“Mom, is this your class picture ?”, asked Lena.
” No”, replied her younger sister Trudi.
” See , the date is written here ..Class of 1992. Its dad’s “, continued Trudi.
They were going through the stuff in the old trunk in the attic. This was an annual routine for the girls since past few years, when they had suddenly discovered their love for old manuscripts or relics as they called it! In reality the attic was the final resting place of all cherished objects of the past. The girls were looking for their parents old dresses or anything which they could design into a costume. For Halloween was fast approaching , and both Trudi and Lena wanted to be something exotic this time.
The girls were only a year apart, with Lena being the older one at thirteen. She had just entered high school while Trudi was in seventh grade . But both girls had enough enthusiasm about Halloween like any five year old! They loved to decorate the house with scary objects and old relics.
” You are mistaken dears, that is my class 12 picture ,” said Rynah , their mother.
She was a plain unassuming woman who had spent all of her life taking care of others in her life.
” But mom,look here! dad is here, right in the middle row next to the tall guy. He was so handsome then..”, giggled Trudi .
” what do mean then, he still is! “, Rynah beamed.
“oh, whatever.. can I use this black scarf? ”
“Sure dear, but what will do with it?” asked Rynah.
“Maybe I will use it as a prop” mused Trudi.
Meanwhile Lena was busy going through a chest of drawers. Suddenly she exclaimed
” Guys, look at this …we have two of those pictures! ”
” what, which one?” jumped Trudi as excited as ever at the hint of a mystery. She was a big fan of Nancy Drew, and was always sleuthing for imaginary clues.
“Wow, there’s dad again ! Why did he order for two copies ? Or was it buy one get one free…”, giggled Trudi.
” But they never had those kind of offers in those days , right Lena?”
” Wait a second, mom is that you here , sitting in the first row, far left ? I don’t believe this! ” screamed Lena.
” Yes , its you alright . The hairstyle is the same old fashioned, and you were still wearing a boring skirt with that plain top…. I don’t believe this… I don’t … YOU AND DAD WERE IN THE SAME CLASS” she literally yelled.
” OMG!! You had a LOVE MARRIAGE and you didn’t tell us all this while! ” shouted Trudi.
All this while Rynah’s face had experienced a series of emotions which the girls failed to notice in their excitement. Now they waited with bated breath to hear their mothers answer.
Rynah took a deep breath before answering , ” No “, she said quite emphatically, ” We did not have a love marriage, it was an arranged marriage “.
“But mom , how do you explain this ? You guys were actually studying together in the same class! ” argued Trudi.
” Don’t tell us it was a coincidence…” said Lena , ” because it is boring”.
” But darlings , it was just that. A coincidence. ” Said Rynah firmly. ” Our parents fixed it, and it worked for us “.
” Okay, whatever… boring, boring…”, and Trudi went out with the scarf.
Lena also resumed her search of the drawers. Rynah went to the window. There was still some daylight left. She smiled , yes she whispered it was an arranged marriage …. to herself. Only her God inside her heart knew the truth! Not even her husband! That it was actually a love marriage arranged by her God! She remembered the day he had entered the class , just when it was about to begin. It was Calculus , her favourite subject. He was the new student , had just joined that year. They were in the eleventh grade, they were all sixteen years old, but it was junior college then. Rynah’s heart a missed a beat when she saw him! He was so handsome … and dashing ..with that ever ready grin of his. She had fallen in love that very moment!
Within days most of the girls were in love with him too! He had become the dashing heartthrob of the entire college. But he didn’t seem to care about any girl in particular . He talked with all and was friendly with all. But he had never spoken to Rynah ever… Actually it was she who didn’t dare to talk to any boy.She was painfully shy and conscious about her plain looks… She was sure that even if she had attempted to talk to him she would have been speechless! But she loved him… secretly, painfully, wholly .
They were in the same class for two years. She heard that he had joined medicine and would be a Vet. She went on to do her masters . But Rynah went on loving him ..more and more, as each day, as each year passed. She never failed to look at the class picture once in a day. But deep in her heart wished , she longed for some miracle to happen . She wanted to be with him. She wanted him to love her ! Only her God knew her wish.
She never set eyes on him again , until his parents came to visit hers. They turned out to be from the same village who had migrated elsewhere , but wanted to return to their roots. They liked Rynah , and asked for her hand for their son who was a Veterinary surgeon. Her parents didn’t have any objection and since Rynah knew that miracles rarely happen she abide by their wish.
It was after nine years that she saw him again , this time at her house. She was stunned! Only her God had given her strength to carry on as usual. He was more handsome than ever, and charming. When he spoke, he was very kind and gentle. Rynah’s heart cried with tears of pain but this time happiness flowed with it. She loved him even more today, and he too loved her. Her wish had come true , and she was blessed with two lovely children. She was truly blessed …She sighed ….It was getting dark , he would be home soon…
She turned from the window and said, ” It was an arranged marriage”.
“Uh..what.. what mom. oh whatever.. I can’t find anything here”..Lena groaned.