A Bond Of Friendship
by Sharmila Roy Ghosal
We first met at a friend’s reception. He was an MBA student and I had appeared for my B.A Finals in History.
Something about the quiet detached look he had about him, seemed so attractive. We talked about our likes and dislikes, places of interest and hobbies. At the end of the day we had exchanged our telephone nos.
We started meeting regularly. At first it was the coffee house and then movies. Never once did he take opportunity of any situation or cross his limits.
Days passed into months. Our friendship deepened. When trams and buses were burnt we stuck together. When places of worship were attacked, we held on tightly to our friendship.
On the question of marriage however our parents objected, for he was a Muslim and I a Hindu. We bowed before their wishes. I joined a school as a teacher in Dehradun refusing to marry the C.A from New Jersey selected by my parents and Yusuf joined a multinational company in Kolkata.
Most of the letters he wrote were either to cajole or plead with me to marry the person chosen by my parents.
I was adamant however, and refused to listen to him.
A year passed by. It was evening and I was sitting on the balcony of my quarter, watching the sun sink behind the hills, that the school durwan came to inform me that a lady and her son had come to see me from Kolkata.
Her name was Fatima, she was a widow with a seven year old son. Yusuf was her late husband’s friend. Her husband had died while in Rishikesh rafting with his friends, having fallen into the water.
What left me completely
stumped was what Fatima told me. Yusuf wanted to marry her, so that Aryan could have a father but he was waiting for his friend in Dehradun to tie the knot the same day that he would.
I didn’t know what to say.
Did Yusuf love her? Or was it just a sacrifice for me.
I called him at night. “Do you love her?”
His answer was, “Be happy and make others happy for we do not know how much time we have left on this earth.” I realized the meaning of his words much later.
We got married on the same day in different venues of course. We uploaded our marriage photos on the social media.
I tried to settle in New Jersey with my husband. It was a strange country for me, and above all the person I was living with was someone, I would take a long time to adjust with.
In the meantime I got a letter from Fatima, who informed me about a tumor in her brain, which had been growing for some time. I now understood what Yusuf had meant when he had said that our time was limited on this earth.
Fatima died on the operating table.
Yusuf sacrificed his life for me and in return Aryan had a fantastic life ahead of him, with a kind and dutiful father in Yusuf.
My daughter Nupur has started going to play school. Yusuf’s son Aryan is almost eleven years.
Yusuf and I might never meet again.
As I take a break from my work and flip through a magazine my eyes fall on the following lines. FRIENDS
Heart to Heart
Distance and time
Can’t break them apart ***