Yes, I have been very choosy in life!!! Always seeking perfection!!! The quest for so, most of the time, can lead a person to a route bejeweled with afflictions! A journey so distasteful, as each step unfolds a cryptic layer, unravels a striking contradiction, unmasks the other side of the coin! Yet I fervidly attempt to gather the gems and discard the unsought stones!!!  

Herein, is a dedication to those women who have left an indelible mark on my heart, & my entire being reverberates with their impact! The fairer gems of my life!!!

The first gem of a woman I met in my life, whom I adore forever, is my (cousin) sister-in-law, my JYOTI BHABHI. Another “J” of my life!!! She is special to me than any kith n kin! I was hardly 3-4 years old when she was betrothed in my maternal family. All I remember vividly is that I was so besotted by her that I kept glued to her throughout the wedding ceremony & followed her to her bed-room, on her special night, least aware that my prolonged stay over there, could have been so unwanted. I had engrossed myself in admiring her & her trousseau, stuttering in my awe, while she kept adorning me with her jewellery with amused patience! The fun of it was short-lived though, as my overbearing mom walked in & spoilt my gusto with her unceasing rage at my “bad behaviour”! In no time the red faced me was dragged out of the room, & in an aftereffect slumber, I was taken home.

 Somehow I did not get over those pleasant moments that I shared with the beautiful bride! I longed to encounter her once again! Later, many a times I got the opportunity to visit my maternal family house, I would search for her from room to room, floor to floor, but could never find her, I longed for a glimpse of her, but to no avail. I wondered where that bride from the fairy land had disappeared to. Sometimes I did come across my favourite cousin brother, her husband, mostly surrounded by the elders; I would innocently ask him,” Billu Paji, where is your wife?” He would lovingly pat my cheek with a wry smile, & before I could get my answer, I was hushed out of the room by the elders. I sensed something fishy but could not guess!        

In a couple of years, I apprehended the scenario, Jyoti bhabhi’s beauty, composure, aura & class had intensified the resentful jealousy of the so called elderly women of the family, mainly, (ashamed to mention), my own mom & “masi” (maternal aunt-my mom’s elder sister); who had a strong hold on their brother’s families, and concentrated more on them rather than their own respective families! They overtly indulged in their fault-finding, and their bitterness outscored all norms of decency to the point, wherein, the newly-weds were brutally separated. The worst was that when J. B. (Jyoti Bhabhi), was forced to part from her hubby, she had already conceived, yet it did not soften the hard-hearted women. They also preferred over-looking the pathetic plight of my cousin bro. His depression did not in the least melt their wrong intentions, rather whenever he tried to declare his love for his wife; he was advised to forget her & comply, to marry some-one else! He was left dumb-founded! Soon, he gathered enough courage to stand by his adorable wife, within months he walked in with his wife J.B. & their new-born daughter- Rakhi. Much to the dismay of the elders who were yet unrepentant of stealing away the golden moments of the loving couple!!! In spite of now staying in the family, the couple & their child were almost treated like an outcast!

I am sure there are no guesses… to… that who was the most elated with the re-entry of J.B.!!! You bet…a little girl…Seema Kapoor!!! Whenever I visited my maternal family, I looked forward to be in the endless presence of J.B., attract her attention & win her approval; for which I willingly evaded playing with my cousins, evaded the smothering company of relatives, and evaded the prying of the elders. I simply sat awe-struck in her presence, watching every move, every detail of her, and it never seemed to be enough!!! Never enough of her most gorgeous face, her mystifying voice, the fragile movements of her supple body, the magic of her appealing  aura & ultra personality, her gentleness towards me, her enchanting smiles, her killing acknowledgement of me & an unsaid understanding of my predicament. It was like a trance, I wanted to belong to her, and how I wished that I was her child, so that no one could separate me from her!!!  All my feelings for her were just kept embedded in my heart, mind, eyes & dreams. I was so shy n conscious in her presence that I could never express or utter my deep-rooted feelings for her, rather, with great effort, I normally met my eyes with her. Whenever I praised her, I was subjected to grave rebuke from my mom n aunt! The more I was discredited for her by all, the more defiant I got, in boldly loving & favouring J.B! Day by day I kept getting more n more attached to J.B., my bro, & their daughter-Rakhi; and more n more alien to my entire clan!!!

Decades & decades have passed by….TODAY….I still dote on Jyoti Bhabhi….adore her for her wisdom, her calm, mature, patient & understanding nature….having paid the price….still alien to the rest of my entire clan….&….NO REGRETS!!!


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