Love truly matters and ceases to desist even when it is a mere figment of imagination. This beautiful short story by our talented writer Rhituparna Chakraborty makes us believe that love in any form is unvarying & enduring
Illustration by Manpreet Chadha
It’s not that she did not want to get married. It’s just that she wanted to get married to Yash. Her family knew Yash very well. With a height of 6 feet 1 inch, Yash was a software professional. He had a robust structure and dusky complexion. He had shaved off his hair because he had scanty hair. Still, he looked dapper. Suhaani’s family had seen his pictures. They were happy with Suhaani’s choice. Suhaani even made them speak with him. She talked to Yash every morning after waking up and then before going to bed. Rest of the day, she would be busy with her research studies. She had to submit her thesis. Suhaani was always busy with her books, classes and academics related stuff. However, after Yash happened, no matter what, she used to spend hours and hours of her priceless time talking to him.
She was 35 years old now. Her parents wanted her to get married and settle down, but Suhaani was reluctant to marry anyone else. She needs Yash and only Yash. Well, her family was ready for the alliance. When Suhaani told Yash about it, all Yash said was he was not prepared to get married now. Suhaani’s mom tried to reason with Suhaani asking her to forget Yash. She counselled Suhaani to marry someone else because Yash would never marry her. Suhaani would always refute her mom, saying, ‘Mom, he loves me. Otherwise, why would he talk to me every day? He would have broken ties with me. And the pictures? I always show you his pictures. Why would he send them to me? Mom, for Yash, I mean the world. Where would you find a boy who does not drink alcohol, does not smoke, who does not loiter around with girls?’ Her mom gave up. Her dad too tried and failed. The last resort was Riyaaz. Riyaaz was their neighbour and Suhaani’s friend. Although Riyaaz and Suhaani had an age gap of 10 years, the way he understood Suhaani, nobody could.
The love affair of Suhaani and Yash had been going on for ten years now. Everyone in the family knew there wouldn’t be any alliance between them. Stubborn as a mule, Suhaani refused to listen to anyone. Riyaaz was the only one who never said anything to Suhaani regarding her affair with Yash.
Today, Riyaaz came to visit Suhaani early in the morning. Suhaani’s mom opened the door. She was happy to see Riyaaz as always. She told him that Suhaani was fast asleep. Riyaaz said, ‘It’s time to wake her up Aunty. Come with me. Bring uncle along.’ All of them went to Suhaani’s room. Riyaaz drew all the curtains and let the sunlight in. Suhaani woke up with a start. Riyaaz went near Suhaani, went down on his knees and said, ‘Marry me, Suhaani.’ He took out the diamond ring from the tiny box he was carrying and offered it to her. Startled, Suhaani was about to say something, but Riyaaz continued, ‘ It has been ten long years, Suhaani. Yash will not marry you. Trust me; I will keep you happy.’ Before Suhaani could say anything, her parents stepped in and said, ‘ Suhaani, sweetheart, don’t say no, please. We like Yash, but Yash will never marry you.’
Suhaani sat there, looking at her parents’ moist eyes and the ring Riyaaz held. She looked at Riyaaz and said, ‘ Yes.
The marriage was solemnised with pomp and show. Suhaani was nonchalant. Riyaaz was beaming with happiness. Suhaani’s parents were elated.
Suhaani and Riyaaz have been married for two years now. Suhaani is still unable to forget Yash. She talks with Yash every day. Riyaaz has seen that, heard that and so has Suhaani’s parents. But they have accepted this fact. A patient of schizophrenia, Suhaani had conceived an image of ‘Yash’ when she was 25. She has been having imaginary phone conversations with him. She draws pictures of him and shows them to all, saying he has sent them. Her parents, unable to make her come out of her imaginary world, used to say ‘yes’ to whatever she said. Riyaaz was and is her doctor. He has been treating her all these years. He realised he had fallen in love with her when his family started looking for a suitable match for him. He waited for ten long years hoping Suhaani would forget Yash and accept him. Being a doctor, he knew it might never happen. Suhaani was hard to love, but Riyaaz loved her. He might not be Suhaani’s perfect groom, but Suhaani was his ideal love.
Disclaimer: I had written this story in 2018, and here is the link to the story in my blog:
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Rhituparna is a content developer and soft skills trainer. An ardent fan of diaspora writers like JhumpaLahiri, she has written around 199 stories so far, some of which have been published in The Sentinel. She writes a blog https://rheetuparnachakkravorty.medium.com/
Very nicely written. Nice story.