Romance and Love cause all of us to get teary eyed. Some stories have tragic endings and some make us wish that we would also experience the highs of love.
I was thirteen at the time when my grandmother went down memory lane.
"Jhaiji, how did you meet Bauji?" I looked into the eyes of my slim white haired grandmother. She had been a beauty back in her days. Behind her hung a family portrait of the entire Sharma clan. My grandfather, his three brothers, one sister, parents and the wives. My grandfather and grandmother seemed the most handsome pair to my young eyes.
She smiled and the gold loops in her ears clinked.
"I never met him but I saw him having his bath."
I gaped at my grandma "Huh?"
She chuckled at my shocked reaction. "Beta, during that time we women weren't allowed to see the prospective groom. Once he came for marriage he was shown to me without his knowledge. That was the tradition. "
"Was he ...er...you know!"
Jhaiji burst out laughing. "Of course not. Back in those days we did have bathrooms for bathing but at the same time men used to take baths in open aired rooms in their under wears and I was shown him from the rooftop by Masiji."
"But that's not right! He could have seen you peeking at him!"
My grandma put her hand against her mouth as she tried to control her laughter and I glimpsed the happy girl she had once been. "So what? He would have gotten to know that I was the one after we were married."
I laughed as well.
"So, he never got to see you till you two were married?"
"No, he didn't and neither did his mother."
"What? Really? Then who fixed the marriage?"
"The fathers of course but your grandfather's brothers played a trick on their mother. While the baarat was on its way they sent a telegram that I had gout and my throat hung out."
My eyes became the size of saucers. "Then what happened?"
"When we reached the first thing my mother in law did was grab my throat through the ghooghat (thats when part of the saree is used to cover the face) and I was shocked. I thought someone wanted to kill me."
I burst out laughing and so did my grandma.
"Was Bauji a good husband?"
My grandfather came out of the bedroom and sat down next to me.
My grandma smiled at him and replied "He's always been. Back in Lahore he used to take me for movies after work, and never complained about the food I made. He always made me laugh. He is a very patient spiritual person"
My grandfather blushed.
"What about after the partition when things got tough?"
My grandfather remained quiet and watched the exchange with a happy smile.
"Your grandfather was the most handsome man in Daieewara (place in Old Delhi) and whenever he went to the roof there was this neighbor who too would go up just to talk to him. And I didn't like it. I put a stop to his roof visitations."
Bauji started laughing and my grandma shook her head.
"He still has women following him around."
We all started laughing.
"Jhaiji, tell me after so many years of being together whats it like?"
"Its like being two bodies with one soul."
A year after that my grandmother lost most of her faculties due to brain tumor but my grandfather's love for her never changed. He remained by her side morning and evening, read to her, made people come over and talk to her, watched movies with her on the VCR and fed her himself many a times.
She died in his arms after eight years of suffering and he too passed over a year later. When I reflect on my grandparents marriage I see love, compassion and patience. Life had been hard for my grandparents but their marriage had acted as a haven within which the kids grew to be capable individuals.
- » Published on February 07, 2009
- » Type: Opinion
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Author: Deepti Lamba
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