She had to agree to the marriage
I knew Ruhi since our diploma days. Over a period of time we became close friends. She was a typical middle-class girl, who enjoyed the small moments of day-to-day living and lived life to the fullest in her own small ways. One day, Ruhi’s father had a severe paralytic attack. The next day she came to class and at lunchtime she announced that her marriage was fixed, to her first cousin.
There was pin-drop silence. Everyone was shocked, as nobody saw this coming. We were all still studying. It took all of us a moment to realise that Ruhi was as shocked as the rest of us. It was so sudden. We wanted to enquire about how Uncle was doing in hospital, and here we were blown by other shocking news.
Ruhi held her tears firmly, not letting out a single drop. She gathered herself and with a choked throat she explained, “Papa is seriously ill. Although the doctor said he will recover from the attack, Papa is worried, as his four children are still studying, not married and settled as yet. Since I am the oldest daughter, he wants to at least fix my marriage, before anything worse happens to him. He has consulted Mamaji on this and my marriage is been fixed with Sahil, Mausiji’s eldest son.” Ruhi was doomed to hell, I thought.
But you haven’t even seen the guy!
“You have accepted this proposal? Are you mad? You are still in college, you don’t know this whoever he is…” on and on everybody went, poisoning her about this person whom we didn’t know. Whom she herself didn’t know. But Ruhi went ahead with it. She didn’t have the guts to tell here bed-ridden father that she was not ready. Typical Indian values. Yes, they exist!
Cut to our internship. We were working at the same firm. Excited with the new job, I was completely unaware that I was going to be a witness to an unusual romance. It was Ruhi’s birthday and her phone was beeping with SMS wishes. This was in that era, of course, with no WhatsApp.
Related reading: Is it better to marry young or when you’re older than 30?
Then he wished her for her birthday
One wish was from Sahil. Seeing that message, she froze. Sahil had messaged her for the first time ever. “Until today I was the only one trying to break the ice, with some forwarded SMSes. . . without a single reply from him.” After some time the phone rang. It was Sahil. They couldn’t talk much, as we were at work. But Ruhi was elated beyond words. She could feel the love in his voice. He, whom she had never met or known.
Next morning, “We spoke the whole night. We just couldn’t stop talking,” she gushed. She was the happiest I had ever seen her. The daily late-night chats became a routine, and I could see a change in her. She was so sure about her blissful future, which was once shrouded in doubt and uncertainty about this person whom she didn’t know, whom she had fallen in love with, without meeting him, not even once!
Months passed by. The chats continued. I know, as Ruhi regularly updated me. The conversations progressed to an altogether new high. She felt the intimacy, how close they got day by day. “I love you,” he said, between the long pauses on the phone. Those three words lent a new meaning to their “relationship”, which was so not easy for me or anyone to comprehend, but it did exist. And so beautiful it was. Such was their love, understanding and commitment.
Related reading: There’s no such thing as a love marriage or an arranged marriage
Meeting for the engagement
Friends questioned Ruhi about her unusual “relationship status”. “Is this for real?” She would feel lost, not sure how to explain. “You didn’t meet even once? What? You haven’t seen each other?” Some would mock her, but most of these questions were very much out of concern. Fed up, she decided to plan a meeting with Sahil before the big day arrived. Just once. This never happened. Sahil, despite being a well-educated guy, was born and brought up with such values that this meeting with Ruhi would be no less than “intruding”. So until D-day, the much-awaited meeting never happened.
A few months later, they got engaged. This was the first moment that they saw each other. Rings were exchanged. The next day they got married. Her father, who was once bed-ridden, was all hale and hearty, crying heavily along with all others at the bidai ceremony.
Ten years down the line, Ruhi is happily settled with her husband in the USA, and blessed with two beautiful kids. She still gushes about him, in the same way as in the old days, how loving and caring he has been throughout.
Love does exist. It comes to you in the most unexpected ways, only if you believe.