18 days from now, we will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary. When I sit back and think of the year gone by, one quote runs in my mind time and again. It is the content from my wedding invite which had these lines - “I cannot fix on the day, or the time, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. I was in middle of it before I knew I was in love with Abhay...Time to exchange vows and seal the love forever…”. The lines were inspired by the quote from my favourite book Pride and Prejudice - “I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”
Ours was an arranged marriage. We got engaged on 29th June, 2012, 20 days after we first met each other. We got married on 29th November, 2012, 5 months after we got engaged and maintained a long distance relationship because Abhay was in the US and I was in India. We had met just seven times in person before we tied the knot. We talked everyday over the phone, but it never could replicate the feeling of being with each other in person. Like in the quote above, I cannot decide exactly when I fell in love with him. Was it the first time we met after we decided to get married or was it on the day of our engagement or was it the day when he surprised me when he flew down to India before the scheduled date or was it the day of our marriage? I am still not sure. But, I do not worry much about it now because I know I love him, and have loved him all along.
Being in a relationship is one thing and living together after marriage as husband and wife is a different ball game altogether which I realized only after marriage. We live in such close proximities with the other person that we begin to see them in a new light. We witness their positives, negatives, interactions, day in and out which influence our state of happiness, sadness, fears, insecurities and other unfathomable emotions. In arranged marriages, these emotions are accentuated because the only time you actually get to know your partner is when you get married to them and start living with them and start observing them carefully. I went through the jitters that marriage and a new home brings along initially. Though my new family took all the pains to make me feel comfortable, it took me sometime to get adjusted to my new home. I had created a wall of my fears that were tying me down until one day.
Back at mom’s place, I would cook only when my mom would go to our native. Dad was never particular about what I cooked and I seriously didn’t have much cooking experience if you can call it that. When I got married, my mom-in-law always cooked all of us a wonderful meal while I only helped her a wee bit. But, when my mom-in-law had to go for her Shirdi trip a month after we got married, I knew I was in knee deep trouble.
The next day after my mom-in-law left for Shirdi, I woke up and went to the kitchen so that I could prepare breakfast for the 4 of us and pack lunch for the 3 of them - my dad-in-law, sister-in-law and the husband. I thought it would be an easy task. Well, the moment I entered the kitchen, my legs were shivering. I had to cook a meal for my family in a matter of few hours and I realized I was so unprepared for it. Though my mom-in-law had made a few preparations before she left and the others insisted that they could manage by themselves, I didn’t want to disappoint myself by letting them down or so I thought.
As I stood motionless in the kitchen at 6:00 in the morning thinking what I would do and how I would finish cooking and packing their lunch in another two hours, I saw my husband enter the kitchen. I knew my husband cooked well and he loved cooking, but, I was still surprised to see him in the kitchen at 6:00 in the morning because I had never seen him wake up before 8:00 in the morning and that also would be after a lot of nudging and fidgeting around with him. He smiled like he understood my predicament. As I stood there with a knife in my hand and a half unshapely cut onion on the cutting board, he gave me a reassuring look and took the knife into his own hands and cut the onion into thin slices. I was crying, well, it might have been the onion, but I would like to believe that it was the tears of joy for having discovered our “Platinum Day of Love”. It might not sound like a heroic gesture on his part but for me, this was when we discovered our real love that is everlasting. It was the moment he beat his prolonged sleeping habit to be with me during my crisis time to restore the fact that he would be with me for eternity, supporting me and pulling me out of my difficulties whereas I stood there facing my wall of fears head on so that I could integrate into the family and keep them happy.
As silly as it may sound, we found our everlasting love cutting an onion in the kitchen that day. Today, when we look back, we wish that we had something eternal like platinum rings with us that day that would etch this day in our memories forever. But, all we had that day were some onion rings and tears of joy.