Priya (name changed) is a 27-year-old advertising professional in Mumbai.
Jab we met
I moved to Mumbai with big dreams and an empty pocket but now have a great job, a loving boyfriend and an apartment we share. I still think of the early jittery days in Mumbai and how my roommate’s friend turned into my boyfriend.
I met S at a lounge at a friend’s birthday party. We instantly clicked. S was athletic, tall and fair with a great sense of humour. He seemed like a nice person. I wouldn’t deny that I liked how S secretly looked at me during the celebrations.
After that night, we met regularly for coffee or beer nights with friends and within two months of our friendship, S and I were a couple.
The first few years of our relationship were easy – full of romantic candlelit dinners, weekend movie binges and ice-cream parlour hopping. That’s when we decided to take the next step and move in together.
But S and I couldn’t lease a flat together because we weren’t married. There were all sorts of rules while living with a landlord and I didn’t want to abide by them. After several negotiations and long discussions with an owner, we finally managed to rent a home in the suburbs.
Once we started living together, people threw all sorts of judgements at us. Even though both of us are Hindu, we weren’t invited to festivals and most of our neighbours would ignore us if they saw us and not let their kids speak to either of us. I remember one of my neighbours saying, “Shaadi nahin ki? Bahut modern ban rahe ho?”
We were hearing remarks like these on a day-to-day basis and it really started creating a rift in our relationship. S didn’t like snide remarks thrown his way near the lift or the lobby. Once I even dared to retort back to an old aunty but S stopped me.
We would fight all night, skip dinner and go to bed separately. It was a fragile period for our relationship.
He then told me how his parents were looking for a bride and wanted S to tie the knot soon. We fought again but this time I spoke to his mother and told her about us. She just wanted us to get married but wouldn’t understand that it wasn’t a priority for us.
Trivial but real
Apart from societal pressures, we were dealing with real issues of living together. Neither of us was used to living so close to someone and we had difficulties sharing household chores. We would often fight over who would cook, who would do the laundry and dishes etc.
Both of us were working and we would be equally tired by the end of the day. Sometimes arguing over the TV remote control would turn into a nasty fight.
These might sound like trivial issues, but they were affecting our relationship. We loved each other and physical intimacy was great between us but we couldn’t stop fighting over space, privacy, parents, marriage and career.
But I knew that I had come a long way, and I didn’t want to give up everything I had worked hard for, including S.
Taking time out
That was when we decided to take a trip to the hills and spend some quality time together. The vacation brought us closer again. We spent time in each other’s arms and eating delicious food. We also talked through all the problems we faced that year.
After returning, we found a reason to continue. We still do fight over responsibilities every other week but S gives in and cooks on weekends. I also get leg massages from him on Sundays.
We have been living together for six years now, dealing with problems and fights. But we still don’t think marriage is compulsory. It doesn’t bring two people closer, I think understanding your partner and loving them unconditionally does.
Have you ever considered a live-in relationship? What are your thoughts and opinions about it? Leave a comment below or via Facebook.