How My Parents Met: #WinningAtLove
by Radhika Sharma
This article is part of a new culture series called "How My Parents Met," which showcases various cultures in the context of love and marriage.
It was a beautiful summer day when my parents first met each other. Much like the movies, a single day would lead to a roller coaster ride and finally, a happy ending, one lasting 22 years and counting.
My mother and father would’ve never met each other if it hadn’t been for one distant, common connection paving its way into their lives. My mother was finishing her Master’s degree while my father was working his first job as an accountant. While my father lived in the more urban, capital city of New Delhi, mum lived with her large, loving extended family in Punjab. When they first met, all they two knew was that their families were planning on getting them married and that they wanted them to meet, spend time and say “yes” or “no.”
As my father walked nervously towards my mother, my mother thought to herself, ‘There is no way I will ever marry this guy. He looks like he hasn’t smiled in years.’ This first impression turned over to be, ‘I want to marry this guy. He’s the sweetest, funniest, kindest I’ve met.’ However, much unlike the movies, neither my mother nor my father wished to marry immediately and so ‘spending time’ changed from being a single meeting to a year of falling in love and getting to know one another.
In a year, my mother got her degree and my father changed jobs, travelling the world and taking mum with him. In a year, their families also became one, happy blob of people excited to see the two tie the knot.
In the Indian culture, the marriage of two people is also the marriage of two families, backgrounds, beliefs, principles and ways of living. Love is not love unless it’s supported and backed by similarities in the families which reassure them that the marriage will last. When two individuals claim love, it’s not an easy thing for the parents to say okay because society demands that a list of others factors check out before anything else. Here, love is a pure, sacred bond; a bond which lasts seven lives and is something that is truly, persisting in all of life’s phases whether its sadness, happiness, sickness or health. The bride leaves everything behind to take on a new name, a new identity and to devote herself to a new family while the groom dutifully assures that he works towards keeping his family safe, healthy and happy.
In marrying my father, my mother faced many obstacles that come as ‘givens’ in society such as not having a job and devoting everything to her children and family. She gave up the opportunities that would’ve come with her hard earned physics degree and became a housewife while my father worked every single day to provide everything and more for his family. Compared to many an obstacle faced by couples in India, my mother and father’s story seems to be one with no obstacles at all. However, it is the personal sacrifices that truly defined the framework of how most ‘normal’ couples survived in society.
Today, women work after marriage and some don’t get married at all. Not without judgements from society but with more strength to go against the same.
My mother and father have been happily married for a good 22 years now. Both of them work and teach me to work by my principles and morals and not by what society tells me they should be. My mother tells me that it’s okay to sacrifice a career for family but only if it’s my own wish, not if it’s someone else’s imposition on me. They both are truly #winningatlove and inspiring me to do the same on my own terms, in my own time.