There are classic love stories, best sellers, movies, legendary lovers etc. in all form of arts. Without love or romance, almost no art is complete, it seems. Even hardcore war movies, action movies seem to have some small love stories here and there.

Dangri River
Dangri River

Most probably, many people have watched those movies, read those romantic novels. While I have also read many romantic novels, watched some romantic movies. But the best love stories I have heard or experienced is in a train from Chandigarh to Jaipur in Gareeb Rath, via Kota.

In year 2011, I was travelling to Jaipur from Chandigarh. Incidentally, that was my first and last travel by Gareeb Rath. At that time, Gareeb Rath had three berths on the side. Gareeb Rath was introduced by Indian Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav for poor people to travel in AC coaches. I think now a days, its just like any other AC trains with all THREE TIER AC coaches.

My berth was in the middle on the side and It was really, really small for me as I weighed approx 88KGs at that time. Still, I managed to squeeze in myself.

When I entered, I saw a elderly couple, grumpy looking sitting. As Indians, we never greet each other. I have learnt not to smile or greet others in a hard way. So, After a cursory glance, I was settled in my berth and just lying down, looking at things, at them furtively without any particular interest.

Then an woman with her husband and a small son entered. The son was approximately 3 years. Her husband was tall and good looking. The woman also looked pretty. I fact, I would say beautiful. She worn her red dot on her forehead, so I assumed her to be Hindu and married.

My attention turned on them when they started talking. After setting up their luggage under their seats and locking them to chains, they sat down to started with, “Aap ka berth kaunsa hain?” Which is your berth please?

I then realised that, the woman could not walk properly. And I knew, she would tell her story (they always do) about her legs after some time when, the elderly couple, the lady would ask her. Its not considered rude in India to ask about any physical condition. And people dont feel awkward telling their stories, too.

I kept my ears open, waiting patiently to hear her story. They, she and her husband and son are going back home to Kota, after spending few days in Shimla. They stayed a night in Chandigarh at her friends house and going back tonight.

She is from almost poor family from Kota, Rajasthan and had polio attack due to malnutrition. Still, she used to go to govt school. Her husband also attended the private school near her school. There, her husband saw her and proposed her when she was in Class X. He knew that she had polio problem, could not walk properly. But that did not stop him from proposing her.

His parents resisted the affair, while her family did not. Eventually, they got married when she passed Class 12. Her husband was from rich business family and a only son, and now looks after their family business. And she finds herself luckiest woman on earth as she feels her husbands house to he real house and never wants to stay at her parents house. (In India, married women always long to go back and stay few weeks at her parents house).

Elderly couple looked at each other. Smiled at each other. The elderly man got up, told the husband, “beta, mein tumse gale lagana chahta huun” ( I want to give a hug, so ).

The husband got up dutifully and they hugged.

Then the older man told his story. It was in 1960s. I am Gupta, from Baniya family and my wife is a Brahmin, surname is Sharma. We fell in love in college and got married in court. Both our families deserted us. But since I had a job, we could managed to survive. When our first son was born, our families relented. And now we are together for last 45 years. Our son is in USA and daughter is married in Jaipur and we are visiting them.

They were very normal people. They did not elaborate, explain the small or big problems they faced while they were courting like many novels, movies. They simply exchanged their love stories to each other, validated their decisions and shared their happiness.

I still think, these are the best love stories I have heard so far.

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