“Mankind has uncovered so many secrets of the Universe. Let’s just consider time. We used to believe ‘time and tide wait for no one.’ Unidirectional linearity of time is what we feared. But now we know that time is an illusion. All the events, our past, our future, they exist simultaneously. Depending on how you play the events time can run fast-forward, backward or in a loop, just like a cassette. So if we have freed ourselves from the shackles of time, why should we still be enslaved by the superstition that Age is linear? Why do we have to be born, grow old, become weak and then die; in the same order?
For those who don’t know me and why I am standing here. I am on this stage to break this blind belief of yours…”
20 YEARS AGO…
“No! This is un-acceptable. This is not happening!” Yelled a man.
“How dare you? Who are you to decide?” yelled another.
“I’m your elder brother Alex.” Said the obese man with slight gray hair and thick black moustache. He appeared to be in his late 40s.
“So what, Ajay da (brother)?” responded Alex rudely. Alex was a nerdy thin young man with his curly messed up hair and round glasses that kept on sliding over his greasy nose because he had applied vapor rub on it. He looked too young for a man in his 30s.
“While our father was busy with his continuous business trips, I was the one who took care of you. Does that mean nothing to you?” said Ajay further raising his voice. He might have teared up a bit.
These were two brothers arguing over something while being watched by an old woman lying on the bed. She was very old, weak skinny body, wrinkled skin and hair white as snow. She was lying flat like a vegetable with a ventilator hooked onto her. She saw those two fighting over her and couldn’t help but tear up.
“Why are you doing this to my mother? Do your really care about her? Until a couple of months ago she was just an experiment to you and now this!” Said a middle aged woman sitting at the bed side. “I won’t allow it.”
“Bhabhi (brother’s wife), at least you don’t speak about caring. For the two years I have stayed with your mother, Bina, how many times have you payed visit, how many times did you even call. And now all of a sudden you take decisions for her. On the other hand I was the one who took care of her, when she needed YOU the most.” He lashed back fixing his glasses.
The woman felt the guilt and wasn’t as strong willed at arguing as her husband Ajay, the moment she heard Alex’s response she resumed her crying.
Meanwhile old Bina desperately wanted to speak. “Please stop! Please! I don’t want you to fight over me. I should not have said that…” She wanted to say all this but she couldn’t. All the strength she had, she used it to whisper one line in her daughter’s ear. That was, “I want to marry your Brother-in-law Alex.”
“Is this for her money?” Ajay continued the argument. “Our father refused to pay for your stupid research so now you are after my in-law’s money.”
“How dare-achhu?” said Alex while giving out a sneeze.
This argument was going aimlessly wild with no conclusion in sight. Rekha, Bina’s daughter saw pain in her mother’s eyes and finally decided to keep her foot down, “Stop it!” she screamed.
“If my mother wants it then the wedding will happen and that’s final.” She said.
At first when Rekha took this decision it was purely with intention of fulfilling her mother’s last wish. But more she got involved in the wedding prep, she started enjoying it. Perhaps because she has two sons but always wanted a daughter. Now somehow she was gifted with an opportunity to plan a wedding for her daughter in form of her mother. So she made arrangements for all the wedding process as they are meant to be.
Bina’s health wasn’t getting any better so Rekha planned the wedding within the next 4 days and invited people via e-mail on short notice. She even found some medicinal herbs to apply during haldi (a wedding tradition when turmeric paste is applied on the bride’s skin) that would give her mother one day strength to stand or sit during the wedding. It worked.
At the wedding reception with a board that said ‘Bina Royi weds Alex Tinkar’, the hall was crowded with people who showed willingness to attend this wedding. None came with good heart though, some thought it was a freak show, some though Alex is doing this for money, some even placed a bet that Bina would die before the wedding is over, “and then, who gets her money?”
Considering Ajay’s nature, whatever be the reason, all the people came expecting a big family drama. As if they don’t get enough of it in the daily soaps they watch.
While Bina was sitting in the bride’s chair, Rekha leaned over her mother’s shoulder to whisper,
“Are you happy?” she asked.
“I am. But your husband isn’t.” said Bina pointing at grumpy faced Ajay talking on phone away from family relatives.
“In a way it is good.” Said Rekha, “At least he dropped his horrifying idea of hiring a loud DJ for his brother’s wedding.”
Both chuckled and then Rekha stepped down the stage letting her mother have her moment with her newly wedded husband. She wasn’t sure how long this marriage was going to last.
BACK TO PRESENT
“…This is my gift to mankind.” Said Alex while receiving the noble award and reward for his unique contribution to health science. It was the same Alex but he had transformed into a handsome older man with neatly combed hair mostly black with a few stripes of gray, French-beard and in a black suit.
“You know, I wanted to bore you with my speech by telling the process I went through, my research and experiments and the problems I faced, but my lovely wife convinced me otherwise. So for the time she saved let me call her on the stage.” He said looking at a specific woman, “Please come dear and accept this award.”
As the crowd applauded a young woman, just about Alex’s age, stood up and started walking gracefully. She was dressed royally in one long black dress and diamond jewelry. Once standing next to Alex she looked even younger.
“I know my Bhabhi (brother’s wife)-bhaiya (brother) don’t approve this but-.” He interrupted kissing the woman holding her by her hip, “- after all she is my wife.”
“It brings me great pride to introduce my wife to you, Mrs. Bina Royi-Tinkar.”
He continued after handing her the award, “The living proof that Age is linear no more…” While he spoke on the big screen behind him photos were displayed of Bina who appeared and was 70, twenty years ago and now when she looked, well, definitely not 90.
“I call it ‘The Sinusoidal Life’.”