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When My Widowed Aunt Decided To Get Married Again, Family Members Had Issues With It…

As they were often seen together in public, our family got more peeved. My grandmother branded her own daughter as a shameless slut. As if she was committing adultery, even though she was a widow with no husband around.

Yes, almost everyone really, including her own mother – my dadi (grandmother). Ditto for her two older sisters and the second brother, who is my dad’s junior.

Despite the fact all the siblings are well educated college graduates and settled in their respective professions, they couldn’t digest the fact that their kid sister was getting married again. Her fault? She had a grown up  daughter.

Sounds confusing? Well, here’s a bit of a rewind

At 21, my aunt Alo married a nuclear scientist attached to Kolkata’s prestigious Bose Institute. A year later they had a bonny baby girl. All was well… till about three years later when my uncle Joy was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Despite prolonged treatment at the reputed Christian Medical College, Vellore, things went downslide and complications developed. Uncle got completely bed-ridden till his death six years later.

Here was a youthful under-30 lady with a 9 year-old  daughter! She got a job at the Bose Institute, on compassionate grounds. But a woman in her situation becomes easy prey for prowlers and lascivious men. Some sought physical pleasure, sans any commitment of marriage. Others proposed marriage with a rider: Gublu, my cousin, would be sent to a boarding school.

But Alo would have none of it. Her standpoint: marriage minus Gublu was  a no-no.

At this juncture, a Good Samaritan appeared in her life. He was Subinoy, my Uncle Joy’s cousin. Subinoy was a graduate occupying a plum post in a central government ministry. And he was a bachelor.

Subinoy sought no sexual favours. Rather he combined the roles of friend, guardian, and (male) chaperone to the mom daughter duo. He helped Alo to buy a tiny flat for herself and live independently on her own terms. Gublu was admitted into an elite girls’ school. A pragmatic man, he helped Alo to make some sound investments that would see Gublu through college and cover her wedding expenditure.

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Enter the rest of our family

Years rolled on… Despite impressive matrimonial proposals, Subinoy stayed single. He forged affectionate bonds with the adolescent Gublu. She addressed him as Kaku/uncle, and he was a father figure to her.

Meanwhile my extended family began raising eyebrows regarding the future of Alo-Subinoy relationship.

As they were often seen together in public, our family got more peeved. My grandmother branded her own daughter as a shameless slut. As if she was committing adultery, even though she was a widow with no husband around.

Sigh! Our society can’t differentiate between an inexperienced teenager and a matured woman! The only silver lining in the clouds was: my father and my pishe (husband of dad’s oldest sister) endorsed the relationship. They encouraged the duo to get hitched, even offering to be witnesses.

Once Gublu was married the duo mulled on getting married. They found themselves in the eye of a storm.

Gublu’s in-laws made vitriolic comments. As did Subinoy’s married nephews and nieces. The duo, (both approaching  50) could not care less; they had been loyal and steadfast friends for decades. So saying “I Do” was a mere formality.

Finally on a sunny day in May a few years ago, the marriage registrar declared them Man & Wife. Trust me they have, since, lived in ample bliss.

Thankfully, too, the tongues have stopped wagging. As a society, we really should stop interfering in such matters!

Image source: a still from the film Listen, Amaya

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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...

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