A short story by Dr. Prerna Singla.
One Sunday morning I was sitting with my grandpa and watching news... my grandpa was continuously staring at the lady shown in the news. I couldn’t read the expression of his face, so I said: “I like this lady. She’s classy. She’s one of the most influential woman of our country.” .. Grandpa remained silent for a minute and then he said: “She proposed me 45 yrs back when we were in college. She was crazy about me.”
My eyes widened out of excitement and I said: “wow!! Really grandpa??? Then?? What happened then?? What did you say?? How did she propose you??” I had millions of ques. in my mind.
Grandpa switched the television’s volume to “mute”, his eyes became dreamy as if he was looking into some past memory and he started it like a tale…
“We used to study in the same college. Her name was Rosa white. She changed it to Rosa Williams after marriage. Anyways.. Those times were a lot conservative than today. Today you hang out with your friends, chat and all the stuff but at that time society was not so open. Even if we would chat, it was about studies or things like that. She was good friends with my sister and she used to visit our house frequently. I could sense that she liked me. Whenever I’d talk to her, she’d start stammering. Her face would turn rosy pink out of nervousness.
But one day she told me what she feels about me. She was in love with me. She wanted to marry me. She just said it. Simply. And… I denied.”
Saying this grandpa looked into my eyes for a moment. Maybe he wanted to know my reaction to this. I thought it would be wise to keep quiet this time. I gave a puzzled glance because I wanted to know the reason.
Grandpa’s face turned to the ceiling again and he continued… “I denied her because I was not in love with her. My desire was to marry a much more beautiful girl, a girl who has a good carreer too. I was very practical type of guy. My heart said that she was not the girl of my dreams. I didn’t want her. Infact to escape her hoping eyes I’d try make excuses to walk out of the place when she would arrive. She’d feel bad many times. But I just wanted her to go away. When she proposed me I simply replied: I’m sorry I don’t hold the same feelings for you, you deserve someone much better. But we can still be friends.
She never contacted me again. And later I married a much more beautiful girl who also earned really good. I’ve spent my married life like a beautiful tale except for the fact that I was not the first love of my wife. I still remember the first day of our marriage. When I sat near her she said: “ I’d appreciate if we try to be friends first and I want to let you know that I was in love with someone else. If I had any choice I’d never marry you. I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you this before marriage. But now I’m your wife. Rest I leave onto you. Its your choice what to decide.” … That moment I felt like someone had slapped me tightly. My desires made a fool out of myself. But I had no hope except for trying to set things right. 39yrs of successful marriage yet her words kept ringing in my ears all life “if she had a choice she would never marry me”… it hurts me even now.. Your grandma’s last words in the hospital were: “if the concept of re-birth is true then I wanna be your wife in the next birth too.” That time I knew my marriage was successful.
Struggling through my busy life one day in news I saw rosa. She held one of the most prestigious posts of the government. Her face was glowing with pride. I wanted to contact her. I don’t know why. But a feeling stopped me. Contacting her that time would have made me seem like a selfish beast. But today I know what feeling was that. I rejected her because she was not beautiful, she didn’t have any career, I wanted to reach the heights of success but she seemed to be nothing less than a responsibility. I never felt love for her. Today I have a feeling of selfish guilt. The girl who I loved, never loved me much. I gave in my whole life struggling for her love. Although gradually she fell in love with me but I was always doubtful if I could ever take the place of her first love. She was no wonder very beautiful and earned well, yet Today I am a common man. Just a common man.
I had been really selfish because I always sought opportunities. I don’t feel like a good man. I rejected her on the basis of her looks and what she can offer me with her skills. Today I regret it. I feel it was the blunder mistake of my life. Today I’m again regretting out of being selfish me. But I know she’d have loved me like no other. I’d have had an actual dream life with her. Today I want to apologize to her.
My grandpa turned towards me. His gaze was back in the present. He said: “life comes to us as mystery boxes and we choose the ones which seem promising. I also did what millions of people do. But life made me realize that the mystery box may be wrapped with the most beautiful paper but it is not necessary that it holds the same inside. I made an opportunistic decision for my life. I regret not the prestige but the fact that in the desire for the same prestige I never respected rosa’s feelings, never cared for her heart. I never even cared to understand her feelings. Thought of her as useless. And now I’ve made a fool out of myself. Life seems to be laughing and saying that the things I wanted are lost because of my wrong decisions.”
My grandpa’s eyes were overwhelmed but he composed himself soon. I wondered since how many yrs had he been regretting this?? Or was this love??? What about rosa?? Did she ever love again?? Was grandpa her first love?? What does she feel now?? Does she remember grandpa?? Would she forgive him??? What the hell.. why are feelings and relationships a complicated thing????????!