Love Lasts Forever
by Anita Bhattacharjee
I sat near the window staring at the far fading horizon. The rosy color had filled the sky and the sunset had its own transitional beauty. I had spent summer and winter evenings sitting beside the window, in hope and despair, reluctantly waiting for a new day and a new life. The grilled huge gate opened as usual and she entered noiselessly. Her heavy bag laden with official articles, a bag full of vegetables in one hand and a tired expression indicates that she had a hectic day. She stopped for a moment below my flat and placed the dupatta on her head as per the north Indian tradition. She probably worked in an MNC but the thing that most amused me was her transition as soon as she entered her threshold. She walked slowly towards her flat and walked past the door. It’s not a big deal to watch a married woman but something about her amazed me.
She opened the balcony door and swept the floor. I wondered if she managed to get even a glass of water after working so hard the entire day. The world of men versus women is universal since ages. A woman is expected to do the household chores in spite of working in important designation in the outer world. Household chores are a part of her life and her real worth is estimated by the food she prepares, not by the important achievements she had accomplished in office. She swept the floor and stood looking at the setting sun. She saw me staring at her and turned around. She went back to the house. The sun had set. My attendant came and dragged my wheel chair back to my bedroom.
I was leading a wonderful life and I hardly cared for feelings, love or emotions. I went to parties, spent money ruthlessly and enjoyed life to the fullest extent. However, the unfortunate incident spoiled my entire life. I was returning from a late night party when I met with an accident and lost my legs. I became an invalid for the rest of my life. The miserable phase in my life taught me a lot. I learnt to sympathize with people living around me. The lady next door was the prime object of my sympathy. I had no bad intentions neither I was madly in love with her. I cared
for her feelings and her life. She was living the life of a caged bird, trapped in this vicious world. She longed to live her own life. Her drunk husband who flirted with every passing woman, her mother-in-law who abused her at the slightest provoke, yet in spite of all difficulties her smile lit up my gloomy world that had lost its charm.
The next morning she woke up early and poured water on the Tulsi plant after puja. She is an early riser and I spent my hours watching her sitting near my window since I became an invalid. She gazed at me while cleaning the house. After sometime she went to office. I spent the day watching TV and in the evening waited eagerly for her return. She opened the gate noiselessly and entered. I smiled at her and she smiled at me. We hardly knew each other but the thing that was common between us was that we both were trapped in our world.
Days passed by and the year rolled on. The new year was same like the previous year except for her presence. I was never in love before because I had my priorities in my life. But today was different I had lost everything that really mattered to me once. That evening the unexpected happened, she waived her hand and beckoned me to meet her. I wish I could. She was probably not aware that I was nothing but living an worthless existence. I waived back and closed the shutter. I sat thinking for hours what I should do? The doorbell rang. I dragged my wheel chair towards the door and opened it. She stood there dressed in a white saree. She gasped in amazement, her beautiful eyes filled with pity. Before I could utter a word she folded her hands and said, "God had shown me the way, I strayed. The complexities of life broke me down and probably I was about to take a wrong decision. But GOD had showed me the way and I am grateful. I wish you well in life.” I never asked her what she meant because I understood. I too felt the same for her but our worlds were different. I would spend the rest of my life watching her and she would always be consoled with the thought that I am always there for her. ***