Friday, 1 February 2013

Mumbai ( Mum) To Dublin( Dub) Dep :05.00 Arr :20.00

Here's a piece which I wrote for one of the local 'Creative writing' Competitions in Ireland. The theme was "Journey " 

This is my story. A story which sounds so improbable that this may seem stranger than fiction. I'm sure there are a lot of you from my country who would have experienced something like this but for the rest , you would be thinking REALLY  ??

Oh, I’m an Indian by the way. Yes, one of those many brown skinned people who steadily have  been pouring in trying  to make this wonderful country their home for the next few years.

My Journey started 2 years ago when I was back in India. Young (still am :) , fiercely independent( hmm when I get my driver's license , I'll be wholly independent),  and in a good job. The world was at my feet or so I thought, with everything I love -family, friends , job  all in the same state (roughly the size of the whole of Ireland). Travelling 12 hours by bus to visit my family was a normal bi-monthly activity.

On one of those routine visits home, dad says ‘You are 25 years old, getting on in your years. It’s high time we get you married. My 2nd cousin's friends' son will be perfect for you.’

25  in India is considered old in the ' marriage market'. God help you if you are  a girl  over 30 and still unattached, you’d be passed off as a confirmed spinster.

To readers out there familiar with the Indian culture , you know what I'm talking about right? Let me explain in a bit more detail to the people not so familiar with Indian culture. In  India, parents get involved take over the wedding of their kids right from arranging meetings( dating is a forbidden word) between the prospects, choosing the perfect partner to the preparations of the actual day itself.  The prospects could be anyone - ranging from friend's children of marriageable age, to cousins ( twice, even thrice removed) of friends, parish members , recommendations from well meaning neighbors,relatives and  local shop waala - the hunting ground is enormous BUT this is all done strictly keeping in mind the religion, caste, social standing, educational qualifications, language spoken at home, the region of the country to which the other party belongs etc.

India has more than 6 major religions, hundreds of sub-castes within these . The population is approx 1 billion+ and fast counting and Indians speak several hundred languages as their native tongue. So you can imagine what a gregarious task it is for parents to look at this complicated matrix and find the ideal groom/bride who not only matches the above criteria but also has to match social standing and educational qualifications. 

So the groom is perfect but is from a different religion did you say? NO WAY .

So the groom fits in with all the criteria above  but he is  an IT whiz and  my daughter is a M.D in Neurology , sorry but don't think so!  

So everything fits in perfectly, the groom has met all the criteria  but the stars are not aligned( horoscopes don't match ) . HEAVENS  NO :) 

You can see why marriage is a dreaded phase in India for both the parents and the kids involved in this life changing phase. Any wrong move on your part would set the society tongues wagging . Cluck Cluck  :) 

Things are  changing now in modern India definitely and  gone are the days as shown in the Bollywood movies where the parents drag the bride or groom to the altar and force them to tie the knot. Today’s parents in India are more relaxed and decision making is a two way process.  There are still a lot of youngsters today who rebel at the thought of arranged marriages and prefer to choose their life partners themselves. So which category did I want to be in? 

You guessed right, I thought I fit into the latter, the new generation of Indians who are quite capable of finding their own life partners, thank you very much.

What changed then? With a hectic job which left me little or no time to socialize and constant nagging from the family, I bowed under pressure and agreed to casually speak to my dad's  2nd cousin's friends' son  who was based in Ireland, whom I had never seen before in my life. And it was love at first sight/sound as it was an overseas call .We spoke everyday for the next 6 months and he kept shuttling between Ireland and India to meet me. 

From the parent's perspective all the boxes ticked - religion , caste, language bar the state. He is from another part of India whereas I'm from down South , but hey you can’t have it all right ? :P

And for both of us , well what can we say ? Everything just clicked. 

So just like that we got married and I bid goodbye to all, to the life I knew  and hopped on a plane to Ireland to join him here with nothing in my pocket except  blind trust :) He could easily have been a psycho , or a killer or already married with a wife and  2 kids ( Sorry Hubby, just need to get my point across , you understand , dont you : ) 

Whenever I recount this story to my Irish friends here, I always get 'Oooh and Aaah's and imagine if he was this or that ....:) 

It's destiny I say , and  needless to say the  wonderful journey continues :) 


Thanks for taking the time out to visit this space. Would love to hear from you on your feedback and thoughts/views. Thanks so much!