“Love knows no boundaries” is not just a phrase for romantic novels, but it holds equally true in real life as well. In case you disagree with us, read on because the 82-year-old gatekeeper of Kuldhara, a haunted village in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer, has given us the perfect reason to believe in the age-old proverb.
Narrating his rather filmy story of his first love, the gatekeeper, while speaking to Humans Of Bombay during an interview, published on their social media accounts on Thursday, said, “Yeh un dino ki baat hai jab pehli nazar mein pyaar ho jata tha!”
The gatekeeper, who has spent most of his life in Kuldhara, was in his 30s when he first met the love of his life, an Australian woman named Marina, in Jaisalmer in 1970s. He recalled that she was on a five-day trip to Jaisalmer when they met for the first time and fell for each other instantly, India Today reported.
“It was love at first sight for both of us,” he told Humans of Bombay, adding that throughout the trip, the two couldn’t take their eyes off each other.
Before leaving for Australia, the gatekeeper said Marina had also expressed her feelings for him. He said, “I was so shy. I went red when she said ‘I love you’”.
“Nobody had ever said those words to me. I couldn’t utter a word in response,” he added.
Both kept in touch with each other over a long period of time through letters. In fact, he also went to Australia to meet her and took a loan of Rs 30,000 for his trip, without informing his family, and stayed there for almost three months.
“Those 3 months were magicalshe taught me English, I taught her to do the ghoomar. But then she said, ‘Let’s get married and settle in Australia!’things got complicated,” he said.
Marriage was on the cards because Marina wished for it. But he wasn’t ready to leave his family in Rajasthan while Marina wasn’t willing to relocate to India. The decision was difficult but the lovers parted ways after that.
As time passed by, he got married under family pressure and took up the job as the gatekeeper of Kuldhara.
“But I’d often think about Marina‘Would she have gotten married?’, ‘Will I ever see her again?’ but I never had the courage to write to her,” he said.
He said his memories faded as time flew by. His sons grew up and moved out and his wife died two years ago.
“And here I was, an 82-year-old man, gatekeeping India’s haunted village. And just when I thought life couldn’t surprise me anymore, it did! A month ago, Marina wrote to me; she asked, ‘How are you, my friend?’ After 50 years, she found me! Since then, she calls me every day; we have so much to catch up on!” he continued.
He said Marina never got married and is planning to visit India soon. “Ramji ki kasam, I feel like I’m 21 again,” he said, adding, “I don’t know what the future holds, but knowing that my first love is back in my life and talks to me every day is a feeling I can’t explain.”