A woman aged 17, gentle at heart and sound of mind, and pink of health, got married to a man of 27, strong of build, and equally solid of character. This story is set in Mumbai, India. Slummy Mumbai might I add. It was like most indian marriages arranged very ideally by well meaning and sensible parents.
Now let's name them since I didn't know of their names. The man seemed very Raju ish. And the woman seemed very Aradhana ish.
Okay so, Raju and Aradhana lived a nice enough life and from the love they shared soon a baby boy was conceived. Aradhana, 19 and heavily pregnant was rushed to the hospital one early February morning when her water broke. Raju was at her side, at his supportive strong best. The doctors decided after hours of deliberation that a C-section would be the best course of action to take and Raju not being able to see his wife in the pain she was going through, readily consented.
22 years later, I was at that same hospital. It was my 7th or 8th visit in the general ward and the only constant I'd observed was the presence of this one woman, frail as a stick, a bag of bones really. She wore her hair like a young boy's. Every one of my visits I noticed a man I presumed to be a ward worker by her side. The woman was mentally ill and the only time I heard her voice, meek and in bursts of playful "aah"s was when that man was around. During my last visit at the hospital, curiosity had the best of me and I found out the story of the woman who never left.
On that fateful day 22 years ago, Aradhana overdosed on anesthesia due to negligence of the doctors. It attacked her nervous system messed her up pretty bad. Irreversible bad. So the family sued the hospital and to compensate it was agreed Aradhana would stay for free, till it was her time to leave the world. That man was no ward worker, he was Raju and for 22 years, every day, twice a day, he came to see his wife, to feed her, to entertain her by playing music, mostly religious music on his phone speakers. He was always smiling, not once did I see him frown. He was there to exercise her stiff muscles, to help her sit up, talk to her, carress her, soothe her, put her to sleep. He was there to love her, nurture her. To be her only loyal support system, never failing, always strong and around. The son hadn't gone to see his mother for years. Claims it's too painful to see his mother in the state she's in. But Raju will always be there for Aradhana, I am sure of it.
This reenforced the idea that love can be a constant guide. The force of love is undeterring, determined and all powerful.