I had been dating Shantanu for a while when I told my parents about him. They were furious. You see, he was Punjabi and I came from a rather strict Marwari family. My parents would accept no one else but a Marwari boy as my husband. They had made this clear. I was disheartened and sad and not quite sure how to break this to Shantanu. We had been together almost 3 years and had grown very close to each other. Breaking up with him wasn’t going to be easy - but then, I didn’t want to completely defy my parents either. They had made it clear, it was either him or them.
Heartbroken myself, I met Shantanu one afternoon to break this news to him. As expected he was very upset. “What do you mean?” he said. “Let me meet your parents. Maybe if they meet me they’ll see that we are right for each other.” I wanted to say yes and I wished that were true. That my parents would indeed be convinced about us being right for each other once they met Shantanu. But I knew what their answer was going to be. They couldn’t have made it any clearer. My heart, however, wasn’t ready to part ways with Shantanu - and so in a weak moment, I said, “Okay. Let’s give it some time. Maybe you’re right. Maybe they will come around once they realize that I can only be happy with you.”
A month went by and Shantanu and I carried on as usual. We had forgotten about the little fiasco with my parents by now and were just letting some time pass by before bringing it up with them again. Little did I know that my parents had a completely different plan for me.
One afternoon when I returned home, my mom was packing for somewhere. “What’s all this?” I asked. “Are you going somewhere?” “We are going somewhere” she replied. “To meet a boy for you. Dad is already there. He left this morning and has really liked the boy and his family - and he’s asked us to come too.” My heart sank. I couldn’t hear or feel anything for a moment. I was numb. “Mom, I am still in love with Shantanu!” I almost yelled. “You’re still talking about that boy?! I told you it isn’t possible. Please don’t embarrass us by marrying out of our community. What will people say?” I didn’t know what to say to that. What was I supposed to do? Abandon the man I had claimed to love for almost 3 years or get disowned by my parents, who had brought me up and given me everything I had in life?!
Meekly, I made my decision. I called Shantanu and told him what had happened - and that we could no longer see each other, ever. He was furious and called me all sorts of things. I quietly listened because I knew that he was only extremely hurt.
Soon after this phone call, I too packed my bag and was ready to leave for Lucknow, where I was to meet Aman. It was all a blur from the time we met. We met, we spoke, and we were engaged. In a moment, my whole life had changed.
Aman and I were from different cities, so it was going to be difficult for us to meet all the time. But of course, I wanted to know the man before I tied the knot with him! So we started talking on the phone and texting each other. The first few conversations, as expected, were awkward. And I was honestly still trying to mend my broken heart. I wasn’t over Shantanu and I was sure that I would never fall in love with anyone else again. But Aman changed that.
Soon after I started opening up and telling him about my dreams and ambitions, which had been put on hold because of this wedding - he gave me the best surprise ever. He actually filled in applications for me (after taking information from my parents) and registered me for a course abroad that I had been wanting to go for as long as I could remember. “I don’t want you to stop living life the way you want to just because you’re getting married. In fact, I want you to live your dreams and do whatever you want! We have a long way to go - and if you’re not happy, we can’t be happy.” His words touched me deeply. And although I wasn’t in love with him yet, I could now see myself living with this man forever.
A few days later, he came to Kolkata to surprise me. I was surprised indeed! My friends of course insisted that they meet him - and so I organised a dinner for everyone to meet. They loved him and he loved them - and everyone had a great time. The next day he heard me talk to my mom about a trip with my friends and my mom refusing to agree. He came into the room quietly and from nowhere convinced her to let me go. It wasn’t that this was such a big deal and I was in love with him for convincing my parents - but just the fact that he showed faith in me and interrupted my mom when she said that “There are going to be guys too” showed me a different side to him. “Aunty, they’re all her friends. She must go. She won’t get to see them as often as she’d like once she moves away. Please allow her to go?” He wasn’t what I had thought at all at first. And he was winning me over day by day.
I would never disregard what I had with Shantanu - but if there was anyone who could bring me out of it and make me believe in love again, it could only be Aman. The little things he does and the things he says - they make me believe that I am special! He has helped me discover a side to myself that I didn’t even know I had. We’ve been engaged for 6 months now, and we have another 2 months to go before we are husband and wife - and I wouldn’t hesitate for a minute to say that he has made me a better person.
I remember in the beginning of this relationship, I was cold and distant. I would reply to his messages in monosyllables and talk to him only when he spoke to me. Never did I initiate a conversation or say anything nice. Even then, he saw something in me and never ceased to make me feel good about myself. He showed me patience and kindness, which in turn has taught me to be much more patient and calm. I actually can go for days without fighting with my mom now - which, by the way, is a pretty big deal!
The kind of love he and his family give me - I never thought I would be lucky enough to ever get in my life. My parents may have done this without me really wanting it in the beginning, but I will forever be grateful to them for picking a guy like Aman for me - even if by a stroke of luck.
* Names changed to protect privacy
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Published on Feb 13, 2016