From Being Close
- Part 2 -
R.K. Shitaljit Singh *
After a while, Choubhan said, "Tharo, listen. Have you not been able to know your son from the time he was a wee baby? He will marry the woman he desires and you cannot interfere. I did not marry you by choice. I saw your face the day I married you. The ones I desired, I had to leave behind because my elders did not agree. I married because I did not want to hear their taunts anymore. But I still feel the loss of giving up whom I wanted, to this day. So, you cannot speak more on this. I will go and meet Kombirei's parents."
A month has passed by since Kombirei became Tharo's daughter-in-law. Tharo continued to think that Kombirei with her lowly family background would not be able to fit into the ways of the family and to serve the elders with the decorum that was needed.
Kombirei knew that her looks alone would not be able to please her mother-in-law. But she still had to live in close proximity with the one person she had thought she should stay far away from.
One day Tharo called in her daughter-in-law and said, "Kombi. Isn't it true that I was the cause for your tears even while you stayed at your parents' place?"
Kombirei did not reply but remained as mute as a pillar. Looking at her predicament, Tharo continued, "Be frank and don't lie. Tell me, isn't it true?"
"Did you not say to Subol that you would have to go your separate ways for this lifetime?"
"Yes, I did."
"That has not happened."
"I don't know."
"It was your father-in-law. I constantly opposed it while Subol was caught in the middle. But Kombi, my feelings have changed. You have changed them. Your nature has impressed me, made me realize…"
Kombirei now knew she had been able to please her mother-in-law. Feeling a sense of contentment, she thought she would tell Subol of the development later in the day. After sometime, she asked if she could go.
Tharo stopped her with a "wait" and continued, "Listen, we women are immature. We stay confined to the house and stay ignorant. But we think that we are the cleverest in this world and do not pay heed to what our husbands say. We judge their words as mockery and make fun of what they say. You have corrected my wrong belief. Do not ignore your husband's words only because you do not agree with it, but only if you know that they are wrong."
She bade Kombirei to go and she went off to finish the household chores.
Choubhan came back and turned to Tharo, "Tharo, has your low born daughter-in-law still not managed to satisfy you with her manners?"
"She has only exceeded my expectations."
"I know. You only acted like you do not know. You believe that only you love your son while the father doesn't. Isn't it so?"
"Let it be. Now I realize."
Subol who had come in while his parents were talking asked, "Why are you both shouting?"
"Oh! Your mother wants my daughter-in-law as her own. I heard that stealthily. I was only asking her over that."
Tharo, "Eh! You listened stealthily? Isn't that surprising?"
"Hmm, you will be surprised. You women will only live a life full of surprises. You will meet surprises at every step you take."
Tharo then called her daughter in law to ask, "Ibemma, will you be your father-in-law's daughter-in-law only? What about me?"
Kombirei listened with surprise but remained silent. Choubhan said then, "Ibemma, she was not part of it. I came to take you as my daughter-in-law. Do not be her daughter-in-law."
Tharo spoke again, "Kombirei, don't you have any affection for me? Will the anger you brought from your home still remain?"
Hearing her mother-in-law's words, Kombirei bowed at Tharo's feet and replied, "I am my father-in-law's daughter-in-law and my mother-in-law is my most loved mother."
At Kombirei's words Subol asked her, "Kombi, do you know what made my mother say this?"
"From being close."
* R.K. Shitaljit Singh Singh wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
This is translated from Manipuri by Chitra Ahanthem
This article was posted on January 04, 2014.
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