सोहाग का शव -प्रेमचंद  हिन्दी देवनागरी में पढ़ें।

Icon-edit.gif is lekh ka punarikshan evn sampadan hona avashyak hai. ap isamen sahayata kar sakate hain. "sujhav"

madhyapradesh ke ek pahadi gaaunv men ek chhote-se ghar ki chhat par ek yuvak mano sndhya ki nistabdhata men lin baitha tha. samane chandrama ke malin prakash men oodi parvatamalaऍn anant ke svapn ki bhaaunti gambhir rahasyamay, sngitamay, manohar maloom hoti thin, un pahadiyon ke niche jal-dhara ki ek raupy rekha aisi maloom hoti thi, mano un parvaton ka samast sngit, samast gambhiry, sampoorn rahasy isi ujjval pravah men lin ho gaya ho. yuvak ki veshabhoosha se prakat hota tha ki usaki dasha bahut sampann nahin hai. han, usake mukh se tej aur manasvita jhalak rahi thi. usaki ankho par ainak n thi, n moonchhen mudi huee thin, n bal snvare hue the, kalaee par ghadi n thi, yahan tak ki kot ke jeb men phauntenapen bhi n tha. ya to vah siddhanton ka premi tha, ya adambaron ka shatru.

yuvak vicharon men maun usi parvatamala ki or dekh raha tha ki sahasa badal ki garaj se bhaynkar dhvani sunayi di. nadi ka madhur gan us bhishan nad men doob gaya. aisa maloom hua, mano us bhaynkar nad ne parvato ko bhi hila diya hai, mano parvaton men koee ghor sngram chhid gaya hai. yah relagadi thi, jo nadi par bane hue pul se chali a rahi thi.

ek yuvati kamare se nikal kar chhat par ayi aur boli—aj abhi se gadi a gayi. ise bhi aj hi vair nibhana tha.

yuvak ne yuvati ka hath pakad kar kaha—priye ! mera ji chahata hai; kahin n jaoon; mainne nishchay kar liya hai. mainne tumhari khatir se hami bhar li thi, par ab jane ki ichchha nahin hoti. tin sal kaise katenge.

yuvati ne katar svar men kaha—tin sal ke viyog ke bad phir to jivanaparyant koee badha n khadi hogi. ek bar jo nishchay kar liya hai, use poora hi kar dalo, annt sukh ki asha men main sare kasht jhel loongi.

yah kahate hue yuvati jalapan lane ke bahane se phir bhitar chali gee. ansuon ka aveg usake baboo se bahar ho gaya. in donon praniyon ke vaivahik jivan ki yah pahali hi varshagaauth thi. yuvak bambee-vishvavidyalay se em0 e0 ki upadhi lekar nagapur ke ek kalej men adhyapak tha. navin yug ki nayi-nayi vaivahik aur samajik krantiyon n use leshamatr bhi vichalit n kiya tha. purani prathaon se aisi pragadh mamata kadachith vriddhajanon ko bhi kam hogi. prophesar ho jane ke bad usake mata-pita ne is balika se usaka vivah kar diya tha. prathanusar hi us ankhamichauni ke khail me unhen prem ka ratn mil gaya. keval chhuttiyon men yahan pahali gadi se ata aur akhiri gadi se jata. ye do-char din mithe svpn ke saman kat jate the. donon balakon ki bhaaunti ro-rokar bida hote. isi kothe par khadi hokar vah usako dekha karati, jab tak nirdayi pahadiyan use ad me n kar letin. par abhi sal bhi n gujarane paya tha ki viyog ne apana shadyntr rachana shuroo kar diya. keshav ko videsh ja kar shiksha poori karane ke lie ek vritti mil gayi. mitron ne badhaiyaaun di. kisake aise bhagy hain, jise bina maaunge svabhagy-nirman ka aisa avasar prapt ho. keshav bahut prasann tha. vah isi duvidha men pada hua ghar aya. mata-pita aur any sambandhiyon ne is yatra ka ghor virodh kiya. nagar men jitani badhaiyaau mili thin, yahaaun usase kahin adhik badhaऍn milin. kintu subhadra ki uchchakankshaon ki sima n thi. vah kadachith keshav ko indrasan par baitha hua dekhana chahati thi. usake samane tab bhi vahi pati seva ka adarsh hota tha. vah tab bhi usake sir men tel dalegi, usaki dhoti chhaauntegi, usake paaunv dabayegi aur usake pnkha jhalegi. upasak ki mahatvakanksha upasy hi ke prati hoti hai. vah usako sone ka mandir banavayega, usake sinhasan ko ratnon se sajayega, svarg se pushp lakar bhent karega, par vah svayn vahi upasak rahega. jata ke sthan par mukut ya kaupin ki jagah pitambar ki lalasa use kabhi nahin satati. subhadra ne us vakt tak dam n liya jab tak keshav ne vilayat jane ka vada n kar liya, mata-pita ne use knlakini aur n jane kya-kya kaha, par ant men sahamat ho ge. sab taiyariyan ho gayin. steshan samip hi tha. yahan gadi der tak khadi rahati thi. steshanon ke samipasth gaaunv ke nivasiyon ke lie gadi ka ana shatru ka dhava nahin, mitr ka padarpan hai. gadi a gayi. subhadra jalapan bana kar pati ka hath dhulane ayi thi. is samay keshav ki prem-katar apatti ne use ek kshan ke lie vichalit kar diya. ha ! kaun janata hai, tin sal me kya ho jae ! man men ek avesh utha—kah doon, pyare mat jao. thodi hi khayenge, mota hi pahanegen, ro-rokar din to n kategen. kabhi keshav ke ane men ek-adha mahina lag jata tha, to vah vikal ho jaea karata thi. yahi ji chahata tha, udakar unake pas pahunch jaoon. phir ye nirdayi tin varsh kaise katengen ! lekin usane kathorata se in nirashajanak bhavon ko thukara diya aur kaaunpate knth se boli—ji to mera bhi yahi chahata hai. jab tin sal ka anuman karati hoon, to ek kalp-sa maloom hota hai. lekin jab vilayat men tumhare samman aur adar ka dhyan karati hoon, to ye tin sal tin din se maloom hote hain. tum to jahaz par pahunchate hi mujhe bhool jaoge. naye-naye drishy tumhare manornjan ke lie a khade honge. yoorop pahunchakar vidvano ke satsng men tumhen ghar ki yad bhi n ayegi. mujhe to rone ke siva aur koee dhndha nahin hai. yahi smritiyaaun hi mere jivan ka adhar hongi. lekin kya karun, jivan ki bhog-lalasa to nahin manati. phir jis viyog ka ant jivan ki sari vibhootiyaaun apane sath layega, vah vastav men tapasya hai. tapasya ke bina to varadan nahin milata.

keshav ko bhi ab gyat hua ki kshanik moh ke avesh men svabhagy nirman ka aisa achchha avasar tyag dena moorkhata hai. khade hokar bole—rona-dhona mat, nahin to mera ji n lagega.

subhadra ne usaka hath pakadakar hriday se lagate hue unake munh ki or sajal netron se dekha or boli—patr barabar bhejate rahana.

subhadra ne phir ankhen men ansoo bhare hue muskara kar kaha—dekhana vilayati mison ke jal men n phns jana.

keshav phir charapaee par baith gaya aur bola—tumhen yah sndeh hai, to lo, main jaoonga hi nahin.

subhrada ne usake gale me baaunhe dal kar vishvas-poorn drishti se dekha aur boli—main dillagi kar rahi thi.

‘agar indralok ki apsara bhi a jaee, to ankh uthakar n dekhoon. brahma ne aisi doosari srishti ki hi nahin.’

‘bich men koee chhutti mile, to ek bar chale ana.’

‘nahin priye, bich men shayad chhutti n milegi. magar jo mainne suna ki tum ro-rokar ghuli jati ho, dana-pani chhod diya hai, to main avashy chala aoonga ye phool jara bhi kumhalane n payen.’

donon gale mil kar bida ho gaye. bahar sambandhiyon aur mitron ka ek samooh khada tha. keshav ne badon ke charan chhue, chhoton ko gale lagaya aur steshan ki or chale. mitragan steshan tak pahunchane gaye. ek kshan men gadi yatri ko lekar chal di.

udhar keshav gadi men baitha hua pahadiyon ki bahar dekh raha tha; idhar subhadra bhoomi par padi sisakiyaau bhar rahi thi.

2

din gujarane lage. usi tarah, jaise bimari ke din katate hain—din pahad rat kali bala. rat-bhar manate gujarati thi ki kisi tarah bhor hota, to manane lagati ki jaldi sham ho. maike gayi ki vahan ji bahalega. das-paaunch din parivartan ka kuchh asar hua, phir unase bhi buri dasha huee, bhag kar sasural chali ayi. rogi karavat badalakar aram ka anubhav karata hai.

pahale paaunch-chhah mahinon tak to keshav ke patr pndrahaven din barabar milate rahe. usamen viyog ke du:kh kam, naye-naye drishyon ka varnan adhik hota tha. par subhadra sntusht thi. patr likhati, to virah-vyatha ke siva use kuchh soojhata hi n tha. kabhi-kabhi jab ji bechain ho jata, to pachhatati ki vyarth jane diya. kahin ek din mar jaoon, to unake darshan bhi n hon.

lekin chhathe mahine se patron men bhi vilamb hone laga. kee mahine tak to mahine men ek patr ata raha, phir vah bhi bnd ho gaya. subhadra ke char-chhah patr pahunch jate, to ek patr a jata; vah bhi bedili se likha hua—kam ki adhikata aur samay ke abhav ke rone se bhara hua. ek vaky bhi aisa nahin, jisase hriday ko shanti ho, jo tapakate hue dil par maraham rakhe. ha ! adi se ant tak ‘priye’ shabd ka nam nahin. subhadra adhir ho uthi. usane yorap-yatra ka nishyach kar liya. vah sare kasht sah legi, sir par jo kuchh padegi sah legi; keshav ko ankhon se dekhati rahegi. vah is bat ko unase gupt rakhegi, unaki kathinaiyon ko aur n badhayegi, unase bolegi bhi nahin ! keval unhen kabhi-kabhi ankh bhar kar dekh legi. yahi usaki shanti ke lie kafi hoga. use kya maloom tha ki usaka keshav usaka nahin raha. vah ab ek doosari hi kamini ke prem ka bhikhari hai.

subhadra kee dinon tak is prastav ko man men rakhe hue seti rahi. use kisi prakar ki shnka n hoti thi. samachar-patron ke padhate rahane se use samudri yatra ka hal maloom hota rahata tha. ek din usane apane sas-sasur ke samane apana nishchay prakat kiya. un logon ne bahut samajhaya; rokane ki bahut cheshta ki; lekin subhadra ne apana hath n chhoda. akhir jab logon ne dekha ki yah kisi tarah nahin manati, to raji ho gaye. maikevale samajha kar har gaye. kuchh rupaye usane svayn jama kar rakhe the, kuchh sasural men mile. maaun-bap ne bhi madad ki. raste ke kharch ki chinta n rahi. inglaind pahunchakar vah kya karegi, isaka abhi usane kuchh nishchay n kiya. itana janati thi ki parishram karane vale ko rotiyon ki kahin kami nahin rahati.

vida hote samay sas aur sasur donon steshan tak ae. jab gadi ne siti di, to subhadra ne hath jodakar kaha—mere jane ka samachar vahan n likhiega. nahin to unhen chinta hogi or padhane men unaka ji n lagega.

sasur ne ashvasan diya. gadi chal di.

3

lndan ke us hisse men, jahan is samriddhi ke samay men bhi daridrata ka rajy hain, oopar ke ek chhote se kamare men subhadra ek kursi par baithi hai. use yahan aye aj ek mahina ho gaya hai. yatra ke pahale usake man me jitani shnkaen thi, sabhi shant hoti ja rahi hai. bambee-bndar men jahaz par jagah pane ka prashn badi asani se hal ho gaya. vah akeli aurat n thi jo yorop ja rahi ho. paaunch-chhah striyaaun aur bhi usi jahaz se ja rahi thin. subhadra ko n jagah milane men koee kathinaee huee, n marg men. yahan pahunchakar aur striyon se sng chhoot gaya. koee kisi vidyalay men chali gayi; do-tin apane patiyon ke pas chalin gayin, jo yahan pahale a gaye the. subhadra ne is muhalle men ek kamara le liya. jivika ka prashn bhi usake lie bahut kathin n raha. jin mahilaon ke sath vah ayi thi, uname kee uchch- adhikariyon ki patniyaaun thi. kee achchhe-achchhe angarej gharanon se unaka parichay tha. subhadra ko do mahilaon ko bharatiy sngit aur hindi-bhasha sikhane ka kam mil gaya. shesh samay me vah kee bharatiy mahilaon ke kapade sine ka kam kar leti hai. keshav ka nivas-sthan yahan se nikat hai, isilie subhadra ne is muhalle ko pnsad kiya hai. kal keshav use dikhayi diya tha. oh ! unhen ‘bas’ se utarate dekhakar usaka chitt kitana atur ho utha tha. bas yahi man men ata tha ki daudakar unake gale se lipat jae aur poochhe—kyon ji, tum yahan ate hi badal ge. yad hai, tumane chalate samay kya-kya vada kiye the? usane badi mushkil se apane ko roka tha. tab se is vakt tak use mano nasha-sa chhaya hua hai, vah unake itane samip hai ! chahe roj unhen dekh sakati hai, unaki baten sun sakati hai; han, sparsh tak kar sakati hai. ab yah usase bhag kar kahan jaeegen? unake patron ki ab use kya chinta hai. kuchh dinon ke bad sambhav hai vah unase hotal ke naukaron se jo chahe, poochh sakati hai.

sndhya ho gayi thi. dhuऍn men bijali ki lalatanen roti ankhen ki bhanti jyotihin-si ho rahi thin. gali men stri-purush sair karane ja rahe the. subhadra sochane lagi—in logon ko amod se kitana prem hai, mano kisi ko chinta hi nahin, mano sabhi sampann hai, jab hi ye log itane ekagr hokar sab kam kar sakate hai. jis samay jo kam karane hai ji-jan se karate hain. khelane ki umng hai, to kam karane ki bhi umng hai aur ek ham hain ki n hnsate hai, n rote hain, maun bane baithe rahate hain. sphoorti ka kahin nam nahin, kam to sare din karate hain, bhojan karane ki phurasat bhi nahin milati, par vastav men chauthaee samay bhi kam men nahin lagate. keval kam karane ka bahana karate hain. maloom hota hai, jati pran-shoony ho gayi hain.

sahasa usane keshav ko jate dekha. han, keshav hi tha. kursi se uthakar baramade men chali ayi. prabal ichchha huee ki jakar unake gale se lipat jae. usane agar aparadh kiya hai, to unhin ke karan to. yadi vah barabar patr likhate jate, to vah kyon ati?

lekin keshav ke sath yah yuvati kaun hai? are ! keshav usaka hath pakade hue hai. donon muskara-muskara kar baten karate chale jate hain. yah yuvati kaun hai?

subhadra ne dhyan se dekha. yuvati ka rng saaunvala tha. vah bharatiy balika thi. usaka pahanava bharatiy tha. isase zyada subhadra ko aur kuchh n dikhayi diya. usane turnt joote pahane, dvar band kiya aur ek kshan men gali men a pahunchi. keshav ab dikhayi n deta tha, par vah jidhar gaya tha, udhar hi vah badi teji se lapaki chali jati thi. yah yuvati kaun hai? vah un donon ki baten sunana chahati thi, us yuvati ko dekhana chahati thi usake paaunv itani tej se uth rahe the mano daud rahi ho. par itani jaldi dono kahan adrishy ho gaye? ab tak use un logon ke samip pahunch jana chahie tha. shayad donon kisi ‘bas’ par ja baithe.

ab vah gali samapt karake ek chaudi sadak par a pahunchi thi. donon taraph badi-badi jagamagati huee dukane thi, jinamen snsar ki vibhootiyaaun garv se phooli uthi thi. kadam-kadam par hotal aur restraaun the. subhadra donon aur netron se takati, pagapag par bhranti ke karan machalati kitani door nikal gayi, kuchh khabar nahin.

phir usane socha—yon kahan tak chali jaoongi? kaun jane kidhar gaye. chalakar phir apane baramade se dekhoon. akhir idhar se gaye hai, to idhar se lautenge bhi. yah khyal ate hi vah ghoom padi or usi tarah daudati huee apane sthan ki or chali. jab vahan pahunchi, to barah baj gaye the. aur itani der use chalate hi gujara ! ek kshan bhi usane kahin vishram nahin kiya.

vah oopar pahunchi, to grih-svamini ne kaha—tumhare lie badi der se bhojan rakha hua hai.

subhadra ne bhojan apane kamare men mnga liya par khane ki sudhi kise thi ! vah usi baramade me usi taraph takataki lagaye khadi thi, jidhar se keshav gaya.

ek baj gaya, do baja, phir bhi keshav nahin lauta. usane man men kaha—vah kisi doosare marg se chale gaye. mera yahan khada rahana vyarth hai. chaloon, so rahoon. lekin phir khyal a gaya, kahin a n rahe hon.

maloom nahin, use kab nind a gayi.

4

doosare din prat:kal subhadra apane kam par jane ko taiyar ho rahi thi ki ek yuvati reshami sadi pahane akar khadi ho gayi aur muskarakar boli—kshama kijiega, mainne bahut sabere apako kasht diya. ap to kahin jane ko taiyar mamool hoti hai.

subhadra ne ek kursi badhate hue kaha—han, ek kam se bahar ja rahi thi. main apaki kya seva kar sakati hoon?

yah kahate hue subhadra ne yuvati ko sir se paaunv tak usi alochanatmak drishti se dekha, jisase striyaaun hi dekh sakati hain. saundary ki kisi paribhasha se bhi use sundari n kaha ja sakata tha. usaka rng saaunvala, munh kuchh chauda, nak kuchh chipati, qad bhi chhota aur sharir bhi kuchh sthool tha. ankhon par ainak lagi huee thi. lekin in sab karanon ke hote hue bhi usamen kuchh aisi bat thi, jo ankhon ko apani or khinch leti thi. usaki vani itani madhur, itani snyamit, itani vinamr thi ki jan padata tha kisi devi ke varadan hon. ek-ek ang se pratima vikirn ho rahi thi. subhadra usake samane halaki evn tuchchh maloom hoti thi. yuvati ne kursi par baithate hue kaha—

‘agar main bhoolati hoon, to mujhe kshama kijiega. mainne suna hai ki ap kuchh kapade bhi siti hai, jisaka praman yah hai ki yahan siving mashin maujood hai.‘

subhadra—main do lediyon ko bhasha padhane jaea karati hoon, shesh samay men kuchh silaee bhi kar leti hoon. ap kapade layi hain.

yuvati—nahin, abhi kapade nahin layi. yah kahate hue usane lajja se sir jhuka kar muskarate hue kaha—bat yah hai ki meri shadi hone ja rahi hai. main vastrabhooshan sab hindustani rakhana chahati hoon. vivah bhi vaidik riti se hi hoga. aise kapade yahan ap hi taiyar kar sakati hain.

subhadra ne hnsakar kaha—main aise avasar par apake jode taiyar karake apane ko dhany samajhoongi. vah shubh tithi kab hai?

yuvati ne sakuchate hue kaha—vah to kahate hain, isi saptah men ho jae; par main unhen talati ati hoon. mainne to chaha tha ki bharat lautane par vivah hota, par vah itane utavale ho rahe hain ki kuchh kahate nahin banata. abhi to mainne yahi kah kar tala hai ki mere kapade sil rahe hain.

subhadra—to main apake jode bahut jald de doongi.

yuvati ne hnsakar kaha—main to chahati thi ap mahinon laga detin.

subhadra—vah, main is shubh kary men kyon vighn dalane lagi? main isi saptah men apake kapade de doongi, aur unase isaka puraskar loongi.

yuvati khilakhilakar hnsi. kamare men prakash ki laharen-si uth gayin. bolin—isake lie to puraskar vah denge, badi khushi se denge aur tumhare kritgy honge. mainne pratigya ki thi ki vivah ke bndhan men padoongi hi nahi; par unhonne meri pratigya tod di. ab mujhe maloom ho raha hai ki prem ki bediyaaun kitani anndamay hoti hai. tum to abhi hal hi men ayi ho. tumhare pati bhi sath honge?

subhadra ne bahana kiya. boli—vah is samay jarmani men hain. sngit se unhen bahut prem hai. sngit hi ka adhyayan karane ke lie vahan gaye hain.

‘tum bhi sngit janati ho?’

‘bahut thoda.’

‘keshav ko sngit bahut prem hai.’

keshav ka nam sunakar subhadra ko aisa maloom hua, jaise bichchhoo ne kat liya ho. vah chaunk padi.

yuvati ne poochha—ap chaunk kaise gayin? kya keshav ko janati ho?

subhadra ne bat banakar kaha—nahin, mainne yah nam kabhi nahin suna. vah yahan kya karate hain?

subhadra ka khyal aya, kya keshav kisi doosare adami ka nam nahin ho sakata? isalie usane yah prashn kiya. usi javab par usaki zindagi ka phaisala tha.

yuvati ne kaha—yahan vidyalay men padhate hain. bharat sarakar ne unhen bheja hai. abhi sal-bhar bhi to ae nahin hua. tum dekhakar prasann hogi. tej aur buddhi ki moorti samajh lo. yahan ke achchhe-achchhe prophesar unaka adar karate hai. aisa sundar bhashan to mainne kisi ke munh se suna hi nahin. jivan adarsh hai. mujhase unhen kyon prem ho gaya hai, mujhe isaka ashchary hai. mujhamen n roop hai, n lavany. ye mera saubhagy hai. to main sham ko kapade lekar aoongi.

subhadra ne man men uthate hue veg ko sabhaaunl kar kaha—achchhi bat hai.

jab yuvati chali gayi, to subhadra phoot-phootakar rone lagi. aisa jan padata tha, mano deh men rakt hi nahin, mano pran nikal gaye hain vah kitani ni:sahay, kitani durbal hai, isaka aj anubhav hua. aisa maloom hua, manon snsar men usaka koee nahin hai. ab usaka jivan vyarth hai. usake lie ab jivan men rone ke siva aur kya hai? unaki sari gyanendriyaaun shithil-si ho gayi thin manon vah kisi oonche vriksh se gir padi ho. ha ! yah usake prem aur bhakti ka puraskar hai. usane kitana agrah karake keshav ko yahan bheja tha? isalie ki yahan ate hi usaka sarvanash kar den?

purani baten yad ane lagi. keshav ki vah prematur ankhen samane a gayin. vah saral, sahaj moorti ankhon ke samane nachane lagi. usaka jara sir dhamakata tha, to keshav kitana vyakul ho jata tha. ek bar jab use phasali bukhar a gaya tha, to keshav ghabara kar, pndrah din ki chhutti lekar ghar a gaya tha aur usake sirahane baitha rat-bhar pnkha jhalata raha tha. vahi keshav ab itani jald usase oob utha! usake lie subhadra ne kaun-si bat utha rakhi. vah to usi ka apana pranadhar, apana jivan dhan, apana sarvasv samajhati thi. nahin-nahin, keshav ka dosh nahin, sara dosh isi ka hai. isi ne apani madhur baton se anhen vashibhoot kar liya hai. isaki vidya, buddhi aur vakapatuta hi ne unake hriday par vijay payi hai. hay! usane kitani bar keshav se kaha tha, mujhe bhi padhaya karo, lekin unhonne hamesha yahi javab diya, tum jaisi ho, mujhe vaisi hi pasand ho. main tumhari svabhavik saralata ko padha-padha kar mitana nahin chahata. keshav ne usake sath kitana bada anyay kiya hai! lekin yah unaka dosh nahin, yah isi yauvan-matavali chhokari ki maya hai.

subhadra ko is eershya aur du:kh ke avesh men apane kam par jane ki sudh n rahi. vah kamare men is tarah tahalane lagi, jaise kisi ne jabaradasti use band kar diya ho. kabhi donon mutthiyaaun bndh jatin, kabhi daaunt pisane lagati, kabhi onth katati. unmad ki-si dasha ho gayi. ankhon men bhi ek tivr jvala chamak uthi. jyon-jyon keshav ke is nishthur aghat ko sochati, un kashton ko yad karati, jo usane usake lie jhele the, usaka chitt pratikar ke lie vikal hota jata tha. agar koee bat huee hoti, apas men kuchh manomaliny ka lesh bhi hota, to use itana du:kh n hota. yah to use aisa maloom hota tha ki manon koee hnsate-hnsate achanak gale par chadh baithe. agar vah unake yogy nahin thi, to unhonne usase vivah hi kyon kiya tha? vivah karane ke bad bhi use kyon n thukara diya tha? kyon prem ka bij boya tha? aur aj jab vah bich pallavon se laharane laga, usaki jaden usake antastal ke ek-ek anu men pravisht ho gayin, usaka rakt usaka sara utsarg vriksh ko sinchane aur palane men pravritt ho gaya, to vah aj use ukhad kar phenk dena chahate hain. kya hriday ke tukade-tukade hue bina vriksh ukhad jayaga?

sahasa use ek bat yad a gayi. hinsatmak sntosh se usaka uttejit mukh-mandal aur bhi kathor ho gaya. keshav ne apane pahale vivah ki bat is yuvati se gupt rakhi hogi ! subhadra isaka bhndaphod karake keshav ke sare mnsoobon ko dhool men mila degi. use apane oopar krodh aya ki yuvati ka pata kyon n poochh liya. use ek patr likhakar keshav ki nichata, svarthaparata aur kayarata ki kalee khol deti—usake pandity, pratibha aur pratishtha ko dhool men mila deti. khair, sndhya-samay to vah kapade lekar ayegi hi. us samay usase sara kachcha chittha bayan kar doongi.

5

subhrada din-bhar yuvati ka intajar karati rahi. kabhi baramade men akar idhar-udhar nigah daudati, kabhi sadak par dekhati, par usaka kahin pata n tha. man men jhunjhalati thi ki usane kyon usi vakt sara vritant n kah sunaya.

keshav ka pata use maloom tha. us makan aur gali ka nambar tak yad tha, jahan se vah use patr likha karata tha. jyon-jyon din dhalane laga aur yuvati ke ane men vilamb hone laga, usake man men ek tarngi-si uthane lagi ki jakar keshav ko phatakare, usaka sara nasha utar de, kahe—tum itane bhnyakar hinsak ho, itane mahanh dhoort ho, yah mujhe maloom n tha. tum yahi vidya sikhane yahan aye the. tumhare pandity ki yahi phal hai ! tum ek abala ko jisane tumhare oopar apana sarvasv arpan kar diya, yon chhal sakate ho. tumamen kya manushyata nam ko bhi nahin rah gayi? akhir tumane mere lie kya socha hai. main sari zindagi tumhare nam ko roti rahoon ! lekin abhiman har bar usake pairon ko rok leta. nahin, jisane usake sath aisa kapat kiya hai, usaka itana apaman kiya hai, usake pas vah n jayagi. vah use dekhakar apane ansuon ko rok sakegi ya nahin, isamen use sndeh tha, aur keshav ke samane vah rona nahin chahati thi. agar keshav usase ghrina karata hai, to vah bhi keshav se ghrina karegi. sndhya bhi ho gayi, par yuvati n ayi. battiyaaun bhi jalin, par usaka pata nahin.

ekaek use apane kamare ke dvar par kisi ke ane ki ahat maloom huee. vah koodakar bahar nikal aee. yuvati kapadon ka ek pulinda lie samane khadi thi. subhadra ko dekhate hi boli—kshama karana, mujhe ane men der ho gayi. bat yah hai ki keshav ko kisi bade zaroori kam se jarmani jana hai. vahan unhen ek mahine se zyada lag jayaga. vah chahate hain ki main bhi unake sath chaloon. mujhase unhen apani thisis likhane men badi sahayata milegi. barlin ke pustakalayon ko chhanana padega. mainne bhi svikar kar liya hai. keshav ki ichchha hai ki jarmani jane ke pahale hamara vivah ho jae. kal sndhya samay snskar ho jayaga. ab ye kapade mujhe ap jarmani se lautane par dijiega. vivah ke avasar par ham mamooli kapade pahan lenge. aur kya karati? isake siva koee upay n tha, keshav ka jarman jana anivary hai.

subhadra ne kapado ko mej par rakh kar kaha—apako dhokha diya gaya hai.

yuvati ne ghabara kar poochha—dhokha? kaisa dhokha? main bilakul nahin samajhati. tumhara matalab kya hai?

subhadra ne snkoch ke avaran ko hatane ki cheshta karate hue kaha—keshav tumhen dhokha dekar tumase vivah karana chahata hai.

‘keshav aisa adami nahin hai, jo kisi ko dhokha de. kya tum keshav ko janati ho?

‘keshav ne tumase apane vishay men sab-kuchh kah diya hai?’

‘sab-kuchh.’

‘mera to yahi vichar hai ki unhonne ek bat bhi nahin chhipaee?’

‘tumhe maloom hai ki usaka vivah ho chuka hai?’

yuvati ki mukh-jyoti kuchh malin pad gayi, usaki gardan lajja se jhuk gayi. atak-atak kar boli—han, unhonne mujhase..... yah bat kahi thi.

subhadra parast ho gayi. ghrina-soochak netron se dekhati huee boli—yah janate hue bhi tum keshav se vivah karane par taiyar ho.

yuvati ne abhiman se dekhakar kaha—tumane keshav ko dekha hai?

‘nahin, mainne unhen kabhi nahin dekha.’

‘phir, tum unhen kaise janati ho?’

‘mere ek mitr ne mujhase yah bat kahi he, vah keshav ko janata hai.’

‘agar tum ek bar keshav ko dekh letin, ek bar usase baten kar letin, to mujhase yah prashn n karati. ek nahin, agar unhonne ek sau vivah kiye hote, to main inakar n karati. unhen dekhakar men apane ko bilakul bhool jati hoon. agar unase vivah n karoon, ta phir mujhe jivan-bhar avivahit hi rahana padega. jis samay vah mujhase baten karane lagate hain, mujhe aisa anubhav hota hai ki meri atma pushpaki bhaaunti khili ja rahi hai. main usamen prakash aur vikas ka pratyaksh anubhav karati hoon. duniya chahe jitana hnse, chahe jitani ninda kare, main keshav ko ab nahin chhod sakati. unaka vivah ho chuka hai, vah saty hai; par us stri se unaka man kabhi n mila. yatharth men unaka vivah abhi nahin hua. vah koee sadharan, arddhashikshita balika hai. tumhin sochon, keshav jaisa vidvan, udaracheta, manasvi purush aisi balika ke sath kaise prasann rah sakata hai? tumhen kal mere vivah men chalana padega.

subhadra ka chehara tamatamaya ja raha tha. keshav ne use itane kale rngon men rnga hai, yah soch kar usaka rakt khaul raha tha. ji men ata tha, isi kshan isako dutkar doon, lekin usake man men kuchh aur hi mnsoobe paida hone lage the. usane gnbhir, par udasinata ke bhav se poochha—keshav ne kuchh us stri ke vishay men nahin kaha?

yuvati ne tatparata se kaha—ghar pahunchane par vah usase keval yahi kah denge ki ham aur tum ab stri aur purush nahin rah sakate. usake bharan-poshan ka vah usake ichchhanusar prabndh kar denge, isake siva vah aur kya kar sakate hain. hindoo-niti men pati-patni men vichchhed nahin ho sakata. par keval stri ko poorn riti se svadhin kar dene ke vichar se vah eesaee ya musalaman hone par bhi taiyar hain. vah to abhi use isi ashay ka ek patr likhane ja rahe the, par mainne hi rok liya. mujhe us abhagini par badi daya ati hai, main to yahan tak taiyar hoon ki agar usaki ichchha ho to vah bhi hamare sath rahe. main use apani bahan samajhoongi. kintu keshav isase sahamat nahin hote.

subhadra ne vyngy se kaha—roti-kapada dene ko taiyar hi hain, stri ko isake siva aur kya chahie?

yuvati ne vyngy ki kuchh paravah n karake kaha—to mujhe lautane par kapade taiyar milenge n?

subhadra—han, mil jaeenge.

yuvati—kal tum sndhya samay aogi?

subhadra—nahin, khed hai, avakash nahin hai.

yuvati ne kuchh n kaha. chali gayi.

6

subhadra kitana hi chahati thi ki samasya par shantachitt hokar vichar kare, par hriday men manon jvala-si dahak rahi thi! keshav ke lie vah apane pranon ka koee mooly nahin samajhi thi. vahi keshav use pairon se thukara raha hai. yah aghat itana akasmik, itana kathor tha ki usaki chetana ki sari komalata moorchchhit ho gayi ! usake ek-ek anu pratikar ke lie tadapane laga. agar yahi samasya isake viparit hoti, to kya subhadra ki garadan par chhuri n phir gayi hoti? keshav usake khoon ka pyasa n ho jata? kya purush ho jane se hi sabhi bate kshamy aur stri ho jane se sabhi baten akshamy ho jati hai? nahin, is nirnay ko subhadra ki vidrohi atma is samay svikar nahin kar sakati. use nariyon ke oonche adarsho ki paravah nahin hai. un striyon men atmabhiman n hoga? ve purushon ke pairon ki jootiyan banakar rahane hi men apana saubhagy samajhati hongi. subhadra itani atmabhiman-shoony nahin hai. vah apane jite-ji yah nahin dekh sakati thi ki usaka pati usake jivan ki sarvanash karake chain ki bnshi bajaye. duniya use hatyarini, pishachini kahegi, kahe—usako paravah nahin. rah-rahakar usake man men bhaynkar prerana hoti thi ki isi samay usake pas chali jae, aur isake pahile ki vah us yuvati ke prem ka annad uthaye, usake jivan ka ant kar de. vah keshav ki nishthurata ko yad karake apane man ko uttejit karati thi. apane ko dhikkar-dhikkar kar nari sulabh shnkaon ko door karati thi. kya vah itani durbal hai? kya usamen itana sahas bhi nahin hai? is vakt yadi koee dusht usake kamare men ghus ae aur usake satitv ka apaharan karana chahe, to kya vah usaka pratikar n karegi? akhir atm-raksha hi ke lie to usane yah pistaul le rakhi hai. keshav ne usake saty ka apaharan hi to kiya hai. usaka prem-darshan keval pravnchana thi. vah keval apani vasanaon ki tripti ke lie subhadra ke sath prem-svaaung bharata tha. phir usak vadh karana kya subhadra ka karttavy nahin?

is antim kalpana se subhadra ko vah uttejana mil gayi, jo usake bhaynkar snkalp ko poora karane ke lie avashyak thi. yahi vah avastha hai, jab stri-purush ke khoon ki pyasi ho jati hai.

usane khoonti par latakati huee pistaul utar li aur dhyan se dekhane lagi, mano use kabhi dekha n ho. kal sndhya-samay jab kary-mndir ke keshav aur usaki premika ek-doosare ke sammukh baithe hue honge, usi samay vah is goli se keshav ki prem-lilaon ka ant kar degi. doosari goli apani chhati men mar legi. kya vah ro-ro kar apana adham jivan kategi?

7

sndhya ka samay tha. ary-mndir ke angan men var aur vadhoo isht-mitron ke sath baithe hue the. vivah ka snskar ho raha tha. usi samay subhadra pahunchi aur badamade men akar ek khambhen ki ad men is bhaaunti khadi ho gee ki keshav ka munh usake samane tha. usaki ankhen men vah drishy khinch gaya, jab aj se tin sal pahale usane isi bhaaunti keshav ko mndap men baithe hue ad se dekha tha. tab usaka hriday kitana uchhavasit ho raha tha. antastal men gudagudi-si ho rahi thi, kitana apar anurag tha, kitani asim abhilashaऍn thin, manon jivan-prabhat ka uday ho raha ho. jivan madhur sngit ki bhaaunti sukhad tha, bhavishy usha-svapn ki bhaaunti sundar. kya yah vahi keshav hai? subhadra ko aisa bhram hua, manon yah keshav nahin hai. han, yah vah keshav nahin tha. yah usi roop aur usi nam ka koee doosara manushy tha. ab usaki muskurahat men, unake netron men, usake shabdon men, usake hriday ko akarshit karane vali koee vastu n thi. use dekhakar vah usi bhaaunti ni:spnd, nishchal khadi hai, manon koee aparichit vyakti ho. ab tak keshav ka-sa roopavan, tejasvi, saumy, shilavan, purush snsar men n tha; par ab subhadra ko aisa jan pada ki vahan baithe hue yuvakon men aur usamen koee antar nahin hai. vah eershyagni, jisamen vah jali ja rahi thi, vah hinsa-kalpana, jo use vahan tak layi thi, mano egadam shant ho gayi. virikt hinsa se bhi adhik hinsatmak hoti hai—subhadra ki hinsa-kalpana men ek prakar ka mamatv tha—usaka keshav, usaka pranavallabh, usaka jivan-sarvasv aur kisi ka nahin ho sakata. par ab vah mamatv nahin hai. vah usaka nahin hai, use ab parava nahin, us par kisaka adhikar hota hai.

vivah-snskar samapt ho gaya, mitron ne badhaiyaaun din, saheliyon ne mngalagan kiya, phir log mejon par ja baithe, davat hone lagi, rat ke barah baj gaye; par subhadra vahin pashan-moorti ki bhaaunti khadi rahi, mano koee vichitr svapn dekh rahi ho. han, jaise koee basti ujad gee ho, jaise koee sngit band ho gaya ho, jaise koee dipak bujh gaya hai.

jab log mndir se nikale, to vah bhi nikale, to vah bhi nikal ayi; par use koee marg n soojhata tha. parichit sadakenn use bhooli huee-si jan padane lagin. sara snsar hi badal gaya tha. vah sari rat sadakon par bhatakati phiri. ghar ka kahin pata nahin. sari dukanen band ho gayin, sadakon par sannata chha gaya, phir bhi vah apana ghar dhoondhati huee chali ja rahi thi. hay! kya isi bhaaunti use jivan-path men bhi bhatakana padega?

sahasa ek pulisamain ne pukara—maidam, tum kahan ja rahi ho?

subhadra ne thithak kar kaha—kahin nahin.

‘tumhara sthan kahan hai?’

‘mera sthan?’

‘han, tumhara sthan kahan hai? main tumhen badi der se idhar-udhar bhatakate dekh raha hoon. kis strit men rahati ho?

subhadra ko us strit ka nam tak n yad tha.

‘tumhen apane strit ka nam tak yad nahin?’

‘bhool gayi, yad nahin ata.‘

sahasa usaki drishti samane ke ek sain bord ki taraph uthi, oh! yahi to usaki strit hai. usane sir uthakar idhar-udhar dekha. samane hi usaka dera tha. aur isi gali men, apane hi ghar ke samane, n-jane kitani der se vah chakkar laga rahi thi.

8

abhi prat:kal hi tha ki yuvati subhadra ke kamare men pahunchi. vah usake kapade si rahi thi. usaka sara tan-man kapadon men laga hua tha. koee yuvati itani ekagrachit hokar apana shrringar bhi n karati hogi. n-jane usase kaun-sa puraskar lena chahati thi. use yuvati ke ane ki khabar n huee.

yuvati ne poochha—tum kal mndir men nahin ayin?

subhadra ne sir uthakar dekha, to aisa jan pada, mano kisi kavi ki komal kalpana moortimayi ho gayi hai. usaki up chhavi anindy thi. prem ki vibhooti rom-rom se pradarshit ho rahi thi. subhadra daudakar usake gale se lipat gee, jaise usaki chhoti bahan a gayi ho, aur boli — han, gayi to thi.

‘mainne tumhen nahin dekha.‘

‘haaun, main alag thi.‘

‘keshav ko dekha?’

‘han dekha.‘

‘dhire se kyon boli? mainne kuchh jhooth kaha tha?

subhadra ne sahridayata se muskarakar kaha — mainne tumhari ankhon se nahin, apani ankhon se dekha. majhe to vah tumhare yogy nahin jnche. tumhen thag liya.

yuvati khilakhilakar hnsi aur boli—vah ! main samajhati hoon, mainne unhen thaga hai.

ek bar vastrabhooshanon se sajakar apani chhavi aine men dekhi to maloom ho jaeega.

‘tab kya main kuchh aur ho jaoongi.‘

‘apane kamare se pharsh, tasaviren, handiyaaun, gamale adi nikal kar dekh lo, kamare ki shobha vahi rahati hai!’

yuvati ne sir hila kar kaha—thik kahati ho. lekin abhooshan kahan se laoon. n-jane abhi kitane dinon men banane ki naubat aye.

‘main tumhen apane gahane pahana doongi.‘

‘tumhare pas gahane hain?’

‘bahut. dekho, main abhi lakar tumhen pahanati hoon.‘

yuvati ne munh se to bahut ‘nahin-nahin’ kiya, par man men prasann ho rahi thi. subhadra ne apane sare gahane pahana diye. apane pas ek chhalla bhi n rakha. yuvati ko yah naya anubhav tha. use is roop men nikalate sharm to ati thi; par usaka roop chamak utha tha. isamen sndeh n tha. usane aine men apani soorat dekhi to usaki soorat jagamaga uthi, mano kisi viyogini ko apane priyatam ka snvad mila ho. man men gudagudi hone lagi. vah itani roopavati hai, use usaki kalpana bhi n thi.

kahin keshav is roop men use dekh lete; vah akanksha usake man men uday huee, par kahe kaise. kuchh der men bad lajja se sir jhuka kar boli—keshav mujhe is roop men dekh kar bahut hnsegen.

subhadra —hnsegen nahin, balaiya lenge, ankhen khul jaeegi. tum aj isi roop men usake pas jana.

yuvati ne chakit hokar kaha —sach! ap isaki anumati deti hain!

subhadra ne kaha—bade harsh se.

‘tumhen sndeh n hoga?’

‘bilkul nahin.‘

‘aur jo main do-char din pahane rahoon?’

‘tum do-char mahine pahane raho. akhir, pade hi to hai!’

‘tum bhi mere sath chalo.‘

‘nahin, mujhe avakash nahin hai.‘

‘achchha, lo mere ghar ka pata not kar lo.‘

‘han, likh do, shayad kabhi aoon.‘

ek kshan men yuvati vahan se chali gayi. subhadra apani khidaki par use is bhaaunti prasann-mukh khadi dekh rahi thi, mano usaki chhoti bahan ho, eershya ya dvesh ka lesh bhi usake man men n tha.

mushkil se, ek ghnta gujara hoga ki yuvati laut kar boli—subhadra kshama karana, main tumhara samay bahut kharab kar rahi hoon. keshav bahar khade hain. bula loon?

ek kshan, keval ek kshan ke lie, subhadra kuchh ghabada gayi. usane jaldi se uth kar mej par padi huee chizen idhar-udhar hata din, kapade karine se rakh diye. usane jaldi se ulajhe hue bal snbhal liye, phir udasin bhav se muskara kar boli—unhen tumane kyon kasht diya. jao, bula lo.

ek minat men keshav ne kamare men qadam rakha aur chaunk kar pichhe hat gaye, mano paaunv jal gaya ho. munh se ek chikh nikal gayi. subhadra gambhir, shant, nishchal apani jagah par khadi rahi. phir hath badha kar boli, mano kisi aparichit vyakti se bol rahi thi—aiye, mistar keshav, main apako aisi sushil, aisi sundari, aisi vidushi ramani pane par badhaee deti hoon.

keshav ke munh par havaiyaaun ud rahi thin. vah path-bhrasht-sa bana khada tha. lajja aur glani se usake chehare par ek rng ata tha, ek rng jata tha. yah bat ek din hone vali thi avashy, par is tarah achanak usaki subhadra se bhent hogi, isaka use svapn men bhi guman n tha. subhadra se yah bat kaise kahega, isako usane khoob soch liya tha. usake akshepon ka uttar soch liya tha, patr ke shabd tak man men ankit kar liye the. ye sari taiyariyaaun dhari rah gayin aur subhadra se sakshath ho gaya. subhadra use dekh kar jara si nahin chaunki, usake mukh par ashchary, ghabarahat ya du:kh ka ek chihn bhi n dikhayi diya. usane usi bhnti usase bat ki; mano vah koee ajanabi ho. yahaaun kab ayi, kaise ayi, kyon ayi, kaise gujar karati hai; yah aur is tarah ke asnkhy prashn poochhane ke lie keshav ka chitt chnchal ho utha. usane socha tha, subhadra use dhikkaregi; vish khane ki dhamaki degi—nishthur; nirday aur n-jane kya-kya kahegi. in sab apadaon ke lie vah taiyar tha; par is akasmik milan, is garvayukt upeksha ke lie vah taiyar n tha. vah prem-vratadharini subhadra itani kathor, itani hriday-shoony ho gayi hai? avashy hi is sari baten pahale hi maloom ho chuki hain. sab se tivr aghat yah tha ki isane apane sare abhooshan itani udarata se de dale, aur kaun jane vapas bhi n lena chahati ho. vah parast aur apratim hokar ek kursi par baith gaya. uttar men ek shabd bhi usake mukh se n nikala.

yuvati ne kritgyta ka bhav prakat karake kaha—inake pati is samay jarmani men hai.

keshav ne ankhen phad kar dekha, par kuchh bol n saka.

yuvati ne phir kaha—bechari sngit ke path padha kar aur kuchh kapade si kar apana nirvah karati hai. vah mahashay yahan a jate, to unhen unake saubhagy par badhaee deti.

keshav is par bhi kuchh n bol saka, par subhadra ne muskara kar kaha—vah mujhase roothe hue hain, badhaee pakar aur bhi jhallate. yuvati ne ashchary se kaha—tum unhin ke prem me yahan ayin, apana ghar-bar chhoda, yahan mehanat-mazadoori karake nirvah kar rahi ho, phir bhi vah tumase roothe hue hain? ashchary!

subhadra ne usi bhaaunti prasann-mukh se kaha—purush-prakriti hi ashchary ka vishay hai, chahe mi. keshav ise svikar n karen.

yuvati ne phir keshav ki or prerana-poorn drishti se dekha, lekin keshav usi bhaaunti apratim baitha raha. usake hriday par yah naya aghat tha. yuvati ne use chup dekh kar usaki taraph se saphaee di—keshav, stri aur purush, donon ko hi saman adhikar dena chahate hain.

keshav doob raha tha, tinake ka sahara pakar usaki himmat bndh gayi. bola—vivah ek prakar ka samajhauta hai. donon pakshon ko adhikar hai, jab chahe use tod den.

yuvati ne hami bhari—sabhy-samaj men yah andonal bade joron par hai.

subhadra ne shnka ki—kisi samajhaute ko todane ke lie karan bhi to hona chahie?

keshav ne bhavon ki lathi ka sahar lekar kaha—jab isaka anubhav ho jae ki ham is bandhan se mukt hokar adhik sukhi ho sakate hain, to yahi karan kafi hai. stri ko yadi maloom ho jae ki vah doosare purush ke sath ...

subhadra ne bat kat kar kaha—kshama kijie mi. keshav, mujhamen itani buddhi nahin ki is vishay par apase bahas kar sakoon. adarsh samajhauta vahi hai, jo jivan-paryant rahe. main bharat ki nahin kahati. vahan to stri purush ki laundi hai, main iglaind ki kahati hoon. yahan bhi kitani hi auraton se meri batachit huee hai. ve talakon ki badhati huee snkhya ko dekh kar khush nahin hoti. vivah sabase ooncha adarsh usaki pavitrata aur sthirata hai. purushon ne sadaiv is ardash ko toda hai, striyon ne nibaha hai. ab purushon ka anyay striyon ko kis or le jaeega, nahin kah sakati.

is gambhir aur snyat kathan ne vivad ka ant kar diya. subhadra ne chay mngavayi. tinon adamiyon ne pi. keshav poochhana chahata tha, abhi ap yahan kitane dinon rahengi. lekin n poochh saka. vah yahan pndrah minat aur raha, lekin vicharon men dooba hua. chalate samay usase n raha gaya. poochh hi baitha—abhi ap yahan kitane din aur rahegi?

‘subhadra ne zamin ki or takate hue kaha—kah nahin sakati.‘

‘koee zaroorat ho, to mujhe yad kijie.‘

‘is ashvasan ke lie apako dhanyavad.‘

keshav sare din bechain raha. subhadra usaki ankhon men phirati rahi. subhadra ki baten usake kanon men goonjati rahin. ab use isamen koee sandeh n tha ki usi ke prem men subhadra yahan ayi thi. sari paristhiti usaki samajh men a gayi thi. us bhishan tyag ka anuman karake usake royen khade ho gaye. yahan subhadra ne kya-kya kasht jhele honge, kaisi-kaisi yatanaऍn sahi hongi, sab usi ke karan? vah us par bhar n banana chahati thi. isalie to usane apane ane ki soochana tak use n di. agar use pahale maloom hoti ki subhadra yahan a gayi hai, to kadachith use us yuvati ki or itana akarshan hi n hota. chaukidar ke samane chor ko ghar men ghusane ka sahas nahin hota. subhadra ko dekhakar usaki karttavy-chetana jagrat ho gayi. usake pairon par gir kar usase kshama mangane ke lie usaka man adhir ho utha; vah usake munh se sara vritant sunega. yah maun upeksha usake lie asahy thi. din to keshav ne kisi tarah kata, lekin jyon hi rat ke das baje, vah subhadra se milane chala. yuvati ne poochha—kahan jate ho?

keshav ne boot ka les baaundhate hue kaha—jara ek prophesar se milana hai, is vakt ane ka vada kar chuka hoon?

‘jald ana.‘

‘bahut jald aoonga.‘

keshav ghar se nikala, to usake man men kitani hi vichar-tnragen uthane lagin. kahin subhadra milane se inakar kar de, to? nahin aisa nahin ho sakata. vah itani anudar nahin hai. han, yah ho sakata hai ki vah apane vishay men kuchh n kahe. use shant karane ke lie usane ek kripa ki kalpana kar dali. aisa bimar tha ki bachane ki asha n thi. urmila ne aisi tanmay hokar usaki seva-sushrusha ki ki use usase prem ho gaya. katha ka subhadra par jo asar padega, isake vishay men keshav ko koee sndeh n tha. paristhiti ka bodh hone par vah use kshama kar degi. lekin isaka phal kya hoga lekin isaka phal kya hoga? kya vah donon ke sath ek-sa prem kar sakata hai? subhadra ko dekh lene ke bad urmila ko shayad usake sath-sath rahane men apatti ho. apatti ho hi kaise sakati hai! usase yah bat chhipi nahin hai. han, yah dekhana hai ki subhadra bhi ise svikar karati hai ki nahin. usane jis upeksha ka parichay diya hai, use dekhate hue to usake man men sndeh hi jan padata hai. magar vah use manayega, usaki vinati karega, usake pairon padega aur ant men use manakar hi chhodega. subhadra se prem aur anurag ka naya praman pa kar vah mano ek kathor nidra se jag utha tha. use ab anubhav ho raha tha ki subhadra ke lie usake hriday jo sthan tha, vah khali pada hua hai. urmila us sthan par apana adhipaty nahin jama sakati. ab use gyat hua ki urmila ke prati usaka prem keval vah trishna thi, jo svadayukt padarthon ko dekh kar hi utpann hoti hai. vah sachchi kshudha n thi ab phir use saral samany bhojan ki ichchha ho rahi thi. vilasini urmila kabhi itana tyag kar sakati hai, isamen use sndeh tha.

subhadra ke ghar ke nikat pahunch kar keshav ka man kuchh katar hone laga. lekin usane ji kada karake jine par qadam rakkha aur kshan men subhadra ke dvar par pahuncha, lekin kamare ka dvar bnd tha. andar bhi prakash n tha. avashy hi vah kahi gayi hai, ati hi hogi. tab tak usane baramade men tahalane ka nishchay kiya.

sahasa malakin ati huee dikhayi di. keshav ne badh kar poochha— ap bata sakati hain ki yah mahila kahan gayi hain?

malakin ne use sir se paaunv tak dekh kar kaha—vah to aj yahan se chali gayin.

keshav ne hakabaka kar poochha—chali gayin! kahan chali gayin?

‘yah to mujhase kuchh nahin bataya.‘

‘kab gayin?’

‘vah to dopahar ko hi chali gayi?’

‘apana asabav le kar gayin?’

‘asabav kisake lie chhod jati? han, ek chhota-sa paiket apani ek saheli ke lie chhod gayi hain. us par misej keshav likha hua hai. mujhase kaha tha ki yadi vah a bhi jaen, to unhen de dena, nahin to dak se bhej dena.’

keshav ko apana hriday is tarah baithata hua maloom hua jaise soory ka ast hona. ek gahari saauns lekar bola—

‘ap mujhe vah paiket dikha sakati hain? keshav mera hi nam hai.’

malakin ne muskara kar kaha—misej keshav ko koee apatti to n hogi?

‘to phir main unhen bula laoon?’

‘han, uchit to yahi hai!’

‘bahut door jana padega!’

keshav kuchh thithakata hua jine ki or chala, to malakin ne phir kaha—main samajhati hoon, ap ise liye hi jaiye, vyarth apako kyon daudaoon. magar kal mere pas ek rasid bhej dijiega. shayad usaki jarurat pade!

yah kahate hue usane ek chhota-sa paiket lakar keshav ko de diya. keshav paiket lekar is tarah bhaga, manon koee chor bhaga ja raha ho. is paiket men kya hai, yah janane ke lie usaka hriday vyakul ho raha tha. ise itana vilamb asahy tha ki apane sthan par jakar use khole. samip hi ek park tha. vahan jakar usane bijali ke prakash men us paiket ko khola dala. us samay usake hath kaaunp rahe the aur hriday itane veg se dhadak raha tha, manon kisi bndhu ki bimari ke samachar ke bad mila ho.

paiket ka khulana tha ki keshav ki ankhon se ansuon ki jhadi lag gayi. usamen ek pile rng ki sadi thi, ek chhoti-si sendur ki dibiya aur ek keshav ka phota-chitr ke sath hi ek liphapha bhi tha. keshav ne use khol kar padha. usamen likha tha—

‘bahan main jati hoon. yah mere sohag ka shav hai. ise tems nadi men visarjit kar dena. tumhin logon ke hathon yah snskar bhi ho jae, to achchha.

tumhari,

subhadra

keshav marmahat-sa patr hath men liye vahin ghas par let gaya aur phoot-phoot kar rone laga.

tika tippani aur sndarbh

bahari kadiyan

snbndhit lekh

varnamala kramanusar lekh khoj

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