Unknown Husband

30 April 2008.  Today he would have  retired after 36 years of service and by now he should have been an officer of the rank of DGP or something.  We  would have had atleast 2 children, one of them definitely an Engineer and the daughter happily married ?

It was beginning of summer and summer is the season of marriages.I had come home after completing my Graduation in Patna, which was about 6 hours journey from my village where we lived.Baba wanted that I should be a Graduate atleast and though there was no college in our village, Baba got me admitted in the College in Patna and also got me admitted to the girls hostel attached to the College. Though I wanted to go for Post graduation, Baba said no and told me that he has selected a boy from our  community who is doing his IPS Probation at the Central Police Training College  at Mount Abu (Rajasthan).Both Baba and the boys father were insistent that the marriage should be solemnized during this summer. They wrote to the boy (Sunil was his name) to come home for a short vacation and get married.Boy wrote back that he cannot get any leave as he was under training. The Boy also wrote that he would not like to disturb his training which is essential for his career and hence asked to look for some dates after he completed his Mount Abu Training.His father did not like this idea and asked his son to come during the Good Friday holiday along with benefit of Saturday and Sunday. The boy agreed but laid a condition that he has to be back on Monday morning at the morning parade where the presence is required to avoid any adverse remark. Those days were different and the discipline at Mount Abu was of the British standards and no excuses were tolerated.

The marriage was fixed for Saturday so that Sunil could leave for Patna after the marriage night to catch a train to Delhi in the morning and thereafter to Abu Road which was the rail head. I asked Baba to show me the picture of the boy and Baba assured me that he would get the photo but in hurry forgot to do so, but assured that Sunil was very good looking and now since he had become an IPS, he had a great future too.He said people in the village were elated that we could get a Damad like Sunil.

The marriage was over by mid night and all throughout I could neither talk or see Sunil as I was under the ghunghat(veil) but was hopeful that he would be with me for atleast for few minutes after the ceremonies are over.But we could not talk to each other or even say hello in the rush of "milna-milana" and soon Sunil left by the mid night train from our village to Patna.Those were not the days when the girls could insist on meeting the boy in front of the elders particularly in the rural areas of Bihar.Sunil hurriedly said good bye to everyone and left for Mount Abu. In the next few days  I got a few letters but there was no way to talk to him or go to Mount Abu and meet him, as it was not permitted.

In the month of May my father in law received a telegram from the police Academy that Sunil was seriously injured after a fall from the horse.He had received some skull injury and since Mount Abu did not have any specialty Hospital, he was rushed to Ahmedabad which was about 5 hours from Mount Abu. Horse riding was a compulsory subject for  IPS Probationers and all care was taken by the Academy to see that the new riders received proper guidance  but all this failed in case of Sunil.

I did not get the chance to feel the touch of husband, his few words of love and emotion, those few words which are  a storehouse of strength and protection.I do not know how he looked as a bride groom, as a Police Officer in his uniform, as a boy who takes you in your arms and gives a hug from which no girl would like to come out,those talks of going for honeymoon, of having children,of looking after parents, of having a "chhota sa ghar" where besides we two there is no one else .........I am alone today as Sunil 's parents did not take me back to their home and my Baba and Amma were too shocked to live longer.I did not marry, nor felt like after the tragedy which shattered me.Hope I will meet Sunil somewhere in the heavens........may be I can see him.

(a page from the diary of a friend)


More by :  Suresh Mandan

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