Bholanath Alok lives by the adage, “true love never dies”. With just one last wish. That his wife Padma accompany him on his final journey from this world. Only that Padma is no more. In fact, it has been 27 years since she passed away.
But nearly three decades on, the 87-year-old resident of Rupauli village in Purnia district of Bihar, refuses to let go of not just her memories, but also her ashes.
The ashes are kept in a metal pot, wrapped with a piece of cloth and inside a polythene bag. “I have kept her remains safe since 27 years,” Alok said pointing towards the ‘potli’ that hangs from the branch of a mango tree in his courtyard. Below it stands a Tulsi plant. “She died, but her memories live on in my heart,” said Alok.
According to Alok, “We got married very young. And at that tender age, we promised ourselves to live and die together. We smiled together in good times and wiped each-other’s tear and encouraged each other through difficulties.”
“But then she suddenly fell ill. She was a believer. And I tried to get her the best treatment, but could not save her. I had to raise my children without her. But I could not let go of her memories,” said Alok.
Everyday, the octogenarian sits in his courtyard, staring at the ‘potli’. “Padma is not with me, but her ashes never let her memories die. Whenever there’s a problem in the family, I hold the ashes and I’m assured that she is around. She is with us, with me,” he said.
“I have told my children to put ‘potli’ on my chest after I die and cremate it with me. My wife could not live together, but we will get cremated together. If I meet her in the other world, I will tell her that I kept my promise,” said Alok, his eyes welling up.
“This is an unique love story. We’ll definitely fulfill his wish,” said Ashok Singh, Alok’s son-in-law.