Love , Adventure and Miracle- a tale of life truly-lived

by Chandrika R Krishnan

“Dadi!” Riya rolled her beautiful eyes and sighed exasperatingly. “You really don’t know what a real adventure is! It is great to experience the unknown… jumping from heights and racing in water with the spray on your face…” She tossed her luxuriant hair with great abandon and said, “Granny, you have not lived life at all!” She concluded with her 17- year- old wisdom.

Riya and her paternal grandmother were great friends, but they argued a lot much to the distress of her parents. The latest argument started at dinner time when Riya announced that a group of adventure lovers were planning to visit a camp the coming weekend. As expected, her grandmother voiced her disapproval and also commented about the non-safety of the whole proceeding leading to another argument and the uncharitable remark.

“Little do you know, young lady!’ was the older woman’s sharp repartee. “You all call the guided adventure as real adventure!” She guffawed, leading to a scowl from her granddaughter and a sigh from her daughter-in-law and her son.

“What adventure? You are just pulling my leg. You married young and that too in an arranged marriage setting. Eesh! So, where is the adventure?”

“Arranged marriage is an adventure, young lady.” The older woman said sharply, “Particularly when you are a pawn in a gamble.”

“What!” There was only one explosion as the older two had heard the story many times with varying degrees of exaggeration by the older woman… and after a pause, “à la Draupadi?” asked the young girl, aghast.

“Well, my father was no king, and he was no gentleman. He played every night and gambled away my mother’s jewels, our land, and our house, too. He had nothing to gamble, and one day, he used me as a pawn and he lost to my father-in-law.”

“You married a much older man?” Riya was aghast.

“Don’t be a daft! His son… your grandfather, an army officer, had seen me one day in a village fair and had fallen in love with me. He had told his father that he would marry none other than me.” Looking at the skeptical look from her granddaughter, she testily remarked, “I was beautiful… that is what he used to always say.” She ended going a deep red.

Riya chuckled, looking at her grandmother, who was blushing like a new bride. “Your father-in-law or grandpa?” she asked naughtily, earning a clip in her ear.

“Well, my father had no qualms, and he gave me up readily, though my mother was terrified for me.” She said, her eyes bright with unshed tears as she remembered her fragile mother who could not say boo to a sheep, leave alone her ‘worthless’ husband.

“But, weren’t you scared?” she glanced at her parents, who too were mesmerized by her story as she was, though they had heard it a hundred times.

“Well, I was, and I wasn’t.” Explaining her cryptic remark, she added, “You know, girls had to marry one day and leave her house… that was the rule. So, I knew I had to, but I always thought that my new home would be in the same village or neighbouring one… Here, I had to go miles away from my known territory. Now, young lady, this is an adventure for you.”

Riya was silent. She could not think of such courage, knowing very well that travelling in those days was tedious and it took an inordinately long time considering the expense and the options involved.

“Well…”, after a pause as she took in the trepidation that must have been with granny, yet refused to budge just to irritate the old dear, “It was Dada! You couldn’t have done better!” she distinctly remembered the handsome, jovial man with a booming voice. Moreover, she did not want to concede defeat to her grandmother just on principle!

“But I did not know him, right? He could have been as bad as my father, a cheat, a previously married man… But then, he was none of the above. I couldn’t have been luckier.” She said dreamily.

Riya glanced at her parents, who were looking at each other warmly. She squirmed, thinking how she always scoffed at arranged marriages, and here were two examples of such marriages that had been a great success.

“But, I was terrified. I did not know the ways of the world, made an utter fool of myself in company and was extremely rigid,” she stopped at the snicker of her granddaughter, and said sharply, “you don’t know the half of it young woman… you test the patience of even a saint!”

Riya looked repentant. She loved her cranky grandmother and liked to goad her, but she smiled endearingly and the older woman continued, “He was a husband, a guide, a friend, and a philosopher to me and I was terrified that such good days would end, particularly when he went to fight the war.”

“But, grandfather always used to say how strong you were and single-handedly brought up two small children when he was away at the front,” Riya said, remembering the tales told by her grandfather.

“Yes, I put up a good front. But I was scared, terrified. I knew the language spoken by the natives, but I was not fluent enough to voice my innermost fears and then the fear was so strong that the entire womenfolk spent mostly in the prayer room. There were so many deaths… so much loss, and as the days went by, my prayers intensified. At the army base, we were all a big family, yet the air was gloomy.”

Her eyes reflected the agony, the loneliness of war widows, and Riya felt her eyes sting at the thought of the lonely young woman with two small children to take care of and that too, with little emotional support.

“I agree with dada, you are strong!’ She said softly.

“That is adventure for you, the adventure of the unknown… and when the war ended, your grandfather came back to me … to us; gaunter, older, unhappier thinking of the lost lives and the lives he could not save, but I selfishly thanked God for the miracle that he was with me, holding me. I vowed I would slowly erase the unhappiness from his eyes. And I did. We went on to produce two more children.” She said, glaring at Riya and daring her to defy.

“… And help increase India’s population,” Riya said earning herself another clip on her ears. Laughing, she got up to hug her grandmother. “I hate to accept defeat, but you are right. Compared to your times, we really are chickens.”


This post was created for the Blogaberry Creative (Monthly) Challenge.


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CINDY DSILVA February 18, 2024 - 10:50 pm

I think marriage itself is an adventure you cannot understand. Hahaha!

Chandrika R Krishnan February 19, 2024 - 7:14 am

Thank you Cindy:)

A.R.Sara February 20, 2024 - 5:11 pm

Sweet and witty tale. Enjoyed reading.

Chandra Sundeep February 21, 2024 - 2:08 pm

Haha! Married life is an adventure indeed :)

Swarnali Nath February 21, 2024 - 9:33 pm

This was a cute love story. As I always loved knowing about my grandparents of both side and their tales of love, I always admired their sincere love for each other.

Chandrika R Krishnan February 23, 2024 - 7:10 pm

Yes, Nice to know both sides of the family. Isn’t it?

Samata February 23, 2024 - 1:18 pm

A brilliantly penned story with so much truth and honesty. I would to hug the Granny of Riya and say you are indeed a brave lady and for me there are many like you who might not have entered arranged marraige segment like a pawn but based on a marraige agreement between two families…. i really wonder how they will feel spending the first night with a man who they dont even know. Hats off to them… even about thinking arranged marraige I faint today. But my didi went for an arranged marraige… and I Not.

Chandrika R Krishnan February 23, 2024 - 7:10 pm

Thank you.

Anuradha Sowmyanarayanan February 23, 2024 - 6:06 pm

Nice tale woven around Love, Adventure and Miracle that too as a discussion between grandmother and grand daughter is engaging.

Chandrika R Krishnan February 23, 2024 - 7:09 pm

Thank you so much.

Ambica Gulati February 24, 2024 - 8:15 am

Apt! Arranged marriage is perhaps the biggest gamble and the most turbulent adventure. Your story has brought it out so well, I would never have thought of this perspective…grandmother sharply talking to her granddaughter and making it a roller coaster of emotions.

Ambica Gulati February 24, 2024 - 8:15 am

Apt! Arranged marriage is perhaps the biggest gamble and the most turbulent adventure. Your story has brought it out so well. I would never have thought of this perspective…grandmother sharply talking to her granddaughter and making it a roller coaster of emotions.

Chandrika R Krishnan February 25, 2024 - 9:30 pm

Thank you Ambica. The older people had it tough.

Preeti Chauhan February 24, 2024 - 12:53 pm

What an adventurous life Dadi had lived! I immensely enjoyed reading this short story in the form of reminiscing about old times.True life as much more tougher and people were tougher too then.

Chandrika R Krishnan February 25, 2024 - 9:29 pm

Thank you Preeti. I always feel the older generation were tougher and stronger.

Neeta Kadam February 27, 2024 - 8:21 am

Arranged Marriage is itself adventure. Actually I said, it is a gamble. You don’t know the person how he is and how he will turn out and more over how our marriage will go on long run. Nicely woven story with Riya and Granny point of views.

Neha Sharma February 27, 2024 - 11:14 pm

Oh yes, arranged marriages are still an adventure but yes times have changed, girls now get some choice. But this grandmother lived a truly adventurous life, one we can’t even imagine. Love the story!

Prasanna Raghavan February 29, 2024 - 12:31 pm

That was a realistic story, and you penned it beautifully. The theme is apt in the present time when there is a real gap in grappling with terms of marriage and life in the way it happens in two generations. The old time is gone as it functions according to the new decided by what you call progress and adventures in modern times. But we all get a smile when the old challenges the new in real and in fiction.

Monidipa Dutta March 2, 2024 - 2:04 am

Wow, what an incredible story! I love how you captured the dynamic between Riya and her grandmother—it’s so vivid and real. The way you portrayed their arguments and then delved into the grandmother’s past, revealing such depth and courage, is truly captivating. Your writing style flows effortlessly, making it easy to get lost in the narrative. And the ending, with Riya coming to a realization and embracing her grandmother, adds a beautiful touch of warmth and connection. Overall, this piece is a wonderful blend of drama, emotion, and wisdom. Great job!

Ritu Bindra March 3, 2024 - 10:54 pm

An interesting take that adventure is not always about tackling the rapids or similar stuff. Life itself is an adventure. Enjoyed reading your short story. Could picture my mother and niece having this conversation. Army, war, and all.

Madhu Bindra March 4, 2024 - 7:53 pm

I agree with you that arranged marriages are a gamble. Some of us get lucky. Lovely story.

Manali March 5, 2024 - 12:23 am

Each generation has its own struggles which neither would be able to relate to.
I sometimes wonder how our mother and grandmothers did it all.
This was such a lovely story, making us look at ‘adventure’ from different angles.


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