#MyStory: I Met My Boyfriend… At My *Own* Roka Ceremony!
Three years ago, I was due to get married. It was an arranged marriage setup and all the details had been finalized. Both the families were going to meet at the roka ceremony. My (now) boyfriend's sister was married into the family that I was due to get married into - and that's where and how I met my boyfriend at my roka ceremony!
It was a simple roka ceremony with the extended family in attendance. I had met the boy (the one I was to marry at the time), Reyaan, maybe three times before the day of the ceremony, and he seemed like a good guy. He was settled at work and came from a good family - basically he fit the bill according to my parents. We lived quite far away from most of our family, so my relatives were taking time to arrive. And of course, even though things were meant to start around 3 pm, it was already 5 and half our family was yet to turn up. Since the roka was taking place in the convention centre that is opposite my house, I asked my parents if it would be okay to excuse myself for a little while to go up to my room and freshen up, and they agreed. I was waiting for the lift when I met Mohit. He explained who he was and how we were connected. Of course, given the circumstances, it shouldn't have - but something clicked between us.
Instead of going upstairs to freshen up, as I had intended, we ended up talking by the lift for a good 20 minutes. Just then, a distant aunty walked past and gave us what can only be described as a very dirty look! Perhaps it was that look which broke the trance that we were in and made us realize that the setting was most inappropriate. Just as I was about to go back to the ceremony, Mohit said, ‘I have to meet you again. What are you doing tomorrow?’ Call it curiosity, bad judgement or whatever, but something made me take his number and I said to him, ‘I’ll think about it.’ The roka happened, and as my hand was being promised to another man - my eyes couldn't help but meet Mohit's fixed gaze. I knew something had changed and I didn't sleep at all that night.
I spoke to one of my elder, married girl friends and asked for advice as to how I should handle the way I was feeling. She said, quite simply, that I had to evaluate whether this feeling was something that would last and whether not meeting this guy would be something I would regret ten years later. After ruminating over her advice, I decided that I had to go with my gut and meet Mohit. I texted him saying, ‘Hey’ and he responded saying, ‘Just give me a time and a place - I’ll be there.’
We met up in town and went for a coffee - coffee turned into drinks and drinks turned into liquid courage! He blurted out the fact that he had felt an instant attraction towards me when we met. He assured me that he was glad he had asked me to meet him, because it was something he just had to take an action towards. Something in his mind said - speak now or lose her forever.
For a week or so, we met every day after work. To be honest with you, I didn't feel as though I was being unfaithful towards Reyaan because if I hadn't resolved these feelings for Mohit and married Reyaan - that would have been the biggest mistake of all.
After speaking to Mohit and getting to know him and his intentions - I broke off my engagement. It wasn't as ugly as expected or predicted. My parents wanted my happiness and it turns out Reyaan wanted a chance to go to the US and do his MBA. My boyfriend's sister's in-laws have not handled the situation well, at all. They have (in their minds, rightfully) questioned my character and warned Mohit of the origins of our love story. But Mohit hasn't wavered, and the connection we felt is still stronger than ever. I don't know what will happen next but I am happy to take my time knowing that I have no ‘what ifs’ looming behind me.
*Name changed to protect privacy
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Published on Dec 21, 2016