The Final Verdict

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When i was working at SEEPZ in Mumbai, our colleagues called us Judwa(twins), we were good friends, enjoyed every moment of our life at SEEPZ, when we worked there.  Lalith was a nice jovial guy whom every one liked for his simplicity and down to earth nature. I was always treated as a family member by Lalith’s family. Lalith insisted me in accompanying him that day when his dad was to encounter on Lalith’s love life!
?Are you sure of your decision to marry Smita?? Lalith’s father asked.
?Yes, dad I am very sure that I want to marry her,? he was determined. 
Lalith wanted me to be with him if his dad ranted him for his decision, and as a common friend of Smita and Lalith, i was the witness to their budding love, i was there to convince his dad!
?What about her family?? 
?Her dad died when she was in first year of college. She lives with her mother and one younger sister and younger brother. Her dad was working in Saudi and died of an heart  attack.?
?Oh, i am sorry about that. Has her dad left behind anything for their welfare??
?Not much, except for a small house.?
?So, you know very much that the girl you want to marry has to support her family??
?Yes, dad We have discussed this matter and we both are sure we want to marry.?
?Anyway, I would like you to think again about your future, Lalith, before you make a final decision. The girl I have in mind and am suggesting for you comes from a well settled, God fearing and well respected family. The girl also looks good and working for Tata Consultancy? .
?We have thought about our future dad and we both like each other, and we are very sure of our decision.? Lalith said.
?OK. I will give you a month’s time. If you are still firm about your decision, I will not go against your wishes. My blessings are always with you? his father concluded.  Lalith whistled himself over joyed and wanted to convey this news to Smita. He had not expected his dad to agree this marriage so easily.

It was Friday evening. Myself and Lalith were waiting for the bus at the bus-stand, to go home. Suddenly i felt somebody tapping my shoulder. I turned around to see for my surprise was Karan, our college mate, whom we had not seen for couple of years since we came out of college.
?Abey Tu Yahaan?! How come you are here?? Karan asked in surprise.
?We have been working here at SEEPZ for the past one year,? said Lalith.
Both of them started talking about their college life, their old friends and of old times in general. Lalith then remembered and asked, “Hey, what happened to your love? Where is Archana now? do you guys still love each other or…..??
?Yes, It was arranged all of a sudden. Sorry, I could not inform you. We now have one kid.?
?Oh, Congratulations. How is your married life going on and how is Archana??
?Chalta hai yaar. You know she is from a poor family. I too work for less salary. Life goes on.? There was no enthusiasm of the college days in his voice. He then invited us to his house and gave us his address.
Two days later we both went to the address Karan gave us. The house was in a small lane surrounded by slums and bad odor in Malad west. We could not recognize Archana who welcomed us. Was this the same Archana that all the college boys were once crazy about? Her color had changed and she was looking pale. The kid was undernourished and was constantly crying.
We were getting ready to leave and Karan accompanied us to the train station. Karan said, ?It is easy to fall in love and get married. But you cannot be happy without money.?
After being with Karan for sometime, We left with a heavy heart. Lalith was lost in his own world of thoughts. All the way to his home he was thinking about Smita and his own decision to marry her. He was now not sure whether he was making the right decision. He dreaded living in a slum and his kids going to the corporation school, taking care of his own family as well as Smita’s family and not being able to make both ends meet. Smita had a small job at SEEPZ too. For the first time he started to feel that his father might be correct.
The next few days and nights were sleepless for him. He weighed the pros and cons of marrying Smita. The one-month time given by his father would be over in next few days and he had to make the decision. And he had made it. He had finally decided to call it a day and inform his decision to Smita.

‘Poor Smita! This will be a ferocious shock to her. But when I explain everything to her she will definitely understand,’ said Lalith. When Lalith told Smita that he wanted to talk to her in the canteen that evening, she was happy and said that she had something important to say too. So, both of them met in the canteen that evening, the common place where we always hanged out. Lalith refused to yield first and insisted her to tell what she wanted to say first.
Smita said, ?Do not get shocked Lalith. You know that one of my uncle’s friend’s son is in the US. He has come over here on vacation and he wants to marry me. He says that he will meet all the expenses and will also look after my sister, brother and mom and he is taking me to US after marriage. My mother feels that this is a right opportunity. I also feel the same way. Is it not a practical decision Lalith? ?? Smita hadn’t yet finished saying what she wanted to when suddenly Lalith got up from his chair.
Smita asked, ?You wanted to tell me something??
?Nothing in particular. Congratulations! Let’s go now.? Lalith started moving towards an exit.

Author: Jeevan Pinto- USA

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