2 States: From a nudge to the knot
We had asked you, our dear readers, to tell us what it is really like for a south Indian to marry a north Indian and have been inundated with your responses.
Here are three more real-life 2 States stories:
Joy Kuttappan from Kerala shares how he married Gauri Swamy from Maharashtra
It was March 28, 2004.
The scorching heat of the summer sun was getting ready to rule while the graduating class of Spicer Memorial College, Pune, marched to the green lawn for photographs.
Variety of cameras and photographers lined up to click the best images.
Among them, I too found a place to click pictures for my cousin who was graduating.
Being a faculty member at the same college, my job as a photographer to find the right spots was easy.
While adjusting myself for a snap, I nudged somebody. Immediately I turned to say sorry, but that word didn't come out, because my eyes met the two most beautiful eyes that I've ever seen in my life.
For a moment, I forgot what my assignment was.
While I got lost in the sight, the beautiful voice said, "Congratulations!"
She thought I was a graduating student because of my gown.
I told her that I was a faculty member and not a student. She responded with only a smile.
After that I continued my assignment, but I couldn't forget those beautiful eyes.
Meanwhile, my heart kept telling me that I was in love with her.
As I continued to help my cousin, she got lost in the crowd.
Fortunately I could meet her again and waved my hand to say goodbye to her.
For a week, I was thinking how to trace the guest that I met at the college campus.
That was the time I happened to meet an elderly friend of mine who was pastoring a nearby church. He told me that he'll be moving to another city in a month's time.
In our conversation, he mentioned to me about a girl who's good looking and well-educated and he wanted to find a boy for her before he left. I asked for details about the girl the pastor mentioned and finally I requested him to show me her picture.
After two days the pastor got her picture and to my surprise it was the same girl I had met on the graduation day.
Pastor told me her name was Gauri Swamy and she was a Maharashtrian. Being from Kerala I wasn't sure of this proposal, but decided to go ahead.
Meanwhile, Gauri didn't know what was happening; the pastor finally fixed an appointment to meet her at her home. I went to see her with my two senior professors.
At this time, her father came to know that a Malayali boy was coming to see his daughter, and he didn't want to entertain me at his home. But he allowed her to meet at her uncle's place. He thought this will discourage me from committing to this relationship.
When she saw me, she was really surprised. We chatted for a while, but she told me that she'll not go against the wishes of her father.
After a week, the pastor told me that the proposal could not be taken further due to her father's reluctance to accept a non-Maharashtrian. I didn't want to pursue this anymore, but my mind was not at peace.
Meanwhile I traced a friend of Gauri; she gave me her phone number.
Immediately, I went to my office and made a call; she picked up at the other end.
Her first response was, 'was praying for your call, and my prayer is answered, so I would like to say yes to this proposal.'
For me that was heaven-coming-down experience, and we chatted non-stop for an hour.
This happened on April 16, 2004. Today we've completed 10 years of our being together.
From that day onwards our courtship continued for seven months. Two months later her father came to know about it and wasn't happy about it. Finally, the pressure from the family members made him accept our relationship and thus we got engaged and finally got married on November 7, 2004.
Since then we have had a roller coaster ride.
Gauri has stood with me through the thick and thin of our life and our love has remained the same.
Right now we are settled in Bangkok as teachers, blessed by god with two lovely kids.
My father-in-law is a happy man and he's getting ready to visit us soon.
Image: Joy Kuttappan and Gauri Swamy with their two children
Photographs: Joy Kuttappan
'Now, my husband loves sambhar and rasam just as much as his aloo parathas and sarson ka saag'
Hailing from a Malayalam-speaking family, Bengaluru-raised Bijina Baburaj married Saurabh Pranami, a Punjabi raised in Rajasthan.
Read her very own 2 States story.
This is a story about 4 states. Yes, I said 4 and not 2...
My husband is a Punjabi raised in Rajasthan and I am a Malayali born and raised in Bangalore.
Ours has been a love story that started at work. Both of us were at our first jobs and on the very first day we met (of which I have very faint memory), my husband claims he was smitten with me and in love instantly.
I was never someone who believed in love at first sight.
Besides, coming from a typical south Indian family, I decided early in life that I was safe having a crush on actors who were well beyond my reach to avoid any kind of family drama.
All that changed when I saw that the love seemed as real as it could get.
How else could I explain his undaunted pursuance for nearly 8 months, although I informed him of the turmoil we will put our families through.
I changed my mind after seeing that he was still willing to wait and convince our parents. Of course him being good looking and a decent human did help too. I decided that it was better to marry a person who was so much in love with me than a complete stranger.
So, many months of pursuing and wooing finally ended in me willing to take a chance at love.
Now that love was in place, the next course of action was to bring our folks on board. I tried to avoid that for the longest possible time.
The husband on the other hand managed to convince his parents rather easily. Maybe, because they always expected him to find his bride and when he found me, they were just glad that I was a software engineer with a reasonably good career in hand, someone who could speak Hindi really well (deciphered from our telephonic conversations), quite good looking and was respectful.
They realised that it was easier to agree with their sons choice than fight it.
My parents on the other hand were quite the opposite.
Punjabi's according to them were loud, brash, show-offs and expected a truck load of dowry.
Many arguments and silences later my father finally agreed to meet the boy. He was a lot more relaxed after the meeting and realised that he was not as bad a boy as expected.
He then convinced my mother too to meet the boy's parents. So after 4 years of long courtship, we finally got married as per Malayali traditions and then had receptions in both Rajasthan and Bangalore.
Being as different as chalk and cheese, we did take time getting used to each other's customs, traditions and even food.
We still have our differences because of our cultures -- he loves to spend on gadgets and everything else and I believe in simplicity. He is quite the loud speaker but I do have a way with words.
The differences are many.
But over the years we have learnt to make them into our strengths.
Now, my husband loves sambhar and rasam just as much as his aloo parathas and sarson ka saag. The same goes for me.
After four years of courtship and eight years of marriage I am glad that our love for food, travel and life in general, besides the love for each other always makes our life interesting and marriage work.
Not to forget, the blessing in the form of our son (who is five years old now) and has the best of both the North and the South.
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: Bijina Baburaj with Saurabh Pranami
Photographs: Bijina Baburaj
'we were the first couple in Pune to marry on 11-11-11'
Shirin Syed found true love and married the guy of her dreams Manjunath.
Here's how our love story started...
Caste system has been a rigid aspect of the Indian society. It has made our tradition unfair and prejudiced.
We met in Goa on 15th April 2011 through a mutual friend at a party. Little did we know that this party would end up tying us together. My husband and I are totally in favour of love marriages and inter-caste marriages.
Days passed by. I lived in pune with my parents and my husband lived in Bangalore with his family. They say distance brings you closer and yes it did. We fell madly in love with each other. Within a span of 6 months we decided to get married.
The elders in our families were concerned about the survival of such weddings due to our cultural differences. However, we managed to make them realise and accept it, and be happy and celebrate. So finally we married on 11-11-2011; we had a simple court marriage but our wedding is something everyone will remember as we were the first couple in Pune to marry on 11-11-11; our wedding picture was published in Sakal newspaper.
Today we are happy about our decision and we celebrate our togetherness. We love each other's religions, cultures and respect it; we celebrate each other's festivals we make it a point to trust each other in everything we do.
Religion is just a crutch for the weak. True love is for those who can fight and grow stronger against all odds!
Image: Shirin Syed with Manjunath
Photographs: Shirin Syed