Teri Meri Prem Kahaani- Telling the Parents and the rest of the story

Around the 3rd year of post graduation, pressure started building up to get me married. Not that my parents were anxious, but there was pressure from their aunts and cousins “She’s 22, its time you start searching, dont wait for too long to start searching atleast. Now, you have time to pick and choose etc etc;” And everytime my parents asked me I kept answering that I wanted to work and I didnt want to just get married and sit at home being someone’s wife and stand on my own feet. And Dad always agreed to it.Even today he says”Be independent”. But then during my final semester project work, there came a proposal from Dad’s favourite Aunt. A seemingly good proposal-the guy was 29/30,project manager in a reputed company, already well settled with his own car, only son, travelled occassionally onsite, young parents…” And Dad was lured. Apparently his older sister, married and settled in the USofA had come down and they wanted to meet me. It was a tuesday that Dad’s aunt called and told him these details and they were to come meet me on sunday. If all went well and the families and we(boy/girl) liked each other, they wanted to us to get engaged the next friday which happened to be Varalakshmi festival before the sister flew back to the US. They would wait until I finished my degree in the next 6 months for the wedding which apparently would give the boy and me some courtship time to understand each other. It all sounded wonderful to Dad.And all hell broke loose. I vehemently denied ‘seeing’ the boy. My Dad sent my passport size photo to the boy’family because they wanted a picture and I refused to oblige with getting one taken. This tug-of-war happened for 2 days. Then on thursday I was surprised to find Mom at home when I came home from college by lunch time. We had lunch and then Mom said she was unwell and went to sleep. After sometime she called me inside and said “Look, why dont you see this boy? Everything seems really good. The aunt would’nt have suggested it if she was not convinced and you know how much they all care about you. And your Appa is really keen that you see this boy.” I said” No Amma, he is already 30 and Im still 23-he is too old for me and I dont think I can be ‘friends’ with him. I want him to treat me like an equal,not like Im a little girl, and I want to work…”
“Dont give the excuse of age, R. It wont work. Its not a huge age difference either.The only way you can get away from this is by telling the truth. Do you have someone else in your mind? If you do, now is the right time to tell. Otherwise you have no choice but to see this guy and once they come home, there is no saying how things will move. If you are really serious about someone else then let me know right now, so I will talk to Appa about it….Are you interested in S? Tell me if I have understood you correctly. You are interested in S. Arent you?”
I almost fell off the bed “Amma, if you already knew, then why didnt you ask me before.”
“Then its true. I didnt want to put thoughts in your head,so I didnt ask you before.But tell me frankly now.”
“Yes, I am interested”
“OK, but what about him? Will his parents agree?”
“Yes, he only proposed and yes he says his parents will have no problem”
“Do they know about this?”
“No”
“Then will he be ready to tell them now? Before they come to see you on sunday? If his parents agree before that then we can stop this entire thing”

I just rushed out and called him with shivering hands telling him to tell his parents THAT night no matter what otherwise there is no gaurantee what would happen. He argued and then understood the situation and told me no matter what-there would be no phone call between us that evening…

I cried and by bed time, I was running a high temperature in fear of what would happen.Mom came in,gave me God’s prasadam before I slept,caressed my head and said “everything will be fine” and went out…

The next morning,on the way to college,I called him early from the phone booth.
“Hi, What happened”
“Good morning, what happened?”
“Whaat what happened!!(Imagine me screaming) did you tell your parents? What did they say?”
“All ok,not to worry”
“What all ok, tell me fast, I have to run for the bus! Tell me now!I have to tell at home today”
“I said, my parents are fine, they agreed to our relationship but no marriage until we get jobs obviously…”

Whew! I couldnt wait for the day to end and tell mom.I was waiting for her to come home from work and told her and granny that his parents were ok, obviously we need to wait until we both get jobs and they wouldnt mind my parents going and talking to them now.

Mom told Dad and that day evening we had a very long chat-Dad,Mom,Granny and me-all of them sitting on the Sofa and me in the center of the hall sitting down on the floor. Dad was obviously disappointed.He gave me a lot of facts on how it would be better if I married someone well settled-I could choose to work or not where as in this case I HAD to work for us to settle down and a lot of other things, that were practical and I accepted to all of them.He also said that it would not be easy to work and manage home and later on baby (ies) and take care of in-laws while I had a choice with all these if I settled down with some one else. At the end of it, I told him that this was the guy I saw I could live my life with-I already knew him,knew he didnt have any bad habits,knew he loved me enough to take care of me(Dad always said:Marry the person who loves you more, not the one you love-that way he/she will take more care of you out of love than out of duty and that matters more). I was willing to put more effort with finances by working all my life because we would be starting out life from scratch and together we would be able to make it work.That was his only major concern. Thankfully, it also probably helped that his Grandfather was well known doctor and my Grandfather was his friend-Granny knew about their family.After about a couple of hours,Dad said, ‘OK, if you are convinced that you are going to be happy with this boy, I have no problems-but be aware that you are responsible for the consequences of your decisions. Dont come back to me when the going gets tough and cry saying that I didnt warn you about this before. This is your own choice-atleast you will not blame me for not choosing the right person for you.”

After that, he cancelled the meeting with the other boy,spoke to my would-be FIL and arranged to meet them that sunday-friendship day :-). The parents met, spoke about this generation youngsters who choose their own partners and how all they can do is support us and also decided that they would not be telling anyone else in the family until we boht got jobs. The same evening my FIL realised that he hadnt seen me at all, so they called up, said they would be coming home to complete the ‘girl seeing’ and came home that evening while I was dressed in a salwar and was just the way I always am. No asking me to sing, no questionaire nothing. FIL just teased us that we (S and I) got a rare chance to meet each other on a sunday evening too! Both sets of parents told us to continue talking on the phone and meeting for short durations and that we had to keep them informed whenever we met outside-so they knew incase someone saw us. We both readily agreed, now that everything was sorted out!

Over the next few months, we both got jobs and the day I had to join my training in Chennai, I got the sad news of his Grand father’s demise. As a mark of respect for him, we decided to wait for the whole year and then get married. That was our courtship days in all glory ūüôā We got introduced to each other’s family, went out on dinner dates, shopping,movies…

Sigh! Those days. The wedding was planned after the year was up and went off without any hitch. Even today, at every cousin’s wedding – all my cousins remember the fun they had at mine.It was the first wedding in the family in our generation and Im glad that it is still remembered by the family fondly as much as I remember it…

And The End of fluttering Hearts and Rose tinted glasses…

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Teri Meri Prem Kahaani- First Date and the days after…

Ofcourse, we didnt meet for the next few days until sunday-the day of the CAT exam. It was in Christ college and I told Mom that I had no clue how long I would take and that S had suggested we have lunch outside somewhere and Mom agreed. Quite obviously, most of my concentration during the exam was all on the lunch we were going to have rather than the exam itself (guilty, guilty). We finished exam at 12 and we both had our respective 2-wheelers-he had his Dad’s scooter and I had my Dad’s kinetic. And he suggested we go to Max on MG Road. And we went-on our respective vehicles. There was hardly anyone that sunday afternoon while we had burgers,milkshake and actually for the first time I hardly spoke. I was still wondering if all he said was true and what were we doing?! I was damn afraid! Then he said it again “I love you, I know you are worried but trust me this will work out”. And that made me relax (I know, how silly!) That was our first date…

We used to sit next to each other in all the movies we went to watch, I would go half hour early to college so I could spend more time with him, he would drop me home sometimes (and I would tell mom that he dropped me and she didnt say much though she didnt like it). But we would always go out to restaurants and movies in group – so even if someone did see us, it would only be in the group and never the 2 f us alone. But in the group, there began speculations and then I told my closest friend that he had proposed. She didnt like it one bit. I was guilty of hiding this from my parents ( I thought they didnt know) and she only made me feel much worse by telling me that I was cheating my parents and misusing their trust in me and for all I know, this might not work out. And I would feel like sh*t – until I spoke to him and he would always convince me that when the time came the parents would agree… We would convince them.

We then got into different colleges for post-graduation. Now, how would we meet? We would talk everyday over the phone-I remember when I became the rose queen in the first year, I came home and told my parents and the next thing I know, mom laughs and tells Dad “Ah! Now, I know, she will call up S and gloat and tell him the whole story” Go sit there in the living room and you will get more details than she told us! ūüėõ They were strict in a lot of ways-but now I realise they were quite cool too! Needless to say-that was exactly what I did.

All the crazy things I’ve done to meet him! We would meet at Satyam iWay for 40 mins. That was cheap and best and safe! We would both check our mails, chat there and see where we can apply for jobs and then if time permitted (I would have said, Im going to check my emails for an hour and had to be back within the hour-15mins here and there permitted) we would go to the usual hangout (we were nearly caught by mom and her collegues once!) and have a milkshake/coke and come home. There was another small restaurant closer home and I would wait for him there – there were no coffee day in those days and we both Hated meeting in parks-we thought it too shady and we never met alone for longer than an hour. There have been days with he would come to meet me at the temple I would go to every tuesday for a few mins. And then we would always meet as a gang of friends some evenings. He would come 12kms all the way in the pretext of meeting another guy who lived close by and would then casually come and meet me and my friend in the complex where we would go walking everyday ūüôā And there have been days when I’ve been crazy enough to drive all the way to the city outskirts nearly 15kms to his college just to pick him up. We also would meet at the Corner House at Carlton towers (the first corner house in Blore, I think) when I used to go for project work during the last 6 months of the PG project work.By about the 3rd year of the PG, we had become confident of our relationship (rather I had) and was ok with friends coming to know about us…

Final Episode: Telling the Parents and After…

Teri Meri Prem Kahaani- The Proposal

December 6th – I was talking to my neighbour and best friend sitting on the steps outside the house when he called up. And said “what time do we meet tomorrow? Shall I come at 10?” I said yes and he said” OK, I have something important to tell you tomorrow.See you then” and he cut the call.I was surprised.He never needed any time and permission to come home-so why the question? And what was so important-was he thinking of backing off from CAT?Did something happen at home? Was there something happening in the friends’ circle that I was unaware of? My friend just pooh-poohed the whole thing and predicted that he would propose to me. And I just laughed out loud – what was so special in tomorrow that he would (and I was not even sure that there was something like that) ? And why now when we were studying so seriously for the exams? That would only just distract us both from the goal…

December 7th (tuesday) – He came home at 10.30 after dropping his mom off at school and meeting a friend (she was a school teacher).And we began studing. I could sense that he was not concentrating enough. I asked him a couple of times, got irritated with his response “I’ll tell you in a bit” and then just to keep myself from screaming at the suspense, put more effort in solving the mock exam paper. We had lunch at 1.30 and then he kept asking for glasses of water-I still remember he had about 7 glasses of water. As per routine he was supposed to pick up his mom from school at 4pm.

After lunch, I insisted that I had enough of studies and pestered him to tell me what was that ‘important’ thing that he wanted to tell me. I kept asking about everyone in the group, family, future (we were all in that empty space of what next after degree) and he kept saying no to everything. Then finally at 3.30pm he stood from where he was sitting,began pacing the room and said* “Look, this has been on my mind for a long time now and I really dont know¬†yet, why Im telling this to you today, but I’ve given it a lot of thought-for nearly an year now and I dont want to beat round the bush anymore…” And I asked him “Oh! You want to tell me that you are in love with u or V? All this prelude for that-Bah! I had already told you…” “Will you just listen to me, Dumbo, its you!” Im literally seeing stars by now “Whaat?”

” I love YOU”

“What are you joking?”

“Why should I be joking, its you I love not anyone else” By this time my hands were shivering and I didnt know how to react and things became hazy for a few mins. And I asked him again “Are you sure?!” “Ofcourse,Im sure. I told you, I’ve given it a lot of thought since our second year degree trip.And I want an answer from you”.

“Second year trip? That was more than an year back! you got so much time to think all this. How can I give you an answer in less than 5 mins”

¬†“Look, I need to leave now to pick up Amma and I want an answer. I cant go from here without knowing what your answer is. If you think that this will not work out tell me right now and I will never ask you again”

“You cant insist on an answer like this! I dont know!”

¬†“Think now, and tell me in the next 4 mins. you know, I have to leave by 3.45 otherwise I will be late”

By this time, there were a million thoughts in my head-parents acceptance, we were still studying-no way I could tell my parents at that time, what if either set doesnt accept and then the biggest question of all-was this really serious? We were still 19 and in college but I was always serious about being committed to one person all my life and I couldnt take a break-up… That too, after what had happened to my friend…

At the same time, I knew there was something special I shared with him. He was definitely one person that I could share all my secrets with and could think of sharing the rest of my life with. He was one person who could let me dream but also keep me grounded to reality… He had become my “best friend” and who better than a best friend as a life partner? I knew he cared for me a lot and that a person who loves and respects his mother so much, would give me the same kind of love and respect to his wife.I knew, if I said ‘No’ this friendship we shared would also be lost and I was not ready for that.

So, I answered “I really dont know yet. I think I love you too but Im not sure. For me, this is for keeps, I dont want a boyfriend today and marry someone else tomorrow. Please dont play with me. If you are really serious then this is for the rest of our lives. I dont know how parents will react, what will happen now, and I want atleast 6 months time to to really understand if this will work. I will never come out with you alone anywhere(What rubbish it was!), and please dont tell this to anyone right now.”

“Parents reaction-I can assure you my parents will agree, we will ofcourse not tell anyone right now. But that much I can promise that this is for life-long for me too… Our relationship has not even begun and you are already thinking of quitting? I have given it enough thought and Im going to convince you in the 6 months that this is for keeps…Thank You!” He gave me the hugest# smile I ever saw on his face and rushed out to pick up his mom…

*I have tried to recollect and put verbatim here, but its been a dozen years now…

¬†#SnS please pardon the language-but I dont know how else to describe that smile…

Next Episode: First Date and the days after…

Teri Meri Prem Kahaani-Friendship to Love

During the first year of college, apart from those couple of instances there was hardly any interaction between us. Then January came and we had our first class trip to Hemagiri falls. It was a lot of fun getting to know the people in the class.(class strength had dwindled out by then with people going off to Engg and Medical colleges). I remember S was the only guy who stood at the bottom of those slippery stone extensions which were used as steps to get down into the water and helped every girl and the teacher get down. score-1. I realised maybe he really wasnt that egoistic guy.On the journey back home that evening, he sat next to me and that was when I really spoke to him. Rather he spoke to me-only about his mom for more than half the journey,making me realise how much of a mamma’s boy he was. He readily accepted that he was a mamma’s boy and respected her a lot – score-2. I had until then not met a teenage guy who would readily admit it. We also spoke about his arrogance and I remember him clearly laughing out loud and explaining each an every instance I thought he had been arrogant. A lot about his personality became clearer to me that day and I guess we became friends since then. Ofcourse-imagine, we were 18 and in college so there were other guys who began to tease us together. Initially we just got irritated and then we just began to ignore them.

The second year of college started and it seemed like there was never a break. We continued to be good friends and we moved around in a big gang of 12-8 girls and 4 boys. We used to either attend classes together or bunk together, go to someone’s house, sit and chat or walk the 1.5kms to the nearest complex and share chaats with the combined money we had. None of us used to have any more than 20-30rs at any point in time. One of the guys had a maruti omni and all of us used to dump ourselves in that and go to drop each one home! Ofcourse all our parents knew about our gang (Dad called us the ‘Dirty Dozen’) and we used to make an adda out of someone’s house whenever we bunked classes. That was the time other love stories began to happen in the group. There became another couple Sh&Sm and there were a couple of proposals from other guys to me. We also began to tease S with another girl who was quite serious about him and had even told at home. We also went on the very eventful 2nd year trip to Bulmuri falls and on the way back we again sat next to each other. I think by then most of the crowd knew that there was something brewing between us while I was still stupidly ignoring everything. We ended up holding hands and looking at the stars that evening through the journey back home.

In all this fun, we also had a big tragedy, which left us all completely shaken. We were studying for the final exams when one morning we got to know that one of our friend had committed Suicide. We only knew that she had a boyfriend but none of us knew who he was and how serious their relationship was. And apparently he dumped her.She committed suicide. And it left me very very upset. Not that she was my best friend-but she was someone I used to talk to on a regular basis and I cried for days. That was the time,I guess, his calls to me began on a daily basis…

In the final year, S decided to take up CAT entrance exam for IIM. And he convinced me that it would be good for me to take too. I came home and asked Dad,he readily agreed and was very happy that he didnt have to push me into something and I wanted to do it myself. So, we began to do combined studies together which gave us more time to be alone and not create doubts (or so we thought.Bah! Now I wonder, who were we trying to fool?!). And we did study seriously until December 7th….

PS:  People, please bear with me! I didnt realise that there would be so much story to tell when I first started it. Infact I told Seema that it would end in one episode. After reading this, it seems long enough to add more into this. So, proposal and what happens next, in the next post…

A Real Love Story: My entry for the Get Published contest‚Äô-Teri Meri Prem Kahaani-No love at First Sight

It was those initial days of degree college when we were 4 school friends in a new college. We were very religiously attending the classes.¬†One such hot July afternoon, we were all sitting in a very strict Math class- I can still remember the Mehendi Brown hair of the lecturer with his tall build. It was about 20mins since the class had started and we heard some noise and a few boys wanted to come into the class.None of them had the guts to ask the lecturer an “Excuse Me” or “May I come In” and were discussing who would ask. Then one of them was pushed ahead and asked permission very confidently and when the lecturer asked why they were late, he very confidently said “Sir, we¬†didn’t¬†know whose class it was, only when we¬†realized¬†it was your class, we decided to attend” and the lecturer just let them all in. The friend sitting next to me nudged me and said” He is S, he was in my class in +2 also. Very arrogant guy.”- That was the first sight.¬†Confession: I kind of liked his confidence and¬†the way his¬†hair fell on his forehead…

He says: He first ‘noticed’ me at the bus stop one afternoon while my friend and me were waiting for the bus. I do remember that conversation-about planning for the 1st year trip and I also remember we missed a couple of buses so we could continue chatting! And all that he noticed about me was my non-stop chatter with a lot of head and arm waving and he thought “My God! How much this girl talks with all those actions! I wonder how her neck¬†doesn’t¬†hurt by the end of the day!”

The boys had decided to participate in the college inter class drama competition that year, while the rest of the class had to contribute money. And we all had to give it to S! During a break between classes one of the girls gave him the money and he said something real nasty and I lost my temper. I shouted right back at him and told him that there was no need for any Ego clashes here and we were only giving money as a class, so if he¬†didn’t¬†want it he could just leave and pay the rest of the money from his pocket. And he just stared at me and walked off. Much later I got to know that the 2 had already had a fight regarding this money and that was a continuation of the same argument and¬†I had only heard his words.Oops! But no, I¬†didn’t¬†apologize.

And that is how we met. I remember telling a friend then: “My God! This guy has so much ego that he needs someone really strong who can head-butt with him at every stage to get things her way.”

Little did I know that *that* girl could be me!

This is my entry for the¬†HarperCollins‚ÄďIndiBlogger¬†Get Published¬†contest, which is run with inputs from¬†Yashodhara Lal¬†andHarperCollins India