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The first thought we usually have when we hear the words ‘love story’ is that of a beautiful fairytale. Guy meets girl, they fall in love, agree to get married, have a wedding of their dreams and live happily ever after. But my love story is a bit different. It’s beautiful in its own way, and comes with its own twists and turns (some of which are not so pretty!) My name is Rishika Mishra Soni, and this is my story...
I met my husband, Shashank, through Facebook in March, 2017. Cliche, some would say, but wait till you get to know all about it. I come from a very strict orthodox Brahmin family that discriminates between boys and girls. So, it was very difficult for me to meet a guy anywhere apart from social media. We talked for a bit and then decided to meet in person. I met Shashank at a Cafe Coffee Day outlet for the first time. I was aware about internet dating and was cautious about the guys I talked to. Therefore, I thought of putting Shashank through an ordeal so that he knew he could not mess around with me.
But my plan went kaput when I first laid my eyes on him. He had a very innocent face which made me completely drop the plan to scare him away. He was also a bit nervous of talking to me, so I tried to lighten the mood with some of my lame jokes. It worked, and he finally started to feel comfortable around me. On the first meeting itself, he told me that I was the one for him and that he would always take care of me. I did not believe him at first, but now when I look back, I realize how true his words were.
After that meeting, we started talking everyday. He told me about his ex-girlfriend who had left him after eight long years of being together. I too opened up about my family and their orthodox views. In a way, we bonded over the hardships we’d faced in our personal lives. We shared everything with each other, and I don’t know when, but we just fell in love. We were exact opposites. In fact, our lifestyles, personalities and hobbies did not match at all. But, somehow, we still fit in like two pieces of a puzzle.
But just falling in love was not enough. We still had to face the biggest challenge - confessing our love to our respective families. I was sure that my parents would not agree to let me marry a guy of my choice, and that too somebody from a different caste. It was a difficult decision to make and I was very scared. But something took over me, and on July 18, (Shashank’s birthday) I finally agreed to marry him, with or without my parents’ blessings.
Shashank’s family was the exact opposite of mine. When he told them about me, they were overjoyed. I am a little on the curvier side, and although I love the way I look, I was worried that his family might not like me. Also, I am a Manglik and he isn’t, but to my surprise, that was never a problem with his family. Shashank loved me because of who I was and that was very reassuring.
When I told my parents about Shashank and that I wanted to marry him, the result was as expected. They went crazy and threatened me. My father is a politician and a strong public figure. He did not want his image to be tarnished. But my decision was final, I had to marry the love of my life. So we did the unthinkable... We decided to elope and get married in a temple. Just after 8 months of meeting each other, Shashank and I tied the knot on December 11, 2017, at an Arya Samaj temple. Everybody thought we were making a hasty decision, but we went ahead with it regardless. And till date,don’t regret it even one bit.
After the temple wedding, we celebrated with Shashank’s family, who were all very happy. Later, both of us flew down to Mumbai for a few days, to escape the wrath of my father. He had come to know about our wedding through whatsapp pictures and voice notes that I’d sent him. I had to let my family know, even though they weren't supportive of my decision.
My father sent search parties for me and Shashank to Mumbai, but was unable to find us. He even went to my in-laws house to find out about our whereabouts, but thankfully, they did not divulge anything. My family filed an FIR against Shashank and his family for duping me into the marriage. But since I was of a legal age, they couldn’t do anything and everything was under control.
Post our wedding, my family snapped all ties with me. I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt and that I don’t miss them, but I cannot do anything about it. My in-laws are the most amazing bunch of people. They threw a grand post wedding reception party for us after we came back from Mumbai. Everything was like a dream for me, just as I had planned. I wore the prettiest lehenga, the most gorgeous jewellery and a had a truly splendid function. I cannot thank God enough for everything he has given me. When one family turned its back to me, I got another one that loved me even more.
I believe that there was some divine force that brought us together. We were destined to be, and although I did lose some precious things on the way, I do not regret even one bit of it!
As told to Manvi Malhotra
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Feature Image: Studio Snapster