Love, the many-splendoured thing

Love, the many-splendoured thing

Representative image. (Credit: Pixabay Photo)

Our profession brought us together in the mid-1950s. Iyer and I had joined the same Steel Plant in 1956 and shared a room as trainees in the erstwhile Soviet Union, during which period we found each other to be on the same wave-length in many aspects. Life moved on for the Iyers, as per their chalked out blueprint till their only son, fell in love with a girl from a different caste and married her as per civil law. Though their daughter-in-law (orphaned at a young age and totally self-made) was highly qualified, professionally well-placed besides being endowed with an extremely sweet and amicable temperament, the Iyers could not reconcile with this development.   

Before the turbulence of the event could fade, cruel fate struck, completely destroying the fabric of the family. My friend’s wife died in a freak accident within a year of the entry of the bride into the family. To my horror, Iyer was convinced that his daughter-in-law’s stars were responsible for this calamity! Dejected to the core, he at once detached himself from his son’s family, left his lucrative job and settled down alone renting a small house in a temple town down south. No amount of entreaties from the youngsters could change his mind and he withdrew from them, cocooning himself in his warped convictions.

Years rolled by and, despite my incessant efforts, there appeared to be no change of heart. Drained physically and mentally the old man fell ill and was bed-ridden. Learning of his condition, the daughter-in-law took leave from her busy job, rushed to his place, took full charge of the situation and nursed him with filial love like a devoted daughter till he recovered.

A couple of months later, I was pleasantly surprised by Iyer’s unexpected visit. He appeared to be a totally changed person. “What a blunder I have committed all these years!” he lamented in a choked voice, tears flowing in profusion. “Who was I to question the will of God? What a fool I must have been to expect the mighty river of love to flow the way I desire? Look at my daughter-in-law and her divine magnanimity despite my hurting her so ruthlessly.  She has more God in her than I have in me! I have decided to join them and atone myself in the soothing stream of their love!”

The fragile man-made barrier that had separated them had been shattered by the power of realisation that real values and ultimate truth of life have nothing to do with caste, creed and religion!