Everyone was very much sure in college that Shriram and Ahuti would get married as soon as they’ll have jobs in their desired fields. Both were so inseparable during the long five college years that no one could believe when they heard of Ahuti marrying someone else.
Their friends knew that both were quite different from each other. They surely had a vast difference in their socio-economic background. Ahuti belonged to typically the most desired, normal kind of a family. That means it was a joint family with people who were well-qualified, socially established, of appreciable values, financially stable and most importantly all were glued with love for each other. Ahuti had a great upbringing and that many a times got reflected in her personality. Shriram liked and appreciated her family values the most. Ram’s family was an exact paradox of Ahuti’s family. They had nothing in common. Shriram and his parents were all they had. Ram’s father was a layman, who never could earn more than their everyday requirements. His short income hadn’t allowed him to have friends. There were a couple of relatives who never cared about what this trio was doing. Ram’s mother struggled between wants and needs for lifelong. Life hadn’t been fair to them yet.
It was the day when Ahuti called Shriram; she wanted to meet him after office. They met in their favorite café.
After having coffee, Ahuti asked, “Listen, do you have any date in your mind, when we can register our court marriage? I need it before Diwali as my boss is thinking of suggesting my name for New York office assignment. I want us to get married before it. And papa also wants us to decide this as soon as possible.”
Shriram didn’t reply, he was thinking.
Ahuti, “Hey, aren’t you excited? And why are you so serious? Has something happened in office?”
Ram still was looking lost.
Ahuti, “Look Mister, if you are having any second thoughts…. “
Shriram, without letting her finish the sentence said, “Ahuti, I think it’s not gonna work out and this is the last time we’re meeting.”
Ahuti, “Oye, it’s not funny! I’m serious and want you to give me a suitable date right now.”
Shriram looked into her eyes and said firmly, “I know this is not easy for you, but I’m quite certain about what I’m doing.”
Having understood his plain tone, Ahuti started asking him about the reasons that led Ram to have such an incomprehensible decision. Shriram didn’t utter a single word other than “SORRY!”
He got up and left the café abruptly.
After that incident, Ahuti and her parents tried to call Shriram several times, her father even went to Ram’s office and talked to him. But, after meeting him, Ahuti’s father told her to move on as Ram wouldn’t be coming back!!
With a sting of resentment in her heart, Ahuti finally agreed to marry someone chosen by her family.
It’s her wedding today. She didn’t invite Shriram; neither he would have come if invited. His father urged him to go though he wasn’t invited. Shriram refused him with a languid smile. His father left for office.
Shriram tried to get distracted by engaging himself in various activities assisted by their house help. By the time, he finished some of the chores; there came the nursemaid kept to look after his mother. She had been incapable of looking after herself due to her rapidly developing Alzheimer!!
Shriram came out to give the nursemaid some space.
He was feeling as crippled as his mother today. Yet, he had this satisfaction of giving Ahuti a chance to fly and live her dreams. He never wanted her to live a helpless life, his family was already living. Shriram loved Ahuti so much that he let her go!!
Surrounded by thoughts, he inattentively switched on the TV; the song playing on screen was an exact reflection of Shriram’s state of mind…