By Bhuvi M
Continuing from Love Story of Unparallel Times – Part 1
One day, while cleaning up old stuff from the cupboards we found a large family picture taken on the occasion of my grandfather’s Tilak ceremony (A ceremony of formal engagement). And gleefully she explained who was who in the 12”X10” black & white photograph, which had approximately fifty odd people from the extended family. The groom sitting in the front row with the kids on the carpet and her grandfathers sitting in most important chairs in the family photograph session, we kids couldn’t stop smiling and asked her, “दादीजी, दादाजी तो बच्चों के साथ बैठे हैं I दूल्हे को तो कुर्सी पर बैठना चाहिए था I” (Grandma, grandfather is sitting with kids. The groom should have been seated on the chair)
She used to happily explain the way my grandfather had collected a box full of gifts for her before their marriage. The box was safely tucked away from the family in some inaccessible corner of store room, till my great grandmother accidentally found the treasure trove and my grandfather had to spill the beans how he got money for the articles. He worked extra apart from his regular job of working in the business with my great grandfather to earn more for gifts. He was never paid a salary from the family business and he did not dare to ask money from his father for buying gifts for his fiancée. She told us the stories of the time of her newly married life and my grandfather used to feel a bit awkward and often requested her to resist. But she was on with revisiting the past, her love with glint in her eyes as newly wed and happiness she derived from being loved unconditionally.
At most of the times my grand parents complemented each other in qualities. She took care of him and he pampered her with gifts and all the things she needed. She was a great cook and cooking was her passion; he ensured that the kitchen supplies were in place. On the other hand, my grandfather was great at his networking skills and popular in the social circles; that reflected in endless list of guests who relished food cooked in my grandmother’s kitchen. They took annual trips with each other till a few years of my parent’s marriage. He stood firmly as a solid rock behind her in all situations and I never ever saw him rebuking or pointing out to her publicly even if she was wrong on certain points. Really don’t know if he did that in private. The respect they gave each other was commendable; always saw them addressing as “अहाँ (Aahan in the local dialect maithili is आप / aap in hindi)” The space both of them gave to each other was building block for this love story that unfolded through more than six decades.
As kids we loved to play colors on Holi, without being aware of the pain my grandfather went through and the annoyance he had on this festival. He had lost his mother on the day of Holika Dhahan (Choti Holi or Sammad as it is called in our region). My great grandmother passed away in an advanced age; like anyone of us parents are parents at whatever age you lose them. I remember him yelling at us for spilling color all over the house each year. As always my grandmother reacted to this, “बच्चें हैं, रंग तो खेलेंगे ही I आप बेकार में गुस्सा होते हैं I माताजी का उम्र हो गया था तो उनको तो जाना ही था I” (Kids will play with colors. You are getting angry uselessly. Mother in law was aging and her leaving was natural), firmly standing against the man who loved her unquestionably. She never had slightest inkling that she too will leave for heavenly abode on the very same day as her mother in law. After her demise my grandfather could not survive even a year. A man so strong, I’d never seen him shedding tears in my life, which he did silently in ten odd months of survival without his childhood friend and love. He passed away just after ten months of the demise of grand mom.
This is a tribute to my grandparent’s love-story, with whom I shared more than two beautiful decades of my life. Quite often I’m being co-related a lot to my grand mom in physique, attitude and attribute. At times my father questioned, if I was his mom. Great resemblance though….but I still don’t have such a love story that she had and with complete confidence I know will have one some day.
For all those who believe in power of love… it really brings all the sugar and spice to life.