Love and Patriotism
by Soma Bose
(Pune, Maharashtra, India)
I have heard from my friend's voice that she has an amazing grandmother... She witnessed "Azadi ki ladai (fight for freedom in the year of 1946-47)" at her age of 14 and not only that, she even assisted many of them in this struggle!
At her current age of 89, she is too strong to assist and supervise in house hold work and even in farming also!
I had a wish to meet her and my friend took me to Patiala where she currently lives.
"Namaste Dadima(a respectful salutation I expressed to her)", as I said, she smiled a lot. At this age, her white teeth were whitening, all are implanted newly, I thought but probably she read my mind and answered, "Every tooth of mine is original."
I got ashamed and with little bit hesitation I sat behind her as she asked me to sit in local language.
"My teeth are original but my eyes got operated, now I can see everything clear with the help of lens." She mentioned.
Suddenly my eyes noticed a big flute along with a string which was tied with the grill of a window.
"It has a history," my friend said.
"Please grandma, my friend is very much eager to know your story behind this flute!" My friend insisted her to tell the story.
"Do you know her story? If it is, then why not you are disclosing it?" I asked my friend.
"No, only I can properly narrate it," grandma told with calm voice.
"I can still play the flute but my lungs now can not hold the breath to make out the sounds from it." Grandma said.
"Who taught you to play it?" I asked.
"Nishu-da, he taught me a lot." Grandma continued, "He was my neighbor, I was studying in std. nine and I was impressed with his patriotism. He was among other revolutionaries who were fighting against British rule.
He was a bright student and joined Indian Navy under British regime. Later, Indian Navy revolted and he fled in disguise. Afterwards, he took shelter in his relative's house who were our neighbor.
He used to inspire youths against British rule and it was his secret mission. I also joined him in this mission. He used to teach me to play some basics of flute so that we can use some music as a code language, such as if we used to play basic sa re then our secret team used to be aware that British team was near by to inspect the area.
Soon both of us fell into one another's love but Nishu da always was after his thought that he was not ready for any family binding, he wanted to devote his life for sake of our country.
After some period, we both were caught by Police of British rulers. My father was a Govt official
and appointed a renowned law year to grant my bail. I ignored all the applications because I wanted Nishu-da to get out of police station. But my father influenced the police officer who was in charge of the police station who forcefully took my thumb print on an application where it was stated that I was accepting my bail grant.
Few days later, Nishu da was freed too as our country got independence.
I was waiting for him but he did not come, after some time, some familiar of him brought a message on behalf of him- "Our country is free now but I have dedicated myself for sake of wellness of our country, lots of people are migrated from Pakistan, I am in the service of their rehabilitation and for their need."
"Then you had left hope for him," I asked.
"No, still I was waiting for him but situation forced me to choose alter life.
My father suddenly fell sick and it was his last wish to see me getting married.
The police official who earlier forcefully granted my bail, proposed his hands for me and my father agreed as this man was of our community."
"Inspite knowing all about you, was he agreed to marry you?" I was little bit confused.
"Yes, because he was impressed upon me. After getting married with your dadaji, your dadaji never suspected me but seeing still love for Nishu-da in my eyes, he tried to throw the flute but later he became cool and did not want to hurt my feelings."
"And what about Nishu-da?" I asked.
"Later he got a Govt job in rehabilitation department and he too got married afterwards because his family too insisted him." Grandma spoke out.
"Did you ever meet Nishu later?" I questioned.
"Yes, I met him at his last time. His wife also knew every story about both of us and Nishu da wanted to meet me at his death- bed. As his wife informed me, your dadaji suddenly became agreed to take me near him. And that was our last meet."
"She has lived her two lives so efficiently," my friend told me, "So far I know, she always did her responsibility with care and affection towards my dadaji and our family and she never let die her hidden love and emotion towards her Nishu-da."
I left the place with a heavy heart but soon felt a happiness seeing my friend's grandma smiling alone... probably she was thinking of her past love with whom she used to meet secretly under the shadow of bushes or on the bank of river or in any hidden place.
I just turned back to see her for last time and noticed another emotion within her mind, she was cleaning the surface of a photo frame within which late Grand Father's photo was rest carefully!*****