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This beautiful love story of a Hindu boy and a Muslim girl who went from best friends to finding love will touch your heart.
When you see people falling apart in relationships, getting divorced from within just a few weeks to a few years of married life, hearts breaking in college canteens, in office parking lots, people moving out of each others lives just by dropping a text message which reads, “Its over” or sometimes, people just choosing to walk out of someone’s life without even a word, you begin to imagine there is no such thing called love. That there is no such thing called “happily ever after”.
Love stories all seem to be different kinds of lies portrayed in a beautifully packaged manner on big screens. You kind of give up on love.
And then, you see a few stories which are beyond words, which makes you realize that there is true love; that happily ever after does exist. Eternal love stories do exist. One such story that makes me believe in love every single time is the story of my parents. Their love for one another is so magnetic and so strong that even after five years since my mother left us forever on her way upto heaven, their love story is as new as it was in 1980.
My mother, the heroine of the love story – the Late Mrs. Hawaumma (which means first lady in someone’s life) was a Muslim and was working as a teacher. The hero of the movie, my dad, Mr. Sasi Kumar, a Hindu Nair fellow, was working with the Timber corporation. Both these people in a beautiful place, my hometown, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Dad was this young 28 year old brat who had just started working and was enjoying life to its fullest. Mom was a 27 year old focused towards her job, an achievement for her since she had, in those days, struggled to get a proper education, being a girl and with her religious background a shackle while growing up.
Well, theirs was not love at first sight but definitely a proper Bollywood movie – romance, action, drama, conspiracy -you name it and all of these were present in their love story. Both mom and dad had one best friend each who were the love birds of the town when back in the late 70’s, to roam around in public was not as easy as it is today. So both these love birds were accompanied by their best friends to all the lovey dovey spots they went to. While the love birds spent quality time together, my parents would spend time talking about life, dreams and aspirations eventually making them best friends.
And as the popular saying goes, “A guy and a girl can never become best friends,” people started talking about them behind their backs. Well, this didn’t stop them from making their friendship stronger. But things got out of hand when my mom’s family got to know about the rumours in town; she was questioned, her job was at stake and all those typical movie scenes you can perhaps remember happened – just visualize those. (That’s what I did when she told me their love story when I was a kid!)
My dad being this dignified gentleman asked my mother to marry him; With a Hindu guy and a Muslim girl getting married, you can imagine the shock people had including my mother. After all, even in 2016, stories of honour killing surface and this was back in the 1970s.
My mother definitely had true feelings for dad as a friend; he was her best friend and she didn’t want to ruin it, so she said no to his proposal. My dad being an even truer friend to her didn’t want her to be in trouble in anyway. He couldn’t take people talking about her character in even the slightest disrespectful manner. So he convinced her and against all family and society, they got married on 10th Feb, 1980. Yeah, the valentine week!
There was a lot of melodrama, with mom’s parents being against it, and there being threatening calls to my dad. But a bunch of close friends who still are by our side helped these two friends tie up in a beautiful bond called marriage.
Technically speaking, it was an arranged marriage since my dad fell in love with my mom after they got married, before that, they were best friends! That’s how these two people got married against all odds. With no support from anyone, they stood strong for one another and built a beautiful world of their own that got completed when my brother and I were born to them.
Ours was a middle class, happy family. Life was good. My parents always told us how strong family values should be. My dad would make all the decisions in the house but it always was discussed and approved by mom. They remained friends even after the wedding. That’s how I kept seeing them during my growing years.
He never asked my mother to change her name or religion after their wedding. One day when she was newly married and had been to school, the Hindu teachers asked her to put on sindoor and bindi as Hindu brides are supposed to. When she came back from school, my dad saw her and told her that he liked her for who she was, and what she was. He asked her to be the same Hawaumma, his best friend and not change for society or for him. He respected her religion, her values, her individuality, and her existence. That to me is #ThisThingCalledLove.
Our world fell apart though when my mom fell crashing to the ground one morning in the year 2000. She was rushed to the hospital and tests showed that she was suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis, a chronic progressive disease causing inflammation in the joints and resulting in painful deformity and immobility, especially in the fingers, wrists, feet, and ankles. This was very new to people back home.
Since then, till 17th July 2011 when she left us all here alone, I have seen her go through immense pain and suffering. Well, this story is not about the sufferings of my mom, or about the disease. This story is about the love these two people had.
Even more so, this story is about my dad. This story is how my dad loved my mom. I have learnt from him what it is to love unconditionally beyond physical appearance and looks, to take care of the loved ones first and think about yourself later. My mom’s story is incomplete if not for my dad who has been with her through all those years of pain and suffering and showered her with love, care, trust, faith, hope and the will to be a better person the next day.
He placed her before himself and loved her with all that he had. He would cook for her, feed her, stay awake all night when mom would be in pain, help her do every single thing. And on top of all this, tolerate all her crankiness because of her medicines she was taking. At times, he would lose his temper but come back and say sorry only to make her feel good.
He loved her like a baby. The only thing on his mind 24×7 was her and her health. He would go beyond his comfort zone to do anything to see that little smile on her face in the midst of all that pain. Sometimes we don’t realize but that even more than the person who is ill, there is pain that the loved ones around bear every day.
After her death, people asked us how we wanted to handle the rituals, in Hindu or Muslim style and my dad only said that he would do whatever she she wanted. My mother had told her best friends and me that she wanted her body to be buried and not burnt since she was scared of fire. So we did do the burial as she wanted. My dad chose to do what she wanted and not what his religion demanded. That for me was #ThisThingCalledLove.
What makes this love story so important and beautiful to me is just not because it’s about my parents but because it’s a love story which continues even after one person in the story has left this world. My dad would keep a portion of all the food items at every meal separate first and then have his own from the last five years. When we asked him the first time why he did it, he said, “I am so used to feeding her first since the last 11 years that I can’t take a bite without giving her first even though she is not here anymore.” My brother and I were speechless. We didn’t know what to tell him. That for me is #ThisThingCalledLove.
He still buys birthday and anniversary greeting cards for mom, and writes a small message for her and keeps it near her picture in the living room. He visit her grave almost every other day, and every occassion – her birthday, their anniversary, our birthdays, festivals, both Hindu and Muslim ones, even on Teacher’s day; the latest being when my dad bought an Activa for himself and took it to show mom!
He lives every day loving her even more. He lives every day waiting to meet her in another world. He lives every day for her children – bhaiya and me. He lives every day knowing that the only woman he ever loved was her.
That love is the love which makes me grow every single day knowing that Love is Pure. Love is not just of this world but can exist even hen partner is in another world. Love is to appreciate those smallest of things that would make the partner smile. Love for me is my Parents Love Story.
May all of us find love in our lives. Love which is unconditional. Love which doesn’t demand. Love which only knows to give. Love which only knows the happiness of the other.
Happy Valentines Day! Live. Love. Laugh.
Heart in the sky image via Shutterstock
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