She was sitting on her bed facing the window. From the window, she could see the beautiful park near their flat, where she used to go for walks daily.She could see a couple sitting on the bench holding hands and talking. She smiled to herself and thought of her younger days… those furtive glances, secret meetings…
Beautiful, she may not have been, but she knew that she was definitely attractive in her youth. Suitors were never scarce but there were who she still remembered well. Ah! Young eligible bachelors of her times… each one different from others but yet so similar, she wondered. Seeking to please her with attention, gifts and what not!! From the young infatuated artist to that absent minded scientist! She had met different kinds of men… but in the end there was more similarity than otherwise…
Those were not the days of liberty for women, no sense of privacy but more of discreetness and propriety. Courtship was supposed to lead to marriage and interactions with the opposite sex was very limited. There were many who vied for her attention, the only daughter of a High Court Judge, herself well versed in history and political science. It was her intelligence and confidence , that drew men to her but it was these very qualities that made them leave.
She smiled, thinking of her Professor, a young man in his early thirties. Her first love? No, may be not. She was infatuated. He, with his short curly hair and eager brown eyes, used to take classes on Contemporary Political Theories. She admired his energy and radical thinking while he loved to listen to her opinions and arguments. Mutual appreciation soon led to something more. Then the problems began. His desire to possess her and control her got the better of their relationship and soon she drifted away from him. He soon got himself a ‘homely’ devoted proper wife.The artist( younger than her!!), the rich industrial magnate, the absentminded scientist, the narcissistic actor, the slavish singer…. the list continued but in the end it was her need for freedom and expression which won over all her relationships… and she thought that there was none who could accept her for what she was. It was only the initial thrills and then it was the same old story. She would never find her man.
That was until she got to know him!
Nobody could call him dashing or handsome, and he was far from being a charmer. Tall, with a pair of spectacles, he was a reserved person, quite contrary to kind of men she was used to interacting with.The ‘Silent Sincere Warrior’, his colleagues called him. He was famous for his sincerity and integrity. A newly commissioned I.A.S officer, he came to her city as the District Collector. His father was a close friend of her father and thus he called on them often. Being used to attention of the eligible bachelors of the city, she was a bit confused by his apparent aloofness. Other than a polite nod or a formal conversation, practically seemed unaffected by her. She thought him to be haughty and never bothered about him either. But she learned later on that all was not as she thought.
She can never forget that beautiful day of her life. Her birthday… more than thirty years back.Her parents never believed in pomp and show and her birthdays were not usually celebrated but were occasions of charity. She was sitting in the garden and observing the people in her house who were there for the measures of rice and wheat being distributed. She did not realise that he had come and stood beside her until he just wished her and gifted he a bouquet of her favorite flowers. Then, gently taking her hand, he said,’ I have always admired you! Your will and intellect inspire me to become a better person than I am. I appreciate your work, having followed your articles and listened to your opinions, albeit discreetly. I am a simple man, not very good with words, but I feel I have to let you know today that I want you.If I have not spoken to you at length till now, its because I was not sure about your reaction. But I want to have this opportunity to get to know you even better, to be with you in your success and failures and to support you in your endeavors.In my heart I know that you are the one for me and I would ask for marriage right away, but I know that you would not favour it! All I ask for is a few months for you to decide my worth, and whether you can be with me for the rest of your life time!’
She was taken aback, though she managed to conceal her surprise. All this from a man of his stature, who was being pursued relentlessly by parents of ‘eligible’ potential brides. And to her amazement, her heart fluttered from the gentle touch of his hands and the huskiness of his voice. The glint of passion in his eyes, hitherto unseen, was more that she could handle .She just could barely manage to smile…and get away.
That silent unassuming man changed her life forever with those few lines! He made her discover feelings she never thought she had, helped her achieve heights in her pursuit for knowledge, supported her and gave her two beautiful children to take care off… Only he could complete her!
She sighed and looked lovingly at the sleeping figure on the other side of the bed. She could hear the light snoring and took relief from that familiar sound which still made her heart melt. It is as it was thirty years back! She’d finally found her man…actually he found her!He