For a long time as a teenager in her last year I have wondered what true love is. So what is true love? The son who must walk one thousand miles to see his sick mother? The mother who sells her soul so that her children not live in poverty? Or the king who gives up his youth to look after his people?
May be in different space and time we have our own versions of true love. But all of us know that true love is certainly divine and that which has the ability to survive against all odds. It’s unique quality is its natural impulse to stand against mediocre minds or the ridicule of society.
A long time back before I was born, before television came to Bhutan and during the time when snow fell every winter, my paternal grand mother was living with the man who would become the father of her children in the near future. Like many women and few men in her time she wasn’t educated and she was bound to stay back home or either work in the fields. Women had no roles in the social and political ladder during that period. They started to gain some recognition only when they got married to men who were politically involved either at the community or national level.
Who wouldn’t marry my grand mother? Not because she was pretty or had perfect nose,eyes,etc.. But because she was a decent girl one who had never come in contact with the opposite sex without people not being around her. And unlike today not all men was educated those days so this influenced them to make decency a priority while looking for a spouse over a pretty face or a terrible past.
I do not know if my grand father was in love at the time when he married my grand mother or if the idea of marriage with the coming of age just occurred to him when he met her. But oh dear lord my grand father with whom I rarely get along and whose love and affection I have hardly been subject to is sure the luckiest man I know. Because for whatever reasons my grand mother got married to him she loved him all along.
We are often said that there is a huge difference between the educated and the uneducated like the Nile and the Ganges. Both are great in their own way yet they are so different in qualities. The educated is able to see that there is a horizon above the clouds while the uneducated only see the clouds because they are ignorant and are filled with bigotry.
Given all that points the era during which my grand mother lived the later years of her youth was remotely close to barbaric. The first man to own television in town were a symbol of divinity to the rest of the village men. And Nobody wanted their sons or brothers to be seen with whores who actually pleased them in secrecy.
The hardest years of her life were yet to come. Right after her children started to read and write my grand father started his endless voyage of discovering in every women he met the need to bore children from them as well. But my grand father was smart because at the end of the day it was my grand mother to whom he resorted to.
My grand mother wasn’t the dumbest person in town because all along she was aware of what every household was trying to tell her and after all women invariably know what their husbands are up to. So it took not only courage but patience to stand against the ridicule of society. I think this is what she told herself every night,”love is not only a feeling but more importantly an act.”
After many years when I can finally read and write and read more she and my grand father are still together. She never went to school but has more wisdom than any great scholar I know. Patience is something that’s been rooted not in her body but in the very corners of her soul, where no man or divine figure can ever enter.
Sadly many of us aren’t my grand mother not because of reasons to do anything with modern education or feminism but because we know it sucks away all our energy. And only the gifted ones know how to Handel it.
Unfortunately I am afraid that a little of what my grand mother is thrives in me..