I got married when I was merely 19 years old. Being the eldest among three sisters I had grown up more than my age a long time back. Bhaskar’s family had come to see me when I was attending a Puja at my neighbourhood. I was summoned by my younger sister to come home at once because Amma (mother) wanted me to make tea for his family. Although I was annoyed I reached home and slipped inside my room from the backyard door. I made tea quickly because I was eager to go to my neighbour’s home again where the Puja was taking place.
However, I got annoyed when Bhaskar’s family kept on asking for more cups of tea. Finally, they left and within a week the confirmation arrived that I was selected to be his bride. Within a month the ring ceremony was performed and in no time the marriage took place. I didn’t know then among all arranged marriage stories our one would turn out this way.
(As told to Joyeeta Talukdar)
The initial days were a nightmare
Our arranged marriage story took off terribly. I didn’t know how to cook and the only training my Nana (father) had given me was how to cook fish and to prepare rice using a cooker. Bhaskar was 10 years older to me. When I arrived in Bhaskar’s rented house at Guwahati I found that it was more or less like a storeroom. My father was a government employee and we stayed in a B grade quarter at Digboi, Assam where there was no power-cut or shortage of water and we had three bedrooms and spacious backyard and kitchen areas.
Here, Bhaskar lived in a small room where they shared a common bathroom with the rest of the tenants. Bhaskar’s family was well to do but he used to stay separately for his work and this was more or less a bachelor’s room.
But later I realized that he had a fierce independent streak and had denied any help that was offered by his father to him. So he lived in the space he could afford.
How my new home looked
There was a stove at one corner of the room. The government supply water used to come twice daily and at the beginning, I used to miss those timings since I wasn’t used to collecting water. The long power cuts made me feel afraid of the darkness and I used to cry and think where have I landed?
Sometimes I woke up at night thinking that this marriage was just a dream and at the break of dawn I shall be in my home with my parents.
But, then this wasn’t. I used to grow angry that my parents had just seen his family but did not care about how I would survive. I had started missing the comforts of my home which agitated me the most leading to my tantrums.
Bhaskar however always behaved like a grown-up and instead of getting angry with complaints of mine he used to soothe me and say, “I am extremely sorry Aruna for not being able to give you the comforts you are used to. But, I promise that I shall try my level best to make you happy. Just be a bit patient with me. I promise.”
His smile, the maturity in his voice and the determination in his eyes silenced me all the time.
He understood my situation
He understood my situation well and was there to help me. He used to get up early in the morning and fetch water that used to come during specific hours in the day. Among all these adverse situations we both were happy because we both grew up eventually.
I was afraid of the darkness so he came home before the evening power cuts so that during that time we could sit together and have our tea and have chats on how our day was.
Then, we used to prepare dinner together although we both lacked good culinary skills.
Our marriage started picking up
We often went for night outs. On weekends we used to make plans to visit the nearby spots on the bike and spend long evenings sitting near the Brahmaputra river relishing the fact that we were married now and we’re making plans about the future. Somewhere besides being a couple, we became more of friends who started understanding each other.
We moved home
Slowly, Bhaskar got his promotion and we rented one BHK room after a year. Things started changing. I realized he was willing to do anything for me. It has been almost 16 years of our marriage. We have two children now one in standard 10 and the other in 5.
I am pursuing my ambition now
Bhaskar knows that I was a highly ambitious girl and always wanted to be independent financially but my early marriage had put my dreams to a halt. He encouraged me to study again.
I started my graduate studies again when my boy was in standard 7. Now, this year I am going to complete my graduation and even I take tuitions of small children.
So slowly I am getting the financial independence I desired.
I have taken training too
I decided to train as a make-up artist and Bhaskar supported me wholeheartedly. I am happy that my dreams are finally taking shape although there might have been a gap of a good 17 years.
I have matured too in these years. Bhaskar is a happy-go-lucky guy and is happy to be with his family and has minimal needs but he has never discouraged me to go beyond my boundaries and chase my dreams.
He is there no matter what
I can go back to him again and again after making mistakes and he will be right there waiting for me to hold me in his arms, soothe me and say, “Everything shall be alright, I am just by your side.”
Faith is everything
In this 17 years of marriage the one thing which I understood is that things will take time and compromises are to be made by both but if you have full faith in each other then the relationship will work out.
My Amma uses to say a good line about marriage, “Marriage is like a boat being rowed by two people who always sit on the opposite ends. They can reach the bank safely if one compromises and has full-faith on the other who is going to lead the boat during the time of high tide. Now, it depends on which side the tide might be. Sometimes, it can be towards the woman and sometimes towards the man. They should have a belief in each other that they can surpass the huge waves and reach the shore together by not letting their egos clash. Because the clash of egos is more dangerous than anything else.”