The frail hands of the lady in her 80s rested on Vinay's shoulder, like a canopy saving a lost survivor from getting washed by the high tides. Her hand felt warm and friendly, so Vinay did not resist. In fact, after all the chaos in the family, he was desperate for some warmth. The lady seemed more welcoming than his mother at lest, who had simply gone against his wishes to comply with his father. To her, her duty as a wife came foremost than her being a mother to Vinay. He felt tired, heart-broken and lost, which of course he could not show to Meera, who was puzzled by this instant connection between Vinay and the elderly woman.
They were sitting under the shade of a Banyan tree next to the main temple, under which other travelers and beggars were resting. The lady spoke further, “Meera why don’t you come closer to me and sit here along with Vinay. Don’t worry, I am just an old frail woman, what harm can I do? You look like you wouldn’t mind some calming words coming out from a stranger, would you?” and she ended with a smile. Meera smiled back and moved closer to them. The lady began.
You can call me Amma. My name isn’t of much importance. But what I do believe is that there is a purpose for everything that happens in life. Me, being abandoned by my kids.. You two kids falling in love but getting refused by your family.. You running away from home. And you coming to this very temple and you sitting right here in front of me.. Every single act has a purpose, beta. Let me tell you a story after which you can proceed to go and marry. I hope you won’t mind sparing this little time for your Amma?
The same radiant smile flashed on Amma’s face and Vinay and Meera looked convinced. Meera twitched thinking of delaying their marriage any further, because her parents would soon find out that she has eloped and would come searching for them. However, she was too much grasped by Amma’s conversation to back out now.
I will tell you about Shiva and Parvati’s marriage today, which is important for all couples, wedded or otherwise to know of. Shiva is a god, that we all know but Parvati was born into the Himalayan king’s family. She worshipped and propitiated till she was visited by Lord Shiva who granted her a wish. She was in devotional love with him and thus, all she asked for was Him. He accepted, jus then Parvati cringed her brows. He asked her what the matter was, to which she replied that she wanted to marry Shiva with her parents’ acceptance. But Shiva was known for his isolated existence in the forests and icy mountains of the Himalayas. No parent in their right sense would offer their well-raised beautiful and intelligent daughter’s hand to a forest dweller. So she asked him to come to her parents and ask her hand for marriage from them. And further convince them with his intelligence, wisdom and grace to accept him as their son-in-law. Also that only after her parents had agreed to marriage, that she would marry him and the marriage would be done with all rituals in order. Shiva agreed to the terms and soon went to her parents and asked Parvati’s hand for marriage. And then they were soon married and their marriage is still considered to be the most perfect form of marriage that sadhus even today give example of.
Amma took her spectacles off from her face and wiped her moist eyes. Vinay and Meera held hands as they watched intently at her. She finally looked at them and a sad smile appeared on her face.
You are grown ups, but still young. You soon shall marry and lead a wedded life together, have kids. You shall spend not just your investments but all your hopes, privileges and love on them. One fine day, they make you realize they are grown up now, and thus you may not be a part of their decision making, and yet hope that you still will be.
My son is a hard-working man who really loves his family. But he has grown up so much that he feels I am breaking his family apart. He has a nice wife, whom he chose for himself who was a beautiful girl he had met in college. What he did not realize is that love isn’t just about love for one person. It is about how you learn to love higher, how it becomes more pristine. Love after a point is not about a person or persons but rather about you.
You kids have eloped, but did you ever think why your parents did not agree to your marriage in the first place? It was because they are afraid, that you are hurrying into this. That you might end up making the wrong choice, as beauty of the skin is relative but one needs to have a sense of maturity to see the inner beauty.
I do not wish to say that you are wrong. I see how much you love each other and Meera I know for certain that you and Vinay will make a wonderful couple. But beta, you must not abandon your parents. Love between the partners and acceptance in the family are two very essential components of a successful marriage. One is incomplete without the other, like two wheels of a cart. You are all they have, beta.
With that said, she removed her hand from Vinay’s head and got up to wear her slippers. Vinay and Meera got up and bent down to take her blessings. She hugged them and gave them her blessings. Amma called out to the pandit,
Pandit ji, they want to get married today. Please can you help them with the needful?
Vinay held Amma’s hand in one and Meera’s hand in the other and smiled.
Wait Panditjee, we need to go get our parents and then only can we marry. Amma, you will join us for the ceremony right?
Amma’s smile broadened as she saw the two, going hand in hand, towards their homes, and she looked at the setting sun and hoped her son would come back too.