Her mother related to me how she met her husband for the first time at the market. "I was poor. I used to gather firewood and carry it to town to sell. In the meantime, my husband had come on leave from his job. We fell instantly in love with each other. I left the village and my dear friends, and I went to Kathmandu with my husband. He had to leave for long periods of time for his job, but he returned to me every year during festival times. He brought many things for me. I was happy. But sometime later, I heard that he had married another woman."
Mamata’s mother couldn't control herself further and began to cry bitterly. From that time on, her husband had stopped sending money to them and didn’t visit them during festivals anymore. She had started a small tea shop, and they managed to make their living somehow. The tea shop was their necessity to maintain their living, and they spent years on it.
So when Mamata's mother told Mamata during their mealtime, "A young man name Suraj has come," my friend was speechless. After a while, she asked, "Which one are you talking about?" Mamata’s mother laughed. "The same one who comes to drink tea everyday.”
Mamata’s tone was certain when she replied, "Mother, when I go away after getting married, you will be left all alone. I do not want to leave you all by yourself. Perhaps I should not leave you that way."
Mamata's mother became serious, saying, "My daughter, maybe after your marriage I will also get happiness. It is said that he has a good income. He is quite an appropriate and good husband for you!"
I felt like laughing at the words “income” and “appropriate.” I naturally made a comparison between the man who wanted to marry Mamata and her father, who had gone to a foreign country. If I have to tell the truth, their faces are quite similar.
From the roof of Mamata's home, we could see Suraj's room. From his room, where a dim lamp was burning, the continuous sound of a violin could be heard. I came to know that Suraj sang very sweet songs.
Mamata told me, "After marriage, I will have to live like a slave since I will have to spend all my life in his charity. My desires will spill everywhere, and I will be unable to control myself." She went on, "I feel like running far away from Suraj, who I don’t know, and rejecting him." It was late when we went to bed that night.
Mamata's mother told her early in the morning, "Look! Suraj is coming today. You will have to give your decision." Three men came, including Suraj. I also came out with my friend. Suraj smiled slowly and I felt uncomfortably embarrassed.
Suraj began talking about preparations for the wedding. My friend rushed straight inside and began to breathe fast, feeling relatively freer inside. I entered after her, with a sad face. "What happened?" I asked her. She started to cry and said, "Kamala, I don't want to get married. Please do not force me. I want to live freely."
I told her, "You are a woman! You are not permitted to stay all of your life with your mother. He has decided not to accept any monetary gift. And besides, these days it is extremely difficult to find a good man."
A cold blast of wind entered through the window. I myself felt like running away. But I told her, "Please come outside."
She didn't listen, but stayed inside and slowly pointed at the picture of her father hanging on the wall. All I could do was look at her.
Later, I heard from my mother that Mamata was forced to marry Suraj. She also got divorced within four months, after being emotionally and physically abused by her husband.