Love Stories….Episode 2
Title – A part of promise
After a lot of contemplation, I thought of writing to you. I wanted to speak to you about this but could not. So I thought I will pen it down. May be I would express myself better.
Shradhha, the day I came to meet you, I wanted to tell you everything. I wanted to tell you that I was not ready for our marriage. I wanted to tell you that my parents were forcibly trying to settle me down. I wanted to tell it all. But before I could put across my feelings to you, you told me about how important your marriage was for your family. You wanted to relieve you retired father of his responsibilities. I admired the way you cared for your family and could not say ‘no’ to you at that point of time.
It’s not that I don’t like you. I am just not ready to get married. You are a beautiful girl Shradhha, with a golden heart. Any guy would easily fall for you. But I want to tell you that I already have someone in my life. Gayatri and I have studied together and are best friends. We are not in a committed relationship yet but like each other. But my parents are against our relationship. They have chosen you for me.
Tears rolled down her eyes as she recalled the day when Sahil had come to meet her. He was the 7th guy she was going to meet. She was a simple, educated girl and working in a private firm. She was the eldest of 3 sisters. Her retired father was a heart patient and wanted to fulfill his responsibilities as early as he could. Shradhha was 27 and still not married.
Shradhha, I am telling you all this because I found you a caring and sensible girl and hope that you will understand me. I know I should have told you on that day itself but…..I am really sorry about it. I don’t know if and when I would be able to convince my parents for Gayatri but at least I want to give myself some time for it.
If you want, I will speak to your parents about it. Let me know if you are ok with this. However, if you think breaking the untied knot between us will be a let down for you and your family; or they would not be able to take it; we will go ahead with this relationship and get married. I would like to honour the commitment I made to your parents. Buzz me if you can understand me and are ready to part ways. I will assume your silence as the first ritual of our wedding.
Awaiting your response
She folded the letter back and put it in her purse. She did not know how to react.
“Shradhha….” called her mother from kitchen. Shraddha and Sahil were at her parents’ place to celebrate their first anniversary. They had reached a day earlier. The next day was their anniversary. Shraddha went into the kitchen. Her mother asked her to taste the chicken she had made. She wanted to double check if Sahil would like it. All arrangements were made according to his taste. Sahil was the first son-in-law of the house. He always got a special treatment. But the relationship had been both sided. Sahil had been like a son to Shradhha’s parents. He was an ideal son-in-law; the family could not ask for more.
Sahil was out with Shradhha’s sisters for shopping. That was his favourite pastime whenever he was there. Radhika and Vartika just loved to roam around with him. Shradhha’s father was out for some work and mother after preparing lunch had gone to the nearby market for some essentials. Shradhha wanted to accompany her but a part of her wanted to stay back, to read the letter again…..
She locked herself in her bedroom and took out the piece of paper from her purse. It was delivered at their place a week ago. Her mother had handed it over to her when they reached home. She looked at the envelope. It was yellowish in colour and little crumpled at the corners. But the letter inside remained intact. She re-opened it and glanced at the date on the top. Over a year had passed……..
She still could not believe what was written in that letter. She could not believe that Sahil never wanted to marry her. She felt insulted at the fact that their marriage was a compromise and not a relationship of love. She remembered Sahil not being very romantic initially but always understanding. He supported her in all her decisions. She could not recall a single moment of ignorance, humiliation or any kind of differences between them. They fought like ordinary couples, cared about each other and everything else that should exist between two people in a relationship was there.
She read it, again and again. And hurriedly put it in her purse when the doorbell rang. Her mother was back from her mini shopping. Shradhha pretended to be normal. She did not want her parents to know about this. She knew it would break them. Her mother had asked who the letter was from and she had said it was a friend of hers.
Sometime late in the afternoon, when everyone was back home, they sat for lunch. The family had a tradition of sitting on the asanas (piece of cloth to be sat upon during meals) placed on the floor. They all sat together in a semi-circle except her mother who served the food. The special lunch included chicken masala, fish fry, lentils, rice and chapatis. The lunch was followed by chilled kesar kulfi. Sahil was a foodie and binged on the food and dessert prepared by his mother-in-law. Radhika and Vartika narrated how they had spent their morning in the nearby park and then a shopping mall. Shradhha ate silently and Sahil observed her. There was a silent communication between them.
After lunch, it was time for a nap when Sahil and Shraddha were together and alone in their bedroom. He could not wait and asked her.
“Shradhha…are you ok?”
She remained silent. He signalled her to come and sit beside him. She did. And then stared at him.
“What is it Shraddha? Something is wrong with you…what are you hiding? Oh yes…your mom handed you an envelope in the morning. Is it about that?”
She got up to the cupboard, took out her purse and then the letter. She extended it towards him. As Sahil looked at the envelope, a shrill ran deep inside him. It seemed familiar but he could not understand. He took the envelope from her from which the letter peeped out.
Shraddha kept standing in front of him, leaning against the cupboard.
Sahil read the first line and knew what it was. He himself had written it a year back. It was not that long and he remembered every word of it.
“What about it Shraddha? Don’t tell me this the letter you got today morning?” he was shocked.
Shradhha nodded. Tears rolled down her eyes once again. They kept staring at each other. Silence spoke. Everything was crystal clear. Shraddha had not received the letter when it was intended to. When Sahil did not receive any response from her, he had married her to keep his promise.
Time had come to a still. They did not know what to say. The relationship between the duo seemed to be one sided. The bond of love had transformed into a shackle of compromise. Sahil did not know what to say. He got up and held Shraddha trying to console her. As he hugged her, she broke in his arms and cried her heart out. Sahil remained silent. He understood the storm inside her. He hugged her tight. After some time when she gathered herself, he released her from his arms and looked at her. Her eyes were red and swollen. She looked at him.
“Sahil….I am sorry. I would have never married you if I had got this earlier. I ruined your relationship with Gayatri. I thought you liked me when we met and wanted to marry me. I can’t even imagine……” She could not complete. She choked.
“Shraddha…It’s not your fault if the letter did not get delivered on time. And why the hell did it come to you now…..” he cursed the postal system of our country. “But trust me Shraddha I have given my hundred percent to our marriage. I am no more in touch with Gayatri…….”
“Sahil…I know it’s late but if you wish we can still part our ways and you can re-start your relationship with Gayatri. I don’t want to come between 2 people who have loved each other.” Shraddha interrupted.
Sahil kept staring at her. He was dumbstruck by her statement.
“I know it will be difficult for our families to accept the truth but they should be fine with time. I will start afresh. I know you care for me Sahil…don’t worry I will take very good care of myself….” She continued. Sahil kept quiet.
Evening passed by. They tried their best to hide their feelings from the whole family. There were guests for dinner. They entertained them well and people admired the way they bonded with each other. After all they looked like an ideal couple.
It was 11:30 pm when Shraddha entered the bedroom after helping her mother in the kitchen. Sahil was standing in the balcony attached to their room. She looked at him. He was watching the lights in the opposite house or Shraddha felt so. She went and stood beside him. They did not speak. After sometime Shraddha broke the silence “Sahil, it’s cold outside. Let’s go in”. Sahil did not reply. He kept staring at the lights blankly.
It was 11:45 when he finally came in without uttering a word. Shraddha silently followed. Sahil lay down on his side without their routine good night kiss. His silence tore Shraddha but she could not help him. Looking at him, she was about to lie down when she noticed a piece of paper beside her night lamp. It was not the same letter. It was something new, something fresh. With trembling hands, she opened it.
I do not know what to say but still felt like writing. I never knew the letter was not delivered to you. I accepted your silence as a response to my question. It is true that I was in love with Gayatri and it is also true that my marriage with you was not an outcome of love or attraction. I married you to keep my promise made to your parents and my parents.
This is the reason why on our first night, I asked for some time so that we could understand each other and you happily agreed to it. I have always respected and admired you. And you know that. We became friends in a week’s time if you remember, and it was not out of any compromise. We went out for dinner when you got promoted, and that was not a part of promise made to our parents. When we watched our first romantic movie together, I held your hand sitting beside you, and that was not a part of promise made to our parents. When we enjoyed our first monsoon, under the same umbrella; when we sat together for hours and watched the setting sun; when we first danced together in a friend’s party, when I made your favourite dish; and when I learned the special tune on guitar just to wish you on your birthday; it was not a part of promise made to our parents!!
Shraddha…do I still need to tell you that gradually I fell for you. It is true that our relationship started with a pinch of compromise but things have changed during past one year. Gayatri was my past and you are my present. And I see my future with you. I want to grow old with you and die with you. Only because I LOVE YOU.
Shraddha felt pangs of regret as she read the letter. She could not help but cry.
A year back, I had left the decision to you Shraddha. Today also, if you want to throw me out of your life, I will go away without asking any question. But let me tell you even if I move out of your life, you will never move out of me because you are a part of me. You are my life Shraddha…….I can’t live without you.
Awaiting your response
She started crying inconsolably when Sahil got up and came close to her. His eyes were also full of tears.
“I am sorry Sahil” she said and hugged him tight. No other words followed. But that was the best conversation they had and accepted each other in their lives, this time for ever.
They were staring at each other lovingly when the clock struck 12.
“Happy Anniversary” they wished each other and kissed passionately….as they entered a new phase of their married life.