I saw her first in a classroom full of boys and girls. Saw her and said to myself, "Is she real?".
We were both 15 years old at that time. I did not even know what love meant till I saw her. We were both in a special preparatory school. For the next seven days I took every opportunity to talk to her. The day school was over I walked over to her and gave her a small card. It said "Good luck for the future" but meant "I want to be your future".
We talked over the phone for the next 8 months, never met each other but there was a bond that we both felt. I would call her and we would talk for hours.
It was valentine's day and I gathered all my courage and went to her to give her the card that would change our lives for ever. But she refused to take it. I was heartbroken. I Got home and for the first time felt so much pain in my heart that I could not breathe. I decided I would not give up. We had a brief period when we didn't talk but then one day we started again. She didn't say anything but I knew why she had refused. She was a Muslim and I a Hindu. If our parents knew it would be termed blasphemy by both religions. Our families would be outcast. Could we take on such wrath from the societies.
After a while we became ready to take on anything for our love. I realized that my life was meaningless without her and she felt the same. We defied all laws and became one. Her family found out before mine and her father threatened to kill my whole family if I ever went near her. I was 18 and I was scared. We did not meet for a full 72 hours. Now nothing could keep us apart. Our love blossomed for years to come. We were apart for months because of studies but when we met it seemed nothing had changed. She took pride in being called my girlfriend and I took pride in everything she did.
The physical distances between us increased but our love grew stronger. We would talk for hours every week. When we met again, we celebrated our wedding. It was not religious, it was not legal but it was the strongest bond ever formed between any man and any woman. We parted as a happy couple this time again promising to belong to each other forever.
Who knew this would be the end of it all. I came back to my job in US and she remained in India. It had been 8 years since we met in that classroom. She completed her medical and asked me to come to India to marry her. She pleaded with me that if I did not come her father would marry her to someone else. I tried to get vacation but failed. I thought "We have been through such things earlier and she was able to withstand pressure from her family. Sure she could do it this time as well". I was wrong. Her family prevailed and they decided to marry her to a person of their own religion. I tried to tell her that I would be willing to risk everything just to get her but it was of no use. Her father would never agree to marry his daughter into another religion. Not even if two loving souls were to suffer for the rest of their lives.
I talked to her last week. She met my mother and returned all the gifts I had given her. It is over. But in my heart she and her love will always live. As long as I live.