Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A love story

Though people keep cribbing about the crowd in the buses, and the ensuing stampede, I have never quite felt repulsed by buses. They are my ticket to the day ahead and I usually find some humour in the abuses, the pushing and shoving, that are common to bus rides. For six months I have been travelling in the same bus, like many others, and we have all become friends. I didn't even know the names of some of them until a few days ago, yet we have talked about everything ranging from work to movies to clothes and accessories.

Among one of those friends is an aunty, tall, lean and fair who must be about 40-42 years of age (or may be more) who doesn't need a reason to talk to anyone. She is chirpy, vibrant and talkative (to a point that it can drive you nuts at times) and all smiles. All the time. Everyone in the bus knows her for she is generous with smiles and conversations. Today morning, one of my co-passengers, asked the aunty, 'So aunty, whats your love story?' She blushed a nice shade of pink and hush-hushed the girl.

I had no idea how they got to the topic of her love story but our (my and many other friends cum co-passengers) love for stories got us pleading her to narrate the tale. 'Ok..ok...here goes' she began with a shy smile.

'We knew each other from the time I was in the seventh standard. Our houses were close by. Both families knew each other. We were friends. He and I. I was the same then, a chatter box. We used to talk a lot. As we grew up our friendship grew. But it didn't turn into love until the neighbours and the people in our locality started looking at us as if there we had committed some deadly sin. We heard rumours, so did our families. We chose to ignore them. But not our families.'

'They put restrictions on us. We were not allowed to meet or talk. It was then that both of us realized that we were in love. That not seeing the other did weird things to us. Yes, we were in love. One day I met him on the way to college and he told me that we could enroll for art classes that had started in our locality. It seemed like a good excuse to meet up. Though we registered for the classes we never attended them. It was a pretext for meeting at parks, cinema theatres and restaurants.'

'Soon the story got far and wide and the families decided to interevene. He asked my father for my hand and my refused beacuse my elder sisters were still spinsters. As for his family, they were dead against the alliance. Not able to take the disappointing path our relationship seemed to take, we went off and had a register marriage. We were literally driven out of our homes. For three years we lived away from our homes. In a small rented house. Those three years were the best in my life.'

'My father-in-law fell ill one day and they admitted him to the hospital where I worked. There weren't many others to look after him at home, so we shifted to my husband's place and for three months we stayed there. I looked after him, attended to every need of his and no one seemed to treat me badly. I felt everything was falling into place. Finally. As soon as he recovered, all my in-laws (mother, sister, brother) started showing their dislike towards me. Their purpose of getting a nurse was fulfilled and once again I became the girl-who-stole-their-son-from-them.'

'We left his home soon after that and returned to our little rented paradise. We have never gone back ever since. Not in these 24 odd years! And I never will! Why must I, when my husband and I live happily?'

She finished the story with an expression of hurt but her face soon broke into a bright smile. By the time she finished the story it was almost her stop and she got down.

The wide-eyed audience bade her tata-bye-bye and each one looked deep in thought. I was thinking about her, her story...and so were the others.

She has never told us about her kids which probably means she doesn't have kids. Because a person like her would have shared a hundred funny tales about her kids who were bound to have a great sense of humour and cheer with a mother like that. And she is the kind who adores kids. Concealing every other problem of hers under that bright smile, she probably believes in smiling and making people smile.

-Destiny's child


  1. Brave aunty, smiling through it all. Hope future holds more happiness for her. Has deeply affected her psyche, I think

  2. sometimes the iron mask seems more gentler..free

  3. this little incidence talks so highly of that woman, so brave, seriously!

  4. I thought the same before u took up the matter. poor she. there is always some pain behind those smiles....but still people survive and become happy...that is what life is :)
    nice post! another bus journey story...haha ...i likey

  5. Thanks everyone. She is a brave lady indeed. :)

    Aritry, expect of more these bus stories from me. My day begins and ends with the buses! :p

  6. ^^he he...yea...that would b fun :p

  7. Hey, this is really nice!
    I'll be waiting for more bus-stories.