“What is the problem with him?”
“I don’t like him, mom. He is not my type,” she said, trying hard to stop her tears, which were about to burst anytime.
Her father, a retired teacher, looked at both of them, exchanged glances, removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes and the tufts of eyebrows resting above them, greyed with time.
It was the twenty fourth, nearly. Either the boy did not like the girl, or his parents did not like their home, or she did not like his parents, or the boy's hair was white, or something else.
“Listen to me beta. He is a Software Engineer. From where will we get such a good alliance for you again? He has good habits. Came to know through Rekha’s mother … ”
“ … And what about you? What about dad? … ”
“Why worry about us? Lakshmi Aunty is there. We will be fine beta … ,” her mother said. Her voice was beginning to choke. She went into the kitchen, leaving her daughter in the bedroom. It was an average looking square room, which Priya had maintained well with all her interests.
Some among them were fine arts, Indian painting. Facing east was a big canvas painting of a woman carrying wooden toys in a train. Tears slowly oozed out of her red eyes.
She stared along the doorway at Lord Venkateswara, in the drawing room, where her father was sitting, gazing at the garden outside.
She removed her red bangles and threw them in the drawer. She came to the drawing room and sat beside her father.
He looked too old. His head was almost balded by the bumps and puddles his life had offered.
As she placed her hand on his shoulder, he placed his hand on hers, still gazing at the garden.
“I’m sorry, papa … ”
He turned to her, smiled, and said, “Its okay beta. It is completely your choice … ”, and patted her cheek.
She fell into intense sobs. Her father had raised her like a queen, like a princess. With the meager salary that he used to get, he used to carefully run the small house his father had left for him. But he never let his daughter feel the need for happiness. He gave it to her manifolds, she knew.
And she knew, seeing him, that she could never be able to sufficiently express her gratitude and love for her parents. Such great was their love for her! But how long would they have to struggle for giving her hand to the deserving person? She thought.
There’s a thin line between the perception of burden and that of responsibility. It is called Love. And she loved her parents more than anything in this world.
“Papa, here. Take these … ,” she handed the medicines to him, and poured water in the glass on the table. He gulped them with great difficulty. She placed the glass on the table as he coughed a bit.
“What’s the problem, beta? Wasn’t he good mannered?” He asked, considerably aware of what Priya had in her mind.
“I cannot leave you and mom. I want to stay with you … ”
“Everyone has to leave at some point or the other. Take it as a learning beta. The stronger the strings, the harder it is to be happy. Just be good, truthful and compassionate. Follow the principles, and everything will be good in life. ” He was a scholar. He had taught numerous students in the teaching phase of his life. His simplicity had made him popular and respected among his students.
“I talked to him. It’s all about himself. He was not stopping telling about himself. He also told me indirectly to leave embroidery and interior designing. He refers to them as boring …
I want the person to like me as I am, and not ignore me or my interests … ”
He pointed at the watch on his left wrist, “What do you think when you buy a watch? ”
She gave a puzzled, questioning look.
“Tell me, Priya, ” He implored.
“We just see how attractive it is,” she mumbled, wiping her tears.
“And … ”
“And whether it will suit me, or not. ”
“But do you also ponder over its durability?”
“Not much. Anyways, if it has to go bad, it will. We don’t have any control over its durability. ”
“But if you take good care of it, are you sure it will last long with you?”
“Yes, almost sure.”
“So it also depends upon how you take care of that watch.
But this is life. Even the person welcomed into your life would have some expectations and desires as you have. In that regard, your mom and I have had our share of life. There were moments of inner pain and lack of understanding on either’s part. But there were great moments of bliss and tranquility. We experienced that heaven, just by holding each other’s hands, and being contented with each other, respecting each other’s differences.
It is not only about what you want. It is actually more important to see what you give. You are so intelligent. And you have high principles. Just by looking at him, or talking to him for a few minutes, you cannot judge a person. In fact, we can never judge a person even for a lifetime. Time changes things, sometimes everything. People change over Time. We have little control over these things.
Whatever we get to know about that person, we might consider them. But after the knot is tied, it is either’s responsibility to live with each other, and respect each other’s opinions.
Don’t worry beta. Be happy. This is the moment. Enjoy it to the core. Get to know people. Get to know your partner. Accordingly lead your life with bliss. Life is once. We cannot experiment with it twice. So watch every step of yours … ”
She had always listened to her father’s soothing words with great attention and care. They removed her misunderstanding and confusion over life.
It was seven in the evening. Her tears had dried with the cool breeze that blew inside the drawing room, bringing with it the faint fragrance of the flowers that lingered in the garden outside.
Her mother sat beside him, looking at their daughter who had fallen asleep on his shoulder.
In her sleep, she mumbled tiredly, “I don’t like him … ”