Story by Shayon Pal
When I was 26 years old, my mother passed away. She had a history of high blood glucose and hypertension. One night, she suffered a heart attack and couldn’t survive it.
I moved to Mumbai (from Delhi) to live with my father as I was their only child. Emotionally, both of us aren’t very expressive so supporting each other was tough.
I didn’t realize how dependent my dad had been on my mom outside his work life until I moved back in with him. Since I had been on my own since I was 16, I could manage to get the house in order.
Thankfully, in the following years, we managed to build our relationship again. I got married soon and my wife who is extremely social (and vocal) helped in bringing us together.
Until then, my dad had stayed with us in Mumbai, and then in Delhi. However, he moved to Kolkata two years ago.
After my dad retired, he reconnected with all his friends. He organised reunions with his mates and old teachers, and also travelled the world with them.
About a year and a half back, dad had gone to Bhattanagar on occasion of the birth anniversary of Maa Sarada. It was there that he met my stepmother. Both of them hailed from the same village and school.
However, they had never met each other back then even though the families knew of each other. My stepmother recognised him and walked up to him. They exchanged pleasantries and phone numbers, and left until she called him back a few months later, as a courtesy call.
They spoke with each other almost every day after the second time she called him. The first few conversations were just him reconnecting with someone who he knew of, back in his childhood days.
A few months later, she proposed to Dad. That was when Dad decided to speak with us about his relationship.
My wife and I were pleasantly surprised as my dad was someone who would always try to do things the “proper” way. I don’t remember him ever doing stuff that the society might frown upon, other than leaving his hometown to further his career. Also, it never crossed our mind that he might want to remarry.
When Dad asked us how we felt about the idea of him remarrying, we wholeheartedly encouraged him. I also told him that it shouldn’t matter how we felt because it was his life. And I’d stand by him and his decision, irrespective of how I felt.
All his life, my dad had worked hard, gathered money and bought a house in Mumbai where he had planned to spend the rest of his life with my mother. But those plans hadn’t worked out as my mom passed away.
We knew how much he hated traveling alone with his friends where he’d spend the nights alone in his hotel rooms, and how he missed having companionship.
So we were delighted that he was thinking of getting remarried. I liked my step mother the first time we chatted over video call. My subsequent interactions with her were also quite good.
I was wary about organising the wedding in the midst of the pandemic. But they wanted to get married as soon as possible.
Once the wedding was decided, I was on board with the preps completely. We finalized the date, venue and the guests (limited to 50) and took the necessary precautions.
The wedding turned out to be quite fun. And my feelings were similar to what they would be if a child of mine was getting married.
My dad and stepmother seem very happy. I can see traits of “new love” in their behaviour. They are playful, tease each other often, and dad seemed to have evolved for the better, suddenly. My stepmother seems to be the more emotional one, but then so was my mother between the two of them.
We are extremely happy that my dad found another companion who he can enjoy the rest of his life with.