Shan was on his usual evening stroll by the river. He hated his full name - Shantanu! Knowing this, his friends used to teasingly call him King Shantanu, and it was not completely inaccurate as his ancestors belonged to the royal family.
This was not one of those regular days. He spotted a gorgeous woman in blue dress near the river shore. It was almost as if she blended into the river. Or was he hallucinating? He observed himself being dragged near her as he felt unsure of what to say to her. The woman had a radiating smile, as if she half expected him to approach her.
"Hi, I am Shan", he smiled and stretched his hand.
"Hi, I am Ganga", she shook his hand. The grip was unusually firm, for a woman who looked that delicate.
"Like the river, huh?", he smiled.
"Mm, hmm. Like the river", she said as the radiating smile acquired a tinge of mischief.
"You from around?", he asked.
"You can say that. I was not born here. But I am here right now. Who knows about tomorrow?". The mystery added to her allure.
They walked along the river shore, talking, smiling and holding hands. Nobody knows for how long. How do you actually measure time - in the units called 'seconds' or in terms of 'intense million moments'? Finally, Shan summoned up the courage to ask her hand in marriage. "I can be difficult. I am not demanding. I dont like jewelry, I dont care for your money or your royal lineage. I just love YOU. All I ask for in return, is my freedom - to live the way I want to. Even the slightest threat to that, I am gone" she said with a serious look in her eyes. Shan, madly in love, gleefully agreed to her condition.
They got married and moved to his palatial bungalow. Shan showered her with gifts and his love. Had Ganga asked for the moon - which she did not, Shan would have arranged for a space mission. To say that they lived happily would be an understatement. They dined out together, went for exotic vacations, laughed and talked about every topic under the sun. Their love life was great too! One fine day, Ganga broke the news that she was pregnant. Shan's joys knew no bounds. Ganga was ecstatic, she loved kids too. Or so he thought!
The first crack appeared in their relationship when Shan came to know that Ganga had got her pregnancy terminated. She seemed calm, as if nothing had happened. Shan was devastated, he wanted to confront her. But he remembered the condition, and keep silent. He did not want to lose her. It was in fact, her idea to have kids. He tried to be 'understanding' and thought of finding out what Ganga really wanted.
Years passed, the gap widened. Silence and mistrust seemed to engulf the bungalow that was once filled with laughter. Shan had endured six more of such incidents. This was the last straw on the donkey's back.
One evening, Shan and Ganga went for a stroll to the riverside.
"What is it that you are unhappy about, Ganga?", Shan asked abruptly.
"Who said I am unhappy?", Ganga retorted, while being as calm as the evening.
"But, why? Er, I mean, you have changed so much, its as if I dont know you", Shan was at a loss for words.
"Hmm", she smiled a knowing smile, "I knew this day would come. When I would walk away, and you would not even stop me. Would you stop me if I walked away now?", she started walking towards the river, without even waiting for an answer.
Shan stood paralyzed, feeling numb, unable to react.
"Idiotic female. I gave her EVERYTHING. But she got hung up on ONE thing", a terribly hurt Shan muttered to himself.
"Stupid man! I demanded NOTHING. He could not give me the only ONE thing I asked", thought a disappointed Ganga, as she disappeared from Shan's vision.
I finished reading the delightful "Anartha Kosha" by Na Kasturi. Its a 'one of its kind' book in Kannada. Though it seems to resemble Ambrose Bierce's "Devil's Dictionary", Kasturi adds more flavors to the book - by making puns with existing words, coining new words sounding like existing words, merging two Kannada words to form a new word, merging Kannada word with an English word, twisting the proverbs etc. - to hilarious effect. Go read the full book, till then here is the list of my favorite ones from the book:
ಅಕಟಕಟಾ - ನಾವು ಹೀಗೆ ರೋಧಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾಗ ತಮಿಳರು ಅಯ್ಯೋ ಅನ್ನುತ್ತಿದರು.
ಅಚ್ಚಾತುರ್ಯ - ಅಚ್ಚು ಮಾಡುವಾಗಿನ ಚಾತುರ್ಯ, ಬರಹಗಾರರು ಮಾಡುವ ತಪ್ಪುಗಳನ್ನು ಸರಿಪಡಿಸುವ ಜಾಣತನ; ಮೊಳೆ ಜೋಡಿಸುವುದರಿಂದ ಹೊಸ ಭಾಷಾ ಪ್ರಯೋಗಗಳನ್ನು ರಚಿಸುವ ಚಮತ್ಕಾರ.
ಅಣುಕಂಪ - ಒಂದು ಊರಲ್ಲಿ ಅಣು ಬಾಂಬು ಸಿಡಿದಾಗ ನೆರೆಯೂರುಗಳಲ್ಲಾಗುವ ಸಂತಾಪ.
ಅತಿಯಾಸೆ - ನಮಗಿಂತ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಲಾಭ ಗಳಿಸಲು ಪ್ರಯತ್ನಪಡುವವರ ದುರ್ಗುಣ.
ಅತ್ತೆ - ಈಕೆಗೆ ಮೀಸೆ ಬಂದರೆ, ಚಿಕ್ಕಪ್ಪ ಎಂದು ಕರೆಯಬಹುದು - ಮರೆಯಲ್ಲಿ.
ಅನುಕಾರಣ - ಒಂದು ಕಾರಿನ ಹಿಂದೆ ಮತ್ತೊಂದು ಕಾರು ಹೋಗುವಿಕೆ.
ಅಪ್ಪರ್ಕ್ರಿಯೆ - ಮೇಲುಲೋಕವನ್ನು ಸಾಧಿಸಲು ಮಾಡಬೇಕಾದ ಕ್ರಿಯೆ.
ಅಶ್ವಶಕ್ತಿ - ಎರಡೂವರೆ ಸೇರು ಹುರಳಿ.
ಅಸಹ್ಯಾದ್ರಿ - ಕಸಡಗುಡ್ಡೆ. ಏರಲು ತ್ರಾಸ ಕೊಡುವ ಬೆಟ್ಟ.
ಆ - ಹಲ್ಲು ವೈದ್ಯರ ಬೀಜಾಮಂತ್ರ.
ಆಟಿಗೆ - ವಿರಾಮ ಸಿಕ್ಕಿದಾಗ, ನಾವು ಆಡುವುದಕ್ಕಾಗಿ, ಮಕ್ಕಳ ಹೆಸರು ಹೇಳಿ, ನಾವು ಕೊಂಡು ತಂದು ಇರಿಸಿರುವ ಆಟದ ಸಾಮಾನುಗಳು.
ಆತ್ಮಘೋಷ - ಕಾಕ ಕಾಕ ಎಂದು ತನ್ನ ಹೆಸರನ್ನೇ ಹೇಳಿಕೊಂಡು ತಿರುಗುವ ಕಾಗೆ.
ಆನೆ ಹಾಲು - ಇದನ್ನು ಸೇವಿಸಿದರೆ ವಾರಕ್ಕೊಮ್ಮೆ ಮೈಯಭಾರ ಇಪ್ಪತ್ತು ಪೌಂಡಿನಂತೆ ಹೆಚ್ಚುತ್ತ ಹೋಗುವುದಂತೆ...ಆನೆ ಮರಿಗೆ.
ಆರಾಮ - ಆ ರಾಮನಿಗೆ ಇದು ದುರ್ಲಭವಾಗಿತ್ತಾದರೂ ನಮಗೆ ಇದು ಈಗಲೂ ಎಂದಿಗೂ ಬೇಕು.
ಆರ್ಯಪುತ್ರ - ಸೀತೆ, ಸಾವಿತ್ರಿ ಮುಂತಾದ ಪತಿವ್ರತೆಯರು ಗಂಡನನ್ನು 'ಮಾವನ ಮಗನೆ' ಎಂದು ಕೂಗುತ್ತಿದ್ದರಂತೆ.
ಆಸಾಮಿ - ಅಸಾಮ್ ರಾಜ್ಯದ ನಿವಾಸಿಗಳೂ ಒಂದು ಬಗೆಯ ಆಸಾಮಿಗಳೇ.
ಇಗ್ನೇಶ್ವರ - ತನ್ನ ಹೆಸರಿನ ಉಚ್ಚಾರಣೆಗೆ ಒದಗುವ ವಿಘ್ನಗಳನ್ನು ನಿವಾರಿಸಲಾಗದ ಒಂದು ದೇವತೆ.
ಇತ್ಯಾದಿ - ಮುಂದಕ್ಕೆ ಬರೆಯಲು ಬುಧ್ಧಿ ಓಡದಿದ್ದರೆ, ಈ ಪದವನ್ನುಪಯೋಗಿಸಿ ಬಚಾವಾಗಬಹುದು.
ಇದು - ಭಾಷನಕಾರರ ಆಸರೆ; ಇದು ಮಾಡಲು ಇದೇ ಇಲ್ಲದೇ ಹೋದರೆ, ಅವರು ಇದು ಇದು ಎಂದು ಬಹಳ ಇದು ಇದಾಗಿ ಮಾಡಬಹುದಾಗಿದೆ.