Today’s Idiom – Yoke around the neck
Lalitha had gone back to her house in Udipi without informing me and she didn’t pick my calls either. There was so much to talk and explain to her and I felt frustrated. My mother was very happy about my decision.
“I knew that Lalitha was innocent. She deserves to be happy and I hope that very soon I can bring her home as my daughter-in-law.” Truth be told, I was a little apprehensive about my mother’s reaction, when she would realize that Lalitha was a victim of MPD. Often our society ostracizes people suffering from any kind of mental health problems and treats them with disdain. But after speaking to my mom, I knew that I had taken a right decision.
So today evening, as soon as I arrived in Udipi, I rushed to Lalitha’s house, only to find Bala uncle sitting dejectedly in the hallway.
“What have you come here for? You have taken away the last shred of happiness from our lives. What else do you need?”
“What are you talking about uncle? I came here to meet Lalitha.” By now I had become immune to Balakrishna Shastri’s caustic tongue and I was not easily flustered by his sharp tone.
“She’s not here. When she overheard her mother telling that you don’t want to marry her because of her mental problems, she ran outside. She was very upset.”
“Who said Asha aunty that I don’t want to marry Lalitha?”
“I heard some of your relatives talking about how you stumbled upon the fact that Lalitha is mentally sick and your family has called off the wedding.” Asha aunty replied looking downcast.
“What? No! Where can I find Lalitha? I need to speak to her. What if she tries to harm herself?” I inwardly cursed my relatives who cause trouble by meddling in other people’s lives.
“Don’t you think we thought of it? Lalitha said that she needed to clear her head, do some thinking, and she was not going to take any hasty decisions.”
A flash of conversation that I had shared with Lalitha came rushing back into my mind. We were walking on the shores of the beautiful Maravanthe beach and the soft waves lapped around our feet as Lalitha pointed towards a stone bench.
“That’s my piece of paradise. Whenever I feel sad or lonely I come here, sit and relax. The water, the sunset and the breeze heals me.”
I knew instinctively that Lalitha had gone to seek solace near the shores. My mind was occupied with thoughts of Lalitha as I frenziedly drove towards the beach. I could see her sitting forlornly on the bench, watching the sunset. She stirred as I sat next to her.
“Lalitha, how could you come here without telling me? I was so worried.”
“Sudhir, I’m sorry. I was upset when I heard my mother mentioning that you had called off the wedding. No. Let me speak. I was angry at first but I realized that no sane man would want to marry a girl like me. I’m happy that the truth came to light before our marriage. Else you’d be stuck with me, like a yoke around the neck. And that would have hurt me even more. I don’t blame you, nor do I think that you are doing anything wrong by not marrying me but –”
“Lalitha, stop! I never said that I don’t want to marry you. Some of our relatives are busy spreading false rumors. I just spoke to my mother and she is very happy to have you as her daughter-in-law. How could you think that I’d abandon you? Don’t you trust me? Don’t you have faith in our love? I only wished that we should be married after you have recovered. But don’t worry; I’ll be with you in the process of recuperation. I don’t want to build the foundation of our marriage on your scarred past. I want you to put the past behind you, before we can begin our tomorrow.
But if you so desire, Lalitha, I will marry you today. I love you and I’ll never allow you to disappear from my life again.”
Lalitha was smiling happily. “I love you too Sudhir. I believe you and I know I can overcome any difficulties when you are beside me.”
So there we were, Lalitha and I, watching the sun set in horizon, hands clasped together, dreaming of our future amidst our turbulent present and promising to love and cherish each other in sickness and health, in failure and triumph, in joy and sorrow, as long as we both shall live.
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