Sangeeta and Naseem (names changed) are finance professionals in Mumbai. They had a love marriage.
Their story is part two in an eloping double bill. Read part one: Eloping to India's Las Vegas
Naseem and I used to work at the same place. In fact, Naseem was already working when I joined the company. Normally you’re attracted to a person you share common ground with but in our case we started out fighting. We would always fight until we slowly started getting to know each other.
Over time we started developing a fondness for each other and soon we were dating. We come from different backgrounds and family structures. Naseem is Muslim and I am Hindu. So when the thought of love marriage came up, we held ourselves back. We decided to understand each other’s family backgrounds and culture before committing to marriage.
Meeting the families
We decided to meet each other's families as friends and spend a few days with them to better understand the family's culture and tradition. It was important for the both of us to have our parents on board if we wanted to get married. Love marriage was a tough choice for them too!
First I went to Durgapur on a five-day holiday. We roped in other friends and I used the trip to get to know Naseem’s family. Then it was Naseem’s turn. He came to Raipur on the pretext of visiting the city, met my parents and interacted with my family and friends from home. Once the two of us were convinced that we could adjust and would like to be part of the other’s family we decided to get married.
Then started the tough job of convincing the parents. They were shocked that we wanted to marry someone from another religion. Naseem’s parents wanted me to convert to Islam, which I wasn’t keen on doing. My parents were against the idea of having a Muslim son-in-law. They opposed the marriage mainly because of religious differences.
In fact every time we’d go home to visit our folks, they would brainwash us to forget our relationship. I was told of nice Hindu boys I could marry and Naseem was being convinced to marry a Muslim girl. Our parents would pressure us so much that at the end of these short trips we would end up promising them that Naseem and I would forget each other. But the moment we returned to Mumbai, we would forget all those promises and be together.
This went on for a year and a half. Finally our parents agreed. They met and discussed wedding dates. But soon they postponed the dates and finally cancelled the wedding. Naseem and I figured that our parents were not in principle against us being married but were just too worried about society and about what people would say.
That’s when Naseem and I decided to go ahead without their consent. In 2009 we got married in Mumbai under the Special Marriage Act with the help of friends and colleagues. We didn’t have to elope in the real sense of the word since we both lived away from home in Mumbai.
Best of both worlds
The next day we called our parents and gave them the news of our love marriage. It wasn’t all happy or hunky-dory. Naseem’s parents were livid and refused to speak to him for a long time. Although my folks weren’t surprised, they were unhappy. They were upset that we hadn’t waited and didn’t trust them. But it’s been five years now and slowly they’ve all come around.
Now I call my in-laws often and my folks speak to Naseem all the time. My in-laws and parents both visit us and in fact my in-laws visit my folks in Raipur. It’s been a tough fight but at end of the day Naseem and I enjoy the best of both worlds – Eid ka biryani and Diwali ke ladoo.
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