A Blessing Called, ‘LOVE’
Don’t we all love Love Stories? We all have our favorite love story, maybe from a romantic novel or a movie or a couple, you admire or simply your own love story. We can’t deny that we all fancy this word ‘love’, how much ever we hate to admit somehow some love stories have a magnetic charm, we feel sort of attached to that story as if it were meant for us…for us to hear, for us to witness or just to inspire us to know what love means. Well, most of you’ll might argue with me, ‘Sonal, grow up it’s just a term, people love in different ways, people love different things in their lives, love changes, evolves, and fades too…’ Well, I still love old school romance…exchanging glances to writing letters to just about a cute ice-cream date or evening walks. Why am I writing this? I thought of sharing my first ever encounter with real love (don’t expect lovey-dovey moments, this one is for real, and it isn’t mine, it’s my favorite though).
This love story is set in pre-independent India, where couples were married based on traditions, rituals, family terms and a young age. There was never really a word called ‘Love’ which openly existed but yes as we all know love is timeless and the year 1936 saw one such love story. It didn’t start with love letters, proposal, dates, exchange of glances or those awestruck dramatic moments…It all started after marriage.
Foundation of a life together
Here was an innocent couple who barely knew the meaning of marriage, bond, companionship or words like compatibility, understanding or comfort level. They just knew that they were married to each other and will abide by the institution of marriage till their last breath. Who knew that love will eventually captivate their tender hearts? She was 12, dipped in beauty from head to toe; twinkling eyes, satin soft skin with porcelain-like features, gentle voice, tiny structure, and a feminine appeal. Maybe that’s what she was made to become to be an ideal wife, daughter-in-law and a homemaker. Playing doll house games to performing household chores must be such a transition for a young child, but she was prepared to take that plunge. He was 17, tall and muscular; always dressed to perfection complementing his striking personality; he had a masculine voice and a powerful aura; the type every woman would fancy; he was the eldest in the family and possessed tacts and intelligence of a true businessman.
It all started in the year 1936 in a small distant village of India where the two were brought together by their families in a matrimonial tie they were arranged into. How did they discover love? I’m sure they wouldn’t be familiar with the word nor did they ever express it to each other, but the only expression of love was through their actions. Years passed by and the two were going strong, nobody ever heard of their quarrels or petty fights; she was like a peaceful river silently flowing and he was like a strong rock, they balanced each other. Somehow unknowingly they set an example about companionship and lasting relationship to their children. Their virtues and culture were passed on to their kids and the most prominent one being, ‘laughter’, their family was often seen laughing uncontrollably (after all a house with 8 kids is sure to drive anyone crazy). A houseful of kids and plenty of chores, how was time managed? They didn’t have television or Facebook or WhatsApp, all that they had was a huge family and endless memorable moments each day.
They say love brings with it a feeling of security, belongingness, and responsibility and unknowingly the two found that in each other, some things aren’t to be told but to be felt and this was the perfect relationship where feelings overpowered love. It’s beautiful to imagine sharing life with someone who understands your innermost feelings and makes you feel important in various ways, I’m sure there might be moments or tiffs and arguments but at the end of the day, they had each other to fill up their flaws.
Encountering the meaning of companionship
Years passed by and their life progressed just like other couples, but the thing special about them was that they never lost love or the attachment they had for one another, as if time was a catalyst making them stronger when their hair started graying, eyes started losing vision and knees started getting weak.
He was a fitness enthusiast and would wake up at wee hours and exercise in a way that he could easily beat any young man when it came to flexibility and stamina. She would silently watch him exercise and exactly knew when it was time to arrange for his breakfast, with wobbly feet and slow steps she would walk towards the kitchen and prepare his breakfast even if there were people ready to do it for her; she just trusted her weak hands to make what he liked. Everyone in the house feared him since he was a strict disciplinary and wanted his breakfast table arranged the way he expected, and who knew what he expects? Only she! She would place everything systematically; his napkin to the right, his medicine to the left, a glass of milk to his right, raw peeled garlic in a small plate to the left of his main plate, fresh tulsi leaves near a glass of water (…and we thought table manners were just for restaurants). It would be a typical day for them but for everyone around it was like they had their own date every day, so simple yet so magical. He, in turn, wouldn’t leave any stone unturned to see her smile, as if his motto of life was to see her happy and content with everything around.
I was a little girl when I grew up watching them, I would often try to search for old photos to see how they looked back then as her flawless but wrinkled skin spoke of her effortless natural beauty and he, on the other hand, had a strong physique and a personality which spoke of his authority. It often amazed me to see their couple, she was tiny with a little hunch which reflected her endless experiences and dedication with which she nurtured her family and he was tall and bulky portraying the pillar that he was to his family. I loved to watch them every time and all the time. I’d watch them just sitting quietly with each other enjoying the unspoken conversations or sipping their afternoon tea on the veranda where they needed nobody else but just each other. Their kids were married and happy and they both found happiness in each other. I would often wonder to myself, ‘how are they so comfortable with each other? They don’t really need anyone else, their lost in their own world…’, but as I grew up I understood the answer to my Hows? and Whys? it’s because they found peace in each other, an unsaid bond of friendship and completeness, you don’t always need too many people to keep you happy, you just need that one person who is worth every little and big happiness.
It was impossible to imagine them without each other, they were co-dependent on each other, the older you get the more attached and responsible one feels for their partner. I heard many stories about how they never saw each other before getting married and it was only after marriage that they saw and spoke to each other. She would laugh and tell me things like whenever she traveled to meet her parents or to some wedding he would fall sick and she would have to return immediately. I would giggle and tease them and they would enjoy sharing their experiences (it felt like a teenager talking about their first crush and having butterflies in their stomach). Unknowingly they were madly in love with each other and it was evident by the way they cared and spoke about each other.
Promises that last forever
It’s not every day that you come across a love story where the couple doesn’t even know they are being admired and their love is inspirational but in unknown ways, their love becomes a benchmark for the rest.
His health condition started deteriorating, she would sit by his bed and talk to him, gave him medicines and made sure his routine was still followed. She never left his side and would often tell him that he’d recover and that she couldn’t live without him. Unfortunately, as much as one wants time to freeze it just doesn’t, his last breath also had concerns and worry about her health and her happiness, he somehow knew that she wouldn’t be able to take that loss and would feel lonely without him. The trauma was too much for her to handle and she spent days crying and mourning over her loss. Even after he passed away she would keep sitting near his bed and at times imagine him and speak to him. It was heartbreaking and rather difficult seeing her lose her best friend, there were days she would just sit alone and pray; and some days, they just meant 24 hours for her. Some promises stay even after the person leaves, her promise stayed and she continued the same routine imagining he was still with her. The lack of his presence made her vulnerable and unhealthy. A year later she too gave up on life, it felt that the only reason that kept her alive was him and without him, she didn’t want to see any more days. It’s so surprising to see how a young teenage couple found their lifetime love and abided by it even without knowing the depth of relationships, they were strangers who found solace in each other.
It’s simple and maybe a normal couple’s story but what makes it special is the ingredients that made this ordinary extra ordinary, sometimes the simplest relationships leave a lifelong impression and create a lasting memory…they were my grandparents. My heart still melts whenever I close my eyes and think about them; I can’t think of them as two different individuals, they are one entity for me. I guess that’s the power of unspoken love and the density of emotions, so much love that it’s enough to make others feel its positivity.
Some pages of life are so dear and treasured that one loves to go back and forth those pages as every time you read it there is something new you take from it, for me I idealize their bond and it gives me faith when I imagine that some love stories are not mere love stories they are made of precious human emotions and simple moments. My grandparents may not be with me but their love and bond will always be a guiding star leading a path towards an accomplished life with values and most importantly honesty and dedication towards any kind of relationship. I consider myself fortunate that I witnessed this endearing love story and hopefully my words reflected the same simplicity and joy that I experienced when I saw them together. *My happiness knows no bounds* #Proudgranddaughter
The journey of love stories continues, but ask yourself one thing, ‘When was the last time you spoke the language of love to your partner?’
Picture Courtesy: Pixabay and Pexels