Realistic Fiction

The Untold Commitment

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From the time my eyes met yours, the story began

Life is all about unhappening plans. The things you plan may go awry due to changing situations. There is no greater thing than time in the world. Time shows the real person hiding within you and others. So let the supremacy of time reign the world!

Sarahana, a yellowish white North Indian Brahmin girl from a middle class family, born and brought up in one of the South Indian states, loses her hope when she knows that her dream of pursuing doctorate can’t be achieved, since the university she was willing to join has not offered seats in the desired subject.

Once the Post graduation is done the tag “What’s next?” hangs before most of the students haunting them night and day. It is also a turning point in the lives of many. It was a turning point in the life of Sarahana as well.

All individuals are different as they come from educationally, socially, culturally and economically different atmosphere and upbringing. In addition to it, there is ‘time’ which makes you do the things you never imagined and planned. This ‘time’ is something which helps a person in knowing himself/herself. Knowing oneself is the most difficult task in the world.

Sarahana never planned or imagined to join the job. She was all set to continue her higher studies after her post graduation. Coming from a rigid patriarchal family, she never thought of convincing her father about pursuing her higher studies in some other town or city. She knew her father would never allow her. She was enjoying her long vacation after her studies.

She belonged to the family of four and was loved to the brim by her parents and brother.  She belonged to a religious traditional family. The word of her father was Lakshman Rekha for her and her family. Even a small change in home has to go through her father.

Her father was a loving and kindhearted person, possessive about his family. His family was his world. He loved the delicious varieties of food made by his loving and caring wife. The religiosity and traditionality of her father flowed in the veins of family members. He was a person who loved to organize religious events at home. Apart from this, her father was one who was more interested in cooking and offering the delicious food to his relatives and friends on different occasions.

On one such religious occasion during her vacation, Sarahana meets one of the scholars and a teaching professional – a less acquaint woman, who offers her to join her college as a lecturer in her department. This comes as an unexpected opportunity in her life. She thinks about it for a couple of days and visits the college.

As every parent tries to give the best possible schooling to their children, Sarahana’s parents too admitted her in an average English Medium school. She was an average girl in studies scoring passing marks in Maths and the second language, which is also the regional language of the state. This decline in marks was a severe matter of concern for her working mother.

Sarahana’s mother toiled hard to meet the financial needs of the family. She was a strong woman with a tender heart within. She came from a struggling joint family. She was a simple selfless woman who never thought about herself. Fulfilling the needs and demands of her family was the sole aim in her life. She couldn’t bear the sight of her kid struggling in her studies. In one of her vacations she decided that she will improve her daughter in Maths and the regional language. By the end of her vacation Sarahana improved immensely that she secured III rank in 3rd std, II rank in 4th std, I rank in 5th std and the journey went on. She became an example for many other students in her school.

Once the taste of success is known, no other thing seems to be tastier in life. Parents play a major role in understanding the need of a kid. The hard efforts of Sarahana’s mother were so fruitful that her daughter never descended the ladder of merit in her educational career.

Sarahana was a girl least bothered about the lives of others. Books, study, discipline, morality and decency were more important to her than anything else in her life. She was a friend to many but never hung out with her friends. Even in her educational career she had many peers whom she always looked at as batchmates, nothing more than that. She never had any space for friendship, relationship and love in her life. She lived in a world of her own where books became her supreme companion along with her mother.

Mother is said to be the most intimate friend to a growing girl. The bond between a mother and a daughter is something which Sarahana always cherished. She was so extroverted that she used to recite entire day’s happening before her parents, especially her mother. All the minor and major events took place on that particular day were out in the evening. The chemistry between these mother and daughter was playful and full of laughter, a deep bond of friendship they experienced. Sarahana was replica of her mother.

And like this the days passed on and the maximum formal education Sarahana’s parents gave her came to an end.

Sarahana after visiting that college accepts the job offer and joins the college. Adjusting in the new atmosphere, among new people is altogether a new experience to her. Since she is a fresher and a hard working, dedicated girl she learns many things in this college.

Teaching is always a learning process. The process of teaching not only allows a teacher to understand his/ her students but helps the one in understanding his/her own self. Every stage in life is a learning experience since it reveals more of you to yourself.

Sarahana becomes one of the popular teachers in the college in a short span of time. Students throng her all the while asking doubts, questions, suggestions. She understands the difference between classroom learning and classroom teaching.

Learning between four walls is classroom learning and learning among four people is entirely a different process and is learning for life. The education and qualification one gets remains only on paper. Lessons taught by life are never mentioned in any book.

The real life begins, once the classroom education ends. Until the education gets over an individual views and comprehends the world from his/her perception. But in real life one has to understand the perception of others. You understand yourself more when you understand how others perceive you.

Sarahana learns many things from the wise people she finds around her. Since the college she works in has more number of faculties in fifties and sixties, it becomes difficult for her to initiate anything that is new.

In this domain of new experiences and learning Sarahana meets one faculty belonging to her own generation- Srijit. Srijit is a young, smart, good looking gentleman with a sense of maturity and responsibility on his face. He belongs to an upper caste South Indian family. For the first time, they meet in the corridor of the college where Sarahana with her colleagues is waiting for Srijit to come out of his class, so that she can enter that class, for an interaction with students. It was her first day in the college. Srijit’s dedication towards his work and smartness catches her attention. She finds him to be like-minded person. Moreover a principled, dedicated, hard working youth inspires her. Srijit heads one of the departments in college. Srijit is also drawn towards her virtues. Since Sarahana is from a meritorious background, she consistently maintains her dignity in the profession as well.

Few days after joining the college, Sarahana’s department shifts to Srijit’s department. Sarahana gets to know more about Srijit’s department. Technically, sharing same office and staff room brings them closer. Gradually as the time passes on, Srijit and Sarahana become good friends. Srijit seems to be a reserved person which raises the curiosity of Sarahana. The events, gatherings and activities of college reveal the multi-facetedness of Srijit and Sarahana.

As they are good friends, they interact every day casually. The first “Good Morning” of the day from Sarahana to Srijit seems to be the good start of a day for both of them. When certain things are done every day, they become the part of routine and a habit. Srijit holds on to his seat every day until he hears “good morning” and a smile from Sarahana.

What you give comes back to you. The days she missed to greet Srijit, she received greetings from him. If you respect and care others, you receive the same in return. As the days pass on, Sarahana gets more involved in her work and feels stressful about it. Along with the new work, new responsibility it becomes a habit for her to see and interact with Srijit every day. Srijit and Sarahana are morally so strong that they would take lunch in a same room but different fibre partitions.

One day when both are taking lunch simultaneously in different chambers, Sarahana asks a personal question to Srijit about his wedding. Sarahana is 23 and Srijit 27. Srijit replies “I’m still my mom’s son”. This reply from Srijit impresses her and shows the love Srijit has for his mother. It also shows that he is a man who is least interested in girls. A man who loves his mom is a man who has all the abilities to become the best partner in life was Sarahana’s belief.

Sarahana’s freshness in attire, personality and thought attracts Srijit all the while. One day through her interaction she gets to know about Srijit’s father. She asks, “What is your father?” He replies “He is no more.” The silence after this makes Sarahana uncomfortable and she breaks the silence saying, “Oh! That is the reason you are so responsible and matured.” Srijit’s reply leaves a soft corner in the heart of Sarahana. Both of them start feeling the attachment they developed for each other. The virtuous, kind hearted gentleness of Srijit reveals the most beautiful soul he has within him.

Sarahana observing the reserve nature of Srijit expected him to be an egotist, rude and a selfish youth. But he was all the opposite of it. The beauteous soul and a gentle heart within him were uncovered to Sarahana only later.

One day on a call Sarahana admits to Srijit her emotional attachment towards him. Srijit ignores it and even Sarahana does. The interactions and talks bring them closer emotionally, but both of them are least bothered about it and take it casually.

The notorious, playful innocence between these two would sometimes change into fights as well. Living in the same town Srijit and Sarahana meet co-incidently every now and then. Every time they meet out, Sarahana is with her family and Srijit with his two intimate friends. Srijit expects an intro with Sarahana’s family. But Sarahana ignores him all the while, making him feel less important. First time they meet outside in market during Ganesh Chaturthi festival, then in one of the temples of the city, then in a multiplex watching the Blockbuster movie, then on the street road crossing each other’s bike. This made Sarahana annoyed each time she met Srijit. For Srijit it was a casual experience each time he met Sarahana. The only thing that met often in these co-incidences was their eyes. Annoyance and frustration in the eyes of Sarahana and playfulness with innocence filled in the eyes of Srijit. After this, whenever Sarahana went out she started praying God that she should not meet Srijit again.

Srijit’s casualness and playful innocence was a matter of concern for Sarahana. She started avoiding and ignoring him all the while. But Srijit was consistently normal in his behaviour. Sarahana feels more attached to him and her extovertness would often show this on her face. Srijit is a more introvert person, hiding his feelings and emotions gravely within him. Many times Sarahana attempts to bring out the emotional being within Srijit but fails. The more she tried to bring out his feelings for her, the more casual and indifferent attitude of Srijit was seen.

The first birthdays after their acquaintance with each other were the special days in their life. Sarahana celebrated it with her family and was greeted by Srijit. Srijit shared his birthday with one of his cousins. The post shared by him on his birthday was that of his cousin with him, who was a special (mentally retarded) kid. This was a revelation of the selfless virtue Srijit possessed. Sarahana was moved by his post.

Sarahana enjoyed and was happy in the company of Srijit. She saw a life partner for her in Srijit. She was contented and satisfied by her job. But as days passed on, she realised that her professional potential was more than what she was delivering in that college. She appeared in an interview in one of the most reputed institutions of the place she resided in. She got selected to engage few classes in that institution.

Joining that reputed institution came as a challenge before her. She knew she had to move away from Srijit if she joined that institution. But professionally it was important for her. All her family members motivated her not to miss that opportunity. She took the consent of Srijit as well. Even he took it in a positive way and motivated her to join.

The day she joined that institute she missed the most important thing of her life. It was the mornings greet and smile for Srijit which she carried on her face each day. Before reaching her institute she gave him a call asking him whether he was fine that day. The silence on the phone call between these two, told many untold feelings towards each other, which was ignored by both of them all these days. The silence between them was roaring within their souls. They were not just friends; they were something more than that!

Sarahana though pretended to be happy; she started losing her cheerfulness and happiness behind. She became busier in her work. Even in her busy schedule she started missing Srijit each and every moment. Both of them felt the pang of separation but never showed it to each other.

Sarahana and Srijit were mature enough to understand that if this emotion is let out, it would make both of them weak and it would let them down. Sarahana’s involvement in the new institute consumed more of her time. Her meetings and interaction with Srijit changed into silence. She became a visiting faculty in her old college. She was seen only on two days in her old college. Whenever Srijit and Sarahana met, they just looked into each others’ eyes and moved away. Moving away here was the suppression of the feeling of love rushing to flow out. Again they avoided and ignored it.

Srijit’s outwardly indifferentness made Sarahana stronger. She felt that this emotional attachment with Srijit would die soon. Physical distance between them will allow them to forget each other soon. The six months of togetherness with Srijit, left a lifelong impression on the mind and in the heart of Sarahana. Her first academic year of teaching came to an end.

As the new academic year began Sarahana decided to join her old college, only for Srijit. This was known only to her. She continued working in both the institutions. This academic year she decided to shift her department in her old college to a new place. Again this was a move to avoid and ignore Srijit. But Srijit was consistently good towards her. Many a times he tried to speak and tell something to Sarahana. But her sturdiness towards him never allowed him.

The day Sarahana shifted her department, she saw Srijit sitting all alone, lost somewhere, thinking something. But Sarahana chose a tough path for herself. Sarahana was smarter than him. She used to see Srijit all the while in the computer system connected to the camera of his department. Interactions between them stopped. There was no more morning greeting. But still they had intense eye contact.

Two to three times Srijit tries to meet Sarahana and tell her something but he couldn’t. He starts calmly listening to her interactions with students, fellow colleagues and friends. That was the only thing he could do. He would secretly listen to her all the while and she would secretly see him in the system all the while.

Srijit belonged to one of the most reputed families of the city. His grandfather was one of the greatest, acclaimed artists of his time. Srijit always felt proud for that. When one belongs to such a family it becomes more important for a person to maintain the legacy, respect and honor of that family. Sarahana came to know about it only later. Srijit never mentioned about it to her. She got to know about it from other colleagues and friends. This was again a virtue of Srijit that he never tried to show the greatness of his family. He lived a simple and principled life. This again moved Sarahana.

One day Sarahana passed by Srijit’s home unknowingly.  There she saw a board outside his home, from which she knew about his community and their family business. She did not know that Srijit belonged to a business family. Business being the major occupation of most of the family members, he was the only one in his family to work as a teaching professional. Sarahana in one of her interactions with him came to know about Srijit’s business and she asked him to never quit teaching in his life. Srijit was truly a hard working and dedicated person managing teaching along with his family business. But the day she knew about his community, she was shaken. He belonged to a Non Brahmin upper caste community.

In one of her interactions with Srijit, when she shared his department, Sarahana asked him “Are you a Brahmin?” Srijit just nodded his head saying no. He never lied before Sarahana. Being honest was one of his beautiful virtues. Sarahana never knew that liking and loving a person belonging to different community would create a problem for her.

Love is something, which is above all these things and belonging to different communities never stopped them from liking, loving and respecting each other. Both of them started learning more about each other’s communities in secret, showing indifferent attitude towards each other outside.

Sarahana saw all Brahmin traits in Srijit. This was because he came from one of the well cultured families and almost all his friends belonged to Brahmin families. Belonging to one of the South Indian upper castes Srijit’s family too followed all Brahmanical norms. Moreover Srijit was a man who believed in Karma.

Hindus in India are divided based on their birth in different castes. But this birth based caste system no more fits in Kaliyuga. Karma defines one’s caste. Karma decides one’s fate. May your Karma reign your life!

No love story is successful unless it goes through the test of time. Both of them stopped interacting and being friendly with each other but the love they had for each other grew every moment.  Knowing Srijit’s family and community never stopped Sarahana from loving him.

Her love for him increased each and every second. Both of them started living in each other’s world. The second birthdays of both of them, after their acquaintance with each other, was more special than ever. They didn’t wish each other on their birthdays. Sarahana spent her time with special (mentally retarded) kids in their school on her birthday. Srijit celebrated Sarahana’s birthday grandly without wishing her. On Srijit’s birthday Sarahana tried a lot to speak to him casually and wish him but she couldn’t. She spent her entire day thinking about him. Was this ego? Or both of them wanted to show each other that they are alright, even though they didn’t wish each other on their special days? Or they knew that they can never tie themselves in a knot?

Almost six months passed Sarahana and Srijit did not speak a single word. The only thing which held them together was their eyes. Whenever they met, they fixed their eyes into each other’s. Their eyes spoke many things, which words would never express.

Time tests the trust between two people. These two people might be friends, lovers or spouses.  After few days Sarahana got busy in one of her family weddings. But both of them kept staring at each other whenever they met without uttering a single word. Many a times Sarahana tried to speak to Srijit but something held her back. Many a times Srijit tried to speak to her but something held him back. What was it?

Morality!

Man creates his own world of morals and beliefs and gets caged in it. Sarahana always felt that college is not a right place to speak about personal matters. According to her belief, the place of learning was an abode of Goddess Saraswati.

But she didn’t know what was written in her destiny. On one of her weekly days when she visited the college, she came to know about the study trip of final year students. Srijit was given the responsibility for the trip. He always motivated students and never said no for any suggestion students brought up.

It was students’ interest which forced him to plan a trip. Students decided the female mentor accompanying them in the trip. It was that day after eight months that Sarahana spoke to him through texting him a message, only to inform him something about the female colleague accompanying them. She asked Srijit to be careful and aware of her. Since the trip was planned she wished Srijit a safe trip and safe return.

Sarahana became busier in the family wedding and was on leave for two weeks. Sarahana planned to invite Srijit and his family to her family wedding, because Srijit was on his trip with students she couldn’t.

Two weeks later Sarahana was back to her college. A group of students came to her narrating different tales of the trip. These students spoke about all the immoral activities between Srijit and their fellow girl student. They even showed her the photographs of the trip.

After a day or two Sarahana listened to many rumors about Srijit’s immoral conduct in trip. This enraged her. She went to Srijit’s office and asked him only one thing: whether the rumors in the college about the trip are true”. To her astonishment, Srijit truly didn’t know about the rumors spreading regarding him in the college. She started weeping before him and said, “Are you working so dedicatedly in this college from past six years to see this day?” This brought tears in the eyes of Srijit. It was on this day, after a long time both of them spoke face- to-face bringing tears in their eyes.

The rumor spread like wild fire in the college. Even the people who knew Srijit very well spoke about it. This was the most difficult phase for Sarahana. Sarahana asked Srijit many a times to speak about it and prove it wrong. But Srijit didn’t utter a single word. She was not able to understand him. When he has not done anything wrong, then why he is not speaking about it was her doubt.

Sarahana could not witness and bear the damage done to Srijit’s reputation. Without thinking about the consequences of her action she decided to leave that college forever. Though she was one of the best faculties of the college and had good relations with everyone around and had nothing to do with this rumor, she left college.

The sick mentality of her colleagues who believed the rumor and spread it hurt her a lot.

Somewhere within, she felt that Srijit broke her trust. Deeply saddened within she moved away from him. Until now Srijit and Sarahana used to see each other. But after Sarahana’s departure from that college their eyes hardly met ever.

Whenever Sarahana was out with her family her eyes searched and looked for only one person Srijit. But that day never came again when Srijit and Sarahana met co-incidently outside. The two lovers parted heavy heartedly. The bond of friendship which both of them cherished was crushed to earth and was lost in the past.

After her departure from the college Sarahana took three months to recover from the damage done to her due to Srijit’s rumors. In these three months she went through all the tough time. Her love and addiction to Srijit started affecting her physical and mental health. Her thought regarding Srijit’s infidelity towards her took her in depression every now and then. Every day she felt guilty for her choice of life partner and underwent depression. This affected her to an extent that she lost interest in life. She became a body with a dead soul. A day came when she thought of ending her life. She felt that death would only redeem her biggest mistake of life- Srijit. This initiated a feeling of self guilt in Sarahana. She began cursing herself for meeting the wrong person in her life. After many complexities which she underwent for three months she started regaining her physical and mental health. It was only because of the strength and motivation given to her from her family members. Her parents infused energy in her every now and then. They started healing her saying that she was the most important members, the family needed. She has to live and work for her family.

“Love yourself to love others” is an often quoted quotes. What happens when one starts cursing and hating oneself was seen in Sarahana. After this phase of life Sarahana stood once again for her family. She regained all the lost self-confidence and strength gradually.  This life came like a second birth to her.

But Sarahana investigated the matter of Srijit’s rumor after her recovery. The batch of final year students was divided into several groups. There was a group of three girls completely ignored by their female mentor. Srijit was neutral towards all the students in the trip. He always stood for the unity of class. But the female mentor accompanying him did not co-operate with him. The group of three girls complained Srijit about the ignorance of their female mentor towards them. So he thought of being with them since they were undergoing partial treatment from the female mentor. Female mentor and a girl from the same batch took this as an opportunity and created rumors about Srijit after returning from trip. The girl with the female mentor took the worst revenge possible by creating filthy rumors about another girl in the group of three, whom she hated and was jealous about from the beginning of their graduation. Since Srijit supported those three girls, he became the victim of one of the worst experiences of his life, which hurt him and broke him badly.

The gossiping rumors hurt Sarahana deeply. For the first time in her life she saw to what extent a woman can go down to take the revenge from her co-worker, who has not done anything. The female mentor did not leave a single stone unturned to damage the reputation of Srijit. Srijit was quiet only for one reason. He always respected each and every girl and woman. He tolerated every accusation on him silently. Sarahana came to know about it only after leaving the college. And this virtue of Srijit raised his respect in the heart of Sarahana. Her admiration for him grew deeply after this.

She joined one of the reputed institutions, the next academic year (which was third year in teaching career).  She involved herself completely in work, so that a single thought should not take her back to Srijit. She wanted to avoid and ignore Srijit even in her thoughts. Why was she doing all this? Sarahana was a morally strong girl who firmly believed that love happens only once in life and that is after marriage. She was braught up with this rigid notion from her childhood. But her love towards Srijit disturbed and dismantled this belief of Sarahana.

This year began with a fight.  It was a fight she fought with herself to prove she was wrong. She wanted to prove herself that she never loved Srijit. She tried to keep her mind busier in work. But as soon as the work got over, mind would sweep gently towards Srijit. The more she involved in work, the more she would think about Srijit. She failed to forget him a single moment. Srijit was within her, attached to her soul. How would she separate him from herself? She was trying to hit a stone and hurt her own self. But gradually she started accepting the fact that it was love.

This feel of acceptance made her love herself. She was altogether a changed person now. Each day of her life came like a blessing from God. She read about a concept called “Rise in love”. It is easy to fall in love and lose yourself completely. But when you rise in love you not only gain yourself, but also the entire world. Falling in love and spoiling each other’s career and life is something which is a common love phenomenon observed in our daily lives. But rising in love not only to motivate your love but each and every life on this beautiful planet is a unique experience which Sarahana enjoyed.

She secretly followed Srijit’s activities. His good deeds always motivated her. She finally understood the reason behind Srijit’s silence during the difficult phase of his life. Srijit believed that, when he never did anything that was wrong why he should waste his time proving himself to be right.

But by the time Sarahana realised it was love and Srijit never broke her trust, she was already too away from him. Her morality was a barrier again, not allowing her to meet him. The love between them was in its purest and pious form.

On the other hand Srijit missed Sarahana each and every moment. He started living with his and Sarahana’s beautiful memories in his department. His love for her was unbound, infinite and unconditional. On every birthday of Sarahana he spent his time travelling to a new place in solitude, missing her company.

Sarahana was loyal and committed to Srijit that she never thought of marrying any other person. But she never told him about it. On the other hand Srijit dedicated his free time for a national cause and never thought about any girl other than Sarahana. But even he never told her about it. Srijit and Sarahana are loyal and committed to each other and would do so till the end of their lives without letting each other know the depth of love existing between them.

Even after all these complexities, their eyes met every four minutes, not face-to-face but on a digital mediator, which only both knew.

It was time and the situation which separated them. But Sarahana knew very well her Srijit was never wrong and shall never do wrong. It is time and the situation that will unite them. So let the supremacy of time reign the world!

When you like someone you always try to gain them, but when you love someone you cherish them secretly in your heart forever and ever letting them grow in your heart and in the world of their own forever and ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stuti Tiwari (INDIA)

Ms. Stuti Tiwari is Assistant Professor (on contractual) in Dept. of English, Central University of Karnataka. Reading books and writing poems, articles, short stories, realistic fiction are her hobbies.

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