… suddenly something beautiful happened. Unexpectedly. (this bit is from an FB status of a dear friend ). I replied on the comment thread saying- I know. It’s called a Miracle
Time and time again, we live clichés. We dress them up, we wear them down, but most times you simply cannot live them down. ! OK, I’m getting ahead of myself here .
Before I proceed further, let me do the clichéd thing. Give you required alerts for reading, and of course the mandatory disclaimer.
Alert*** – long post, that will certainly get lost within itself, and perhaps make you wonder where you are Reader discretion advised. This is pure mush and goo.
Disclaimer**** – All the characters in this tale are very real people. It’s of course another matter altogether that you might want to take that with a big pinch of salt. They are real to me and a few who might know them, if they do get to this page. The incidents are real, and any resemblance to person(s) is entirely deliberate. The writer also wishes to inform all those who have gone astray here that she does not know any of them, personally !
Let me not kill the story before it is even born
This is a love story. A love story that I heard; was narrated to me, in fact, by one of my best friends. It moved me to tears, right there in a noisy room, and it created, quite suddenly, a faint rose-coloured aura all around, just for a few moments. Both my friend and I saw that, for sure. There are no knights in shining armour, or any damsels in distress; there is no rebellious elopement. It is all about a moment when a roomful of people cried, while two people smiled at each other. I was not there, but listening to what had happened, I re-lived each moment, truly. My friend has a gift of narration, and I shall try to use her words as truthfully as I can. But me, being the rambler, I am bound to embellish it with all sorts of nuances that I hope did exist, having escaped, perhaps her narration !!!
It happened just last week, when a certain not so young man nearly 40 was to wed. He, apparently, could not live down his image of being the black sheep of a rather well to do family. If there had been anything to try, all that should not be tried too, he must certainly have tried it. But he had a redeeming grace. He was affectionate, helpful, and quite favourite with a certain couple of uncles who took “care” of him Supplied him with the necessities to meet his needs, like, for eg. money ! My friend constantly kept referring to how he used to be too playful as a young boy, rather a rebel as he grew up, how he probably never went beyond his Class X in academics; and yet how he seemed to be doing well at that moment, dabbling in different kinds of businesses that he found himself in. A rather prosperous youngish man, with prospects, if not the kind of “character” that parents seeking matrimony for their beloved daughters look for. Who, asked my friend, would willingly give their daughter to him in marraige? The prospect seemed bleak.
Then, happily enough, it happened. A proposal came by, boy met girl, families were pleased, and the D-Day was set. Of course, he being a black sheep (what is it with the colour and sheep, anyone?? ) something untoward was to happen, right? Right. The afternoon before The Day, he set off for a spin, with a cousin, on a bike. Very close to his house, they met with an accident. Seemingly silly, they were swiped quite nastily by an autorickshaw carrying a long oxygen cylinder sort of thing. Our hero is laid up with a fractured thigh. The flesh around the thigh had been displaced by the object that was jutting out of the auto. Pretty serious injury, though not life-threatening. It was enough to spread a pall of gloom all over the big family. He was in hospital, an operation was to be performed almost immediately, plastic surgery remained to be done, and obviously he was in ICU.
The girl, in the meantime would start, anytime, from Trivandrum, to Guruvayoor, where the wedding was to take place, the next day. The family was in council. Who would inform them? What would their reaction be? Tremors of emotion, the aftershocks of the event, still went shuddering through the family, most of them quite elderly. The Right Thing had to be done. The girl’s family had to be informed. And so they were. It was painful, but it was done. The wedding could still take place, said the boy’s family to them (Ah, why do I keep saying boy? Let’s call him K. ). Only it might have to be at the hospital, or else it could be postponed. Or… nobody dared to even envision a third option.
The girls family (let’s call her Devi, shall we? Am in a rather spiritual mood right now ) said they would get back. And they did. To confirm that they were coming down here, and would reach by morning. And that they would like the wedding to go on schedule. Later it was known what transpired. But let’s get to that later.
And so they arrived. The hospital provided a sort of executive suite , big enough to seat 15 odd persons, laid out chairs, had the bed wheeled in, for K. could not obviously stand, having just come through a major surgery. He was brought in, dressed suitably by the staff, in his new mundu and shirt; his face showed how much pain he was in, by the very expressionless face he tried to put on. To say that the pain was not tangible to all his family would be an untruth. And then they arrived. Ah! I haven’t told you about the appearances, have I? He is slim, tall, and not fair. And now, my friend gets to tell me about her. She came along with her family, into the room. Just eight of them in total. She too was slim and tall, and (of course.. ) not so fair. Matched
As they entered, there was awkwardness. The surge, normally, would be towards each other; the families. Here there was an uncomfortable silence. More uncomfortable noises. Clearing throats. Suspicious sniffles. Wringing of hands. While the families grappled with the situation, she, Devi, gave a beautiful, sweet smile, and walked straight ahead, towards him. Went up to him, took his hand, and looked into his eyes. And continued to smile. And he smiled back. Just that. The world stopped turning, for both of them it seemed. They might have been the only persons there, it seemed. It was a Moment. And as they smiled, silently, at each other, there was an outpouring of emotion for all those who looked on. Tears. On everyone’s faces. More tears. There was no stopping Emotion then. At how it could be so perfect. Just that. Just that!
And while hearts burst with relief, and tears refused to be stemmed, the two of them quietly stayed where they were, refusing to give in to tears. Not needing to. While my friend narrated this part, her eyes were filled, and mine grew misty. I’m not saying this too well, I know, and I wish she was here to tell you, in that deeply intimate description she gave of that moment. Soon, the event was done.
Suddenly, a knock on the door. The media had arrived. Apparently, while on their usual beat, they came across this interesting tidbit, a rarity, certainly by any standards, of a wedding being solemnized in an hospital room, and came to investigate. They were, rightfully, refused to do so. Thankfully.
I wondered aloud, then, as to how she could have gone through it, in hospital. Wouldn’t it have been better to wait? My friend explained then. She, D. , was a brilliant student. A rank holder even at the M.Phil. level, it was possible to have been married even to someone way better, at least, academically. But then why him? I was told that when he went to “see” her, he was utterly and absolutely frank about himself. The scrapes he had gotten into. The trouble she would be inviting should she even consider saying yes. But yes, he did promise to be a better man, should she be foolish enough to say “yes”. When the accident took place, I would have thought that it was the perfect way out, for her, and maybe her family. There, she showed her strength of resolve. What I do believe that makes her truly special. Instead of dumping him, or even allowing him to do that, she apparently was the one who insisted that the wedding take place at the time it was scheduled to take place. She told them that of all those prospective grooms, who had come to meet her, this man was the only one who talked of himself, honestly, even willing her to refuse him, knowing that she was worthy of someone way better than him. Her family had reservations, and she had none. Backing out at this time, would certainly bring more misery all around. Strangely, I still do not think it a sort of sacrifice or some sentimentality on her part. This is one courageous woman. Someone who knew of honour. The sort that is real, and faithful to none but one’s own conscience. Of that I am more sure now.
There is more. Poignant too. Usually, after the wedding, the bride along with her bridegroom, goes, ceremoniously, to his house, and are welcomed in the traditional way. She went there alone. In the hospital-room-turned-mandap, the excitement was over. He was being taken back to the ICU. She wanted to stay. He told her he would see her at home, once they discharged him. In that flash of a moment, her face fell, and she was a picture of dismay, the first cloud on her smile. She wanted to be there, with him, and he? Perhaps, knowing that she would have to wait interminably in the area outside the ICU, he probably did not want her to. However, the family gathered round, spoke to him and convinced him to let her also be there, if she so wished. He finally agreed. For, by now, his very notion of himself, his worth, perhaps, his realization that someone somewhere cared, had visibly lightened his face. As my friend put it, she, Devi, was to him, K., just that… a Devi. A goddess come to Earth, in that form.
Yes, miracles do happen. I’ve been witness to enough, to know that. It comes without starburst, or flashes of lightning, or a zillion violins playing in the background. It comes quietly. To hearts that believe. To eyes that see. And minds that receive. Love happens. And a cliché, suddenly, becomes a miracle. It does not have to be thunderclap-hit-me-on-the-head-moment. It arrives, as Love, quietly. And with the right faith, it stays.
As I hope it will for these two who have perhaps found themselves and each other at a moment and lived through a commitment such that they will never give up on each other. What is it they say about finding something to love, in a person, at his/her weakest moment, that only makes you love them more, never less?
The whys and wherefores of love has always been a mystery, hasn’t it? For me, I’m happy to let it be that way So long as love is… So long as it continues to amaze us with miracles such as these. I’m glad I heard that story, especially at a time when I was down in the dumps, and had a quarrel with that very Emotion Life, suddenly looked, looks, promising, once again.
For all those of you who love, and to be sure, each one of you do…. you do, yourself, your parents, children, friends, pets, and all those very many things like ice-cream, and chicken…. wateva (as my son would put it) … may your lives be filled with it always.
A final cliché. Happy Valentine’s Day to you all…
(My friend adds that both are well and happy, and they had visited both of them this evening. A big thank you to her, for letting me be part of the fairy tale, at least in its sharing, with you all )
13 February, 2011