Murty has great admiration for writers. He is fond of young men who are known as writers though he himself is more than fifty. In fact, he nursed a hope to become a writer himself. He liked Krishna Rao though he is determined to be a bachelor all his life. There are umpteen reasons why Krishna Rao hated women folk. The main reasons have been these two. First is his determination to be single. His readers realised in the first two paragraphs of his writing that he is a misogynist. Readers hated him for portraying women writing stories about that relations and porn stuff. Even happily married women, he imagined, read his stories.
Murty found in Krishna Rao's writing a 'kick' in every story he read written by young Krishna Rao. who had the inner vision, imagination and external appearance also. He never tried to make an external veneer like growing hair under his chin or talking about writers who he claimed intimate acquaintances. Murty used to praise Krishna Rao in his frequent talk of appreciation of his writing. He also had a curiosity to read stories Krishna Rao wrote about himself.
Krishna Rao also liked and many admired Murty garu using this respectful addition Krishna also used to write what Murty suggested. Murty suspects sometimes that Krishna’s affection for him is because of his daughter Madhuri.
Those were days when Murty came to Hyderabad on a transfer. Madhuri, his daughter joined RBVR College in BA class. In the same office Krishna Rao (hereafter Rao) worked as an officiating officer. Rao used to show his writing to Murty and the duo used to discuss the writing. Once Rao showed Murty a story about a young man's love for a girl and later his marriage to a new girl and the former girl's dedication to her earlier lover.
“Did you write this story having in mind some girl?” Then for some time Krishna Rao stopped coming to Murty. He did not suspect his wife for being the cause. His wife Kamala is forty and no doubt about her being the reason for Rao’s coming to his boss. “Why is he coming here often?” Murty sometimes wondered. He suspected that Rao must be coming for Madhuri. Madhuri used to sit with Rao when he used to come to their home and has been conversing freely with them. Perhaps Rao wanted to write about her in some veiled way, Murty thought and began studying him carefully.
Krishna Rao is below twenty-five, a poor young man, one who studied and wrote well. He had none for him left. since his mother too having been dead with no other children. He decided to be a bachelor. Kamala thought of finding a rich young man for her daughter, Madhuri. But Murty did not think of making a proposal to offer their daughter to Rao.
One day “Our daughter has not come back, I feel perturbed”, said Kamala to her husband when he returned from the club in the evening, after finishing his card game.
“Should I go to the college?” Murty asked. He gave her a phone call, but none answered the phone.
“Now listen … you have not been giving an opportunity for me to talk about Madhuri's marriage. Our Krishna Rao's friend, Madhava Rao, I heard, is working in the air force drawing a fat salary. He is handsome too, I was told.”
Krishna Rao did tell them about Madhava Rao in details.
Murty lost no time writing to the young man's parents. Rao gladly gave his parents’ address “We were class fellows... We would be meeting often, at least twice a year, even now.”
The girl's photo sent by Murty was seen by the boy’s parents and the young man did not come to see the girl but the match was fixed.
“Marriages are made in heaven”, Krishna Rao said putting down the coffee cup. He added “When I wish to write a story about one I would think about the groom and the bride from all angles.”
“We are happy. At least for a week before our daughter’s wedding, you must come and stay with us. This I say as my wife's word!” said Murty.
After a few weeks – one evening a young Punjabi woman wearing large sun glasses came to the office where Krishna Rao worked.
“What can I do you for you?”
“Maaf karnaa O aadmi …” she felt a little shy ‘pehale ye dekhiye!” She opened her bag with a click and brought out a photograph.
He saw the photo and sat back in the chair and said, “I don't understand , … mai ne dekhliya”
He saw it but still did not understand anything. “I am Mrs. Madhav, a few weeks ago the air force young man and I got married in the Registrar's office” She spoke like a jal tarang going off musically, “At least hereafter, don't fix a wedding without talking to the groom.”
Krishna Rao went into his officer Murty’ s room hurriedly.
“Why young man, sit down first and cool down and take your time,” said Murty.
“I am at a loss to find words. Madhav about whom I told you married a Punjabi girl.”
“Who's Madhav?” Murty asked.
“It is not a joke, sir, his wife brought and showed me their wedding photo.”
“Can I play a joke with you, sir?”
A telegram came to Krishna Rao that the marriage party was coming on a certain day… Madhav get off the train and in great haste told Krishna Rao. “My dear fellow, my parents also know that I married a Punjabi girl, they thought of marrying me off to a Telugu girl. I don't mind your not forgiving me. But the parents of that girl Madhuri …. We have to pay back the expenses they incurred.”
Krishna Rao was furious: “Can you pay for the discomfiture of the girls' parents?”
“Sorry sir, Murty garu, because of Madhav's act your family…” Krishna was going to say something more a little further but Murty said: “Silly young man, while walking on the grass in the park if a thorn pricks her foot, would her prestige get destroyed?”
Then Kamalamma said “My greed for money is responsible for this. I don't know how my daughter, the little one…” she could not go further and went into the bed room.
“She would not be heartbroken Murty” began saying but stopped and went in following his wife. But Madhuri did not follow them and sat looking at Rao.
“Madhuri. I love you,” said the determined brachmachari taking her hand into his.
This story was published in Andhra Prabha weekly on 24th October 1979