Just a few days ago, Bholi's maternal cousins' wedding was held. Bholi went there and had lots of fun. After seeing her cousin on the wedding day, Bholi was surprised! How beautifully she was dressed! She was just looking like a princess. Red benarasi saree, white wedding crown on her head, beautiful earrings studded with diamonds on her ears. On her lips, she had been given a very dark tone of lipstick. Oh! If only Bholi could dress like that. Whenever Bholi wanted to put some lipstick, her mother would put a very light tone of lipstick on her lip, and that too after a lot of coaxing.
From the day of her sister's wedding, Bholi kept on thinking about this matter, what would happen if she marries? Oh! How beautifully she would be able to dress up. Everybody will give so many gifts! With this chance, she will be able to request her grandfather to buy a complete set of Barbie dolls for her. But just the thought of marriage; does not make a marriage. Before that, you have to discuss with someone. Whom will she marry? When will she marry? That also has to be discussed, isn't it? Bholi wanted to share this desire with her best friend Nirmala.
In the evening, she took Nirmala with her to the rooftop, to discuss about these things. Climbing onto the rooftop was a challenge for them, but this was an urgent matter for Bholi. Nirmala was tired; she gasped "Tell quickly, what you want to say. Oh! My throat has dried up after running so fast!"
"Ok! Ok! I will serve you a kulfi tomorrow."
"Oh! Then I think you want to make me do some homework"
"Oh! No! No!"
Then tell me, why have you brought me here!"
Bholi hesitated for some time, and then shyly told "I want to marry"
"Yes, marry. I went to the wedding of Annie didi. How beautifully she was dressed up! Oh! So big-big earrings on her ear, red benarasi saree, a big wedding crown on her head, just like a princess. From that day, I desired to get married."
Nirmala made a wise looking face, and replied "Hmmm".
"What Hmmm? Tell me, can I marry?"
Nirmala thought for a while, counted, wrinkled her forehead and said, "Well, the month of November may bring peace and happiness for you. So, the month of November will be the best."
Bholi's eyes sparkled, "Good! Then I will be able to marry. Isn't it?"
So, getting married was finally approved.
"But whom shall I marry?" was another question…...
Not giving the answer of Bholi's question, Nirmala caught hold of Bholi's hand and told "Listen, your doll's marriage was held with my doll. So I can marry too."
"Oh! Yes! I did not think about it! Let's go, both of us will marry."
The happiness of the two friends knew no bounds. If they married, nobody would tell them to study, every day they would not have to go to school. Nobody shall ask them questions, they would not have to give exams. Then Bholi would be able to cook real food like her mother. Just like her mother would be able to watch cinemas with her husband, she would also be able to watch movies like Jurassic Park, Jungle Book, Zootopia and much more. No study, no scolding. Oh! Great fun!
But whom will she marry? Bholi pushed Nirmala and said "Hey! Who will find husbands for us? If not, how will the marriage take place?"
"Where will I find a husband? Then I will have to tell the wedding priest."
"No! No! ‘Broj Budhdha’ brings only old, frail and sick men. One day, he told me, Bholi, on your wedding, I will bring your husband, toothless, bald husband, and laughed loudly."
"Then we have to find two husbands among our friends only."
"Eureka!" shouted Bholi, "Oh! Among the friends I have found."
"Who?" asked Nirmala, trying to think?"
"Oh! Appu and Bibhu. You marry Bibhu and I will marry Appu."
"Oh! Yes, I completely forgot about them. Then I will force Bibhu to complete my toy box."
"And Appu will be the ‘chor’ in the ‘chor-police’ game" saying this both giggled.
"Let's go, we have to tell them also." The two friends hurriedly returned from the rooftop. As soon as they reached the bottom, they saw Appu and Bibhu standing near the gate. They both were very tensed. Bholi went forward and asked "What happened? Why are you not playing?
Bibhu told, "How will we play? This is the 7th time the ball has gone."
"There, in didi’s room upstairs. She never returns the ball. Father has already told, he will not buy a ball anymore”.
Bholi and Nirmala tried to make a sad face. Then both replied "Listen, we have a great idea. If we can put it to work, we will not have to think about these things anymore.
But, as soon as they heard the idea, they ran away. Nirmala caught hold of Bibhu's hand but he shouted "help! Help! Please leave me!”. And as soon as the statement was finished, Appu ran with full speed shouting "help! Help! If I marry you, you will pinch me, beat me, Help! Help!"
Nirmala and Bholi also did not want to give up so easily. They ran after the boys and shouted threats that they would disclose the secret that Appu got zero in the previous math class test and Bibhu steals pickle from the kitchen when everybody is asleep. But all are in vain. The boys escaped to their houses and closed the doors.
Nirmala and Bholi also returned to their houses and they were sad. Bholi's mother had still not returned from office. Bholi took one “dupatta” that belonged to her mother and put around her neck. She was seeing herself in the mirror and was smiling to herself.
As soon as her mother came, she opened the door and said "Mother, I want to marry."
"I will dress up like a wife"
"Where? Is any play going on in your school?"
"No, No, I will marry. I will be a wife, just like Annie didi."
Bholi's mother was very distressed. Crying, she called her husband "Hello! Listen what your daughter is telling! Come home first!"
Bholi's father came home within an hour. Normally, he did not return home before 9:00 p.m. but today he returned in the evening!
Everybody in Bholi's home sat for a discussion. Everybody was silent. Bholi's father broke the silence by asking ‘What happened? Why did you call me at home? Is everything ok?'
"What everything is ok? Because of this, I told you not to give her admission in co-educational English medium school. She is just in class V."
"Why? What has happened?"
"What has not happened? What your daughter is telling!"
"Please be fast. Tell me quickly what has she told you? From that time, I'm listening to the same word over and over again."
Bholi's mother became ready to cry once more and said "She is telling that she will marry". As soon as the statement finished both, Bholi's father and grandfather started laughing. Bholi's mother was surprised. She said, "You are laughing?"
Bholi's father managed to stop his laugh and said "What will I do other than laughing?" "Come, dear, you want to marry?" Bholi went to his father and nodded her head.
"Whom will you marry?" Bholi gave her instant answer "Appu, But he is not agreeing only. Let's go and talk to his father"
"Yes! Yes! Lets' go to talk to his father."
Bholi and her father went to Appu's house. But her father has one condition; it is that only Bholi's father will talk to them. As soon as Bholi entered the house, Appu ran away. Appu's mother told "See! So naughty he has become. He never does mathematics. His father is a mathematics professor and I am also M.Sc. in mathematics, still, he got 2 or 3 in math class test!" She went after Appu with a scale. He got a scolding and sat to study maths.
Appu's mother screamed "Wait! Today whole night you will do mathematics. If you don't complete fifty sums, I shall not release you. Tomorrow you will not go to play. Tomorrow also you will do fifty sums"
Bholi's eyes became round "What are you telling! Fifty sums! This is even more dangerous than my mom!"
Bholi's father looked at Bholi and asked "His father has returned?"
No. he has gone to a maths seminar."
Bholi closed her eyes and thought "OMG! Only maths and maths!"
Fortunately, Appu's father did not return that time, so her father was unable to talk to him. As soon as they returned to their house, Bholi cried and told "Father, I don't want to marry. Please don't talk to him". Bholi's father also smiled and said "Ok! Then go and tell your mother that marriage is cancelled."
Oh God! If wrongly also the marriage took place, every evening, Bholi would have to do fifty sums! It's better not to marry.
Benarasi Sari: A saree made in Varanasi, a city in India, traditionally weared by the bride in Bengali Marriage ceremony
Budhdha: A slang word in Bengali, meaning old
# adapted from a short story "Buchkir Biye" by Nabanita Dutta, published in Ananda mala puja barshiki -2016
Bhavan's Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Vidyaniketan
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