Its been a long long time, since I last wrote! I wonder where the readers are now and whether they still will be interested in this space. But trust me, it wasn’t that there were no stories, or I had lost interest. So much happened in such a short span that the blog climbed down a few steps on the priorities list. I can also pitch in an argument saying, “well this is just an amateur blogger, not a professional! So this can’t be called unprofessional”
What is important is that I am back and quite happy about it…. :)
There are in fact many stories that could have made it to this space as my ‘come-back’ piece. But let me just leave you with a small slice out of a very big cake. Of course, the disclaimer at the top of the blog still applies! :) :) This one’s a little abstract but nevertheless, the words kept flowing…
It is uncanny when your stories start getting real. Imagine there is a piece that you write 6 months ago, starts happening in real life. Is it that the mind is precognitive, or is it that you indeed know things about yourself but you are not ready to face them?
My mother, like every other Indian mother was getting all worked up that her young marriageable daughter was still at home (not literally). You can be at the top professionally, you can be fiercely independent and living your own life without bothering your folks, you may have your ideas as an individual about getting married but… when your mother takes it upon herself to get you married, you are nothing but any other Indian girl, judged on the age old norms of being a suitable prospective bride for a typical Indian groom. It’s important if you can cook; it’s important that you are submissive enough to nod your head at any silly idea that the guy or his folks may have (shows how well behaved you are); it’s important if you are willing to sit at home (‘if the need be’) and hundreds of other unreasonable ones.
The most ironical part is every one wants ‘a highly educated, smart, independent’ girl. How can an intelligent & smart individual not have a opinion of her own; how on earth can someone expect a person who has been in control of her life all the while, managing strings of a business so far, suddenly turn into a ‘typical bahu’ of the saans-bahu fame?
Anyways, the result of the whole battle was a struggle every weekend. My mom’s struggle to send me a list of at least 10 prospects every weekend; and my struggle to explain to her why I don’t take a minute to shoot them down. I even had my share of ‘meet the guy’ and ‘speak to the guy’ sessions. But it just made the matters worse.
Quite honestly, I thought I had had enough of this relationship trap and this arranged marriage thing would not work for me, I should just wait patiently till I turn 30 and my mom would give up on me :) :).
All I remember after that was, “I was sitting in this bus, on my way to Pune on a weekend, eager to meet Mom & Dad, feeling somewhat sleepy because of waking up early. The highway is beautiful; flanked by hills and peaks of strange shapes, very serene.” My phone buzzed… “Sushil’s Mom calling…” was the display! I had stored that number during a friendly fight when he gave me that number ‘coz I threatened to snitch to his Mom. And I was smart enough to save it. :)
“Hi, I got a missed call from this number…” is what he said from the other side, thinking how cool is that… “Just not possible, why would I give a blank call to Sushil’s Mom…” was what I answered. :) :) :) (it’s always a good feeling to be one up…)
We had been chatting for a while before he came down to India for Diwali vacations. I was busy with my hand-over in office plus winding up things at home, as I was moving for good to Mumbai. We would sneak in conversations whenever we could. Both of us were sizing each other up leaving the final decision for the time when we would actually meet. But yes, we did click. :)
The first time we met, we sat and yapped for 5 hours. (This number 5 became quite significant in many things we did together later but all that some other time. :) ) Actually it was me who was yapping and this nerd was just filling in the gaps I took to drink water or catch a bite. And the best part was the entire 5 hours was ‘small talk’. I came home and my mom asked, “So is this it?” I said, “I don’t know…” I know my dad wanted to kill me. But then I met him again the next day. This time both of us meant business. There were some serious things we had to go over. The next weekend I went to Nasik to meet his folks. And as fate would have it. I was in themiddle of a pre-annual closing. My boss was in China and I was fire-fighting. Much to the agony of the co-passengers, I was yelling my guts out over the phone, (network issues) typing emails furiously, I must be looking & smelling like trash. My Mom asked me to reach that night and we were supposed to meet his folks the next day. Just an hour before I hit Nasik, Mr. Dudeke calls, “Hey I am coming to pick you up, you are coming home for dinner.” I cannot explain the tumult in my stomach after I hard that. I thought, its ok sweety! "Just count what the profit is totaling up to, you are gonna be heading homewards the very next day…” All I could do was ‘wash my sorry face in the train toilet’.
I reached home and Mother was sitting right there, I just realized I was wearing a top which she hates from the core of her heart and her eyes were just getting bigger and bigger. I went up to her and said, Chill Mom, look at it this way, they will never see me worse than this :). I knew she couldn’t slap me there. :)
Alright, I came inside the bedroom with my suitcase to change and wow, the number lock went kaput… My sweet angel, who is now my Sister in law came to my rescue and gave me a T-shirt of hers. And that’s how I was presented to my future ‘in-laws’.
Then came the food, my MIL had prepared an awesome spread, especially the mutton (Sushil told her its my favourite). And Sushil, you keep asking me why I said yes to you isn’t it? Here it is officially on records… “it was the mutton”. And as all my friends and family know, when I am hungry and when you have mutton in front of me all I can understand is “Eat”. Which is what I did. And the reason why I love my MIL so much is that she actually had the gumption to ask me, “So Deepa! What is the decision?” I thought she must have been itching to throw me out of the house.
The next day me and Sushil went to Shirdi together. Our first outing together; I was nervous, (ok ok… shy as well!) That night we both sat all night talking. Talking about all random things under the sun, it was the first time he gave me a subtle hint of what he felt about me.
The next weekend we shopped, and the next weekend to that we got engaged. And I came back to work on Monday! Grrrrr! He came to meet in Mumbai then and we went out on our first date. Once again, another battle. Came to my place, I changed and we went to Dadar then looked for a taxi to Bandra, that broke down so we took an auto to Reclamation. That auto left us at some god-forsaken place as its tyre burst. Finally, after a long struggle we did reach where we wanted to. It was full moon, star spangled sky reflecting in the dark navy water, and his eyes were speaking much more than his words. And I thought to myself, we actually are a resilient couple. No matter what, no matter how… we reach the destination. :) :) And trust me, that’s how life has been after that.
This was end of November '08 (ask Sushil for exact dates and time). And 15th of Feb I was married to this man! One maniac married another. Where he takes donkey years to shop for 1 shirt, I have bought 10 things before he says ‘achhoo’! Where he packs up every thing meticulously without leaving a pin behind, I have my stuff splattered over 3 locations (Mumbai, Pune & Nasik). When he dresses up to kill every time, I dress up to confront the rough & tough world outside. When he waits the whole day to speak to me, I fall asleep somewhere in the middle of the conversation every night. Life is fun though! And both of us love each other inspite of all this. :) And that I guess is a perfect marriage. Love is the grease which lubricates the friction between all the rough edges in the machinery.
There was also a day when we fought, we really fought. But that night when crossed that bridge unhurt and unscathed, (It wasn’t a small issue mind you) I knew it, this is him. He is the one I was looking for.
It was my Birthday and I love my birthdays. :) :) But this time I was all alone. It was a weekday so couldn’t go home. I was contemplating it to be the worst birthday ever. But Sushil came down in the evening, he never forgets that I love flowers, I dolled up for him, we went out on the beach, had dinner, sat by the sea-shore till late, he stayed over and it was by far the best ‘Birthday’ ever.
This could have turned out into a ‘stranger married a stranger’ arranged marriage; or, ‘we are still getting to know each other’ arranged marriage. But some how, both of us never had that 'in-between' phase, the two of us were like those missing pieces of a big jigsaw and the moment we found each other, the picture was complete. Whenever my guy is around I keep wondering, “I hope I didn’t fall in love with him during those endless chat sessions when we were sizing each other up, or the first time I met him, or did I!!!”
Hey wait a minute, I was hurt sometime ago wasn’t I? I was done with this ‘love’ thing wasn’t I?