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We used to live in a small village in Kerala. Her father was a government employee and my family used to work for them. I pretty much spent all my time at their house with her. There were no fancy private schools in the vicinity, so myself and Safiya went to the same school. We played together and spent a lot of time with each other. As we grew up, so did our liking towards the other. After finishing my 12th, I got an opportunity to do Bsc in Zoology from Kurukshetra University in Haryana and had to leave town for the same. She studied up till 12th, being a girl, her family thought too much education would spoil her. I remember the look she gave me when I told her that I am going for college.
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Biting her lips, she began fussing around as a wife would do to her husband. I assured her that I would write her all the time and she still would not let go of me. She complained about everything. It was not easy for me either.2 weeks into college and 23 letters later, I realised how dependent im' on her. I packed my bags and went back home to see her. "What do you mean you quit college?, for what?", the drama began at my house as I expected. Ignoring my parents, I went to their house. "Get out of my sight.!!" yelled the master, Safs' father. He came to know about our little affair and somehow took offence to it. He has already set up a date for her marriage, of course only after firing my father. I was shocked and confused, adrenaline was rushing into my veins and I did not know what to do. I thought that was the end of my love and started crying, like a child who has been denied a chocolate. Next day, Safiyas' sister came by and gave me a letter. She sprinted off, even before I could react.
"I hope that this letter finds you in good health. I know the pain that you are in, I am going through the very same amount of hell. Papa has found our letters ,he tried to emotionally black-mail me. I did not know what to do, I agreed to marry so that he will loosen up a bit. As of now, i'm doing great on the outside and dying inside to meet you. I think we should meet up. Board the very first compartment of the Howrah express tomorrow."
Love,
SAFIYA BHARADWAJ
She even wrote my initials after her name, Safiya Bharadwaj, wahh..!,it was just fabulous, the way it sounded. She gave me a letter kiss, a pink one though, she must have been out of red, which she liked the most. The very next day, I got into my finest outfit, took some lotii from the pond and waited for her in the train. " Where is your luggage?" Saf.??!!,I yelled and we kissed for the very first time, it was beyond description. I asked her what she was expecting me to do ,boarding a train and bringing luggage. Phatt..!!the lady in burka slapped me. "I love you, you idiott.!,I expect you to marry me, I want to elope with you". That is the first time ever she spoke out those three words, instead of being a romantic, "How to do that?", I asked with a stupid grin on my face. "We already are " answered my Saf, well, she is my Saf.! I tried to reason with her, I told her that I would ask her father for permission. For a reply, she kissed on my cheek and took the words out of me, there were no questions by me anymore. Though I am the one with higher qualification, she was always the clever one. Next few hours ,we discussed about where to live and what to do, not one word was spoken by me, she did the whole talking and I just gave her the traditional Indian nodding.
I wish that was just one of my nightmares, but no, that night as we were planning for our future happily ever after, the train was out of its' present tracks, left 63 dead and Saf was one of them. I wish I was dead too, but god is not just that merciful, I made it alive with just scratches. I cried, I cried for weeks, but realized that she would not want me to do that. I decided to live my life how she would have wanted me to. I joined the army. Training was no pain compared to that of losing my love. I have fought battles and became a tough man, on the outside, just the outside, for I lost my soul in that train.
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