Arranged Marriage8 mins 266 8 mins 266
Disclaimer - This is a pure fiction item. Any similarity to any person by name or event is purely coincidental
Preparation was in full swing for the upcoming marriage. The Ghosh household was busy to get all the nitty-gritty of a marriage conducted flawlessly. After many years an event was being held, so everyone was very busy and excited. The family scion Anil was getting married. Anil was getting married to a girl named Ruma he knew very little about it. Because it was an arranged marriage. Anil had had a very busy life and did not have time for love and romance. After completing college he had got a job in the shipping line and as per the company policy he had to stay offshore most of the time. Now after completing five years in the sea and navigating the earth many times he was ready for a sedate desk job onshore. So his family decided to let Anil settle down in married life.
Anil's grandfather was the pillar behind this negotiation. His grandfather Prabir had arranged this tie-up. The bride Ruma came from a family that had connections with Anil's family. Ruma's grandmother Sabitri and Anil's grandfather Prabir were childhood friends. When they grew up they wanted to marry each other. But arranged marriage was the custom of the day and love before marriage was considered taboo. So they were married elsewhere. But even after being married away separately they had family connections. They had wished that a boy from one family should marry a girl from the other. But unfortunately, both Prabir and Sabitri were parents to sons and so the marriage could not take place. The third generation, on the contrary, had a boy and a girl from each family. They were Anil and Ruma. So the grandparents Prabir and Sabitri negotiated and arranged for the marriage of Anil and Ruma. Ruma was a modern outward-looking girl but brought up under strict surveillance. She was not given the freedom to select a boy of her choice. In her college, she had many boyfriends and some were worthy in becoming her husband. But her choice and wishes were quashed by her overbearing family.
So the two families got down to the business of an arranged marriage.
But there was one secret Ruma knew and kept hidden from her family. In college, she was seeing a boy who was also quite cozy towards her. He was Satish. Ruma knew Satish since their school days before even love could bloom. From the school, they met at the tuitions and from there they moved onto college and slowly they were attracted to each other. But Ruma's family was very strict and conservative. They could not tolerate such aberrations. Both Ruma and Satish knew this. Satish also knew that his family would not endorse their relationship. So they knew they were swimming against the current and gambling into the future.
Ruma got married to Anil and started living with him. Anil was very well behaved and polite and gave Ruma a lot of respect and leverage. Ruma took advantage of the trust that Anil bestowed on her. She knew that she was being ungrateful but the pangs of love were more strong and would not let Ruma rest. Slowly, Ruma established contact with Satish and started planning their future together. No family was aware of the clandestine relationship and the secret meetings. Both Anil and Ruma's families were totally ignorant of the behind the scene activities. Anil was too busy with his new desk job and plus the thorough gentleman he was he had no inklings of him being cheated. He had rock-solid trust on his wife Ruma.
It was now getting too much of a bother for Ruma. She was getting impatient and was getting fed up with this secretly meeting Satish every now and then. She wanted that Satish should take a call. After all, a woman needs security, a safe home, a good caring husband and the rest. She had got it all and now she was chucking it in the wind. She was succumbing to her love, pure silly love. Satish was just buying time as he was financially insecure. He did not have a good job and knew that unless he got a well-paying job, his family would not support his marriage. Also, Satish's family would not let him marry some woman already married. So they both Ruma and Satish were up against the wall. Only the power of love can support these strange equations, however illogical it may seem to a sensible head. Upon constant pestering from Ruma, Satish decided to take the ultimate plunge.
On an opportune day and time, they both decided to run away and start all of anew living as husband and wife. No logic seemed to hit Ruma in the head as she was absolutely infatuated with love. Although she had a lot of respect for Anil but no love. The love she reserved for Satish and only him. She believed in the power of his love and believed that their love would overcome all obstacles.
So they both ran away together. First, Satish made a call at his home but was immediately shown the door. Then they both went to a rented one-room shack in the slums beside the railway tracks. Because it was cheap and Satish could not afford much. Then began the uphill journey for both Satish and Ruma. Never did Ruma had to live in this dirt and squalor of a slum. Such a protected life she always had. Now her love was testing her patience to the extreme. There was difficulty all around. Satish had very little money. Also, the sweet talk of love which earlier Satish had shown towards Ruma was wearing off under the tough pressure of the real-life world. Slowly Ruma was also becoming disillusioned and was thinking that after all the plunge she had taken was pure foolhardiness. Slowly the power of love was being eclipsed by the needs of reality. Ruma was sure now that this relationship with Satish would not workout. But now would Anil accept her back. After all, she had missed him so much and betrayed his trust. Her running away in this manner had become a social stigma for both her in-laws and her own family. Would her own family accept her back after such a great misadventure?
Ruma was under tremendous pressure. For the first time now in her life, she felt completely alone. There was no-one now by her side. Although a few days ago she had everything, a safe home, a respecting husband, a loving and caring family. All gone due to her immaturity.
In the meanwhile, both Anil and Ruma's families were beside themselves with worry. They tried all the resources they had to search for the girl. Generally, middle-class people do not knock at the Police 's door until and unless all other avenues are explored to save themselves and their social network from stigma. Because having Police making visits and inquiries at their place adds up to disgrace and social stigma. In the end, it was the Police that they sought help from. A missing case was diarised. On the other hand, Satish's family also registered a missing case with the police due to his long absence from home.
It did not take the police much time to bring the runaway couple to the ambit of the law. All the elder guardians of the three families were told to be present.
In all the three families' presence, the officer in charge of the Police station gave a good dressing down to Satish and Ruma. They were badly scolded for their rash and immature behavior. Ruma was lectured on the rights and duties of a married woman. Until and unless Ruma was a free woman from her marriage by way of a divorce from her present husband she could not start life with another man. If she did it would be at her own risk and she might have to forego any benefits that a state-provided it's lawful citizens. Because her identity was now dubious.
Ruma could not bear so much of reprimand and broke down. Her grandmother initially was loathful towards her now softened her stand. Anil who was present there did show such charitableness that everyone was stunned. Anil said he didn't care for any taboo and would accept his lawful wife Ruma with open arms if she forgot the slight slippage she had made and if she was ready to begin anew. Everyone was stunned temporarily and after regaining, composure gave the pat in the back to Anil for such a generous gesture... Ruma felt very sorry and ashamed and fell at Anil's feet sobbing uncontrollably. Anil picked up his wife and embraced her. Ruma kept on crying and crying and wet Anil's shirt with her tears. Anil's behavior towards Ruma was God-like for what all she had done or undone. This was the only thought in Ruma's mind. Satish was given a thorough run down and let off with major caution. Ruma was accepted by both her in-laws and her family all to the credit of Anil. Anil and Ruma began afresh their arranged marriage life. Love could definitely wait for a more opportune time. Because life had just begun.