After Bhoora lost his wife couple of years ago and his daughter got married , he found solace in his job as watchman with local municipality even though he despised his job.For him,the idea of patrolling all around the lake in dark cold winter , was worse than capital punishment.It was like a slow death.The small town used to go into deep slumber during winter.Though it was not unusual to spot few tourists even at this time.After all, it was popular destination for budget honeymoon and the lake was one of major tourist attraction.
It was 2:00 a.m.Bhoora could not find a single soul anywhere except himself. He sat down on bench few hundred yards away from narrow stone steps ,lit a small pile of garbage, put some tobacco in his mouth and wrapped himself in blanket.Bhoora opened his eyes when Church clock stuck three. The fire had turned almost into heap of ashes.It was only then Bhoora saw a shadowy figure near stone steps .Bhoora rubbed his eyes and got petrified with fear to observe that it was a lady.
The local municipality never gave him a mobile phone and Bhoora never bothered to get one for him.The only things provided to him , were a torch and whistle.The lady was almost to step in water.” May be whistle can make lady jump into water.He told himself. If it were Olympics, Bhoora may have won a Gold Medal in Sprint.He grabbed the hand of lady and hastily pulled her away on side of stone steps.The lady lost her balance and fell down.But Bhoora did not let go of her hand.
The light fell on face of the lady.To the utter surprise of Bhoora, she was a young woman who was still wearing her wedding emblems.
“What the hell you are doing here, young lady.” Bhoora murmured.
” I have no home.”She cried hysterically.” I want to die.”
“It is better that you get up and go home rather than Police drags you there.” Bhoora said.Then he raised his hand to whistle.
“Nobody can end my misery but only death.”She sobbed.”It does not matter whether I drown or hang myself.”
“Everyone has got their own miseries.” Bhoora paused for a moment.”This lake would have more dead bodies than fishes if everyone starts giving up.You are too young to know real sorrows.”
“Stop preaching.I am not a kid.” She sputtered and stopped.
Bhoora sat down on stone step.The only thing which had in his mind was to block the way of this Drama queen till Police patrol passes by.
” You surely did not grow up without home all these years.Definitely, you became a part of new family after your marriage.” Bhoora cleared his throat.
“You will not understand.Nobody will understand.I was princess of my Dad.But I embarrassed him.I ran away from him for this guy.This guy made all promises, all big promises.But what he delivered.Nothing.Even for Honeymoon, we came to this graveyard town in Winter.He makes me work like maid and then he says that he is doing everything for our future.Future!! My foot.” Her voice got filled with resentment.
Bhoora could notice the shift in sentiments of the lady.From sobbing to yelling.
Then Bhoora continued.” May be you are right.I was married for 35 years.But I was too busy to meet the needs that I never realized how time flew away.I do not remember a single time when I told my wife that I loved her or she did that.But she knew deep down her conscience that I loved her and I would be there for her till death do us apart.It was reciprocal.I always felt her love.”
Bhoora took out a small necklace from his pocket.”Now what I have is just this gold necklace, her only belonging.The only thing which I bought for her in 35 years.” He continued.
” I told you that you would never understand.I left everyone who loved me for this guy.But I find that this guy does not love me.He can not give his 100% to me.This guy can never give me love which I deserve.His love was fleeting one.Now I can not go back to my family.So where do I go.”The silent night was stabbed by her sobbing.
“Do you see this necklace.It is made of 22 Carat Gold not 24 Carat. 24 Carat gold is good.But to make a solid and long lasting ornament, it has to be adulterated, put through furnace and hammered brutally.A true love may be tempting but it is always fleeting.It comes and go.But never stays.To make love stay forever, it has to be tempered with.”A wide grin found its place on wrinkled face of Bhoora.”That is the only thing which I know about love.”
Bhoora looked at the young lady just to find an awe struck expression on her face.For her, it seemed to be a moment of revelation.Bhoora was relieved to see a Police vehicle stopping few hundred yards away from them and a man jumping out of vehicle towards the lady.The man who seemed to be husband, took the lady in a tight embrace while mumbling some sweet noting.The lady had a glance at Bhoora before burying face in sweater of her husband and bursting into tears.
Bhoora looked at the necklace. It was merely a piece of copper with a gold polish. His daughter forgot it with him during her last visit.He smiled and pushed the thing back into his pocket.