Continued from part 3…
day the girl found that she has finished her training as a Nurse and has now only to sit in the final
examination conducted by the state Nursing and Midwifery Board to certify her as a trained Nurse.
This meant that they have passed four years of separated married life in this way.
It so happened that during this time the District Industries Office, with the help of an NGO,
has been disbursing loan up to an amount of Rupee two lakhs for skilled workers in any trade. The
Interest of the Loan will be borne by the State Govt. while the loaned will have to return the loan is
five years. One of the members of this board was acquainted with Mr. Sujit Singh who wanted to
place this married young man on a firm footing in his life. Sikhs, all over the world, are naturally
helpful. When Sujit Singh got to know of the Industries’ Board’s scheme, he conveyed his intentions
to this official. Very soon, a loan was forwarded to this boy who has only to open a bank account and
select a shop to start his business. The first was arranged by the caretaker who introduced this boy
to the bank where he kept an account while the second was arranged by the Industries’ board
themselves by giving the boy a ‘shed’ in the District Industrial Development area to start his
business. And in a few months’ time, this intrepid worker was in his own business, working as a
mechanic as well as a Manager, sometimes engaging himself up to twelve hours a day in his work.
He began to see profits and so decided to rent a house in the town, both to save his time cycling to-
and-from the village and also, to relieve the caretaker who was acting as a guardian against him in
the prayer hall’s guest house. On the other hand, the bride, after appearing in the written and oral
examinations of the Nursing board has, due to her studiousness and sincerity, topped the list. The
board members informed her that with such results, she can pursue the Master’s degree in Nursing
in any Medical College after which she can become a Matron in any Govt. or private Hospital. But for
this, her Missionary NGO’s do not have the funds which was some sort of a setback to her. For some
time at least!
It so happened that after the young lover-husband opened his workshop and decided to live
on his own a different thought also came to his mind. He was acquainted with the fact that his love
has passed her nursing course with flying colors and has made herself eligible for the Master’s
course. Now that he has been earning money, why not he bring her off from the Missionary Girl’s
Hostel and put her in any Medical College to learn the Nursing Master’s? Although he had been
meeting her weekly, in actuality they have been living separately for the last four years; what loss
will it be if they live apart for two more years? It will make her education complete and make her life
livable. He shared this thought to the caretaker of the village prayer hall and Mr. Sujit Singh who was
his guru in his trade, both of whom at once agreed. But they also suggested something.
The young husband-wife duo had not seen a home, leave alone living in it after their
passionate, whimsical action. So they suggested to the boy to bring his classmate-wife from the
Missionary hostel to live in his rented house with him as husband and wife. And although the boy
will be living in the rented house out of compulsion, his young wife will be living here with a
purpose. So, it will be like a home coming to her although it will be not her parents or her in-law’s
home. So, they advised the young-husband to make an occasion of it; to give a party within his
means to the Padre, the office bearers of the Missionary NGOs, the inmates of the hostel and,
whoever he thinks fit. The young man at once agreed. And for this ‘return home’ of his ‘bride’ (for
she was ‘new’ in a sense), a Sunday was chosen as it will be a holiday for everyone. So a Sunday was
chosen when the Local Heads of the Missionary NGO’s will be light of Duty as well as the father (of
the Church) with the exception of the Caretaker of the village prayer hall (for these people are active
even on Sundays). The inmates of the Girls’ Hostel were invited as well as some shopkeeper in Sujit
Singh’s neighborhood where the boy had learned his trade. On this day the girl on whose forehead
he had applied vermilion more than four years ago will return to him to live with him forever.
On that auspicious day, in the courtyard of the small rented room, made ‘party-ready’ by
‘hired professional people’, the party got underway. In the afternoon, the Missionary NGOs who had
‘safe-kept’’ the girl from her first day of Marriage brought her in a small car followed by a large bus
full of the inmates of the girls’ hostel. The Padre had also come in the small car. The bride-and-
groom was seated in whatever manner convenient and the guests were served with whatever was
organized for the occasion. And in an hour’s time, guests began to return home after showering their
blessings to the bride and the groom. But unbeknownst to all the others the groom and his bride,
the padre and, the branch heads of the NGOs were looking for someone who had not arrived yet; he
was the caretaker of the village temple who was the initiator of the bride and groom to the NGO.
One hour had passed. After another hour, it will be dark and then it will be time for the Padre and
hostel inmates to return to their respective places. Heads were fixed on the entrance to the Pandal.
As the eager anticipators were feeling tired of looking steadily at the entrance and were feeling a
little ‘let down’, a car stopped before the entrance and from which alighted the caretaker from the
front door. Then from the rear door alighted a young girl, a woman and, a man through the driver’s
door who looked familiar to the groom. Upon seeing them, he at once jumped out of his chair and
hurried to the entrance of the Pandal. Then he called his bride outside and both touched the feet of
the man and the woman and also of the caretaker, before ushering them in.
It turned out that, from some villagers, the groom’s parents had come to know of the boy
establishing himself in a trade and living by himself in the town from some months past. They also
got intimation that his classmate-wife will be living with him in his rented house in any day soon. So,
letting bygones go off as bygones, they approached the caretaker to act as a middleman to bring
their disgraceful son and his childhood love to their village home. The caretaker was delighted at this
proposal. He saw this ‘partying’ ceremony as a good occasion to unite the exiled son and the
daughter-in-law with the parents in full observance of everyone. So without telling them about the
occasion, taking the Sunday as the day of holiday for the father and their college going daughter (for
she had become young in these years), he brought them to this get-together/unison party scheming.
The presence of the caretaker and the boy’s parents lent graveness to the occasion. The parents of
the boy then thanked the caretaker for putting their son in apprenticeship in Sujit Singh’s Lathe-
workshop and, the Padre for putting the girl in the girls’ hostel.
Early in the night, after all the guests including Mr. Sujit Singh had left, the young groom
locked everything in his house properly and went off with his bride and the caretaker to his village.
They dropped the caretaker in the ‘Prayer-hall’ and then proceeded to their house. Having settled
themselves in their paternal home for the moment, he and his young bride recalled their days of
foolishness and uncontrolled passions of school years. It was decided that the girl bride would
pursue her masters in Nursing by living in the hostel of the Medical College while the young man will
continue to live in the town on all working days to pay full attention to his fledgling business and live
with his family in the village on Sundays. His parents also recalled the thoughtful actions of the
caretaker on that eventful day for, if he had not acted calmly and wisely on that ‘fateful’ day then his
son and daughter-in-law would never have become what they are now. And they also saluted the
activities of the Missionary NGOs and the Padre, for if it wasn’t for their benevolence and large-
heartedness, their daughter-in-law, and, all the other girls who had benefitted through them from
time to time would never have passed the matriculation or taken other studies or careers in their
lives. And they also mooted for such a Missionary type of NGO from the Local Community in the
near future for, if the Christian people can undertake such welfares activities, cannot the Indians or
the Local communities undertake it also?
*This story was published along with eight others in my short story book, ‘The Grandee of Gorokhiah Gaon (and other stories)’ and is being published, both in the eBook and paperback version at kdpamazon.com.