Benign Flame: Saga of Love (Enriched Edition) (Part 4, page 2 of 10)

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Part 4

“Moreover, the girl is very beautiful,” he read aloud; and repeated again, as an encore to his ears.

He was always particular that his wife should be a beauty; and made that clear to his parents.

Instinctively he remembered Vani, his erstwhile colleague, and his thoughts turned to her. He always wondered whether beauty and grace were at competition in her persona. How he used to daydream about marrying her! However, his desire to cut a figure only made him diffident in her presence. Moreover, his anxiety to impress her with his wit made him only dumb in her audience. While nursing his calf love, he used to wonder about her reciprocity. As though appreciating his fear of rejection, his eyes felt shy to convey his desire while his lips failed to address his love.

‘An arranged marriage brings the woman into man’s life on his terms, which gives a head start to the marital romance, giving a short shrift to the uncertain courtship,’ he thought presently.

He wondered whether this girl - he was disappointed that his father failed to mention her name - could be as beautiful as Vani. However, he couldn’t help wishing that she might be better looking.

‘After all, it’s the woman’s desirability that makes man covetous, moreover, the allurement of woman’s beauty gives meaning to man’s life, and provides substance as well. A man’s job is half done if he has a cute wife for she doubles up, as a beautiful mother to ensure the children wouldn’t be ugly,’ he thought.

Propelled by that welcome prospect, Sathyam boarded the train in beatitude the very next day.


Pathrudu’s message that they would be coming for the pellichupulu that Sunday set the ball rolling at Ramaiah’s house. As the day of reckoning dawned with hope in both the households, Roopa became the center of attention in her home, and the subject of discussion at Pathrudu’s place. Janaki insisted that Roopa oil-skinned before her bath, and left her only after having shampooed her hair with some soapnut water. Sandhya however, descended on the scene when Roopa was still in the bathroom. After her bath, as Roopa wanted to come out, she found herself bolted from without. Readily realizing that Sandhya was playing pranks on her, Roopa began to fret and fume from within. At length, Sandhya removed the latch and rushed into Roopa’s room only to leave her mate stranded in her petticoat. However, it was only after Roopa’s desperate entreaties that Sandhya let her in, and as though for recompense took her into a palliative embrace.

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