Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Arranged togetherness!

Last evening, I saw this contest on indiblogger, about a debate on love or arranged marriages. Hubby was sitting beside me and was reading a book since I wanted to know what he thought about it, I asked him. He redirected the question to me said that he wanted to know my opinion first. I pretended to think deep about it and then gave him a very rounded…. Read it as a diplomatic answer. I said it depends ….What society are the individuals from? whether they live in cities or in the villages? also whether they stay in a joint family or just the two of them etc. Actually it only matters in the first year or two of marriage after that everything is on the same plane. The getting along is better if it’s a love marriage whereas for an arranged marriage it’s a mystery unwinding each day and there’s a surprise element... something to look forward to. But once its past a year or two both the kinds of marriages are on the same plane. I also added that if the couple stay in a joint family, with in-laws, arranged marriages are better as the transition is smoother for the new bride as well as the rest of the family especially in Indian societies. Love marriage may have more love in them …. I teased him as ours is an arranged marriage.

I just took him down the memory lane ...how we met… our marriage!

We met according to a plan. Parents were getting proposals for me, they would meet the boys and then the chosen ones would get to meet me. If we both liked each other then the families would sit together but it never actually happened that way. At that time I was focusing on my career and education and not really looking at marriage. Parents  had asked me to tell them if I had someone in mind but I didn’t. It went on for a couple of years; parents always respected my choice never forcing me to accept a proposal. One such meeting was with Rajesh, through my mom’s friend circle. We both are from the defence background our mothers had common friends. He was invited to our place with his parents. We met one evening in October 2004. After tea with family the elders asked both of us to go to my room and speak to each other.

We both were casually dressed, just ourselves nothing to impress anyone and we got talking. He was frank and spoke everything especially all the negatives that he thought he had. I was told that he was a Physics graduate, a First officer in the Merchant Navy and the eldest of his siblings. Extremely intelligent, having a good personality and very down to earth. I was weighing him on all those parameters. What made me really pay attention to him was that he didn’t speak any of his positive qualities or any quality for that matter!  He only highlighted negatives about him and his profession. Which was so contrary, to the usual talk of saying all things nice, I found him interesting and of course different…. No sparks flew as yet.

After the meeting, mom asked me about Rajesh and I told her that he was okay. She would’ve conveyed it to his mother. Then I didn’t hear anything of him. Our mothers felt that we were a good match and were trying to push things from their side, he went sailing and I was back into my routine work. I didn’t feel like seeing any other proposal. Then one day in the month of April while I was on my way to work, mom called me to say that Rajesh’s mother had called and they both thought that we should get engaged that Friday, 22nd  April 2004. I wasn’t pleased with mom's arguing. I was working as a Lecturer in a professional college and it was exam time. I told her that it was difficult to manage a day's leave. She started highlighting that it was a nice proposal and started complaining that I didn’t listen to her, the usual emotional talk. Giving in, I told her that I would try. That day I walked straight to the principal’s office requested for leave that Friday saying that I was getting engaged and that even I got to know just that very day. We made some changes in the practical schedule and I got the leave sanctioned. In the evening my brother and I were going looking for a venue for the engagement. As we were driving, my brother  asked me whether I was happy. I told him that it was okay….he stopped the car , told me what else did I want, being from the shipping industry himself he said that Rajesh was a great guy, he had a good personality, he was earning well and he was a fabulous human being. It should not be just okay but I should feel happy about it. I accepted that and my confused mind was settling a bit.

We fixed a venue for our engagement, mothers were happy as our horoscopes had matched perfectly. Everyone was gearing up for the engagement. I called up my friends and told them that I was getting engaged in 3 days. Everyone was surprised but happy for me at the same time. Finally I met my would- be on our engagement day. Then we started calling up each other and getting to know each other better.  Once he was coming back from his office and told me that he could pick me on his way back, He asked me to come to the point from where he could pick me. I told this to my mom, He picked me up and we just talked as he was driving, and he dropped me home. When I rang the door bell, mom was surprised to see me early. She asked me how I was early as I was to meet Rajesh. She asked whether we both had coffee together. I smiled at the fact that my fiancĂ© didn't even know that he had to make an offer for a cup of coffee. Somehow I liked that. Even now I tease him about it and he says that he didn't know a thing about dating and how come I didn't tell him either. He remembers what I wore that day and how I looked. Every time we pass that place where he picked me from he mentions it.

 He had to join back in the first week of May. We started sending emails to each other. I would wait to hear from him, would read the sms that he would send while at a port over and over again, in fact my phone couldn’t store so much of data so I started writing all the sms in a diary. It was a time for communication.
He came back home after 4 months. Our wedding date was fixed for December 14th 2005. This was our real courtship we learnt everything about each other, about our families and the love grew into trust and friendship. I also learnt that he too had met a few of the proposals for him and nothing created that ‘wow’ factor for him. When his mother asked him to meet me, he had said that this was the last girl he was seeing. He often teases me with save the best for the last. I thank God for being that ‘last girl”. Finally the D- day arrived and we had one of the perfect weddings! Typical North Indian affair going into several days. As I moved into his home I felt that I knew everything as we had talked about it all. Though we are from different communities, the difference was hardly felt. We were blessed with our elder son Arnnav in 2006 and younger son Abhinav was born in 2009. We both feel that ours was an arranged love match! We have learnt to appreciate not just each other’s opinions and beliefs but also each other’s interests. He has been my biggest critique and a true friend. We do have our differences and our dose of couple fights but what remains is we have immense respect for each other as individuals and we take pride in each other’s achievements. So for me arranged love marriage is the best!

This story is written for LoveYaArrange contest on indibloggers,