Pic.: Sheela Krishnamony
“I didn't find out what happiness means until I got married...
and then it was too late.”
A week before I was to get married, I remember visiting the residence of Nisarg*, a dear student of mine. I had been there to invite his family for my wedding. When Nisarg introduced me to his dad, I said nervously, “Sir I am getting married.” In my nervousness, I had swallowed the middle letters from the word ‘married’… and Nisarg’s dad was quick in pulling my legs, “What… Getting MAD?”
I turned pink and heard my dear student Nisarg trying to calm me down, “Don’t worry sir… both are same.”
By both, Nisarg had meant… getting married and getting mad!
This was some twenty-five years ago…
Every time, a young-man or a young-woman comes to invite me and my family for his or her wedding, my heart goes back to what Nisarg’s dad had asked me that afternoon… and it smiles. “Have I become mad by now, or have I remained sane?” I ask myself… “Best wishes,” yes, every time I say this to a just-married couple, I know what I am wishing them, actually!
‘Are you married?” I remember asking another young-man, some years ago.
“No, I am happy,” was his instant response!
Incidentally, last night, two of my very old-students, Priya and Shilpa, had called me from faraway places. More than thirty-four years had passed by since I had first taught them. They had managed to get my number through their friends and were getting in touch with me, last night. So, I asked both of them the question, “What about your family? What your hubby does? How old are your children?”
Priya said, that she had chosen to remain single. She had done extremely well in her profession and travelled all over the world. When I checked her pictures on FB, she still looked stunningly beautiful… and happy. But, the question haunted me: “Why in the world did this amazing woman choose not to get married in life?”
Shilpa, on the other hand, narrated me her story quite dispassionately. “Sir, I wanted to get married early and thought it would be bliss,” she said, “but, I ended up marrying a wrong person… He was into so many wrong things and made my life miserable… Finally, I walked out of the marriage when my children were barely between 5 and 7. I raised them up as a single mother… He died of drinking soon. And, ever since then, I am happy.”
It may sound unbelievable, that I had received these two phone calls, last night, in a span of twenty minutes… and, that both my ex-students had called me after thirty-four years!
Priya is not married, but says she is happy…
Shipa is married, divorced and widowed, and says she is happy…
I am married and still together… and yes, I, too, say, I am happy.
But, then, the question is: ‘what is this happiness?”
* Names changed