2 States: Be patient and respect each other's way of life
We invited you, our dear readers, to share your 2 States story. Here are more responses!
We start out with Satish Ghogre who writes:
I am a Hindu (Maharashtrian) and my wife Smita is a Malayalee Christian.
We both are from same locality, but first met at my brother's training institute where I used to teach programming.
I, for some reason have special liking for South Indian girls for their non-fair skin, beautiful eyes and of course intelligence; so it was natural for me to like Smita from day one and our time together in classes made sure I get to know her more.
Weeks passed into months and eventually she also got interested in me.
We started spending more time together, talking on phone for hours and going around on long bike rides.
Two years into relation and we decided to get married but had a most challenging task ahead of us.
Being the next in line for marriage, her father was already looking for a suitable groom for her and wanted her to settle down in Kerala, but she resisted and was adamant for not getting married for couple of years.
Arguments started heating up and tensions were high, but Smita remained strong and finally told her family about me.
All hell broke loose!
Not only were we from different states, we had different religions.
Discussion went wild about how are we going to adjust and who is going to convert and what religion our kids would follow!
Meanwhile at my place, some members of my family already knew about our relation, but didn't take it very seriously.
My dad is fairly open so I knew I could convince him.
So I decided to get my dad on my side and was sure that once he met her and was satisfied, I knew mom would agree too.
Smita also convinced her family and uncle to meet my dad.
They agreed, but not to accept our relation but to point out all the difficulties that we will be going through if we get married.
My dad and I visited her family at her uncle's place and arguments started the moment we stepped in!
My dad didn't utter a word and only answered in Yes/No.
Smita and I were the only one defending our relation and explaining them about our religion stand.
(Actually, we never had any religion stand, because we never discussed about it.
Whenever I had to visit a temple Smita always accompanied me and loved to do all the fun things there; similarly I also went to Church with her on Sundays and sat there like a moron not understanding a thing! -- and we both are still fine with that)
Finally, after lots of argument and shouting and explaining, her uncle asked me the all-important question:
"Are you going to convert to Christianity..?"
I said "NO!"
He asked her if she'd be converting to Hindu (btw, I don't know how that's done)...
She said "NO, we want to get married the way we are, want to respect each other's religion the way we do and don't want any religion binding around our relation."
That worked and three hours into the discussion we were planning the marriage date! Yippee!
The date was fixed as June 25, 2007 -- a simple court marriage with a reception at her place and another one at mine.
No religious activities were planned at all.
My mom came along for all the shopping and gradually started liking Smita.
Such marriages are not difficult, but take time to work with families.
You have to be patient; respect each other's way of life and everything falls in place.
The last seven years have been the most beautiful days of my life as Smita is extremely loved by my family and she has returned that favour with even more love and respect for them.
Being fluent in Marathi, that was not difficult for her.
For me it was a little bouncy ride to meet her extended family and relatives.
But from their body language I guess they like me too! And regarding Malyalam, I don’t understand anything besides "Podda !!!" ;-)
We are also parents to a beautiful princess -- Rhea!
And as far and Rhea's religion is concerned, we don't give it a damn! :)
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Image: Satish Ghogre with his wife Smitha and (inset) daughter Rhea.
'Neither of us has tried to change the other'
Nishant Hariharan shares his story:
I am from Trivandrum (Kerala) and have been married to Pratibha Sharma from Bulandshahr (Uttar Pradesh) since February 5, 2005.
We were studying B-Tech between 1997 and 2001 and I fell in love with her during our fifth semester.
I managed to win her heart roughly a semester later.
Though we come from different cultures, we're both from fairly open minded middle class families where the focus is primarily education.
We first approached our parents toward the end of our bachelor's degree.
I had cleared my GRE and had got admission into a university in the USA.
Pratibha had a job in hand from campus recruitment.
Our parents met and decided that this romance likely wouldn't last.
So they told us to talk to them again if we were still in love after my master's.
I left for US and Pratibha took up her job in Hyderabad.
Two years of long distance romance later, I completed my masters and went back to India to take up a job in Hyderabad to be with her.
Our parents were only happy to marry us off as we had proved our commitment.
The wedding was a blend of both Malayali and north Indian weddings.
She had Sangeet and other stuff at her place leading upto the wedding.
There was no baaraat, but we did kanyadaan and many other ceremonies mingled in.
Most of our relatives on either side were confused about what was going on, but it only added to the fun. Everyone loved it.
A couple of years after our marriage, we moved back to the US since that's where I wanted to work.
Though initially apprehensive, Pratibha supported me and came with me. I'm extremely grateful to her for that. She loves it here now.
We've been married for nine years now and have two lovely daughters.
Our parents get along really well.
Neither of us has tried to change the other.
I am non-vegetarian and she is vegetarian.
I like sports, she likes painting and arts.
I'm outgoing, she's reserved.
I'm liberal, she's conservative.
Yet we get along very well and we wouldn't change anything about each other.
She’s grown from a girl I had a crush on to my best friend and confidant.
She makes me happy.
She lets me be the person that I am and I try to do the same for her.
I think that's what true love is all about.
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Image: Nishant and Pratibha have been married for nine years now and have two daughters.
'I could not have asked for more!'
Anuraga Jain shares her story:
I am born into a Kanndiga family.
My husband Pramod Jain is from New Delhi from a Hindi-speaking North Indian family.
I had left for The Netherlands in the first week of August 2001 to complete my PhD.
On August 29, I was online on Yahoo messenger when I received an Instant Message (IM):
"Hi, I am Pramod, from Bengaluru."
He had shifted to work in Bengaluru.
Most of the time my IMs were blocked, or else I'd ignore them.
I don't know why I didn't ignore that message on that particular day.
Anyway, the fact that this man was in Bengaluru caught my interest and made me feel "safe", so I chatted with him for a few minutes.
He seemed like a very nice person, but I was chatting very slowly.
Surprisingly we were from the same religion, sub-caste.
He found me because of my last name at the end of my email account.
Soon I got busy so I told him I had to go, Goodbye.
I sure didn't think I'd ever hear from him again and I dismissed the brief encounter from my mind.
The next day I signed back on and there was a short email waiting for me.
I wrote back. And that's how it all began.
From those very first letters exchanged, Pramod and I felt a connection.
Over the course of the next eight months, our whole relationship, getting to know each other, exchanging photos, first feelings of mature love, becoming crazy about each other, letting to know what each one of us are doing etc., occurred entirely through the Internet, via chat and e-mail.
We mostly chatted on the weekends.
We both had hectic work schedules.
Yet we squeezed 10 to 15 minutes to know how the day was -- afternoon in Holland and to him almost evening in Bengaluru.
People who haven't experienced the intensity of cyber-relationships just can't understand what they are like or how well you can get to know someone through daily e-mails and online chat.
Due to the distance between us, the costs of international travel and my first term in college, we knew our first face-to-face meeting wasn't going to happen until April 2002.
By this time, we were not only deeply in love, but committed to each other as well.
Plans for our future had been made; promises of undying love had been given.
Of course, both of us feared that the cyber-chemistry wouldn't manifest itself when we finally stood before each other in all our 3-D flesh!
As the day grew nearer and nearer, I had hard time thinking of anything other than how he would feel when I meet him for the first time.
I returned to India on April 10, 2002.
All the waiting to see each other ended on April 11 at 12:30 pm, when I met him on Residency Road, Bengaluru.
We did not speak much in our first meeting, every time we looked at each other face we had a big smile (most of the matters we had written in emails).
By the time we met in Bengaluru, Pramod and I had exchanged over 1200 pieces of e-mail, in which not only had we completely revealed ourselves, but we had come to be a part of each other's daily lives.
We took some time to tell our parents about our decision to marry.
Initially, both of them opposed.
My parents did not speak Hindi and his parents had not heard of the Kannada language!
After all the ups and downs, we finally got married on January 23, 2003 in Bengaluru. I adore his family members, especially my mother-in-law.
I am really blessed to have Pramod in my life.
He is extremely understanding, caring and fun-loving.
We love travelling and visiting new locations.
After staying in India for a couple of years in India, we got the opportunity to be in the US for seven years.
We moved from there and are currently residing in Montreal, Canada with four lovely kids.
We are happily married for 11 years and we have two sets of twins.
The first set of twins was born on September 23, 2007 (Aryan and Ankita) and second set twins born in September 23, 2013 (Anya and Anvi).
I could not have asked for more!
Are you a north Indian who's married a south Indian or vice versa?
How did you two meet?
How did your families react?
Was there enough drama for a Bollywood movie or a bestselling book? :-)
Email us the stories of your inter-cultural marriage!
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org (Subject line: 'My 2 States story') along with a picture of you and your spouse, and we will publish the best stories right here on Rediff.com!
Image: Anuraga (second from right) with husband Pramod and kids.