Image courtesy: Sohum Gupta
“I never imagined having to fight the world”
Esha Roy Sheikh, married to Sheikh Shah Jahan
"My husband Sheikh Shah Jahan is a disc jockey and music composer. He and I met at a club when we were in college. Soon, we fell in love. When our families came to know about us, they were very unhappy. But Sheikh and I decided we’d marry only after we had their approval. When my parents realised that we were indeed determined, they gave in. Our wedding was a simple affair conducted at the registrar’s office, followed by a reception. We even had a tough time when we went house-hunting. Many of the prospective landlords were hesitant when they discovered that we were an inter-faith couple."
"We also had to work around our clashing work schedules. As a DJ, Sheikh would be at work when I headed home. So he decided to quit working for the nightclub and switch over to private parties. Though this ensured that he was not always out till 3 to 4 am, he is usually absent on festive occasions. But now we’ve made a pact — we celebrate the next day! My friends jocularly ask me to keep tabs on him, because of the temptations that come along with his job: parties, wine, women and music. But I trust him and I know he is a thorough professional. He is also my perfect counterfoil. We treasure the diversity of our relationship because we have had to fight for it. Love wasn’t always easy but it has been beautiful every minute.”
“I never knew I’d marry a chatty advertising guy!”
Alankrita Narula Deshwal, married to Abhishek Deshwal
"Ever since my college days, I always knew what my ideal man would be like — an engineer settled abroad and from my own community. When I started working in an advertising agency, I swore to myself that I’d never get hitched with anybody from my office. Well, it has been four years since I have known Abhishek; each of my mistaken beliefs lie shattered, and I have never been happier."
“I was first introduced to Abhishek when he joined the agency. Initially, he seemed cordial and soft-spoken. He had just shifted from Delhi to Mumbai. However, it was at a colleague’s party that I got to see him in his element —engaging in boy banter, and comparing Delhi girls to their Mumbai counterparts. I found all of it amusing, and still remember telling my colleague, ‘I pity the poor girl who marries him!’
“A few months later, my boss started dropping hints that Abhishek had started liking me. I made it clear that I was not his type. However, Abhishek didn’t give up. He spoke to me often, and gifted me DVDs of my favourite movies. One day, he confessed that he really liked me. I was 23 then and told him I wasn’t ready for a relationship. In fact, for my birthday party, I invited everyone but him. I could tell he was heartbroken. Then I realised that my curtness was unwarranted, and took him out to dinner. During our conversation, I realised that boisterous banter apart, he was an honest, loving knowledgeable and trustworthy guy. We decided to give it some time. I was the first girl that he had dated, and he was the first guy in my life as well. Slowly, it became evident to me that he was perfect for me."
“It’s been a year into our marriage now and I have come to realise that we are still very different. He needs to be pushed, and I’m the go-getter. I am emotional, he is practical. He is forgetful, and I remember the smallest of things. I’m a control freak and he is laidback. Maybe we are opposites, but both of us cannot imagine spending a single day without each other.”
“I never thought I’d marry a geek!”
Mallika Boruah, married to Abhishek Tiwari
"While I had no pre-conceived notions about who I’d marry, Abhishek was not someone I thought I’d end up with. We were friends before we started dating each other. He was reserved, while I was carefree and loved to hang out with my friends. But there were little things about him that caught my attention. For example, whenever he’d hang out in my apartment (that I shared with my roommates), he’d help me out in the kitchen. But he never paid me exclusive attention, he offered to help my roommates too when they were alone. That made me realise how sensitive he was; he just needed time to open up. Also, the many wonderful conversations we had in the kitchen revealed how intelligent he was."
“Of course, it was only when we started living together in 2006 that we realised how little we had in common. He was a night owl and I was a morning bird. He watched science fiction, while I preferred sitcoms. He did the accounts for the house in a jiffy, while I struggled with the bills for hours. It didn’t help that we belong to different communities — I am an Assamese, he is from UP. Often, there were days when he just wouldn’t want to join me and my friends on an outing. Later, I realised he wanted me to do whatever I enjoyed doing without feeling obliged to keep him company."
“Of course, there are things we can’t stand about each other. He hates the way I type — I am slow — while he types at the speed of light. I take my own time with my meal; he polishes it off quickly, and ends up waiting for me to finish."
“For me, the best part about being with this wonderful man is that I get to learn a lot. He is a voracious reader, and is always willing to share and simplify things about technology and science that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. He’s like a breath of fresh air—still, yet free.”
“I never knew I would marry someone who lives a continent away!”
Pratiksha Thanki, married to Kumar Palan
"I am an only child and my parents and I are inseparable — we don’t go more than a few hours without checking up on each other. Through my dating years, I consciously refrained from jumping into a steady relationship unless the guy understood my deep bond with my parents. And then Kumar just happened. I met him online — he used to often comment on my blog posts. We also connected through common friends and the virtual relationship soon turned real. There was no way I could ignore the emotional or intellectual connection we had. Besides, Kumar also understood my deep attachment to my parents. My parents too showed complete faith in my choice. Naturally marriage seemed like a perfect decision."
"There was a significant hitch though —Kumar lived in Stuttgart, Germany. Though I was excited about the idea of living in Europe and soaking in the new experience, I found the idea of living away from my parents very tough. The reality struck me when I moved to Stuttgart. Thankfully, Kumar has shown me that finding love doesn’t mean you have to sideline your own family. He has gone out of his way to forge a friendship with my parents instead of the archetypal formal relationship."
"Initially, he was also my sole link to this new land that I now call home. Germany is beautiful, but it is also a tough country to live in especially because you need to know German to get by. (I have managed to learn the language rather well now!) In my first year here, the weather, the food, the culture, everything seemed so different — and difficult! However, now we’ve made our own warm bunch of friends in this cold country. And we have our own German routines like going for a ‘gemütlich’ brunch every weekend or sneaking off to exotic places like Savoca and Bergen. Kumar has made himself an indispensable person in our ‘gang’ here with his awesome sense of humour and sensitivity."
"Of course, my connection with my parents remains strong as ever. I fly every few months to Ahmedabad, and my parents come over to Stuttgart every now and then. My father and I are also collaborating on a Gujarati book, and I can never thank the Internet enough. Completing my doctorate and managing my writing career has been possible mainly because of technology and the unshakeable pillar of support that my man has been."
“Love has added a new dimension to my closest relationships. It has made me more open towards accepting different, unknown challenges. As for Kumar and me, we don’t have a conventional marriage and we love it that way."
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