Counting My Blessings

(You will need to have the context of the conservative Indian society and the concept of 'love marriages' to fully understand this post)

"My world is mute without you" These were the words that got me curious to meet the guy who wrote this. This letter intrigued me as I hardly knew the person. When I ended up meeting him, I realized I really liked him. His honesty, simplicity and confidence led me to trust him like I never trusted anyone. 6 years later, I got married to him and what a great ride it has been since then! I complete 10 years of being married today and I wanted to count my blessings and say a few things I have never said before.

A few weeks before I was to get married, I was getting sick with the stress of not having anyone to confide in and talk my fears out. That is when Karthik and Kaushik, twins and my best friends, stepped in to support me. They were as young, naive and inexperienced as I was but they cared and by not just being by me but helping me take the support of their mom and dad. Aunty and uncle offered to talk to my parents to get their consent and were willing to face their anger if need be but I vehemently refused to let them do that. During the entire phase, they became the people I completely depended on emotionally. If not for them, I would have ended up being a nervous wreck.

The wedding itself was scary. Close to a 100 guys from Ranjit's friend's circle came to 'support' us and I was the only girl and my only guest was Karthik. I told Kaushik the day and time of the wedding but forgot to tell him where the venue was. Those were not the days of mobile phones and he was left worried about how I was and if everything was going fine. The biggest test was to go to my parents place and break the news that I was married. Karthik refused to let me do that alone and stubbornly stood by me when I had the most difficult conversation of my life. I could reunite with my parents later only because the entire load of bitterness about the whole thing was thrown squarely on him . My parents blamed him and I was easily forgiven (and I think the reason why I was forgiven was because they could blame him).

The guilt of putting my parents through the biggest humiliation of their life has never left me. Every single year, on this day, I struggle not knowing how to remove the dark pain I feel in my heart for leaving my mom and dad open to insults from neighbors, friends and family that their daughter eloped. The pain they went through that I left them and moved so quickly, literally overnight, will keep nagging me like it has over the years. My ego never let me apologize to them and and tell them that I took the right decision in life but I wish my journey started differently.

The first morning after my wedding, as a new bride, I went to Ranjit's place and was introduced to his parents as their daughter-in-law. I braced myself to be slapped or to hear words so sharp that they would hurt more than physical pain. I went pale with fear, but after the initial 3 second hesitation, my mother-in-law gave me a hug and welcomed me into the family. From that moment onwards, she became the most important person in my life -- watching over me, taking care of me and praying for my well being and happiness constantly. I faced every important moment in my life with utmost confidence because I knew she would coordinate the time and go on her knees praying knowing the moment is important to me. With someone like that in my life, I don't have to think of logic and if prayers work or if the God that she worships exists. It really doesn't matter at all.

Other anecdotes about my love story are under the label 'My Love Story'