An Unique Love Story
Meenakshi amma adjusted her nose ring and put on her signature bindi. The long bindi was characteristic of her lineage. She was proud of it. Even after losing her spouse at a young age, she never found it incumbent to part with her bindi. It was her trademark.
As she adjusted her ochre nine yard saree, she looked at her reflection in the mirror.
"Pramadam (super)" she exclaimed.
She slid on her slippers and made her way out of her traditional home. She had work to do at the Panchayat today. The lovebirds had come back. How dare they commit such debauchery? They should pay for their misdeeds.
The village cornerstone near the banyan trees was the perfect setting for the Panchyat. There were trees to provide the shade in the sweltering summer heat and the river bank provide respite to the thirsty.
The elderly had assembled. Meenakshi amma made her presence felt by taking in the best seat available. The assembly consisted of women too in the village which was an example of matriarchy thanks to the widows who propounded these landmarks. They were involved in the betterment of the village and were indispensable in such matters too. Amma was proud of her achievements. She showed the folks that women had calibre too.
Probably, the only thing where she faltered were issues pertaining to intercaste marriage. These were not looked upon trivially and these were dealt with a strict upper hand.
The couple in question had eloped couple of years back to get united in holy matrimony. However, when they felt things had calmed down in their hometown, they had decided to return. The village elders didnt approve of the same and hence the Panchayat was set up to deal with the serious issue.
The elders helped themselves to Paan and Supari and waited with bated breath for the delinquents to appear. An hour passed and there was no sign of them.
Meenakshi amma was sweating profusely. The summer heat in those areas was unbearable. As she strained her neck to look at an approaching car, a bead of sweat made its way behind her earlobe.
The car stopped for a brief second and two bodies were thrown off the vehicle. A toddler was pushed out of the car and it made its way crying towards the stupefied villagers.
The car sped off. There was no license plate to track it down.
"Clearly a case of honour killing" cried Amma.
She scooped up the toddler in disdain but as she peered into the innocent eyes, her fury melted away.
"What do we do with the boy? Clearly, he has to be taken away. There is no one to take care of him. Well, after the funeral is over, we can call the nearby orphanage to do the needful" Ramana, a village elder declared.
"No! Not an orphanage. They have paid with their lives for their decision. Thankfully this child was set free. How do we know they won\"t change their mind in future? No, I will take him home with me" Amma said with a firm affirmation.
Silence engulfed the village as Amma made her way out. Amma was known for her bluntness. Some even proclaimed her to be cold-hearted. Where did this change of heart come from, they wondered? They decided to let her be. Defying Meenakshi Amma was not something that they dared to do. She was an integral figure in the development of the village.
Amma went with the younger one to her home.
"So, this is our house kutta (small boy). Do not roll your eyes at me. I do not like you. But I had to do this to protect you. I don\"t want you killed. Yamuna, inge va(come here). Take ghis kid and feed him some buffalo milk. His bones are jutting out. He needs some strength." Amma ordered.
"Seri ma(okay)" Yamuna rushed in to feed him. She was scared of Amma\"s wrath.
The boy gulped down the milk within a matter of seconds. He started crawling towards Amma with soulful eyes.
Amma smiled. Probably the first time in ages. She held his tiny fingers and walked him around in the patio. She had no kith and kin to beckon with. Yamuna was her faithful maid who had stuck with her after her husband died. She was everything that Amma had in this birth. Everything, till the little one came trundling along and changed everything.
Meenakshi Amma now woke up to the little one\"s chirping. He soon started babbling words. She was at his beck and call. She cooked him whatever he liked and did whatever pleased him. She sat by his bed at night singing her favourite lullaby as she watched him doze off to his dreamland.
His eyebrows shot up and drool escaped his lips. She sat next to him wondering how such a tiny human being evoked a plethora of emotions from her. Her world slowly started revolving around Kutta, as she affectionately addressed him.
Yamuna slowly witnessed the change happening around her. She was pleased to hear Amma laughing out in happiness. Her loud guffaws startled many a passerby and her child-like tantrums amused the onlookers.
The hard coconut shell did have some gooeyness inside, they reckoned.
"Amma, wake up. It is almost 9am. I have to go to school today. Do you remember or not?" Kutta stood over her sternly.
"Oh, I overslept. Let us get you ready, shall we?" she lovingly asked him.
As Meenakshi amma readied herself, she glanced at her reflection in the mirror.
"Abhimanyu, yes I will name him that" she decided.
The mirror was pleased at what it reflected that day. Gone was the grumpy old lady and in her place stood a loving motherly figure.
Who said love cannot happen twice? It can happen as many times as the heart wants to. There was infinite love in Meenakshi Amma\"s heart for Kutta, oops Abhimanyu.
Some love stories are meant to be different. Some happen more than once. Some happen over decades. As long as the heart beats it will emanate love.
Hope you liked this different take of mine. Do let me know your comments and feedback.