Ours was a close-knit family, and I shared a special bond with both sets of grandparents. I contemplated narrating stories of the partition that they told me. However, I've picked a story that's close to my heart, narrated by both my grandmothers.
Here is my story.
A young couple got married in March 1958. The bride was very beautiful, and her husband affectionately called her Madhu, because she resembled Madhubala, the actress. They were truly made for each other.
The wife soon became pregnant and days rolled into weeks, and weeks into months and soon the mother-to-be was in her third trimester. It was October and winter had set in. It was the evening of 28th October 1958, to be precise. The wife went into the kitchen to prepare tea. And as she pumped the kerosene stove, it exploded, setting her ablaze.
By the time the husband could react, the fire had engulfed her torso, legs and face.
The doctors said she had over 60% burns and she wouldn't survive the night. She lay on a net, suspended from the ceiling. She survived the night and the next day, and the day after. Each day the doctors would tell the husband that his wife wouldn't make it.
This was 1958, the woman was pregnant with severe burns and medical facilities weren't the best. And yet, she lived, proving the doctors wrong, every single time. She battled on, never lost consciousness and the man never gave up. He reassured her of his love.
Slowly, she got stronger and in December, delivered a healthy baby boy. It was a normal delivery, but she remained in the hospital for another 6 months, until she recovered completely. Following which she spent another 6 months in the hospital, for skin grafting and plastic surgery on the face.
On the day of her discharge, the doctors carried the husband, in salutation, and commended him for his love and dedication towards his wife. They said, it gave the woman the will to live; it was a miracle.
The woman credited her recovery to prayers and her belief in Christ. Those gave her courage and strength.
Four years later, the couple was blessed with a daughter. And it is she who narrates their real-life story.
Words are inexplicable to explicate what my parents experienced. I leave it to the reader's imagination to envision the pain, trauma and hard times that they endured.
Their story is a lesson of love and the power of faith. I learnt young, that love can turn things around. I learnt young, that miracles happen. I learnt young that marriage is "for better, for worse, in sickness and in health".
"A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak." -Michael Garrett Marino