Love can be like neem, bitter. But we all need a shot or two. Read Gudiya’s love story of khushi and gham, a Valentine’s Day special story, all the way from Bundelkhand.
My name is Gudiya. My love story is a sweet and sour one, full of moments that are sad and happy, kabhi khushi kabhi gham.
There used to be a boy next door who was very tall and broad, and looked just like Ajay Devgan. He was a mechanic, the local fix-things boy, and he would come to my house sometimes to repair our TV. I had a crush on him, and one day we exchanged glances. After I gave this green signal, the hari jhandi, we started meeting secretly under this neem tree outside my house. We would meet there 15 minutes after sunset and we would talk and talk. I was scared of being caught by someone in the village, but couldn’t help myself.
Our love for each other only grew. I really wanted to go out with him, ghoomne-phirne, but I couldn’t step out like that with a boy. It gave me great pleasure when I used to meet him, and the days I didn’t, I felt very uneasy. We had a very open and frank relationship. If there was any problem, he would be there.
My family was very poor and refused to educate me further. But he was wealthy and paid for my education till class 10. He forced me to study in a way, stressing on the importance of education.
One day his family got a marriage proposal and they were interested. As soon as he learnt about it, he ran off to Bombay. He came back after a few days and told his family that he wanted to marry me. But they refused because the family who had sent the marriage proposal were giving 2 lakhs and a car as dowry. And I belonged to a poor household who could offer nothing, so his father refused.
We got married secretly in the court, a decision we took under the neem tree, and we ran away to Bombay. I was not too happy there because I missed my village and my family there but I was glad to be with him. We lived in a small place, he used to work, and somehow we made ends meet. I remember it was Holi, but I felt like Diwali festivities were in the air, just being with him!
We came back to the village when he fell ill. His family continued to pressurise him to leave me, but he always refused. As the family started accepting our marriage, though they didn’t really accept me, he fell very, very ill. The treatment didn’t work too well, and he died.
After his death, his elder brother and his wife didn’t recognise me as the other daughter-in-law and said that since the land is not under my name, I should just leave. But I had all the papers and I spoke to the officers and the judge registered the land under my name officially. This made my in-laws very unhappy, but I got my rights.
I still live in that house, and I live alone. There is no one to support me. But I work and earn a living for myself. When I am not busy, I miss not having a proper family, I miss him. I really loved him and I stand under the neem tree some evenings, right after sunset thinking about him.
What can one say about love? It gives immense joy and extreme pain.
You can listen to the full podcast here.