phone. One would feel that she is talking to her boyfriend. But it would be her parents. Every day Manyatha called home and spend hours talking to them. She explained everything to her mother. When she had breakfast. What was taught to her and all. Then her mother would share all the gossips of the town. She will then talk to her dad and repeat the same. Jane never wanted to depend on her father she wanted to be independent both financially and emotionally. However she decided to talk to Manayatha about this. Next day she had an encounter with Manyatha.
“You are spending too much time in the phone. Exams are close. Yesterday I called you many times but you were busy. By the time I came back you were asleep. ” Jane waited for some time but received no reply.
” Come with me to the library . We can sit and study their. ” Jane said softly.
” Library is not the only place where people can study. What’s wrong with the hostel “
“You’re spending too much time in the phone. Your parents send you here to study. “
“That’s none of your business. “
” You failed in the last exam. “
But again received no reply. She realized that Manyatha is not interested in talking to her. So she left.
At the corner of the library there was a water cooler. While drinking water Jane saw a girl walking quickly through the corridor to the edge. She had covered her face with a head scarf. It didn’t take much time for Jane to realize that it was Manyatha. She followed her without making noise. Manyatha reached the least crowded area and ran to Roshan. They hugged each other. Jane was speechless. They began kissing and hugging each other. She felt betrayed.
Jane reached the church. She came out of the car. Everyone was looking at her. She was beautiful. She saw a banner hanging from the pedestal of the statue of an Angel. It was written ROSHAN WEDS JANE. She walked down the aisle. She was happy. She looked at Roshan. He doesn’t seem to bother.The priest recited the prayers. Jane wished that no one would disturb the precious moments. They were married and now Jane had nothing to fear. After the ceremony they went home. “I will make Roshan forget everything.” Jane promised herself.
On her way she tried talking to Roshan but he responded cool. She felt she doesn’t know him anymore. She remembered how shy Manyatha used to be. Everything changed when Roshan entered their lives. Manyatha became confident and active. Jane never knew what irritated her more whether it was about sharing Manyatha with Roshan or sharing Roshan with Manyatha. She fought with Manyatha and changed her room the very next day she found her affair.
“you should take care of yourself. He is good at using girls”.
“Is that why you are always after him. ” snapped Manyatha.
“That’s work. We don’t hug and kiss “.
“That’s because he’s not letting you to do. “
That was enough for Jane. She broke off. It has been five years since then.
Jane and Roshan reached home. Her new home felt like a tomb made of marble. Her mother in law welcomed them but Roshan didn’t seem to mind any of these. He neither smiled nor cried. His mother told her not to unpack everything as they have to go on their honeymoon next day.
That night Jane was waiting for Roshan in their room. Her memories flew back to her.
Six days back. Manyatha called Jane to meet her at the Municipality building. When Manyatha arrived there Jane was waiting.
“I am glad that you came. I am getting married.” Manyatha informed her.
“I know and I am happy for you.” Jane replied.” I wanted to set things right before that. I am sorry for what has happened between
us.” Manyatha apologised.
” You will always be my friend. ” Jane said with a heavy heart.
“I know that you loved Roshan but he proposed to me. I’m sorry I was also in love with him. That’s why I never told you about our relationship.”
Manyatha’s words stuck her like a pin. But she smiled. They then looked down at the road. Everything was so small. Even the buses and big trucks were only as much as a match box. Manyatha was describing her wedding arrangements with her. Suddenly Jane’s ring fell down. She bent down to take it. It all appeared before her eyes. Manyatha getting married to Roshan. They living happily and making fun of Jane and laughing together at her love for him. She picked the ring and Manyatha’s legs and pushed her. Manyatha fell on the ground and died. Roshan’s father and others believed that it was a suicide. Roshan’s father was a popular business man so he refused to call off the wedding. If anyone came to know that the bride has committed suicide then it will be a dishonor to the family. So Roshan’s father begged her to marry Roshan.
Jane was waiting for Roshan. He came to the room. She couldn’t smile. She felt scared. He removed his clothes.
“Why did you marry me? You knew that I loved her.”
Jane was at a loss of words.
“I thought it was my duty. Both of you are my friends. This is the least I could do for her.”
“Before she came to meet you she called me and informed me about your meeting. I know you killed her. “
“No that’s a lie. She committed suicide before I reached there.”
He didn’t seem to listen to her.
“I agreed to marry you because I wanted to see how happy you are before I took it all away.
He took a knife and stabbed himself. She was speechless and numb. Everything that she did became void. To catch a butterfly she had spent sleepless nights. But when she caught it was already dead.