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It is a known fact that there are no favourites for death. It chooses its victims randomly and no matter what you were, what you are or what you were meant to be, it will surely one day choose you. Death is inevitable and it is something which all of us have to face one day. Yet most often we are left wondering why it had chosen that particular person.
It was the same with me after I came to terms with the knowledge that a young girl who held a very special place in my heart was gone forever. She was not coming back. All death leaves behind is memories and we try so hard to never let go of the memories of the person close to us that we don’t care to notice that even sour bitter memories have become pleasant and sweet. I don’t ever wish to let go of the memories, I have of the girl who made my life worth living.
She was the reason I ended up living happily. She was solely responsible for all the happiness in my life.
And so, just like many others who lost their special ones forever, I too was left shattered at the cruelty of death.
That it had to come in the form of an accident to such a nice young girl who was leading a very happy life was indeed cruel even for death. Why of all people had it chosen her? Why her? Why my Divya?
We occupied our usual spots in the college campus under the shade of some huge tree whose name we did not care to find out. Myself, Vimal Raj of 2nd year M.Sc Physics and she, Divya Manoj of 2nd year B.Sc physics. It was well over one hour past class time and our surroundings were completely deserted except for a few late leaving passersby who did not hesitate to ignore us. Both of us were very popular figures in our college and our love story of two years was even more popular. Hence to all the people in our college, faculty staff and students alike, there was nothing new about the two of us sitting together for about an hour after which we would depart together in my bike.
I bowed down my head to stare at my Divya lying on my lap. She was in all respects my Divya, my cute baby princess.
“Divya do you realise that we have been doing this everyday for the past one year.”
“I know “Vimalu”. But it’s only for an hour. I wish I could lie on your lap like this for a full whole day.”
“Vimalu” was what she used to call me back then, no one but her. Of course that coming from anyone but her would have sounded totally childish and would have been enough to irritate me. But as with many other things, the sweetness of her voice and the way she moved her lips outward while saying it made it totally different and worth hearing again and again.
“Why can’t we do that? Let’s get married tomorrow?”
She laughs and pulls down at my nose.
“No Vimalu, let’s get married now. Come on; let’s go to some temple where they will marry us.”
With that, she got up and was pulling at my hands.
“I don’t think anyone from any temple will marry us this late, my dear Divya.”
“Oh, that’s so sad. Let’s try to bribe them or I will cry in front of them and tell them that I can’t wait even a day to be my Vimalu’s wife. Maybe they will listen.”
“Maybe, but you know what. It’s just a year more. After that I would be an Assistant Professor in some college and you would be a graduate and that I’ am sure would be the most perfect time for our marriage.”
“Maybe, if you say so. But don’t forget that I could graduate even after being your wife. It’s you being a professor that’s delaying our marriage. But I won’t be able to wait for more than a year. After that I’ am going to pack my bag and come to your house whether you have a job or not. So you better do what you have to do soon or else.”
As always, I was totally enjoying it when she was dictating me using her hands and fingers.
“One year is all I need, my dear.”
“And Vimalu, we must not forget to bring our kids to this spot. We must remember to come here often.”
It was probably for the hundredth time that she was telling me this, but even then it did not fail to give me the same pleasure as it did the first time.
“I love you Vimalu.”
“I love you Divya.”
I waited for my Divya in our college canteen. I knew she wouldn’t keep me waiting for long as a week was well above the limit for her patience and would have left her dying to meet me. Sure enough in less than a minute after the class got dispersed, I saw her rushing towards me.
I couldn’t take my eyes off her. In fact I did not take my eyes off her for all the time that I have been in love with her. She was once again making me realize how lucky I was to have her. To all the boys and men in our college, she was the most beautiful girl studying there, but to me she was the most beautiful girl to ever walk the sphere of earth.
My innocent Divya did not know how to hide emotions behind her face and as she sat down opposite me, I got a clear picture of how much she had missed me.
“So, what’s the news?”
Again her face told me that she was waiting to explode after hearing the happy news from me.
“Well I think you will have to address me as Sir from now on because”
She didn’t let me finish the sentence. She had reached over the table and was hugging me tightly. I couldn’t figure out whether the loud shrieks coming from her was because of crying, laughing or a combination of both.
“because I’ am now an Assistant Professor in a college.“I finally completed my sentence when she let go and I could catch my breath.
“Oh Vimalu, you did it. I’ am so proud of you. We must surely organise a party.”
I knew very well that me getting employed as a teacher was not entirely the happy news that she was dying to hear and I had no desire to keep her waiting for long.
“Absolutely, but you know what, a huge party is just on the way.”
Even though she acted as if she didn’t get it, I knew very well that she understood what I meant and was just trying to get it out of me completely. I decided to play along with her.
“I meant our marriage party. I talked to my parents. Now all you need to do is fix a date and I will bring them along to your house. Yeah, I will bring that idiotic brother of mine also or else he will carry out some of his pranks on us later.”
I laughed and was expecting a second and a much higher dose of shrieks of laughter and cries.
“Oh that’s great, Vimalu.”
Instead all I got from her was her dropped down face looking at the floor below and her dropped down voice.
“What’s wrong Divya? I’ am sorry I kept you waiting for a year. But it’s over. Now we can start living together.”
“Vimalu, I want to continue my studies.”
“Oh Divya, I’ am so happy that you made this decision. Do whatever it is that you want. But now let’s get married. We will try for admission in some college here.”
“And what if I don’t get admission to any college here. My marks are not very good. Vimalu, I don’t think it will be a very good idea for us to marry now.”
“Divya, have you gone mad? What happened to you? We talked about this for so long. Divya, you can study farther or go for a job or do whatever you want to do. But marry me first.”
“Vimalu, don’t be stupid. Why can’t you wait for a couple more years?”
“Why should I? I worked hard and did whatever I had to do for us to live together. I talked to my parents and convinced them. What more should I do? Divya, I can’t live without you. I really need you to be there with me. Divya, please don’t do this to me.”
I was on the verge of tears, but instead of consoling me, she went on to attack me.
“You did what? You established your career and you don’t wish to give me time to take up my life. I did not expect this from you.”
“Divya, you are really hurting me. Either you marry me now or else.”
“Or else what? See you are trying to emotionally blackmail me. How could you? Why are you so intent on destroying what we have between us now?”
“Just leave me if that is what you feel like doing. I don’t care.”
She got up from her seat.
“Divya, what are you doing? I did not mean it. Don’t do this to me.”
But she totally ignored and began walking away from me. Then she stopped to look at me.
“Vimalu, something tells me that this was how it was meant to be. That both you and I are going to live happily if I leave you now.”
With that, she turned and left.
My life had suddenly turned upside down. I found no reason to continue living. It was not that she left me, but the way she left me that got me destroyed. How could she do that after all the love that I had showered upon her? She had left me hanging with the question of whether love given could turn to total waste.
I hated her for hurting me, but no matter however hard I tried I couldn’t get her out of my mind. I loved her so much that it was not possible for me to let go of her. Even while openly displaying all the anger I felt towards her, I knew very well that a part of my mind greatly wished and half expected her to come back.
But that expectation ended when almost a year later, I saw her wedding photo in newspaper. She had accused me of trying to bring her down in life only to drop her studies and get married to a guy found by her parents. That was enough for me to start hating her truly.
Even hating her meant I was thinking of her and that meant I was going on hurting myself. It took a toll upon my work and I had turned out to become the worst teacher in history. It was okay to be a strict and responsible teacher hated by students or be a lame and irresponsible teacher loved by students. But I had become neither and my indifferent attitude had earned me the hatred of students and fellow faculty alike.
I had not cared about the passage of time and was therefore a little surprised when my parents told me of their decision to start their search for finding a suitable girl for me. I did not argue against them or try to stop them.
Somewhere within me was an ardent desire to get loved again which I had suppressed over the years in the fear of getting hurt. That same fear prevented me from deciding which girl would love me and not hurt me and led to my parents concluding that I was incapable of making that decision.
I was 29 years old when for the second time all the factors leading to the final decision in arranged marriages including the agreement of birth stars had come true for a girl whom my family was convinced was the girl for me. But just as the first time, I turned against them simply because I hated Divya.I said so to my parents but my mother was not convinced.
“Two years back you said you didn’t like her and we listened without asking why. But now you must tell us.”
“Tell you what? I don’t like her, amma.”
“But why? You tell me one fault that you find in her. Of course she may not be as beautiful as your other Divya. But she is a very good girl.
“It’s not that amma.I know she is a good girl. She looked beautiful to me. But I hate her name. I hate Divya.”
“So you are telling us that other than the name, you have no other disliking towards her?”
“Then you should marry her. You will marry her.”
And so just like that, Divya Shanker, 23 years old and working as a high school teacher had become my partner for life. And with that she so readily took over not some but most parts of my life.
“Vimaletta, Its 6.30. Time to wake up.”
She gently shook me. I pretended to be asleep knowing full well that she would shook me more taking care not to lose her gentleness and then she would proceed to pinch me. And that soft pinch had become my wake up call.
“You go on. I will join you in a short while.”
“When should I call you if you fall asleep?”
“No Divya, I won’t. I will come after five minutes.”
She went inside the bathroom. Even though as usual, she had given me the option of sleeping for a little while longer, she knew very well that I was not going to take it and was going to join her about five minutes after she stepped into the kitchen.
Gone were the times when I would spring out of bed at the stroke of six to cook and eat my breakfast on time. Right then, as on all the other days, the only thing that prevented me from falling asleep again was the thought that Divya would do all the cooking by herself and would call me only after she had laid out everything on the table. I couldn’t give up my habit of cooking my own food that easily and we had agreed to do the cooking together.
Divya was seven inches short of my height of six feet and was very thin in comparison to my built figure of 79kg’s. The end result being that I could cuddle her closely by fully covering her and carry her as a feather if I wanted to.
But I didn’t do that on that day morning as I approached her from behind in the kitchen where she was standing with her back turned against me. I went on to stand beside her and asked her, rubbing my eyes.
“So what are we making today?”
“First you go and brush your teeth.”
“What? No, I did brush my teeth. “
Divya touched her nose and smiled.
“Just go and do it, Vimaletta.”
“Wait, I got up. I washed my face; I brushed my teeth and then went to bathroom. Oh, you are right, I forgot.”
She shook her head and raised her eyebrows thrice which were her way of acknowledging me whenever I proved her right. I was too lazy to go back.
“I will do it later because once Vimal Raj steps into this kitchen, he will step out only with the cooked food.”
Again she touched her nose and pointed to her mouth.
“But today you will have to step out. No other option.”
“Really, does my mouth smell that much?”
She nodded her head.
“Oh my god, do you think I had headed out to work without brushing before you came to my life.”
“Well, did anyone faint while talking to you?”
I joined in her laughter.
“All right, Divya. Today I forgot. But one day you will also forget and then I will catch you.”
I turned to walk back. Then I stopped to appeal to her once more. But she gently pushed me out of the kitchen.
I reappeared beside her after a couple of minutes and breathed out to the side of her face.
“Hm, that will do.”
“So, what are me making today?”
“How about puttu and kadala curry?”
“All right, I will make puttu. You concentrate on the curry.”
I went on to open the shelf where I used to keep the vessel for cooking puttu completely forgetting that Divya had changed its location. I opened the shelf with force and many other not that useful vessels came out together and cluttered to the floor.
Divya covered her ears.
“Vimaletta, it’s in the top shelf. Why do you keep doing that?”
“But Divya, I ‘am so used to the earlier positions. Why did you change the entire arrangement of things in the kitchen?”
“That was the only way to make the kitchen look neat. I ‘am sorry Vimaletta, if it’s not working for you, you tell me the positions and I will change everything back.”
“No no Divya. The kitchen looks very clean and organised. You did a great job. This won’t happen after some more days. You carry on. I will keep everything back.”
Working together in a not so big kitchen meant a lot of confusions and tussle’s. Even though both of us knew that either of us cooking alone was going to save us a lot of time, we kept the ritual going despite all its demerits. There were frequent collisions between the two of us and Divya being the tiny one meant she would take the bigger impact and a small part of whatever she carried in her hands would drop down to the floor. Some collisions were so strong that I had to reach out and hold her to stop her from dropping to the floor. We laughed it out each time that it happened.
We arranged the results of our efforts since morning on the table. The one task Divya had not allowed me to do along with her was transferring the food from the containers to our plates. She would sit down only after she had served me. But I had managed to do away with her habit of stopping while eating and asking me if I needed some more and serving me if I said yes.
As we ate, I suddenly realized upon looking at Divya’s face that she had realized that we had forgotten to bring the tea to the table. I had to react fast.
“No wait, I ‘am almost finished. I will bring the tea.”
“Oh, we forgot to cover the tea vessel. Do you think it has gone cold?”
But Divya who reached near the kitchen’s door even as I finished my sentence had gone one step further by remembering that we had left the tea uncovered in the kitchen.
“Vimaletta, should I heat it?”
“Just bring it Divya.”
But I could make her sit only after I drank a small amount of tea from the glass and assured her that it was hot enough.
We washed our plates in turns and then proceeded to do the ironing of our dresses’ together on two separate tables. To save time which became even more precious in the mornings, I had bought an extra iron box few days into our marriage.
“Vimaletta, you look great in this shirt.”
“Thank you Divya. But this is getting old.”
“No. It looks fine. Wear it some more. Don’t throw it away.”
I nodded my head in agreement and smiled. I was greatly gladdened by her words of praise for my shirt.
I could have complimented her on her dress. But I refrained from doing so thinking that whatever I say would sound just as a mere repetition of her words.
Five minutes had passed since I sat on the seat of the bike offering good mileage that had replaced the performance bike from my college days and I still didn’t see Divya come out of the front door. We were already so late and I rushed inside to check what was taking her so long to come out after finishing her dressing.
And then I saw my wife busily sweeping the floor.
“Divya, what are you doing? We are so late. Look at the time.”
“Vimaletta, just a minute. This looked so messy. If somebody comes in the evening.”
“Who is going to come today Divya? Drop it now and come or else you will miss the bell.”
She dropped the broomstick, but instead of following me outside went inside to the dining room.
“Where are you going now Divya?”
“One second Vimaletta. I have to wash my hands.”
She sat down beside me on the bike. With one hand she clutched the handle and with the other hand she clutched my shoulder gently. I started the bike. I looked down to see if any loose ends of Divya’s sari were lying close to the wheel. After assuring myself that she was sitting safely, I accelerated the bike. But then a short while later, I braked to a stop.
“Divya, we are so late and I will have to go very fast. Hold on tightly.”
“I ‘am holding on tightly. Go Vimaletta. Don’t waste time.”
“No, I mean I think it would be better if you hold onto me somewhere below instead of my shoulder.”
She removed her hand from my shoulder and wound it around my stomach. The result of this was that whenever I braked or accelerated she would press down on my stomach with force and it was nothing but painful. But it allowed me to not worry about her and go really fast.
We reached her school just in time for her morning bell. She joined three other teachers who had also arrived late and who were also dropped off by their husbands. I did not move and continued to look at her. She turned her head, smiled at me and waved bye. I waved back and saw the three other teachers walking beside her say something and smile. I smiled at them too. Divya signalled to me that she would call me in the evening after her class got over to check whether I would be available to collect her from her school or if she had to go by bus. I nodded my head and knowing full well that she was not going to turn back again, headed to my college.
My class got over almost at the same time as her school time ended so that when she called, I told her that I was coming to get her. As we neared our house, I saw a car heading inside. It was my parent’s car.
Immediately after entering the house, my mother put up her hand to her mouth in wonder and shouted.
“Wow, I have never seen this place look so neat.”
She patted Divya on the shoulder which made Divya blush and smile, but she recovered in time to make my parents and brother sit on the sofa. She then enquired about my parent’s wellbeing to which my father laughed and answered.
“Oh, we should be asking that question to you. How are you both doing? How is life?”
“We are doing fine, acha”. It was I who answered my father. My mother turned to Divya.
“Divya, both of you are happy, right?”
“We are so happy, amma.“The huge smile that had crept up on Divya’s face was more than enough to put away any doubts that my mother had with regards to our wellbeing and happiness.
“Oh, I forgot. I will make tea.” Divya was just about to run to the kitchen when my mother held her hand and made her sit beside her.
“Don’t bother mole. We drank tea before starting from home. We were on our way to the railway station to drop Vinay off when I suddenly felt like seeing you both. We were not sure about the time you would return. We decided to give it a shot and continue on our way if you both were not there. But our timing was perfect, wasn’t it?”
“Yes amma. It was pitch perfect. We were at the turning when we saw your car head inside. But you could have called.”
“Yeah we thought of doing so at first. Then your mother wanted to give you both a surprise.”
My younger brother Vinay had quite recently took up job in Bangalore after his engineering. I asked him how he was doing in his new job.
“I don’t know what to say. I now know what it’s like to be in hell. I really wish for some earthquake to occur and suck up that company building.”
All three of us, me, my mother and my father knowing our Vinay really well laughed and teased him for his laziness. It was only Divya who felt like saying some comforting words to him.
“Don’t worry Vinay. I have heard about it. But it’s only for the first three years. After that you will surely enjoy your work.”
“I sure hope so Divya echi.”
Divya for the second time made an attempt to convince my parents to have tea or at least a cup of water, but my mother was once again able to convince her to sit beside them and talk. We continued talking and stopped only when Vinay pointed out to us the risk of him missing his train. My parents as well as my young little brother put in the best efforts in recollecting all the faults and shortcomings I had prior to marriage and pointing it out to Divya who though she laughed along with them, defended me well and lied to them that I had said goodbye to all those defects after becoming her husband.
When it was finally time for them to depart, I saw my mother moving Divya to her side and having a short conversation with her in whispers while I was busy giving away advices to my brother who of course was listening to them with half shut ears. Later when I asked Divya what that short chat with my mother was about, she answered that it was regarding the management of the house. I knew very well that it was something more, but I was not able to find out what.
Sure enough, I had spent money on an extra iron box when I began my life after marriage, but the one thing that I kept forgetting to buy was an extra television. Divya used to regularly watch two Hindi T.V serials before becoming my wife and on our first evening together, I saw her getting restless beside me on the sofa. We were discussing what she should call me.“Etta” in Malayalam was added to names as a token of respect while addressing male elders and “Echi“for females. Though I was six years elder to Divya and though it was a custom for wives in Kerala to address their elder husbands with respect, I was totally comfortable with Divya calling me by name or even by some modifications to my name; anything but “Vimalu”.
“Divya, you don’t have to call me Vimaletta. You can call me Vimal.Vimaletta sounds too old.”
“O.k. Vimal if you say so.”
But something seemed missing and Divya was the first to figure it out.
“It is just that until now I have been calling you Vimaletta as instructed by my mother and it feels so odd to call you Vimal now. Shall I continue with Vimaletta?”
“O.k. Divya, Call me whatever you want. But tell me, do you want to watch T.V? “
“But then you have been constantly eyeing the remote in my hands. Come on Divya, I don’t have anything to watch. I ‘am not a great fan of T.V.”
I passed the remote to her and she took it after some hesitation.
“Vimaletta, it is just that I used to watch the Hindi serial on star plus at 7 and another on zee at 9. Today is a very important episode. Is it okay if I change to star plus?”
“Why do you ask? Go on Divya”
And it did go on. I had not lied to her when I said I was not a great fan of T.V. I had stopped watching serialised shows long ago and had started utilising T.V occasionally only for movies and music. The one programme that I had regularly watched all alone before and which I had begun to watch along with Divya was the 6pm news. So there was no conflict of interest with regards to T.V between me and my wife except on some days when a certain problem arose like it did on that day. That was the day of the India-Pakistan cricket match and as soon as my parents and brother left, I switched on the T.V. I had been away only for a brief ten minutes for the purpose of bathing. But when I returned the time was a little over 7pm and by then Divya had taken up my spot and also the remote.
“Divya, I had been watching the cricket match.”
She looked at me and then at the T.V. She opened her mouth to say something but then closed it and handed over the remote to me. I proceeded to change the channel and watch the match. But Divya didn’t get up from her seat. She was totally restless as if she was waiting for the result of some exam and it made me lose concentration on the match which was getting exciting by the minute.
“Divya, it’s only for today.”
She smiled and nodded her head. I thought that was the end of it. But a couple of minutes later she turned towards me and looked at me with pleading eyes. She had never looked at me like that before.
“ Vimaletta, please. Today is a very important episode. You can watch during the breaks. Please.”
Of course, every episode is an important one. But I would have gladly given away my kidneys if anyone had requested me in that way and so the remote wound up in her hands and the happiness and excitement that had enveloped my wife made me doubt if indeed it was the remote that I had given her.
Divya had added an extra serial and a reality show to her tally of regular shows and hence it didn’t come as a surprise that I missed almost all of the exciting moments of the match.
She had gone off to bed long before the match got over. I crept to bed beside her cautiously, taking care not to wake her up if she had fallen asleep.
“Who else but our India. Did I wake you up?”
“No Vimaletta. I did not sleep. Are you angry with me for spoiling the match? I ‘am sorry.”
“No Divya, I ‘am not angry with you. It was not such an exciting game. Right from the beginning it was clear that it was going to be a sure shot win for India. We are the stronger side.”
I lied readily and easily. She was pleased and sighed happily. I looked at her face and though it was dark, I knew that she was smiling. I asked her the question that I had begun to ask her every day in the same place at the same time.
“So, what happened in school today?”
“Oh Vimaletta. Today there was a fight between two boys of my class during the lunch break. It turned so nasty that the other kids rushed to the staff room to call me. I had a tough time pulling them apart.”
“You are the class in charge of eighth standard, right?”
“Yes Vimaletta, VIII.A.”
“So, what were they fighting for?”
“Oh, you wouldn’t believe me. It’s so funny.”
“They are best friends. One of them gave a love letter to a girl. But the other one also loved the same girl and hence he broke off the pen of his friend with which he had written the letter. And then they started fighting.”
Both of us started laughing.
“You should have seen the bruises on their faces; Vimaletta.I threatened them that if either of them ever disturbed the girl or fought with each other, I would call their parents.”
“Oh, calling parents, you too used the most powerful blackmailing technique used by teachers.”
“What else can I do? But you know what’s even funnier? In the evening I saw them walk together as best friends.”
“Well, boys have their own way of settling things out.”
“Whatever, but I ‘am their class teacher and if they ever fight with each other and disturb the peace of my class, I will have a long talk with their parents.”
We continued talking for some more time. It was a night-time bedroom habit that we had picked up. First she would describe her day before allowing me to describe mine in brief.
When I became convinced that Divya was sleeping peacefully. I turned sideways and kept my arm over her. It was my turn to fall asleep.
I woke up that day morning and realised that the common cold virus had taken over me completely. Over the previous month, I had seen almost all of the students of my classes cough and sneeze one after the other and on the previous day, it had been my turn to do so. The sneezing had aggravated after reaching home and had made Divya subject me to various remedial measures to clear the blockage of my nose. But the morning told me that none of those had worked.
“Divya, I ‘am not feeling well. I think I will take leave today.”
There was no reply and when I opened my eyes, I saw that she was not there beside me. Then I looked at the clock. Until then I had been sure that it was the alarm which had woke me up and hence I had spoken to Divya who should also have been woken up by the same alarm. But one glance at the clock which showed the time as fifteen minutes past 9am cleared away all my doubts. Divya upon waking up had realised that I was ill and had decided to switch off the alarm and not wake me up. This made me angry. I had told her the previous night that I had an important meeting in college on the next day. How could she ignore that and make the decision that I wouldn’t be able to go to college? That was completely for me to decide. The bad mood I was in as a result of my sickness allowed me to easily make the decision of shouting at her the moment she stepped inside the bedroom.
A short while later, Divya entered with a glass of what seemed like black coffee in her hands. I shouted with whatever voice I had.
“Divya, why didn’t you call me? I have an important staff meeting today.”
“Vimaletta, forget the meeting. Call someone and say that you are sick. There is no way you will be able to go out today.”
“How could you know that? You shouldn’t have allowed me to sleep.”
“Oh, Vimaletta all through the night you have been coughing and breathing loudly through your mouth. You didn’t fall asleep until early morning.”
“And why are you here? Why didn’t you go to school?”
“I decided to take leave. How can I go out leaving you in this condition?”
“In what condition? It’s just cold, Divya.”
“Take rest Vimaletta. Stop talking and drink this black coffee. It will make you better.”
I got up, took the glass from her hands and started drinking.
“I ‘am so sorry. I shouldn’t have shouted at you.”
She touched my forehead.
“It’s because you are sick Vimaletta. You have fever. I have been searching all night, but there are no Paracetamol tablets available. We must go to a doctor.”
“No, there is no need for that. I will sleep here. Look Divya, there’s still time. Don’t throw away a leave. Buy some tablets when you return in the evening.”
I handed the empty glass back to her and was about to lie down when she stopped me.
“Oh Vimaletta, you are hardly able to speak. You won’t get better without the doctor’s help.”
“Come on Divya. It’s just common cold and fever.”
“So what? Nowadays there are all kinds of fevers and it is absolutely necessary to see a doctor.”
“Oh Divya, you are the one who is making me talk. I really need to lie down. Go to work and lock the front door from outside when you go out.”
“ Vimaletta, don’t be like children. Get up and get dressed. I will call an auto.”
But she successfully made me get up, get brushed and get dressed. By then the auto had arrived and we departed to see the doctor a few streets away. We returned by the same auto.
“We could have walked. It is a short distance.”
“Vimaletta, I know it’s a short distance. But it’s not good for you to walk in sunlight.”
“Divya, you are treating me as if I ‘am having typhoid. Didn’t you hear what the doctor said? It is just the sickness common in this weather.”
She didn’t answer me, but put a tablet inside my mouth. Then she put a glass of water followed by another tablet a little while later and then again water. She made sure that I was completely covered in a warm blanket.
“Now sleep for as long as you want, Vimaletta. Tell me if you need anything. Tell me if you feel hungry. Anyway I will wake you up at lunch time and you will have to eat something. Then you have another set of tablets to consume. After that you can sleep for as long as you want.”
I nodded my head and closed my eyes. The next day I had felt really better and had gone to college. But by then I had realised that there was no use for me to go to that place or rather the place had no use of me.
I had continued being the worst teacher of my college. Each new batch of students had begun to hate me after a few classes. Finally the college authorities started deliberating whether the time had come to ease me of my burden and one day the Principal in a very firm voice unusual of himself to clear away any doubts that I may have of him not being serious, conveyed to me that I had just a month to prove my capability of teaching. This had happened on a day which even before being called to the Principal’s office, I had decided to mark as the worst among my worse days at work. Divya too had made that deduction and had started pestering me to reveal what was wrong immediately after reaching home. It was not until we laid down to sleep at night that I gave away to her.
“Vimaletta, what went wrong in college today? You look so sad and depressed.”
“Nothing much Divya. You don’t have to worry about it.”
“Vimaletta, I ‘am your wife. I need to worry when you are sad. Whatever is making you sad today will one day make me sad too.”
“Divya, I ‘am really not in the mood for an argument.”
She sat up on the bed.
“Divya, what are you doing? Lie down.”
“I won’t sleep until you tell me what’s disturbing you.”
I had no choice but to raise my voice.
“Divya, I told you it doesn’t concern you. Don’t make me angry. If I get angry, I will say things which will hurt both you and me. I don’t want that to happen. Let’s sleep.”
She touched my hands.
“Vimaletta, maybe you are right when you say that whatever is disturbing you don’t concern me. But trust me when I say this, the best medicine for sadness is to talk with people. Why do you want to carry the entire burden by yourself when you can share it with me? Please tell me what’s making you sad. Who knows? Maybe I will be able to offer a solution to your problem.”
I looked at her.
“Oh Divya, I ‘am going to get fired after a month. That’s right, a month more and then I will be jobless. After that you can leave me if you want. Who would want a jobless husband? You can find someone better than me.”
“Vimaletta, please don’t speak like that. What do you mean when you say that you will get fired?”
“I meant what I said. The Principal has given me a month to prove that I can teach. But I know I can only teach in this way. I cannot change and hence I know what is going to happen after a month. I ‘am going to become jobless. Will you be able to reverse that? No of course you can’t. So let’s sleep.”
I thought I had put an end to the conversation. But Divya had no intention of stopping. She tightened her hold of my hand.
“Vimaletta, nobody can become a perfect teacher. No matter what you do, no matter how friendly you become, a section of students is going to hate you. You need to realise that.”
“Yeah, in my case all my students hate me without exceptions.”
“O.k., one thing you can’t be sure of that and the second thing, have you thought about why they hate you?”
“I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I ‘am strict. I don’t miss classes. I don’t crack jokes or talk trash during class time. They are constantly giving complaints about me to the college management. The present batch is the worst. Not even one student listens to what I shout. I don’t feel like teaching after looking at their stupid faces. I feel like trashing them all. So I decided to skip one important topic and asked them to study that by themselves. I thought that would make them happy, but instead off they go to the Principal with a complaint. I ‘am fed up.”
“Vimaletta, I ‘am no better than you in these matters and I ‘am certainly not the one to offer you advice. But still, I will say this. You don’t have to do anything to please your students or the authorities. You just do your job and complete your potions on time. But there is one thing you must take care not to do. Vimaletta, a while back you became angry with me and you shouted at me. You mustn’t do the same with your students. You should never direct your anger at the students. They don’t deserve it. They did nothing wrong to you. Even when you are in a bad mood, you must step into class with a pleasant smile. The students needn’t know that something is disturbing you.”
That night I thought in detail about what Divya said and came to the conclusion that she might be right. I made the decision that no matter what, I was going to maintain a pleasant attitude towards the students. But it was not easy and the following days made it seem altogether impossible. I started directing all my frustrations at work at Divya and we ended up fighting more. My short tempered nature got balanced to a great extent by Divya’s sweet temperedness and hence there were no tears or curses at the ends of our fights. Mostly there was laughter. But everything was to change on that cursed day. The day which ever since I have been trying hard to forget. I would do absolutely anything to stop Divya from speaking those words that she spoke at the end of the fight we had on that day. The words which I believe to have changed my life and went on to haunt me forever.
“Anjana’s marriage got fixed. Her parents finally agreed to her marriage with Rahul.”
As usual, we were having our night conversation and Divya had answered my question of what happened at school. Anjana was her fellow teacher and best friend. For a long time Anjana had been in love with Rahul. But unfortunately for her, for no particular reason her parents didn’t approve of Rahul.
“What made them change their minds?”
“Who knows? They must have finally realized how happy Anjana would be if she’s with Rahul. Oh Vimaletta, you should have seen her happiness today. She seemed to be in paradise. She is a very blessed girl, no doubt.”
“Why? Is she blessed because she is getting married through love marriage?”
“Yes, definitely. She is able to marry the boy she has loved all these years. What more can she want?”
“Come on Divya. Believe me, their love is going to last, let’s say for a maximum of two years. After that, it will get blasted like a bubble.”
I laughed loudly but Divya didn’t join me.
“Oh, Vimaletta, how can you say that? I don’t think so. I ‘am so sure that they are going to live happily.”
“What makes you so sure?”
“Because I ‘am Anjana’s best friend and she shares everything with me. I know how much she loves Rahul and how much Rahul loves her. They will be so happy living together.”
“Love doesn’t last Divya.”
“You are so wrong, Vimaletta.”
“No, I ‘am absolutely right. Love is just an illusion. It is not real. People are fools to believe in love.”
“You are being a fool, Vimaletta. There is no point in living if there is no love. It is impossible to live happily without love.”
“So are you telling me that you are not living happily with me?”
“No, did I ever say that?”
“Divya, you are free to leave if you want. If you can’t find happiness without love. Then you can leave.”
It was then that Divya’s voice started losing the harshness she had put on for the sake of arguing with me. It was clear that she was going to start crying any instant.
“Vimaletta, why do you say that? What makes you think that I ‘am not living happily with you?”
“Well if you are living happily with me, then your theory is wrong.”
“What do you mean? So you don’t think there is love between us?”
“Divya, I told you before, I don’t believe in this stupid thing called love. Anyway love is for people like your Anjana and Rahul.”
“So, what do you think is making us live together?”
“Oh Divya, our living together was arranged by our families. We are going to live together unless that arrangement is forcefully broken. Think of it as signing a pact with no date of expiry of contract. That is our marriage and that is the reason we are here together, all because of an agreement.”
By then tears would have welled up in her eyes which would not have been visible for me in the dark.
“So Vimaletta, you don’t think the way I take care of you is because I love you.”
“Oh, so now you are going to list out all the things that you do for me. I ‘am really not interested. I told you, you are free to leave.”
I heard her loud sobs.
“Vimaletta, trust me, one day I ‘am not going to be there for you when you need me. Only then you will understand my worth. Only then you will understand the love I have towards you. And maybe you will want to love me back, but by then I would already be gone.”
We had returned home after a shopping stint and a movie on a Saturday night. Both of us were dead tired and there was nothing else to do other than to have a bath and go to sleep. Divya was about to switch off the light in our bedroom when I stopped her.
“Divya, wait. I need to ask you something.”
“What is it Vimaletta?”
“Come; sit beside me on the bed.
“O.k., shall I switch off this light first?”
“No, leave it on. Today I need to talk by looking at your face and not in darkness.”
She smiled and sat close to me.
“Fine, whatever you say Vimaletta. But please do hurry or else you will see me fall asleep sitting here. I ‘am that tired.”
“Divya, I ‘am serious. This is very important. We can’t move ahead unless we sort this out.”
I saw her face becoming pale. But I couldn’t stop; I had to go on for the sake of both of us.
“Divya, are you happy living with me??
“Why do you keep asking me this Vimaletta? What did I do wrong?”
I saw her face becoming even paler.
“You did nothing wrong, Divya. But there is something wrong with both of us together.”
“There is nothing wrong with us.”
Though she raised her voice, I saw that tears had welled up in her eyes.
“Tell me if I hurt you in any way Vimaletta.”
“No Divya, you still don’t get my point. We have been married for some time now, but sometimes I feel that we are behaving as total strangers. I feel that there is a large distance between us and it is not at all good to have that feeling while we are living together. Now, please don’t cry. I didn’t mean to make you cry. I just wanted to say that we are not like other married couples out there. Either we have to change or if that’s not possible, then I think we have to….you know….separate.”
She started crying.
“Please Divya; I ‘am sorry. But I have to say what I have to say. Wipe your eyes.”
She wiped her tears and nodded her head. She looked into my eyes.
“Vimaletta, why do you think that we are not like other couples?”
“Well you saw many of them today, in the shopping mall, in the theatre, in the park. Did you see how they are walking together?”
She nodded her head and managed to smile slightly.
“Why? They were walking just like us.”
“No Divya, they were walking as if they had been glued together. You sure must have observed some of them sitting around us at the food court. Again it was as if they were glued together to the seat. The wife was always clinging to the husband, while walking, while standing, all the time. But with us, it’s different. Every time you take care to be at a hands distance away from me. Why Divya? Don’t you like being close to my body? Do you hate me?”
She covered my mouth with her hand and once again tears started pouring out from her eyes.
“Please don’t think like that, Vimaletta. I like being with you always.”
“Then why are you keeping away from me Divya. Why are you acting as if you can touch my body only in darkness? Why?”
“No, there is nothing like that. I love you.”
“There is something Divya. Something is separating us.”
“No, I thought you didn’t want me to be near to you Vimaletta.”
“Why would I not want that, Divya?”
“I don’t know. I thought you were taking care to keep me away on purpose. I felt like that.”
“What? When did I act so? Have you gone mad? Think about it, Divya. You are my wife and I ‘am supposed to share my love with you. Why would I keep you away?”
“Because I know l don’t look good, Vimaletta. I know you are ashamed to present me as your wife to others. I know and it’s okay. It’s not your fault.”
Her words pierced my heart and I wanted to cry. Divya had dropped her head and had resumed sobbing loudly.
“Oh, no Divya. You are entirely wrong. You look beautiful. Don’t speak rubbish.”
She didn’t stop crying and I felt guilty for hurting her. I immediately took my arms around her and began patting her back.
“Why did you marry me, Vimaletta? You could have got married to a good looking girl.”
“Oh, no Divya. From where is this coming? You are a good looking girl.”
“No, I ‘am not.”
I couldn’t say anything more. I hugged her tightly. Tears from my eyes fell down to her neck.
“Vimaletta, are you crying?”
“Of course I ‘am crying. You made me cry speaking all those nonsense. You think I feel great when you cry in front of me. Don’t cry Divya. Forget everything I told you. Let us live in the same way we have been living till now, that will do. But please stop crying.”
When she stopped, I released my hold of her and allowed her to rise up. Gently I raised her head to look at my face. We locked eyes.
“Divya, believe me when I say this. You are very beautiful. Who told you otherwise? You are a teacher. Before marriage too, you were a very independent girl. It’s not right of you to have this complex. Tell me, what did I do to make you feel like that?”
“You didn’t do anything, Vimaletta. It is just that….”
“Just what? Divya, speak up please. I want to know.”
“Vimaletta, I know that no other girl will think like me. But during my school days. You know what; its very silly….forget it.”
“No, tell me Divya. What happened during your school days? Come on.”
“When I was in ninth standard, I felt attracted towards a boy of my class. He was considered the most handsome boy of class by us, girls. After a lot of compulsion from my friends, I proposed to him in front of them. His friends were also there with him at that time.”
I smiled at her.
“Okay Divya, I think I know what you are going to say next. He said no, didn’t he? All for better, don’t you think? He did us a favour. I ‘am so thankful to him. I now have you with me.”
But she didn’t smile back and I saw that her face turned even more sad.
“No, Vimaletta, he didn’t just say no. In front of all those people, in front of my classmates, in front of my best friends, he made comments of my appearance. Even now I clearly remember everything that he said. He asked me to look at the mirror first, but only in bright sunshine as I might not see myself otherwise. He then went on to ask me how I expected him to fall in love in with such a dark and ugly looking girl. Though nobody laughed and everyone present around us only started hating him for his arrogance, his words hurt me a lot and it went on to hurt me even after he apologised. He called me dark and ugly. How could I forget that?”
She rested her head upon my lap and started crying again. I gently began caressing her hair. Of course, she was being very silly. But I quickly realised how gentle and soft hearted my Divya was and right then she needed my care. I hugged her close and whispered to her ear.
“Oh, Divya, he was a complete idiot, forget it. You are my girl. Trust me Divya; I ‘am not lying. You looked very beautiful to me when I came to see you for the first time at your house. But now”
I once again raised her head and made her look into my eyes.
“For me, you are the most beautiful girl in this world. You are the most beautiful girl that I ever saw in my life and I love you so much.”
“I love you too, Vimaletta.”
I couldn’t control the tears that kept pouring out of my eyes. Divya wiped it using her hands.
“I know Divya. You have loved me ever since we got married. You took care of me when I fell ill. You were always there for me. But still look at the way I treated you till now. I never even said I love you. I ‘am such a mess, Divya.I don’t think I deserve you.”
I just couldn’t stop crying.
“No, no Vimaletta. I know that you love me. You just don’t have to say it. Stop crying, Vimaletta.”
“No Divya. Any guy would consider himself the luckiest if he got a wife like you. You are that special. You are the best wife. I ‘am so lucky to have you in my life and yet I made you feel like I don’t love you.”
“Please stop, Vimaletta. We both love each other so much. Then what’s the problem? I love you so much, Vimaletta. I will always be there for you. I love you.”
She hugged me tightly.
And then I felt so light, so warm and so at ease in her arms that I decided to disclose everything to her. Everything that had been paining my heart. She should know everything, I became certain.
“Divya, all my friends, my brother and my parents warned me about saying this to you. But I think you have to know everything about me. Still, I ‘am afraid to say this. Now I have realised that ever since we got married, you have been taking so much care of me. I have realised that I love you so much, Divya. I don’t want you to hate me. I don’t know if you….”
She stroked my face gently.
“Oh Vimaletta, you can say anything to me. I promise I will keep loving you. You have no idea how much I love you.”
“Divya, during my college days, while I was doing p.g, I fell in love with a girl studying degree there. We had decided that we were going to get married after I got a job. So, after getting this job, I had a hard time convincing my parents. Finally they agreed and I was so happy. I thought god was helping me become the happiest guy in the world. But then for no particular reason she ditched me. You see, I loved her very much back then and hence it was as if there was nothing much left for me to live. I was totally destroyed. I entered the worst period of my life. Things only worsened, when a year later I came across her wedding photo in newspaper.”
I stopped and looked at her with tears blurring my vision. But one look at her eyes was enough to convince me that she was feeling really sorry for me and that she only wished to comfort me. Using her thumps, she gently removed the tear drops surrounding my eyes and urged me to go on.
“Then years passed and my parents started arranging my marriage. I actually wanted to get married. I greatly wanted to fall in love with someone once again. That was my idea of revenge for the hurt that she caused me. And then you came into my life and I had already pictured us being the world’s best married couple. I thought of us being so close and intimate all the time. I thought we would love each other desperately. But something was missing and I failed to love you in the way I had planned to do so.”
She bent forward to kiss me on my forehead.
“I ‘am sorry Vimaletta. But now I know what went missing in our relationship and I can fix it.”
“Are you sure?”
“ Yes, Vimaletta, don’t worry. I desperately need you. I had always desperately needed you. But now I ‘am always going to hold onto you.”
“I will be so happy if you can do that, Divya.I love you so much. But I want to love you so much more. I want to make you the happiest girl.”
“I will be happy as long as my ettan is with me.”
“I love you Divya. You are my Divya. You will always be my Divya.I love you.” I didn’t want to stop kissing her after that.
Moments later she was once again lying on my lap and I was stroking her hair.
“Divya, you look so beautiful.”
“Seriously Divya, how could you think that you don’t look good just because of what some fool said to you, when you were young? It’s so unusual.”
“I know Vimaletta.I guess it’s partly because I had a very attractive sister and very attractive friends. Whenever I went out with them, I remember myself feeling jealous of how all boys looked at them.”
“Oh, that’s so stupid, Divya. But I think you were very vulnerable back then. If any guy had proposed you, then you would have lost your head over him and married him and that would have been a total disaster for me. I would have perished without you. Oh, how lucky I ‘am?”
“And I ‘am so lucky that stupid girl left you, Vimaletta.”
Both of us laughed.
“What’s the name of the bitch who hurt my Vimalettan?”
“I think it’s better for both of us to forget that bitch’s name. Besides name doesn’t matter Divya. It’s all in the person. It’s the person that matters, not the name.”
“I won’t let anyone hurt you again, Vimaletta, no one.”
And thus began the best night of my life.
I was the first to wake up next day morning. I immediately sensed Divya’s tight grip on my body and felt very happy. Life was to get really better. Both of us were naked and I tilted my head to look at the girl glued to my body. I looked at her from feet till neck. I had done this before. But now seeing the tiny hands, tiny legs, tiny neck with a tiny depression, I just could not stop looking. How cute her face looked with those puffy cheeks, curved eyebrows, small lips giving the impression of big smile even when fully closed and with those long wavy hairs falling over her tiny nose and closed eyes ready to open any second? How could anyone look at this and feel that it is not a sign of beauty? How beautiful she looked and yet she had become a part of me. What more could I need to be happy than knowing that this beautiful girl lying beside me is mine? She is my Divya. She will always be my Divya.
I kissed her on her forehead and saw those eyelids fluttering, ready to open to reveal those revelling eyes. I kissed her eyelids. She opened her eyes and smiled. I smiled back at her. Life was indeed going to be at its best.
From then on, whenever I introduced her to anyone, I clearly remember myself saying “this is my Divya.“That was what she had become suddenly; my very own Divya. And it was my responsibility to always keep her happy.
I had called Divya and asked her to not go by bus, but wait for me after her school got over. I had told her that she would see me standing outside her school’s gate. But instead it was she who stood waiting outside the gate for seeing me. I arrived almost an hour late and as I approached her in my bike, I saw her face red more in sadness than in anger.
“I ‘am so sorry, Divya.I had an important meeting. You got my message, right?”
“Even in that message, you asked me to wait for you and not go by bus. But why? All other teachers left long back. I would have reached home by now.”
She climbed on and took her arm around my stomach.
“I ‘am sorry Divya. But you know, travelling by bus, you won’t get this pleasure.”
‘Oh really, then I will drop you at the bus stop.”
She smiled and pinched my neck.
“Enough Vimaletta, let’s go.”
It was very clear to me that she was greatly anticipating something. I even caught her trying to get down when I was made to stop in front of a bakery shop by the traffic. It wasn’t long before she asked the question, I was anticipating to hear.
“So we are going straight home?”
“Yes, do you want to go anywhere else?”
“No, but we are not going to buy anything?”
“No Divya. I ‘am tired, you are tired. Let’s get home as quickly as possible.”
We reached home and as usual Divya went ahead to unlock the door. But then there was a problem.
“Vimaletta, it’s already unlocked. Didn’t you lock it in the morning?”
“Yeah I sure did. Or maybe I forgot. Open it.”
“Are you sure?”
I smiled reassuringly at her.
“Yes, Divya. You can open the door.”
She opened the door.
“Happy Birthday, Divya.”
With that, her best friend from school days, Karthika sprang forward with a hug. She was followed by her other two best friends from school, Sreya and Namitha.
Divya utterly shocked could manage to look around the room brightly decorated using balloons and ribbons only for a few seconds before she was surrounded by her friends from college. Everybody was competing among themselves to wish her first and nobody stopped with just wishing her.
“Happy birthday, Divya. Your husband is so sweet. He invited us a week back.”
“You know, I would never do this for my wife. You are so lucky, Divya.”
“Actually, I had at first told Vimal that I wouldn’t come today. But then he was so adamant that I should come. He said you will feel bad if I don’t come even after me telling him that you and I haven’t been contacting much after school. He loves you so much. I ‘am so jealous of you, Divya.”
“I know it will never happen. But I still wish that my husband will throw a surprise birthday party for me someday.”
“I ‘am so happy for you Divya.”
Divya received the most shock when she saw her fellow teachers from school. It was only then she understood why all of them were so eager to leave quickly, deserting her at the gate.
Everybody assembled around the table for cake cutting and cheered loudly when Divya kept a piece of cake inside my mouth before allowing me to put one inside hers.
And then there were games followed by exchange of gifts and finally exchange of farewell sentences. Everybody left feeling so happy. But no one could be as near happy as Divya was. She had never stopped smiling and throughout the party was eyeing me with gratitude while simultaneously thinking of ways to reward me once everyone left. But what better reward I needed than seeing her happy face? I knew very well that she was having the best time of her life not entirely because of being able to see all her friends together at her birthday, but because of knowing what I had done for her. But maybe she wouldn’t be able to know that I did everything for myself as making my Divya happy was the only way for me to make myself happy.
Months passed away and life gave me its best surprise a few days into the Annual Day Function of our college. I was to receive the best teacher award for the ongoing academic year during that function. It was nothing short of a miracle that within a few months I had gone from being the worst to the best. By then, I pretty much did not go anywhere without Divya and I took her along with me to the college auditorium. Divya couldn’t control her excitement at me being declared as the best teacher. She was so happy for me.
The official part of the function including inauguration and felicitation got over and with that the chief guests for the occasion left. Now only the teachers, students and their parents were left in the hall and it was time for entertainment starting with the distribution of awards decided by the students themselves. Among them the most important and hence the first to be declared was “The Best Teacher”. The Principal smiled and whispered in my ear “ You must say how you did this” while handing over the award. As expected I was asked to speak to the audience.
I stood facing the audience and saw Divya giving me thumbs up. We had discussed on the previous night what I should speak and had finally agreed on a speech that would be very informative to the students and parents. But looking at her smiling face, I suddenly decided not to say a single word of what I had prepared.
“O.k., I know that many great people have delivered great speeches after receiving great awards. I know this is not the greatest award that one can receive in life and I know very well that this is not the time to give a great speech that would go down in history. This is the time for me to say thank you, wish you best for your future and then step down. But I ‘am not going to do that.”
I paused, smiled and looked at Divya who gave me a “what are you doing?” look.
But still I had whatever it was in me to continue speaking.
“Because for me this is the day I will always remember as the day I received the greatest achievement of my life. Again it leads to the question, what is there so great in this award given by the students I taught?”
I paused once again to look at the audience especially at the parents. The way they were looking at me confirmed to me that they were considering me as a very insane and eccentric Professor. But again a look at Divya’s face told me that she was very excited and that was enough to make me never think of stopping again. I would speak as long as she was listening.
“Well this becomes great because a few months back; I ‘am not sure whether your parents knew me but you knew me very well as the most hated person here.”
I laughed and it was followed by laughter from most of the audience. There were even shouts of “Yes”.
“Yes, I was hated by all my students without exception. Not only the students, I was hated by the staff too. Not only that, whatever extracurricular activity I participated in the college, I earned the hate of every other person who participated. That was me, such a disaster.”
More laughter followed.
“But now you have just declared me to be the most loved teacher here and hence I ‘am pretty sure that this award will hold up in comparison to all the other greatest awards out there. So, how did I bring about this change? Well, a few months back my teacher wife did offer me some advice on teaching and I did try to implement it.”
At this all the faculty and Principal to whom I had already introduced Divya turned to look at her which made her blush and take her hand to her face. She gave me a “I will kill you once we reach home look.”
“But I don’t think that’s the main reason I ‘am standing here. No, it did help but not enough to turn things around in such a short time. I ‘am standing here because a major change happened in my life almost six months back. A wonderful person came to my life or in other words I got married. I know some of you are in love and would have already thought of your married life together with your lover, some of you may not even have thought of marriage until now and some of you after hearing all those bad stories of marriage, must have decided never to get married. I too had my own ideas of marriage. For me it was always the hope of getting so much love from the total stranger who would one day start living with me and also the fear of not being able to love and get loved back by the girl who would become my wife.
As it turns out, I ‘am a very lucky guy as not a single second passes in my life without me getting some form of love from my wife. I know she loves me so much. But I ‘am not sure whether she knows how much I love her. I love her so much and there is nothing, absolutely nothing that I wouldn’t do for her. She stood by me firmly during my bad days and made my good days even better. Every day of my now beautiful life begins by seeing her cute smiling face and it ends with me feeling grateful towards her for taking so much care of me. But the best part is that she is always there for me when I need her; always, anytime, anywhere. In short she is the reason I finally ended up living happily. And as for this award, the only explanation I can think of is that she stuffed up so much love into me that I had no other option but to start loving all the people in my life. I began loving my students and they in turn stopped hating me and over time even started loving me. So that’s the reason I ‘am standing here. This change in my teaching as well as all the good changes in my life is entirely because of my wife, my Divya.”
Everyone started clapping. By then everybody had started staring at Divya, who of course was trying her level best to get those happy tears out of her eyes.
“You know, I really feel like calling her onto the stage. I really want to show my Divya, the source of my happiness to all of you.”
As if in agreement the clapping became ever so louder and all the people sitting around Divya began encouraging her to move on to the stage. Divya who until then had been shaking her head and whispering “No, No” had no option but to get up. Within seconds she was standing beside me on the stage. I held her close. She looked upwards at me with tear socked eyes and smiled. I faced the audience for one last time.
“Yes, this is my Divya.”
Divya was standing in the kitchen. I approached her from behind. I suddenly felt like taking my arms around her and I did just that. I cuddled her closely and kissed her neck. She started giggling. I hoisted her up. She was as light as a feather in my hands.
“You are so happy today Vimaletta.”
“Yes, I ‘am. Won’t you stop giggling?”
“No, I ‘am so happy too.”
“Happy Valentine’s day, Divya.”
“Oh, so that’s the reason for this.”
“As if I didn’t do this before. So what should we do today?”
“How about going back to the bedroom?”
“All right, done. But after that?”
“Well, we will go see that romantic movie everyone’s been talking about.”
“Done, after that?”
“We can go to that lover’s park. Will we look like lovers?”
“Of course and if anyone asks us from there we will lie to them and say that we are students.”
“O.k., but will they believe it? Won’t we look too old for that?”
“No, you silly girl, we won’t. I will prove it to you today. So after that, what should we do?”
“I don’t know….I will buy a new shirt for you.”
“And I will buy you a new churidar. But you must wear it tomorrow itself. You still haven’t tried out that red churidar I bought you last week.”
“I wore it two days back. Oh, looks as if someone hasn’t been looking at his wife properly.”
“Maybe, but you must wear the new dress that I select for you tomorrow. No excuses.”
“All right my sweet husband. But Vimaletta, I think your hands must be paining by now. Lower me down.”
“You are right. It is paining now that I think of it. But I have found the perfect place to keep you down. Look, it’s our bedroom.”
I returned home after a visit to my parent’s home. As soon as I sat down, Divya was all over me. She began stroking my face. We had started spending almost all of our free time by being together that she had started the habit of missing me even when I was away for a few hours. I did not take her with me as I was called home to handle a problem that had suddenly arisen.
“Vimaletta, everything okay?”
“No, Divya. It is not. I ‘am so angry.”
“What happened? Whatever it is, I promise to take care of it. Tell me.”
She held my face close to hers.
“No, Divya. There is nothing you can do. It’s my brother.”
“What happened to him?”
“Well, what worse could happen to him than him falling in love with a girl during his college days. Then as expected the girl left him for another guy. Now he has finished his course and got a good job. All he has to do is forget her and move on. But he wants to marry her and he wants our parents to talk to her family. What a big loser?”
“Oh Vimaletta, he’s just a boy. He will come around after some time.”
“I don’t think so. Mom and dad called me after they failed to talk some sense into him. But when I reached there, the first thing they said to me was that I was responsible for my brother’s present condition. That it was me who had shown him the path of love. How could they say that, Divya?”
“I ‘am sure they said it out of their anger. They didn’t mean to hurt you. Just forget it, Vimaletta. But did you talk to Vinay.”
“Don’t mention that idiot’s name, Divya.I really hate him.”
“Did he say anything bad to you?”
“He considers me a loser. He told me that he didn’t want to end up being a loser in life like me losing the girl I loved only to get married to a girl like you. I slapped him hard. I would have gladly beaten the air out of him if mom and dad didn’t pull us apart. I was that angry. I can’t stand if anybody says anything insulting about you. I really can’t stand it. I hate him truly. I ‘am going to believe that I never had a brother. I ‘am sure I can live with that.”
“But you are sad, Vimaletta. I will call Vinay and talk to him.”
“Don’t do that, Divya. Let him do whatever he wants. Let him suffer, I don’t care.”
“You are sad because of him Vimaletta, and I can’t allow you to be sad. I will definitely talk to him.”
“But if he says anything to you which hurts you even remotely, then I ‘am going to kill him.”
The next day I received a phone call from my brother. I couldn’t control my excitement.
“Divya, Vinay just called. He apologised to me. He told me that he is going to move on. How did you do this?”
She smiled at me.
“I just talked some sense into him.”
“But how? It’s unbelievable.”
“I just explained to him why you slapped him when he spoke badly of me. I explained to him how happily we are living together and he understood. He is a nice sweet kid.”
“Whatever Divya, you do continue to amaze me every day.”
“I told you Vimaletta. I won’t ever allow you to be sad.”
“Oh Divya, I ‘am so sure that I can’t ever live without you.”
She continued smiling at me. All I could do in return was hug her close and kiss her on her forehead. What would I do without her?
Divya had shared with me whatever her sister staying in U.S with her husband had told her about the country. Her sister’s husband worked there and hence her sister had got the chance to live in U.S. Whenever Divya spoke to me after her phone call with her sister, I could always sense a slight envy she had towards her sister. Finally I decided to take care of it.
“Divya, do you want to go to U.S?”
“No, Vimaletta. I ‘am so happy here with you. I know why you are asking me this. No, I ‘am not envious of my sister’s life. She doesn’t have the best husband in the world. I have him.”
I laughed and shook my head.
“What? Why are you laughing? I ‘am being honest.”
“Of course you are, my dear Divya. But anyway we are going to U.S this vacation.”
“No, I don’t think so. You are joking Vimaletta.”
“No, I ‘am not.”
“Then you are saying this just to make this night more wonderful. I ‘am pretty sure we won’t actually go there.”
“What makes you so sure? All right, do you want to bet on it?”
“Fine if I lose and we actually go there this vacation, then I will take a day off, convince you to take a day off and we will spend an entire day together in bed.”
“Sounds good. And what if I lose?”
“Then you will take a day off, convince me to take a day off and we will spend an entire day together in bed.”
“Wow, you have a deal lady. Let’s see who wins.”
Vacation arrived and I revealed to Divya my plans for a ten day trip to U.S. She was utterly shocked.
“Are you serious, Vimaletta?”
“Of course, I ‘am. I know it is your dream to go there. And you know I can’t let any of your dreams pass by unnoticed.”
“But I never thought we would go there this vacation itself. I thought maybe we will go there after a couple of years.”
“Why keep anything for later, Divya?”
“Yes, you are right, Vimaletta. It’s better to do everything while we still can.”
But then about three weeks before the planned journey, I started having fever and body pain and on the next day rashes began to appear. Many students of my class as well as some teachers had fallen sick of it and on that particular vacation, when we had done everything for our journey out of the country; I too fell sick of chicken pox.
But I could still recover in time and we had a chance to make it provided we could avoid the highly likely incident of Divya catching the disease from me. She was all over my rash covered body.
“Divya, stay away. You will catch the disease.”
“ Vimaletta, I can’t stay away from you. You know that.”
“ Divya, it’s the only way for us to make that journey. Come on, it’s only for a week. Think about U.S, your dream destination.”
“Oh Vimaletta, you think I care for that silly trip to U.S. I can’t live by being away from you. I simply cannot. I won’t go anywhere.”
“Forget it Vimaletta. It would be nice if I too catch the disease. We can suffer together. Then we can be together without you complaining.”
But she caught the disease only when I started feeling better. It was then I understood how impossible it was for her to stay away from me for I couldn’t even think of being away from her while she was suffering. I had the advantage of having no chance to contract the disease from her and also nothing to worry about as by then the curtain had fallen on our planned U.S trip. So, I had a nice time taking care of my sick Divya by huddling close to her.
Of course, I didn’t know then that this failed trip to U.S was going to have a profound impact on my mental wellbeing later.
After both of us recovered fully, we decided that we were going to make best use of our first summer vacation together by going on a tour to some important places in India. Our first destination was Ooty and the only thing I remember of the time we spent there was that it was extremely cold.
We were standing in the balcony ad joint to our room in the hotel we were staying.
“Vimaletta, I ‘am feeling so cold.”
“Then wear this sweater too.”
I gave an extra sweater to her.
“Oh, I can’t bear this. It’s so cold.”
“Really, with two sweaters?”
I hugged her from behind and started blowing out to her face.
“How about now? Better?”
“Yeah, much better. Please don’t remove your hands. Let us remain life this for some time.”
And Divya continued to feel extremely cold wherever we went in Ooty. Our next destination was Hogenakkal located in Karnataka- Tamilnadu border. There we saw a beautiful display of Mother Nature consisting of a river dividing two states, forest, waterfall and rocks. We travelled downstream of the river in a coracle (waterproof basket boat) commonly known in Malayalam as " Poothoni."
The driver of our basket boat had his back turned against us and he was always busy controlling the boat using a long stick both by sitting and even standing at times when the current became stronger. We had a nice scary time whenever he neared the boat to a waterfall.
“Wow, this is so beautiful, Vimaletta. I have never seen anything so beautiful before.”
“Yeah, you are right. This is such a grand sight.”
Just then the boat rocked.
“I ‘am scared. I don’t know swimming.”
“Don’t worry Divya, neither do I. But you can hold onto me.”
“This is so nice. It’s scary. But it’s still so nice.”
From Hogenakkkal we went to Bangalore. We spent the day by roaming around Lal Bagh, Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological museum and other great places. When it was evening, Divya suddenly had a crazy idea.
“Let’s go to a night club, Vimaletta.”
“Really, what will we do from there?”
“Well, we will go there as total strangers. Then you will have to flirt with me and convince me to dance with you and go with you after that. Let’s see if you can do that.”
“ Ho Ho Ho Divya. I can make any girl come with me.”
“Fine, let’s hire a cab. We will ask the cab driver to take us to the best night club.”
The club was very crowded. But as soon as I entered, one girl got all my attention. She was standing at one corner, looking keenly at the dance floor and smiling. She looked stunningly beautiful. I was not going to miss this chance. I walked over to her.
She replied back, but still continued to look at the dance floor completely avoiding me. She didn’t even give me a glance. Such an egoistic girl, I thought.
“You have been looking at the dance floor for a long time now.”
“So what? Where else should I look, at your face?”
“I was just asking if you wanted to dance.”
“Yeah, I want to dance, but not with you.”
“Why? Don’t I look good to you?”
“You look okay. But I rather dance with someone who can dance.”
“Hey, that’s not fair; you haven’t seen me dance before.”
“No, but I ‘am sure that you haven’t danced before in your life. This is your first time at a night club, isn’t it?”
“How did you know that?”
“It was clear from the way you stood there with your mouth open, looking at everyone as if they were aliens.”
“Oh, so you have been looking at me?”
“I was looking at everyone who was coming through that door. What else should I do? Cover my eyes with a black cloth?”
“ Okay okay, can’t you talk a bit nicely?”
“Why should I talk nicely to you? Who are you to me?”
“Fine, clearly you are not in the mood to talk.”
I kept my mouth shut for a while after that. But I couldn’t contain my curiosity. Maybe there was still a chance.
“So, do you come here often?”
“With my ex-boyfriend.”
Wow, ex!!! There was a chance, big chance.
“Do you have a boyfriend now?”
She shook her head, rather angrily.
“Maybe we can be friends.”
“Look I get it, what you want with me. But let me be very frank with you; I ‘am not into you.”
“Hello, I didn’t ask you to be my girl friend. I just thought maybe we could dance together and talk a little.”
“Who gave you this idea that if you come here and talk with a girl, she will dance with you?”
“Quite frankly, it was my wife who gave me that idea.”
“What a great family you have? So your wife set you out on having an extramarital affair?”
“No, she and I decided to play a little game where we will enter the night club and act as total strangers with me trying to win her over. But then I saw you and felt instantly attracted towards you.”
“You can go back to your wife. I think she might be the only girl who will dance with you today.”
“You know, you are not the only girl present here. If you are not interested, then fine. I will go and talk to that girl over there.”
I moved away from her, but then she held my hand firmly.
“Oh, so you do want to talk to me.”
“For a girl of your age, you do have a big ego.”
“If that’s the way you are going to talk, then its better you go to that girl. I won’t stop you.”
“Really? Anyway can we move to the dance floor?”
I held her hand and led her to the dance floor. Power packed Bollywood songs were being played and we tried to dance to its tunes.
“You suck at dancing too.”
“That’s because I ‘am dancing with you, loser.”
“You really could practise talking a bit gently.”
“My ex-boyfriend used to tell me that too. That’s why I dumped him.”
“Anyway, I ‘am not going to see you again after today. So, I don’t have to fear you dumping me.”
Both of us were having a nice time.
“So, did you ever enjoy this much with your wife?”
“No, I did not.”
“But you will still go back to her after this.”
“Yes of course, I ‘am married to her.”
“One day you too will marry and then you will understand.”
“No, anyway that day is so far into the future. So, what do you do for a living?”
“I ‘am a college professor. My wife is a teacher too.”
“Who asked you anything about her? I hate teaching.”
“Great, then don’t be a teacher. I think it’s time for us to say goodbye.”
“So you did all the talking just for dancing to a few Bollywood songs.”
“Yes, that’s the best I can do. I just wanted to prove a point to my wife that I can flirt and make any girl dance with me.”
“Hey, if your wife didn’t object to us dancing together, maybe she wouldn’t object to me hanging around for a while. Can we go out now?”
“No I ‘am sorry. I can’t do that to my wife. I love her.”
“Okay fine, go and hug your wife and tell her sorry for being away from her.”
She sulked at me.
“Come on, you have to admit that you had a great time with me.”
“It was okay.”
“Tell me this; if you ever were to marry a guy, would you consider marrying me?”
“All men are losers for me. They are all same and you are no different. So yeah, I might marry you.”
“In other words, you are in love with me. Say it.”
“I love you. Now, are you satisfied?”
“I love you too. So what’s your name?”
“My name is Divya.”
“Hm, how come that name sounds so familiar to me? You aren’t by any chance my Divya, are you?”
“I ‘am my Vimalettan’s Divya.”
“Come let’s go.”
“Let me take you to your Vimalettan.”
I took her back to the hotel.
“See, I told you. I can do it.”
“No you failed miserably. You cheated. You knew I wouldn’t let you go to another girl.”
I pointed my finger at my head and smiled victoriously.
“It’s all part of the game, my dear Divya. But you tried, ex-boyfriend; that was good. Again unfortunately for you, I won the game.”
“Let’s play the real game and see who wins Vimaletta.”
“Fine, I ‘am ready.”
Two crazy people at the height of their craziness then had a crazy night together.
The next destination on our list was one of the “Seven Wonders of the World”. The Taj Mahal Palace in Agra constructed by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz.
“Vimaletta, what will you build for me when I die?”
“Well I ‘am not rich like Shah Jahan to build a marble castle and I certainly don’t have any architectural skills.”
“So you won’t do anything for me.”
“I don’t know, I will write a good memoir of you and show it to people.”
“Yeah, that will do. But it has to be a good memoir.”
“Of course, but tell me what will you do for me?”
“I will build a statue of you.”
“No, I can’t afford that. Using clay.”
“Clay? Wonder how that will come out to be.”
We both laughed.
“But seriously Vimaletta, if I die. Then you should marry another girl. That will be my last wish.”
“No stop this Divya. Don’t do this to me. Stop this.”
I shouted at her at such a loud voice that Divya’s face which only moments earlier had looked lively and happy suddenly became ashen and dead.
“What happened Vimaletta? We were just joking, right?”
“Yeah, I ‘am sorry Divya. Ever since we had that fight and you said to me that you would die one day, I have been having a very hard time. I couldn’t sleep on many days. I greatly fear something bad happening to you and I don’t know what to do.”
“Oh Vimaletta, people say all sorts of crazy and wild things when they are sad and angry but it doesn’t mean that any of those will come true.”
“What if it’s like a curse or something?”
“No Vimaletta, there is nothing of that sort. Don’t worry, nothing will happen to me.”
I nodded my head.
“Nothing should happen to you.”
“I ‘am bored of Taj Mahal, Lets go somewhere else.”
From Agra, we went to Aurangabad in Maharashtra to visit the Ajanta and Ellora caves. There we finally decided the last destination of our trip. We would go home via Mumbai.
There were still many places in India that we wanted to visit. But then many vacations were coming our way and so it was fine to end the journey with Mumbai. We boarded the train that would get us to the most populated city in India. That night it was raining heavily. Divya climbed onto the middle berth. I lied down on the lower berth directly below. I closed my eyes. About ten minutes would have passed when I heard Divya’s voice.
“Vimaletta, are you asleep?”
“No I ‘am not. What is it, Divya?”
“There is lightening.”
I suddenly remembered that Divya was afraid of lightening. I got up and stood beside the berth. I looked down at her face and smiled.
“There is nothing to fear, Divya. We are inside the train. Lightening won’t get us, 100%.”
“You can’t be sure of that.”
Divya’s subject was social science. So this was an opportunity for me to showcase my knowledge in science to her.
“Yes, I can. The electric field inside a hollow metallic sphere is zero. So lightning won’t get us as long as we are inside.”
“But this is not a sphere.”
“It’s still made of metal and that will do. See, that’s why I learnt science.”
I smiled victoriously at her.
“Oh really. I clearly remember how wonderstruck you were when I was telling you the history behind Ajanta and Ellora caves.”
“All right, but you are totally safe tonight, Divya. Sleep well.”
I kissed her hand and said goodnight.
Moments later, I once again heard her voice.
“It’s so cold, Vimaletta.I can’t sleep.”
“Just wait a sec, Divya.”
I searched inside the bag kept below the lower berth and found the heavy blanket. I gave it to her. But then it suddenly hit me that on all our train journeys, Divya had been complaining of not being able to sleep. I understood what her problem was. I looked around and saw that all the others in the adjoining berths were sleeping soundly and it was dark.
“Divya, do you want to sleep with me down?”
And then I saw her huge smile. Without wasting any time in replying me, she quickly got down with the blanket. I realised that this new found happiness of ours could provide some comfort to someone else.
“I will come just now.”
I nudged the boy sitting on a newspaper near the train’s door. He seemed as if he was a college student and was having a hard time dozing off on the train’s floor. I gave him the happy news that he could use our middle berth.
“So this is why you have been complaining all these days. You could have just told me.”
I said to Divya as she was covering us with the blanket.
“It’s because I can’t bear this cold. It’s better to sleep together.”
“Fine, if that’s how you want to put it.”
I stroked her chin.
“Yeah, I did want to sleep with you. I admit it and I know you wanted it too.”
“It’s so easy to share a berth with you. You are so tiny.”
“Whatever, lets sleep Vimaletta before we wake anyone up. Good night.”
Just then the boy who was climbing on to the middle berth paused for a while to stare at us cuddled together under a single blanket. Even in darkness, I could catch the glint of jealousy in the boy’s eyes and felt so glad.
“Good night, Divya.”
I kissed her on her forehead and hugged her close. I fell asleep thinking how happily I was living each second of my life. Later I had felt my head banging against something and I remembered falling down from the berth. I even remembered thinking that we were in an earthquake.
The train we were travelling to get to Mumbai had derailed over a bridge when water flooded the rails as a result of heavy downpour during the previous days. The coach we were in had derailed, but had not gone fully into the water.
When I woke up, I immediately started experiencing heavy pain in my left leg and right arm. With a struggle, I opened my eyes and realised that I was in a hospital bed. I looked to the left and saw an old man heavily bandaged lying on the bed nearby. I looked to the right and saw a middle aged woman. I shouted“Divya”.
I continued shouting that a nurse and an attendant from nearby came to my side. I shouted at them too.
“Where’s my Divya?”
I made an attempt to sit. The attendant and nurse pushed me down.
“Sir, please calm down.”
“I need my Divya. Where is she?”
“Sir, we will find her. Please lie down.”
I had finally managed to sit up and went on to keep my uninjured leg on the floor. I ignored the shouting of the nurse. I lowered my injured leg and stood up by clutching the bed firmly. I called Divya again, this time more loudly and took a step forward. I fell down on my knees. The nurse and attendant raised me up.
“Sir, you need to be in that bed.”
I cried and begged to them.
“Please leave me alone. She will be looking for me. I need to be beside her. Please.”
Just then another stretcher with a man heavily bandaged around the head was towed in and the nurse and attendant ran towards it. I took the opportunity to limp away from them.
Each step that I took resulted in excruciating pain that almost made me faint. But all around me were people much more seriously injured fighting the battle between life and death. Loud cries of pain subdued my cries of “Divya”. In that commotion, I started losing hope of finding her. I sat down on the floor and began crying.
I looked ahead and saw a young man in doctor’s uniform moving his hand against a writing board. From his action, it was clear that he was ticking names on the board.
I walked towards him by putting all my weight on my right leg. I managed to catch him just before he headed out.
“Sir, do you know where to find my Divya?”
“Sir, you need to be in bed.”
I was losing patience. I had no option but to clutch the man’s shirt and shout angrily.
“Please tell me where my Divya is?”
“O.k., what’s her full name?”
He looked into the list.
“She is in I.C.U. It’s that way.”
I started my walk in one leg in the direction he pointed.
When I reached the I.C.U, a doctor stepped out of it. I rushed to him.
“Doctor, my Divya, she is okay right?”
Instead of replying me, the doctor turned to the nurse beside him and gave her a nod. The nurse went inside only to return moments later with a small handbag. I saw that it was my Divya’s bag.
“That’s my Divya’s bag. Doctor, how is she? I need to see her.”
“You can see her in a while. What’s your name?”
“And how are you related to Divya Shanker?”
“She’s my wife. Please doctor, tell me my Divya’s okay. I know she is fine. But I want to hear it from you.”
“Vimal, are you positive that this is your wife’s bag? When she was brought here, she was clutching this bag. Most of its contents must have zipped out. It was completely empty except for this notebook from which we got her name. Now, I want you to look inside the bag and also at the notebook to confirm that it’s your wife’s bag. Please, will you do that for me?”
I would have rushed inside the I.C.U if the doctor and nurse were not blocking my way by standing in front of me. The only thing I wanted was to see my Divya and if looking carefully at a bag was going to get me to Divya, then I would do that gladly.
I bowed down my head and peeped inside all the racks of the bag. I raised the bag and looked at all its sides. I handed the bag back, took the notebook and swept through all the pages. As I was doing so, tears from my eyes fell down and smudged my Divya’s neat handwriting.
“See, are you happy now? That’s my Divya’s bag. I ‘am 100 percent sure. Now, please I want to see her. Where is she? When are you going to move her to the ward?”
“She’s in the first bed.”
But there was no smile on the doctor’s face as he said this and he touched my shoulder just as I was about to open the door.
“Vimal, I ‘am sorry. We tried our level best. We couldn’t save her.”
That was it. Now the doctor could move on and talk about the other patient’s condition to their loved ones. But for me, that was the end of my life. The doctor had given me the news that I was going to die. All along I had the fear that this was going to happen. But I had been convinced that it was going to remain just a fear. Nothing could happen to my Divya for real.
I had dropped down to the floor and was surrounded by doctors, nurses and many other people. Everyone was in their own attempts to comfort me and raise me up. I realised that I had been crying loudly.
“Doctor, Divya cannot die. She cannot leave me, doctor.”
“She is my Divya. She will never leave me.”
“Every day she prays to god for us. Then how can god do this to her? No doctor, god can’t be that cruel. My Divya cannot die. She simply cannot.”
“You made a mistake. That’s right, you see, she will wake up when I call her. All of you wait here. I will bring her outside.”
I got up and went inside the I.C.U. I looked at the girl lying on the first bed. Then I began to laugh.
I came out and laughed even louder.
“That’s not my Divya. I told you Doctor. My Divya cannot die. She will not die. That’s not my Divya.”
I saw tears coming from the doctor’s eyes.
“Vimal, I ‘am sorry. I know it’s hard. But please keep it together. You are still alive. Live for her.”
“No doctor. You made a mistake. That’s not my Divya. My Divya is somewhere in this hospital. I need to find her.”
The doctor muttered something to the nurse.
“Vimal, please go with her.”
“Oh doctor, you don’t understand, do you?“That’s the girl who slept next to us on the other lower berth. I remember her. Divya’s bag must have got into her hands during the mishap. Which means my Divya is alive. She will be waiting for me. I need to find her.
I moved away from all of them feeling happy and excited. It was only a matter of time before I would be in my Divya’s arms. I happily went on shouting” Divya”.
When I woke up, I was on the hospital’s floor. I was constantly hearing her voice in my mind and it was driving me crazy.
I knew very well that it was all in my head. Still knowing that I was going to see her again, I went onto turn sideways in the direction of her voice.
I saw her smiling at me. Her forehead was plastered.
I plunged forwards.
“Vimaletta, I was so worried. I thought…..Oh god!”
“Divya, where were you? I know you won’t go anywhere without telling me. But I got scared. Don’t go anywhere now. Please, stay with me.”
Neither of us could stop crying. We hugged each other and didn’t want to let go forever.
Tears came to my eyes when I looked at Divya’s photo. It was hard to accept that she was not there anymore.
I was sitting outside our house and reading the newspaper when I came across her photo in death column.” Women killed in bike accident. Husband and two year old daughter escapes unhurt.”
I was shocked and greatly saddened. The only thing that came to my mind was what she told me last about how both of us were going to live happily if we parted ways. She was right. Through her decision, she had made my life worth living by gifting me my Divya.
Death could choose anyone. It had chosen her. But it very well could have chosen my Divya too. That day had made me realise the value of time. Although sometimes, it is the fear of death which makes life more beautiful, I don’t wish to live in fear anymore. Instead I wish to make best use of the time I have with Divya by loving her and making her happy. Also there was no need to fear as she was not going to go anywhere unless I let go of her and there was no way nothing ever was going to make me let go of her.
Just then, my Divya came outside and saw the tears in my eyes.
“Vimaletta, what happened? Why are there tears in your eyes?”
“I was thinking of that day. I don’t ever want to relive it again, Divya. I want you to promise me one thing.”
She came to sit beside me on the chair’s handle. I held her hand against my face.
“What is it Vimaletta?”
“Divya, I don’t want you to get cancer or any other deadly disease. You must not get involved in any accident. You must not die before me. Will you do that for me?”
She smiled, but tears had welled up in her eyes too. She rested her head upon my head and leaned on me.
“I ‘am not going anywhere, Vimaletta. I ‘am always going to be there by your side. I will be there with you forever.”
I kissed her hand.
“I love you Divya.”
I hope you read this part after reading the novel. I ‘am Sreehari P.V. I was born on 11th January 1994. I ‘am from Kannur in Kerala in India. As of now while publishing this, I ‘am 22 years old and have successfully completed my b.tech in Mechanical Engineering. I’ am not married and hence it was a little awkward for me to write down this tale of a married couple. But then I like to believe that love in its purest form is experienced and appreciated by people of all ages in pretty much the same way. Hence I hope that you enjoyed reading this whoever you are and whatever age you might be in. If you did, then please do let me know what you think of my work. Please do review my work at the site you downloaded or on goodreads or wherever you find convenient. I greatly welcome criticisms and tips for improvement. I can be contacted at [email protected] want you to know that every word of opinion that you write of my book, be it good or bad is a gem for me.Thank you so much for downloading and reading my book.
This is the story of Vimal Raj and Divya. Initially after their marriage, Vimal was not able to love Divya in the way he wanted to. But after a having a very intimate conversation with her, he falls madly in love with his wife.Though they got married through conventional arranged marriage they ended up being best lovers. But life was to get hard for Vimal as he faces the situation of Divya leaving him forever.