So, my Dad got married the day before. The ceremony was (mostly) masked and just with close friends & family. It was both surreal and fun. After 10 years of being alone since my mom died, I’m glad that he found love again! pic.twitter.com/qGaD3u5CuA
— Shayon (@shayonpal) November 27, 2020
1) Tell us a little about your family, your mom’s demise
I’ve been out of the house and living alone since I was 17. At home, it was just my parents, being with themselves, travelling, catching up with friends, attending parties etc. Mom used to suffer from hypertension and blood sugar. In June 2011, she suffered her first heart attack, and couldn’t survive it.
Being the only child, I decided to move back to Mumbai, where my parents were at that time, and help Dad out in coping with the new reality of life.
While my mother was around, I was always closer to my mom than my Dad. My relationship with my Dad got stronger after she passed away, since now there was no one else to liaison between the two of us.
At the time of my mother’s demise, I was dating my then girlfriend for almost 6-years. I had already proposed to her to get married to me before all this happened. So, a year and a half later, we ended up tying the knot. Dad was working in a nationalised bank at that time, and it’s been just the 3 of us since then.
Post his retirement in 2014, Dad decided to reconnect with his old friends from school and college, even ended up going on trips with them. He’d often book guided tours for himself, go travel the world and make friends among the others who would also be travelling as part of the same troupe as him. End of 2015 we decided to move to Delhi and he moved with us. Sometime last year, we decided to move to Canada and that’s when he too decided to move back to Kolkata and live in the house where I’d grown up in.
2) How did the thought of re-marriage occur? Was he or the family on a look out for his companion?
Frankly, neither one of us expected him to marry again. He is a bit traditional that way. My belief is that, after my mother passed away, my step-mother was the first person Dad managed to form a personal bond with. Especially fuelled by the lockdown, his son out of the country and friends physically inaccessible, he had been feeling the loneliness a lot more than usual anyway. It was like the whole cosmos had come together to make him say yes when his friend proposed to him to get married. It was both a sign and serendipitous. Needless to say, we were also elated when he broke the news to us.
3) How did he break this news to you all?
“I want to get married again”, was just dropped onto us on a video call! It is a love marriage with someone who he got re-acquainted with! They used to live in the same village, called Bhattanagar, in Howrah (WB). The families were aware of each others’ existence, but the couple themselves had never met until about 2-years ago.
There is a Ramakrishna Mission Math in Bhattanagar where my Dad had gone to pay respects on the occasion of Maa Sarada’s birth anniversary. That’s where my step-mother recognised him and struck a conversation. Months later, she called him back and they kept on talking over the phone since then. They had probably met about 5-6 times before the marriage happened.
4) As children, was there any burden of “Log kya kahenge!” (What will society say!). What is your message for people who are reading this?
To be very frank, neither I nor did my wife care two hoots about “log kya kahenge”. Paraphrasing the old song, “logon ka kaam hai kehna” (people can say what they want). Both of us are fiercely independent, and we’ve never cared about society’s outlook towards our own lifestyle, and we felt the same about our Dad as well. Surely, initially we were a bit mindful about how our close family and friends might take it. But under no circumstances we would have changes our decision depending on who felt what.
Nevertheless, we were lucky in a way that everyone who mattered loved the idea of our father getting remarried, and that was all we needed.
The message that clearly stands out here is that Love really does not have any age and you can find companionship at all stages of life. Accepting love with open arms is the best kind of message!
Shayon quotes his father as below:
We believe in one life which is very precious. One should have some purpose to live. It is a long journey. So he/she takes someone to accompany in his/her journey. If unfortunately one partner fails to get along for whatever reason, one may chose someone else as Partner during his/her unfinished journey. It is mutually beneficial for both the partners.
A person feels the need of a partner as he becomes older since no family member is available for day to day chores and sharing of emotions. A person has got every right to lead his life in his own way and belief. He himself should decide his destiny, nobody else. Unfortunately in our society many interfere in other’s personal matters and offer unsolicited comments.
We urge upon people to go by their conscience and act so long it is not illegal/unconstitutional.
5) How do you think it will make the second innings of your father’s retired life memorable? One advice to all children who can be instrumental in bringing back happiness to their single parent’s life
Like I said above, love and companionship are super important in ones’ life, and I am just glad that my father found love once again. The need to have a companion was aggravated during the lockdown and pandemic, and even though they were away from each other, the fact that they had a bond and a connection made it easier for him.
The only advice that I can give to children with single parents is to keep an open mind and heart and encourage your parents’ to have that too! It is not essential that single parents must remarry. But it is surely essential to understand how to make their lives better, irrespective of how unconventional the solution might be.