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Joroos’ Day

It is for the first time that my Secretary, Lachhman Dass, during his 30 years of working with me, dared to ask me: “When Sisters’Day — Raksha Bandhan, Fathers’ Day, Mothers’ Day are celebrated, why not Wive’s Day or Husbands’ Day?..." Khushwant Singh writes.

columns Updated: Oct 07, 2012 22:57 IST
Khushwant Singh
Khushwant Singh
Hindustan Times

It is for the first time that my Secretary, Lachhman Dass, during his 30 years of working with me, dared to ask me: “When Sisters’Day — Raksha Bandhan, Fathers’ Day, Mothers’ Day are celebrated, why not Wive’s Day or Husbands’ Day? Do they not love each other or are not faithful to each other?” He did not want to mix it up with ‘Valentine Day’.

I had no answer. He also wanted to know when a couple, who has lived together more than six or seven decades, mingled in each other, created families of sons, daughters, grand-daughters and settled them in every respect by giving them their blood and tears, and if one of them suddenly breathed his or her last, how the left-one could bear this irreparable loss? Often it has been seen that he or she goes under depression or loses the Will to live and as a result he dies soon after his wife’s death.

What he wanted to say was that his wife, Lacchmi, breathed her last on February 6 this year after completing her 65 years of married life with him by serving him devotedly land sincerely. In his words: “Actually she worshipped me. She was a rare Insaan — humanbeing — in the real sense of the word, because in this world Bhagwans are commonly found, but real Insaans are rare, She was an example of a real mother, sister and even mother-in-law. Her four children (Dharampal, Dinesh, Nirmal & Snehlata) and her daughter-in-law, Poonam, were at her beck and call during her brief illness, because she gave them enormous love and care and even she died in her daughter-in-law’s lap. Her motto was: “Work is worship and love His creation”. She never believed in going to temples or shivalas.

Lachhman Dass saw her dying and remarked:

Merey samney jo uss ney aankhey parat lein,
Main dekhta he reh gaya,
Mera dil ghatney laga,
Aur aankhon say daya beh gaya.

Now at least six months have passed. He has not yet reconciled to her loss. Her eyes are flooded with tears when he sits alone for hours together. He says he is living on her memories. His children ask him to forget the past and not to waste tears. He then relates to them Mirza Ghalib’s couplet:

Dil hee to hai naa sang-o-khishth
Dard say bhar ne aaye kyon?
Royengey hum hazaar baar,
Koi hamein sataaye kyon?

It is a heart, not a brick or stone
Why can’t it sometimes fill with pain?
A thousand tears will I shed,
Why should you all hurt me again and again?

He disclosed to me that after all these months her memory stole back in his mind only last Sunday night and he felt a great relief and was reminded of a couplet by Faiz Ahmed Faiz:

Raat yoon dil mein tetee khoyee huyee yaad aaee,
Jaisey veeraney mein chupkey sey bahaar aa jaaye,
Jaisey sehraon mein hauley sey chaley baad-e-naseem
Jaisey beemaar ko bevajah qaraar aa jaaye

Last night the lost memory of you stole into my mind
Like spring comes silently into the desert
As the soft morning breeze begins to blow
As in one sick, beyond hope, hope begins to grow.

In her eulogy he says:

She was the mine of virtuous honour, of shyness, self esteem,
A guiding star for all of us,
But for her, now our home has become a barron waste,
Without her presence, it has become a weary place.

It is true that every moment dies a man and every moment one is born, but he longs:

“A full wazing moon for my home you were,
Then why could you not shine a little longer!”

Eternal Peace
The old house cold and dark is all lit up.
In the centre hall is the coffin.
The old lady laid up her face no more twisted in pain,
But calm and serene.
The priest chants prayers and sprinkles holy water
The neighbours join in, their faces sad but relief within.
No more to feel guilt, to leave her alone,
They have their own crosses// now they are free,
So is the old lady// gone to her rest // in eternal peacae.

(Alice Saldanha in Poets International)

Cool message by a wife:
Dear mother-in-law, “Don’t teach me how to handle my children, I’m living with one of yours and he needs a lot of improvement.

Sweet demand by kid:
A kid was beaten by his mom. Dad came and asked:
“What happened son?”
Kid says — “I can’t adjust with your wife anymore,
I want my own.”

(Contributed by Vipin Buckshey, Delhi)

First Published: Oct 07, 2012 22:53 IST