We first met on the road, a busy street in the heart of the capital. It was a wintry Sunday, past 10 pm. A random encounter some 12 years ago! I often recall how I ogled him, admiring his machismo. He donned no winter wear, thus flaunting his biceps and triceps. It was a T-junction. A biker myself, riding on a motorcycle, I was waiting for the lights to turn green. He was on the other side of the traffic light on the left. An Enfield motorbike was parked behind him on the pavement. He was trying to stop auto rickshaws and motorcyclists passing by him. No one stopped. The lights turned green. As I zoomed unhurriedly towards the left on first gear, he stopped me too. I stopped.
He wanted a lift
I was a tomboy and wore no make-up, not even a light coloured lipstick that night. A short haircut further hidden by the helmet, my sports shoes, jeans, and a jacket could confuse anyone about my gender. He got confused too.
When I opened my visor, he stepped back. “Sorry for stopping you. I thought you were a male!” he uttered.
I smiled, elated and excited to talk to the man I’d been admiring. “No issues,” I said. I continued after a pause, “Any problem? I noticed you stopping auto rickshaws and motorcyclists?”
“My Enfield went kaput, a few yards back from here. I pulled it up to here. Since then I have been trying to get an auto rickshaw so that I could go and get a mechanic to fix it. I tried stopping motorcyclists too. No one stopped,” he said.
“I will drop you to the mechanic’s workshop. But at this time, will any workshop be open?” I asked.
“There is a 24-hour workshop some 5 km from here. Thanks a lot, Ma’am for stopping. But I will manage,” he said.
“I will give you a lift, at least till you get an auto rickshaw,” I said.
He agreed. He asked me to ride pillion. I agreed. And we zoomed off.
A kilometre or more away, he managed to stop an auto rickshaw. We bade goodbye. I waited for the auto-rickshaw to start. He suddenly hurried back to me.
“Can I please have your mobile number, if you don’t mind?” he asked.
“Give me yours,” I said.
He managed to get a pen and paper from the auto rickshaw driver. In seconds, a chit with his number penned on it rested on my palm. And we parted ways.
It was no love at first sight! I admired him, but I didn’t know whether he felt the same. He was a fitness hulk and I, the total opposite – a fat lass with almost a double chin and a bulging tummy.
Was I too fat?
Then aged 31 and rejected thrice by prospective grooms, but backed by a stable career, I never dreamed that this stranger on the road would become my life partner!
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I left the chit in a drawer at home. It remained forgotten for three long months. A four-day weekend pushed me to a thorough cleaning of my flat. And my eyes fell on the chit. I had almost forgotten the handsome stranger I met. The thought of him brought a smile to my lips. I didn’t know why. And the next course of action was automatic. My fingers robotically typed a message, “Is your Enfield fine?” In seconds, I received a call from him. We met for a cup of coffee at a nearby restaurant that day after dusk.
How we bonded
For the next few months, we only talked on the phone and exchanged messages. We didn’t meet. Maybe I didn’t have an urge to meet him. But we got to know each other. He was a software engineer and a state level competitive bodybuilder. I was an editor at a publishing house and also a part-time content consultant for a PR firm. I had many friends, both male and female, but he was different from the rest. Later, I felt a sort of a bonding with him.
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He was the first to propose. His family had no objection. They even came to meet me. Over time, he changed his vocation to a fitness trainer and became a national level competitive bodybuilder, besides running his own gym in East Delhi.
If I were to marry someone outside my community, my parents would be considered outcast in our society with no say in any social occasions. The dilemma whether to choose him or my parents gave me sleepless nights. At last I confided in my parents. Initially, it was a big ‘No’ from them. It took them two years to give in. We got married! By then, I had lost weight following his fitness tips, from 72 kg to 52 kg, with a stronger immune system and a more confident persona!
What I feared came true. Most of our community considered my parents to be no longer part of the culture they belonged to. But they were happy for me. We’ve now been married for 9 years.