I was young and she was my first love. Her beauty, her innocence and her smile captured my heart from the moment I saw her for the first time as she walked with her hair flowing in the land of Manipur. I felt the world of love, heard my own heart beat with her reciprocating my feelings. It didn’t matter where we were as long as we were together. Such beautiful feelings and joyous moments to last a lifetime.
I saw her and our love only. My family came to know about my feelings for her. My parents saw her family and status. She was poor and her father is mentally imbalance and they were dead against this relationship. It broke my heart but I was not strong to fight back. I was young, and didn’t know how to handle the situation with my mother wailing. Words reached her or so my mother made sure it reached her, she didn’t take the rejections well. She was hurt and heartbroken. So was I, but nothing that I said would make her alright. Pride and ego could be a strong wall in matters of the heart. She couldn’t get over the things my family said about her father. The long distance didn’t help the relationship and we became more and more distant. I was studying outside Manipur to become a Doctor.
I missed her, her voice, her smile and felt this emptiness and heaviness in my heart, such strong feelings of extreme pain having the same intensity to the love I felt. I wrote to her many times but I was left heartbroken with her not replying to any of my letter (this is before the time of mobile phones). During my final year, I heard that she eloped as a 2nd wife to an older man of high power. The man who helped her to get a job in a government office in an administrative department. I knew deep in my heart it must have been a forced elopement. She couldn’t have loved that old guy with dirty looks, filled only with lust for her. People say man don’t cry but I cried like a child that night and many nights, cried with flames burning my heart. But then I did nothing, nothing to stop it and at times think if I could have done something, anything.
Time went by and I kept myself so busy with my work as a Doctor. I got married to a wonderful lady of my choice (which my parents didn’t approve as she is out of our community, but I didn’t care and I found the strength to do what I wanted) and raised our beautiful children. I am a grand father now and I love my family. But I never really did get over my first love. We have parallel lives but it stayed with me. We never spoke but I saw her one day by chance, couldn’t help watching her from far, in the crowded “Ema Keithel” market with her daughter. It pained me to see that her smile is gone, replaced with a serious look, with lines of wrinkles on her face, a very different picture than what I saw earlier but still a beautiful dignified lady. I hear that she has a hard life, not looked by her husband and she struggles to run her house raising her daughter all alone.
I have the perfect family but somewhere there is a void giving me sleepless nights. To fill the void, I have taken to writing and as words trickles from my pen it’s her I see and I have words and lyrics only for her.
Collection of short stories written by Monica Ingudam. These stories are based on Life’s this and that focusing on Manipur and the people of Manipur.