(Click on the links to read part 1 and part 2 of the interview)
Now that you look back at your journey, when do you think was the ‘it’ moment? When did you realise it was love?
Jamshed – We were working in Chennai and every fortnight some potential bridegroom would come and meet her. I never felt anything. In fact, I used to have open discussions about them, where they worked etc.
Then there was this guy from Lintas, Mumbai. His entire family had come to meet her and then I thought – “Oh! This is going to work. Rekha might never be with me now.” They were meeting up at a hotel in Adyar, Chennai. I tried calling her a couple of times but she did not pick up – why would she? Unable to stand it, I reached the hotel and started smoking just outside it. I must have waited for a long, long time. Unable to go in and to check what was going on and unable to go back home.
That was the moment I knew I had to get married to her. Next day I told her. Now it was her turn to play hard-to-get. She agreed after six months of persuasion.
Rekha – When he said yes, the reality struck me – that I have to tell my parents, relatives, etc. I always have the ‘what if’ factor within me. I’m always a very cautious kind of a person.
I had made a rule for myself…that if any of our parents did not agree to our marriage, we would not marry each other. Because my father always said that you are going to someone’s house and if you can't make that house happy, how can you be happy? When I told my father that I like a guy and want to get married to him. The first thing he asked was “do his parents like you?”
Jamshed – that was my first strike of love for her. The next six months was a wooing phase where I had to win her back. These six months were fully romantic – writing poems, shayaris etc. Remember, by now I had learnt that detailing was also important, so I had learnt the art of expressing. After marriage in the initial one year, there was a lot of expressing of love too. For example, it was her birthday and I came back home early and spent four hours setting up the house and cooking pasta for her. I bought roses, and when she opened the door I had the camera ready to catch her expression- that is, the moment when she would switch on the light and find her surprise waiting for her.
Did you do that too?
Rekha – He has always been the more romantic one. I was always the more practical one. When I was expecting Rhea and was leaving for my hometown in Kerala, he went at midnight and bought a life-size teddy for me. The teddy was to take his place for the three months I was away in Kerala. So it has not been just the first year, romance has been there all through.
Jamshed – But it has come down actually from those lofty heights we started with.
Rekha – Yes, that’s true. Especially after our second kid Ritwik was born.
The following two questions were sent in to us by our readers...
Is Jammy a hands-on dad? And how important it is for a man to be an involved father, and if he is not, does it affect the husband and wife relationship?
Rekha: Now he is very hands-on. He wasn't like that earlier. In the first three years with our elder daughter, he was never available. It used to be frustrating. I would point it out to him, he would try to make amends but within a few days it will be back to where it started.
Jamshed: We had moved to Gurgaon immediately after Rhea was born, and working in a startup was taxing. Long hours at work, carrying work as well as the stress home didn't help either. I knew Rekha was right, but just couldn't make both ends meet.
Rekha: Now he has learnt to balance both the acts. So much so, he bathes our nine year old daughter, dresses her up and drops her for the bus stop every day. In the evening she doesn't sleep without a bedtime story from him. They create a lot of ruckus, noise and garbage together, but I look the other way.
Being a hands-on dad is critical to both the mother and the children in the house. It helps keep the mother sane, and love the family more and more for it allows her the much-needed rest. The children in the house also need a hands-on dad because there are a few things only the man of the house can teach. For example, I always ask Rhea to stick to rules but my husband tells her to take some risks, and break rules where she feels she needs to. Thus together we end up empowering our daughter with the importance of rules and yet ask her to be bold enough to make her own decisions.
Both of you describe your marriage as an open one. What are the dynamics of a marriage like that?
Jamshed: If you studied math during school you would remember studying sets, subsets, intersections and Venn Diagrams. For me an Open Marriage is like a Venn Diagram. Both my wife and I have a part of life that overlaps (the cross section) but we also have an equally large part of our life which doesn't. This keeps the marriage intact by keeping it exciting. If my wife knew everything about me, the suspense and mystery would gone. Because of our open relationship, there is a large part of my life which she isn't aware of.... but at regular intervals she gets introduced to characters, or incidents or stories from that part of my life.
Rekha: Same is with me. These new characters, new incidents keep our conversations exciting. Imagine how boring our conversations will be if both of us didn't have anything new to say. We would have nothing to tell. Though I have to agree, since I quit my job, this part of life - the part that my husband doesn't know much about - has been shrinking. I am not worried for we have already started discussing role reversal. We have been exploring our options wherein he stays at home and takes care of the kids and I go back to work.