‘You don’t know about falling off cliffs, Preppie,’ she said. ‘You never fell off one in your goddamn life.’
‘Yeah,’ I said, recovering the power of speech. ‘When I met you.’
This is one of the many famous lines from the book “Love Story” by Erich Segal. I can vouch that I haven’t read a love story that is so real.
Every love story is unique in its own way, but then when you realise that the story resembles a personal one, it becomes all the more special.
Like the characters of the book, the characters of my love story met when they were in the University. Barely of twenty-one, they were opposite in every way possible. While he was jovial and outspoken, she was shy and timid. Where he could act childish and pick up fights, she could handle every situation with a maturity beyond her age. His average looks were complimented by her ethereal beauty, and while his receding hairline became a cause of concern, she boasted of long black tresses that almost touched her waistline. No doubt they fitted perfectly and completed each other in every possible way.
On the one hand while the differences were what brought them together, it was the differences again that became a source of problem for them. While the boy belonged to an upper caste, the girl was from a lower caste. They belonged to a time when the caste system was profound and love marriages were not common. Convincing their respective families became a task. It is said that the girl’s father was so upset with her for falling in love with someone out of her caste, he didn’t speak to her for an entire month.
While she was enduring ill treatment at home, he was having a war of entirely a different level. Being a topper his entire life in school, college and university he didn’t have much trouble in securing a well paid job. However, there began his actual problem. He started getting marriage proposals through family friends and relatives.
Those days they didn’t have phones, and they communicated with each other through letters. In one such letter, he made his intentions clear to her. And as promised, he took along his best friend and visited her house on a Saturday evening. He met the girl’s father and asked for her hand in marriage. As the saying goes “True love always wins at the end”, by the blessings of their families, they got married on a wintry day of January with pomp and splendour.
“Love is not about how many days, months or years you have been together. Love is how much you love each other every single day.” – by anonymous
As the couple made plans for a blissful married life, God made his own plans. Exactly five years after their marriage, she suddenly passed away in her sleep due to a heart attack, leaving behind an inconsolable young man and a six month old baby girl.
“What can you say about a twenty-five-year old girl who died?
That she was beautiful. And Brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And Beatles. And me.”
These are the beginning lines of the book “Love Story”. How stark a similarity can a story have to someone’s life? When I read the book for the first time, I felt like I was reading their story. The only difference is that the girl in my story was thirty when she died. And if you ask me how can this be a personal story? The six month old baby she left behind was me. This is the story of my parents; a story I have heard innumerable times from my aunts; a story I have read in the letters so carefully tucked away in the corner of his almirah; a story that didn’t ever end with her life. This is the story of love, between two perfectly imperfect individuals who never gave up on each other. And I’m blessed to have witnessed this love much after she was gone.