Most of us read, watch and fantasise about the one true love of our lives. They say that we can fall in love only once in a lifetime. Well, what is true love? Caring for someone selflessly, being loyal, nurturing the bond with affection and passion, being smitten by the idea of your lover, feeling butterflies at the mention of his name, getting goosebumps at one simple touch – aren’t these things together called LOVE? Well, according to this theory, I don’t think that there is only one true love in our lives, because believe it or not, I have had a dozen of them. From that first teenage affair to the one I almost eloped with, I was honest in all my relationships and wanted all of them to materialise into marriage eventually. Never did I cheat or break up, but every time one thing led to another and the relationship ended. Either the man cheated on me, or lied or was too conservative to handle my unorthodox carefree lifestyle, and so we drifted apart.
One was actually a potential groom. His family was eager for our marriage. His father had visited my parents several times seeking an alliance and I had been asked to consider him a potential future husband. We were friends who lived in different cities. He would call, visit, send gifts and convey a million times how badly he wanted our friendship to turn into marriage. As we began to get to know each other better, he started behaving strangely. He would comment on every aspect of my life: My lifestyle choices (and no, I don’t drink/smoke, yet he still had issues with stupid things like me working till 7 or working as an anchor!) and my clothes (not western clothes; he would comment on a sleeveless kurta)…etc. Gradually, it became unbearable. His possessiveness turned into an obsession and I spoke to my mother about it. My family eventually called the mock engagement/commitment off.
Related reading: My flawed concept of ‘The One’
However, I do believe that there is only one true marriage in our lives. After having a series of failed relationships and going through bad breakups, I had almost given up on the idea of getting married. Let alone marriage, I was not even ready to meet/talk to anyone. I still remember the fateful day of 8th January 2016, when my elder brother called me, yelling at me to at least start meeting aspiring grooms (ones selected by my family online and offline). Since my brother is the only person I am a little intimidated by (he is 5 years older and strict), I had no choice but to agree. I said I would activate my account on the matrimonial website and start entertaining interests. Who knew that Gautam would find me within 10 days of my active session on the marriage portal and within four months we would be engaged!
I received a message from Gautam on 17th January saying, “Hi, my name is Gautam. Please take a look at my profile and let me know if you are interested. :-)”
Related reading: Two decades of dating, and still waiting for love
He had shared his number at the end of the message and drawn another smiley (:-)). I remember 17th January was a Sunday and I received Gautam’s message at around 11 in the morning. His was the only profile that I visited and revisited several times. There was something about him that made me want to know him better. I think one of the most likeable things was the way he approached me. My number was public on the profile and many men had contacted me directly on WhatsApp or by phone, but this guy was courteous enough to message me on the portal first. Further, there was a unique simplicity and sobriety in every photograph he shared on the portal. I grew more interested. By 4 pm I decided to Google him. I found his Facebook and LinkedIn accounts and went through them. At 5:20 pm, I pinged him on WhatsApp. We started chatting, but after a few days of exchanging basic family info, pictures, birth details etc., Gautam started to withdraw. I persisted. After several rounds of questioning, he confessed that he thought there was a significant difference in our family status and that my parents would not approve of him!
I was now even more determined that this was the man I wanted to marry. In today’s era of fakes, liars and conmen (from my previous experiences), where do you meet such people who are brutally honest? My family met Gautam’s for the first time on 26th January and we met each other on 25th February (off-the-record) and 26th March (on record) for the first time. On 17th April, we got engaged and are getting married in November this year.
I believe that no matter how many affairs we get involved in, marriage – the affair of a lifetime, happens for once, forever.