There were so many love stories floating around. Everyone had a story to tell. It seemed so difficult to pick one out of all sweet and bittersweet tales that had weaved lives together. So, I decided I would tell the story of that one woman who never felt the need to tell her story…
The first time she had met her husband was at their wedding, when she lifted her eyes from behind the betel leaves she held in her hands, moments before he garlanded her. That was also the first time her family saw the bridegroom. All they knew was his name. But then that was her father’s doing. “You know more about a man by what he does and how he does it, than just by looking at his face.” Her mother had wept inconsolable tears, “My daughter, my youngest daughter! How could you just give her away to a man you’ve never met? How? All these virtues you talk about, what if if he is disabled?” “A man who battles the oceans of the world cannot possibly be physically challenged”, was all he had replied.
A story set in old Calcutta of the British-ruled India, it was a simple union of two individuals to who it was duty to get married to the one chosen and accepted by their families. Rebellion never entered the picture. It was only a wayward thought, fleeting and ephemeral, in the heart of the young bride that resonated in the mind of the harried bridegroom as anger. No one liked getting off the ship after eight long months, wanting nothing but a warm bed that wouldn’t sway and maa’s cooked food, and being told to hurry. “What in the hell is this rush for?” “We can’t wait for the ship to dock… We just received a telegram from your uncle. You’re getting married, man! Today!”
You could look from afar and think, the story was simple. But the love that was, or would have been, if not for the machinations of that grand, whimsical puppeteer called Time, who pulled all the strings, and cut them when it pleased, was a love incomplete and yet unparalleled to all the stories that I knew of. The contentment that glowed in the tired eyes of the old woman only threw into stark relief the deep scars left on her soul by a love that had lived momentarily before being snatched away.
What makes this story ‘Real’
To see a person smile in peace, when you’ve lost almost everything of meaning to you- it teaches you something, and only if you are worthy of learning it. The woman in the story is my source of strength. Her life is an inspiration- and her love, a story to be told and repeated if for nothing else but to reaffirm one’s faith in that, that love exists. It is a story that I will always remember and the one that I always wanted to tell. Because she never would.
This is my entry for the HarperCollins–IndiBlogger Get Published contest, which is run with inputs from Yashodhara Lal andHarperCollins India.
Please go over to Indiblogger at http://www.indiblogger.in/getpublished/idea/357 if you like the post (and of course, you’d like to read the whole story) and vote for me, by clicking on the heart. Thanks, Guria.