I’m Chitra Unnithan, a communications professional, and my husband Prashant is a real estate consultant. We’ve been happily married since 2009.
We met in 2005, through a common friend. But it wasn’t love at first sight. Only in 2007, after chatting frequently as good friends on G-talk, did Cupid strike. It was a Valentine’s Day episode that set us up for a more intimate relationship. All the girls at my office had been receiving bouquets from their Valentines, some even from abroad. I was the only one whose desk bore no sign of this day’s celebration. In a casual chat, I told Prashant about my predicament. A while later, one more bouquet appeared at my office, and guess what? It was for me! Prashant had sent it. It proudly adorned my desk that day, and was the talking point of the entire office! This floored me and we started dating steadily after this. Prashant introduced me to his family very early in our relationship, and both our families were very receptive.
However, being together is quite different from being married. Our first year of marriage was a particularly challenging one, in financial as well as other terms. Both of us were new to the demands and rigours of a married life. There were no parents living with us who might have eased us into this relationship. Young and inexperienced as we were, daily household responsibilities were an uphill task for us. Our financial position was also precarious – Prashant had just started his own business, and I was struggling at work. There were times when money for even a packet of milk had to be eked out. Both of us were, however, making sincere efforts to tide over this patch. Prashant would return home sooner than he did as a bachelor, but the fact that I needed help in running the house was yet to drive home. We needed to make an effort to share all the details of each other’s daily life, as spouses. I was completely new to cooking, having never cooked before marriage. Quite a few times, potatoes and rajma were served up rock-hard, and undercooked. But Prashant never complained, taking this in his stride and giving me the much-needed time and space to get into the groove.
These trials, while they certainly stretched our love and will to the maximum, also strengthened our relationship. We won the day by never letting grudges build up and overwhelm us.
Every little thing that nagged or bothered either of us was thrashed out and solved to mutual satisfaction. We’d agreed at the time of marriage, to never go to bed angry with each other. And that commitment we have kept steadfast to this day.
The third pillar of our relationship is our dog, Rocket. He completes us as a family. He is our joint decision, and one of our best ones.
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Rocket initially came in as a precursor to a child, to train us for the responsibilities of parenthood. But with him, our family already feels complete. Equally, he is the darling grandchild for all our parents. Both Prashant and I are glad that we are under no compulsion to produce a child ‘of our own’. Our parents are more than content with the child they have in Rocket, who is their first consideration, and the apple of their eye. As parents, we share Rocket’s charge equally, just as we do all other things. During his training period, Prashant had no qualms about cleaning up potty, spills and other accidental messes. My love for dogs extends beyond Rocket, to all other strays in the vicinity. Prashant has ungrudgingly welcomed many a stray into our house, which I bring in to nurse for some ailment. The dog finds refuge in our house till he is healed, and trips to the vet are not always on Rocket’s account. For the future, Prashant has promised me a huge plot of land, not to build a house, but to adopt many dogs.
I just cannot say how blissful our married life has been because of our commitment to sharing the relationship more as friends than as spouses. Looking back on our life so far, we have come to realise how important it is to be close buddies, and be completely open with each other. The future holds a lot of promise and we look forward eagerly to many more years of friendship and togetherness.
(As told to Bindiya Kothari)