Today’s story is not fictional though and it began 15 years ago, on this date, to be exact. Every year, on the 4th of February, the man I married greets me with ‘Happy Anniversary’. It’s uncanny how he never forgets this day considering every other date in the calendar, including his own birthday, is something he never remembers. The best part is that it isn’t the day we got married.
It’s the day we met for the very first time.
Ours is a very traditional story with a bit of an unusual twist or two. It was an arranged match and V had come over with his folks to meet me at my home. The first unusual twist is this: I knew his sister very well because we had studied together in college. For 3 years. In fact, it was she who’d suggested that I’d be a good fit for V. Who knew that people would be recommending me for marriage? That was the first twist!
Second and although nobody believes this, I swear it’s true. I had never met V before this particular day, although I’d visited their home a few times when in college. As it turned out he was away studying in another city and was never at home when I dropped by. In fact, I even remember telling my sister-in-law that I thought she only had one brother! Turns out she had two, who knew?
I recall the mutual nervousness that we had upon meeting each other but the casual almost informal way we managed to slip into conversation. The fact that we clicked may have unnerved V a little though since I couldn’t stop talking for the 2 hours that we spent on lunch!
There were many things about him that engaged me at first glance- his smile, his easy conversational tone, his shrug of the shoulders when he didn’t want to argue further and the twinkle in his eyes as he watched me talk about my passions, my dreams and my future. Yes, I know we’d just met, but there was something about him that made it very easy for me to talk freely. Don’t judge me!
At the end of the day, we parted ways, promising to keep in touch since I had to go back to finish my thesis for the next two months. He warned me not to expect too much correspondence because he wasn’t much of a letter writer. So, it was with a very pleasant smile that I received the first card of his on Valentine’s Day. The guy was a romantic! I recall being mercilessly teased by my roommates for having my head in the clouds and they plugged their ears in mock agony when I began to talk about ‘Mr.Right’.
That card was followed by letters- long, lovely, rambling letters that were pieces of his soul written with so much care that I choked up, reading and re-reading each one. This time was also punctuated with languid phone calls that stretched for over two hours at a time. If you ask me now what we talked about, I honestly cannot recall, except for once when I sang a song over the phone!
It was much, much later that I would find out more about this person- how he never believed in gifting people on birthdays and anniversaries, how he would always speak his mind and how he’d show me he cared, in more incredible ways than I can describe.
It isn’t everyday that an arranged match turns into a loving relationship where each person respects the other for who they are and grow together as a couple. Of course, we’ve had our ups and downs like any marriage. In fact, a lot of our interests are very varied. He loves to cook while I do it only out of necessity. He reads very different books from the kind I enjoy. We have distinct hobbies that keep us happy. But, in a strange way, it works: this acceptance without too much expectation.
Writing this all down will help me preserve the memory of this day for a long time to come and I hope that some time in the distant future, when Gy asks about the love story that brought her parents together, she will read this and smile, the way I do even today when I think about it.
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