Shambhunath Pandit Hospital. 1991. May-June.
I was a house staff. In Medicine Department.
That was a particularly tiring day. I was on call. Running from the Emergency to the award. Many times.
8 O’clock. Ma and Rumjhum arrived. To pick me up. For a family dinner. At GolPark.
As soon as I entered the car, MA smiles and said ‘Mithu. I have seen my Bouma today. She is a very nice girl.’
I looked at my sister. She was on front seat. As always. Leading from the front.
‘Hyan Dada. My Boudi will be the best. Sob cheye bhalo Boudi hobe.’
And after a pause, she said ‘And she is so so beautiful. Just like Shabana Azmi.’
The car rolled on.
My father had passed a few months back. January 13, 1991. Our close knit family was not the same again. In the dining table, the vacant chair stared at us three.
One day MA said’ Mithu, please marry. Mithu, biye koro. Let us have a new member in our family. We four will be happy. As a family. Again.’
And thus the process began. Looking for Mithu’s bride. Anandabazar Patrika. An advertisement.
Responses came. Ma and Rumjhum. Began their journey.
This was their first visit to a girl’s house. Together. And it was a choice at first sight.
Families met. I met the girl’s parents.
I fell in adoration. Of Baba. The girl’s father. He was almost my father in every way. I would have loved to offer him the empty sit at our dining table.
He asked me. ‘Are you happy?’ I said ‘Yes’.
My only condition was that I shall not meet the girl before marriage. If she wants to meet me I am fine. I shall meet her.
A few days later, the parents came. Baba said ‘Mithu, she too does not wish to meet you.’
I knew I had met my match. Jump blind into sangsar and take what comes because you have chosen it thus.
Very romantic. Very silly. It is a blunder. Are you mad?
Comments from friends.
One day. I was alone at home. The phone rang.
I answered. A girl. Hello. She did not speak. Hello. She asked ‘May I speak to Rumjhum?’ Without the cursory ‘Hello’.
I knew who it was. She knew who it was.
I answered ‘No.’ She said ‘Ok’. And we both disconnected.
Our pre-marriage romantic conversation ended thus.
Time flew by. Ma and Rumjhum kept on visiting her. Her parents kept on visiting me. And months flew like days.
31 January. 1992.
I saw her. Shubho-drishti. ‘Blessed-sight.’ For the first time. She saw me. First time.
And what is a romance without a hint of cheating!!
She had actually seen me , a fleeting glance once when I had been to her house just before marriage and she was sent to her neighbor’s house to avoid our meeting.
And she did not know that I had caught a glimpse of her ‘Orna’ when she was running away from the verandah.
28 years. We have been together. Truly happily married.
She has not lost the charm in her smile.I have not lost the habit of first resisting and then accepting everything that she wants for both of us.
Our marriage sails on a yatch on blue waters. Turbulent. Calm. A lovely sail. Forever.