Life is to Live and Love

Life is to Live and Love

“Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
-Dolly Parton

This is the story of an elderly couple who gets busy in their monotonous lives and fails to live in the happy moments which life has bestowed them with. It is when Neha, the wife, realizes the true meaning of living life that compels her to make an effort. She does her best to make her husband realize to live in the life through which they both are tied together. 

Neha was all engulfed in the memories of her marriage with Manish. She was reminiscing the day when Manish, the love of her life, held her hand, and they both took sacred vows. The beautiful memory was still fresh in her mind. She slowly unfolded the pink cotton colored dupatta, which wrapped her Marriage Album.

It was 20 years back that they both got bonded in the eternal promise of companionship and trust. But with the tear and wear of life, they lost the charm in their marriage. Now their extended conversations about never-ending love got replaced by the one word or emojis on the WhatsApp.

Neha and Manish undoubtedly loved each other, but something, the spark that enticed them earlier, was missing from their monotonous lives. Although they were dwelling happily in their own spaces, Rita was invariably busy with household tasks and looking after her children. Manish, on the other hand, got involved with work, toiled hard to earn money for fulfilling the desires of his family.

They never complained about anything. Nevertheless, both were tired of all the responsibilities. At the same time they both craved for the serenity. They yearned for peace not only mentally but physically too. The vows that they took when they got married acted as an anchor in sailing them together through the rough phases of life. Still, the missing factor always bothered them.

They renounced their lives to equip safety and wealth to their parents, invested their crucial precious moments on their children, to prepare them, guide them and push them to become a better person for facing the competitive world.

Neha’s thoughts compelled her to talk to Manish. She thought that although the time which is once gone can never come back, she can put efforts to make Manish realize the essence of precious moments that they can relive again. 

Manish came back from his office, seeing Neha all lost in her world of thoughts, he deliberately shook her back, coming back to her normal senses, she hugs Manish and sobs. Manish laughs at her, as he never had got any chance to note this side of Neha.

Manish, moving her back, “What happened, are you okay?” 

Neha continues to hide her feelings and goes inside the kitchen to fetch a glass of water for him. Manish all tired, he relaxes on the couch, he briefs Neha about the significant discussions that they had last night. “Neha, where are you, now? You know, Aman’s seat is secured in the Nainital hostel. Supriya, our lovely daughter, is all set to face the medical entrance test, all the formalities, and important documentation done. She will surely outperform this time. Last year the deposits which we had fixed have matured now. And, I have made all the arrangements for Maa-Baba’s pilgrimage to Kashi for the next month. What happened? Why are you not responding to me?” all this annoys Neha, and with a strange look, she comes to the living room and stops Manish, she places her hand on his lips, with tears in her eyes, she says, “Manish, what about us?” 

Manish stares at her and pulls her hand, “Why the hell you are behaving in this absurd manner today? Is something bothering you? I know our children will leave us now for further studies, but Neha, we need to be strong and support them, please stop crying!” 

Neha wipes her tears and comes near to Manish. She tries to open up her heart, “Manish, in all these years, we behaved like an obedient child of our parents, stood as loving and caring parents for our kids, but never lived our life as a couple, what about the vows, the promises we both took together?”

Manish didn’t understand what Neha was all talking about, He fails to notice her tears. He stands up, walks towards his room to change, with Questions swarming up in his mind, he gazes back at Neha and replies, “Neha this is life, it is never about us, it’s always about all of us, the people who made us, the people who are with us and the people who came from us. Take out this wrong notion, behave normal Neha, stop sulking about us, with open arms welcome these new moments in our and in our children’s lives.”

Neha, all alone in the living room, crying from her heart, “Dear Manish, it’s time now to revive our marriage vows, Yes! you are right! It is always about all of us, but that ‘US’, has lost its sheen, I hope if you could see and feel the tide which is troubling my soul.”

 

Neha makes a wonderful effort. She plans to make her spouse realize that it is one life that God has bestowed them with. It is the time to relive life again and all the moments, which in the past, they never did.

Next morning…

Snoozing off the alarm, Manish turns to the other side of the bed, Neha was not there, he at once woke up, unfurling his blanket, waddles out of the room, he searches for Neha in the kitchen, but all in dismay, she was nowhere in the house.

Thinking constantly about Neha’s, yesterday’s behavior exasperates him. He dials her mobile number to know about her whereabouts. His daughter Supriya, comes out from her room, “Good Morning, Papa, why are you calling mom, her mobile is with me, she has gone somewhere, she told me to give this letter to you.”

Manish all puzzled up, he opens up the letter which was wrapped with a thin strand of golden color ribbon.

“Dear Husband,

I hope you have got this letter, I know you must be worried, where I have gone today and that too early morning, worried! I know, you must be, not because you are worried about me but about, who will manage the daily household work, breakfast, cleaning, taking care of kids, your parents, your home, right? Isn’t it? Just relax! 

I am waiting for you in the nearby park, come and let’s decide and discuss who will manage and how it will be done?

Eagerly waiting for you

Your faithful wife

Neha”

Manish without waiting, paces out of the house, hovering in the lift, runs towards the park, he notices an elderly couple coming towards him, he moves in the other direction in search of Neha, the couple behind him calls out his name.

“Mr. Manish, please wait! It’s you, right? Your wife is waiting for you in the community clubhouse she gave this letter to us.” 

Manish desperately, opens up the letter, “Dear Manish, thanks for coming, in search of me, the couple who handed over the letter to you, is married for the last 25years, and daily, without a fail, they take morning and evening walks together, have you ever did this with me? I don’t remember, or yes! You did accompany me in lifts, or School PTMs, or yes, in the hospitals during health check-ups of your parents. Why don’t we start today? I hope you will agree with me, come! I am waiting for you.” He grins after reading the lovely note from his wife. He behaves like a young boy, who is heading to meet his lady love for the first time, runs towards the community clubhouse.

Sprinting towards the clubhouse he halts and notices a lady. The lady was crying and screaming, this all irks Manish, he progresses towards her to help her. An elderly man clenches his fist from behind and stops him, “Yes, she is my wife, let her cry. Who are you? Oh! I guess you must be Manish, your wife knew you would come, take this letter, read it, and all the best.” 

Manish was again dumbfounded he hastily opens up the letter, “Dear Manish, 

I knew you would stop here because you can’t see other people crying. The lady is crying out of happiness, she never expects from her husband. But her husband supports his in-laws he helps them, take care of all their needs. And today she is a little sick, her husband wants to take her to the doctor, but she is avoiding, she just wants to treat herself with home remedies. I don’t remember if you ever called my parents to check on their health, the only calls you did was to wish them on festivals and special occasions. I always did my best to take care of your parents. I don’t expect from you, but a small gesture from their son-in-law can put a smile on their wrinkled face. When you fall sick, as a good wife I take care of you and alongside managing household chores, kids, your parents. I never complained, did I? I guess the sacred vows which bind us together, confides us to care and equally share our responsibilities, don’t wait here, I am waiting for you. Please come!” 

 

The letter from Neha spooks Manish, the guilt of not giving time and taking Neha for granted, filled his heart with guilt. He paces towards the club to meet his lady love.

Huffing and gasping for his breath, he reaches to the clubhouse. He gets startled to see his in-laws standing at the entrance. They greet him and he touches their feet. His mom in law slips a letter into his hands. His father in law blesses him and wishes him good luck for his new beginning.

This all obfuscates Manish, he gets sapped he talks to himself, “Am I daydreaming? No, but then, what’s happening?” 

He grabs a chair, opens up the letter, it was blank! He looks around but noticing the hall empty, he shrieks! 

The lady all dressed up as a new bride ambles towards him, he becomes numb and voiceless, a charming voice from the lady astounds him, “Hi Manish, it’s me, your new wife Neha. What happened? You didn’t you recognized me?”

He gets elated to see Neha and kneels down in front of her. He gently embraces Neha’s hand and expresses his love. “Where were you? Why are you doing this, we love each other, I can’t imagine a single moment without you, Neha. Thanks for reminding me, that life needs to be loved and lived. Yes! I am sorry for the moments that we got but unfortunately, we were not able to live in them, responsibilities heaped upon us. We never tried to take out some precious moments of love for us, I am sorry!”

Neha, kneels down, hugs Manish, and says, “Not just you Manish, I am also extremely sorry for not putting the efforts for the time which is gone. But I am glad we are together, now we can spend some time together. Yes, for sure we will be fulfilling all our responsibilities diligently but will make sure, to nab some time for us, just us.” There was a lovely gleam of hope and love in their eyes. They both embraced and caressed each other.

Witnessing the glimpse of this lovely story, their children behind them, chortled and came running towards them, hugged them, “Papa, mummy, we love you and we know you also love us, but, you both don’t forget to love each other.”

Neha with her beautiful effort makes her husband realize the importance of life. She surrendered her life to make everyone happy but was unsettled in her own thoughts. They both realized that it is one life and that is to live.

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