By Dalip Singh Wasan

I had completed 52 years of my life with Baldev. I got two children and both are settled in life. Baldev had been very nice to me. It was not a love marriage, but it had been more than a love marriage. These two children had been the product of our love and affection to each other. Baldev was running a small-scale industry and even today he is on that work. For the last 10 years, he was devoting more and more time to me because he could get a manager who had started living in the accommodation attached to the factory and since this fellow had got no family, the servants of the factory had been looking after him.

 I had done my PhD in Psychology and for the last 10 years I had been in a local college as a lecturer and since this was a college run by a local managing committee, I had no chance of transfer and leaving my place. So life had been very nice to me. But for the last two months, I had been put into trouble of its own kind. In a social gathering, one of my friends Suneeta had put me the question. Whether I had ever been in love with a man in my life? I had told her that I had been in love with my husband Baldev and I had been living a very happy life.

But Suneeta was not satisfied. She was still firm on her question and she was talking about the love which we had been reading in books and we had been enjoying in Hindi films. She was also referring to Heer Ranjha and the like. I had countered her that these were all fiction and are not real stories but, in spite of all my replies countering her, Suneeta was not satisfied and told me that I should sit in peace in my house and then have an eye on my past and must try to locate and identify the man whom I had loved or who was in love with me.

And actually this question started haunting me time and again and as and when I was all alone at my house, I started locating the man who was in love with me. I had no faith in old stories of Heer and Ranjha, but still this question of Suneeta’s was in my mind.

And now I wanted to know about the man who had been working as a manager with my husband. My husband had been telling me so many things about that man. He was also about 55 and I had been told that he had not married. He told me that he is simply a graduate and is a Hindu gentleman. My husband had also told me that he belongs to my city. There had been references of this man, but I had no concern with him. But after the question of Suneeta, I had also been busy in knowing more and more about him.

This man might be in love with some girl and there could be possibilities that there had been different religions, different castes, one party could be rich and the other party could be poor and there could be so many social differences because of which they could not marry each other. Actually I wanted to meet this fellow. But somehow, I could not talk much about this man because Baldev could raise so many questions to me.

And one day Baldev was in Delhi and there was a phone call. He was the manager of our factory and his name was Tarsem. I could recognise his voice since this was the man who had been with me in school, in college. He had been very close to me and I could recollect that he had been helping me in my study too. After graduation he had left study and he had told me that since his family cannot afford, so shall be joining some job.

And the things had been over. I never met this fellow again. There had been no occasion in our life when we could propose to each other to marry because I had started M.Sc. Psychology and he had joined service. I was Jat Sikh and he was from a lower class and therefore, there was no occasion that we could propose marriage.

Otherwise, I had been liking this fellow and there was no occasion to say that I love that fellow. There was no tradition of this present type of boyfriend and girlfriend. But since I heard the voice of this Tarsem, I could calculate that this was the man whom I actually loved and my love could have been the cause of his living a life of this type.

And when I started thinking about this man, Tarsem, I lost all happiness, satisfaction and pleasure in my life. I started cursing Suneeta who had put me this question at this stage of my life and put my life into a reverse gear.

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