The invisible hand of Fate!

The invisible hand of Fate!
“Pa has lost his senses …What a disgrace for the entire family! How can we even face the world,”said Ruchita with a disgusting look on her face.
“Stop talking thus. You are talking as though the Heavens are falling down,” shouted Ravi, the eldest of Kumar’s children, at his sister Ruchi.
“What else is this but disgrace…Does Pa need second marriage at this age?” continued she…” What is wrong in it,” argued Ravi.
“Yeah, he has grown up grandchildren also… The very thought of his remarriage is revolting”, added Rahul, Kumar’s second son…
“Now look, Rahul… “, said Ravi firmly..”Had Dad taken this decision when we were young, would we have agreed to it? Even then we would not have supported his decision…So what is wrong now? He has fulfilled all his commitments and has every right to lead his life the way he wants…”
“Bhaiyya, how will I face my in-laws? What will be their reaction,”said Ruchi
“Moreover, Maji is still alive,” pitched in Rahul’s wife, Swathi.
“Yes, Ma is still alive…There was complication when she delivered Ruchi, because of which she lost her senses. She is still undergoing treatment for the same…Major part of Pa’s salary and savings have gone into Ma’s treatment…Pa has not had a peaceful life and has spent all his life looking after us three…” Ravi broke down when he spoke thus…” I think Pa’s decision is correct”’ echoed Ravi’s wife Saranya.
“So, are you justifying Pa’s action,”asked Swathi.
“This decision is related to the mind and has not got anything to do with the body,” continued Saranya firmly.
“Now, now, now, why it that you guys don’t understand that it is is a shame on our family… That lady is of a totally different religion and is moreover elder to Pa by three to four years…Is it not totally disgusting to even think of it…” interrupted Ruchi.
“This is not the way you speak about elders… Now shut-up,” shouted Ravi…
“Why do you get so agitated if I speak about her,” retorted Ruchi.
“Do you want to know the reason? It is now several years since I accepted her in my mother’s place,” said Ravi calmly…Listening to the arguments that were taking place between his children, Kumar felt highly emotional and his thoughts raced back to the day when he first met Jenny…
Kumar was the head of a highly popular channel in the national network TV in Mumbai…Several talk shows and hard talks filled up the prime slots, wherein he was questioned in a very candid manner by several TV reporters… One such reporter was Jenny, who interviewed him in one of the hard talk shows… The questions fired at him suffocated him and somehow he managed to complete the show… He was thoroughly impressed by the way she conducted the show… and became an ardent fan of hers immediately…From then on his mind started to wander around her…
Three days later he met her at Apoorva Gana Sabha, where he had gone to see a concert… He found her there fully engrossed in the concert… On their way out they met each other and exchanged pleasantries. Few days later he met her in a book fair. She seemed to be a voracious reader and was carrying a pile of books towards her car.Then onwards, they started meeting quite regularly and exchanged views on various subjects. Thus blossomed their ‘gentle’ friendship.They were quite frank about their families… Jenny’s marriage fell apart within 3 months of marriage and Kumar also was candid enough in admitting about his family. He told her about his three kids and his wife being in a vegetable state in a hospital after the birth of their third child.and also that his three kids were being taken care of by their grandparents in their younger days.Both, Jenny and Kumar found solace in each other’s friendship and deep understanding bloomed between them…. one a TV channel head and another a reporter, they shared several common interests and this drew them closer.
On one of Ravi’s visits to his father’s place, Kumar introduced Jenny to him.Ravi had just then finished his school finals and had come to Mumbai for further studies. At the very first meeting Jenny’s shoulder length hair; her crisp cotton saree worn elegantly; and her gentle ways attracted Ravi. He spoke without any inhibition with her as though he had known her for a very long time…She reciprocated the same towards him. He addressed her as Jennyma and very soon they both went to malls; for college admissions; for a cup of tea etc… without Kumar. Kumar jokingly said that he was an ‘intruder’ between them.That was the way their understanding and affection grew as days passed by.
Kumar happened to go to Hyderabad on some official work leaving behind Ravi at home. One morning as Ravi was going to some restaurant with his friend, his bike met with an accident. Ravi sustained severe knee and hip injuries while his friend escaped with a mere bruise. On hearing this, Jenny came running and took him to the nearest hospital and looked after him day and night for four days till he was discharged from the hospital. She remained a constant source of support to Kumar who was fully occupied with his work at Hyderabad. Kumar’s official duties held him there for nearly a month. Till such time Ravi stayed in Jenny’s apartment…Kumar, on returning from Hyderabad went straight to Jenny’s house. “Jenny, I have no words to thank you.Thanks will just be a formality, “saying thus, Kumar broke down.
Son and father were relaxing in the balcony late in the evening. “Pa.,” said Ravi. “What my beta, is anything hurting you? Why this hesitation?” “Do you want to tell me something?” With tears streaming down his cheeks Kumar continued,” Papa, I like Jennyma a lot…In your absence, she looked after me… so well so well Papa. Looked after all my needs as a mother or father , played with me like a friend, took full care of me as a nurse would, teased me like a sister, kept me happy always.. what more can I say?”” Papa, I can see my mother in her.. her unalloyed love has captivated me…” Kumar hugged him tightly and his eyes turned watery….He could sense the absence of a mother’s love in his son’s life and this cut him right through his heart.
After this incident the closeness between the two of them grew by the day.
Soon Kumar shook himself up from the past and his thoughts started to wander.Is she a mere friend? She has helped me monetarily and stood as a rock during times of crisis. Should she not be with me always in my life? Thinking thus, Kumar slowly drifted into sleep.
With the wedding fast approaching in just another 10 days, Jenny insisted that she meet with Kumar’s wife, Kavya, at the hospital, even though she was in a mere vegetable state.. Kumar along with Ravi and Jenny went to the hospital. A frail and fair lady, Kumar’s wife, was sitting on the bed.
“Mr. Kumar, do you see the great transformation in your wife? She is able to sit and even mumbles a few words, though not very coherently. Your unwavering support and prayers have been answered, “ said the Doctor enthusiastically… “OMG, what is this… she has been immobile and just a vegetable for the past so many years… but now??” uttered Kumar unbelievably to himself.
Jenny took Kavya‘s hands gently and placed them in between her hands..On seeing Jenny, Kavya‘s face lit up with glee.. Kumar stood shell shocked not knowing what to do…whether to rejoice at his wife’s recovery or lament over the possible cancellation of his impending marriage to Jenny.
All three of them left the hospital after talking to the doctor. There was stony silence as they travelled in the car…Several thoughts crossed their minds at the sudden twist of fate…
“Kumar, let’s call off this marriage,” said a calm and composed Jenny.”What??” asked Kumar in a shocked tone.
“It is perhaps God’s wish that we should not unite in matrimony… let’s remain friends and nothing more… Kumar started to say something..” No Kumar, please…”
“Jennyma..,” started Ravi. “No Ravi, let’s not discuss any further on this. The entire family will rejoice when you mother returns home after many years and feel absolutely relieved that Kumar’s re-marriage has been cancelled. I will also be free from guilt.” I just walked into your lives, somewhere in the middle. Our relationship will not land us anywhere now.” Ravi could hear no further, got down from the car and just walked away.
Kumar, gently, put his hand on Jenny’s shoulder.She could not contain herself and burst into tears and wept uncontrollably, leaning on Kumar’s shoulders.. Both of them held onto each other with moist eyes for a while as tears rolled over their cheeks …Yes it was a marriage that was not to be…. No one can escape the strong grip of fate!!


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