An Epitome of Love

Ramcharan Yadav, the history teacher of Lokmanya Vidya Niketan, Indore, alighted from the bus and asked the children to get down quietly. The class eight students were on their annual school trip and this was the next stop for them. It was a quiet afternoon, and the sun was considering calling it a day. After ensuring all students were feeling good, the teacher started speaking.


“What you see here was constructed by a person who lived among us some years earlier out of love for his wife, soon after her soul bid farewell to this world.”


As expected, there was no collective sigh of exclamation from the kids, who had grown up watching engineering marvels across the globe.


“Of course this may not seem to be such a great feat today, but you must remember that he had achieved this at a time before machines started cutting stones or computers began to lay out meticulous plans. Twenty two long years were spent in the construction.”


Ramcharan watched with delight as some jaws dropped in astonishment.


“How deeply did he love his wife, sir?” asked young and bright Deepika Kaur.


“They are yet to come up with a device to measure love, my child. Let us say ‘more than his life.’”


There was quietude as some tried to contemplate what it meant to love someone more than their own lives.


“All right, kids. We have other places to visit before nightfall. Please position yourselves and let us take a photo.”


The thirty six students arranged themselves in two rows and posed for the class photo. The teacher pulled out his camera from his handbag. Click. Thirty six faces smiled against the backdrop of a simple road carved by a poor laborer by the name of Dashrath Manjhi, popularly known as The Mountain Man.


– Vishnu Menon | Edited by Farrokh Jijina


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