Anjali was gazing outside the car, but her vision was somewhere else. She was on her way to the capital city to attend the National Youth Award ceremony. Her work in the field of education and women welfare was acknowledged by the government and she was one of the ten selected to be conferred this prestigious award.
“Shall we stop at next restaurant for refreshments” asked Karan, Anjali’s husband who was driving the car.
Anjali did not reply as she was somewhere else. She was far behind in time, 7 years back, when she was 21. She was recalling her journey post her BSc nursing from AIIMS, Delhi.
When Anjali was in her internship, a marriage proposal came her way from a nearby village. Her maternal uncle suggested the match. A junior engineer in PWD, Karan, from a reputed family. Dayaram and Sunita had all reasons to say yes to proposal, and felt relieved. Anjali had no option but to say yes as there was no obvious reason to say no to such a good proposal (as per her friends and parents).
But Anjali was not sure about the marriage as she was confused. She said yes for marriage as she wanted her parents to be happy. But she had a hidden goal. She never talked to anyone about it. Somewhere in her mind, she desires to give her efforts for uplifting women and child health in her native village.
Anjali is the only child of her parents. Sunita had developed severe complications during her pregnancy, which went unnoticed due to ignorance and also lack of access to health care facility. Then in later trimester of pregnancy , she developed eclampsia (fits due to high blood pressure in pregnancy). She remained unconscious for almost 3 days. Doctors could save her life but because of excessive bleeding after delivery, they had to remove Sunita’s womb. In her neighbourhood and school, every one used to taunt Anjali for this, as if she was the reason behind all. It used to pinch her always. Everyone used to say if all this had to happen, God must have given the poor couple a boy instead of girl. Inspite of all taunting she faced, somewhere in her heart, she was nurturing the desire to do something for her village, to spread awareness regarding education and health.
Anjali and Karan started chatting and dating after their engagement. They both started enjoying each others company. Although love bloomed among the two but Anjali was fighting battle in her mind.. Her love or her commitment towards society…. She used to question herself every time that what she is opting for… She was not sure what is more important for her.. Only one month was left for the wedding day. She was facing continuous battle daily with herself. How she will achieve her goal if she marries. After marriage, may be, she won’t be allowed to persue her post graduation. Even if she does persue, may be she won’t be allowed to work on her own. May be she will be pressurised to go for some job. But as she came closer to Karan, she did not want to let him go from her life. What if she refuses to marry and later could not achieve success in her goals? What if she marries and later conflict arises among the two, then everyone will want her to pull out from her path. She even did not apply for any vacancies in state government or anywhere.
As she could not get her answer and fed up of fighting with herself, Anjali decided to share her concern with Karan. She thought it will be better to tell him. May be Karan himself will refuse for marriage after knowing her vision. She met him at CCD.
“hi, anjali…” greeted Karan
Anjali took her chair nearer to Karan “hi, Karan, I want to say something”
Karan nodded “ok”
“karan, I love you….” said Anjali in one go while gazing at Karan.
“ohh… I love you too Anjali” replied Karan holding Anjali’s hands
Anjali dislodged her hands from Karan’s “but…” replied uncomfortable Anjali
“but what Anjali…” chuckled Karan
“I am sorry Karan, but….” Anjali was anxious and bit confused thinking how to tell him
“Sorry for what anjali” Karan asked
“Karan, there is one thing that I want to share with you. I never told anyone about this…. I don’t know how you will react” perplexed Anjali
“Do you love someone else” Karan asked reflexly
“No no… Its not so, I love you…. a lot.. But, there is something else I want to tell you” Anjali replied sipping water
Taking a deep breath she continued “actually I have always dreamt of doing something constructive for my village, since my school days. I want to effort for women health, their empowerment, education…”
“oh.. Ok, I thought something else” laughed Karan
Then Anjali told everything how her mother had to suffer due to inaccessibility to health care facilities and ignorance and lack of knowledge on the part of her father. How these kind of mishaps can be prevented by making people aware.
“so, whats your concern now… I mean, whats puzzling you now” asked Karan
“karan, I want to do my postgraduation in Community Public Health Nursing, I mean I want to tell you, I need your help. I am not willing to opt for any job. After marriage, I am not sure how will you react. After marriage I will be expected to bear baby soon….all the responsibilities of married life may not allow me to persue my postgraduation. May be you don’t want a wife who is working in rural area for public welfare. This work requires commitment. I am concerned, may be I will not provebto be a good, obedient wife. I love you and don’t want to hurt you later so I decided to tell you all… ” Anjali completed
Karan laughed “Anjali, I too love you dear. Being close to you makes me feel worth loving. Now, I feel more lucky, after knowing how beautiful you are at heart. I too come from a rural background. I understand all your concerns. In fact I am really impressed”
Anjali asked in hesitation “what about our marriage”
Karan replied holding her hands once again “we will marry. Marriage is not about gaining command over you. The partners are complimentary to each other Anjali. I want a life partner not a bonded woman. I am with you in all your decisions. In fact why do you restrict only to your village, we will outstrech to larger area dear. You continue your studies. We together will achieve your goal…. I love you” and Karan put his lips on the hands of Anjali…..
Anjali felt so delightful recalling the past, that she decided to talk to Karan about her apprehension before marriage. He was the first person with whom she shared her idea. How much she was struggling before talking to him. But Karan always stood by her in her journey through out. He became her strength. They got married, she went to UK for her postgraduation. Karan convinced his parents and showed trust in Anjali. It was easier to achieve her goal only because of Karan. May be alone, it would have been a difficult path. But Karan made it possible. Together they started their journey with foundation of love, trust and respect. She cherished the joy of journey on unknown path with her soulmate that eventually leads to her destination. Now Anjali has plans of expansion of her work to other areas as well and she is confident that ‘together we can achieve better’ on the path of life.