This was the happiest moment of my life. I kept smiling to myself and hugging the letter. I cannot say for how long I had been waiting for this letter. It was indeed a dream come true for me. It was not a very long letter. All it said was, “I have wanted to write this for a long time. But I could not muster enough courage. Today finally I open my heart to you. You are the love of my life. You are now the very purpose of my existence. I just cannot imagine life without you. I want to embed you as the jewel in the hollow of my existence for eternity. Will you marry me?”
This was the shortest letter I had received from him. The usual sweet nothing letters would have been much easier to write. But for this kind of letter he would have had to pour out his deepest feelings on to paper. It must have definitely been tough. But I was so happy he had finally done it. I grabbed a pen and began to write to him, “I have been eagerly waiting to receive this letter from you. I am so glad that you wrote this. I cannot match your eloquence in expressing my love for you. But it is my lack of skill with words that is to blame and not the lack of feeling.”
Suddenly I stopped midway. I would finish the letter and send it out to him. We would then officially be a couple. But then what next? Was love alone enough for marriage? Marriage is not a private thing between just the two of us like these letters. Doubts began to creep into my mind. What will my father say? My father’s image sprang up in front of me. He was looking at me with his loving eyes. I could not meet them. Would he be angry with me? Would he be disappointed? He has such high hopes from me. All our relatives had dissuaded him from sending me away to hostel for my medical course. They had wanted him to put me in a normal degree course at the local college. But he had stood against them like a rock. “I want to see my little girl as a great doctor who will save hundreds of lives. I have full faith in her. Not only will I send her to hostel for the MBBS, but also abroad for MD if she so desires. She is my daughter. I know she will excel in her studies and make us all proud.”
His declaration had had finality in them. None of the friends or relatives could shake his faith in me. Have I now let him down? Have I proven everyone else right and him wrong? What have I gone and done? But then what could have I done? Not like I did anything purposely. It just happened. Dad will understand. After all his marriage with mom was also a love marriage. He would definitely know that we have no control over matters of the heart.
But then even if he agrees, there is this other issue. Phani is not a Christian. Though dad and mom had a love marriage, not only were they both Christians, they also belonged to the same denomination. Dad is too devoted a Christian. He would not even have imagined me marrying anyone but a Christian even in his wildest dreams. So what do I do? Even if my dad were to agree, what will society say? He is already considered something of a rebel for letting me pursue higher studies staying at a hostel. If I were to have a love marriage to a boy of a different religion, that’s it! Our family would become total outcastes! Is this how I repay my family for all that they have done for me?
Does that mean I should turn down Phani’s love? But I could not even bear the thought of that! How could I do such a thing? He loved me so much! I remembered how he had cut corners to save up to get me a gift for my birthday. I remembered how when my father was having financial troubles, he had left all his work and followed up with his uncle at the income tax department to get my father’s troubles resolved. I remembered each and every one of his letters written with so much care to cheer me up when I was down. He was doing one thing or the other for me all the time. This was the first time he was asking something of me. And I refuse? How heartless!
I just do not know what to do. Then suddenly an idea struck me! Rachel! She can help me. She is always sensible and well grounded. And what more, she is my closest friend. She has known me since childhood. She can give me the best possible advice. Let me call her up and talk to her.
Next Part: Four Letters and a Phone Call - II