What happens when after a decade of decade you end up marrying a guy who your family chooses for you, whom you had no choice but to marry?

It’s surprising how many women (and men)  find ourselves in this situation. We’re brought up on a diet of Bollywood, Archies and romance. We are brought up having crushes on cute boys or pretty girls, and boyfriends / girlfriends that our parents probably do not know of. We have all spent nights chatting on the phone, chat or email to that boy or girl who we have that magnetic crush on… how then do you reconcile with the idea of sudden arranged marriage?

This past year, my best-friend had an arranged marriage. We were all more than surprised about how suddenly, and quickly it all happened.

My blog today is based on a series of interviews and conversations I had with her after her wedding. It has been written in her voice and gives an interesting and eye-opening perspective.

It has been 100 days since I am married, but it feels like 100 years. I flinch when I remember what my single self was doing this time, last year. I was partying too much, travelling too much, and worst of all, making the lives of my parents a living hell. To be brutally honest, I was lost, lonely, and directionless, constantly running away from responsibility.

Now, after marriage, I am calm, balanced, and my marital responsibilities have given me direction.

Sometimes, I just want to forget the cold person that I was before my marriage. All my life, I have been independent and demanding of myself. I had high standards and worked hard during my early years.

Fortunately this paid off, and I managed to get a great education and work experience abroad and also build an active social life. Ten years of this glued two things to my personality- a big ego and a history of wrong men.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a Carrie Bradshaw, a mann-iser, or a flirt, I didn’t sleep around, or drink too much. I was an engineer with a business degree, from a cultured family that expected an arranged marriage from me. But over the years I started dating-primarily because I was curious. I convinced myself that my parents were old fashioned, and could never understand what a young independent woman like me wanted in a man. I dated many men who I thought were “good enough” for me, or at least, were better than the old fashioned bozos my parents wanted me to meet.

I dated a guitarist who is yet to complete his engineering degree, an insanely competitive colleague, a jeweller businessman who had a great bank balance but ended up two timing me, and a cool, hip, family friend who just didn’t have the balls to stand up for me with his family. As I dated, my parents tried their very best to find a suitable boy for me but I was so confused with my wrong choices that I could never open up my mind to the right ones.

But as destiny had it, my parents met my husband via a very random arranged marriage broker when I was in New York on a work trip. After meeting him, my dad called me excited about Raj- his education, his excellence at work, his thinking, his family, and everything else.

However, after speaking with Raj on the phone my ruthless egoistical self immediately closed my mind to him. I chastised him for lacking finesse, for being fat, and for other silly things. I could not understand his eagerness to be with me. I told my father that Raj and I were a mismatch and were from completely different worlds. My father told me that I was foolish and asked me to look beyond the exterior, and embrace the bigger picture. He asked me to give him a chance, and to be honest, I didn’t have much of an option but to obey him.

The day we met, Raj and I spent eight hours together on a drive that I expected to be 20 minutes. I had dated men for years and had never felt this level of comfort, or spent more than four hours in a stretch without wanting to leave. At the end of the drive, I told Raj what I truly felt- that I didn’t want to go home.

Raj smiled, shook my hand, said he felt the same way but needed to understand if his family approved of me. Thankfully Raj’s family did and the very next day I got engaged to this stranger. We would be together for the rest of my life.

For the first few days, I was afraid. What had I done? Raj was much more comfortable than I was, and a lot more open. I, on the other hand, was nervous, cold, and couldn’t understand why he was so loving. He jokingly called me a stone, and laughed off his future with me.

I was angry with him for being so nice and loving, and vocal about his shortcomings, especially his weight.

As time passed, I softened and realised what I was missing by being harsh with Raj. I started giving rather than just taking, and opened my world to him. Raj too worked hard to give me what I wanted, and he lost thirty kilos in four months.

I wish now that I hadn’t been foolish and impatient all these years, and had not dated the worst of men, and patiently waited for Raj. If it wasn’t for an arranged marriage, and my father identifying the best fit for me, I would have still been wandering in the woods. I know that I am a lucky girl. It is important that we understand that things come to us when we open our energy to all that is good and true in this world.

This feeling of love is the only feeling that is true and complete for any woman. I have found a man who wants to grow old with me however ugly I get, someone with whom I can share my deepest and silliest fears, someone who will go the extra mile every day to see me smile, and someone I want to make happy every second of my life.

Raj and I started our life as two very different people. The first year of marriage was difficult for both of us, much more difficult than I could have imagined, much harder than any other relationship I have ever had. After all, we were strangers and had no idea of the personality or habits of the other and yet we were sharing a bed and our bodies. But eventually and slowly we both have this wonderful feeling of love every second of the day, and I realize that it’s the only feeling worth living for.

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