27 years ago, he sat her on his laps, turned her face to his, looked into her eyes and told her – she was his god. He loved her, above everyone else, and would do that for all his life.
She absorbed each word, squeezing in the last drop of its meaning.
And why wouldn’t she? If the decades didn’t change her feelings, his importance in her life…why should she assume that his too was a statement in exaggeration? Just another flight of romance? After all, men had come and gone before and after him, but he alone had stuck. While others had admired her, loved and pampered her, he WORSHIPPED her. Spoiled her mad. Really, she could put the entire world on one side and him on the other. And the balance would still tip towards him. He gave her more than everybody else put together. Much much more – care, love, attention, appreciation, inspiration, evaluation – so much that she had been full and fulfilled ever since.
It would have appeared strange to a third eye, that she never doubted a word of what he said, not even when he refused to marry her. He, however, didn’t see it as refusal. He only thought it was lack of conformation. To which she asked him to go take a walk, but not for an instant, did she doubt his word.
When she heard people recalling their past affairs, the lightness in their voice rattled her. It never occurred to her, that miles away, in his own universe, he’d ever speak of her like that. True, he had moved on in life, he had children to care for, ageing parents to tend to, ambitions to feed…but did that mean his love had diminished? No, an inner voice screamed. His love was like an invisible force, an indescribable power that kept her earth and sky in their place. It did not need confirmation, or dialogue, to be sustained. It needed only faith, and she had an unshakeable amount of that.
She whisked away the residues of doubt from her mind. She too had borne children and forged new ends. The world can move on, but the two of them, will move WITH. She knew. Knew that he too did. Their shared truth. Truer than anything else.
And so, after 27 years, when she was no longer the shapely figure with succulent skin, when all of her hair had turned grey, when her knees hurt and flesh sagged, she took out the peacock blue silk sari he once gifted her. He’d got it specially made for her, going to the city’s best embroiders to do filigree embroidery in resham. And then, after months of laborious and precision workmanship, he presented it to her. A heart-warming shining fabric in luscious shades of blue. He had draped it around her body with his own hands.
She held the sari reverentially. Touched the fabric with grateful hands, a tinge of red returning to her cheeks. Dug her face in it. Kissed it.
And then, she called her daughter, a would-be bride, into the room. Wordlessly, she handed over the sari to her, satisfied to see the gleam of joy that lit up her eyes.