What is Love? - by Ashokkumar

Original - ASHOK KUMAR in Tamil - his life story. I translated in English.

I have written about many women I have been astonished by. But, I have not yet written about the woman I am married to. My friends' circle knows Ammu as a divorcee and as a mother of two grown-up children. We decided our union a few years ago and happily got married just over a month ago.

On seeing my remaining a bachelor, the question I was asked by my friends' circle, always was, who the person I was going to marry, would be.

After I received consent from Ammu's and my parents, I informed a few good friends about who I was going to marry. Almost 75% of them did not like my decision. Moreover, in comparison, more than male, my female friends did not like my decision to marry Ammu. I felt despondent about this.

Ammu was going to marry someone who loves her dearly. A sense of joy could return to her through a successful second marriage. Neither of these realistic possibilities brought them happiness or at least satisfaction.

"Why are you marrying a divorcee? Did you not get any other woman?" - These were the questions of all of those who did not like my decision.

Ammu's first marriage ended in a divorce, primarily because of non-acceptance of her albinism-a skin condition that generally people feel displeased about. "My friends could not digest the fact that I was going to marry a divorcee! How could they tolerate and accept someone who has albinism? What would they say when they see her? If they express their displeasure with even a slight gesture, that will bring more wounds to Ammu!". With these thoughts, I was afraid to invite anyone to our marriage. Even my family members half-heartedly consented our marriage. I understand their hesitation to do so. They lived all their lives in a village, where generally there is low tolerance and less opportunity for understanding such life circumstances.

Many people in my friends' circle and especially those who share noble ideals in Facebook, could not accept my decision. That felt very sad. "When I had many choices of women, why would have I chosen Ammu? What could be the decisive factors for me to want her?. How would they know how fortunate I am that Ammu chose me? "

In the days of dreaming about marriage, I always wanted a woman who I can look up to. I decided the time of marriage would be whenever I meet such a woman. That kind of a woman is Ammu, no, in fact, that woman is Ammu.

If there are some leftover unwanted behaviors/defects in my character, despite my mother's lovely upbringing, it would be addressed by my wife. And if not, then by my daughter. This is my faith in femininity - always.

I saw in Ammu, a loving discipline, respect to elders, willing tendency to help anyone the best she can, an unfailing sense of duty with her parents and siblings, a mind with no selfishness, sincere devotion, and many more humane qualities.

It did not occur for me to see Ammu's beautiful form, the albino skin on her beautiful face, or the information that she was divorced and with kids.

I have written many poems, that it is not true love when it is only based on physical attraction. I am glad to have found Ammu, a benevolent soul, and who also is beautiful, just with the minuscule physical condition that reduces the worldly experience of beauty. She helped me go beyond my mere words to experience what that true love is!

Above all, one cannot indeed find a person beautiful, except for seeing through the eyes of someone who loves that person. Only through my eyes, one could fully understand how beautiful Ammu is.

It is only after her excellent direction, I started speaking with my parents more, also with my brothers and sisters. I have counseled many people who struggle with family problems. I have forgiven people who have cheated on their partners, giving in to their senses and difficult circumstances. I always thought their situations had power over them, driving their choices. But Ammu would still hold them accountable, explaining how, in specific cases, those people have blamed circumstances instead of owning their decisions to violate the other. In many different subjects, she has helped me gain a comprehensive perspective of the crimes in society and violations in humanity.

When she shared her perspective on her failed marriage, she always regarded her ex-husband with respect. She did not blame him as being wrong and has only shared specific actions and their disagreement.

When we found many shared values between us, mainly devotion and readiness to help, it was the most straightforward decision for us to become life partners.

Now coming to the other side of the story…

Many others also commented that I am marrying Ammu because she is beautiful; because she is from abroad (Malaysia); because she is rich. When I learned about these made up stories about our lives, I wanted to share the truth with the world.

Ammu belongs to a similar middle class as I am, though she is from Malaysia. I believe any unmarried girl my parents, friends, and family would have found, will not be as dear and inspiring as Ammu.

I have not yet met my friends, along with Ammu, after our marriage. I was afraid that if any of them communicate their displeasure even with a gesture, it will offend her tender heart. If anyone makes her skin defect as her defect, I would want to live/stay away from them. I even think I would go along with her to meet certain friends after this mere skin defect is rectified by the grace of Lord Muruga!

If accidentally any of you meet her, would you please talk to her, heart to heart, unmindful of this trivial condition? Some indeed feel and say that my life has undergone changes after Ammu's arrival and that I am different. Only I know that those changes are magnificent, and I am a better person, thanks to her.

This changing body is nothing but similar as the clothes we wear and change every day. Our greatness does not come from how we look. And if it does, it does not last long. I also thank Ammu's mother for her loveliest upbringing that enabled Ammu to be such a towering character. With that final note, I conclude this writing.

Millions of Vanakkangal/Pranams to Lord Muruga, who is responsible for our union.

He is a constant companion in all our deeds. In his name, we care to craft our lives for the welfare of us and all.