The Proposal

Submitted into Contest #50 in response to: Write a story about a proposal. ... view prompt

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General

     Trilochan, aged 55, is a highly respected school teacher in his village. His knowledge and his commitment to his service earned him a position of authority among the educated section of the village. He derives the greatest pleasure out of teaching. The future of the students is his first priority. Yet, it would be wrong to say that he neglects his family. Rather, it would be more proper to say that he manages both his profession and his family competently. He believes in the principles of hard work and honesty. He has been able to inculcate the same lessons in the heart of his only daughter, Durga.

      A thought has been hovering over him for a few days. In fact, he has been brooding over it for a few weeks. But he could not muster the courage to speak it out. No longer able to hide it within himself, he thought it proper to share it with his wife.

      So, one afternoon, after completing his after- lunch midday nap, he called his wife, “Rama, come here. I’ve something very important to discuss with you.”

     Rama, a submissive Bengali housewife, obeyed his call and sat on the floor, waiting for the introduction of the topic.

     Trilochan started, “How do you like Suresh? I mean the son of my childhood friend, Manohar?”

      Rama replied, “Who does not like him? Highly educated, well-behaved, good-looking, and doing a well-paid job. In fact, the more I talk about him, the more I like to talk about him. So many scholars come to him and bow down their heads before him!”

        “Exactly”, replied Trilochan and added, “I’ m thinking of a proposal. How would it be to give our daughter’s hand in marriage to Suresh?”

    An expression of delight was on her face. The words of her husband have struck a chord with her. She only inwardly thought, “Strange! He has been able to read my own thoughts.”

     She sat closer to him and said, “It has also occurred to me, but I dared not tell you this! Today I feel my heart has found its expression through your tongue.” Then she entreated him, “Please, go there at once. Don’t delay. It’s a matter of great luck to have such a bridegroom for our daughter.”

      Trilochan heaved a sigh of relief at least for the time being. The way he thought of their daughter’s well-being was echoed in the heart of his wife. His plan for his daughter’s marriage got approved by one who has at least an equal share of responsibility for the happiness and peace of their only daughter. He then said, “Our daughter is no less in her beauty and virtues.”

    Durga, aged 22, is doing her M.A. in English from the University of Burdwan. She is incomparable in her beauty as well as qualities. She is now lodging in the university hostel and returns only twice a month. The teenage girls of the village aspire to be like her. Their mothers inspire them, saying “When you grow up, be a woman like Durga.” She wants to be a teacher like her father. The poverty of the villagers appeals to her and she believes that only proper education can bring about a transformation in their lives. She takes a leading role in the cultural programmes organized both in the university and in the village. When she returns home, students from class V to XII from all sections of the society appear at their house for receiving free teaching.

       Though born and bred in a village, Durga is an ambitious woman. She received her initial education from a school 5 k.m. away from her village. Every day she went there on foot. During rainy days the struggle was even harder as she had to tread the muddy road. The teachers were very fond of her. Her sincere nature, polite behavior, and respect for superiors earned her applause from all directions. She seemed to be contented with everything that happened around her. With age and maturity, her qualities have blossomed further. Her name is on everybody’s lips.

     Suresh, on the other hand, was sent to Kolkata, on completion of his primary education in the village. Though he has been bred in the urban atmosphere of a metropolitan city, he finds an irresistible charm in his village life. So, he never misses the chance of an exodus to his native village. His father Manohar Chowdhury is a wealthy merchant. He sent his wife Jamuna with Suresh to Kolkata but he himself remained in the village. He believed in high thinking and simple living.

    He never controlled Suresh’s choice of his career. Suresh, after completing his M.Sc. in Jadavpur University, has qualified for a college teacher’s job in a famous college. What strikes one is his fondness for his village and the rustic life there, so much so that whenever he gets an opportunity he shares his experiences with his urban students. What is interesting is that he has been able to inject a little bit of his love for rusticity among them. Manohar Chowdhury enjoys unbounded contentment as he thinks of Suresh and when he perceives that people look at him with awe.

       One fine evening Trilochan paid a visit to Manoharbabu. Before the thought of the proposal invaded Trilochan’s brain, he could ask about Suresh freely. In fact, their discussion very often revolved around Suresh and Durga. But today, to Trilochan the topic assumed a different colour. Something prevented the fee discussion.

   The discussion moved from agriculture to culture. But Trilochan could not express his proposal. He only thought, “Not now. I’d come tomorrow with a greater resolution”

      When such thoughts were whirling in his brain, he was taken aback by what Manohar said to him, by the occurrence of the same thought in Manohar’s brain. He drew very near to him and said, “Trilochan, I’ve begun thinking of a proposal, though I could not speak it out. If you don’t mind I want to say one thing”

     Trilochan’s heart-beat grew more rapid and said, “Is there anything which you cannot tell me, Manohar?”

     Manohar then asked Trilochan, “How do you like Suresh? I mean, I want Dugra to be my daughter in law?”

     He could not believe his own ears. Trilochan became speechless as his heart leaped in excitement. He was enveloped in unimaginable happiness and peace. Only tears of joy trickled down his cheeks. Words came stifled in his throat. He embraced him in his arms and only said, “Manohar, I have come to you with the same proposal.”




July 17, 2020 15:53

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2 comments

Jesna Anna S.
07:17 Jul 18, 2020

Lovely story, Ujjwal! Keep writing!

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Ujjwal Dutta
12:00 Jul 18, 2020

Thank you so much, Jesna !

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