Saturday, 23 January 2016

My Wanderings - 26. Namrita

        In the year  1998 I was transferred to my native land Kashmir again after a period of eight years,  when we left the  Kashmir for good. I was posted  as Manager operations at one of the branches of my Bank in the city of  Srinagar. I was very much nostalgic about the city as I had spent my childhood and most of the part of my youth in this charismatic city. While taking over the charge of Branch my attention was attracted towards a small sealed packet, perhaps containing gold ornaments, with the word 'Namrita' inscribed on it.     
            It   was  a safe custody article  kept by some ex- staff member who had probably died and no body was claiming it now. The Lockers were not available at the branch earlier and people used to keep their valuables in safe custodies and staff was given this facility free of charge provided there was enough space in the branch Strong Room for such purposes.
The word Namrita, perhaps the name of the depositor haunted me for some days. I had to rack my nerves to reminisce the origin of  it from my youthful days in Srinagar, when I had recently  joined  the bank. It was  some twenty  years back.
It was a sunny day in Srinagar after a long winter. Banks were on strike and almost all the Bank employees  in the city  gathered in the compound  of city main branch for protest .  I was young and unmarried  in my early twenties with a carefree temperament. One of the ladies sitting in the gathering attracted my attention. She was extraordinarily beautiful. As I enquired about her whereabouts, one of my colleagues  told me  that she also works in the same bank and is senior to me by few years. She was very attractive with a fair and pretty face and a long and black tuft of hair profusely over flanking her round shoulders. Her looks  emitted an air of serenity and soberness which enhanced the charm of her personality to the extent that no person could venture to overlook her. While the procession of Bank employees passed through the main roads of city, I could not resist the temptation of managing myself to be in close proximity with her to have a better look at her. But perhaps  she remained unawares of all the turbulence she aroused in  all my heart and mind.
With the passage of time I could control my emotions and I  totally forgot about the incident. Then after sometime I came to know about her arranged  marriage with some engineer working in State Department. I  also got married and I never had chance to  see or talk to her ever.
After three or four years of her marriage , I overheard some female colleagues in my office talking about her.
They were saying that Namrita has very stranded relationship with her husband and In-laws. Her husband is  a worthless fellow and is treating her adversely. I  was little grieved over the situation as ordinarily a person with human heart could be.
Then after sometime I heard about her death in some mysterious   circumstances after her worsened relations with her in-laws and husband.
It was now after fifteen years of her death that I was taking charge of some of her belongings to revive the memories of my emotional but  unexpressed encounter with her.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

My wanderings -25. Resurrection of a Relation

It was  a sunny day  after a long smoggy winter with streaks of clouds still hovering over the sky of Srinagar city. I was newly married and posted at the  zonal office of our Bank on Residency Road. I was still under the hangover  of newly created relation  with my wife, which was really a pleasant experience for me. But I was also skeptical about the other relations created by virtue of marriage like my in-laws etc. which was a normal trait of son in-laws during  those days. However, life was treating me smoothly and with out any  malice.
While sitting in the office,  some of my friends decided to visit the residence of our colleague  for mourning ,in the afternoon, whose father had expired recently.
It took us half an hour by bus to  reach Rainawari, where our colleague was residing. We were advised to sit in a room scarcely furnished but with a clean look. Two persons in casuals  who appeared to be close relatives of our colleague were sitting near the front corner of room. When most of the mourners  left  the room, they started talking to each other casually with out taking much notice of our presence. They started their conversation by referring to  a person who might have perhaps   recently visited and  left the room but I had not taken any notice of him.
"You see the particular person has visited our place after elapse of thirty years", said one.
Oh! yes after thirty two years to be more specific, retorted the other.
"Now what is the purpose of his visit after ruining every thing, "said the first one.
"He did not visit even when his wife died. A great woman. I can not forget her. May God bestow peace to her soul."
"But she was not lucky. She was very simple. She did not even let us to file a case against him for her maintenance." She said, "what is the fun of suing him for material things when I could not make place in his heart".
The conversation of the two persons, whom I latter came to know were  the uncles of my colleague, created much  curiosity in my mind. As the occasion was not proper to make enquiries, we had to leave the place with out satisfying our curiosity.
It was only after our colleague joined the duties we were able to satisfy our inquisitiveness created during our visit to his residence. He confided to us that two persons in the room on that day were his uncles and the man about whom they were talking was their brother in-law, who had left their eldest sister only after few months of marriage. The man was very egoistic and their aunt was very simple and dedicated. He realised only after few months of marriage that she was not a perfect match for her and abandoned her for some other woman. Our aunt spent her full life with us. She was a very good woman. After her husband left her she felt very dejected and forlorn but with the passage of time she became spiritual and lived a satisfied life under the feet of Lord and by helping others. When the second wife of her husband died, he sent her message to live with her once again. But she rejected his proposal by saying that it is very late now.
Then after sometime she died very peacefully but he did not visit them at that time also.
Now some good sense has prevailed upon him and he visited his in-laws to condole the death of his brother in-law, perhaps to resurrect his relationship.
This incident laid a deep impact on my marital relationships and released me from all skeptical behaviour. 

Friday, 1 January 2016

My wanderings - 24 Most compatible couple

Once in my youth I had a chance to visit a remote village in Kashmir in connection with my official duties. I reached the village by official wagon as no  public transport was connecting the village directly. But official Wagon was not going to wait  and bring  me back because my seniors required the services of the wagon urgently. I was supposed to arrange for some public transport  on my return journey.
I finished my job in the evening and  tried to return to city as early as possible. The local people advised me to go on foot from a particular direction and after walking  three or four kilo meters I will find a crossing where from I can get  some long route bus to carry me to city. I meticulously followed their instructions  till I reached the crossing . It was pitch dark by that time. After waiting on the crossing for some time, I was encountered by few pedestrians  who told me that  last bus  has already left and I won't  be able to find any bus for city now. They also advised me  to look for some shelter for the night in the  village which was half a kilometer away from  the crossing.
I was perplexed as how to handle the situation, when I met a passerby who was conspicuous by his short stature and a  limp on his left leg. After knowing my fate he advised me to accompany him to his home which was situated in near by village. The man appeared very reasonable  and there being no other alternative available , I accompanied the stranger to his village.
On reaching the village he knocked  at the door of his small house. The door was opened by his wife who was accompanied by their little daughter. I could not see the face of his wife as there was already dark in the passage leading to  a small room  where they made me to sit. In the dim light of lantern burning in the room I was amazed to see the beauty of his wife. There was an unusual display of contrast between the husband and wife. The husband was of short stature having ordinary features and with  a limp in his left leg while as wife was a paragon of beauty. She had amazing features and wonderful gait. I had rarely seen a woman of such beauty earlier.  She was a living version of the painting of  a woman drawn by some famous painter. I was taken aback by her looks and could not tear away my constant gaze from her face to much embarrassment of the lady and amusement of her husband. I tried to divert my attention towards the articles placed in the room but could not control stealing some inadvertent looks towards her. The room was well decorated, with not so expensive furniture, but with an aesthetic sense and good taste. Nothing seemed out of place in the room.
After taking  our dinner and enquiring about my whereabouts, the couple began to satisfy my curiosity which they had noticed from my first gaze at the woman. My curiosity  was   justified  and excusable according to them while  I was feeling very apologetic of my curious behaviour. Both of them were so friendly and hospitable  that  they never  let me feel like a stranger . I was now feeling  at home in their company.
The woman began to narrate me her story. She told me that in her teen age she fell in love with a handsome boy in her village who deserted her later on for some rich girl. She was disheartened by the incident to the extent that she never wanted to marry in her life. But after lapse of some time destiny played its own part  as she had to marry this man. This was not a compulsion on her  rather she herself  volunteered to marry the man because  she could notice some good qualities  in him.  she was a bit skeptical   about her decision earlier. Latter on   she  never regretted over  her  decision.   She would not have been able to find such a  considerate, caring and loving husband. They  developed such a chemistry in their relation as if they had been made for each other. She was very happy in her life with this man. They considered each other part of their lives and their relation was not confined to mere physical appearances.
Then after sleeping in their house for few hours more I tried to catch the early morning bus. I left their house thinking about  the mode of their relation. Whether it was an abstract form of love or habit of living together or familiarity which is kind to ugliness and cruel to beauty that had balanced their life. But they appeared  real soul mates, made for each other, with out malice towards any one and the most compatible  couple that I had ever seen.