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When A Bachelor Married A Widow With A Child 60 Yrs Ago, Unheard Of In Indian Society Then Or Now…

Asha contributed substantially to the family’s income. Therefore, to lose her would mean losing the proverbial goose that laid golden eggs.

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Asha contributed substantially to the family’s income. Therefore, to lose her would mean losing the proverbial goose that laid golden eggs.

We have all heard of young or middle aged women marrying widowers and settling down with children from his first wife. But instances of bachelors marrying widow with offsprings from a previous marriage are hard to come by.

This anecdote has an intense personal touch since the protagonists/ dramatics persona were friends of my father.

Flashback to about 60 years ago.

The reality of the life of an Indian widow with a child

Ranjan Dutta was a friend of Dad’s and both were employed in thc same organization.

Once, my father was hospitalized with a serious urino-genital problem. Post surgery he had a fairly long sojourn in the hospital. Ranjan would often drop in to enquire about his health. It so happened that Asha, a matron who was in charge of that ward looked after the patients very well, and most of them managed to develop a rapport with her. She was amiable and friendly towards the visitors of the patients as well.

Asha was a widow with a four year old son. She was in quest of another life partner not only to dispel her loneliness, but also to provide a parent to her son. Her family was unconcerned about her future. As a matter of fact they were not so well off; and Asha contributed substantially to the family’s income. Therefore, to lose her would mean losing the proverbial goose that laid golden eggs.

Asha was not particularly good looking or attractive. Like it or not but the fact remains that when it comes to matrimony Indian men give top priority of good looks and presentable appearance.  This left Asha a little heart-broken and helpless. But she ‘hoped against hope’. Little did she realize what the future held for her.

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Enter my father’s friend, an elderly bachelor

Now Ranjan Dutta was a middle aged bachelor. As the oldest sibling of a fatherless family he put his personal life (read family and marriage) on the backburner devoting himself to the young ones. Now that each one of them, after completing their education, had settled down in domestic lives, he was free to contemplate about himself.

Dad-Ranjan and Asha often chatted during her work in the ward. Ranjan confided in his friend that he was interested in her, ‘inspite of her  background’.

Dad conveyed this to Asha with utmost caution for fear of hurting her feelings. Surprisingly she was not averse to the idea. There was thus a chemistry between them. Or was it love?

After a couple of months matured courtship, culminating in a civil ceremony Ranjan and Asha got married. By that time Dad had been discharged from the hospital. To provide them with ample privacy and personal space, he volunteered to take care of the little fellow name Joy, (Asha’s son) who lived in our family home for a while.

Interestingly, after the wedding, when normal family life commences the first thing that Ranjan did was to legally adopt Joy as his son. There after Joy came to be known as Joy Dutta instead of Sarkar (his biological father’s surname).

Asha was perpetually grateful to my father for having brought the duo together. On his part dad always looked upon her as his very own younger sister. All in all the story has a happy ending. The three remained best of friends maintaining endearing terms till they walked into sunset, one by one, a few year ago…

Image source: a still from the film Kaasav

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About the Author

RUCHIRA GHOSH

Am a trained and experienced features writer with 25 plus years of experience .My favourite subjects are women's issues, food travel, art,culture ,literature et all.Am a true feminist at heart. An iconoclast read more...

42 Posts | 234,867 Views

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