It was their first meeting. A meeting given the name of social gathering so that a certain “he” could meet a certain “she” and decide that would they be able to become a definite “they”? Nervousness, fear, excitement it was everything – a great little combination of all the little great feelings.The house was filed with the smell of home-made sweets and namkins.
Everyone was blustering with excitement after all it was the first wicket of the new generation to go. Yes, she was the oldest of all the five siblings and hence the excitement for their “didi” would be getting married could be seen brightly on their faces.
While everyone was pretty much excited she was tensed, nervous and a bit scared too. Draped in a white saree with a golden border she looked stunning. Long shining black hair that reached up to her slender slim waist parted and tied into half pony made her look heroine straight out of movie of 90’s. The kohl in her eyes highlighted that something so dark and so black could look so beautiful too. A light touch of makeup and she was a wonder woman without the cape.
She looked picture perfect to anyone apparently but if you observed her closely you could see the confident hands shaking a little, the forehead adorned by not only little bindi but also small drops of sweat, the smile that could stop hearts was a bit wavering today. She could not help herself but go down to her memory lane where she had faint memories of him.
The Hansraj and the Purohit were had been neighbors long ago. So she had faint memories of him playing together as kids. But when she was 11 The Hansraj had shifted to the city. But being Indians where we consider “Pelo sago te padosi (Your first relative is your neighbor)” the families had kept their bond alive by keeping in touch time and again. He on the other hand was not as much nervous or anxious because having been a successful businessman for years now he was ready to seal another deal for life but little did he know that this deal would sweep him off his feet and would crack the usual calm stern exterior he always maintained because of his responsibilities. He was the eldest brother and his father had died when he was 14 hence the weight on shoulders had increased, when he should be busy playing and studying. He had an entire family consisting of 8 siblings and mother to look after.
All of these and other worldly woes made him a person who was always cold and calculating but fiercely protective when it came to someone whom he loved.——–“The meeting” was over. They had, had little chance of interaction since it was their families who would really decide whether they are good for each other. Hence they did not have much choice in selecting their life partner what choice they had was how to spend life with the life partner they would have. Since everyone agreed for the deal it was sealed with an exchange of sweets and surnames.
The date of engagement was a month later and marriage 6 months later from there on.The engagement was on a grand level- typical Indian style and hence everyone had loads of work to do. But amidst all of this what worried her more that he had not attempted in making a single conversation with her. Only one week was left and he had not even once visited her house but her village was two hour drive from his city so she thought maybe that could be the reason. But he could have called on the landline but again the landline was in the shop attached to their house and was very loud so it would be embarrassing maybe that should be the reason he wouldn’t have called. But he could have written a letter to her, yes it would come to her home but that was the only way left to bond wasn’t it?
She had so many questions she was eager to get answer to them but how would she ask them if he didn’t even talk? But there was little she could do right now because apart from the scarcity of time she taking the lead would look like that she was desperate. She had faced various instances where her extrovert or bold nature was often criticized and this time she didn’t want to mess up anything as far as possible so she decided to be patient something that was unlike her nature but a virtue she would learn soon enough.
Finally it was “the engagement day”. A day when the down payment for the deal was made, where one ring was exchanged with other ring and was accepted as the instalment for the future of the deal. It was a big day for all them but it would not be any kind of exaggeration to say that she was dying out of excitement. Yes, excitement not only to see him but mostly to ask him why didn’t he talk? The rituals soon began and the pair looked absolutely stunning making the family filled with happiness and others with jealousy. The entire function was carried out very peacefully and happily.
The engagement was early in the morning and she was going back with the in-laws to their home for the first time as a daughter in law. This was an altogether a new feeling. A house she had visited earlier seemed new to her, because until now it was her neighbor’s home but now she is in her own new home. A house that would now be home to her. They had reached his house in the evening well before the dinner time. Her sister in laws decided that she should have a tour of the entire house and thus they set on the grand tour of the not so grand house. It was a simple two storied house spread over a huge area; the walls were pale white and had been adorned with family pictures and antique show pieces at some place. There was a chandelier in the living room, though it was not very big but it was very elegant. The house looked very comfy and had a homey feeling to it.
The last room she was to visit was his bedroom or rather her future bedroom. She was looking forward to see how he lived. The room was like every other room in the house big, spacious and homey. A corner of the room was converted in to mini office containing a table books and files. In the other corner there was huge book shelf containing books on business strategies, inspirational personalities and management. She didn’t fail to notice that everything about the room was very serious like him except beside his bed there was a small table that had a water jug and a family photograph.
What delightfully surprised her was the small passport sized photo neatly tucked into the photo frame. It was her photograph. This meant a lot. She had butterflies in her stomach. Just then the there was a new entry to the room, there was a shadow in the room casted by the person standing on the door which drew the attention of everyone. It was none other than him. The moment he entered the room his sisters left the room knowing that the would be couple need time to know each other and talk in private. She was extremely grateful for them leaving the room because she wasn’t sure she could wait anymore for talking to him. During the car trip though they both were together a lot of others were there and hence they could not really talk now was the time they could actually talk.
He came inside the room, opened his cupboard and was doing something since he did not speak she initiated.
She: So you kept my photo here!!??!!
(Facing her)He: Ummmm….. Yes I think it has every family member present in it and now since you are going to be my wife I thought I should put your photo there.
She: Oh…. Ummmm that’s great, thank you so much!
(Shrugging his shoulders)He: Welcome………
And then he spoke nothing but he sat on the bed at one end. She knew that he wouldn’t talk further now if she didn’t but at least he was on the bed sitting and not doing his work taking this as a sign he would talk she asked the question she was dying to ask.
She: Why didn’t you try to talk with me during the whole month?
He: Sorry? But we don’t exactly live nearby and you do not have a landline in the home so how was I supposed to talk?
She felt a bit relieved knowing that he had at least thought of talking with her.
She: But you could have at least written a letter…… Seeing it is from you anyone would have directly given it to me.
He: But conversing through letters is so impersonal. It has got no voice no emotion a simple waste of money and as such I knew that after a month you were going to coming here anyway so I saw no point in writing a letter at all.
She: But didn’t you want to know me or know more about me? Though letters may have no voice but they still are communicators and something is better than nothing. So you could have you know written something it would make me feel good.
He: See, we have different ideologies about that but I don’t think writing letters is really worth the effort and plus we are going to be with each other for life so what difference is it going to make?
The moment he finished the sentence someone downstairs summoned them and the conversation stayed incomplete but she was determined that she was going to change his perception about letters and make him realize how important the letters were. She stayed there for a week where they had some moments of privacy to talk to each other but ample of moments to observe each other and know each other a little better. After all something IS better than nothing.
She had returned to her home and now she was more than just determined to get him to write letters to her. She decided to write to him the very day she returned home. But it was easier thought that done. First of all it was a difficult task to find privacy in Indian house that was loaded with siblings who though wouldn’t understand anything but loved to poke their noses in elders’ work and read out everything aloud they could. Then to get teased by all those who understand to whom you’re writing the letter, though they have not a single clue about what you’re writing. Though this might not be challenge exactly in fact sometimes it may help you but it tends to get a bit embarrassing.
So approximately after around hundred attempts of trying to find a corner around seventy attempts of shooing her siblings away around 50 attempts of managing time enough around 30 attempts of deciding how to start and 15 attempts of actually writing a letter, finally at the stroke of midnight she was able to draft this-
Dear would be husband, I know you do not believe in letters as they are impersonal but I would not want to miss any chance of communicating with you. And being your would be wife I sincerely hope that you too would reply to them as a part of knowing each other better. I know we have an entire life to spend together and hence we would have a lot of time getting to know each other but don’t you think life ahead maybe be easier to kick off if we start as friends and not as total strangers? From what I observed about you, you’re a very passionate businessman, so think of this as a business deal; in a business deal wouldn’t you be more confident about conducting your business with someone with whom you’re on good terms rather than with someone whose name only you know? So keeping this in mind let us write to each other and who knows at the end of it you might start finding letters as very good means of communication?
So in hope that you would reply I am continuing this letter. I would say something about myself and in return I hope you would do the same to get an idea about our likes dislikes. Well I am plain next door girl who like every other girl loves talking. I am fond of music, I love reading books and love to dance to though I do not know how to, I try singing and people actually compliment me so I take it as a talent I inherited from my mom besides that I love cooking and spending time with children. I am an impatient person but also a little impulsive one, something I know I have to improvise in. It is easy to please me; brings me books, chocolates and roses and I will be the happiest person ever. I am not that short tempered but once I lose my temper I do not calm down easily. Though it may be easy to please me it is not easy to get my trust at all because I may be about roses but I am well aware about the thorns in them.
Now I would like to say something I observed about you and please I request you to write about the same because it would really mean a lot and this would be our acknowledging that do we really know each other or not? From what I observed about you I can say you are a very light sleeper because the whole house practically stays quiet when you’re sleeping so that you wouldn’t wake up. You are a discipline lover the way you’re book shelf is arranged and the way you’re siblings are well behaved around you. You are a very passionate businessman as I said above. Though you’re discipline lover you go easy on your siblings and love to spend time with them, hence showing that you love your family dearly and yes you also love them fiercely I remember your sister talking about how angry you were when you came to know someone was bullying her, you shouted on the school principal an instance that doubled my respect for you.
You talk less very less according me, GOD how can you stay so quiet?This is about me and about you from my viewpoint. And before you complain about talking too much I would end this letter. Give my regards to Mom-Dad and love to siblings,
Yours not so friendlyWould be wife——–
Well it would be very big understatement to say that he was confused when he received the letter first because he did not expect it, second because he had not a single clue what to write in the letter. But there was one thing he was sure about that is he would definitely reply to her. And though he tried to convince himself that he would do it only because he did not want to disappoint her but deep down he knew that he was doing it because he really wanted to get know her more and also out of curiosity, that how can she say letters are not impersonal? While she had to go through an entire tedious process of writing the letter it wasn’t that difficult for him because being the strict elder brother there was no one that actually disturbed him but there was one small problem though what to write and how to start. And this was much bigger of a problem to him because he could not talk properly much less write anything.
After many efforts he was proud of himself and had a feeling of closing a business deal successful because he could draft this……..
Dear would be wife, First of all don’t you think you hope too much? Like hoping me to write back, hoping to write about myself etc etc…… But since I want to be a good would be husband it is my duty to fulfill all your hopes.So about myself, I am not as interesting as you are. I am a normal guy who talks less and yes is short tempered. But I realize about my anger soon and have regrets later though I may not always voice my regrets. I am short tempered not easily tempered and hence I do not lose my mind on every small instance, something people cannot differentiate. I have no hidden talents though I can play harmonica okay. And yes I guess it is obvious it is difficult to please me but once I think of you as mine there is no going back I think that is the reason I am writing this letter.First of all I am flabbergasted by what you observed about me because all of it was correct. And coming to my observations about you, I think you are a very open and vocal person. You often say what is in your mind, but not everywhere because you respect people and if you think they would not like what you say you keep shut, a quality I wish all could have.
You love talking!! How is it even possible to say so much doesn’t your jaw muscle hurt? You too love kids and they love you back just as much, because my younger siblings have been pestering me to get married just so that they can get to play with you. While you may be a light hearted person you are very serious when it comes to you’re and your family’s respect. I vividly remember during that one week stay some aunty had been saying something in a joke manner about your family though you did not back answer but the folding of your fist and glint in the eyes clearly showed your anger. But you were mature enough to keep quiet, a quality I find appealing.
And yes the letter was too long because you do talk too much though I am not complaining because I do talk less and you know what do they say right? Opposites attract!! And I definitely am attracted to you.
Give my regards to Mom-Dad and love to siblings
Yours trying to be friendlyWould be husband.
He himself was surprised with what he was able to write so much. He had come to one conclusion that letters may or may not be impersonal but it definitely helped him in communicating because whatever he was not able to say face to face, though he wanted to, he could easily say it over here without hesitation.——–And thus the letter exchange began. The result of exchanging letters was pleasantly surprising for both of them. While he came to know that though she may appear childish but she was very matured at the same time with an ever smiling nature; she got to see an entirely new side of him she was able to catch a rare glimpse of carefree and playful side him. They were slowly moving ahead in their relationship from strangers to friends to secret keepers to best friends.
In between they had met once and they felt that they were at much ease this time because they had exchanged letters between them. They felt connected, safe and secure with each other. They could share their vulnerabilities their sadness everything and they knew that their words were not unheard because the reply to that letter would scare away the things that scared them. A feeling of finally reaching home after being in army school for so long was experienced.And this is how the 6 months passed, exchanging letters, thoughts, secrets, ideologies and a part of hearts too. They had a lot to know about each other yet, but what they had known so far made them believe that they would be able to face it all whatever comes in their way. They knew that these 6 months may have not been able to teach everything about love but they knew it taught them enough to understand respect and loyalty. And that is how they lay a strong foundation for the empire of their relationship with respect and loyalty pledged to each other.
The letters help them bridge the gap of not only 6 months but also of shyness awkwardness and fear.——–Well begun is half done they say and it did hold true for them too. Of course their life was not a cake walk they had their ups and downs high points and low points fights and storms but they stuck to each other not running away from each other. But the important point was their respect was never compromised, their words never crossed the line because they knew that words once said can never be taken back.
They unlike most couples who decide to not to sleep angry to bed, they had decided that while they may not always be able to get the angriness out of the other person before bed but they promised each other through letters that however angry they might be no matter what situation, what argument, whatever they will not use such words that they themselves would regret saying, this didn’t mean they didn’t talk what they felt. This meant that they knew while trying to sort out anger is necessary but giving space to someone who is angry is more important. This meant that they knew that anger is never was never and will never be an excuse to the words used without thinking twice.——–
The first thing she opened her eyes too was an empty bed and rose and a LETTER on her lamp stand. She couldn’t believe her luck with the excitement of a little kid having found secret toffees she began reading…..
Dear Best Wife,
Now, stop making that silly face, I know you look cute but don’t make a face because I just told you are the best. Because you are. To me being best is not about being perfect or about being better than others to me you are the best because no one else is as good as you for me and hence you are the best for me! And I will keep saying that till you believe me one day…….25 years ago this day you finally made this home “our” home! 25 years and you still don’t fail to surprise me. You really seemed to have rubbed off on me a lot! The biggest proof is that you are reading this.
Yes, I am writing a letter when I sleep right next to you holding you in my arms every single night. 25 years ago I would have considered myself as a fool if I even thought if doing this. But I guess this is your magic working on me. I say magic because you did not change me but certainly help me be a better man then I was. Before you I never understood how people can trust anyone so much to be open about all vulnerabilities but you made me believe that not all people are here to attack you, that it is okay to be vulnerable because everyone is. I confused being vulnerable with weak which is not the case.
In this 25 years I can gladly say we have built a great partnership, because wherever high I stand today personally or professionally is because of your support, because while I had the determination and the dream to be here it would not have been possible if you made my dreams and your dreams as “our” dreams. If I begin such things that I learnt from you the letter is never going to end and I also am not going to say thank you because I truly cannot thank you enough and honestly I never want to be able to thank you enough because then I would take you for granted and I don’t want to do that mistake ever.And that is why I am writing you this letter because along with the lines of life and time the lines of our words to each other were somehow left unsaid though never unnoticed or not understood, but it’s time we giving a puff of fresh memories to the burning embers of love and togetherness.
So what say wifey, want to spend some alone time with your super cool, romantic, good looking husband?Be ready by 7. I will be there to pick you up. I may not have courted you before marriage like a real gentleman but just like our unique “letter love” we are going to have the “post marriage wooing.”
With lots of love Yours adoringly cute