Print Edition - 2012-06-24 | Life & Style
Retying the knot
Jun 23, 2012-
On June 21, Haribansha Acharya found himself in a situation he had never
imagined until a year ago—retying the knot. Acharya married Ramila Pathak at a low-key wedding ceremony, thus entering a new innings of his life.
Acharya, one of the most well known and respected national celebrities of our time, lost his first wife Meera, who had suffered long from heart disease, to a brain haemorrhage last April.
“I had lost many people in my life—friends, relatives—but that death isn’t real,” says Acharya. “It stings you for a day or two, and then you forget about it. But the loss of a life-partner is something you can’t ever imagine.”
In the months after his wife’s demise, Acharya found himself becoming increasingly depressed as the grief began to infect all areas of his life.
“Your wife is not just a wife; she’s the guardian of the house as well. Even though I used to refer to Meera by her name early on in the marriage, eventually, I started calling her Mamu like my sons. Losing her has meant the loss of a wife and guardian.”
Those around him, including strangers who’d approach him in the streets, encouraged him to open himself to the possibility of a new marriage, but he was still unsure of such a proposition. And yet, he found that home did not feel much like home.
“I didn’t know how long I was to keep talking to the walls, keep staring at her pictures.”
It was his eldest son Trilok who’d returned from the US, leaving a good job to support him during this time whose words affected him the most. “[Trilok] said, you still have a lot of life left to live, so you have to start thinking about yourself.”
With such encouragement from his eldest son and eventual support from his younger son, Acharya found himself in the midst of family and friends, including his professional partner and close friend Madan Krishna Shrestha as well as his late wife’s brother and sister-in-law—all of whom wanted him to settle down into married life again.
“I wanted to marry someone who had gone through a similar experience as me, not someone who had never married or still wished to have children,” Acharya claims. After being introduced to Ramila Pathak a few months ago through friends at work and finding out about their shared history, the two decided to give this union a shot.
“It isn’t that Meera is no longer a part of my life or that I have betrayed her in anyway,” Acharya says. His love for his wife has anything but diminished.
“I have gone through a similar experience, so it does not bother me at all to have her pictures around,” says Pathak, who requested that one of the photos of the late Mrs Acharya be put up on the wall in the upstairs living room. She lost her first husband more than 10 years ago, and has a 21-year-old son who, like Acharya’s, has given her
blessings for this new relationship.
“In a patriarchal society such as ours, men aren’t affected as harshly by such events,” comments Acharya. “While a man is free to do as he wants after the 13 day ritual period, for a woman, to even think about remarrying is considered alachhin.”
But thanks to the “broad mindset” of Pathak’s family, their marriage was facilitated and has been received very well by them.
While his marriage signals a widening of perspectives all through society, Acharya is wary about promoting his marriage as a social stance. To him, it is a personal choice, and best left in the private realm. “When you’re a public figure, your life is the entire nation’s concern,” Acharya notes. But having reached such high acclaim and garnered tremendous respect from folks across the nation, the attention offered by the public is beyond mere fanaticism. He understands that for many, he is the “nation’s wealth”, and therefore, it is also his wellbeing that is the nation’s concern. From the greetings that he and Pathak have been receiving, to the comments shared by people in online forums—all reflect a wish for their wellbeing and express this concern.
Three days into their married life, the newlyweds, whom we met at their residence in Thimi, look very comfortable with each other. Acknowledging that his grieving process for his late wife is still far from being over and that for both, their first marriage will always be a part of their lives, Acharya refers to this marriage not as an occasion to “celebrate” but as a reason to “hope”. And their desire to support and be there for each other indicates that their future together is one to look forward to.
Published: 24-06-2012 08:38