At the very outset I want to clarify, the novel is based on pure imagination and if any similarity or resemblance of any character of the novel is observed with any living or dead person, it is purely a coincidence only. The description of the society described in the novel may be also far from reality. Even the apparent historical facts may not be authenticated.
The novel revolves around the protagonist Aroon Baruah, son of Bikram Baruah and Savitri Baruah who hails from a remote village of Assam, in India. It is a Fictional Story of true love between Aroon Baruah and his wife Dorothy, a lady who was from New York and victim of 9/11. After death of his wife, Baruah tried to cope up his life leaving behind his children with his in laws in USA. Strong family bond his family helped him in his efforts. During this period he came to know about his lovechild who was born out of one night physical affairs with a young lady, Ramala of his village. Ramala loves Aroon unconditionally throughout her life whereas Aroon had only physical attraction towards the girl. After staying alone in Delhi, Aroon realised that he needs Ramala’s company as much as she needs. Here his daughter in law, Ajanta whom Aroon treats as his own daughter, plays a pivotal role. Other members of his family also helped Ajanta in her efforts to unite Ramala with her love, Aroon Baruah. After that what happened?
The novel has been spiced with a lucid description how Aroon was seduced by Jetuki, Ramala’s mother for an explosive physical relation on a festive day. A sedate description of physical relation for a night between Aroon and Ramala is the central part of the story. Though, lucid description of explosive physical relation between Jetuki and protagonist could have been avoided; but doing so seductiveness of the middle aged women would be reduced which in turn would be difficult for the readers to understand the nefarious design of Jetuki.
Unfolding of the treacherous plan of Jetuki who wanted to trap Aroon taking advantage of his Physical attraction towards Ramala before Aroon is a revelation itself. It is a story about how perfect game plan of Jetuki failed due to strong family bond of Baruah family.
It is also a story of father and daughter relation between Aroon and Ajanta, daughter in law of Aroon’s brother.
Unlike my all other books, any part of novel has not been in the public domain through Face Book posts. Therefore, one has to download the book for reading. Though I have already published few books through Shakespir publication, this is my first published English novel. Except chapter VII, all other chapters contain no adult contents. However, since that chapter is the central part of the book, I diluted the adult content upto a great extent so that this book can be read by all. However, there is no harm if all my female colleagues, my children and female friends avoid reading this chapter line by line and may have cursory look of this chapter.
I am able to write this novel because of constant encouragement from my wife, Monalisha, my children Anusuya, Ayusman and Anwesha and my spiritual daughters, Avneet and Deepika.
However, without constant encouragement from many of my friends, I could not have written a single chapter of any of the books. Therefore, it is my bounden duty to place my sincere thanks to all my friends, particularly, Sarbashri/Shrimati A. K. Mishra, Ramanamurthy, late Hazra sir, T. K. Basu sir, Unni Sir, Guha sir, Satya Narayan Sir, Harish Chandra sir, Dr. Boopathy sir Pradeep Kumar De, Jyotirmoy Chakraborti, Kumar Sanjay Krishna, Sanjib Gohain Barua, KalyanNag saab,Tusar Bordoloi, Abhijit Medhi, Maniraj Adhikary, RR Deb, Praveen Srivastava, Praveen Shukla, Prabin Saikia, Rupali Burha Gohain, Amar Saikia, Ganesh Choudhury, Diptendra Mohan Das, Manikankana Mahanta, Nilakshi Sarma, Anjan Kumar Jena, Nand lal, Swati Khopkar Madam, Dinesh Kumar Meena, Dipak Kumar Das, Sunitha Bhaskar, Anuja Bapat, Richa Shankar, Kajal Jain, Nitika Gupta, Tapati Sharama, Roonjoon Barthakur Phukan, Moolchand Bhaskar, Bhawana Singh, Hema madam, Kulpreet, Amresh, Mukesh, Jaisingh, Navanil Barua, Manimoy, Mudgil saab, Hemanta Sarma, Sundaram, Anupama Sethi, Anupam Bhatnagar, Brazil Brahma, Diganta Barua, Nilutpal Barua, Jyoti Kagarkoti, Nijora Sarma, all ISS officers including those who have retired from service, Officers from Directorate of Economic and Statistics, Professors from different universities and FB friends who not only read my articles but sometimes give comments also. I also place my special thanks to my foreign friends Ms. Irani Chandramali madam, Ms. Anna, Ms. Lu, Ms. Jeliang et al who dare to read some of my articles from my books, ‘Random Thoughts through a coloured prism’, ‘Serious Statisticians: Funny Statistics’, ‘Melody of Fragrance’, ‘Akhadya’ and ‘Few cities through the lens of Hiranya Borah. They also gave me few encouraging comments for which I am very much delighted. Comments of the Australian Author, Mr. A. R. Dent on ‘Serious Statisticians: Funny Statistics’ is and will be always revered to me.
I am also grateful to Ms. Richa Sanker, my colleague, for helping in designing the beautiful cover page.
I shall fail my duties, if I do not express my gratitude to my parents, brothers, sisters, friends, foes and teachers for their unequivocal support for developing my personalities, good or bad. I am also thankful to my daughters and son for not disturbing me in writing this book.
However, this book is dedicated to all the females who were able to attract me either physically or emotionally during the journey of my life.
Finally, I am thankful to Shakespir for publishing my articles as e-book.
I, Aroon Baruah, was the fourth child of Bikramjeet Baruah and Savitri Barua of a remote village of Assam, North Eastern Province of India. My father was the undeclared and unofficial Zamindar (landlord) of three villages owning more than two hundred hectares of cultivable land and having possession of more than five hundred hectares of both cultivable and uncultivable land. Summer Paddy was the main crop sown in these fields of our family.
The most of villagers living in these three contiguous villages are marginal farmers and they were not able to produce sufficient paddy for their own consumption for the whole year. Once a farmer gets into the trap of taking loan from any money lender, he cannot come out of the web of the money lender and becomes poorer at the end of every year. This process will continue till he loses all his cultivable land to the land lord and becomes an agricultural labourer of the land once he owns. Due to this vicious circle, those farmers who were marginal farmers during my father’s time, they are now agriculture labourers of our extended family. However, due to some positive steps taken by the Government, at least on records, many farmers regained some land properties. However, unfortunately these plots of land are still in the possession of our family.
My father was the only son with five sisters of my grandfather, but my father had three sons and one daughter. I was the youngest one amongst the children.
Now, my father’s land property has been divided into two parts-between my two elder brothers as I opted out from taking any land property from my father.
Being the youngest, not only I was loved by my two brothers, Bibekananda and Paramananda and by my elder sister, Karabi but also they treat me as a small kid throughout my life. Even at the age fifty seven, they advise me as a little brother who is unaware of complexity of cruel life. My only sister, Karabi treated me as if I was unable to decide what to wear after my bath without her guidance till my marriage. They always wonder how I could live so many years in college hostels in Guwahati and Delhi and later on, in a one room apartment in New York City.
True, I was different from my brothers in many ways. I was studious and polite to everyone, even to our servants. On the other hand, in their youthful days brothers used to beat up somebody within or outside our home only for fun. During my school days, I saw my father as an angry middle aged person. Except my mother, nobody had the guts to discuss with him anything. The villagers were afraid even to lodge simple complaint against the tyranny of his two sons before my father. Having no alternative, some of the victims used to tell about the misbehaviour of my brothers to my mother. However, most of the victims preferred to not to complain against them to anyone.
One day my mother decided to rein my brothers by discussing the matter with my father. My father, after hearing the complaints of the people through my mother commented, ‘It is nothing unusual about our family. I was also like them till I got married to you. Let them enjoy their life now. After their marriage they will also realize their responsibilities. Everything will be OK in due course of time. Further, in future do not waste your and my time in discussion on such small issues. If someone complains against them, let him/ her talk to me. If at all some problems come up, better solve those problems at your level itself.’
My mother, who happened to be a teacher in a middle level school before her marriage, could not pass on the message to my father, what was going on was not good for her children. So far so good to be tolerated.
But one day, when a widow of our neighbouring village was weeping before my mother saying something in a semi audible voice, I saw my mother’s face became gloomy immediately. Out of curiosity and fear for a unexpected news, I tried approach my mother, but my mother admonished me for trying to hear something which I was not supposed to hear. I left the place but from the hidden place, I tried to find out what was going on.
From my hidden place, I came to know that my eldest brother of 20, Bibekananda forcefully had a physical relation (clear case of rape) with the daughter of the widow who was complaining against my brother. The girl was bleeding and was in a shock. My father was informed immediately and my father, this time called the local doctor hurriedly without losing any time.
He had a talk with the doctor confidentially giving some money and requested to treat the girl immediately at her residence. Doctor followed my father’s instruction and the girl was treated without hospitalization. The widow was also given money for shutting her mouth albeit with a stern warning not tell anybody. No FIR was lodged in the police station as all the police men used to get loyalty bonus, according to their position, every year end from my father.
By the time, my brother fled to our maternal uncles’ place, some hundred KM away as per the advice of SHO. He returned only after two days when he got an ‘all clear’ message from my father. Nothing had been reported to the police by the widow. Prestige of the girl was bought and sold by the respective parties as law of the land remained as a mute spectator.
When my brother, Bibekananda came back, my father called him to his study room and slapped him for his misdeed. Then he gave a bizarre advice to his son, ‘In future nobody should come to our residence with such type of silly complaints. Now you are already 20 and you should behave responsibly. In fact, I do not understand how you allow them to come to your mother with such a complaint. Always remember, nobody should dare to come to your mother with such complaint in future, even if you do those silly things to these lesser human beings!’
In all practical purposes, my father did not say anything to him for not repeating such type of crimes but advised him to threaten the victims of dire consequences if they dare to report his crime to someone else in the family or elsewhere.
I am told, he took my father’s advice, religiously and repeated ‘that silly things’ to many unwilling girls and threaten the victims with dire consequences if anyone dare to report someone else. As I understood, none could muster the courage to report those crimes to anyone else. I was informed by my friend Kandarpa that my brother Bibekananda did all those ‘silly things’ till he got married to a very strong personality, my elder sister in law, Namita Bau.
My next brother, Paramananda after attaining the age of eighteen followed the footprints of his elder brother, Bibekananda. He was one step further, he started the ‘silly things’ after he pronounce his threat to the victims well in advance. Therefore, there was no excessive bleeding, no complaints from any of those victims. Probably, the victims follow the one of the most infamous proverb, ‘if rape is inevitable, you better enjoy it.’
My sister, Karabi was equally arrogant and abusive to our servants and agricultural labourers.
Initially, all of them tried to mould me into their frames. But after some time, they realized, I could not be moulded like them. They realized, I am like my mother with whom my attachment was more in my early part of my life. Gradually, my father liked to spend more time with me and he became friendlier to me, what was completely missing for my brothers and sister. I am always thankful to my brothers and my sister, they never envied me on that account, rather they also loved me more and became very protective about me. Their behaviour towards me was like, a little toy (not a boy) which can do no wrong, no harm and he cannot be a threat to anyone, which can only be adored, loved and played with!
I grew in the protective umbrella of my brothers within and outside our home. I still remember one incident of my early school days. When I was in class IV, one of my classmates teased me, ‘In your family, there are two brothers and two sisters, is not it?’
I corrected him by saying, ‘No, we are three brothers and one sister.’
With a teasing tone he commented, ‘You are also a girl in your house. Is not it? Ha ha ha!’ All my classmates also started laughing.
I became very angry but instead of hitting him, I cried loudly. Within few minutes, my brothers, at that time, one was in Class Ten and one was in Class Seven, came to know about it. Within another few minutes not only my classmate who teased me, entire his relatives in the school were beaten up by my brothers and their friends. My classmate was forced to kneel down for the whole day holding a play card with a caption, ‘I am not a boy; I am a girl!’ None of the teachers intervened! Some of the boys of my class who laughed at me, were crying out of fear though none them was beaten up. On the same evening, the relatives of the family of the boy who teased me came to meet my father to tender their unconditional apology on behalf the boy. That was the clout, my family used to enjoy!
I need not have to tell that for the next six years in my school nobody had dared to tease me again. As I grew up, clout of my family had increased only. Earlier, the Government officials who were in the pay roll of my father, used to send their servants to collect their bonus from my father, now they come to collect by themselves and same was distributed by our clerks.
As expected both my brothers, with great difficulty, passed their matriculation in third division. Somehow, my sister got a second division in her matriculation and went to college for two years just for fun before her marriage. My parents were also indifferent to their results as they show their capabilities in other fields where money and power coexist.
Contrary to the results of my brothers, I passed my matriculation with star marks. My parents were happy. But my brothers advised my father to show our financial and social clout by throwing an unprecedented party to all. Taking their advice, might be for the first time, my father gave a huge party to all known persons. He gave free lunch to all his subjects(?) without any work for two days. My maternal uncles’ side, not only attended the party, but also distributed sweet packets to all those who attended the feast.
After a short but fruitful discussion with me, my father decided to send me to Cotton College, premier college of Assam. After landing at Cotton College, for the first time in my life, I faced the world as a common person. My seniors, irrespective of their background ragged me, class mates from big towns and cities behaved with me as if I am lesser mortal than them. The students from cities, whose family income were much below than ours, behave with me as if they were from kings’ family and I was from a pauper’s family. I could have avoided the humiliation meted out to me by informing my brothers who could have influenced the local political leaders to interfere. But I did not want to do that by recalling my loneliness at my village after the incident in class-IV.
Unfortunately, I found this behaviour of discriminating persons from small places, did exist even in Delhi and New York as well. Therefore, after attaining the age of 57, I have no grievance for anyone for their myopic sights those who are residing in these large cities. Still I recall, how in Delhi, the land lady doubted my gold ring as a fake one as I was from Assam.
I did better results from Cotton College than my matriculation result, due to better exposure and competition. This time my family threw a more lavish party. As usual my brothers and sister became happier than anybody else. My brothers threw a hard drinks party for their friends which was sanctioned by father for the first without asking any question. My father also organized a prayer meeting (Naam Kirtan) for my further development in educational field.
In the same year, I was also got selected to a reputed Engineering college of New Delhi through All India Entrance Examination. So I left for Delhi in the month of July of that year. My elder brother, Bibekananda accompanied me to Delhi and arranged my accommodation in a rented house near to my college after my admission to the college. However, after few months I shifted to the college hostel.
After four years, I became an engineer from that Engineering College with distinction marks. I could have joined some company or try to join Government service. Even joining to service was also not necessary considering our financial condition. But I wanted to go for further study. In the mean time I appeared for GRE. When my brother came to know that I cleared my GRE, at the insistence of my brothers, though my parents were sceptical of sending their youngest son to a place far away from home, I went to USA for my masters. To my personal satisfaction, I was also able to get 50% scholarship for my masters.
In the mean time, all my elder siblings got married. On the economic front my brothers extended my father’s empire into manifolds by diversifying their business. They have constructed huge buildings at Guwahati for themselves and invested huge amount of money in infrastructural activities including real estates. Both the brothers have opened few petrol pumps across the state. They have established a few wine shops not only at Guwahati and other cities of Assam, but also at some places in the adjoining states of Assam. By the time, they started moving in convoy with their henchman in tow.
My eldest brother, Bibekananda joined a national political party and became a member of State Legislative Assembly consecutively for last few consecutive terms.
I came to USA when I was only 23 years of age and I continue to stay in USA for next eighteen years. During that period I got married to Dorothy, a nice girl, two years’ junior in age, daughter of my PhD guide, Prof. Stuart and Mrs. Margaret Stuart.
We had a memorable love affairs prior to my marriage to her. When I informed my parents about my intention to marry Dorothy, my parents were shell-shocked. They were dead against to marry an American girl by their youngest son, who till then considered to be the most obedient child. However, again my brothers came to my rescue. They told our parents that having an American girl as their daughter in law from a reputed family would enhance the reputation of our family. ‘How many people have a daughter in law with the skin colour of Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity. America is the most advanced country today. Even the children of Aroo and Dorothy will be better than any ordinary child of India.’
Not only they were able to convince my parents for my marriage but also arranged comfortable travel for my parents to USA. My sister, Karabi with her husband, Barun and both the brothers along with their wives attended my marriage at New York City.All my friends of New York, my colleagues of our University and all the members of Stuart family attended the reception. Our marriage had been solemnized twice, first in a Church and then in a Hindu temple.
One of Indian friends staying in New York for ten years commented, ‘I have never seen any occasion when all the close members of any Indian family come for a marriage ceremony to USA when their son is marrying a girl of his own choice who is neither from his own religion nor from the same culture’.
In due course of time, we were blessed with two sons, David and Maddy with a gap of two years. But God has different ideas in his store for me. Dorothy died in an unexpected way when she was travelling from California to New York and her plane was hijacked to hit the twin towers in New York City on 9/11. On that day, before boarding into the plane, she was very happy on her phone to tell me that her musical programme was a great success at California. She was also very happy to be united to be with our extended family of Prof. Stuart and Margaret after a week. But unfortunately that never happened.
Still I recall when I last saw her off at the airport wearing a black and white stripped frock and body coloured stocking, with her bubbly hair with a new hair cut, waiving her hand sending a flying kiss running to the security check. She was somewhat in somber mood as our younger son Maddy had slight fever on the previous night of her departure to California. While hugging for the last time she said, ‘I shall be back after a week. Take care of Maddy give him medicine in time. I shall miss you. I love you darling.’
‘I shall miss you too. Without you everything around me becomes colourless. You are my love. I love you!’ I kissed her on her forehead and cheeks for the last time. I did not have any idea that was our last meeting!
When we got the news that her plane was hijacked, we were praying that the hijacker would demand for some ransom and once their demands were met she and other passengers would be freed. But that never happened and what followed is a part of history now.
But she might have premonition of her death. A few days before her death, she told me, ‘If I die, do not marry anyone till our sons clear their schools. When they will be in college they will be at least able to take care of themselves. Then marry a woman of your age who would love you more than I love you!’ I admonished her for saying something ill about our future.
But she smiled and said, ‘Nobody knows, when he or she will die, one should be prepared for the eventuality.’ I did not answer.
‘If I die tomorrow, what is your plan?’ I countered the same question.
‘No you won’t die before me! I had told you on our very first day of our meeting, you would be with me till my last day, but I may not! Moreover, I am a pious lady, I have a direct connection with God. I have an understanding!!’ She smiled mysteriously. She hugged me and told, ‘I love you darling. I cannot live without you. But you may have to live without me to look after our sons.’ I put my hand on her mouth to stop her from saying something more.
But after her demise, I sometimes think, had I able to realize her statement properly, I could have let her talk whatever she wanted to say and bestow more love and affection on her in the remaining days of her life. Though I have lot of regrets for that, I cannot blame myself on that issue at least!
After her death, I did not like to continue to stay in USA any further. Professor Stuart also did not like to interfere my personal life. But Mrs. Stuart wanted that I should continue my service in the University and continue to stay near to their home as she did not want to lose her son( she always considers me as her son) as well. However, considering my state of mind she reluctantly allowed me to come to India. She however, advised to keep our sons with her as a memory of their only child, Dorothy. Further, she told that staying in USA would be better for their professional career in future.
From the very childhood, I always support any decisions taken by my seniors in respect of my near and dear ones. This time also, I agreed to their proposal. Though initially, my parents were not in favour of leaving their grandsons in USA, considering their possible bright future in that country, they reluctantly agreed to the proposal of the Stuart family. Finally I left USA six months after death of my sweet heart by making necessary financial and other logistic arrangements.
Money had never been a problem for me from my childhood. During my University days as professor, I had written few books on my subject which are now reference books in many leading Universities. Royalties from those books are enough to enjoy a lavish life style for me and my family. I left behind all my savings from the royalty of books and salary, with my aging in laws who in turn made a trust in Dorothy’s name to help the poor students all over the globe in their studies. Two years back, I made a will to pass on all my earnings from those books to the ‘Dorothy Trust’ for the poor students. A huge amount was received against Dorothy’s life insurance which was also diverted to Dorothy Trust.
Now after fifteen years, I realized I did a good job by agreeing to the proposal to let my sons to stay in USA. Both of my sons are working in good American companies as software engineers. They are no more financially dependent on me nor their grandparents- rather they are also in a position to contribute some amount to the trust if they like.
After Dorothy’s death, when I came back to India, first I went to meet my family at Guwahati. At that time my parents were alive and they were staying mostly in Guwahati. Due to their ill health they seldom visited our village. On some festivals and on some family functions, they used to visit our old residence and stay for few days only.
My parents told me to stay with them. But I did not agree to their proposal and categorically I told them that I wanted to stay in Delhi only. This time also my brothers came for my rescue ( as they see another window of opportunity) and they not only supported my idea but also purchased a large flat for me. In due course of time, supporting my proposals they helped themselves, as usual, in extending their business empire to Delhi.
After completion of all formalities regarding purchase of the ready for occupation flat a prayer was organised. Except my parents, all the family members came for the puja (prayer) and both my sister in laws and my sister stayed back for few more days. They engaged an interior decorator for internal decoration of my house. The interior decorator took three months to face lift my flat to a dream flat. However, in the process my brothers have to cough up few hundred thousand Rupees before they handed over the flat to me. I need not have to mention it again that the entire amount of expenditure on the flat was borne by my brothers though I could have spent the amount myself.
I found a reasonable good job in a training institute for me and I am staying in Delhi since then.
Initially, all my relatives including my parents were pressing for my re-marriage. But I stubbornly resisted their attempt. After few months they also stopped asking me for a remarriage.
In the mean time, my brothers and sister made my residence as their base camp for opening their business in Delhi as well. I also liked their company whenever they were around. My nephews and nieces are also regular visitors to my house. My two sons, David and Maddy also use to come once in a year. Whenever my sons visit my Delhi house, all their cousins make a point to visit my residence. During those days, my house appears to be small for so many persons.
For my comfort a couple from Assam have been arranged to look after my comfort on 24×7 basis for the whole year. When they go to Assam once in year for a month or so, earlier my sister in laws and after wards, their daughter in law, Ajanta used to stay with me so that I do not miss homemade meal. My brother’s daughter in law, Ajanta, whenever she stayed with me, she behaved like my deceased mother, who tried to control my daily routines. Initially I did not like any interference from her. But later on I started enjoying that and then I started to look forward her arrival. As I do not have a daughter, she fills the gap. My brothers also say, she remains your ten percent daughter in law and becomes your hundred percent daughter. Therefore, I used to look forward for her visit eagerly always. In a nutshell, my family members never allowed me to feel lonely for last fourteen years after Dorothy’s death. However, her memory always disturbs me whenever, I get a chance to be alone!
At present, in my residence in Delhi, one room is completely dedicated to the photographs of my married life with Dorothy, our children, her parents and few photographs of mine. Responsibility to upkeep the room is vested with my daughter in law, though sometimes other ladies of my family enter this room for cleaning etc. Servants are not allowed to enter to this room and even if none other than me is present for few days. In those days, I do the cleaning etc. by myself. In any case, nobody, other than my family members, is allowed to enter to this room.
After I thwarted the demand of my parents, brothers and sister for my remarriage, I am enjoying my so called ‘single status’ since then on personal front. Though, I had been always faithful to my lovely wife Dorothy, after her death, I made ‘one night relation’ with a number of ladies particularly during my tour to other places. So far, I have never brought any unrelated lady to stay overnight at my residence as I always think my residence is a pilgrimage for me due to strong presence of fond memory of Dorothy which I do not want to vitiate at any cost. However, occasionally some lady colleagues use to visit my residence purely for fulfilling professional duties. Unfortunately or fortunately, no steady relation with any lady had been developed till Ajanta, my daughter in law brought a proposal to which I had to succumb.
Thanks to family members, particularly due to Ajanta, I never feel lonely in Delhi. Few years back, Sugata and Ajanta had decided to shift to Delhi so that their children can study in Delhi and if necessary to look after me at my old age. Though I told them to stay with me, they refused my offer by saying that they would not come between me and memory of Dorothy Aunty. Finally three years back, they had shifted to Delhi by purchasing a new flat which is hardly half a KM away from my residence.
After dropping their children at the school, Ajanta always visits my residence to see whether I have taken blood pressure medicine, breakfast etc. Then she would instruct my servants what to cook for lunch and dinner. She would also choose my dress for those days when there is some special occasion in the institute or on my personal fronts.
My father left us forever six years ago. At the time of his death, my father called my brothers (I was away in Delhi) and told, ‘I do not know whether I was a good father or not. But I always tried to fulfil your needs as per best of my abilities. I love my family all the time and I did whatever best for my family only. I am sure, both of you will be able to run our family affairs better than I. But I always have an unknown fear for my little Aroo. He is always controlled by his heart even though he has the best brain amongst all of us. I want to hand over Aroo to both of you. Always look after him as your eldest son not as your younger brother. He already lost his love, Dorothy, my lovely innocent soul, at a very early age and yet to recover from that loss emotionally. He should not carry on his sad feelings of her loss throughout his life. It is your combined duty to pull him out of that state of mind and make him happy as far as possible. He should not feel that he does not have a father at my death.’
They promised before the dying old man that so long they (my elder brothers) are alive, no evil will ever dare to touch their younger brother. Not only my brothers are keeping their promise but also they have passed on the legacy to the next generation as well.
Human relations are the most complicated issues to be understood. My brothers, who are known toughie for everyone around but they are the softest persons for me and other close family members. Similarly, my sister who is one of the most foul mouthed lady, I have ever met in the world, addresses me with the sweetest words whenever we talk. My sister in laws may have differences among them, but of late, when my interest crops up, both become united to meet my interest without expecting anything in return from me. My elder bother’s daughter in law is always behaving like my own daughter, never had any problem in discussing her personal problems with me. Sometimes, even she complains against her husband Sugata and her children. My nephew also feels that if I sided with his wife, I am always justified and says sorry for the misdeed meted out towards his wife. I love this young lady as if she was born from Dorothy’s womb. Her body fragrance is like my own sons who are staying physically with their grandparents some 12000 KM away from me but mentally staying with me only. Other nephews and nieces are also behave like my own children all the time.
These all relations are emanated from my parents, who were origin of all the relations mentioned above. But, some relations are not originated from blood relations. Jetuki Aunty, with whom I had my first physical relation, had always a soft corner for me till her death. At her death bed, she wanted to see me for the last time. I also flew to Guwahti from Delhi to see her at Guwahati Medical College Hospital, forgetting her plan to trap me through Ramala. She breathed her last holding my hands to her chest. Everyone present there, except my brother Paramananda and me, who knew her game plan, perhaps thought that she was thinking me as her own son and that is why she wanted to meet me at the last moments of her life. Seting aside her long term crooked game plan, I thought at that time, I might be the first and last lover of her who had given her the feeling of a woman of substance. I always remember as the most effective one off physical partner in my life. I never loved her as my girl friend nor lover except for one night when we had an explosive physical relation. Never the less, I always respect her as a lady with intelligence, with futuristic vision and selfless mother for her daughters. Ramala was consciously absent at her dying moment.
Relation with Ramala was completely different. I never loved the girl but always wanted to enjoy her physically before anyone else had made physical relation with her. My attraction towards her was limited to physical one and once I enjoyed her on that fateful night, I did not ever try to even meet her till I came to know that her first son was a biological child of mine. My mother took care of my love child all educational and sundry expenses knowing that he( my love child) was also a grandson of her but unfortunately, bloomed in a pool of mud. My father had always defended my sordid one night affair as an accident. But my parents never discussed about that with me. My brothers knew about the episode and defended tooth and nail, but they also never mentioned about that in front of me. But when once a friend of mine confided that my brothers told in some place that, they were very proud of my one night raid to that puny Ramala who was otherwise very proud to her beauty, only then I came to know that I had always in the radar of my brothers. According to them, by busting her pride and forcefully impregnating her, I proved myself a true brother and proud son of Baruah family. My brothers realized later on that Ramala was not a proud girl but a selfless true lover of their younger brother, which is me.
However, despite of hatred for Ramala at that time, I am told that after knowing that she was carrying my love child, both of them were very kind to Ramala and always helped her in her difficult days. When Bikash after knowing about the secret of his first son, he thrashed Ramala, my brothers took the lead for her separation with Bikash and rest has become a history now. When my love son, Ajay also came to know about his birth secret from his wife, Alaka after his marriage to her, which was confirmed later on from his mother Ramala, he became very upset and might be very angry as well on me. But I am told by Ajanta that he had no further grudge on me because of the explanation for the unfortunate situation given to him by my elder brother Bibekananda.
So far I am concerned, other than my blood related persons and their relations through marriage, truly I loved one person in this world, that was Dorothy. I loved everything about her. She was incomparable with anybody on this earth. Whenever I am alone in the darkness, still I hear her voice, still I smell her body fragrance, still I hear the sound of her coming, still I feel the pinching of her dark brown hair, still her smile disturbs me and still I am disturbed by those wonderful nights before the births of our children and after that. She was for me and I shall remain for her till my death. Once I told my parents, when they pressurized for my remarriage, ‘I would remarry any girl who would be 10% of Dorothy in my eyes.’ After that my parents never asked for my remarriage. Dorothy is my first and last love.
But, yes, after Dorothy’s death, just to full fill my physical needs, I had one night affairs with many ladies and I found that none is comparable with one percent of Dorothy. Even these ladies were not comparable with Jetuki Aunty in terms of energy and seductiveness. No, I do not have any regret for having one night affair with many ladies after death of Dorothy. But I have and will always have a guilt feeling that I made physical relation with Ramala with a criminal intent to enjoy her physically without her unconditional assent, that too just after having a physical relation with her own mother exactly one year ago. I sometimes blame myself for losing Dorothy for that dreaded sin of having physical relation with mother and daughter, though I always think that physical contact with Jetuki Aunty was an accident on my part. But I cannot condone myself for what happened with Ramala exactly on the same festive day one year after. I strongly believe that God had never forgiven me for committing that unpardonable sin. My belief got another confirmation when Ramala died in a tragic accident recently.
I concealed only one fact from Dorothy that she was not the first lady in my life with whom I made physical relation. However, I need not have to tell a lie to her either as she never asked me that question. I did not divulge that truth because I always feared that it would lead to a sour relation with Dorothy which I could not have tolerated. Sometimes I feared, in extreme case, if had I told her, she would have left me which might be devastating for me and my family. It was beyond my capacity of my heart to take that risk.
I did not tell Jetuki Aunty episode to Ramala only to honour Jetuki Aunty dignity before her daughter. Otherwise, I had told about my physical relations with all other ladies to Ramala. I could tell about those ladies, as I was not at all emotionally involved with Ramala initially. Gradually, when I was involved emotionally with Ramala also, I stopped mentioning about those ladies to avoid hurting the sentiment of Ramala.
I saw Dorothy for the first time from behind when she was waiting for her father in his chamber. I, being the most favorite student of Professor Stuart, occasionally made crash-door entry to his chamber. On that particular day, it was a ‘Eureka Day’ for me as I was able to find out a desired result on some experiments and out of excitement I made an entry to his room without making a customary knocking at the door. When I saw a young lady was sitting on the sofa and Professor was not seen nearby, I was about to have nervous breakdown for not following minimum etiquette of knocking the door while entering to others room. I saw a young lady with brown curly hair, wearing a maroon over coat was sitting criss-crossing her long legs covered with black stockings. She understood my mental shock and said smilingly, ‘I am Dorothy, I am waiting for my Dad. Are you Mr. Aroon Baruah?’
She asked me with a very relaxed voice which gave me a pleasant surprise as I was not expecting the young lady would know my name. Though, I had heard her name many times before in her home and also saw her in a number of photographs in their family album I could not recognise her immediately as seeing a person in person and in photograph is always a different proposition. Softness in her voice and her sweet smile floored me immediately. I became more nervous when I made an eye to eye contact with her. I felt something inside me and probably, I heard my own heart beats. I felt something new which was never experienced by me in past.
Looking at my perplexed look, she told, ‘Do not be surprised, Mr. Aroon, many times, my parents told about you and seeing you, even though I have not seen you before, I could imagine you must be Mr. Aroon Baruah only. You must have seen my photograph earlier!’
‘You are right. I saw your photographs in your family album.’ I murmured.
Then with a clear voice I told her, ‘Whenever, I visited your residence, I met only your mother, Mrs. Stuart with your Dad and my guide, Professor Stuart. As you are staying outside, I have not got any opportunity to meet you. Today, I am lucky to meet you!’
I instantly realized that Dorothy had a very strong magnetic power to attract me towards her which I had never thought she would have. I was not sure whether she was very beautiful or not- actually I never tried to find out that at any time in thirteen years when she was alive and even after fifteen years of her most unfortunate demise.
I shook hand before sitting on the chair opposite to Dorothy. The moment I touched her hand, I felt like getting another unknown shock passing through my body-hitherto never experienced. In USA, everyday, I had to shake hands with many ladies, but I felt something new when I shook my hand with her. I felt the same feeling on touching her hand till the last day before she lost her life in the hands of some fanatic people after thirteen years of our first meeting. Whenever, her memory comes to my mind, my eyes become moist even after her death fifteen years ago. My life has started revolving around her from that day!
After few minutes of our first togetherness, her father and my guide appeared in his chamber. With a broad smile he introduced his daughter to me, ‘Probably you might have introduced yourself by the time. Anyway, she is my only child, Dorothy. Perhaps Maggy already told you that, she is doing her masters in Indian music at Washington. I told about you many times to her.’ With a pause he said, ‘But do not worry, I have already told her that you do not know anything about Indian music. Therefore, she will not ask you anything about Indian music!’ He stopped there.
I could not understand whether Prof. Stuart had given me comfort or taunted me for not knowing anything about Indian music. But I did not have much time to ponder about the sentence as by the time my whole mind was occupied with Dorothy, Dorothy’s sweet smile, her voice, her expressive eyes and her soft hands all started ruling over my mind. For the time being, I did not want to hear anything except her voice and did not want to see beyond her eyes.
After half an hour they left for their home and I left for my one room apartment. I did not like to take any dinner for the night. I tried to munch some dry fruits, but I could not do so. Finally, I took a large mug of coffee before going to bed. I tried to sleep. But trying to sleep became a futile exercise for me on that night.
For the first time, a young lady stole my whole night’s sleep. Her face, her voice, her eyes and her soft hands disturbed me whole night. In the early morning, I went to sleep for some time when I saw a very peculiar dream. Dorothy and I were walking hand in hand for a long distance and then she left me and entered into darkness. She did not come back and I was crying a lot like a small kid. My parents appeared before me. They consoled me, but I did not stop crying till I woke up. I could not understand the meaning of the dream, till she left me forever after barely thirteen years from that day.
For me, that was case of ‘love at first sight’.
After our marriage one day she narrated me whole development in her mind after our first meeting on that day. She had liked me much before our first meeting due to her liking and subsequently learning Indian music and because of excellent feedback on me from her parents. But when she met me personally for the first time on that day, she also felt something which was completely unknown to her. For some time, she tried to find out the reason for such a feeling. First she thought she would discuss the matter with her mother explaining about her experience of the new feeling. But hesitation prevented her from telling about the new feeling to her mother. She telephoned her best friend Gabby and told her experience about the first meeting with me.
Gabby immediately solved her problem, ‘You are in love with him, Dorothy. You fell in deep gorge. I fear, you may not be able to come out that pit fall in your life; even if you will be able to come out, it may take a long time. I do not know how your parents will feel about love affairs of their only child to an Indian!’ She gave a short lecture on her own first love as well.
‘Are you sure, I fell in love with him. If so, I shall not allow him to go away from me; no matter what comes on my way. I shall also try my best to convince my parents to give their permission to nurture our relation.’ Dorothy was very soft spoken but extremely determined to get what she wanted.
Next day, I was hoping to see her again. But she did not come with her father nor did she come afterwards. I was under tremendous pressure to see her face once again. But how can I do that? Further, there was a weekend ahead. Therefore, it was unlikely to meet her before Monday, if at all she would come. I was more depressed thinking about that.
Professor Stuart also noticed my disturbed look. He asked me with concern in his voice, ‘Is everything alright, Mr. Baruah? “
‘Yes sir.’ Though I answered ‘yes’ but my answer sounded as if everything was not alright.
He looked at my face for a moment. Then he said, ‘Today you look awesome. I think you are mentally disturbed due to some reasons. You can share your problem with me. I am not only your guide but also like your father.’
‘No sir, I am alright!’ I tried to smile.
He thought for a while. ‘Ok, you come with me to my home after your classes for dinner. As a young man you will be able to share your problem with Dorothy. I do not want to see your gloomy face on a weekend!’
Oh my God! What I was hearing! I agreed immediately to his proposal.
When we reached their house, she was wearing an ordinary gown without any make-up. In her ordinary gown and without any makeup she looked more attractive in my eyes than yesterday. As I approached her, I could smell her body fragrance. That was a stunning attraction for me. Throughout our married life, I always find her more attractive without any makeup and in her ordinary dress and the fragrance of her body without any deodorant or scent. Throughout our married life, Dorothy used to fight with me maximum number of times on that issue only, why I could not appreciate her when she was on a makeup or worn a beautiful and costly dress. I did not have any answer for that. But I knew she always enjoyed our fight on that issue.
When she welcomed me to her study room, following her, I asked, ‘When you are going back to Washington?
‘Why? Do not you like me to be here for some more days? Will you be happier if I go to my hostel tomorrow itself?’
‘No’. I fumbled.
‘I have completed my studies and till I get a job, I shall stay here with my parents. Any problem?’ She teased me.
‘No, Not at all,’ I gave small answer.
An unknown happiness struck my mind. I did not want to ask any more question which would invite another three questions. I was enjoying the smell of her body. I could not find any subject to discuss with her. I was totally short of words to tell something to her.
Silent descended into her study room for few minutes before Dorothy broke it, ‘Are you going back to India after your PhD? What is your future plan?’
‘Till yesterday, I was thinking to go back to India. But I think, I shall not be able to go back to India after my Ph D. Even after that it will not very easy to leave New York City.’ After uttering these three sentences, I was wondering what I had told to her and why.
She, with a twinkling eyes asked, ‘What happened yesterday? Did you meet someone special?’
‘Yes and no. I do not know the exact answer. I think it is yes from my point of view. But I do not know whether the person, whom I am referring wants to be a special one for me or not. Even I do not know whether it is appropriate to discuss with you my personal matter at this juncture.’ Taking a pause I wanted to gauge her reaction.
‘Actually yesterday night I could not sleep at all after meeting someone for the first time.’ I wanted to convey the message, who was the person about whom I was referring without explicitly telling the name of the person.
Before she commented on my confession, her mother called us for tea. Her mother had been always kind to me. Frankly speaking, she filled up the void of my mother in a foreign country.
While serving tea, she asked me, ‘Stuart told me that you were very upset today. What is the matter? You can share with me, my son.’
Her consoling voice almost made me cry like a baby. Somehow, I controlled my emotion and told her, ‘Nothing special Madam. Yesterday, I thought I should continue my further study for a post doctorate degree here itself and in the process, I may miss my family for another one or few more years.’ I twisted the version what I told to Dorothy.
From the corner of eyes I noticed Dorothy was smiling. Mrs. Stuart did not hide her happiness about my decision. ‘If that is the reason, I am more than happy. I am a selfish woman- I do not know why, I always like your presence here. But yes, I am sorry for your mom. But she has two other sons at her disposal. I have none!’
I had never doubted her feeling about me- she always treat me as her own son. One day, she said to me that it was very unfortunate for her that I was born from a different womb.
She stood up from her chair and came to me and put my head to her chest like my own mom and comforted me, ‘I understand your concern, my son. You take permission from your mother to stay back. She must be waiting for completion of your study to be back to be with her again.’
I could not utter anything. Tears were coming out and probably made dress of Maggy madam. She patted me like my mom when I was a little kid. He patted my back. I was happy to release some steam out of my mind.
‘I was expecting, both of you will do some melodrama.’ Dorothy started giggling. Prof. Stuart only smiled without uttering any word.
After taking our dinner, before leaving their house, I whispered to Dorothy whether we could meet again on the next day. She smiled but did not answer.
Next day she met me outside our college after my classes. We went to a nearby coffee house. Coffee was ordered. I was thinking how to start a conversation. I was in hurry to tell her that I love her. I was thinking, what would be her reaction if I say so. After all it was only the third day we were meeting.
She had always been an enigma for me. She was able to read my mind on that day and for the next thirteen years she always did it effortlessly. She asked me a pointed question, ‘Why did you tell my mother that you are interested to prolong your stay in USA for further study?’
‘That is a fact.’ I told her with some hesitation in my voice.
‘Again you are lying and I must say, you are looking hopeless in lying. I warn you for whole of your future life, do not dare to tell any lie before me.’ I realized that she had sufficient confidence in catching my lie. But I did not bogged down by her warning.
‘You will go to your place tomorrow or day after. After that we may not meet again in our life. Therefore, your warning has no practical value at all for me.’ I tried to laugh.
‘Very smart! Do you want that?’ She was stern in her question.
‘No. I did not want that. Have I ever said that?’ I was becoming little bolder.
‘Then, why do not tell the truth.’ She demanded.
I kept quiet for a while. I was trying to gather sufficient courage to tell Dorothy the dreaded three words sentence which I had never ever said to any girl from my heart. I saw to her eyes and I saw her eyes encouraging me to share the eternal truth with her.
‘Yes. I was lying to your mom. I was lying to you also few minutes before. I do not want to tell you any lie in whole of my life, if and only if, you are ready to be with me whole of my life.’ I proposed my love without uttering the dreaded three words’ sentence, ‘I love you.’
She smiled and said, ‘I can promise you that till my death I shall be with you but I cannot promise you that I shall be with you till your last day. I want to breathe my last in your arms only. Yes dear, I love you. I fell in your love day before yesterday and I do not want to rise from there.’ She stood from her seat. I also did. She hugged me and whispered again, ‘I love you. I want to be mother of your child!’
‘Without you, I cannot live. I love you darling.’ I reciprocated with a whisper.
I never thought that I shall be able to propose a lady on the third day of our meeting and she would also accept my proposal with a straight bat.
How prophetic she was on that day! She was with me till her last day, though unfortunately, she could not breathe her last on my arms. As she wished, I am now alone without her and have to breathe my last without her, except with fond memory of her.
On the first Saturday after becoming two love birds, she took me to a hospital. ‘Are you not well?’ I was not worried.
‘No, I am alright!’ She smiled and said, ‘I regularly visit this hospital. You will know very soon, why I am visiting them!’
When I saw many medical staff welcomed her, I understood that she was well known to them being a regular visitor. Finally, she stopped at the blood bank of the hospital. The receptionist, a young lady, shook her hand and greeted her, ‘Good to see you after six months, Ms. Stuart! How do you do?’
‘I am good. How are you? Meet my fiancée, Dr. Baruah.’ Dorothy introduced me.
After shaking my hand, the receptionist asked, ‘Are you also donating blood?’
In India donating blood is a huge emotional, physical and social issue. Being an conservative Indian, I never donated blood. We were taught that blood donation is one of the most noble donation but we never allow our children to follow that great advice. I was also not an exception. I know it is good for society and good even for own health, but till that day, I had never donated blood.
But to impress Dorothy, I promptly agreed to donate blood. Afterwards, I came to know, Dorothy was a regular blood donor.
Then Dorothy led to the section where terminally ill patients were staying. Dorothy could not recognize any of the patient as all the patients she met six months before had expired. But the attending doctor welcomed her and introduced her to the patients as one of the students from Washington who was a regular provider of voluntary services to the patients.
For the next one year we met each other whenever we get a chance or a half chance as she was completing her internship in Washington and I was with her family in New York doing my post doctorate studies. During our pre-marriage dating, I had never gone beyond kissing on her forehead-though I hugged her tightly whenever we meet and whenever we depart. Her parents were very happy about our relation. During our courtship, I was able to peep into her inner beauty and came to know about Dorothy, how beautiful she was from inside!
She was the only child of Professor Stuart and Margaret Stuart. Naturally she was the only centre of attraction of the couple and her grandparents. But unlike other ‘only child’, she was very compassionate to others problem and never acted as a selfish arrogant child. She had been always truthful to everyone including to herself. She was aware of my existence and liking of her parents for me before she met me. But after meeting me on the first day she had a feeling that she could live with me for rest of her life. She could understand that, I also loved her immediately after our first meet. She did not want to waste her time in lingering on the issue whether to love me/ marry me and therefore, she took immediate decision to marry me. Once she took the decision on that she wanted to hear the same from me at the earliest. In the hind sight, now I think she might have a premonition that she had only few years to live, then why we should lose time! When she smiles or giggles, she did with from her heart, there was no artificial flavour on those smiles and giggles. Still after her death fourteen years ago, I try to hear her giggles and see her smile at night when nobody is around me.
Exactly after one year of our first meeting, we were married in presence of their family members and our family members. Both my brothers presented Dorothy beautiful and expensive Indian ornaments (which had no relevance in USA) but Dorothy took those with all humility. She kept those ornaments in her treasured box and occasionally mentioned about those. Dorothy visited India several times before and after birth of my two sons. She had been comfortable with my family despite of wide cultural difference between two of us. She used to visit the paddy fields of our village during harvesting season. Though in agricultural planting season she wanted to visit our village, I did not take her fearing her health might be affected by very wet Monsoon of Assam. Whenever, she visited Assam during Monsoon, I took her up to Guwahati only where my brothers have two palatial buildings. But she always liked to stay in our village house and talk with village ladies. However, during all our visits to the village, always Jetuki Aunty, a very close lady of our family, was not available in the village and as such Dorothy was not able to meet her. I always wondered why Jetuki Aunty was always out of the village, during our visits. However, I came to know the actual reason of her absence only after Dorothy’s death. She was not allowed to stay in the village by our parents during our stay in the village.
After overcoming initial hesitation, my mother also became good friend of Dorothy. One day my mother confessed to me, ‘Dorothy is the best gift God has ever given to me and our family. I am thankful to you for marrying such a wonderful soul and make me mother-in-law of her. I still repent about the day when I opposed your marriage without knowing her.’
My sister and sister in laws became friendly to her within a very short time after our marriage. My father occasionally talk to her and appeared to be indifferent to her till she was about to be a mother. My observations about indifference of my father towards, Dorothy fell flat when my father reached New York before delivery of my first son. My father flew to New York to see his youngest (till then) member of his family well in advance. He stayed in the corridor of the hospital before arrival of David. In between he had to attend at least ten calls from my mother and brothers. He had gone to the hotel to sleep only after he saw the face of the new born and Dorothy. Dorothy always talked about my parents very highly before her friends and relatives.
Dorothy had never been a very good cook. But she always tried to learn cooking so that she can provide best food to our sons and me. She usually went to bed late after reading some books and enjoy some TV programme. Contrary to that I always sleep early and leave the bed early. Therefore, I used to offer bed tea to her. Before taking tea she always used to give me a thank you kiss on my lips. Sometimes I said to her, ‘You always try to spoil my teeth by kissing me without brushing your teeth.’ She was aware when I used to say that sentence. She used to give me another kiss with much more duration.
Dorothy was not only a good wife and daughter but also a wonderful mother for her sons. Due to birth our sons, within a gap of two years, she had to leave her only passion, practice of Indian music. But she never showed her unhappiness over it. I used to say, ‘after Maddy would go to high school I would be able to pursue my career in Indian music once again.’
As a pleasant surprise for all of us, she started to pursue her passion much before Maddy went to high school.
I saw this lady from my childhood and she happened to be very considerate to me all along in my life. She and her family were known to my father before her marriage to Nomal uncle of our village. Nomal uncle was not our relative but was known for his faithfulness towards my father. He was not a healthy man, but villagers used to fear him as he was dubbed as my father’s ears and eyes. He had made many enemies for that. When my father proposed her hands for Nomal uncle, the family of Jetuki Aunty was not happy considering the fact that she was very beautiful in comparison with Nomal uncle. Further, there was 10 years age difference between them which was also a major concern for the family. But a proposal from my father was not easy to be rejected by any father whose income was not sufficient to meet the needs of his family. Family of Jetuki Aunty was no exception. They had to succumbed to the pressure. They agreed to my father’s proposal without showing any apparent dissent. I am told that Jetuki Aunty cried a lot for many days before her parents and pleaded before them to cancel the marriage Nomal uncle. But parents did not want to face the fury of my father’s anger and marriage was solemnized on the scheduled date. On that day and after the marriage, thinking about her future with her weak, inefficient and drunkard husband, she cried a lot.
Whether one likes it or not, mostly Indian marriages survive only due to many compulsions from the women’s point of view. In this case also, Jetuki Aunty stayed with Nomal uncle for her entire life till he died after 30 years of married life due to social and economic compulsion only. During that period the couple were blessed with two daughters, one is Ramala and another is Arati. After birth of two daughters, the socio-economic compulsion to continue her marriage life with Nomal uncle had also been enhanced in many folds. Fortunately, both the girls became very beautiful as they grew and for that, Jetuki Aunty was very proud till her death.
During that period my unmarried brothers were in prowl for beautiful poor girls to satisfy their dirty desires. But both Ramala and Arati were spared from the roving eyes of my brothers due to two different reasons. When Arati attained puberty, both of my brothers were married. So far I know my brothers were never involved in such activities after their marriages.
But Ramala became a beautiful young lady, during the same period when my brothers were lurking for preys. Even then, Ramala was spared due to some other emotional reasons, which you will know in the next chapter.
I heard many times Jetuki Aunty was complaining to my mother how her husband was inefficient in all spheres. So far financial part is concerned, my mother used to help her in her needs with or without knowledge of my father. But my mother, despite of her best efforts could not make Nomal uncle understand that drinking country liquor is not good for his own health and financially and economically for his family. He was a real hardcore drunkard. He could live without food for days but he was unable to live without drink. He was totally alcohol addict and was not interested to look after his family. His drinking habit increased as his age grew. Initially lot of fight broke out between husband and wife for that ugly habit of Nomal uncle. But Jetuki Aunty stopped fighting with her drunkard husband once Ramala started going to high school and Arati started going to primary school. I do not know why my mother decided to take financial responsibility of two girls so far their education is concerned.
Jetuki Aunty was a very intelligent lady though she was illiterate. She understood from her early childhood the importance of education. Though her husband was against for sending their daughters to school, she was adamant to send her daughters to school. There was big a fight on this issue when for the first time Ramal was sent to school without knowledge of Nomal uncle. The fight was so intense that, my father also came to know about it and ordered Nomal to send the children to the school. Thus the first round of fight was awarded to Jetuki Aunty.
When my mother took over the financial liability of the educational expenses of two daughters, practically Nomal did not have any option but to allow the daughters to continue their study further.
It is because of my mother’s financial assistance and Jetuki Aunty’s dogmatic approach for higher studies, Ramala could complete her 12th standard and Arati could complete her graduation. So far Arati’s education beyond 12th standard is concerned, my eldest sister in law borne all her educational expenses. My sister in law spent entire expenses of Arati’s marriage. As Ramala eloped with Bikash when she was only nineteen, there was no marriage expense on Ramala. However, due to turn of events, not only Ramala but her eldest son also came under financial and social protection of our family. Jetuki Aunty was very happy for those turning points of her life.
As I grew, I observed Jetuki Aunty was taking special care to look after me. My mother also used to like her for taking my extra care. Whenever I visit her at her home, she used to give me tea and snacks with utmost devotion. At my own home also whenever she was around, she used to prepare tea or some special snacks for me. But while doing so, she always kept a distance which differentiates her social status and mine. She never sat on a chair or sofa at my home. Even when I visit her house she never sat with me. She would offer a chair to me and she would sit nearby me on a small stool. As I grew, she started maintain more difference though I always tried to fill the gaps. I was always friendly to her and sometimes shared some jokes also. On my jokes she sometimes smiles, but many a time she does not react even. I understood from my tender age, she was not happy with Nomal uncle. Initially I thought she was not happy because the couple had lot of financial problems. After that I thought she was not happy because Nomal uncle was not only poor but also a drunkard. At the late teen, I realized she was not happy not only because he was poor and drunkard but because of him, she was missing something more than richness and lack of teetotaller habits.
But about Jetuki Aunty’s true character, I came to know only when my brother Paramananda told some facts to me a few years back. My brother came to know about all her ill motives when some very interesting but confidential facts were shared by Nomal uncle at the time of his death with my brother.
Nomal Uncle told my brother that, all along she tried to seduce my father and my brothers to her ever charming web so that their married lives get affected. Otherwise, she could have flinch money blackmailing my father or my brothers. But she failed in her attempts due to faithful nature of my father and brothers towards their spouses.
On that fateful day (details I share with you all in the coming chapters), she was able to trap me by keeping her daughter Ramala alone at their home as bait. Nomal uncle was instructed by her to raise hue and cry when I would be in a compromising position with Ramala. But Nomal uncle did not do it considering long association with our family. He did not follow the instruction of Jetuki Aunty, might be, due to fear of very strong retaliation from our family.
As I left for Delhi in the next morning itself and from next year onwards, I could not my visit my village as regularly as earlier and finally I left for New York City after three years, she could not get time to lay another trap for me.
As promised to Ramala while persuading to become bait for me, she had to allow Ramala to elope with Bikash after a month after the eventful night. Ramala was not a part of the conspiracy of Jetuki Aunty and she was unaware of her pregnancy at the time of eloping with Bikash. But when Ramala came to know about her pregnancy, she confided to her mother. At that time only Ramala came to know about the intension of her mother. Jetuki Aunty wanted to seize the opportunity to flinch Baruah family to keep the information a secret. She was expecting that family would give her lot of money to keep her mouth shut. Alternatively she had a Plan-B as a part of the whole game plan. If my family would not believe they (Nomal uncle and Jetuki Aunty) would join the rival political camp and expected to make the life hell for our family as Nomal uncle knew many dark secrets about our family which might be not very good for an aspiring political young man like my elder brother Bibekanand.
But when her version that Ramala was impregnated by me was accepted even without any verification, she had to remain faithful to our family, at least outwardly. My family’s generosity for providing all out help to Ramala and the child in her womb made Nomal uncle more stub-born supporter of my father which weakened Jetuki Aunty’s position to make another plot to tarnish the image of my family. Further, by the time Ramala became very much sympathetic towards me and saw me as a victim of her mother’s conspiracy. In due course of time Ramala started hating Bikash for his inefficiency and drinking habit. Further, from the very beginning Ramala used to love me from her heart and eloping with Bikash was nothing but a compromise of a poor girl.
Jetuki Aunty was a true fighter. She was down but not out. She tried to lay another trap using Arati’s charm. I do not know whether I would fall prey to her trap or not but, due to my absence from my village in the subsequent years, she could not lay another trap for me using Arati as another bait.
As turn of event, she had diagnosed uterus cancer after few years. Though she survived, she lost her confidence to make some other plan to hurt our family. Further, she became completely dependent on our family for all her medical expenses.
On asking why she did all these things, Nomal uncle said to take revenge on my father for marrying her to Nomal uncle. She had never been happy with Nomal uncle on all accounts: financially, physically, emotionally and socially.
But knowing all these facts, I felt little bit dejected, Jetuki Aunty failed to seduce my father and my brothers, but able to seduce me. She was almost able to trap me through her daughter, but all along I was under the impression that, I was able to lure Ramala to have a physical relation with me. Probably, that is the reason why all my family members think that still I am a kid!
Ramala was the first issue of Jetuki Aunty and Nomal Uncle. She was borne after one year of their married life. Jetuki Aunty had faced life threatening problem during her delivery. She was taken to the district hospital by my father where she had a caesarean operation and Ramala was born. Being the first child of the couple she was loved by both the parents. Whenever, Jetuki Aunty came to our home, she was a constant companion of her mother. She was only one year younger than I. During early days she used to fight with me on trivial issues. But as we grew, she was taught by her mother, Jetuki Aunty about our social status and in the process she started avoiding me. Though she tried to avoid me, due to close relation between the families, neither of us could ignore each other’s presence. In any family function, the entire family of Nomal uncle used to be present and had to work overtime. During those days, I used to see Ramala from a close proximity. I had seen her growing faster than my growth as in the early years girls grow more than boys. When I was ten, at nine she was much taller than I. But in due course of time I became six feet tall and her height stopped at five feet two or three. During this period she attained puberty.
In rural Assam, when a girl attains puberty, it becomes a big celebration time for all the women of the village. It is called ‘tolani bia’(second marriage- though it is not a second marriage in real terms).The girl is kept in isolation for a week and on the seventh day all the formalities of a marriage are observed for the young girl except the oath taking with a groom. But to substitute the groom, a small banana tree is used for marriage. However, the ritual may differ place to place across the state. One common thing is about the artificial marriage is throwing a party to the women of the neighbourhood. How much fanfare will be there, depends upon the status of the parents of the girl. When my sister attains puberty, along with our relatives, all the women of three villages were given a lavish party. Even the males were also given another lavish party at night on the pretext of a community prayer. My sister was given lot of gifts by our relatives from both sides. My father also gave her a costly set of jewellery.
Ramala had not been that privileged girl. Her puberty ceremony was a mute affair. Jetuki Aunty called some of neighbourhood women for performing the necessary rituals. My mother gave her a silk sari and light gold chain which otherwise Ramala’s parents could not have purchased. She wore that sari on the ceremonial day. Though, boys are not welcomed in those ceremonies, being from the most influential family, I got the privileged to peep into Ramala’s marriage and for the first time, I realized she was very beautiful compared to other girls of the village.
On that night, at the dining table, my mother said to my father, ‘Had Ramala been from a better family, she would have been a good choice for one of our sons!’
But my father snubbed my mother, ‘Do not even think for that! At best she can be a kept for one of my son, if you wish.’
Looking at my mother’s face, I could guess that my mother was hurt by my father’s extremely arrogant statement. But she could not dare to discuss the issue further. Though, I did not know the meaning of ‘kept’ on that day, I could understand that it is a derogatory word for any woman. But my father’s statement opened a window for me, ‘I can keep Ramala with me for whole life without marrying her.’
At an early age, I had to leave my home after my tenth examination as there was no good college nearby me. As I reached my college, I learnt many things about relation between girls and boys. Though I never loved Ramala, as time passed I was physically attracted to her. I understood from her body language, she was also attracted to me. But I misread one basic thing about our relation. She was attracted towards me both physically, emotionally and spiritually and I was attracted to her only physically. She might also be unaware of that fact. In that case, my brothers were also misled. They were under the impression that I was also attracted to Ramala both physically and emotionally. However, that misunderstanding had saved her from the roving eyes of my very aggressive brothers. Jetuki Aunty was also happy under the circumstances to save her daughter from the clutches of my brothers. Otherwise, there was every likelihood that Ramala would have also been also a victim of my brothers.
However, Jetuki Aunty was intelligent enough to know one thing very clearly, in no case, Ramala would be accepted as daughter in law in our family. She knew, if they ever dreamt for it they would be disseminated financially and socially. In an extreme case, they would have been thrown out of the village physically. Everyone in our locality knew very well that for my brothers, to protect my interest, nothing was impossible under the sun! Therefore, Jetuki Aunty never thought of tying my knot with Ramala even in her wildest dream. Further, Nomal uncle was happy about the booze he earned through his spying activities for my father. He would be happy to get few bottles of country liquor in lieu of the dignity of his daughters and family. Therefore, I was safe to put an eye on Ramala without any apparent risk from anyone except perhaps from my mother who was only sensitive person in our family at that time.
During one of those visits from college to my village, when one of my friends told me that Ramala was developing a relationship with Bikash, I became furious. But I controlled myself not to show my anger before anyone publicly. But I promised to myself, I would teach her a lesson for ignoring me for that stupid Bikash whose father was also a regular money borrower from my father, though he was not from our village. I need not have to wait for a long time. On a sunny noon when she came to our home, taking advantage of nobody around, I fondled her breasts. But like wounded cat she threatened me that she would report to my mother if I dare to do it again. My mother was the only person in the whole world who might have supported her cause and therefore I resisted my further advances on that day. Had she taken the name of my father or her father / mother, probably I would not have stopped! She also knew name of anybody from her family would not deter me from proceeding further. Similar would be the case she would have taken the name of Bikash who was a non-entity for our family. That is why, from my heart I always respect her as an intelligent and practical person with fair degree of self respect being the daughter of a person who was void of any self respect.
From that day onwards, Ramala avoided me which was noticed by many of my family members. Both the brothers of mine became specifically very angry on the issue. One of my brothers had commented to Jetuki Aunty that her daughter was becoming very proud which might not be good for her as well for her family without referring her attitude towards me. Jetuki Aunty understood the gravity of the situation immediately and assured my brother that she would tell her daughter to behave properly towards each member of the family who were the provider of all the necessities of their family.
After the mute but strong warning from my brother, Ramala stopped openly ignoring me and tried to behave with me as normally as possible. She also told me that she had not reported about the incident to anybody. I felt sorry for her and told her at an opportune time that she should not worry about my brother’s threatening and she was free to avoid me. I did not know whether my assurance had given any solace to her or not. But she never tried to avoid me in the next one year or so during my visits to our home in college vacation till she eloped with Bikash.
The day she eloped with Bikash, my elder brother, Bibekananda became so angry that he was about to issue an order to his henchmen to evict each and every member of both the families from our locality. There Jetuki Aunty came to rescue both the families. She called my brother to a corner of the house and whispered something. Immediately my brother’s anger vanished and smiled to Jetuki Aunty and declared that no harm would be done to the eloped couple and told Jetuki Aunty to call back the couple to formalize the marriage.
What Jetuki Aunty might have told to my brother to douse the flame?
He was told that I was with Ramala on Uruka night and she saw blood stain on the bed-sheet of Ramala’s bed on the next morning confirming their physical relation during the night. Further, blood stain had confirmed that I was the first person with whom Ramala had a physical relation.
Exactly after eight months of their eloping, Ramala delivered a baby boy under strict supervision and medical care of our family who took special care for safe delivery of the baby.
My father called Bikash and his parents to assure them all financial assistance for best of schooling and other facilities for the new comer. He cited reason for such magnanimity from his side, was selfless services of Nomal uncle and Jetuki Aunty had given to our family for so many years. Bikash touched my father’s feet and took blessings. He thanked my father profusely without doubting the reason for his magnanimity towards the new born. Ramala and Jetuki knew the real reason for having a soft corner of my family towards the baby boy.
However, I was never informed about the baby boy who had been a cynosure for the whole village. My brothers were extremely happy to help Ramala and Bikash in bringing up the child all along. I knew about the child only after many years of his birth when I visited my village after the tragic death of my wife, Dorothy.
In due course of time Bikash and Ramala had two more sons. But to their (Bikash and his parents and other family members) surprise, no substantive help was provided by my family. However, during pregnancy and up to delivery of the boys, Ramala was under strict medical care at our family’s expense. After delivery of the third son, Ramala had to undergo laparoscopic operation for sterilization as dictated by my brother Bibekananda. Time passed smoothly for Ramala for next few years.
But one day the inevitable had happened. Bikash came to know in a drinking party that Ramala had cheated him and their first child, Ajay was actually my love child. He could not control his anger and at the fit of anger he thrashed Ramala very badly.
In the next morning, Ramala came to our home and started crying before my mother telling something about the child. My mother called my father and discussed something confidentially. After few minutes my father called my elder brothers and instructed something to them. My father assured her all help and for that she should not worry at all. But all along Ramala was weeping uncontrollably.
Bikash was summoned by my brother through a messenger and as soon as he entered to my brother’s office room he was slapped and called one of his henchman to beat him with lathis. My brother was so angry that even Namita Bau could not go near to him. He was heard repeatedly saying, ‘fat has gone to your head! How can you dare you to beat Ramala for that. So long you are allowed to stay with Ramala only because of Ajay. Every month without doing any work for us you have been paid so much money. You duffer, you could not realize that. Let Haria (henchman) reduce your fat from your body so that you will forget about beating of Ramala but you will not touch her as wife even. I shall make sure that you will not sleep with her in future!’
Bikash was praying for mercy. But Haria was beating him relentlessly till my mother intervened.
My brother exactly did what he said about snatching Ramala out the unholy wedlock with Bikash. He sent Ramala and her eldest son Ajay to Guwahati for his schooling. In a month’s time Ramala’s son Ajay was adopted by my brother Bibekananda and his wife, Namita as their own son. Bikash was forced to sign for legal adoption of my love son. However, he also made sure that Bikash gets some money to run his family with his other two children. I did not know whether, Ramala was happy with the high handed interference of my family in their personal matters. The whole village was tight lipped about this development.
Jetuki Aunty told me on that day when I met her fifteen years ago, “the bone of contention for big fight between Ramala and Bikash was their eldest son, Ajay. Though other than Bikash everyone in the village knew that Ajay is your son, Bikash came to know about this only when some them were drinking country liquor and one of them told about the exceptional brilliance of his eldest child, Bikash boasted by saying, ‘After all he is my son, he will be definitely shine in his life. He carries my blood.’
At this all his friends started laughing. With a perplexed tone, he asked, ‘Why you all are laughing?’
One of them replied, ‘Had we allow our wives to sleep with Aroon Baruah, our children would also have been brilliant.’ Again everyone laughed.
When he heard about that he lost his temper and went to home and started beating his wife Ramala red and blue. Ramala somehow managed to stay in their house for the night and next morning came to your home and narrated the last night’s ordeal. The moment your family came to know that Ramala was beaten up by Bikash, all hell broke loose.”
For last fourteen years Ramala has been staying with her son in Guwahati. She had no problem in financial front but I am sure she had been facing problem of loneliness like me. But I thought, we were not in a position to support each other due to different reasons. I had always a feeling, she was suffering from loneliness for my fault and I am suffering because of my own misdeeds.
What Ramala was thinking about me? A few years back, my sister disclosed about Ramala something which had never come to mind earlier. She had always loved me, before that fateful night and afterwards also. Then naturally question arises why she eloped with Bikash? My sister explained to me on that day, ‘She loves you so much that she does not to be a burden on you, she wants to see you to be happy. She is also aware that you are not emotionally attached to her at any point of time. Therefore, she does not want to emotionally blackmail you. She loves you so much that even she became most unhappy when she heard about the demise of Dorothy. She always prayed to Almighty to give you strength to overcome those trying moments. So far eloping with Bikash is concerned, she wants to give you a message that you should not worry about her. She made you feel free from any guilt feeling that even though you do not love her, she loves you and was waiting for your return to her arms which was uncertain at any time. She never loved that rascal, who does not know how to appreciate a lady in true sense. He never tried to know what she wants in their fifteen years of married life. He slept with her without trying to make her also happy when there is physical relation between them.’
My sister said many things about Ramala, how she was taking information about my well being from my mother and sister. He took interest to know how my children were doing in examination and whether Dorothy was taking care of me properly or not when Dorothy was alive and so on.
‘She loves you so much that even when Jetuki Aunty was on her death bed she saw you from a distance and did not come near to you so that you are not disturbed by her presence! Jetuki already told her that you knew about Ajay from her mother. She loves you always selflessly.’ My sister concluded.
Till death of Dorothy and then till I came to know that I have another child from Ramala, I never bothered about Ramala. After knowing about Ramala’s true love for me and her agony, I was feeling bad about thinking how selfish I was and how broad minded Ramala was. Even after knowing all the facts, I could not garner the courage to meet Ramala. Probably, in sub-conscious mind, I had lot of guilty feeling for both the ladies, Dorothy whom I loved more than self and Ramala who loved me more than herself. Ramala knew that I love someone else but Dorothy did not know that I had made physical relation with someone else before I met her. In that sense I cheated Dorothy and that is why the angel had left the Devil forever to live in a better world!
Bihu is a festival celebrated throughout Assam on set of three different seasons. Like most other Indian festivals, Bihu (all three) is associated with farming. As the traditional Assamese society is predominantly agricultural, Bihu is celebrated according to agricultural seasons. Similar festivals are also celebrated around the same time elsewhere in India with different names like Onam, Pongal, Lohri, Baisakhi, Makar Sankranti etc.
However, to its uniqueness, it is the only festival celebrated in Assam which is independent of any religion, caste and creed. Therefore it can be said that Bihu is a secular festival which brings in humanity, peace and brotherhood among the various castes and religions. Bihu celebrated throughout Assam in three seasons are known as Bhogali Bihu/ Magh Bihu (celebrated on 13/14 January) at the end of harvesting season), Rongali Bihu/ Bohag Bihu, (celebrated during the whole month, 13th April to 13th May but mainly for first five days from 13/14th of April on set of agricultural season) and Kongali / Kati Bihu in the mid October. The first two Bihu are celebrated with all festivity whereas third Bihu is mute affair due the lack of resources in the hands of poor.
Bohag Bihu (mid-April, also called Rongali Bihu), the most popular Bihu is celebrated the onset of the Assamese New Year (around April 14–15) welcoming the Spring season. This is also the beginning of the agricultural season in Assam for Kharf crops. It is a time of merriment and feasting and continues, in general, for seven days. The farmers prepare the fields for cultivation of paddy and there is a feeling of joy around. This marks the first day of the Hindu solar calendar which is also observed in some parts of Bihar, Bengal, Manipur, Nepal, Orissa, Punjab, Kerala and Tamil Nadu though called by different names.
Rongali Bihu / Bohag Bihu is culmination of different traditions viz. Austro-Asiatic, Sino-Burmese and Indo-Aryan. In Assamese language, ‘Rongali’ means festival of colourfulness/ happiness. Therefore, expectedly it is a festival celebrated whole month beginning in the middle of April and generally continues for a month. The women folk make pitha, larus (traditional food made of rice and coconut) and other Jolpan( Assamese snacks) which gives the real essence of the season. The first day of the Bihu is called Goru Bihu (Cow Bihu or Bihu for cow), where cows are washed, beautified by garland-wearing and worshipped, which falls on the last day of the previous year, usually on April 14. This is followed by Manuh (human) Bihu on April 15, the New Year Day. This is the day of getting cleaned up, wearing new cloths and celebrating and getting ready for the new year with freshness and vigour. The third day is Gosai (Gods) Bihu; statues of Gods, worshiped in all households are cleaned and worshiped asking for a smooth new year. On Gosai Bihu, parents and teachers are worshipped which are at the same pedestal of God. They are treated as the living god for the children and students. The folk songs associated with the Bohag Bihu are called Bihugeets or Bihu songs. The form of celebration and rites vary among different demographic groups and geographical areas.
Rongali Bihu is also known as a festival of fertility, where the Bihu dance with its sensuous movements using the hips, arms, etc., by the young women and men call out to celebrate their fertility. Some of the instruments are also replica of our vital organs. In this aspect, the Bihu dance can also be called enticing ritual by the young men and women for mating. Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu festival continues for seven days and called as Sat Bihu. The seven days are known as Chot Bihu, Goru Bihu, Manuh Bihu, Kutum Bihu, Senehi Bihu, Mela Bihu and Chera Bihu . In some places fifth day Bihu is known as Deo Bihu and seventh day Bihu is known as Sat Bihu. So names of Bihu for seven days differ from place to place.
In our school days we used to go to neighbours house to perform Bihu and Huchari (it was also sung during Bihu festival, but it has religious fervour) and used to get some token money. Elderly people also used to perform Huchari at the residence of the locality. It is customary to perform Huchari at the residence of the most respected/ powerful person of the locality. Therefore, villagers from all three villages are performing Huchari first at our residence without any deviation till today. The young group, led by me till I reach class VIII perform Huchari in each and every house in all three villages. Most of the people used to give petty amount as per their economic condition. We used to distribute the amount we collected among the participants equally. My father used to give an equal amount to each participant so our last visit was made to our home which was contrary to usual customs followed in the village. The amount was a meagre one, but in those days when for me everything was free, the meagre amount used to remain intact. However, I was always very possessive about that amount and deposited with my mother with a fervent appeal not to spend it by her.
During Rongali Bihu we used to visit a number of Bihu Mela (function) organised by many groups of people. My father used to be the chief guest for many of those. I used acompany my father when I was in school. We used to get a number of gamocha (Assamese towel- gamocha is shorten word of Ga- mocha, where ga means body and mocha means scrubbing/ cleansing) as gift during that period. After my matriculation, I stopped accompanying my father and started going to different Bihu mela of my own; sometimes with my friends. During that period, officially we used to go to Bihu mela to enjoy Bihu Dance and other cultural functions, but our main objective was to meet and see girls of same age.
In our place there was another type of Bihu mela, known as Mukali Bihu mela which was organized in open field and performed by different groups of artists from different villages. I have no idea whether these Bihu Melas are still organized or not. There was stiff competition amongst the groups and best team used to get trophy along with prize money. Individual prizes, like best dancer, best singer, best drummer and best flutier etc. were also conferred. One best female performer was selected as ‘Bihu Kuonri’(Princess of Bihu) for a particular Bihu mela. Sometimes even there was a competition amongst the Bihu Kunories to crown one Bihu Rani (Queen of Bihu) at district/ all Assam basis.
Magh Bihu, also called as Bhogali Bihu (Bihu of enjoyment) or Maghar Domahi is a harvest festival celebrated in Assam, India, which marks the end of harvesting season in the month of Maagha (January–February). Bhogali Bihu comes from the word Bhog that is eating and enjoyment.The festival is marked by feasts and bonfires on Uruka day (previous night of Magh Bihu). In many places, people erect makeshift huts, known as meji ghar/ Bhelaghar constructed by using bamboo, leaves and thatch. During the night, they prepare food and there is community feasting in these makeshift houses. There is also exchange of sweets and greetings at this time. The entire night (called Uruka) is spent around a Meji with people singing bihu songs, beating Dhol, a typical kind of drums or playing games. Then on the next morning, all gathered around the makeshift hut and burn the huts and offer prayer to god (on the day of Magh Bihu). Earlier there was a ritual to steal vegetables and old fencing for bonfire on Uruka night. The celebrations includes traditional Assamese games such as tekeli bhonga (pot-breaking), bulbul fighting and buffalo fighting in some pockets of Assam. Magh Bihu celebrations start on the last day of the previous month, the month of "Pooh", usually the 29th of Pooh and usually the 14th of January, and is the only day of Magh Bihu in modern times (earlier, the festival would last for the whole month of Magh, and so the name Magh Bihu). During Magh Bihu people of Assam make cakes of rice as done in Rongali Bihu- but due to abundance of food stuff, people make in more in numbers compared to Rongali Bihu.
Before Magh Bihu our annual examinations used to be over and therefore we were almost free from our usual school business. When I was very young, a small bhela ghar was constructed specially for me. When I became around ten year, I along with my peer group used to construct our own Bhela ghar. But Nomal uncle was instructed to be around for any help we might need. At night, one of our servants used to cook our food in our Bhela Ghar where only my friends were allowed to eat. Sometimes, my sister was allowed to visit our bhela ghar, as she did not have any place to go on Uruka night! After attaining age of 12 or so, we became little bold to venture at Magh Bihu Uruka night to steal vegetables and old fencing of our locality. Some of my friends were caught occasionally and scolded, but I was never caught. At that time I thought, I was smart enough to be caught by the villagers. But now I know, I was not caught because I was from Baruah family!
But in the context of my life two Uruka days of two consecutive years were very important. The word Bhogali means enjoyment. Enjoyment for a person does not limited to eating and drinking. It is beyond that. I had the opportunity to enjoy my life beyond eating and drinking on these two particular days.
Kongali Bihu (mid-October, also called Kati-Bihu) has a different flavour. The name itself means that there is nothing plenty ( not even enough)/sufficient to eat for the poor and with empty belly no one can celebrate. Therefore, this Bihu is more symbolic than actual pomp and fair. During this time of the year, the paddy in the fields is in the growing stage and the granaries of the farmers are almost empty. On this day, earthen lamps (saki) are lit at the foot of the household tulsi plant, the granary, the garden (bari) and the paddy fields with a prayer to God to protect the paddy. In some places cultivators whirl a piece of bamboo and recite rowa-khowa chants and spells to ward off pests and the evil eye. During the evening, cattle are fed specially made rice cake. This Bihu is also associated with the lighting of akaxi gonga or akaxbonti, lamps at the tip of a tall bamboo pole, to show the souls of the dead the way to heaven, a practice that is common to many communities in India, as well as Asia and Europe.
For me, Kongali Bihu was also a good festival, as on that also a number of pithas were prepared in our home. I also enjoyed this period of time, as stream of people used to come to our home pleading for paddy for their consumption. My father used to full fill their expectation as far as possible. My mother used to tell each one of them, ‘you need not have to return the paddy even after harvesting of your field. But always pray for welfare for my children!’
I do not know whether they have ever prayed for us or not, but all of them promised to do so. However, my father had different opinion on this mega donation. ‘People may not praise you for any good work you have done. But one should do it for own dharma (own good/ satisfaction)’.
As soon as I reached college, I was not able to attend any of the Kongali Bihu as there was no long holiday for Kongali Bihu in college.
The incident about which I am going to tell you here is more than thirty five years old which took place on an Uruka day when I visited my village on a vacation during my saty in Delhi as an engineering student. The incident was so important for me that the resonance of the incident is still very vivid in my memory and it affected my whole thinking process towards my personal life.
When I was very young, on Uruka night I used to spend whole night outside home by visiting different Bhela Ghar in and around our village along with other boys of my age. For spending outside home for that particular night, I used to get special permission from my mother. Otherwise, my mother never allowed me to stay overnight at any other’s house except at my only maternal uncle, Haridev Choudhury’s residence which was fifty KM from my home. However, once I went to college, my mother became little bit liberal in giving permission to stay overnight with my friends’ home on any day while I was on a vacation. Therefore, whenever I was in my village during my college days, I used to go to one or two Bhela Ghar constructed by my friends and by other villagers on Uruka night and stayed overnight there itself without taking any special permission from my mother.
Though, I have heard many stories about ghost roaming in the secluded places around our village, I had not come across any in my entire life. Once I entered into my teen, I was fearless in roaming around the village at night without fear of ghost. As on that year, I became twenty year old, I did not feel any need of company of any boy of my age to roam around the village.
Since I attained the age of an adolescent, every year on Uruka day, I used to visit Jetuki Aunty’s home. Jetuki Aunty used to give me best of food she cooked for that night. After taking some food at her residence, sometime I went home or to some Bhela Ghar for the night depending upon my mood.
On that fateful day, I reached Jetuki Aunty’s house by eight in the evening with prior information that Jetuki Aunty and her younger daughter might not be present on that night. I was expecting that only Ramala, most beautiful damsel of our village, the elder daughter of Nomal uncle and Jetuki Aunty would be present at home with her drunkard father.
As mentioned above, I visited her house many a times on Uruka night of Magh Bihu (as mentioned earlier, an Assamese festival normally falls on 13/14 January) before occurrence of the incident which I am going to narrate here. On my earlier visits, I did not have any pre planned agenda. But on that day, I had a clear cut plan of an extremely mentally and physically fit 20 year old man against a very pretty girl at her nineteen.
When I reached their house, Ramala was standing at her door and was in such a deep thought that she was oblivious about my presence before her for few seconds. ‘Ramala, are you waiting for someone? Where is Uncle and where is Aunty?’
My question brought her to the ground realty that someone was standing just a few feet away from her. She stammered, ‘Dad is inside. Mom and sister went to maternal uncle’s house.’ My information was correct; Jetuki Aunty and Arati were out of station.
As already told, Nomal Uncle or Jetuki Aunty, neither of them was even a distant relative of our family. Their relation with us was almost that of a master and servants. But in the village, we always address the elders by some relation. At that time, Nomal Uncle was about fifty and Jetuki Aunty was in her late thirties. Not only there was age difference between them but also there was complete difference in their body structures. Uncle was skinny and not very good looking and on the other hand, Jetuki Aunty was good looking and fleshy (not fat).
Due to our family relations whenever I came to village in our college vacation, I used to visit their house. Since we did not have long vacation during Magh Bihu, I used to go to the relatives’ houses with a whirling speed. I could spare some time for a visit to Nomal uncle’s house at night only as their house was within the vicinity of our home. This time when I visited Nomal Uncle’s house, I brought a bottle of Rum from Guwahati, the city through which I had to come from Delhi where my college was situated, knowing that uncle used to take lot of country liquor during all the festivals observed in our village.
This time, I brought the bottle of Rum to please Nomal uncle so that, he would not disturb me in my pursuit to fulfil my hidden agenda. When I handed over the bottle he thanked me profusely and finished the bottle in no time. But before he went to bed, he apologised for absence of Aunty and his younger daughter Arati who had gone to his in laws’ house for Bihu which was situated in a different village ( not expected to come before morning). Further, he requested me to sit with Ramala for sometime and specially requested not leave without taking tea and snacks. He also advised his daughter to provide me tea and snacks with proper care so that I would not be dissatisfied.
Within no time, I heard snoring from his room.
Ramala, following advice from her father, prepared tea and some snacks for me albeit reluctanly.
I tried to catch her hand while she was offering tea to me. With obvious sign of displeasure, Ramala took her hand away from me. I did not try to catch her again for the time being.
After getting a rebuff from her, I told Ramala, ‘OK, I shall not touch you again without your tacit permission. But will you sit down before me to hear a story from me? Otherwise, I am leaving right now. In that case, tell your parents that I left your house without taking a cup of tea as you are reluctant to give a cup of tea even with due respect to a guest!’
She had no problem in understanding the underlying threatening behind my simple words considering my position in the society vis-a-vis her social status. Without having any alternative, she sat down keeping a safe distance from me, though I thought, she was not interested to sit with me even for minute.
For the last few years, I had an eye on Ramala and once I fondled her breasts forcefully when no one was around. But she resisted and threatened me to tell my mother about my misbehavior. After that, I never tried to do anything like that with her which could be turned out to be grave misadventure for me. In the mean time, I came to know that she had a steady relation with one Bikash, three year older than I. Though, I was more intelligent and physically more powerful, her preference for Bikash was understandable at least for me. Ramala was an intelligent girl, she knew that I was not in love with her, but I wanted to enjoy her physically. Even if she would have loved me, due to financial and social clout of my parents, she would not be a daughter in law of my parents.
I looked at her from the distance intensely for a moment. She was wearing a navy blue jeans and white stripped red sweater. In the dim light she looked gorgeous! She was dressing to kill me-I was telling to myself!
When Ramala reluctantly sat to hear my story, I told her, ‘You are looking very beautiful! Who has given this dress to you?’ She did not answer.
Even without getting any response from her, I commented, ‘Whoever gave your dress; he wanted to kill me by your matching dress!’ Still she did not answer.
Then I asked her, ‘Did you know that last year, on Bihu when your sister and you had gone to your maternal uncle’s house, I stayed in your house for the whole night?’
She nodded and said, ‘Yes.’
‘Did your mother tell you what happened on that particular night?’
‘No.’ she did not want to have a long conversation.
‘Ok, let me tell the whole incident in details what happened on that day.’ I took a pause and try to read her face in the dim light of a kerosene lamp. From her face I understood that, this time she took little interest to know what happened on that particular night one year ago.
‘Your mother gave me tea and snacks and after taking tea and snacks I wanted to go home. At that time, Jayanta (a boy from our village, who was also studying in a college in a small town) came. He was also offered tea and snacks by your mother before going to bed. We sat at your fire place and started talking about our experiences about our colleges and city life. After we came to know that your parents went to sleep, we started talking about girls etc. Then he told me an unbelievable story.
Jayanta started the story by saying that one day when he went to a friend’s place, only his friend’s mother was available at home.
Then he described his story in minutes detail with lot of spice in it. His description was so long and details one could have been bored; but I did not find boring at all. We were so engrossed in it, I was on hearing and he was in telling that, we did not know that it took whole night to complete the story.
‘Now I am telling you the story.’
In reality the story was about me and Jetuki Aunty. But to respect the dignity of Jetuki Aunty before her daughter, I changed the name and place. But for proper consumption of readers, I am narrating the story with actual name and place and situation.
I started my story, albeit true one!
When I reached Jetuki’s Aunty’s house at around 8 PM, except aunty no one of Jetuki Aunty’s family was present. On seeing me, she invited me directly to the fire place where she was making pitha (Assamese rice cake). She gave me a stool near the fire so that, I can also enjoy the warmth of winter fire. After exchanging normal good wishes for the Bihu she told me that uncle had gone for taking country liquor with some drunkard friends (sic!) and both of her daughters had gone to their grandmother’s place. She prepared tea for me and offered cakes.
While taking tea, as I was sitting on the stool which had a better height compared to the stool aunty was sitting, I saw her big bursting bxxx almost clearly. Though she might be twenty year older than I, I could not take away my eyes from her bustling bxxx. After few minutes probably she also realized that what I was looking at.
But instead of admonishing or covering those, she with a deep breath said, ‘you know, without proper care from a gardener, flower cannot blossom. Similarly, without regular care and fondling by a male, bxxx lose their beauty!’
A silence descended in the room for few minutes. For the first time I wanted to fondle Jetuki Aunty’s big bxxx; not as a child but as a man. But I could not gather courage to ask her whether she would mind if I touch her bxxx once. Probably she understood my feeling and with a mysterious smile told me, ‘I know, right now you may be thinking to touch my bxxx and play with them. But you cannot do that.’ She paused for a moment.
I was little bit disappointed. With a intriguing smile she teased me again, ‘For that, I have to remove my blouse, only then you can play with them properly. But, before that let me close the door properly, otherwise someone may see us! You have no problem, the villagers and your father will not ask you anything if anyone see us doing the nasty thing; but I will be killed by your father!’
Hearing her seducing words, I started sweating in the very cold temperature of January! But she wanted to tease me a little more. She asked me, ‘Tell me if I am wrong in inviting you to play with my bxxx for a while. Ok, if you are not interested or worried, do not do anything my dear. But do not tell you parents that I told you to fondle my bxxx.’
This time, I was really worried if she really meant to stop me there itself from playing those lucrative soft balls.
‘No, I mean yes, Aunty I want to touch your bxxx. I love to do that. I swear.’ I stammered.
With a mysterious smile she said, ‘Ok, I shall allow you to touch for a while. But do not press those very hard. If you press very hard and if it pains, I shall stop you immediately from playing further. Then, you cannot blame your poor Aunty for stopping the game midway.’ She smiled again tantalizing my feeling further.
She stood from her stool and closed the door and was returning to her seat where she was sitting showing no urgency at all. But before she could sit down, I stood up and grabbed her from behind.
‘Hey, what you are doing! Have some patience!’ She giggled but she did not object to my advances. To facilitate my fondling, within minutes she removed her blouse. The big bxxx came out of blouse like popcorns come out of a hot oven. They were big enough to be covered by my hands. I found, they were very soft and hot. I started fondling her bxxx slowly. After fondling her bxxx for few minutes from behind, I turned her to face to me and I kissed her bosom.
She teased me again, ‘I allowed you to fondle only, not to kiss.’
But by the time, I was not in a mood to listen to her. After that, what had happened, I described Ramala everything in detail as minutely as normally written in pornographic details.
But for consumption of our readers, I want to summarise here the whole episode by saying that ‘on her insistence we had four explosive sessions of love making’.
After completing my detailed story I approached slowly to the chair where Ramala was sitting. She was closing her eyes, I thought, she might be sleeping without listening my explosive detailed pornographic story. I lifted her head and bent myself to kiss gently on her lips. Actually, she was not sleeping, but I felt, she was trembling with some unknown fear or excitement. Then, I lifted her from her chair and again kissed her on her face and then on her wet lips. She did not resist my move. Her hot deep breath hit my chest.
‘You are too sweet to ignore! You are looking gorgeous today! You are going to kill me with your beauty! You are the most beautiful girl of our entire locality! None of the girls of your age can be compared with you in terms of beauty! I think you are created by God only for me!’
She remained silent. Then, I embraced her tightly for some time and kissed her head passionately. I started running my finger through her long hair lovingly. I put one hand on one of her bxxx. I started fondling one bxxx then fondled both the bxxx alternatively very slowly. From her body language, I understood that she started liking my fondling of her bxxx. By the time I became little bolder and I slowly removed her sweeter and the T shirt. I kissed the nipples of her small round bxxx one by one. She started moaning in excitement. I put my hand between her legs. She tried to remove my hand; but she could not remove my hand.
‘Do not touch that! I am feeling something very awkward!’ For the first time she opened her mouth.
I removed my hand immediately by telling, ‘Ok sweetheart, I shall not press there as you do not like that.’
But I intensified my kissing on her face, lips and neck.
When she was no more in a position to resist, I removed her dress and kissed all over her ivory coloured slim body.
I could not remember now how and when I removed my dress and pressed her for my love making session. She was in little pain but she did not resist my move.
When I finished my first love making session, I realized she was weeping.
I became little bit concern about her. I asked her with a tender voice, ‘why you are weeping, my little love? Did I hurt you?’ She did not answer but moved her head side-wise indicating that she was not hurt. I was happy to know that I did not hurt her, at least physically.
‘Then, did I not perform well enough to satisfy your desire ( if any)!’
‘No, that is not the reason of my weeping. I am very happy that you are the first person with whom I have enjoyed my life as a grown up female. For the first time, I realized how much it can be satisfying for a girl to surrender her body and soul to the person whom she actually loves. How it would have been painful to surrender my body and soul to a person whom I have to pretend to love due to some other considerations!’ She was answering in a very sweet and comforting voice.
I was surprised to hear her answer. I tried to understand what she was saying. She was saying that she was in love with me and she was acting with Bikash as if she loves him. I could not react to her answer immediately.
She again started to answer the reason for her weeping. ‘However, on the hind sight, I never thought I shall betray Bikash, with whom I have a plan to marry ( against my will). How I shall face him next time when he will tell something about our future life which may include our physical intimacy plan as well?’
She started weeping again. Her statement made me think all over again about my relation with Ramala. I was wondering if she was saying the truth that she had been in love with me without divulging the same to any one and pretending to love Bikash. In any case, I felt sorry for her. I tried to console her by patting on her back lovingly.
To comfort her further, I kissed her again and told, ‘My little darling, you have not done anything wrong! You have a beautiful body which Bikash could not have appreciated properly. He is a duffer, I doubt, he will ever praise your curves on your body. Did he ever say that your bosom is as beautiful as bud of a lotus ready to bloom? And your private part is as beautiful as a blooming rose. Your lips are as tasty as honey. I am sure he even cannot think about such a comparison!’
I stoked her hair and kissed her lips again. She stopped weeping.
With a faint smile she said, ‘Do not worry, Aroo, I shall not blame you for today. Rather, I am thankful to you for giving me an opportunity to open my treasure of love to you. I think, today is a gift of God for both of us. Both of us wanted this, I wanted it from my heart to fulfil my emotional desire to surrender everything before you as I love you from core of my heart. Most likely, you wanted it from your head only to fulfil your physical desire of a twenty year old very handsome and physically fit boy. I am not saying that, I am not attracted to you physically. I love every part of your body. I can die for you, Aroo! God has fulfilled desire of both of us. I shall remain thankful to God always for the gift I got today.’
She took a deep breath. I did not have any problem in understanding her deep sorrow of not getting true love from my heart in exchange of her true love.
When she stopped weeping, ignoring her expectation of true love from me, I kissed her again and made ready for next session of our love making with all tenderness.
This time, she did not disappoint me; I realized she also started enjoying. Instead of weeping she started giggling and whispered, ‘I love you all along. You gave me so much pleasure. But I know you will never marry me. Therefore, I have to cling to Bikash for marrying me. Will you come to me after my marriage to Bikash or someone else?’
‘I shall definitely come to you my little honey, whenever and wherever you will call me.’ Probably I was telling the greatest lie in my life.
Now, I stoked her back lovingly. She reciprocated by kissing my chest with love.
She repeatedly told me that I was the first person with whom she made a physical relation showing blood from her private part. On hearing those sweet words, I became more excited and kissed her whole body like a mad man. She also reciprocated with all intensity.
We had a third session of love making in the early morning in Ramala’s insistence. That time, her submission for me was more devotional than ordinary lovemaking of two young persons. It was more soul mating than physical relation for both of us. I could not recall now when I said, ‘I love you darling.’
She whispered, ‘If it is so, I am the happiest girl on the world, my dearest one night hubby! Whether I shall meet you again or not, I am happy that I have lost my chastity to the person whom I actually love without any pretention.’
At this I patted her back lovingly and asked, ‘Are you sure, what you are telling?’
‘Yes, darling I am telling the truth. God knows it. I always love you and I shall remain. But I do not want to be an obstacle in your progress in your life. Next time, when you will meet me, I shall be a wife of some one. May be, my husband will be that ugly duffer, Bikash. He is a duffer who will never ever able to appreciate me, both physically and emotionally. He cannot be my man. But he may be my husband, poor fellow!’ Then she sighed.
For the first time, her words hurt me somewhere deep inside. I lied there like a dead body for some time. She was whispering something on my ears of which except the last two sentences, I could not follow what she was saying. Kissing me like a mad person she was saying, ‘I want to be the mother of your first child. Will God be kind enough to full fill my wish?’
Rest of the night I slept with her talking about our future. In my future plans, she did not figure. But in her future plan, I predominantly figured as a person who would influence her life from inside but maintaining a physical distance. She told me again and again that I would be her only man in her emotional and spiritual world. She would always pray for my success in my personal life including academic life. She wished me to get a life partner who would love me more than she loves. She also told me not be sorry in my life for having physical relation with her on that day. She advised me to think that night as one of the most beautiful night God had ever created for us. After hearing from her those words, I realized for the first time that love is beyond physical relation and I felt for the first time that Ramala was on a higher pedestal on humanity and love. But as a selfish son of a rich person, I did not change my priorities of my life.
Though the night revealed slowly for me, it ended with all splendor.
Finally when I was leaving their house in the early morning, she asked me a question, ‘Last night, the story you were telling about Jayanta and his friend’s mother, was unbelievable. Was it true?’
Promptly I answered, ‘It was completely a fictional story. How can he do those silly things with his friend’s your mother! She is much older than him. Do not tell my story to anybody, all will laugh at you! I told the dirty story just to make you ready for the night. But at the end of the night I realized I made a mistake in life by hurting your sentiment.’
I had all along twisted the facts to protect the dignity of the old lady from her daughter.
As a departing sentence she told, ‘Never have a guilty feeling what happened today. But yes, it is true, even you would not have told that dirty story, I was mentally prepared to offer you my whole body and mind to you, my darling. Only, I wanted was some cajoling and few sweet words from you which you had done after finishing that dirty story. Anyway, I must appreciate your story telling capacity and persuasion capacity! I was closing my eyes all along to visualize myself with you in the story. When you touched me I was trembling with excitement. When you kissed me, I was in the seventh heaven. I liked your sweet words about me, though I know, I do not deserve fully all those. But, believe me, what I told about my love for you is true and will be true for you always.’
I kissed her on her forehead and said a final good bye to her. On that day, I did not know, I shall meet Ramala only after more than three decades. Later on I realized she was one of the most amazing person in my life who would have a everlasting influence in my life.
While on my way home, I was comparing two episodes, one with Ramala and another with her mother, Jetuki Aunty. The physical relation with Aunty was like hammering by a carpenter on a nail and relation with Ramala was like putting a blunt knife on butter. Talks during the acts between me and aunty were like breaking sound of some utensils, whereas talks between me and Ramala were like the sound of a violin at the hands of a professional musician. Touching between me and Aunty was like cementing by a mason on the wall whereas touching between me Ramala was like painting on a canvass. But both have their own uniqueness!
Next day, I left for my college. After one month one of my friends informed me that Ramala eloped with Bikash. I did not keep the promise to Ramala that I shall again meet her and make love with her even after her marriage to Bikash. In due course of time I lost all contact with Ramala or Bikash. In fact, they ceased to be in existence for me, even in my memory.
After twenty years, on my first visit to my native village, after unfortunate demise of my lovely wife Dorothy, when I was sitting on Veranda of ancestral house, I saw an old lady coming towards me. Initially, I could not recognize her, but when she came nearer, I recognized her. She was Jetuki Aunty, the first lady with whom I made a terrific physical relation. She became very old, might be looking older than her age due to prolong ailments. I tried to find the lady in her who had a terrific energy and body to seduce a nineteen year old youth for three time explosive lovemaking spree on a single night. I stood up and embraced her tightly. I felt her bones against my soft body. I helped her to sit on the sofa adjacent to my sofa. With a little hesitation she sat on the sofa.
‘You did never come to our home after Ramala eloped with Bikash.’ She meekly complained.
‘Yes, I became very busy.’ After pausing for a moment I whispered with a teasing voice, ‘As you become a mother in law, I thought I should not--- to a mother in law’.
‘Is that the reason or you did not want to screw third lady in the house, Arati?’ She shot back.
Her answer put me in the back foot. ‘This bloody old lady knows everything about my terrific beautiful night with full of adventure with her elder daughter, Ramala’.’ I thought.
‘I would not have mind, had you gifted a son to Arati also.’ She said as if she was comforting me. But her answer gave me another surprise question.
‘What do you mean by gifting a son to Arati also?’ I asked with a trembling voice.
‘On that Uruka day, deliberately I kept Ramala for you. I knew that, she might refuse you on that day. I made her understand that, it was our bounden duty to make happy each and every member of Baruah family as they are our bread and butter provider. I knew that you were interested to sleep with her. I told her to sleep with you on that night. I also taught her the pose which will give her maximum chance to be pregnant. I told her if she could bear a son from an intelligent man like you, her son would be also intelligent. After hours of preaching only she understood the point and she conceded my request with a condition that she would be allowed to run away with that poor scoundrel. Having no alternative, I agreed to her proposal. Luckily she conceived on the first night itself. Now she has three children and as I predicted to her, your son came out to be a brilliant one and the rest ware as duffer as their father.’ With a deep breath she concluded, ‘The children of Arati are also nothing but duffers.’
Her narration made me speechless for some time. I recalled what Ramala was saying in the morning of Uruka night before she bade farewell to me. The same thing Jetuki Aunty was also saying in a different language. From Jetuki Aunty’s version it was confirmed that Ramala was predetermined to have a physical relation with me though she might become excited after hearing my extreme detailed experiences with her mother. Further, I recalled Ramala’s whispering in our third session of love making that she wanted to be mother of my first child.
‘When we met, you were also not that old, but I could not impregnate you. Why?’ I asked her.
‘I would have liked that. But after Arati’s birth, I took Konmora (an Indian medicine for sterilization).’ She sighed.
I also sighed being relieved of facing another disaster.
I wanted to meet Ramala for the first time after that fateful but exciting night to find out whether Ramala wanted a child from me due to her love for me or just to have an intelligent child as her mother’s advice. I also wanted see my (illigimate) son, Ajay.
But that was not possible, I had to leave my village on the very next day as I had to join a new assignment in Delhi where I intend to stay.
After coming back to my city, I tried to forget about Ramala and her son by involving myself in new schedules of my duties.
Time passed quickly.
Few years back, when I went to my village to attend a family function, I met Bikash, husband of Ramala after nearly 30 years. He looked much older, might be due to his poverty ridden life. I could not recognize him till one of our common acquaintances told me in a sarcastic way, ‘Can’t you recognize, Bikash! He is now a big shot! His eldest son becomes a Radiologist and working in so-n- so hospital.’
With a fumbling voice I said, ‘That is excellent! How is Ramala? What about your other two children?’
‘Ramala is fine. She stays with my elder son Ajay. She seldom visits us. Ajay sends regular money orders to us on which we are surviving. He bought a car for himself a few months back. But some of the people say that car was purchased by your brother only. Other two children are hopeless like me.’ (Later on I came to know that what Bikash was telling me lies only. He did not have any relation with Ramala and her son for last fifteen years.).
Then he whispered on my ear, ‘Like father like son. Eldest one is like you. In anger one day I came to know about your Magh Bihu Gift to her. Do not worry, though everybody knows that he is your love son, officially he is my eldest son and I also reaping the benefit out of that. I never had a fight with Ramala on that issue at least! ( again he was lying)’ Then loudly he asked me, ‘How about your family?’
‘I have two sons. Both are engineers in MNC earning handsomely. My wife expired few years back. So I am alone’ I told to him loudly so that other could also hear.
Bikash smiled and said, ‘My eldest son is looking after us so good that our family is envy for others.’ Then he whispered again on my ears, ‘Are you disappointed? But, you can have Ramala again and have fun! She never enjoyed her married life with me. After all you are rich, young and more energetic!’ He completed his words with full of sarcastic tone.
Yes, I was very much disappointed to know that Bikash had been aware of the fact that Ramala’s first man in her life was me. Though, Bikash wanted to show me that he was happy, his sarcastic sentences betrayed him. I also felt bad about him. But I did not utter a single word.
Before leaving the party, Bikash asked for some money to have a bottle of foreign liquor in my honour. I did not disappoint him. I handed over a few hundred Rupee notes. He thanked me and invited his house to have a cup of tea, knowing fully well I would not oblige him on that account.
On that night, one of my closest friend confided to me that whole village knows that Ajay is my son. ‘Many poor fellows praise Jetuki Aunty for her farsightedness. Many of them repented why their wives also did not do such a thing- having conceived from a rich and intelligent man and get financial help throughout their lives!’
I was wondering, if the villagers knew about my physical relation with Jetuki Aunty also. However, I was sure that unless Jetuki Aunty tells somebody, that episode is a permanently buried chapter. Aunty is a very intelligent lady, she would not say anything to others where her family’s future was at stake. Further, if she said someone, that would be reported to our family, which may in turn would be very dangerous for the safety of their family. After thinking on that line I was little bit relieved.
However, before going to bed, I remembered the encounter with Jetuki Aunty once again. I fondly recounted whole episode once again and said to myself, ‘So far I slept with 20 odd ladies from different parts of India and at least 10 ladies from different Nationalities. But none is comparable with Jetuki Aunty in terms of experience, intelligence, vigour and seductiveness! I felt a strong pain between my legs again similar to that of the Magh bihu celebration with Jetuki Aunty.
But again the memory of that fateful night when I made love making with Ramala and subsequent problems she faced, gave me a feeling of an ache in my heart. Desire to meet Ramala has been grown in my mind once again. This time very strongly.
My siblings, my brothers, Bibekananda and Paramanda and my only sister, Karabi alias Moina have been source of strength for me throughout my life. Being the youngest among them, they all treat me as if I am made of butter, extremely soft, both physically and mentally. When I was very young, I saw my brothers and sister fighting among themselves on trivial issues. But they neither ever fought with me nor ever scolded me. I was always given the first chance to choose any toy, small or big. At the early years of mine, I used to choose but after wards I stopped choosing as I lost interest in playing toys of my own choice. I used to snatch any toy from any of the siblings, so that I could start a fight. But they used to hand over the toy without any resistance.
After a year or two, I lost interest in snatching toys and finally landed into fathers study room. My father never allowed anybody to enter his study room. Therefore, whenever, I tried to enter his study room I got resistance from all my servants and family members. They used to tell my father would scold or beat me up, if he saw me in his study room. I enjoyed their resistance and saw fear in their eyes of facing father’s anger. But my father never scolded me for entering into his study room. Rather, he brought some colourful books for me and arranged a small chair and a small table for me. Somehow, the books never bored me like other toys. Slowly, I also developed the habit of reading books other than the course materials. The servants and my family members also stopped resisting my entry into the study room. As a result of that, door of study room used to stay open from early morning to late night instead of opening only for three hours when my father used to study. Room was cleaned before I got up from my bed and closed only after I go to sleep. Normally, my mother used to close the door of study room as she would not go to bed till I go for sleep. What about my siblings? They would never enter to the study room if my father was around. But when I was alone, they sometimes entered to the room to enquire what interesting was there in the book! They never find books as interesting as I found.
After three months of Ramala’s marriage/ eloping with Bikash, one day with an unknown excitement, Jetuki Aunty whispered to my eldest brother something special. His face immediately glowed, but in a controlled voice told Aunty not to talk with anyone else till he brings some specific instructions from his father.
My brother ran to the study room where my father was reading a book with full concentration for last two hours. As already mentioned, when my father used to study something, except me, nobody was allowed to enter to the room. I was allowed to his study room at any time because he was sure that whenever I enter to his room, I wanted some books or to learn something from him or to discuss something which was essential for my study or for my career. When my brother made a crash door entry he raised his eyes with obvious sign of annoyance. But today my brother was no mood to care for any errs of my father. With a broad smile he whispered something on my father’s ear.
‘Are you sure?’
‘Just now, Jetuki Aunty told me.’
‘On the very first night, I could not do it. You two rascals also could not do that on the first night. But my little kid was able to do it. We should be proud of him. Is not it?’ My father said with a hushed voice.
‘Yes Dad.’ My brother could not hide his excitement. Then my father told after further lowering his voice, ‘Aroo should not know about this. His study may be affected by the news. Aroo is very a sentimental boy, so he may like to meet Ramala even, which may not be good for all of us. He may like to bring even Ramala to our home after knowing this fact. Ramala has now become a impure lady who sleeps with that hapless husband Bikash. Now in any case, she cannot be his wife. But we have to take care of his child.’
He paused for a moment. ‘Tell Jetuki, not to divulge this fact to anybody. Tell her also to bring Ramala today to our home so that I can take her to the doctor for her medical check-up and in the mean time I shall chalk out future plan of action.’
Instead of sending his son with a message to Jetuki, my father came out and met with Jetuki Aunty. On seeing my father was coming to her, she grabbed my father’s feet and started weeping. My father lifted her and told in a low voice but with all authority, ‘Remember till your death, what I am going to tell you now. Do not divulge to anyone about this, not even to your skinny husband. Tell Ramala not to tell the truth to her husband, Bikash. He is a fool. He will not be able know this fact till someone else tells him. However, it is most likely that he will come to know one day. Then, I shall decide what to do. In any case, Aroo should not know about this at all. Bring Ramala today to me and I shall take her to a doctor. I shall discuss with the doctor for safe delivery of the child. Ramala will get all the facilities during her pregnancy what my other daughters in laws are getting. The new born will be brought up like a prince and all his expenses will be borne by our family till his education is complete and gets a good job or take up a good business- if the child is a boy. If it is a girl, she will be married to a boy who will be from a very high society. So Ramala and her unborn child will be our responsibility. If anyone asks you why we are taking care for safe delivery of Ramala’s child, tell them I treat her as my daughter since you have always served our family with all faithfulness.’ Father stops there
He called my mother to the study room and narrated the whole sequence of the event relating to me and Ramala. Finally he concluded, ‘I do not know whether you will be as happy as I am today. But you have to take care of whole situation under your control. In no case Aroo should be disturbed by informing about pregnancy of Ramala. No other villager also should know about the real story behind her pregnancy- not even by our daughter in laws.’
My mother was in a state of shock. She was not expecting such horrible news (for my mother it was horrible news) emanated from my misdeed. Within the family, my father and my brothers were extremely happy whereas my mother was extremely unhappy with the same news. Probably, mother would not be that unhappy if the same news had been involving any of the elder sons. For her I was the most ideal man in the world, who can do no wrong! But what a shameful deed I had done! Her eyes were filled with tears.
Seeing my mother crying, my father comforted her by patting his hand on my mother’s back, ‘I understand your feeling. But you should be happy, our little kid is no more a child. He is a youth full of vigour. Remember, he is achieving excellent results in his studies all along. This is an accident, even Mahadev could not avoid after seeing Mohini. As I understand, when Aroo visited Jetuki’s house no one was around. Ramala is beautiful young girl and our Aroo is also handsome young man. So attraction was natural and once it starts, no one can stop in the midway. There is an old saying that if you take a pot of ghee near to a fire place ghee will melt. Melting of Ghee is a natural phenomenon so is the physical relation between two young people when two of them confined to a room at night. There was no evidence that force was applied by Aroo on Ramala. It happened naturally. So, do not show any unhappiness to anybody, servants and your daughter in laws may suspect something fishy if your face is under stress, which may not be good for us.’ My father defended my action very strongly.
My mother also saw few reasons in my father’s argument. She wiped out her tears and went out of the room as if nothing extra-ordinary had happened.
In the meantime, my elder brother called my other brother and planned a party for his friends albeit without telling the true reason for celebration. Both my brothers did not thrash Bikash when he took away Ramala only because Jetuki Aunty told them that Ramala slept on Uruka night with me and I was the first person to sleep with Ramala. She also convinced my brothers that she saw blood stain on the bed sheet confirming Ramala lost her chastity to me only.
Why that information was important for my brothers? Both my brothers thought that since I had an eye on Ramala, I had the right to be the first person to have a physical relation with her. However, they expected that I should not marry her as they were treated as servants only. Therefore, my brothers were happy to know that, with one night stay with Ramala, I could impregnate her- what they could not do with any lady including their wives.
My eldest brother Bibekananda commented to his younger brother Paramananda, ‘He happens to the softest person in our eyes from the day he was born- but he happens to be strongest internally amongst us. Probably being most intelligent amongst us, he knew how to finish the things with perfection. ’ My father was also extremely happy on that account!
Though initially my parents did not tell about my love child to my sister in laws, they thought instead of getting the information from others, as family members they should know from my parents itself. On hearing the news, my sister in laws lost confidence in me and they started thinking me as a character loose person. The feeling continued for many years since then. But, seeing my unadulterated love for Dorothy and my refusal to go for a second marriage, they also changed their views about me and started loving me as if I am also their child, albeit once strayed.
My siblings are like God and Goddess for me. None of them envies me for my success in any field no matter in studies, in lovemaking or in business. Whenever, I am in trouble they stood behind me like a solid rock. They treat me with kid gloves till today. But whenever I take a decision, rightly or wrongly, they always support me, even going against my parents’ will. This was a praise worthy quality on their part as, for all the decisions pertaining to their personal lives, they allowed my parents to take a final call. They never objected to any decisions taken by our parents, even when they were not happy. They follow all the directions till date what my father had told when he was at lying on his death bed. Last wish of father about me was, ‘both of you should treat Aroo as your eldest son. He is very innocent and used to take decisions by heart emotionally. Do not hurt his sentiment. Try to make him understand, but if he does not want to change his decision even then, support his decisions and do not force him to change his decisions.’
Both my brothers promised to do so and they are keeping their promise till date.
Bikash, son of a poor farmer, was three year senior to me in age, but shorter in height by more than six inches and short of intelligence by a mile. He was from a nearby village and after failing in tenth examination, he was helping his father in their agricultural field. His father was a marginal farmer and had a large family to fend. His economic status was almost same as that of Ramala. Ramala was beautiful but compared to her, Bikash was very mediocre looking boy. When I first heard that Bikash was able to win the heart of Ramala, I was surprised. I had pity on her choice. But afterwards, when I came to know that her apparent inclination towards him was nothing but a negative reaction to thwart any physical advancement from me, I had to praise her maturity as a young lady.
Bikash knew that I had weakness towards Ramala and when he was able to win the heart of Ramala (apparently) he boasted before his friends that he had beaten me to win her heart. When a common friend told me about that boastful statement, my animal instincts was inflicted and I had decided to teach Bikash a lesson by winning Ramala physically, at least once, as I had never loved that girl emotionally. Before my brother Paramananda told the heinous plan of Jetuki Aunty, I was under the impression that my revenge on Bikash was culminated on Magh Bihu Uruka.
After one month of Magh Bihu when he and Ramala fled from the village, he thought he won another battle against me. He was not aware on that day about her pregnancy and also he was not aware that he was selected by Ramala with an understanding that I was always welcome for any physical relation even after her marriage. Ramala had never been happy with Bikash till their separation after fifteen years of their marriage. She lived physically with a person whom she never loved and loved a person knowing fully well that he would never love her albeit he gave a gift on a festive day which no unmarried girl would have liked to get- an intelligent and healthy son who resemblances with his father in all accounts. History repeats itself. Destiny of both mother and daughter were same. Both of them had to live with someone whom they never loved. Both of them had to bear children from persons, given a chance, both of them would not sleep for day even! But by heart, Ramala was far better than her mother. It may be reason Ramala got rid of Bikash just after fifteen years where as Jetuki Aunty had to live with her husband twice the period, till Nomal uncle expired after thirty years of torturing married life.
Ramala had borne two sons from Bikash in due course of their married life. Both the sons became as duffers as their father. Bikash was always praise for his eldest son for his intelligence and beautiful physique. He was so duffer that he could not see me in his son’s physical appearance till one of his drunkard friends pointed out to him after net fifteen years of their marriage and when Ajay was fourteen year old that Ajay could not be son of Bikash. He was such a duffer or innocent that he never asked his wife or anybody, why his first issue was born within eight months’ of their marriage. At that time others in the society thought Bikash impregnate his wife before their marriage as villagers were aware that they were in love(sic). At least he should have known that he did not have a physical relation prior to their elopement and how a lady can give a matured baby within eight months’ of pregnancy. Even on the first day in the hospital, all the people present there, except Bikash saw the child as true replica of mine. Even Bikash’s father commented that his grandson looked more like a grandson of Baruah than his own. But duffer Bikash ignored his father’s statement and instead of doubting his parenthood, he boasted, his son would be at par with me in physique and intelligence!
Again when he came to know about the fact of birth of Ajay, he reacted in such a way that he lost his wife, whom he loved for so long. He made a fool of himself by losing Ramala in front of his friends before whom he always boasted that he had beaten me again and again in winning Ramala both emotionally and physically. He could have handled the issue with some maturity in the interest of two other sons and himself.
Bikash did not have any self respect either. After thrashing Bikash blue and red for beating Ramala on that unfortunate day, when my brother offered some money to divorce Ramala and allow adoption of Ajay, he gladly agreed forgetting love for Ramala and thrashing by the henchmen of my brother.
Anyway, he was promised some monthly stipend, educational expenses for other two duffer sons in lieu of a promise he would never visit Ajay and Ramala. Bikash knew that the promise he had made before my brother had to be followed in letter and spirit, otherwise he has to pay a heavy price for that. His sons were also so duffer that they became happy that expenditure would be borne by my families as done in the case of their elder brother Ajay.
But Ajay was devastated at the turn of events. He took a month’s break from all his studies. Luckily as they were shifted to Guwahati, Ajay could avoid glaring eyes of the peer group of the village. In Guwahati, he became the grandson of Bikram and Savitri Baruah. Bibekananda and his wife told him to address them as Bardeuta (elder brother of father) and Barma (wife of Bardeuta). Ramala was introduced as the governess of Ajay and it was told to the newly acquainted persons that Ajay fondly calls her as ‘mom’ despite of her lower status in the family.
Bikash after selling all his agricultural land due to lack of his hard work and lack of intelligence, thanks to his drinking habit, he is now an agricultural labourer working in my brother’s field. I do not know how long he will survive considering his boozing habit! His two sons are also working in my brother’s field as they could not clear matriculation despite three/ four attempts.
Bikash, after separation with Ramala, always says something foul about her. If one day, he describes her as a greedy person who can do everything for money, next day he will say she is a prostitute. One day he mayt say that she is a kept of all Baruah brothers and next day he would say she is a crooked mother. One day she would be termed as cheater and next day she would be termed as sex lunatic. Whoever heard him, nobody comments due to fear of my brothers. In the mean time he became a real drunkard. The amount of money he gets form my brothers as promised, is used for drinking. After spending his money for the month in first few days, he approaches my brothers for more money. Sometimes some money was given to him and sometimes he is thrown out.
One may be interested to know whether loss of Ramala took a toll on him or he had been a lazy drunkard beforehand. Actually, he never loved Ramala from his heart. When Ramala gave a lift to him, he thought he was a superior to the most eligible son of the area. He thought Ramala a trophy he won after beating me in a race which was played fairly both sides. When Ramala eloped with him due to her compulsion created by herself, he thought he won the final race as well and trophy had been won permanently. He never treated Ramala as a human being, rather a tool for enjoyment. After birth of Ajay, he got lot of money for looking after his(?) son, he thought Ramala was a money making machine and readily available tool for enjoyment. On bed, she was treated like an animal, no sweet talk, no praise for her, only sometimes boasting how he won her beating me in a fair race by sprinkling salt on the wounds of Ramala.
I was a specially pampered child for the entire village including for the Baruah family. I was the only child who had all the dolls a child could aspire in our village. I was the only child in the village who had the privilege to sit and sleep on the laps of any member of the Baruah family despite of the fact that I was not one of them. Only I was allowed to play with the grandsons of Vikram Baruah. Baruah family always took me in their car to visit any family function of other reputed families of the locality. I was a privileged child and I always enjoyed that status and never try to find out why that family gave me so much importance. The Family which was known for their arrogance had always been kind to my mother-but not to my father or to my brothers. I never tried to find out the reasons for the discriminatory behaviour towards our family members till my mother was beaten up by my father and then my father was thrashed by the goons maintained by Baruah family.
After that incident my mother and I were shifted to Guwahati by Baruah family and my father was forced to cut off all relations with my mother and me. I was admitted to one of the most prestigious school of Guwahati. They arranged my stay in a large house of Bibekananda Baruah, eldest son of Baruah clan. A car along with a driver was standing round clock at my service. The driver used to call me saru bopa (little son of a rich person) and my mother as ‘sister’ (not a madam) for many years. We were provided with a servant who also address me with lot of respect but same respect was not shown to my mother. One day, when I asked about this discriminatory attitude of the employees towards me and her, my mother feigned ignorance.
But on the day, when I had to fill up my examination form for the tenth examination, to my surprise, I was accompanied by Bibekananda Baruah, eldest son of Bikram Baruah and his wife, Namita and on the other hand my mother was told to stay back at home. On that day only, I came to know that he and his wife are my adopted parents and my mother, Ramala, the poor lady became a short of governess to look after me. From that day onwards, I was no more a Das, but a scion of Baruah family.
On that day, I was crying a lot, I wanted to go back to the village and stay with my father. But my adopted father explained in plain words that as per agreement between the two families, there would be no relation between my mother, Ramala and my father Bikash and I shall be always be with my mother Ramala. But as Bibekananda adopted me as his son, I shall get all the property rights of a son of Baruah family. Bikash, my father will a get a monthly salary from my new family and my brothers’ educational expenses would be borne by Baruah family till they would pass the graduation. Practically, I was sold to Baruah family by my father, Bikash Das.
After hearing from my adopted father that in lieu of money my father allowed the adoption, I felt betrayed by my father. Immediately, I lost all respect and sympathy for him and promised to myself that I shall not go back to my village again in my life.
But one question haunted me day and night after my adoption to Baruah family, why I had been adopted? Then, I tried to correlate with adoption and discriminatory behaviour of Baruah family to me and other members of my erstwhile family. Why I was provided all the facilities provided by Baruah family whereas my grandparents(mother’s side) were mere servants of that family. My mother was treated well but not at par with other members of Baruah family. But I was always treated with par with other grand children of Baruah family, even in some occasions I got more importance. Why all these things happened to me??
I asked many times my mother the reasons for those preferential behaviour of Baruah family towards me. But she always tried to avoid those uncomfortable questions. On a particular day, when I insisted my mother to tell the truth why I was adopted by Baruah family, she told me that I was carrying blood of Baruah-not blood of Das(Bikash). I was shocked for few minutes then I asked, ‘Who is (was) my father? Is it Bibekananda?’
My mother said, ‘No, but I shall not tell you the answer at this moment. I shall tell you at the right time who is your father. But before that you have to complete your studies. Even your actual father does not know about your very existence! But you promise me, you will concentrate in your studies only till you get a prestigious job after completion of your studies. At this moment, I can tell you that your father is a very good man. No matter, Baruah family may not be good for others, but they are always good for all of us and they have given all the facilities and rights to you as a son of Baruah family. They could have very easily disown you as their offspring. Only on a mere statement from my mother, they believed that you are their family member without even verifying anything from your actual father, who himself unaware that he has a son.’ My mother stops there for a moment.
Then she started again, ‘Do not blame your father who in your eyes may be deserter or an absconder of your mother or you. In reality, he was a victim of my mother’s venomous plan to destroy the reputation of Baruah family who had always wanted to take revenge Baruah family for her marriage to my father. She did everything to do that and she was successful in planting you as legal heir of the property of Baruah family. She did many nasty tricks in her life to demean Baruah family through your father. Somehow, Baruah family has been so strong and united that she could not do any harm to Baruah family, particularly to your father. I love your father all along, but my mother made me a pawn and forced me to elope with your so called father Bikash when she was aware that I was pregnant. As a lady who is pregnant from a person whom she loves and has to elope with a person as per her mother’s wish, how much traumatic it might be, you will never understand, because you are boy. But forget all these things and concentrate in your studies.’
She was weeping for hours after telling those sentences. I promised to myself, I would not ask my mother again this question and study to fulfil dream of my mother to become a doctor.
In due course of time I completed my medical course as an adopted son of Bibekananda Baruah and Namita Baruah. Bibekananda Baruah loves me not like a son, but like a grandson only. He never allowed me to address him as Dad, but always insist to call me ‘Bardeuta/ Barta’ (Elder Brother of father) and taught me to address Pramanada baruah also as Barta only.
I have never seen their younger brother Aroon Baruah, who stays in Delhi after death of his American wife. I am told that he is different from his brothers but he is loved by his brothers and sister. He is a very learned man and is a member of many philanthropic organisations across the globe. About four years back my mother told me that she saw Aroon last almost thirty years ago that too in a dim light and therefore she may not even recognise him now. From her statement, a doubt has arisen, why mother saw him thirty five years ago in a dim light? My age is around twenty nine years. Is he my father?
When my marriage was arranged with Alaka, a young doctor from a reputed family, as a son of Baruah family, everything was going smoothly till three days prior to my marriage. Someone informed that I was not actual son of Bibekananda Baruah, but an adopted one. The father of Alaka, Dr. Duwara sent a message that they were willing to marry their daughter to the grandson of Bikram Baruah, not to a person whose lineage has been in doubt.
After getting the message from Duwara family, Bikram Baruah, who was alive at that time with a frail health, visited Duwara family. He told something to them confidentially with a request not to tell me till the marriage was over. I came to know what Baruah had told to Duwara only when Alka told me after one month of our marriage.
He told, ‘Ajay is my grandson. He carries my blood. His father is my youngest son, Aroon Baruah, one of the most famous Assamese intellectual, known philanthropist of the world. Due to some exceptional circumstances, at an early age of twenty he met this accident. Unfortunately, he does not know Ajay is his son till today and therefore Ajay had to be adopted by my eldest son, Bibekananda. Ajay’s mother Ramala, is also a gem of a person. Her selfless love for Aroo is unparallel.’
There was a marathon discussion within the members of Alka’s family. Finally they decided in favour of our marriage.
My marriage was solemnized with Alaka on the scheduled with lot of fanfare. On that day also my mother was weeping thinking his lover’s name became public and tarnished his image. But my grandfather, Vikram Baruah’s clout was too much for anyone to ignore and tarnish the image of my biological father. But now I want to meet him at any cost and ask actually how he came to this world without his knowledge!
What about the other sons of Bikash Das? But unfortunately none of my half brothers could pass matriculation to pursue higher education and therefore Baruah family stopped paying to them after two attempts to pass matriculation. Now they become agricultural labourers of Baruah family and completed the circle of unofficial bonded labourers’ life.
Dorothy and I were blessed with two sons, David and Maddy. David was born after two years of our marriage. His birth after two years of our marriage was a conscious decision taken by both of us. As both of us like travelling, we wanted to travel all major cities in the world before we become parents. After travelling across the globe frequently over almost one year, we decided to have our first child. God was kind enough to help us in fulfilling our dream cum decision and exactly after two years, David came to our lives.
The grandparents from both the sides were extremely happy when David was born. From my side, as per my knowledge, he was the third grandson of my parents ( at that time, I was unaware of my first son, Ajay). Both my elder brothers have one son each prior to birth of my son. My middle brother, Paramananda was sent by parents to USA to hand over sweets to my in laws when first news of Dorothy’s pregnancy was broken to the family members. My family organised a prayer meeting to obtain blessings from God for safe delivery of the child.
As mentioned, my father flew to New York before Dorothy was hospitalized for her first delivery and father stayed in New York City for one month. So far, Mr. and Mrs. Stuart are concerned; David became the angel they were aspiring for decades! Both the families were very happy about the arrival of a new family member.
After David, Maddy was blessed after exactly two years. This time, none from my family could visit Dorothy in the hospital due to failing health of my mother. However, my family organised a prayer meeting to obtain blessings from God for safe delivery of the second child as well. After his delivery my parents sent five thousand dollar to Dorothy to buy some gifts for the new born and his mother.
Dorothy became too busy to look after both the sons though she was getting full support from her parents in bringing up the children. Once both the sons went to school, Dorothy started to get some time to go back to her passion, music. The job, in the music school, was left after David’s arrival. After eight years of leaving the job, Dorothy decided to become a free lancing music teacher.
While performing in California, she told me over telephone that she would open a music school near to our residence, so that she need not have to travel when our sons would go to high school. But God has a different idea and next day she became a victim of global terrorism. I lost my wife, my family lost an extremely adorable daughter in law, my in laws lost their only daughter and most tragically my sons lost their mother at a very tender age. My sons became orphans. Both of them were old enough to understand their loss and they cried a lot. In ordinary cases, at least family of the deceased can perform last rites. But in our case we were so unlucky that the dead body of Dorothy could not be retrieved!
After overcoming the shock of our life, I wanted to go back to India as without Dorothy I did not want to continue my stay in USA. However, at the insistence of Stuart family, we, Stuart family and me, decided that my sons would continue their study in USA and would stay with their Grandparents and I would go back to India alone. Leaving two sons, at a very tender age of ten and eight, how painful for a father, only I could understand. But thinking for their bright future, I left them behind in USA.
One can criticise me why I did not continue to stay in USA to look after my children. Two reasons forced me to take the decision to leave USA, first, I was in USA only for Dorothy and secondly, if I had continued to stay in USA, I had to be nearby Stuart family, interference from either side might vitiate the atmosphere which in turn might affect my sons’ future.
I had given full freedom to my in laws to take decisions relating to my children. As a father, though Mr. Stuart had sufficient money to support my children, I had transferred all my savings to Mr. Stuart’s account and promised to give any amount whenever needed. Mr. Stuart never asked for any money till my sons have completed their higher studies and settled in New York ,USA of their own.
In absence of mother (forever) and father on daily basis, David grew quicker than his age. He became a matured person before he attains his adulthood. He is able to take decisions what is good or bad for him and his brother without day to basis guidance from his grandparents. On the other hand, Maddy is a replica of mine, who is very much dependant on his brother and grandparents. He telephones me daily more than once to ask for solution of some small trivial issues pertaining to him or his brother. David is like his mother, very matured, social and ready to help everyone. On the other hand, Maddy is like me, little bit emotional but as dogmatic as me after taking a decision, right or wrong, do not want to change. Like my elder brothers, David sometimes made him to see reasons, but mostly in vain. David loves Maddy and Maddy is treated by David with kids’ glove till toady. Luckily for us, both are very intelligent and passed out from reputed institutions as engineering graduates. They got their first job before they clear their graduations.
As a matter of routine, I always telephone both of them separately to know about their well being and personal problem, if any. Whenever, I am little late in telephoning them, they become restless and try to contact me frantically. Whenever, Stuart family or I have to undertake air travel, both my sons become wary till we land safely. We have consulted psychiatrist on this issue. But according to them, it will continue till they are settled in their own life and even then, it will be a slow process. I do not know how many families are suffering from this type fear syndrome!
Both my sons are now in New York City only and they are not interested to go out of that city as both (Prof and Mrs) of their grandparents have crossed eighty. Though, both of them are physically fit enough to look after themselves, unlike other grandchildren in the neighbourhood, they prefer to reside with their grandparents. In this regards, they probably carry the genes of Indian joint family, who never want to come out of their homes. Many of the Indian youngsters do not consider their parents or grandparents as burden; but they consider as protective umbrellas and they look at them for their advices. The system is very good for the elderly people where old people are taken care of and they do not feel that they are unwanted by the younger generation. The younger generation also think that they would never be deprived of good advices for the experienced ones.
Both the sons are coming to meet me once in a year and I also visit USA once in a year. Both my sons have very good relation with the children of my brothers and sister. However, they are still unaware of existence of an elder half brother. I do not know how they will react when they will know about my love-son about whom I also did not know till the death of their mother.
For me Mr. and Mrs. Stuart are my parents living in USA and for others, they were my parent in laws after my marriage to Dorothy and for academics, Prof. Stuart was my guide for my PhD and post doctorate. Prior to my marriage to Dorothy, Mr. Stuart was my Professor and guide in college and my friend, philosopher and guide outside the college. From the very first day, a bond was developed between us which had been cemented further when I met Mrs. Stuart in a college function. Professor Stuart introduced himself as the husband of Mrs. Margaret Stuart, house maker of the family and mother of their only child Dorothy. When Mrs. Margaret Stuart instead of formal handshake, hugged me, I felt as if my mother hugged me. Within no time, a bonding had been developed between us. She invited me to their home for a cup of tea on the next day. Professor Stuart was a very serious teacher and he told me that I should come for tea to his residence only after completion of the task which was assigned to me. For the first time, I realized even in Western Country who happens to be the boss at home. On hearing what Professor Stuart was saying to me, she interrupted, ‘Do not worry for your Professor, you come at 4-30 PM, no matter your work is completed or not. I shall take care of him.’ I did not say anything.
Next morning, I started my task before time to finish it early. Despite of my best effort, I could not able to complete the work allotted to me by 4 PM. So as per the instruction from Prof. Stuart, I was continuing my task in my laboratory till 4-05 PM when Professor appeared before me.
‘Sir I shall need another one hour to finish my job. I shall join you by 5 PM.’ I told Professor with an apologetic tone.
‘Are you going to kill me? Margaret is waiting for us. Let us go!’ Professor ordered me to wrap up the work immediately. Having no alternative, I postponed my work for the next day.
As soon as we reached their house, Mrs. Stuart hugged me and took me to the drawing room. While on the way to drawing room, Mrs. Stuart said, ‘You know you are late by 5 minutes and I know who is responsible for that!’
‘No, it was my fault as I could not complete my experiment in time. Actually, I thought to join you after one hour. Virtually Sir had dragged me as you were waiting for us!’
‘Then it is OK. But remember, if he gives you trouble, you tell me; I shall handle the matter.’ She laughed.
‘Don’t worry Maggy, I shall not dare to do that!’Professor remarked with a grin.
After three hours when I left to my apartment, I realized I got a mother some thousand KM away from my birth place.
After almost one year of my first visit to Stuart family, I met Dorothy, the only sweetheart of the family. I proposed her on the very third day of our meeting. She told her mother about my proposal to Dorothy and her acceptance to my proposal on the same day. The matter was discussed in details within the three members of the family almost for three hours. Though Professor and Mrs. Stuart love me, there were some issues which were pertinent before coming to a conclusion. Dorothy and I were coming from different cultural background. Our religion were different and even we are from different races. After three hours of marathon discussion it was decided that interest Dorothy is utmost for the family and she had been authorised to examine the compatibility of a married life with me and decision of marriage would be also taken by Dorothy only.
Thereafter, we had a long courtship of one year before we finally married. After our marriage, we stayed few KM away from Prof. Stuarts’ home. Both of us used to visit them on weekends till demise of Dorothy. My relation with Mrs. Margaret was more son and mother than son-in law and mother-in-law. Therefore, even after fourteen years of Dorothy’s death, we have an excellent relation between us. I love both the old persons as if they are my own parents. This feeling has increased many folds after demise of my parents a few years back.
Prof. and Mrs. Stuart advised me for second marriage. But I told them that unless I meet a lady with at least ten percent similarity, I shall tie the knot again; otherwise I shall remain single. When after fifteen years of Dorothy’s demise, I decided to remarry, they supported me wholeheartedly.
Ajanta was the only daughter of her parents and belongs to very well to do family of Jorhat which the largest city of upper Assam. But unfortunately, her parents were killed in a car accident. Ajanta was lucky to survive that car accident with minor injury. At that time she was only one and half year old.
Luckily for her, both her grandparents were hale hearty at that time. Ajanta has an uncle who also stays with him. When Ajanta lost her parents, her uncle, younger brother of her father was unmarried. He married after one year after the demise of Ajanta’s parents. The aunt who was married to her uncle was also nice lady and she loves Ajanta as her own daughter. In due course of time, her uncle was blessed with two sons and as such she remained the only daughter of the family.
Having lost her parents at the early years she was always treated by her grandparent with extra care. After completion of her masters in English she planned to go for M. Phil course when her marriage proposal from Baruah family came. Actually, my nephew Sugata saw her when she was performing in a musical nite at Guwahati. Sugata, an engineer by profession, fell in love with Ajanta on the very first day of their meeting the show.
Sugata first told me about Ajanta and requested me to tell his father and grandfather. When I informed my brother about Sugata’s liking for Ajanta and willingness to marry her, my brother, Bibekanda gave the responsibility to my middle brother, Paramananda to find out the family back ground etc. about Ajanta. My brother Paramananda gathered all the necessary information from some of the known persons from Jorhat, the city Ajanta hails from.
When Paramanada came to know that Ajanta lost her parents at a very tender age and discussed the matter with my father, our family became little hesitant to negotiate further. But, when Sugata came to the latest development, he telephoned me to persuade my father and my brothers to rethink the issue afresh.
After losing Dorothy, I understand what first love means to a person. Without wasting time, I contacted my father and told him, ‘Dad, do not think Ajanta is orphan. Think her as my daughter and allow Sugata to marry her. I understand, if we do not allow Sugata to marry her, he will not marry her. But, in that case, he will remain unhappy throughout his life. I am sure, none of you will be happy by making Sugata unhappy for his entire life.’
There was a silence from the other side of the telephone line. Then, I heard my father’s voice, ‘Bibeka, talk to Aroo, he is on the line.’
My brother took the phone from my father and asked, ‘What happened Aroo? Is everything alright?’I heard his anxious voice. I repeated the same thing to my brother.
He laughed so loudly that I had to remove my phone from my ear. ‘Why you are laughing so loudly?’ I was confused.
‘My dear little kid, Sugata cannot marry your daughter, in that case she would be his sister. That is why I laughed. But by saying so, you have shown your concern about Sugata’s happiness. I am proud of you always, little brother! You are the only person in our family who takes decision by heart. Sugata always talk to you because he knows you will hear to you. We normally do not see things the way you can see. I shall talk to our Dad and I am hopeful that he will agree to you proposal.’
Phone was hung for a minute and then I heard my father’s voice, ‘OK, Aroo if you think so, we shall allow Sugata to marry Ajanta.’
On the very first day of married life, Ajanta told me, ‘Saru (little) papa, you have declared that I am your daughter, before my marriage to Sugata. Therefore, I shall not treat you as my father in law, but I shall treat you as my father only. Now you cannot change your position!’
She smiled and tried to touch my foot which is customary to touch feet of the father in law.
I immediately removed my feet and told, ‘You are contradicting yourself! Daughter cannot touch father’s feet!’
From that day onwards, Ajanta became my daughter and after my mother’s death she behaves like my mother as well!
For me some surprises were still in store. After few years of their marriage, one day, my daughter in law, Ajanta asked me, ‘Saru Papa, do you think Ramala Aunty is 10% of Dorothy Aunty?’
‘Why you have asked me this question?’I asked her instead of answering her question.
‘You had told grandpa that you would marry a lady who would be 10% of Dorothy Aunty. Ramala Aunty is still waiting for you. If you consider her as 10% of Dorothy Aunty, you marry her because for her you are more than 100%.’
I was about to lose my temper and about to blast her, ‘How dare you to ask that question?’But instead of doing that, I saw to her eyes, her eyes were asking me something. My anger evaporated to see her appealing eyes.
She started again, ‘I love you as my own father. I have not remembered how my father was or how he was looked like. Whenever, I visualize a father, I only see you. I want my father to be happy. A father can be happy only when he is with his wife. We cannot have Dorothy Aunty back. But we can have a lady who cares for you.’
I did not answer. She left my house after giving my medicines.
Next day, Ajanta did not come in the morning like any other day. That was very un-usual considering the fact that even when she was not well she used to try to visit me or at least used to she telephone me. I was little bit worried and therefore before going to office I telephoned Ajanta to know about her welfare. She picked up the phone but did utter any word and I heard sound of her weeping. I became more worried. I asked her repeatedly what happened; but she did not reply.
Instead of going to office, I hurriedly reached her house.
I first met Sugata, who on seeing me said, ‘Saru papa, I am sorry what Ajanta had said to you yesterday. She does not understand your sentiment that is why she harped on your old injury regarding your remarriage!’
I understood there was big fight between husband and wife on the proposal of Ajanta regarding my remarriage. I went inside to their bed room, which I had never done before, I saw Ajanta was weeping lying on her bed.
I sat beside her and patted on her lovingly and said, ‘So you do not want to give medicine to your father, you want to appoint someone else for the job!’
Then I called Sugata and told him smilingly, ‘Both husband and wife are planning to blackmail me, is not it?’
The gloomy atmosphere reigning in their house had gone away with my statement. Then, I again asked Ajanta, ‘Since you have thought about my remarriage, you must have found a bride also, it appears!’
She got up from her bed and hugged me like a small girl hugging her father when she is promised for the doll she wants for a long time. Sugata laughed at seeing his wife was hugging me and said, ‘Saru Papa, I am not party to emotional blackmail, it is your daughter in law and some other ladies of your relatives. Do not blame me afterwards.’
‘You are a liar and I know you it very my dear devil! You are aware of full details! Further, tell me the names of my lady relatives who are not your relatives!’ I pretended to scold Sugata.
Yes, he knew everything of the plot. Ajanta was the interface of the whole conspiracy. It was plotted in Guwahati under the Chairpersonship of my eldest sister in law, Namita Bau, mother of Sugata, supported by my other sister in law, Madhuri Bau and my sister, Karabi. The planning was vetted by my brothers.
Even after repeated query Sugata and Ajanta did not tell me the name of the lady who was at least 10% of Dorothy in their opinion.
On that evening, my eldest sister in law told me the name of the possible bride. I thought for moment and said, ‘Are you sure that she will be ready to marry me at this age. I do not know how my children will react. I do not know how Professor Stuart and his family will react.’ I tried to avoid my remarriage.
‘I have spoken to all the people who are concerned. Everybody, including your sons will be happy, if you give consent for the marriage. There was some resistance only from Ajay. But now after Bibeka talked to him, he also gave his consent for the marriage.’ She paused to hear my reaction.
‘Ok, Bau (elder Sister in law), as you wish.’ Having no alternative I gave my consent.
I gave the consent considering two main emerging situations, first I am directly or indirectly becoming a sort of burden for Sugata and Ajanta and secondly, as I am becoming older, I am feeling lonely. Further, I have been always carrying a guilty feeling for the injustice meted out to her by using my financial and social clout.
I thanked my little daughter/ daughter in law, Ajanta for her approach to hold the bull by its horns. She has done what even my parents could not do a few years ago. I realized one thing for sure ‘daughters are stronger than even your mother in emotional blackmailing’!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We were taught wives of elder brothers are as respectable as your own mother. We used to follow the rituals of touching feet of elder sister in laws on any auspicious day and family functions irrespective of the age of the sister in law. In many cases sister in laws are younger than the brother in laws. But even then, we are to follow those rituals to show our respects and that gives freedom of movements of the younger brothers with the elder sister in laws. Because of this system elder brothers can their wives with their younger brothers to any place at any odd hours with confidence and without having iota of misunderstanding from both sides. Therefore, you will find hundreds of example in our place when younger brother in laws sacrifice their lives for saving the lives and dignity of their sister in laws when elder brothers were not nearby to save their wives. These rituals may be necessary to keep discipline in the society.
Following the rules of rituals, both my sister in laws, Namita and Madhuri were considered like my own mother, even though the second one, Madhuri is of my age. They also behave like my own mother all the time. That gives me the liberty to discuss anything, from personal problems to family problems with them without any hesitation. My elder Sister in law, Namita use to say publicly that I am her first son who will be going to lit the pyre when she will die. That honour is always reserved for the eldest son in the society.
After joining politics my elder brother, Bibekananda was always short of time to go to any relative’s house with my sister in law, Namita. Therefore, whenever I visit my family, my sister in law, Namita Bau(I fondly address her) would take me along with her to visit the relatives whom she could not go alone and clear the backlog of social visits. My brother also likes that arrangement which saves his time and his wife also becomes happy to take care of my well being during that period. Her only son Sugata is very much attached to me and he is more confident in sharing his secrets with me than his own father. That gives my brother also more time for his political and social activities. Their daughter Pryanka is an adorable girl who knows how to get attention from me.
So far my second sister in law, Madhuri Bau is concerned, she never shows such kindness to me as we are of same age. But so far I am concerned; I always put her almost at the same pedestal of Namita Bau and my mother. She also knows that. Her two children, Banajit and Kadambari, both are very much attached to her mother. She always advise her children to be like me, at least so far study is concerned. As her children are much younger, they seldom discuss any personal matters with me. But whenever I visit them, they like to go out with me to different places where their father does not take them. Therefore, they always look for next visit.
There was a time when my relation with my sister in laws had gone sour. When both my sister in laws came to know about my relation with Ramala, they became very unhappy and started hating me as a loose character, spoilt son of rich person and so on. But they could not show their displeasure due to fear of my parents and brothers. But among themselves they used to discuss the matter. They, particularly, my younger sister in law Madhuri Bau, during that phase of my life, used to see my movements with suspicion. This continued till I married to Dorothy. My devotion to Dorothy before and after her death had changed the entire perception about me in the eyes of my sister in laws. In the meantime, they also became matured in their thinking process and they realized that a person cannot be judged on the basis of one act which may be one off bad or good example. After death of Dorothy and subsequent my decision, not to marry any lady enhanced my reputation in the eyes of sister in laws. When I refused to take my legitimate right to my father’s property they understood I did not have any hanker for property as well. My philanthropic activities through Dorothy trust made them realize why my brothers love me like an adorable kid even at this age. They started to see me as an ideal husband, ideal father, ideal son, ideal brother, ideal brother in law and above all a good human being. My role in bringing Ajanta as wife of Sugata had been seen as an ultimate well wisher for the next generation. When they came to know the conservative estimates of the assets I could have held, if I would not left the share from my father’s property, kept entire royalties of my books by not donating to the Dorothy Trust, not giving the entire savings to Professor Stuart would be few thousand million in Indian currency. By leaving or donating the astronomical amount I became a saintly person in the eyes of my sister in laws. But whole process took a long time, might be more than twenty long and agonizing years.
But what I like most about my sister in laws is their loyalty towards their husbands and their parent in law. Both of them are very respectful to my parents and till my parent died, both of them did not give any chance to criticize their daughter in laws. When my mother was hospitalized for fracture in her right leg and her subsequent confinement to the bed, they never allowed any nurse to look after her. Both of them provided their service so nicely that my sister admitted that she could not have done it better.
They were not only good wives and daughter in laws but also good mothers. What my mother failed to control her sons in their youth, my sister in laws were able to give their sons best of the moral lessons. All the children of my next generation did very well in their academics. My mother used to praise her daughter in laws for their efforts in making their children good human being. However, in her praise she indirectly blames her husband, our father for not cooperating in her efforts in making them better human being. In the process she gave some credit to her sons also for their full support to their wives in reining their children.
In social front, Namita Bau is more active and she is perfect folly for her husband in his political life. She is very quick in decision making and once decision is taken, she will see that it is implemented. For her adamant nature in completing any task, my father always like her more than his sons even. Being a tough task master, she is feared by our servants including our very old servants who are working in our house much before she came as a wife of my brother. Even Jetuki Aunty and Nomal uncle used to think twice before saying something to her. Even, my arrogant sister and macho brother, Paramananda are behaving before Namita Bau with all respect and fear. Despite of her reputation of tough task master, she never uttered a single word in front my parents even if she disagrees. With this quality, she rules my parents as more than what a daughter can do.
Contrary to Namita Bau, Madhuri Bau is lovable and adorable lady, but not reliable in decision making and completion of any work. She seldom scolds any servant and therefore servants take full liberty to disobey her. She has to be dependent on Namita Bau for execution of any urgent work given by my parents or even by her husband Paramananda. Paramananda knows the situation very well. Therefore, he instructs his wife to do the thing with consultation with Namita Bau. Namita Bau loves Madhuri Bau as her younger sister and Madhuri Bau also treat her as elder sister. Madhuri Bau, despite of her meek personality, objected to her parents once, when they tried to say something against Namita Bau. Seeing her anger on that day all the servants have decided not to complain against Namita Bau in front of her. That decision is still in vogue!
I know that Namita Bau loves me at par with Sugata and Madhuri Bau cannot love me at par with Banajit. Namita Bau can call me to her room at middle of the night when she is alone to discuss something important. She can discuss medical problem with me without iota of hesitation which is unimaginable for Madhuri Bau. But still I have no regrets about that nor do I have any complaints about that. After all we are living in twenty first century, where age matters; not like in Mahabharat era when age did not matter to maintain a relation!
Finally, Ramala and I were going to be united at the behest of my family members. I heard Ramala was very happy, but I was little bit apprehensive. I had not seen her for last thirty five long years. I was sure that she would not be as beautiful as I saw her thirty five years in the dim light of a kerosene lamp. She could not be as slim as she used to be. Her colour might not also be as bright as thirty five year back. She might not be as sweet as thirty five years back in her talk. Everything might go haywire if I would meet a heavily built old lady before my marriage. Therefore, I had decided not to meet Ramala before our marriage so that I need not have to experience a poor feeling about our marriage. Accordingly, I had conveyed the message to Ramala through Ajanta without citing any reason for my decision.
After getting my message Ramala telephoned me, ‘I want to know why you do not want to see me before our marriage. Can you tell me?’
‘There is no special reason for that. Sometimes, surprises are better. I have not seen you for so many years. I want to keep your same image even now what I have been keeping in my mind for so many years.’ I did not want to divulge my actual fear.
‘I know, you must be fearing that I am no more that slim, beautiful and bright woman that you had left me long back. Yes, perhaps you are correct. But with the gift which you had given me long back that I always adore, now I look brighter at least in my own eyes. This is my payback time. I shall give you as much love as a husband can think of. Aroo, I assure you, my love for you has not diminished over the years. Rather it has increased. Further, I again assure you, I shall never try to replace Dorothy from your heart.’
Her voice had been as sweet as I remember three and a half decades ago. I appreciate her assurance not to replace Dorothy from my heart which was very special on her part. Considering the fact that we talked after so many years and she had not met Dorothy when she was alive, her respect for Dorothy had given an unknown solace for my decision of my remarriage.
After our marriage, I came to know that she knew everything about me and Dorothy. Actually she had been following me as a shadow for so many years without my knowledge.
‘I understand your concern, Aroo. You are still not sure whether you are taking a right decision to marry me or not. You may have a guilty feeling that you could not live with the memory of your sweetheart Dorothy, but you have to take shelter of another lady, whom you do not love. But think about me, who lived for you throughout my youthful days and slept for fifteen years with a person, whom I never loved. I bore two children from him, for that I had to undergo so much physical and mental pain. I had to live a duel life!’ She stopped there. Probably, her voice was choked with emotion.
‘Do you want to meet me before the marriage?’ I asked her.
‘Yes, if you do not like me at the first sight after so many years, you need not have to marry me. Otherwise, you have to live with me like carrying a burden on your head for rest of your life. I do not want that for the person, whom I love more than me.’ She stopped for a moment.
‘I saw you aging from the photos and videos in your family album. But you have not seen me for so many years; it may be a shock for you to see an old lady as your bride, when with your financial and social status, you can very easily marry a beautiful young girl from a good family. I do not want to force you to marry me, you can reject if you do not like me at the very first sight after so many years.’
‘Ok, Ok. Ramala right now you are giving a lecture like a wife. Tell me where to meet you? Are coming to Delhi? I think that will be better for us as here except Sugata and Ajanta, no relatives will be there to keep an eye us. So when you are coming?’
She paused for minute. ‘Tomorrow, if you do not have any problem.’ I feel her excitement in her voice.
‘OK, come tomorrow and let me know your flight number so that I can receive you at the airport. But come alone!’ I told her with a laugh.
She was not expecting that I would be ready to marry her. She was also not expecting that, I would be ready to receive her on the very next day after our first telephonic talk. She thought I would delay our meeting by at least one month. But when I agreed her visit for the very next day, she got so much nervous that she could not talk to anybody for few minutes and tears were flowing from her eyes continuously for several minutes. Alaka thought I refused her request to meet her. Embracing Ramala, Alaka also started crying. Finally when Ajay came to them and Ramala told him with a choked voice, ‘I am going to meet your father tomorrow. Book my ticket for the earliest flight of tomorrow. I do not to waste even an extra minute of life without him.’
Then she started weeping again. But this time Alaka smiled and went to pack her bag. Ramala did not know what was to be packed in her bag. Her brain stopped working.
After dinner she told Ajay, ‘I am leaving you in the hands of Alaka forever. I shall not come back to you. If at all we have to stay together, you have to come and stay with your father. I shall be with your father if he decided to marry me as his legal wife and if he decides otherwise, I shall live with him even as a servant. But this time, in any case, I am not going to leave him alone till I die.’
Ajay embracing his mother told, ‘Do not do that mom, if he does not marry you, come back and stay with us like mother queen. But do not stay with him like a servant.’ Then he started crying inconsolably.
Ramala smiled for the first time after our telephonic talk and told her son, ‘you are mistaken your mom! I want to serve your father by staying with him with any capacity. I want to be with him which he had allowed me after I had been waiting for this invitation for last thirty five years. I know, it is difficult for you to understand my feelings. I am not going to him for doing a favour to him; I am going to his house for my own satisfaction. By allowing me to meet him, he did a favour to me for which I shall remain grateful to him till my last breath!’ Ajay did not say anything.
He arranged a ticket for his mother.
Next day, well in advance, I alone was waiting for Ramala at Indira Gandhi International Airport to receive her. After an hour late, her flight landed at around 5 PM. I was anticipating an old lady would arrive with a number of baggage. I, in a sense, was waiting for a lady whom I would not recognise by her face.
Most of the passengers crossed me and I could not find Ramala, the old lady for whom I was waiting for last two hours. Then suddenly I got a tapping on my shoulder, ‘Aroo, you could not recognize me!’ Then, I heard a giggle which is still familiar in my ears.
A slim, middle aged and very charming lady was standing behind me. I was about to faint to see Ramala in her new incarnation –a modern lady who is far from her original version of village damsel when I left her long ago.
She understood my perplexed mental situation and with a beautiful smile said, ‘Do not worry Aroo, I have not changed internally. This change is necessary to cope up with the society of urban Guwahati. Now I can speak English fluently. I have already completed my masters in English.’
To my pleasant surprise new information had been revealed about Ramala in her own words. She had changed a lot. All these were hidden from me by my well wishers to give shocking surprise to me. However, at the hindsight, I missed the simple Ramala whom I left in the dim light of a Kerosine lamp some thirty five years’ back.
Seeing me thinking, with a giggle she asked me, ‘Are you taking me to your house or to Sugata’s home?’
Instead of answering her question I asked her, ‘You decide where do you want to go?’
She taunted, ‘You have a very bad record with me, so I should prefer to go to Sugata’s home. But you know, as a dumb lady I would be happy to be cheated again by you, and therefore I would like to go to your house and shall try to make your new home.’ She gave an intriguing reply.
I found her more skilled with words!
She was carrying a small trolley bag. I took her bag and proceeded towards the parking lot. While walking along with her, though I was asking her some simple questions like ‘have you taken snacks on the board etc.’, all along I was thinking, how she had transformed so much.
After sitting on my driver’s seat, I asked the question, ‘How you have transformed, as you said outwardly, so much?’
‘Is it surprising for you? I took my masters long back after coming to Guwahati and I joined as a teacher in a private school. Dada (Paramananda) provided me all the facilities at my new home. So to engage myself, I joined as a teacher, not for financial reason. As initially, I was thought as a divorcee and having no kids, I was approached by many for marriage and otherwise, wanted to have physical relation. Afterwards, Namita Bau told few people, those were like All Indi Radio, that I have a husband staying in USA and have a child, those Romeo allowed to live my own life. During that period I had not changed both internally nor outwardly. However, my recent outward transformation was due to the insistence of my daughter in law, Alaka and your daughter in law, Ajanta. According to them, before meeting me, I have to look like a queen as I have to meet my king. But you have not commented my look whether good or bad! ’
‘You are still looking great. But, how you can transform so quickly, as I was told about our marriage only a week’s ago by Ajanta. Further, I was ready to marry you not because of physical attraction, but for your inner beauty which was gathered from my sister a few years back. One thing is true, once I had been attracted to you for your physical beauty only. In any case, I was ready to marry you without any pre condition.’ I countered.
‘Yes, no one expected that you would agree for our marriage so quickly! It may be possible only because of your love for Ajanta!’ With a smile she continued again, ‘But you know, all of them are party who conspired for your marriage. Even your sons and your in laws are part of the group who planned. Only exception is Ajay, who had given consent of marriage recently with a caveat that he would not attend our marriage.’ It appeared; she wanted to talk with me endlessly without any interruption.
‘Do you know, I lost ten kg in last one year? I cropped my hair and went to beauty parlour and gym regularly to look beautiful. Am I looking as beautiful as earlier?’ But she did not expect any answer from me.
She looks beautiful, but naturally not as beautiful as when I left her. I appreciate her efforts to win my heart. But she did not know, I had already made a place in my heart for her, next to Dorothy’s large chamber in my heart.
Before getting down from my car I told her, ‘Ramala, I cannot say whether I love you or not, but I am very happy about our marriage. I shall try to give you everything what an ideal husband normally gives to his wife.’
For the first time, Ramala’s face took a serious look, then she started weeping and embraced me tightly and uttered with a choked voice, ‘My dream comes true. I love you Aroo. I promise you, I shall try my best to make you happy always.’ She could not speak much. But her silence told me volumes. I patted her back lovingly. It took five minutes to come over our emotions and then we got down from our car.
As we entered to my house, I saw Sugata and Ajanta were waiting for us. Ajanta hugged Ramala and then me, whispering on my ear, ‘I am so happy, Saru papa, Can I call her mom today itself?’
‘Ok, my dear child, your wish is granted.’ I told her, patting her back.
Ajanta led Ramala to a room which is adjacent to my room. They sat for half an hour and while going Ajanta told Ramala loudly, ‘Mom, bolt the door properly from inside so that nobody can enter to your room at night. Delhi is very unsafe for single lady!’
Ramala smiled but did not answer.
Dinner was served by the servants and by ten they left for their own house. In the large house now we two were left for a beautiful or for an agonising night!
‘You must be tired. You can take rest in your room. I shall be in my study room for one hour or so. If you need something you can call me at any time.’ She did not tell me anything. She went to her room and I went my room.
As I was about to go to my study room, Ramala came to my room. ‘Do you want something? I asked.
‘Yes, I want my Aroo for the whole night.’ She came very near to me and said, ‘I am very tired of staying alone for so many years. Can I sleep in your arms for the whole night?’
I embraced her tightly and then kissed on her forehead. I was feeling that she still remained same. Fragrance of her body hit my nose and mind.
Whole night we did not sleep. She wanted to speak her mind out. She told me her lone journey of pain, loneliness, pathetic married life with Bikash, hawkish look of the males of Guwahati city. How she survived all these adversities? Only with one hope, one day I would recognize her true love by me. She told me that she would not force me to marry her; but with folded hands she requested me I should allow her to stay with him. She would like to stay with me even with the status of a bonded labourer or even with the status of a kept.
At this I clasped her hands and told, ‘Do not embarrass me further. I shall marry you and I shall give full status of Mrs Aroon Baruah. But, I must be truthful, do not expect that I shall replace Dorothy from my heart and put you there.’
‘Aroo, I had never dreamt for that. I know your love for Dorothy. I do not want love from you! I want to bestow my love on you by staying with you till my death. In return I am not expecting anything from you.’ Her voice was genuine.
I brought her nearer to my chest. I felt her tears on my bare chest. I ran my fingers on her hair. She put her hand on my hair and she also started running her hand on my hair softly. I realized her hand is still very soft!
After a week we got married though it was a mere formality. Prior to our marriage also, she was staying with me like a married wife in all practical purposes. Before our formal marriage, officially she was sleeping in the adjacent room and kept the room in a mess so that there was a feeling that, it was used by Ramala at night.
Our marriage was a small family function. Except our very close relatives none was invited. David, Maddy and Professor Stuart also attended the marriage. Mrs. Stuart could not attend due to her indifferent health. However, she sent a video message wishing me a happy married life with Ramala. Ajay also attended our marriage on my insistence.
After our marriage, one evening when we were taking tea Ramala asked me, ‘Do you think I am greedy and money minded?
‘Why you are asking this question? Did anyone accuse you?’
‘Not by one, by many. Everyone in the village think that due to money I trapped you and then I left Bikash fifteen years ago.’ While saying Ramala’s eyes became moist.
‘On that day, Uruka night itself, I realized you are selfless so far your love for me is concerned. On the day itself, had Nomal Uncle and you could have trapped me, humiliate me and our family. But you did not do that. Instead you offered your body and soul to me unconditionally. Then you eloped with a person whom you never loved, just to make me feel that I had not spoiled your life. For fifteen years you offered your body to an animal who never treated you as a woman of substance. You could have informed long back about Ajay which you did not tell me so that I am not disturbed. You have passed long fifteen years all alone but never approached me for any support thinking that my reputation might be at stake. Till Ajanta told me about your loneliness, I did not realize your agony. I am a very selfish person, who thought only for own good. Contrary to that, you sacrificed whole life for without expecting anything. How one can accuse you of greediness!’ I became very emotional in defending Ramala.
Ramala started weeping. I patted on her back and said, ‘Do not listen what other people say. Now villagers will envy you more. They may spread more rumours. But enjoy your life with me and obey what my brothers and their wives advise to you. For both of us, they are our living God. Ajanta loves me as her own father and you as her mother. Love her as your own daughter. Do not let her feel that she had lost her parents long back.’
‘I always respect your brothers as my own brothers and they always treated me as your lover or wife and never saw me as any other lady on the street. I love Ajanta from our first meeting three/ four years ago. But being a lady, I cannot ignore what people say about me in my back. Those statements are intentionally or unintentionally told to me by someone. Then those statements hurt me.’ She told me with a mild voice. I could understand her sentiment.
I lifted her from her chair, embraced her and comforted her, ‘Now tell me one thing very clearly today. What is important for you, my love for you or the views of others regarding you?’
I heard her sobbing, but I know that is for the happiness she got from my emotional support that she was vying for last so many years. She also embraced me like a little girl.
Another day, Ramala unveiled her agony for last fifteen years in the hands of many highly educated people of so called civilized society. When Ramala was staying in Guwahati, her status in the society was of a mere governess who was appointed to look after Ajay, son of my brother Bibekananda. Naturally, many people thought she was a poor but beautiful lady of late thirties without a husband. Some thought she was a divorcee, some thought she was a widow and some thought she was unmarried. For the first two years in Guwahati, many gentlemen (sic) tried to impress upon her to have some intimacy. Those who wanted to make close relation, none was interested to marry her, but to enjoy her physically as most of them had wives or regular girl friends.
The matter was discussed with my brother Bibekananda and Namita Bau. My brother was to hit each and every Romeo who tried to take advantage of vulnerability of Ramala. But Bau wanted to solve the problem intelligently. She called the driver and the servants who were appointed to look after Ajay and Ramala in Guwahati. She tactfully told them, ‘I have observed that you do not show proper respect to Ramala. Do you know who is Ramala? She is my relative and as her husband is in USA, to pass her time only she is staying with Ajay; not for money. So if in future, if anyone of you show less respect to her, I shall not spare him or her.’
On the very same day, Namita Bau bought an expensive Mangal Sutra (ornament worn by Indian lady whose husband is alive though it is not very common in Assam) and asked Ramala to wear so that every street Romeo, in disguise of gentle men could be reigned. Ramala was also told to pursue her studies which once she had to after her marriage.
When she finished, I commented, ‘All men are same. I cannot blame them. I am also no different from those bastards! After Dorothy’s demise and before I met you, I also slept with a number of ladies without any intention to marry any of them. Therefore, after marrying you, I have a guilt feeling, I am not faithful to Dorothy nor to you. When I told you about my one night relations with so many ladies, you said that it was normal for a widower and still you were ready to marry me, forgiving those incidents! But for the reason how you can blame those rascals!’ My voice might be little bit remorseful!
‘Your case and cases of those persons were different. You had been faithful to Dorothy till her last day. You never promised any of those ladies that you are going to have a emotional relation. But these guys were cheating their partners and they were lying to me also by saying that they want to have emotional relation with me. That was wrong. That is why I blamed them. Further, you are truthful to me and they were not.’ She defended my actions like my father and brothers.
The last statement about me was half truth. I could not tell Ramala a very important truth of my life that her mother had seduced me for a physical relation exactly before one year when I last met Ramala thirty five years ago.
With a faint smile I remarked, ‘I am very thankful for forgiving me and defending my deeds. But I honestly tell you, even if you had some physical or emotional relation with those guys I would not have mind. After all you are also human being, you also need emotional support and you also have some physical needs!’
‘You still do not understand me fully.’ She paused for a minute. Then what she said to me, made me dumbstruck.
‘Last thirty five years, from that day of Uruka night, emotionally you have been always with me. On that that night, God had gifted you to me as my spiritual and emotional life partner for my entire life. Even when I was with Bikash, as the night descended, as darkness engulfed, I used to see you in the darkness and felt your presence. I never wished Dorothy should leave you, I always wished, you should have a wonderful long married life. When I heard Dorothy’s accident, I cried a lot for you. I knew that you must have been devastated. But after few days of her death, a belief had born in my mind; one day you will marry me. I have to wait many years even after that for you. But those years were full of hope. Finally, God has made my belief true. Therefore, for last thirty five odd years neither I was emotionally alone nor I felt need of anyone to full fill my physical desire. Whenever, I feel for any physical desire, you came to me in my imagination and did everything a wife desires from her husband. For last fourteen years, what Dorothy was for you, you are for me since you had left me after presenting me the best gift of my life. After my separation with Bikash, I did not have any house chores to perform and I had to look after Ajay only. Whenever Ajay was with me, I used to thank God and you for the magnificent gift in the form of my son. Whenever, Ajay was in school/College, you were with me like a shadow. So my dear Hubby, you could not abandon me even though you tried your best.’
When she finished her statement, I thought, how a lady can think like a leading lady of a story book of medieval ages, in twenty first century! After seeing me silent she said again, ‘I know, no one will believe what I am saying, but I shall feel myself as the happiest woman in the world even if you try to believe what I am saying.’
Her genuineness in her voice made me awe struck. I could not understand how a lady can live for so many years with a belief that one day she would be married by the man who ditched her after a one night stay. It is unbelievable, but true. Starting with a hopeless situation, she achieved the unimaginable goal of winning heart of a heartless (for her at least) person.
I could not stop myself to embrace her and behaved like that twenty year boy when he met the nineteen year girl on that Uruka night!
Another day, Ramala asked me a question, ‘Do you think I am a good mother?’
Instead of giving an answer I asked her, ‘Why you have asked the question?’
‘I have a guilty feeling that, I was not fair to my other two sons. Since I left our village, I have not met them for even once.’ She paused.
‘Why? Is it because my brothers did not allow you to go to our village or you did not want to meet them?’ I wanted to know.
‘Your brothers did not allow me and Ajay to go to our village. But they had given permission Bikash to send our sons to Guwahati to meet us. But Bikash did not allow that on one pretext or another when they were young. I sent sweets from Guwahati to them whenever someone comes from our village. Bikash always ridicules my invitation to our children or any gift to them. He used to say to his drunkard friends that, I am a kept of your brothers. Even he had poisoned my sons’ hearts to hate me so much that when they grew up they did not visit even after my repeated requests. They informed me through a messenger that I am dead for them. But they became as shameless as their father to take all financial help from your family has provided to them.’ She sighed.
‘Why they did not study hard to become like their elder brother, Ajay? Did you not take any interest for their studies?’ I wanted to know to console her.
‘I took all care for their studies when I was with them. Your son Ajay used to get up at five in the morning to study or to complete his home work. On the other hand, his brothers would get up after eight after at least two to three reminders. In the evening also Ajay sat for his studies by six o clock. But they would not sit for studies even at eight. Therefore, Ajay always stood first in the class and other two brothers had to be in the same class for at least two years. Whenever, I want to discuss the matter with Bikash, he snubbed me by saying that Ajay was like him and other two were like me, brainless. Sometimes, I felt like telling the truth. But always I resisted myself to tell the truth because of love for you and thinking future of Ajay. However, when he charged me of cheating on that day, out of anger, I not only told the truth but also told him that he was not worth of a nail of your feet. That statement of mine might be the last nail on the coffin as far as our relation was concerned. After telling the truth I was relieved but I was weeping whole night. Everyone thought, I was weeping because Bikash had beaten me. Your brothers had taken immediate actions thinking similarly. But actually, I was crying because somebody might inform you about Ajay to you and as at that time Dorothy was alive, she might also be informed. That might be dangerous for your married life. Luckily for all of us, the news did not reach New York.’ She stopped there.
‘As a mother you have done equally for them. Therefore, you should not repent on that account. However, for that matter you can blame me. Had I not met you on that Uruka night, you would be probably a happy mother irrespective of their academic failure!’ I commented and tried to console her.
‘No, you are totally wrong. That was the night which made me the happiest woman in the world. Had you not visited our home that night, had you not gifted my son on that night, I would be the unhappiest woman in the world who would not have anything to cherish in her life. I was and am only for you. Even on the day if you had killed me, I would die as a content and happy young woman.’
I did not have an answer to that!
One night, when we were about to sleep, with a chocked voice she told me, ‘Namita Bau telephoned me and told that Bibekananda-dada thrashed Bikash recently!’
‘Oh, you were sad that your ex-husband has been thrashed!’ I tried to tease her. She kept mum. With a serious voice, I asked her, ‘What is the matter? Why he was thrashed?’
Her emotion came out as tears. I understood, the matter was more serious than I thought. I ran my fingers through her hair asked her, ‘What is the matter? Why you are crying?’
After a minute, she with a composed voice told, ‘Bikash was telling some villagers that I had been sent to Delhi by your family to become a prostitute!’
‘What! How that rascal can say that!’ I became very angry. ‘I would have killed him! He is lucky that my brother had only thrashed him!’
‘Earlier also he used to say that I am a prostitute; I am a kept of Baruah brothers etc. to his drunkard friends! But this time, he tried to spread rumours among the common villagers. I do not mind if he would have spread rumour about me, but he entangled your whole family this time. Your brothers always love and behave with me like their own sister! God is the witness, I have never thought about anyone except you from the day since when I start understanding what is love. Even when I was a wife of that scoundrel, even for single minute, except you, nobody ruled my emotional life! How he can say ---’ she could not control her emotion. She started weeping.
Patting on her back, I said in a lighter vein, ‘Bikash is telling the half truth, he is right you are a prostitute, but he did not complete the sentence!’ I paused for a moment. She stopped crying and exclaimed, ‘What?’You are also supporting that rascal!’
‘Yes, darling! The complete statement would have been, Ramala is a prostitute only for Aroo, his dreaded enemy! Every woman is a prostitute for her husband, is not it? Even in our holy books it is written, a wife should behave in the bed like a prostitute!’
On hearing my statement she took the pillow and started hitting me with a smile. ‘You are too much! I am going to kill you now!’
‘No problem! Then you will be a widow!’ With a naughty smile I teased her again.
‘Even God will never dare to do that. First I shall go there and construct a beautiful house there for you and then only I shall invite you to come there!’After stopping pillow hitting, she said to me with conviction.
She sat on the bed inclining on the support of the bed and pulled my head on her lap and ran her fingers through my hair and told, ‘As like any Indian lady, I want to die with my vermilion on my forehead (indication of a Hindu lady with a living husband). Therefore, do not ever tell me that you will leave me alone again. This time, I will not survive even for a day without you. Till last year, I was living with the memory of the first night. But situation has changed now. The old proverb –sugar tastes sweet, when it is tasted- applies to my case. Now, I have experienced with living with you; I realized living with someone is so beautiful, if you love him more than yourself! Now thinking of living without you for a day might be punishment for me. Promise me Aroo, you will not leave me alone till I die.’
‘I shall not leave you again, darling! I promise.’ Looking at her eyes I told her.
A few drops of tears fell on my cheek. I could not understand why she was becoming so much possessive about me. However, I understood without any uncertain terms that she would stand by me at any point of time to defend me even in the process she might lose her life.
Another day, when she was preparing tea for me, I asked her, ‘I know you love me from a very long time. But can you tell me from which day?’
‘I cannot say from which day I love you, but I can clearly say that on which day I realized that I love you.’ She paused for a moment to tell me about her realization as a teen aged girl.
‘When during attaining puberty, I was confined in my room for seven days; I was told by my mother that I should pray to God for a good boy as my future husband. The moment I prayed to God for a good boy, your face flashed in my mind. At that time, I was too young to know about the society which is divided so deeply between rich and poor, would not allow our marriage. From that day onwards, I realized I love you and all my thinking started from you ended with you. But as I grew little older, I understood that you would not marry me because of our difference in economic status. Later on, when I came to know that you did not love me, I was hurt. I cried a lot silently without my parents’ notice and without public glare. One day, I heard my inner voice: love is selfless. If it is for to gain something, it is not love. From that day, I was in love with you and I wanted to give everything to you without any expectation from you. But God is always kind to me. When you fondled my bosom one day, I learnt that at least you were attracted to my body, though you did not love me at that time. I threaten you to report to your mother about you because I was little hurt. But after few days, I thought in a different perspective; if you liked my body why should I not make you happy by offering my body and soul to you! But I did not want to tell you anything from my side being a girl. On Uruka night when you approached me, I was trembling in fear of losing something at the last moment which I was aspiring for last few years.’
She was waiting to see my reaction. I was thinking how selfish I was! I tried to cheat a girl who was in true love with me. I was little bit depressed and probably Ramala could read my mind.
‘Hey Aroo, do not be disturbed by my revelation. I am also selfish. I prayed God everyday after Dorothy’s death to make me your wife. I also wanted to live with you sharing your private life. I wanted love from you so my love did not remain selfless as was when I was young. I wanted my love son should get his love from his father. I wanted to clean your undergarments lashed with your sweaty smell as any wife like to do. I must thank God, for giving me everything in last few months. I want you to be happy with me not to be depressed by my words.’
She stopped there and offered tea. I caught her hand like, the same way I tried on the Uruka day. But this time she did not remove her hand form me rather she clasped my hand with the other hand and comforted me, ‘You have given me everything Aroo, I have no complaints against you or to God! Both of you are at the same pedestal for me. Both of you gave me all boons after testing my patience and devotion!’
I was speechless.
One day when we were on our dining table with Ajanta and Sugata. Ajanta asked Ramala, ‘Ok Mom, will you tell me a truth?’
Ramala was suspicious about her question. She gave a conditional answer, ‘If I know the answer and if it is answerable to a daughter, I shall definitely answer, but otherwise not.’
‘No mom, you cannot give me such a conditional reply.’
‘Why? Am I bound to answer all the question posed by my lovely daughter?’She countered.
‘Saru Papa, you tell me, is it fair?’
‘No, I do not think it is fair. But I am a very fearful person. I am a true and faithful servant of my wife. I cannot go against my wife. I have to live with her in the same house for rest of my life. I do not live with a broken hand or broken leg!’ I withdrew from the debate cleverly.
‘Very smart, Saru Papa!!!! Let me know where my hubby stands in the debate?’ She asked Sugata.
‘I go with Khuri. After all, Khuri is forever! Wife can be changed and wife also can change me!’ Sugata threw a stone at a hornets’ nest.
‘What! You are going to change me?’Ajanta became furious.
‘No darling, I have not said that. My dearest wife, sorry for going with Khuri, but I assure you, I am not going to change you in this janam(incarnation/ birth). After all, I got you only after a big fight with our grandpa. Thanks to Saru papa for his support!’Sugata backed out from the fight.
‘Any way, what is the question, my sweet heart?’ I want to pacify Ajanta.
‘No, I shall not ask the question. All of you are against me.’ She wanted little bit cajoling from me.
I got up from my seat and went to Ajanta and said, ‘Ok, I shall answer if your mom does not want to give you an answer.’ I assured her.
‘Saru papa, you cannot give the answer. Only mom can give the answer.’ She was adamant to hear something only from Ramala.
‘Ok, darling, give her an answer, otherwise she will not able to sleep whole night. Then, she will visit us early in the morning with red eyes.’ I was pleading Ramala on Ajanta’s behalf. Ramala agreed to hear the question.
‘Tell me mom, why do you love Saru papa?’ Not only Ramala, I was also bowled by the unexpected bouncer from Ajanta.
‘Who told you that I love him?’She tried to avoid the question.
‘Nobody has told me. At least, I have not heard from you. But your eyes told me thousand times. Your concern for Saru papa on daily basis has been seen by me thousand times. Your body language told me that you cannot live without Saru papa million times and you are ready to live with Saru papa for another hundred re-births. And you are asking me who told me that who told me that you love Saru papa.’ Then Ajanta started her giggle to the discomfort of Ramala.
Composing herself within a minute or so, Ramala replied, ‘Yes I love Aroo, more than anybody else in the world. Even I love Ajay less than Aroo. My life starts with him, is with him and will end with him. I do not know why I love him. I do not know what I love most about him. His eyes? His body? His sound? His body fragrance? I do not know. But I know, I love him. I love his all physical parts more than mine! I love all unseen things like mind, heart, vocabulary, intelligence and all the unexplainable things about him. When he is with me, I pray to God he should stop the clock. When he is away, I pray to God to move time faster. Unfortunately, God always does the opposite!’She stops for a moment.
Then, she again said, ‘He is my soul. Without him I am lifeless! I want to die without him! As a mother, I can advise you, you also love Sugata like I love Aroo, if you do not love him like me already! Then only you will taste pure happiness!’She stopped there.
There was complete silence in the room. None of us could dare to ask Ramala another question. We all finished our dinner. After dinner, Ajanta hugged Ramala, ‘I did not learn about selfless love from anyone. I lost my mom so early that I could not remember how much my mother loved my father. I am sure they were also chained by the essence of true love. Most probably, that might be the reason, they had gone together to the heaven. I shall remember your advice, Mom, till I die.’ She tried to hide her tears. Ramala wiped her tears and kissed her and said, ‘I am sure, my child, you will follow my advice.
While driving home, I did not utter a single word. After reaching home, I said to Ramala, ‘I know, you were speaking the truth about your love for me. But I cannot understand how you can love a person who was not in love with you!’
‘Aroo, put yourself in my place and put Dorothy in your place. Then what you would have done if Dorothy refused your proposal? Would you able to hate her? Suppose she would have allowed you to sleep with her for a single night then left, would you shun your love for her? And tell me why you still love her even after her death fifteen years ago? Can you tell me which body part of Dorothy you love most or which behaviour you love most? No, Aroo you cannot tell me. For argument sake you can tell me something. But ask yourself, you cannot. Both Dorothy and you are lucky, both of you love each other from the very first day. In that respect, I am little bit unlucky. But I have no regrets for that. I am still one of the happiest woman in the world who is able to live with the person whom she loves enormously and above all, he never doubts her love for him.’
While undressing she said with a very sweet smile, ‘I am also happy to see your eyes explore my body even today while I am dressing or undressing!’
I did not allow her to put on her cloths till morning!
One day, when we were sitting in our drawing room, she shared something horrific about her relation with Bikash.
‘If I ask you a question would you mind?’ Ramala asked me with a apologetic voice.
‘Ask me, I promise you, I am not going to mind.’ I assured her.
‘Did you sleep with Dorothy in those days also? Hope you understand what I want to ask you!’She asked me the question to tell me something.
‘We always sleep together except when one of us was not in the station. We had a very large bed to accommodate all four of us.’ I answered in details.
‘Bikash and always sleep separately after birth of Ajay. But I mean sleep by—hope I am able to make you understand.’ She tried to tell me something which I understood at the very first question. But I want to linger my answer.
‘No, I never used to sleep with her, in the sense what you want to know. Because, during that period both ethically as well as hygienically also, sleeping is not good. Why you have asked me that question?’ Though I understood why she had asked the question, I asked her to confirm my doubt.
‘He (Bikash) treated me like an animal throughout our married life. Whenever he wanted, he slept with me without asking me whether I want to sleep with him or not. Even when, I was ill or I was in those days of the month, he did not spare me. During that period he forcefully did those things using my——’She did not complete her sentence and started weeping.
My whole blood boiled to hear about the inhuman treatment meted out to Ramala by Bikash. But at the next moment, I thought who was to be blamed for the sufferings of Ramala! Indirectly, I was to be blamed, if Ramala had to undergo a traumatic life for fifteen years with that animal.
She was still weeping. Running my fingers in her hair I told, ‘Many husbands, world over do those dirty things. I read in some books, many women also like activites. But it should come through a mutual understanding between husband and wife. If anyone dislikes, then it should be avoided.’ I commented.
‘I understand, you did not like that. Did you talk to him ever?’ I asked her.
‘Many times, I told him.’ She said with a tone of disgust. ‘He used to say, you are my property, in whatever way I want to use it, it is my prerogative.’
‘He is nothing but an animal. He is a male chauvinist pig (MCP). He did not want to respect a woman. He did not deserve to be a husband of a lady of your stature!’’ I was fuming inside.
‘If a person does not respect the dignity of his wife, he deserves no respect from her wife also. Many people have to live with persons not of their liking. But due to mutual respects they started loving each other. It is more important in Indian context where arranged marriages are more prevalent compared to love marriages.’ I stopped there.
‘I understand that. I do not know whether those are likable habits or not. But he never tried to make me understand the things as you have explained to me now.’ She told me with a very low voice.
To ease out the tension, I jokingly said, ‘So you are ready to do those nasty things with me?’
She did not answer. ‘Do not worry darling! I am not going to do with you anything which will hurt your dignity and heart.’ I told her, tapping on her back.
‘I know you will never do anything which hurts me. But, I am also ready to go an extra mile to make you happy. Because, I love you more than even my dignity, I can do anything and everything for you.’ She told.
I did not understand one thing about Ramala, she was in deep pain, when Bikash forced her to do something which she did not like, but was ready to do the same things to my pleasure and happiness! How much one can sacrifice for love!!!!
Finally, we reached our thirty sixth Uruka day. From the early morning I was little bit tense for taking a decision, whether to mention about our first Uruka night before Ramala or to ignore as if nothing had happened thirty six years ago.
After lunch Ramala with a mysterious smile asked, ‘What is your plan tonight? Hope you are not going to stay overnight at someone else’s house like thirty six years ago!’
I did not want to back out. ‘I am no more energetic and young like a twenty year old! Therefore, you want to send me to somebody else’s house so that someone, twenty year old young man, can come to your house! Very bad!!’
‘I want the twenty your old man inside the fifty six year old matured man whom I love.’ She wanted to say something more, but at that time, door bell rang.
Ajanta, Sugata and their children were coming with few packets of grocery, fish, chicken etc. Varun, Sugata’s son, eight year old, told Ramala at the top of his voice, ‘Grandma, we shall celebrate Uruka in your house. We have prepared a long list of items for you and Mom to cook for the night. Rini (his younger sister), give the list to grandma.’
Rini gave a list of items to Ramala. To look at the list Ramala asked Varun, ‘Your list is Ok. But you want to eat those items tonight or after three days? At least I need three days to prepare all the items for you.’
Ramala took Rini on her lap and asked her, ‘Hopefully Varun took your wish list also!’
‘No grandma, I have another small list for me and papa.’ She with a shying smile answered. All laughed.
‘After a long time, we are going to celebrate Uruka with my parents. So list has to be long one. I do not know, how many years I have been waiting for this day to eat something prepared by mom on Uruka!’ Ajanta with a sigh told Ramala.
Putting down Rini from her lap, Ramala hugged Ajanta and kissed her forehead. ‘Do not worry my child, today you are going to get food of your choice!’
‘That is unfair Khuri! I toiled for shopping and you are going to prepare food of Ajanta’s choice!’ Sugata complained.
‘What about me?’ I also joined the Sugata’s band wagon.
With a smile Ramala told, ‘Ok I shall prepare food for all according to your choices except for Aroo.’
‘Why? What crime I have committed for which you are not cooking food of my choice!’ I wondered.
With a teasing smile she replied, ‘You better know!’
At this Ajanta remarked, ‘Do not worry Saru Papa, I shall cook for you. Let Mom take care of others.’
‘After all, daughter is the closest to her father!!!’ Everyone laughed.
By eight in the evening, dinner was made ready as the children usually go to bed by 9-30 PM. First dinner was served to the children and then we all sat for our dinner at around nine.
The ever naughty, Ajanta put forward a question to me and Sugata, ‘Today, you have to tell us which item is best prepared.’
It was a very tricky question. In this case, we did not who cooked what, even if we would have known that, any comment might invite trouble for us.
‘For me it will be difficult to judge as, on one side my daughter is standing and her mother is standing on the other side as her rival. I cannot hurt my daughter and so is the case for my wife. Therefore, I resigned from the post of judge appointed by my sweetheart Ajanta.’ I tried to run away from the impending trouble.
‘It is not fair Saru papa. You have to give your opinion.’ Ajanta was adamant.
After forty five minutes, as we completed our dinner, Ajanta asked for our opinion. I asked Sugata to tell his opinion first. With a little thinking, he said fish curry was the best. With having no alternatives, I said that I liked the sweet dish (moong ka halwa) most.
Ajanta artificially showed her displeasure, ‘Oh! It is very unfair for me. Both the dishes were prepared by Mom.’ Then she hugged Ramala and told, ‘I am so happy that both of them have selected your dishes. Now, I can take training from you.’
‘It is good, Ramala won the competition! Otherwise there would not have any scope for Ajanta to learn cooking from her mom. As long as Ajanta will be a student of her mom, both us are likely to get good food on regular basis.’ I closed the chapter.
Sugata and Ajanta with their children left for their home at around 10 PM. At the same time servants also left for their home.
After coming out from bath room, changing my cloth, I did not find Ramala in our bed room. I thought, she might be in another bath room. When even after fifteen minutes she was not seen, I came out of our bed room. I saw a dim light was on in the room given to Ramala when she came from Guwahati almost a year ago.
When I peeped into the room, I saw a shadow of a lady from behind, trying to button her jeans. Hearing my footsteps, she turned her face. Wow, the shadowy lady was none other than Ramala trying to wear her jeans which was wearing thirty six years ago! On seeing me she complained, ‘See Aroo, I became so fat, I cannot wear my old jeans, but luckily, I can still wear that sweater.’
I could not hide my surprise, ‘How can you keep your thirty six year old dress till today!
With a smile she said, ‘When you will remove my dress, you will find something which will make you more surprised.’
Then, I look at the bed. Rose petals were spread on the bed beautifully which was designed in such a way that a new couple would be going to start their journey of togetherness.
‘When did you do all these things?’ I was wondering.
‘The bed was arranged nicely by Ajanta in consultation with Alaka over phone. Wearing of my old jeans and stripped sweater is my idea. But sorry, my waist line betrayed me!’Showing her inability to button her jeans, she said.
‘Ok, let me try.’ As if I am going to help her in buttoning her jeans, I caught her jeans and pulled down her jeans.
Bring my head to her chest she said, ‘This time also you cheated me!’
After that, the room was filled with essence of true love. There was no predator nor there was a prey in the room. There was no one like who wants only to sacrifice nor who tries only to exploit. There were only two love birds who wanted to give everything to his/her partner to make him/her happy. I was thoroughly enjoying the fragrance of the lady who had been in my love for her entire life and whom I also love for last few yew years.
When dawn arrived, we did not know. Ramala wanted to sleep for a while clinging to me. I ran my fingers through her hair lovingly so that she could have a good sleep.
Last but not the least, I found that she was wearing the same under garments which she was wearing thirty six years back. Those were not used for last thirty six years, so that she could use those on that particular day. I always under estimated the tenacity of this lovely lady, who could recover from a hopeless position to win the race for her, on a day, might be after thirty six years. I would be poorer emotionally and spiritually, had I not observed this wonderful lady from a close range.
It is a Fictional Story of true love between protagonist Aroon Baruah and his wife Dorothy, spiced with Ramala’s selfless love for Aroon. It is story, how finally Ramala was able to win heart of Aroon at a matured age after untimely tragic death of Aroon’s wife Dorothy. It is a lucid description how Aroon was seduced by Jetuki, Ramala’s mother for an explosive physical relation on a festive day. It is a story, how Jetuki wanted to trap Aroon taking advantage of his Physical attraction towards her elder daughter, Ramala. It is story about how her game plan failed due to strong family bond of Baruah family. It is also a story of father and daughter relation between Aroon and Ajanta, daughter in law of Aroon’s brother.