When Cupid Attacks
We discover that you can find love just about anywhere, as four women share their stories about meeting Mr.Perfect
A Theatrical Affair
I was 18 when I first ran into the man I would eventually marry. My cousin was going around with someone who's best friend was this tall lanky guy called Michael. I bumped into all of them in church one day and though I found him attractive, I wrote him off as a snob.
But my cousin and her boyfriend kept insisting we were meant for each other—they actually wanted us to get together, so that they could get access to Michael's car—and decided to take us for a movie just to get us going. The chosen movie was Ram Teri Ganga Maili.
As we sat watching the movie in Ajanta, an old rundown theatre in Hyderabad, I put my hand on the armrest, thinking he would hold my hand, but he didn't. He didn't move even a centimeter out of the position he had taken. I grumbled under my breathe to my cousin, who was sitting on the other side of me, how foolish he was for not taking my hand.
After a while I felt his arm on my neck and thought, “Oh Boy! That's bold.” Two minutes later his arm was not on my neck any more. A short while later, I sneaked a peek, only to realise that he didn't seem to have budged from his original position at all.
A little later, I felt his arm on my neck again. So I looked in his direction, but his arms were in exactly the same position as when we started watching the movie. I looked around and there were bandicoots running around behind us. We screamed. Anyway, that was an unforgettable start to a relationship. He hasn't changed much. He was unromantic then. He is still unromantic. I was always the one buying the flowers. However, this year there was a surprising change —I got flowers and diamonds too.
Oddly, after going around for six months we split up though neither of us remembers why. Though we went to to the same parties and lived in the same neighbourhood, our paths never clashed. It would be another six years before Michael spotted me in church with another cousin's daughter and inquired with my cousin whether I was married and had kids.
She told me Michael kept talking about me. I thought about it for three months and finally realised I loved him to much to marry anyone else. I called his home number but when him mum picked up I pretended to be Mrs. Rangarajan whose car had broken down, for fear she would not pass on my message if she knew who I was. I gave her my office number to pass on the man in charge of the garage.
Micheal called asking to speak to Mrs.Rangarajan, and I said, “You idiot it's me. You better get on your bike and get her right away”. Anyway, he called up my cousin, who gave him a big lecture. He did show up on his bike and we've been together since. I followed him to the UAE in 1997, though my parents didn't know that then; I was sent with the agreement that I would stay with my brother's in-laws.
I knew my dad wouldn't have wanted me to marry him so we got court married in October 1997. We figured we would get married in church for our families later and went back to the Gulf. That December when dad went to the courthouse with my brother to get our house registered, they saw our photographs there and all hell broke loose. Luckily, my mother-in-law who knew by then that we had gotten married, took charge and calmed things down.
~Belinda Suares, Business Development Manager
Love on the Dance Floor
I was this girl from the South, who had recently come to Bombay and had no clue what the city was all about. I was staying at the YWCA hostel, and one evening I went out for hostel night at Villa Theresa with my friends one evening, though not I was not much of a dancer. It was also the first time I wore a western outfit—a pink frock to be specific.
A little lost and not quite sure what the protocol was at an event like this, I was just hanging around with my friends observing people. There was this one guy who was also waiting for his group of friends walking up and down and checking out all the girls. My roommate who knew him introduced us. Since both of us were at loose ends, he decided to ask me for a dance, and I accepted. I didn't know how to jive, but he led extremely well and we jived and jived and jived for what seems like forever (though it can't have been more than half an hour). He just kept on dancing and I didn't know how to get him to stop. At the end of the session I was still spinning and so exhausted, that I swore to myself I would never dance with him ever again.
A week later, I walked into his office looking for a job and he looked at me as if he didn't know me at all. Oh! How I hated him. Anyway, I kept attending parties; he would also be present, as most of the parties where hosted by common friends. At every party I would see him with a different girl; not that it made much of a difference to my life.
Once, I happened to call his office for a payment and spoke to a guy with a great sense of humour, not realising it was him. We kept chatting and he asked me out for coffee. We met often for a cup of coffee and spent many an evening laughing at the various anecdotes he would narrate. I discovered that it was his great sense of humour and his love for dancing that made him a ladies man!
I was the naive girl on the third floor of the hostel, who didn't realise that he had girlfriends on floors one and two as well. I once even dropped home a girl who came to a party with him. And then there was a girl who told me he would never marry me—a non-Goan—as his mother had selected her to be his wife. My friends warned me to forget it as he would never settle down.
We had a three-day-long beach wedding on the 12th of November 1989, just before Diwali. What was hate at our first meeting in November 1986, is now unconditional love for the man, who is an awesome friend and husband, a wonderful father to our two kids, and nothing like the boy I met over two decades ago—though the ladies still like to shake a leg when he takes to the floor. And now, 27 years later, I'm still dancing to his tune and looking forward to many more years of togetherness.
~Cheryl D'Mello, Event Manager
Finding Heaven Online
I know the old saying goes 'Marriages are made in heaven'. But I wasn't sure where that was or how to get there, though I strongly believe that God has a plan for us all and destiny will draw you by hook or by crook to the place where you belong. I had promised my dad that I would be ready to consider marriage when I turned 25. So, though I was at the peak of my career running my own IT company—buying, selling, assembling and repairing computers—when my cousin suggested I created an online profile I did. I created such a blunt profile that my dad, aunts and cousins gave up and decided that at that rate, I would never find a guy.
I wasn't sure I would get my dream guy, but I figured that there was no harm in trying. I had a 33-point list, which included everything from wanting someone over 6-foot tall and fair to wanting him to a non-vegetarian and to hate rock and metal music. He also had to be socially aware, animal friendly, love the outdoors and so on and so forth. I think I got about 95% of what was on my list, though I've forgotten much of it. In retrospect, I think I've won a lottery and got so much more than I hoped for. I was not too keen on moving out of Mumbai, though I was talking to someone from America at that point. When I finally settled on Harish and we got married, we moved from Bangalore to Hyderabad to Mauritius to Bombay within four years, until I think Mumbai stole his heart too. But I'm getting ahead of myself; let me tell you the story from the beginning.
He first emailed me on 19th March 2007. It took me two days to reply as I was busy. When his second email landed in my inbox, I was busy again and though I replied only after two days, what he had written got my attention and I read it thrice. I suggested we exchange numbers (there were no smart phones and Whatsapp then). We spoke whenever we got time, often all through the night until the milkman rang the doorbell in the morning. Each of us had a mobile bill of Rs.6000 in that first month.
When he told me he loved me and wanted to marry me somewhere around 25th March, I told him to stop building castles in the air, as we had met through an arranged marriage scenario. Oddly, a few days later, I confessed that I loved him, even before meeting him in person. My dad knew that we were getting to know each other; when I finally I told my dad I wanted to meet him, dad said to ask him to come to Bombay. He stepped of the plane on April Fool's Day, carrying flowers from Bangalore and stole my heart away.
At lunch with my dad, as we all watched Tom and Jerry—enjoying it as much as any child would—we realised that this was the first time for all of us—meeting the father, meeting the prospective son-in-law, meeting the could-be husband. “Mere taraf se haan hai beta” said my dad as I walked him to his car. When it was time to bid goodbye to Harish, I just couldn't bring myself to say bye. Values, morals, log kay bolenge not withstanding I hugged him. The bear hug I received in return was enough for me to know that this was all I needed from life.
When our parents met and his parents wanted my horoscope, I started to panic. Harish seemed very confident that the horoscopes would match and told me not to stress; he said he would bribe the pandit to make it happen if required. When the pandit—without being bribed—said ours was a perfect match, I was convinced that marriages are made in heaven. On 19th April we flew to Bangalore to meet his family and exchange shagun; on 14th May we were married. Chat mangni, pat biyah as they say.
I don’t think either of us have changed each other; we complement each other and make up for each others flaws. Our likes and dislikes are similar, and we have a telepathic connection where we often call or text or even walk from one room to the other towards each other to say exactly the same thing. I still feel as if we're dating. Btw... the seven year itch is just a myth. I can vouch for it.
~Chandni Nihalani Kumar, Real Estate Consultant
Strangers on Xanga
I started blogging about the world of therapy on xanga in 2004. A blogger called ousiadroid and I somehow started chatting about art and psychology.
While his art was fascinating, some of his posts were scary, so I was kind of relieved to find out he was miles away in Dubai. I'd been chatting with ousiadroid (who I later got to know as Andre) for about six months but had never met him.
He kept insisting I meet his best friend Gagan (Xin on xanga), amongst several other people in Bombay. Both their xanga pages had posts about technology and superheros, which weren't really my areas of interest. Besides, when you're talking to people you don't really know, like ousiadroid and xin, it's easy to get a bit paranoid; though I have since learned that people are far warmer in real life than their virtual avatars.
Gagan and I spoke for about two weeks before finally meeting on a Monday. He proposed that Thursday. We were engaged—with our parents approval—by Saturday.
It felt right and happened in the blink of an eye, which is a big deal for someone like me who is perpetually cautious. In fact, anyone who knows either Gagan or me will tell you that neither of us is hasty. When I look back, I wonder at the fact that my mother never asked about my friend Andre—who I finally met when he and a few other friends from xanga came down for my wedding in December 2005.
What drew me to Gagan is that one of the first questions he asked was, 'If everyone talks to you when they are having a bad time, who do you turn to when you hit a low?' I'm not sure why I trusted my gut but I did. I guess the fact that we were both ready to get married and the fact that we were both North Indian was encouraging. Gagan makes me a much calmer person and he says I do the same for him. He also says he spends less and is a better person because of me. I'm not so sure about his last two claims, but I'll take his word for it.
~Sonali Gupta, Psychologist