As strange as it may seem, I met my boyfriend at my own arranged marriage setting. He was my soon to-be-fiance’s best friend. You know, like most traditional Indian family households, my family expected me to help around the kitchen. Offer the guests some refreshments, make small talk and win them over with my cooking skills.
Pushing me out of the kitchen and straight into the hall, my mother took great pride into introducing me to his family. At that moment, something weird happened, I didn’t feel a spark with Rishabh, the guy my parent’s ‘selected’ for me. On the contrary, my attention fell on his best friend, Rahul. I don’t know what it was, but I felt an instant connection. To be honest, I couldn’t take my eyes off him and neither could he.
The guy my parents liked on the other hand was quiet and reserved. He spoke very little and nodded practically all the time. On the other hand, Rahul was making more conversation with our family than he was. The morning after, we got a call from Rishabh’s parents asking for my hand in marriage.
Few months after, I got engaged to him. We used to speak day in and day out, and we hung out quite often every alternate day. Over a period of time, I had even completely forgotten about his cute friend, Rahul. I grew to like everything about Rishabh, except his drinking habit. Not that I had an issue about him drinking, but I disliked his inability to control himself after.
We would always argue about this and this would take a toll on our relationship. I did not want to get my parents into the picture because it would only work them up. Things took an ugly turn when one night after a drinking session with his boys, he got home smelling of liquor. He tried forcing himself on me, but I resisted and pushed him back. This angered him and he raised his hand on me. I knew things had to end that night.
I didn’t say a word after and forced him to sleep on the couch while I slept in the room that I locked. I cried myself to sleep that night and told my parents the very next morning about the whole incident. I mean, no one had ever raised their hand on me and this gesture was simply unacceptable. That very afternoon, my parents called his family and called off the marriage.
Rishabh was depressed and even tried getting in touch with me after. After blocking his number and on social media, I got a call from an unknown number - It was Rahul. He called on Rishabh’s behalf and apologised for him. I told him that I’m done and it’s time that he too moved on with his life.
Two years later, I was sent on a business trip to Singapore. As coincidental as it may sound, I randomly bumped into Rahul at a crowded market area. I had gotten done early from work and was doing a bit of sightseeing around the city. His face immediately lit up when I waved to him. I told him I was in Singapore for three more days. He was on a vacation and asked me if we could catch up for a bite during the week. Hesitant at first, but later, I accepted his date.
I met him after work on a Thursday and we decided to dine at a restaurant at Clarke Quay. We settled for that place because both, my work and hotel were nearby. Over food, we also downed a few beers. He mentioned that Rishabh was getting engaged to someone else and was doing fine. However, his drinking habits hadn’t changed yet. He was still a rowdy element after liquor went down his system. Rahul then asked me what my story was. Was I seeing anyone or looking to settle down anytime soon. I told him that I’m married. He eyes widened, but smiled soon followed after I told him that I’m married to my job.
After dinner, he walked me over to my hotel. Both of us were equally tipsy, and I don’t know what made me do it, but I pressed my lips against his. I felt really awkward after. To my surprise, he caught me by the waist and kissed me back. He landed up at my hotel room that night.
I got back to India after those three days and treated our rendezvous like a fling. An act of pure lust, I assumed. Little did I know that we would be hooked on to texting each other in the weeks to come. We started meeting more often at parties and spending a lot more time together. He proposed to me last week! I said yes to Rahul, I met him at an arranged marriage meeting with another guy but I guess things worked out for us eventually. Well, fingers crossed!
*Names changed to protect privacy