Benign Flame: Saga of Love ( Moorings of Marriage, page 1 of 8)

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Moorings of Marriage

Sathyam, on a tip-off from a friend, contacted Kantha Rao, the owner of a corner house of a by- lane in Domalaguda.

“Are you,” enquired Kantha Rao on the wrong side of the fifties, “a vegetarian?”

As Sathyam answered in the affirmative, the interrogation continued.

“Are you married or not?”

“See, we don’t let out to bachelors, forced or otherwise,” chimed in Lalitha, the childless woman of the house.

As Sathyam certified his marital status, he was shown the place by the couple, however, only after getting convinced about his credentials. That first floor penthouse, thought Sathyam, would interest Roopa no end. Moreover, he didn’t find it wanting for privacy either.

“The rent would be a thousand rupees, while the electricity is to your account, metered by the sub-meter. Water bill is to be shared pro-rata,” Kantha Rao went about acquainting his prospect, as if he were delivering his maiden budget speech in the parliament.

“Why,” protested Sathyam earnestly, “‘it’s very much on the higher side for a hall and a room!”

“You don’t seem to count the kitchen and the storeroom with a loft large enough to hide an elephant, if you please. Besides, you can’t fail to take into account the excellent amenities, the western toilet, cupboards all over, the wash-basins and all others that lend comfort. Moreover, know it’s a penthouse that provides privacy,’ smiled Kantha Rao meaningfully. No soul would ever get an inkling of the twining inside.”

A bargain ensued, and to the discomfiture of the landlord, Sathyam appeared adept at it.

As both didn’t want to lose the other, they compromised for a rent of eight-fifty. Sathyam was excited that he could so easily fix an appropriate accommodation, while Kantha Rao was pleased that the couple, without an entourage, wouldn’t strain the water-bed during the summers.

Post-haste, Sathyam reached Kakinada to fetch Roopa, and Pathrudu picked up the Pedda Purnaiah’s almanac for the auspicious date for the journey. Meanwhile, arrangements were made on a war footing to transport the household goods through SRMT.

That evening, accompanied by their kith and kin, the newly weds arrived at the Town Railway Station to the announcement that the link train to Godavari Express was expected shortly. When the train did arrive from the Port Station, there was pell-mell at that Town Platform.

While the Sathyams were taking leave of those present, Pathrudu helped the porter posit the luggage beneath the lower berth in a first class coupe even as Sathyam made it to the bogie, followed by Roopa and Sandhya. Standing by the entrance, as Sandhya and Roopa were seen whispering to each other mirthfully, staring at them, Sathyam thought, ‘After all, she doesn’t seem to be serious by nature. But why she’s always morose with me?’

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