Wednesday, 23 April 2014
A to Z Series Post # 20 - Truth....
She continued to talk, while she poured out tea for me, and prepared a simple sandwich on her tea table.
“ For the two years I was Mohan’s wife, I was at his home, with my mother-in-law while Sanjana stayed separate with Siddhanth. They didn’t want anything to affect their privacy. Siddhanth was doing well with his business, and things were fine. My mother-in-law was a nice lady, though traditional in many respects, and slowly, she started bonding with me. Getting Mohan a wife had been her wish for long, she said. She loved Mohan, because despite being adopted, he had taken good care of her in her life, and when my father-in-law died, Mohan had shouldered all responsibilities well, she told me. She didn’t object to my resuming my studies, either,”she smiled.
“ So you mean to say you were quite happy there,” I said.
“ Kind of, yes. But she allowed me to finish my CA only because Mohan had insisted on that. He’ll be away for two years before his next possible vacation, and I had to complete the course by then. I could then join him wherever he was, and we could live a happy life. That’s what he told me the day we got married. He had to return within a week of our marriage as he had taken a vacation at a very short notice and I knew he loved me, when he said he would rather leave the marriage unconsummated because he didn’t want the marriage to distract me from my studies . He knew CA as a course was very tough and those who failed outnumbered those who qualified the exams by a large margin. My respect for him grew manifold, just then,” she said.
“ He was a gentleman. Wasn’t he?”, I asked, finding no other question.
“Much more than that. He would write to me from Kashmir, and in those letters he would describe the beauty of the place, his work and how he spent his days. He would motivate me to keep going ; for a person who knew me so less, his faith in me was amazing as much as it was inspiring. His words would fill me with happiness inexplicable, and my love and respect for him grew. Slowly, I started dreaming of a good life with him,” she paused and closed her eyes.
I looked at her. She looked new to me. Like someone whose dreams had been snatched away with cruelty.
“ Two years flew past in a jiffy. I qualified as a Chartered Accountant, and was getting ready to go to Mohan, when one morning we received news of his having succumbed to injuries in a bomb blast at Srinagar. From his new and fresh bride, I had become his widow. For all official purposes. It broke my father’s heart, and my mother-in-law was hard to console. But they still had Siddhanth and Sanjana to bank on . I felt alone, ostracized by fate. A fresh bride, all of 21, thrown into the abyss of widowhood, without even having known the taste of marriage ”.
She fell silent. I let her be.
“ But I had to move on, find a way for myself. I pulled together the broken pieces of my heart and started working for a rural bank, almost six months after the mishap. I took up evening classes to learn programming languages, to keep myself busy. At home, my mother-in-law had started becoming a bit jittery about all this ; she couldn’t accept the fact that I refused to remain secluded as a widow. She believed I shouldn’t go out and have a life for myself. All the stories about my being ‘unlucky’ started pouring in from the relatives”.
“ Must’ve been tough for you, I can understand, Mahita”, I said honestly.
“ It was tough, but fate changes things the way it deems fit, and for me, I was yet to see the cataclysm that fate can offer,” she said with a faint smile.
“ Oh ! There was something worse waiting to happen?”, I asked.
“Yes, many things happened, but the outcome was the best for me. Or so I’m destined to believe now, in retrospect,” she said , matter-of-factly.
“And what was that?”, I was curious.
“Saarthak”, she replied.
“How does he fit in ? You met his..err…father?”, I cautiously framed my question.
“ In a way, yes, I did. Not that his arrival was sudden. He was already near me,” she said.
“And who was that?”, I couldn’t contain my curiosity.
“ Siddhanth”, she said, leaning back on the sofa, and again closing her eyes, as if to stop the tears from streaming down.