I had an arranged marriage when I was 21.
Too young! I know. I could have said ‘No’ to this marriage, and no one really forced me. The young me was smitten by the suave, smart NRI man almost 10 years older, who was introduced to me by my mother’s best friend.
It never occurred to me to question why a guy born and brought up in England was agreeing to an arranged marriage, that too with someone who was straight out of college, had big round glasses and was living in a sleepy suburban town of West Bengal. I was over the moon that this brilliant man wanted me for his wife. For me it was a journey into a new world with a handsome prince, who had literally come from across the seven seas!
That’s exactly what I was back then.
Let’s not go into the gory details of what went wrong in that marriage. I would simply say that by the time I turned 25, I was divorced and back to living with my parents, with a job that I loved but paid me peanuts.
Where most stories end, mine, kind of began.
I don’t know why, but despite three horrid years of abuse in a loveless marriage where I was treated more like a house-maid than a wife, I never lost my faith in love.
Back in my hometown, sitting at my desk, taking classes, doing my share of household chores, lonely as ever, but I would always feel my story was not over yet; I had more.
Three years passed and I was now 28, still living with my parents and at the same job.
It was a strange world out there, for a woman like me – alone and divorced in a sleepy, suburban Indian town. Most men thought I was looking for an open relationship. I was easy to get into bed!
It was about that time when my cousin introduced me to Orkut (a social media platform that was to be the precursor of Facebook) and my mother forced me to open an account on all the matrimonial portals. I met a lot of weird guys throughout this phase, and needless to say, none of them clicked.
But I still refused to give up; my faith in love was unshakable.
And then like a miracle, one fine day along came this guy. I met him online, we chatted for hours, and not once did he ask me about my bra size! Or what my sexual fantasies were!
I knew I had found a friend for life. We spoke over the phone for a while, and exchanged long emails. I told him every single detail of my life, including my darkest secrets. We decided to meet in person after three months and the moment I saw him, I knew I was meant to be with him. He says he felt the exact same emotion the moment he saw me as well. It was like two missing jigsaw parts finally got connected on the board of life, and the puzzle was complete.
We got married the same year in a small, quiet ceremony, with just our families and very close friends around us. It has been eight years since.
No, I am not married to the man of my dreams! I did that once and it didn’t work out very well. I am now married to a man who is kind, loyal, responsible, and all things normal and that is the definition of love for me. We have two beautiful children, and I can’t imagine my life without him. He is far removed from the fairy tale prince charming image that we are fed every single day as kids. He is flawed and imperfect, and I love him.
He doesn’t dictate my life, we have a mutual respect for each other’s space and we never ever breach that. He doesn’t treat me like a princess and he points my mistakes out. We laugh, we fight and we simply live. It is like being with my best friend. I have never been happier.
I will not say he is my soulmate, for no one can replicate your soul. But yes, he is the closest to what people term as a ‘soulmate’.
My advice to those seeking love, the next time you see a normal guy with flaws, give him a chance, he might just be your ‘prince charming’. It is all about believing in love and second chances.