When our match was arranged, they considered religion. Not how religious we were. It was perhaps assumed that it is not something to be concerned about. What matters more is that the couple subscribes to the same religion and this common feature will work as an adhesive. Religious participation and marital commitment is an important facet of marriage. To be honest, religion has turned out to be the biggest surprise in our marriage.
She is a devout Sikh
In the Sikh fold, all you need to do is read the gutka (Japji Sahib in the morning). Spend half an hour every day to read the prayer book and it is enough. My spouse reads it daily, but I am irregular. On a hectic day, the easiest way to save time is to skip my prayer session. On a happy day, I am too lost in celebration to remember God. It is either on a sad, uneventful day or on a day of big dreams that I feel the need to pray. For her, it is the most natural act that needs to be done without any excuses every day.
I saw her resolute faith come to her defence on so many occasions. So-called big explosions plunged me into darkness and despair but she saw a light at the end of the tunnel. She remained buoyant under all adverse circumstances. It did make me wonder from where she sources her strength. She attributes everything to her daily prayer.
I have to admire her remarkable control, balance and resilience. I have been the one who has become upset or stressed at times, but faith steers her smoothly in the choppy waters of life. She is the pillar of strength in my life and I have understood our religion through the lens of our relationship.
Her faith taught her to fight adversities
When I was thrown out of India’s leading advertising agency only to accommodate a leading art filmmaker’s daughter in the creative team, she did not let this setback affect me. “Carry on with your work – wherever it is. Names and numbers and sizes are all variables.”
When I sank into depression after a vision-related complication arose, she did not press the panic button. In fact, she taught me to accept the truth and live with it. “Consider yourself lucky that you can see the world – think about those millions who are sightless.”
When I wrote my first romance novella and the publisher backed out after saying yes, because I did not agree to include sex and gay references in the storyline, she said, “It is perfectly okay, wait for the right opportunity – whenever that is.”
When her family tried to make her realise the mistake of marrying insecurity, she made them feel secure with assurances of a turnaround. As their hopes diminished, I was written off like a non-performing asset and junked forever. But her faith remained in place – and her faith inspired me to honour her faith in me.
Her religion taught her not to be judgmental
When her sister tried to prove she found a better-qualified match in another community and began to demean my worth in front of relatives and family, she gave me the freedom to tackle the matter. She supported my decision not to interfere in my sister-in-law’s personal matters, as she was free under the law to do what she liked, just as we had the freedom to remain distant and uninvolved. If you find someone isn’t respecting you, whoever that person is, no matter how close or blood-related, you should judge whether you want to invest in that relationship or not. Her message was loud and clear. It educated me – no relationship should be taken for granted.
When I told her I want to work from home and write, she was delighted and encouraged me to go ahead with it even if my family or in-laws disapproved.
When I finally got a publisher for my novel, she was happy but not overjoyed. “Do not let excitement ruin your future output, stay grounded and aspire to write better. Remember, the sequel is pending.”
When I told her to inform her family about the break, she said it is not important. “They will get to know somehow. No need to tell – they have accepted your worst and let them remain content with your failures.”
I do not think any other woman could have resisted the temptation of sharing it with her parents. It was the best chance to prove her parents wrong in their assessment.
Only through prayer comes the wisdom that there is no need to prove anything to anyone – people begin to understand clearly as things take shape.
An ego-driven exercise to make others see it is totally avoidable.