–Uttama Pallavi Pandit
As a part of this fast and instantaneous life, we do not get time to sit and think about love, the proper ‘love’. Love at present has appeared to be more of fairy tale like, boy meets girl, falls in love followed by either happy or sad ending but mostly happy. We have a kind of generalised impression about love as the varied sources like films,books, internet and so on delivers us.
But far away from this notion of love, I met people from different walks of life who forced me to take a few moments and reason about what kind of love it is? An unconventional form which maybe regarded as a taboo to the society but they call it their ‘love’…!!
Part 1 :Love for the second time!
“First love is not the only love, it can happen again if given a chance”,Bani told me when I met her in Mumbai in a family wedding and in a conversation asked her opinion about love. It was a late night gossip among us, Bani, me and my cousins. I had very little energy to even join in the discussion, so I preferred to keep silent and listen to Bani as she kept on telling how she fell in love for the second time!
Bani Goyal 38, a teacher by profession,married and mother of beautiful twins Resha and Esha says her life is a gift from her second loveRajat who is her fiancés younger brother. Her fiancé died in a car accident just a day before their marriage. She was pregnant then. What worse could happen to a girl of a traditional Indian society who gets pre-marital pregnancy is known to us. Bani too was no exception to these age old customs, and was thereby expelled from the workplaceand was treated as an impure element of the society. She was seen as an illicit. Not by the law of the constitution but by the unseen and unheard law of the society she was given a death sentence. She lost herself, for her death seemed easier. She was in the state of depression and desolation, where she decided to end her life but it was Rajat who made her understand that her life was no more hers only, a new life was growing within her body which had the right to come to the world and it was the only remaining symbol of her love and thus dying would be an insult to her love which was so pure. Bani realised about the mistake she was going to commit.
Rajat loved Bani but could never confront her about his feelings for her as he considered it to be immoral to filch his brother’s girlfriend and to be wife. Even when Bani got engaged to his brother his love for her did not decline. What he wished for was Bani’s happiness which she found in his elder brother. Even when there were ups and down in Bani’s love life Rajat did every bit to sort out things between the duos. Though he had liberal chances to ruin their relationship and make his way to get Bani but he never did it. His love was self-less.
After his brother’s death Rajat could not endure the pain of Bani, and somehow gathered the courage to confront her and tell her how much he loved her and wanted to spend the rest of his life holding her hands. But for Bani it appeared as a forbidden, outlawed and immoral act and at once she rejected to his proposal. Yet Rajat tried to convince her that it was not something which he was doing out of generosity or sympathy rather it was his love and affection for her which he could not express before. Rajat became the new hope and second love in Bani’s life and both decided to get married. Nevertheless both of them were unaware of the unforeseen hurdles that they were about to encounter. Our society will never accept such kind of love and marriage and neither did Rajat’s parents and relatives. But Rajat was determined about his decision and was firm that he was not doing any wrong, it was his life and his love was pure which did not entail societal approval and he married Bani and they live happily now.
Part 2 :Two lone souls found each other………….
This is the story of Mr Rohan Banerjee, 50, a businessman and photographer by profession, whom I met in a photography workshop in Delhi. He was an instructor at the workshop; I was delighted to meet him as he changed my perception about life and love. After the day long workshop we used to go out for coffee and have long conversations on photography and life. One day on asking him about his family he replied that his wife died some years back and has a son who stays in abroad for whom he is searching a girl like me and further would like to ask my hand in marriage for his son. I was stunned at his straight proposal which he further articulated it to be a witticism piece. Rohan Sir, as I called him had an innate sense of humour andwittiness which I guess every Bong has got in their blood. Whatever he was, I liked his way of living life. He asked me if I had a boyfriend which was common for a girl of my age but my denial astonished him. In order to avoid further question on it, I cunningly asked him if he had any crush on someone. On which he replied that he is in love with a woman who happens to be his wife’s elder sister (Mrs Suhasini Bhattachajee) and she also happens to be a widow whose husband was in the army and died in a war situation. She has no children and works as a professor in Mathematics. He told me how hard life was for him right after his wife’s death as his day used to begin with the morning tea in bed which would taste extra sweet as his wife prepared it with added amount of love and care. Since then he had also left having tea as it never tasted the same. And at night she used to even sing a lullaby for him to go sleep and later on after her demise he started taking sleeping pills. He was alone and depressed.
It was his wife’s third death anniversary, when Suhasini came to visit him and his son. She stayed in their place for some time as it was after long time she was visiting Kolkata. During this period of her stay at his place, he explained me the circumstances under which he were bound to fall in love with her and what had brought them close to each other. One day he and Suhasini went out for an evening walk and they sat in a place under a banyan tree. Cool breeze was blowing and evening sunset was beautiful. Suhasini told him after a long time it was that she came for an evening walk with someone after her marriage, as her husband used to be mostly travelling or in the war front as his duty calls. She got very less chances to go out with her husband, which every married woman wishes to go around with their husbands for holidays, shopping, lunch and dinners and so on. And after her husband’s death it remained an unfulfilled reverie. As she kept on telling, he could sense her profound pain and solitude, which he too was experiencing. He also told me how he started having tea again, as one morning Suhasini prepared tea and it tasted the same like his wife made. In fact he told Suhasini that he had left drinking tea after her sister’s death as it never tasted the same, the taste which now he found in her tea. Now she could realise that she was not the lone one to travel in the path of solitary. Since then both of them started spending time with each other, they would go out to have coffee, to shopping malls, temples and at times would also go out for a movie. They enjoyed each other’s company; with Rohan Sir’s humour Suhasini could laugh again, she stared falling for him and this feeling was mutual, however none confronted about it. Life gave them a second chance to be happy and together to the dual. Soon the day of Suhasini’s departure arrived which meant parting from each other again. She was not willing to leave his place but she had to maybe not that day but one day she had to and she left.
I was so carried away in his narration that at once I shouted at him, “Sir! What a fool you are? Why didn’t you stop her? Why didn’t you confess about your feelings? Why don’t you marry her?” To which he replied, “I am not Uttama” (he smirked). I laughed. He explained me that he too loved her but the society where we live in will never give its acceptance to such a relationship, Suhasini was his wife’s elder sister, he has a son and a lot of complications existed, however it also did not meant that their love was not true or pure, it was. Besides love is a feeling which both shared, but giving it a name was not possible, and even if possible they did not want to. Marriage is not a proof for true love he said, it is just a societal approval of a relation, and for him love positions much above marriage and society. I stood up gave him a salute for his words, forgetting the fact that I was in a coffee shop and people around started staring at me which later caused much embarrassment.
Part 3 :Love between same sexes…!
This story is about Niharika, 18 who happens to be my cousin’s ex-girlfriend who broke up with my brother as she fell in love with her lady teacher from her college (Ms Shweta, 30). At once I could not digest when my brother told me, therefore I urged to meet her once and clarify what had gone wrong with her. Not just that she broke up with my brother but also about the fact that she fell for a woman and who is her teacher. I have heard about lesbians till now but the matter with Niharika was something absurd as I believed, until she had done the revelations.
On my request, my cousin somehow arranged a meeting with Niharika, I met her over a coffee and what I got to know was something out of the blues. Niharika told me that her feeling for her teacher was not one sided, it was mutual. Until now I would have considered Niharika’s infantile behaviour for having such livid possessions but what was wrong with the teacher who was matured enough and had done something like that. Niharika told me how her feelings had evolved. She was weak in Accountancy and needed extra help and guidance and thereby she approached Ms Shweta as she was the subject teacher for Accountancy. Consequently she took extra classes after the normal classes got over. These classes would take place at Ms Shweta’s house where she lived alone, which also which meant Niharika’s frequent visits to her place. Niharika told me that Ms Shweta had helped her a lot in the subect, it made her fall in love with Accountancy. Gradually they also started having long conversation after class where both would share each other’s happiness and sorrows, off late these conversations transformed into physical exchange over bed. Both of them did not know what was happening, how they were attracted to each other, it happened all involuntarily but they enjoyed it as Niharika told. At that time she was in a relationship with my cousin but she never felt that ‘love’ for him, what she felt for Ms Shweta. On asking her if her parents knew about new-fangled relationship, Niharika replied, she was not stout enough to open up to her parents about it, as they would never accept it. But she told that nothing substances before feelings, it was true and pure her ‘love’ for Ms Shweta. Unable to reconsolidate to what Niharika told me I left the place withinquisitiveness concerning what kind of love it was, if it is legitimate or not.
Love has actually got no definition, it’s how people delineate them relating to their own perspective so whatever assumptions are there for love, after meeting these people what I have learnt is that they are happy and happiness is what matters in life.
Stay happy and healthy ……as I say always say!!