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My story began on a bright sunny day. The wind was soft, the roads were clear and the sun was dreamy. I had a lunch invitation at a neighbor’s place, let us call her Shobha di. A beautiful lady in her early forties, our love for literature made us friends. She is married and a mother of two.
There is something about women, if you just listen to them; they end up telling you their deepest secrets. After the lunch she cooked, we sat down on the veranda. It was that moment; you know, the other person wants to talk. I sat down watching the blue sky falling over the horizon.
Shobha di cut the silence with a few words. She began the conversation saying, “My husband is a good man and its 20 years I am married to him.” I knew deeper layers are going to follow. She continued her story.
There was a time when she was madly in love with someone. She was nineteen and he was twenty. They were neighbors. They both sang together in functions; he played the guitar, they even composed songs. Four years passed as if on the wings of a butterfly. His father did go to her father to talk about marriage. But her father humiliated them, because of the caste difference. Within 6 months she was married off and within 2 years the guy too married. She just said with a sigh, “And my journey to find him from nothingness to nothingness began.”
“My husband is a good man and so am I,” she said. “None of us have strayed away from each other. But we are stuck in an incompatible marriage. I love life, books, music, poetry, dressing up and meeting people. He sticks to the TV and home. Apart from our children we have nothing else in common to talk. Most of the time, he is either angry at me or the children. I know he is suffering too.”
“Very often, I think about the man I loved and my present life,” she continued. “If there were any happy days in my life, it was those 4 years I spent with him. May be I should have eloped. These days, I feel wrath against my father and myself.”
She further continued bringing a cup of tea, “Just a few months back my school, in which we both studied, celebrated its golden jubilee. I knew he would come. And there were so many things I wanted to share and its more than 20 years I saw him.”
Emily Dickenson wrote in her autobiographical poem, “The soul selects its own company/And then shuts the door.” I guess everyone does the same. It was 20 years, yet her soul seeks him for its whispers. She ended up writing a 25 pages letter. When they met, they were courteous. She gave him the letter. And they moved on. He only told her while leaving, “I told you before leaving you that day, I would not be happy and I still am not.”
Shobha di looked into my eyes and remained silent. I glanced at my watch. It was already late. She accompanied me on my walk back home. This is so typical of women; once they find a soul connect, they want to make the journey longer.
I bade Shobha di adieu and saw Maa waiting on the porch for me. Feeling a little tired, I lied down on the bed aimlessly looking at the ceiling. I thought about the moment of silences a woman spends with herself. In those moment her soul talks to her and may be then she seeks a companion to share it with. Married or parted, that companion she thinks about in those moments is her soulmate.
As I was thinking deeper, sleep came over to take me away from my thoughts. And I silently surrendered.
Proud Indian. Senior Writer at Women's Web. Columnist. Book Reviewer. Street Theatre - Aatish. Dreamer.
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