Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Marriage is a commitment which we make between two like minded persons.In India this is a sacred vow to be kept against all odds.Every woman is supposed to abide by the rules of the bond----till death!!!
This the story of one of my aunts---- Premi Maushi.A beautiful,lively girl she grew up in a small village on the borders of Konkan and Goa.She lost her father very young but loads of landed property in the form of Cashew,Coconut and Areca Nut Groves kept the home fires burning.At the right time a search for an ideal Life partner began and ended with this man who was a Police Officer in Mumbai.The Horoscopes matched perfectly---the family came to the village to 'see' the girl---they approved,the Engagement Rings were exchanged immediately on the same day and early next morning the man's family returned to Mumbai.
Premi Maushi was over the moon---such a handsome well built young man--such a good family--landed and wealthy to boot---what more could a girl ask for?????The Wedding date was set to a month later according to the auspiscious 'Muhurta' by consulting the horoscopes of both the bride and the groom.The exchange of letters between the two began---he'd reply once to ten of her letters.One day a letter with a Bombay postmark arrived for Premi Maushi's mother-----the groom was no good it said---he had a wife already it said!!!
Premi Maushi's mother and brother ignored the letter---people were bound to be jealous of such a good match----maybe somebody wanted to break this match just so that they could get their daughter married off to this man----this was what Premi Maushi's family felt.
The D-day arrived and the marriage was celebrated with great pomp and splendour---Premi Maushi was legally wedded to this man in the eyes of both God and Society----she was ecstatic!!!
The Wedding Party left with the bride for Mumbai in the late evening and arrived home in Mumbai a day later.After the completion of a plethora of religious ceremonies the Bride and Groom were left face to face with each other---alone.The first words he uttered were that she was his wife in name only---he was already married to a Burmese lady who because of her birth was unacceptable to his parents.It seems he'd sent the letter to warn her family himself but it had not worked.He was already the father of three children--two sons and a daughter---and would be living in that home of his.By marrying Premi Maushi he had merely ful filled his parents wishes for a 'proper'daughter-in-law!!That was her status and he assured her he'd look after all her financial needs. He also assured her of a quick annulment should she want one!!!
Premi Maushi was devastated---she spent the week following the revelation in shock---what was she to do????Her mother was old and such a shock could kill her!!!So she decided to stay and abide by the blow Fate had dealt her.She decided her strategy and began to plan her moves.She asked her husband for only one thing---he'd attend every family function and gathering with her.
Premi Maushi squared her shoulders and began her plan---she became the ideal daughter-in-law,Aunt and sister-in-law.Years passed but she had no children.Despite her protests her brother took her to see a Gynaecologist and got the shock of his life to learn that she was still a virgin!!!This was when the story came pouring out----her brother was incensed---why hadn't she come back home leaving these callous people he asked.Her answer was----if this was what God had willed for her this was what she'd do---successfully.
She befriended the 'older' wife and her children----after the death of her father and mother in-law the children and 'first'wife became a part of her family.Many years later her husband died in his 'other'home but Premi Maushi insisted on giving the right to perform the funerary rights to her older son---that was the way she thought of them!!!!
She willed her property,and personal belongings equally among all the children in the house including her step-children.She divided her time by living with each of the step-sons,her nephews by marriage and her siblings' children till she died a peaceful death due to old age.
I salute Premi Maushi---she made an indelible impact on my mind---a woman who accepted her Fate and rose above it to become a shining Beacon of selflessness and Love---a true soul who won over her Self(Ahum)to rise to sainthood!!!
Nothing is impossible she used to say----learn to turn the Handicaps into advantages!!!
I don't agree with her thinking but she said she'd abided by all the promises SHE made to her husband during their wedding ceremonies---she had given her word to stand by him till death---through thick and thin----she did!!!"I can answer only for my own actions" she'd say---" I behave according to my code of Honour"!!!!