Kagin family was our neighbour. Like every other family in our small
town, every family knew every neighbor's family's story. Sadly,
everybody's ethics and morals in our town were still rooted in the
fifteenth century, or thereabouts.
was nothing special about the Kagins. There were the parents, whose
first names I never knew. There were two children; daughters.
was the older. This part of the Kagin story begins when Maythil was
about twenty years old.
way international politics were heading, everybody was expecting the
country to be at war with another, soon.
it was in the fifteenth century, or thereabouts, Maythil at twenty
and unmarried, was regarded as a curse on her family. As a curse, she
was neglected to do with her life as she pleased. Her parents
secretly wished she would leave home so that they would not be
reminded every hour of every day that they were cursed. They had the
decency to not let her know directly, but that decency did not apply
to innuendoes at every turn.
got a job, left home, went to night school, and became a teacher.
was so successful as a teacher at a Government school in the town,
she was appointed principal of a small school by the time she was
twenty-three. She bought a small home. As a principal, she was
treated with respect and admiration by almost everyone in the town.
In time, only the very old persons regarded Maythil as a curse on her
Maythil was twenty years old, her parents were determined to get her
sixteen year-old sister married. They were determined to not have
another unmarried daughter on their hands.
the sister, was eager to get married if only to be free of her
fifteenth century-minded parents. The parents arranged a marriage
with a not-too-far-away friendly neighbor's son. Fortuitously, the
intended bridegroom was suitable, even by fifteenth century criteria.
He was eighteen years old.
preparations for the wedding were proceeding well, until the
bridegroom died days before the wedding date.
was in a friendly soccer game with friends. He was a goalkeeper. He
dived to prevent a goal being scored against his team. In
successfully deflecting the ball, his dive crashed his head against a
goal post. He died instantly.
death so near their wedding date, made Jhindhi, by the thinking in
the fifteenth century, or thereabouts, a widow. As a widow, she was
unlikely to be sought after to be a bride, again, by a young person.
an old man with already adult children would have dared to risk
marrying such an accursed young woman, in such an accursed family,
despite her youth and her perfect physical beauty. At sixteen years
old, Jhindhi was most perfectly beautiful, outwardly.
the oldest man would not have dared even think of marrying her after
Jhindhi's second intended bridegroom died of a heart attack while
swimming in the town's bay, a few days before their wedding. He was
twice her age, but single and financially wealthy.
rumour was that he was homosexual; and, by the town's morals of the
fifteenth century, or thereabouts, was destined to never get married.
The rumour said it was Jhindhi who approached him with a proposal he
found impossible to decline. The rumour, so far, did not disclose
what Jhindhi's proposal had been.
was now in her nineteenth year.
course, her fifteenth century-minded parents secretly wished Jhindhi
would leave home so that they would not be reminded every hour of
every day how cursed they were to have a second daughter who was more
cursed than the first.
the death of her second intended, Jhindhi took matters into her own
hands. She took steps. She divulged her plan to her sister, only.
Maythil fully supported Jhindhi's decision. The sisters would
implement Jhindhi's plan in the days ahead.
few days after the sisters had celebrated the younger one's bold
independent step forward, a male teacher, named Vester, at the
school, requested an urgent meeting with his principal, who was
Maythil's office, Vester said he had decided to put his career on
hold while he enlisted in the army to fight, and to die, if
necessary, for his country in the impending war. Maythil supported
Vester's difficult patriotic decision.
went on to inform Maythil that he had no family, and so his
application to enlist in the country's Armed Forces could not proceed
until he provided the name of a next-of-kin beneficiary, should he
die in battle for his country. He proposed they get married so that
Maythil could be his beneficiary.
was a proposal so fifteenth century, or thereabouts, when spousal
marriages, in general, did not include romance.
was in a mild quandary. On the one hand, marriage, and, to a younger
man would go a very long way to salvaging her honour in the minds of
all the town's people with minds fixed in the fifteenth century, or
thereabouts. And if her husband was killed in action in the coming
war, she would, in those minds, be, virtually, royalty.
the other hand, she was being so successful being not married, she
was, mildly, somewhat, terrified at the prospect of giving up her
had an inspiration. She proposed it to Vester. He accepted it
instantly and wholly, unconditionally.
plan was to live with Maythil while she studied to qualify as a
school teacher, since she had completely given up on marriage. Since
Vester was looking for a marriage on paper only, he and Jhindhi could
get married, and he could go off to war. Vester and Jhindhi were
married, and he went off to war.
sisters, in secrecy from each other, hoped Vester would be granted
his wish to die a hero in the coming war.
war came. It lasted years. The nation suffered enormously. The home
in which Maythil and Jhindhi lived, suffered aerial bombing. Jhindhi
died; Maythil survived fully. Vester's country won. He returned with
a chest full of medals for outstanding heroism, the most decorated
soldier in his country.
Vester arrived home and found out Jhindhi had been killed, he
proposed marriage to Maythil.
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
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