A devoted widower relates his life with his beloved of 41 years in this memoir.
As a young Indian man coming of age in 1970s South Africa, all Luckan (Love Is All There Is, 2015) wanted to do was play music, until one day, while walking home from college, he spotted two young girls struggling to carry a box up the road to their house. His eyes met those of the eldest, he writes, and he felt a rush of emotion. However, when he later ran into her at a local shop, it took some convincing for her to tell him her name. It was Mamata, but she said that she preferred to be called “Baby.” The two soon became inseparable and remained so for decades. Their road to happiness, though, was rocky; Baby, he writes, came from an impoverished, abusive background, and Luckan’s parents disapproved of their son dating a girl from a different caste. The two married when Baby was only 16; both were certain that nothing could break their bond, and they were determined to show their families that they were committed. They ended up living in their car and struggled for a long time; Baby experienced multiple miscarriages and a stillborn birth before the couple finally had a roof over their heads. As time passed, they eventually found relief from poverty and soon had two healthy children, which helped heal the wounds they’d suffered. But hardships kept coming, and the couple became suicidal, with only their promises to each other pulling them back from the precipice. The author goes on to tell of how their dedication propelled them forward, and how many joyous years passed before the two faced their final battle against the world together. Throughout this book, Luckan seizes every opportunity to espouse his love for Baby, whom he calls his “lotus.” Although the book is often sentimental, it effectively shows that the tragedies that the couple endured provided them with the fervent emotion they needed to keep going. When the author relates stories of hard times, his passion rings fierce and true, and his pain is devastating to behold. By the final pages, readers will feel the full weight of a hard but love-filled life.
A heartbreaking tribute to a couple’s true love.