Keerti and Unni were my class mates in engineering. I have seen them always sitting together in Library. The so called conventional types, I must say. Whenever I inquire about the relationship both of them give the same cliché reply, ‘Friendship’. I became very close to them during 3rd semester. Like most of my classmates, I preferred to see them as ‘the best’ couple. I knew him as a very religious person who visits temple at least once a week. He converted to vegetarianism quoting that eating non-vegetarian food leads a person to think like an animal. (Good topic for a debate :) ).
Keerti is a tough lady. I remember one incident during our college days. In the 8th semester of engineering, Unni proposed her. She responded that she too likes him but she is ready to marry him only with her parents’ agreement. I am supposed to keep this a secret.(Between you and me Shh..) She considered her parents' choice above her conscience. I somehow wished I had a sister like this.
It took 6 months for Unni to get a nice paying job whilst she was already working. He wasted no time in approaching her parents and letting them know about his affection. Her parents, like most of the village parents, said a big NO to the relationship. Caste came as a villain in their relationship. He is a Pillai & she, Nair. Even though both of them were against the caste system, she took a stand that she can’t proceed with the relationship because her parents were against it. She was not even ready to let her parents know that she is in love with Unni. According to her, letting them know is equivalent to ‘forcing’ them to accept this proposal and she never wanted to disturb her parents. This stand of her annoyed me. I had one of my biggest fights with her on that day. End of it, She stopped explaining the reason and only mentioned that 'the chapter is closed'. As a person who knows both of them very well, I took the role of a moderator and tried to convince her family. There was no outcome for that long conversation also. Later, Unni flew to middle east and I lost touch with him. As we are working in the same field, I chat with Keerti once in a while.
Last week, a relative of mine eloped with her boyfriend. My uncle and aunt were poignant about the incident. For the first time I looked at the whole episode from a parent's point of view. I strongly felt that she should've informed her parents before taking this extreme step. After seeing my Uncle's situation I was in a dilemma on ‘The correct and wrong perspective’. I phoned Keerti and apologized for the fight we had and the side I took without bearing in mind her point of view.
Keerti responded sadly, ‘No.No..You were right on that day. I regret for the wrong decision I took.'