A Slave to Cupid.....Don Quixote......My darling stranger
If I had been an expert in the art of making silent love, I would not have been so noisy.
To you, whom I want to share this story with,
I just had to share my thoughts on a very strange project that I happened to be working on, while on holiday in Coonoor. Since it actually has to do with letters, I feel it’s only right I let you in on it through the written word.
My Mum and Aunt found a whole bunch of letters that my great grand dad and mum had written each other, in a chest in Aymanam. My grand mum (her folks) had held on to them, and on reading some of them the sisters’ felt they had to be preserved a while longer. That’s how I found myself pouring through the letters, dating them and putting them away in order. It’s not so much about the discovery of hidden secrets or a story untold, but the wonderful insight into their relationship. I’d heard that they were a very loving and interesting couple, but to read the letters is to really know them.
There I was, softly treading the path that two young lovers took, discovering life and each other way back in 1915 till about 1918 or so. It’s really amazing to read those letters, as they had the kind of relationship that a lot of people don’t ever experience. Two strangers, married at the tender ages of 13 and 18, and separated a lot over the first so many years of their married lives, as one had to focus on finishing his studies and get his career going. Despite the various hurdles, they seem to have found a way to keep themselves going while apart. Yes, through letters, and what letters they were. They really, really, talked to each other. You can feel the tears, hear the laughter, be a part of the literary and legal discussions, and blush in wonder at the passion that flows between them.
My great grand dad seems to have been a very forward thinking and open individual, and my great grand mum was a woman with a mind of her own apart from being the loving person that she was. She seems to have been a woman whose actions spoke far more for her, than did her words. You get to know a lot more about her through his letters. I actually felt guilty when I stumbled across some of the letters which were very intimate! At times I wasn’t too sure if I was reading a novel, especially when I read things like “you woke me up with kisses” etc. I felt like applauding her and saying, "you go girl!" He, on the other hand has me amused and laughing at the same time with his eloquent expressions of love. He quotes Burns, Shakespeare and the rest of them with aplomb. She was one of those who believed and knew that some of her dreams were important, and needed to be understood in the context of her reality. What I loved about this part was that her husband never mocked her, but tried to make sense of them. He encouraged her to read a lot, and the beginnings of the classics collection we have in Aymanam started here. They even read poems together. It’s not so much the poetry or literature that touches me, but the fact that they did things together as well as individually. It was a very real marriage in the sense of the ups and downs, and what I noticed in this “All’s well that ends well” story, was that the two of them worked hard at the relationship, and ego did not play a role. What can I say, friends, lovers, companions all rolled into one life long enriching experience.
I think it’s time for me to leave them alone, happy in the knowledge that their legacy lives on.
A novelist of great reputation has expressed the idea that when that mysterious link arises between two lovers, the most trifling incident seems to have a unique importance to their eyes – Then I had no idea how accurate this sentiment was. But the best school, the school of experience has now taught me that this is a veritable truth.
Author’s note: The phrases and sentences in “Bold type” have been copied verbatim from my great grand dad’s letters.