In the village of Bolepur in India people were very simple minded, superstitious and orthodox in nature. หี They followed the traditional customs and could never think to do anything against the old customs of the society. Aarti lived with her mother-in-law Sarala Deshmukh who was survived by her late husband Gopal Deshmukh. Aarti was an orphan and she was married to Rajesh, son of Gopal and Sarala Deshmukh at a very young age of 14 like all the girls in the village. But Rajesh had died of tuberculosis after 2 years of their marriage. Five years had gone by since then and Aarti lived with her mother-in-law. Aarti was a beautiful girl in comparison of the other girls of her age in the village and had innocence and simplicity both in her looks and behavior. She took great care of her mother-in -law and the house. Gopal Deshmukh used to work in a Government office as a clerk and so both Sarala and Aarti lived on his pension. Though the pension was meager but Aarti and Sarla managed to live on it somehow.
Sarala had sympathy for Aarti as she was living the life of a widow at a very young age. She thought of Aarti as her own child. It was a Sunday morning and Aarti was doing her usual household work when Vimla the next door neighbor came in. Vimla was a middle aged woman whose husband had abandoned her and went to the city. She had no children and was living with her old parents. The incident had made her very rough that anyone’s happiness, specially if someone was happy with their love and marriage, became a sore to her eye and she used to sabotage their relation by spreading dirty rumors about them in the village.
She asked from the doorway, “Aarti, Do you have some sugar in your house? Mine has finished.”
Aarti came out of the kitchen and handed her some sugar in a bowl, “Here Vimla Di!take the sugar.”
Vimla asked, “Where is Sarala Aunty? “
Aarti said, “She has been resting in her room. She was coughing very badly the past few days. The doctor had given some medicines but her health’s not improving. I am really worried.”
Vimla then said, “Dont worry. She will get well soon. I will leave now, I got to finish cooking the lunch.”
And she left. Days went by and so did everyone’s lives in the village. The village had only one secondary school and had only 4 teachers. Among them was Kapil, a young school teacher. Kapil was a young boy in his late twenties. He lived with his parents. Kapil’s father Manmohan Pandey had been a school teacher himself and his mother, Nirmala loved Kapil very dearly. Kapil had graduated in Arts from a college in the city and had returned back to his village to teach the students there as he wanted the development of his village. Kapil was liked by everyone in the village owing to his polite and charming nature. It was the time of village fair and everyone in the village were in the celebration. Little children were excited to buy some new toys and the women could buy the sarees and jewellery for themselves. Kapil was also visiting the fair with his friends when he saw Aarti for the first time. Aarti was seeing some white sarees at a shop with Sarala whose health was a little better now. Kapil was attracted to her simple and innocent looks the moment he saw her. He couldn’t resist himself, so he told his friends, “Guys, I need to go somewhere urgent right now.”and he left. His friends were little surprised at this but then they thought it might be genuine cause. Kapil started following Aarti everywhere she went without getting noticed. Aarti was roaming with Sarala in the fair when she saw some red bangles at a shop. She stared at them and thought how she could never wear those anymore as she was a widow and according to the religious customs a widow cannot wear any jewellery or any colorful dresses. This thought made her sad and a tear rolled down her eye. But she quickly wiped it off as she knew if Sarala saw her cry then she would be hurt and Aarti didn’t want to hurt her. . So she left the fair with Sarala. Kapil saw the whole incident from a distance and he was really touched by her pain.
After some days the fair ended and everyone went back to their regular lives. Kapil thought of Aarti sometimes but as he didn’t know where she lived, he couldn’t meet her. He thought that his story would end there but destiny had other plans for both of them. One day when he was returning from the school he saw Aarti standing on the other side of the road and it seemed that she was in pain. When he took a closer look, he found that something had pricked into Aarti’s toe and she couldn’t take it out. He quickly went towards her to aid her and took out the thorn from her toe.
Aarti was grateful and she said shyly, “Thank You, kind Sir.”
Kapil replied, “Its ok. I saw you at pain from a distance and so I came to help.”
Then they introduced themselves to each other and he walked Aarti to her home. After that he would come to her home often and Sarala also liked him once she got to know him. He became close with their family and it was not long before when both Aarti and Kapil fell in love with each other. After that they used to meet near lakes and other places where they shared each other’s company. One day Vimla saw them sitting by the village lake sitting and holding hands together and romancing. She was furious at the sight and started to find an opportunity to destroy their relation. Kapil and Aarti spent their days in love.
One day when Kapil came to see Aarti he brought some red bangles with him and told Aarti, “I want to see you wear these bangles for me, My Love.”
But Aarti got upset and said.”You know Kapil, being a widow I cannot wear this.”
Kapil said, “But if I marry you then you will be able to wear these.”
Aarti told, “The villagers will never accept our marriage. They will banish us from here and I don’t want to get you or your family hurt for me.”
Kapil took Aarti’s hands into hands and said, “I do not care for the people. We love each other and we are not doing any wrong thing. Nothing will happen. Don’t worry. I will inform my parents today about our marriage and you also tell Sarala aunty. Just keep these bangles with you for now and wear it on our wedding day”Assuring that everything will be alright Kapil left for his home. Aarti stood there for sometime watching the sun set and thinking how to break the news to her mother-in-law, but after sometime she also left.
Kapil told his parents about their marriage plans. Manmohan Pandey was an educated and broad minded man and he understood the thing completely. He said to Kapil, “Son, You have blessings on this. You are doing a good thing by marrying Aarti and giving her happiness and love whose life would otherwise be spent in sorrow.”But his mother Nirmala being a village woman said, “No one would accept this marriage in the village. We cannot go against our social and religious customs and traditions.”But Kapil and his father somehow convinced Nirmala to agree to the marriage.
On the other hand Aarti was preoccupied in her thoughts about the discussion they had. She was just about to enter the house when she heard Sarala coughing very bitterly in her room. She ran to her and saw that Sarala was bleeding cough. Aarti got scared, she helped Sarala drink some water and then quickly ran to call the doctor.
The village doctor came and examined Sarala. After examining her he told Aarti that Sarala is suspected to have blood cancer and there was no treatment for it. She didn’t have much time. The doctor sighed and left. Aarti burst into tears on hearing the news and went to Sarala’s side.
Sarala said coughing, “I don’t want to see you alone in your life. Promise me that you will marry Kapil. He is a good guy.”
Aarti replied crying, “I promise mother, I promise.”
And within few minutes Sarala died. The villagers and Kapil helped Aarti doing the last rites of Sarala. After Sarala’s death, Aarti was left alone in the house. Kapil came to visit her frequently to console her. But Vimla saw this as an ample opportunity to destroy their relation and insult Aarti in front of the whole village.
One day she went to the village elders and told them, “Kapil has been going to Aarti’s house every night and that they were having an affair. They are offending our social customs and beliefs.”This made the villagers angry and they were infuriated. One night around 8o’clock when Kapil was leaving Aarti’s home the villagers came with axes and sticks near Aarti’s house.
They stopped Kapil and shouted, “Both of you are disgracing our social and religion custom and beliefs. This will not be tolerated in our village.”
Kapil replied, “We are not doing anything wrong. We love each other and are willing to get married.”
The villagers got more furious and one of them said, “A widow getting remarried is considered as a sin in our religion.”
And Kapil said, “Then I don’t believe in such religion which believes in such cruelty and I shall marry the one I love.”This made the villagers lose control over themselves and they started beating Kapil.
Hearing the loud noises Aarti came out of her house. When she saw the villagers hitting Kapil she ran towards and stopped the fight.
She cried out loudly, “Why are you beating him? he has not done anything wrong. We both have not done anything wrong. Why is it wrong for a widow to love another man? Are nt we humans? We also have hearts. Why do girls only have to suffer? When men can get married to other women after their wives’ death, then why can’t we? why all the rules are applicable to the girls and not men? Dont we deserve to get happy? We teach our children to promote love and live in harmony and peace. We consider love as a pure thing then why Does Love become wrong when it happens with a widow? Kapil and I love each other and there is nothing wrong that we have done. Then why can’t we get married and live with peace and happiness? “