Slowly the friendship between Priya, Vijay and Rajesh started growing. Discussing on many subjects together, sharing jokes, and chatting together became routine activities. Rajesh too was accompanying them since he would be usually with Vijay constantly. They used to chat together so frequently but Priya never spoke again about Vijay’s troublesome family background like his sister or the way she had confronted for the first time with his father. Frankly speaking she never dared to raise those topics and nor Vijay volunteered to describe anything further about it. But after witnessing all of those troubles constantly present in his life, Priya had started respecting Vijay for his determination to move ahead in life.
‘What an inspiring will!’, she always felt curious and surprise toward Vijay for this.
Vijay was already going at Rajesh’s residence for studies since it was not possible to do it at his home given the kind of limitations he constantly faced. But ever since Rajesh’s elder brother got married, even their righteous occupation of that room was annulled and now they both faced the same problem. This problem was easily solved by Priya because at her home only she and her father were living, particularly because, her mother had expired during pregnancy while she was studying in the fourth standard and her father had avoided going for a second marriage after her death. Now he was playing the duel role of Priya’s mother and that of being her father. Priya’s residence was a nice State Bank of India quarters of three room’s house. Therefore, she decided to invite Vijay and Rajesh at her home for studies sitting there in the dining hall of her home.
Once Rajesh, Vijay and Priya were studying at home in the dining room and Priya’s father came out there. He glanced at all of them but they were so deeply engrossed in their studies that they did not notice him at all. Priya’s father, was holding one carry-bag in his hand and it appeared that he was going out for some work. He went up to the door and wore sandals and again glanced at three of them. Even then they did not notice him at all.
So he called at his daughter, ‘Priya’.
Startled by his voice, Priya looked at him and got up to say, ‘Papa, where are you going?’.
Both, Vijay and Rajesh got aware of his presence and they too started getting up. But he generously said to both of them, ‘No need to get up! You carry on with your studies! I am just going for purchasing some commodities from market! Please look after the home!’.
‘Don’t you worry uncle! We are there to take care!’, Rajesh assured.
‘Yes! I could see that how attentive you are’, Priya’s father said mischievously.
‘I was going out and yet you did not notice me. A thief won’t have to strive hard to steal anything after entering from outside’, he replied.
‘Papa, you are worrying unnecessarily! What is there precious in our house to steal from?’, Priya retorted at her father.
‘Anyway, I am getting late’, Priya’s father said while stepping out.
Suddenly Priya remembered something and she loudly yelled at him, ‘Papa!’.
‘What is that?’, he answered from outside.
‘Please get few more essential commodities while returning home’, Priya answered.
‘What are that?’, father replied.
‘Get some tea powder, milk and a toothpaste’, Priya replied in turn.
‘Anything more?’, Priya’s father replied sarcastically.
Realizing his sarcasm, both Vijay and Rajesh smiled at Priya.
But Priya replied, ‘No! That’s all! But don’t forget to get it!’.
‘Sure my child!’, father replied and immediately thereafter was heard the sound of his two-wheeler being started.
‘Bye Papa’, Priya yelled again.
‘Bye for now!’, came the reply and then came the sound of that two-wheeler moving out of the premises.
‘But Priya, your papa is really great!’, Rajesh said.
‘Yes indeed! My papa is really great!’, Priya replied with pride.
‘But won’t you like to know why was he calling your father great?’, Vijay asked.
‘Yes! Quite right! Why did you call my father great?’, Priya asked to Rajesh.
‘Just casually! I felt like that and hence I called him great!’, Vijay replied.
‘Here in our town any naïve man is called as ‘Great’, Vijay clipped.
‘Rajesh?’, Priya asked with eyes filled with surprise and anger, ‘did you mean my father is naïve?’.
‘Oh No!, Vijay is only inflaming the fire by pouring oil in it!’, Rajesh replied.
‘Then why don’t you disclose why you feel he is great?’, Priya was not going to let him go without an explanation.
‘Frankly speaking, your mother died when you were studying in the fourth standard and yet your father did not marry again is the reason why I feel your father is truly great!’, Rajesh replied.
‘My father loved my mother intensely, even today his passions for my mother are the same’, Priya whispered as though her memories were awakened.
‘Do you know, it was my father’s love-marriage!’, Priya said.
‘Love-marriage, and that too in those orthodox days?’, both, Rajesh and Vijay exclaimed with surprise.
‘What a foolish question! Does love-marriage is subject to any times? It only takes love between a woman and a man and there is no guarantee when that bond may flourish between the two. But once formed, it happens irrespective of any hindrances like caste, creed, community or even religion!’, Priya asserted.
‘You are quite right!’, Rajesh agreed.
‘Of course, anything told about ‘Love’ will appear true to you’, Vijay remarked mischievously to Rajesh.
‘And do you know how the love story between them blossomed?’, Priya asked by ignoring Vijay’s remark.
‘How did it happen?’, both, Vijay and Rajesh curiously asked.
‘You know how it happened……’, Priya started narrating the story, ‘My mother must be hardly in her early twenties that time, perhaps 22-23 years old. She suddenly developed apathy for this material life and sought to retire at Mount Abu by renouncing all the material pleasures’.
‘What for did she go there?’, Rajesh asked.
‘What do you mean what for? Of course for leading a saintly life!’, Priya replied.
‘The could she achieve her goal?’, Rajesh asked curiously.
‘Are you a fool?. If she was to have really become a saint could we have get to see Priya sitting before us today?’, Vijay annoyingly remarked for such an ignorant and naïve question by Rajesh.
‘No! What I mean to ask is that then how did the love between the two occur?’, Rajesh was appropriate to ask.
‘Actually what happened! My father was distantly related to her and he took the initiative’, Priya started explaining, ‘to persuade and bring her back from there’.
‘Then what happened next?’, Rajesh asked.
‘Then what? He went and succeeded in his mission. In the meantime, the love blossomed between the two’, Priya plainly answered.
‘What a fascinating love story it is’, Rajesh exclaimed.
‘It is a new concept altogether! Worth making a film on it!’, Vijay opined.
‘What happened thereafter?’, Rajesh’s curiosity was not quenched.
‘What next?, you idiot!’, Vijay shouted again, ‘Next they both got married and Priya was born! What else do you want to happen?’.
‘But their love between the two was indeed an ideal love’, Priya was still lost in her memoires, ‘anybody would feel envious of it’.
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Girish Katre (GirishKatre@gmail.com)