Love is a very simple, sweet and enriching experience. But thanks to other not-so-simple emotions, it gets embroiled in mindless complications resulting in tears, heartbreaks and sadness.
My childhood friend Vidya has always been a fun-loving, talkative and cheerful girl. After we finished school, she went away to a different city for her higher studies. We kept in touch through letters and cards (yes, we were a part of the last generation who had enjoyed and experienced the joys of letter writing). Finally, she returned home after completing her masters and together we had started looking for at least short term temporary jobs for earning our pocket money.
But this Viday was a new person. Quiet, reserved and really irritable at least in the presence of her mother. And then one fine day, she arrived at my place and asked me to accompany her to a newly opened mall. “I have to do some urgent shopping.” That’s all I could get out of her.
Finally, sitting in an empty coffee shop with some cold coffee between us, she poured her heart out to me. She was in love with a classmate of hers. A well-mannered, hardworking and studious boy from a good family. The problem! They belonged to different castes and I was surprised to know that Krishanu’s Brahmin parents were completely ok with a non-Brahmin daughter-in-law; it was my Vidya’s mother who was just not ready for this union.
Since a young age, my parents had instilled lots of positive values in me. In those values, discrimination was always on the basis of merit and not due to stupid caste, community or money. I was shocked at Vidya’s story and tried my best to calm her down. My aggressive side advised her to elope and get a court marriage done. I volunteered to be a witness. Too many films and Jane Austen I guess. Even through her tears, she could not help laughing out. Lovingly she pulled my ears and asked “What we will eat?” while Krishanu had a temporary job in their university, Vidya was jobless. They had decided to wait for a year so that her mother accept the relationship while both of them concentrate on their career.
As months passed by nothing changed. Vidya joined a huge IT company at a good package but the timings and the stress was taking a toll on her health. I stopped visiting her at her house as aunty would urge me to influence Vidya in leaving Krishanu. That was just unbelievable to me.
Then it was my turn to get a job. It was nothing great but at least a step towards the big world of a new life and of course a career. Hardly two months had passed when I received a call from Vidya at work. I still did not own a mobile. So to my utter shock, I answer the landline and its Vidya no-nonsense voice telling me to take an off the next day because I have to go shopping for her wedding! While I was too dazed to say anything, all I could muster was”, “Who is the dulha?” “Krishanu, you idiot.” And the line went dead.
Of course, I did not get the off because my senior was away. So my mother went with Vidya for her trousseau shopping. Apparently, her maternal grand ma had had enough. She loved her stubborn granddaughter enough to go against her own daughter and decided to marry her off according to her wishes. Nani ho toh aisi. So everything was arranged in a matter of days and the nearest auspicious date was selected for the ceremony. A day after the shopping, it was a Sunday when I accompanied her to the market, parlour and other places for the rest of the arrangement. It was my first job and salary was worse than peanuts while my mother gifted her a saree I could only manage a small purse that she hugged. Of course, I was not attending the ceremony because first, it was happening at her native place which was a city 2000 km away. Second, she did not invite any of her friends out of her anger at her own mother. Third I was not entitled to get any chutti during the first month of my employment.
We cried on each other’s shoulders as we embraced. I could hardly speak as tears rolled down my face and my heart felt as it will explode not because I was parting with my best friend but as I had no idea what lay in store for her. I knew that she was an intelligent, honest, kind and a confident girl but life is such a crossword puzzle that one never knows what they will come across and how would they go down.
As she finally left, Vidya again apologised for not inviting me, I playfully told her that I will attend her first-anniversary party for sure.
Days passed by and I got hooked on my work, changed jobs to strengthen my skills. I was learning the tricks of advertising, nursing a broken heart (that was outright silly) when I received Vidya’s e-mail that in one more month she would be celebrating her first anniversary and I was supposed to be her Chief Guest.
Of course, I went for a week to the new city they had moved to and enjoyed a beautiful stay. I was the only special guest they had, was treated like a royalty. It has been 13 years since then, they are happily married, have a beautiful cute daughter and Krishanu is the apple of his mother-in-law’s eyes.
P.S: When I got married six years ago Vidya could not come as her family had immigrated to a distant country only six months ago. Thanks to social media we are in touch with each other and will always be there for each other.