A Little Ordinary Bengali Love Story
An old photo frame with the face of a lady is hanging on the wall and it says a Tagore line, “Ami phool tulite elem bone, janine janine amar ki chhilo mone” which means – I came to pluck some flowers in this forest, little did I know what actually was in my mind. Eti is continuously staring at that frame and checking whatsapp messages, facebook comments, and the time.
It is 2 A.M. and she is in palpitation because she has a practical examination to attend the following day.
This examination would not require her to go to the examination center but invigilators would be here at her own house.
Mom comes rushing in to instruct her not to be late. Some close friends are there to make sure she is draped in a designer saree and matching jewelries. It is 4 P.M. now and the doorbell rings. Eti’s parents open the door and welcomes the “invigilators” Mr. and Mrs. Jain along with their only son. After some formal exchange of pleasantries, Eti is called and like any filmy script, she also enters the drawing room with the customary tray of tea and samosas. Yes, this is the day that may decide her would-be life partner.
All through her life she has ridiculed these aforementioned customs and now finding herself in this situation, she is in a fix – either to laugh or cry. After witnessing 27 seasons of her life with at least 3 flowers (read boyfriend) in them, she thought parents would be a better judge for this segment of life.
After talking to Mohit for about half an hour, she didn’t feel anything special like the way she felt before with her ex’s. Call it fate or something else, the families wanted them to be together. With half a mind initially she started talking formally to this guy. Mohit had to coax her a few times before she finally agreed to go for a so called “Date”. This time the whole world knew about her secret date – that’s the only difference. Mohit didn’t bring any fancy gift for her but took her to a roadside bistro where she had the world’s best “bread-omelet”. With chit-chat on topics of stray dogs to Sachin Tendulkar, Eti didn’t even notice that it was 10 P.M. until her mom called her. Before calling it a night, Mohit also treated her with a Cornetto ice cream.
The past one month had been a critical one. Just a month ago, when she was cooking dinner, her phone rang and the caller said, “Eti, you have to rush to the Fortis hospital right now because an important document needs to be signed”. Mohit has been seriously injured on his way back home from Agra where he went for some office meeting. While signing the document in the hospital, she got a flash of that moment when she was signing another paper 16 years ago. The difference was she was in heavy make-up and jewelry and today she is in a distressed look.
Eti had to shuffle hastily between school, dance class, office, client meeting, hospital, and home. She never knew that some day she would be so powerful to tackle electric bills, hospital bills, and report cards of kids. Change is the only thing permanent in this world and she changed drastically over these 16 years in raising kids and taking care of her small world.
The family of Eti and Mohit have gathered in Eti’s new home and the clock strikes 4 P.M. again and the door opens. The whole family along with the kids welcomes Eti and Mohit and they unanimously sings in loud voice “Happy Anniversary”. In all these hassle, both of them forgot that it is the same date when they were tied for eternity. They pass a smile to each other which has relaxation, comfort, struggle, satisfaction, pride, and perhaps unconditional love.
Mohit looked into that same painting on the wall with Tagore lines on it which Eti has brought form her home after marriage and perhaps he is answering – “I know which flower I have chosen”.
This was the most interesting and memorable anniversary they have ever had. Mohit recovered and returned home safely after such a dangerous bone fractures – this was the gift of God and Mohit to Eti. Eti remained calm and strong – this was Eti’s gift to Mohit.
Marriage is an institution where you have to continuously keep on giving tests of time. The one with a strong will and a heart full of love and compassion generally wins it. Because relationships work well out of persistence.