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Jab We Met: 'The universe played its role'

Last updated on: January 31, 2013 18:23 IST

Jab We Met: 'The universe played its role'

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We had invited you, our readers to share your love story this Valentine's Day.

Reader Joel Saldanha from Dubai revisits the moments that led him to meet his future wife and gradually fall in love.

The recap of how I met Diana (my wife) should begin with a short background on how the Universe played its role to make this happen.

2003 March: I came to Dubai with the intention to better my financial status. Taking this step cut me off from the social life I had in Bangalore (where I lived before).

Adding to my woes was the fact that things were not bright at all as I had changed my job by mid-2004.

The new job was quite strenuous and the pay was such that I had nothing left for any frills.

That was when I seriously felt lonely and began to question whether the step I had taken almost two years ago was actually right.

However, what happened after that made me come to believe that matches are made in heaven!

I lived very close to my mom and younger sister, but each one of us had our own opinions on spending time outside work.

Around July 2004, my increased loneliness made me look out for a possible soul mate or a friend.

My impression was that I would not be able to meet someone in Dubai as it would require me to socialise, spend money etc and I did not have those kinds of frills.

I used to regularly visit www.daijiworld.com to pass my time since it was more like a community website which gave me updates about all the happenings back home at the click of a button.

This site also had a 'matrimonial' section and so I thought this would be the best place to start.

I browsed through the adverts and selected three which were to my liking. Only one responded.

And it turned out that the response was not from the girl, but her elder sister (Sunitha). My initial reaction was mixed since I was not too sure if it was 'marriage' or 'just friendship' that I wanted.

However, the need to overcome my loneliness made me take it further. So it was planned that I would meet Diana for the first time at her family friend's house.

A day before meeting her, I still remember walking around the shops in our locality with my roommate looking for something good to wear.

I finally bought a pair of jeans, a shirt and new shoes. The reason for me to remember this is that I asked for the jeans to be altered and it was only after the meeting that I realised the jeans had been cut more than measured!

I met her on the said day and to be frank, we never spoke a word to each other.

I did a little bit of talking, asked her name etc, but she just kept mum!! So to make me comfortable, the discussion was taken over by family friend Allwyn who at the time had been in Dubai with his family and was well settled.

Probing my aspirations, he asked me if I had a future planned.

I went on about my own credentials and my capabilities but the fact was that things were very bad at my end. I did not have any savings and neither supported my parents.

The next question was how I planned to marry in such a situation. I told Allwyn that I had not thought of how, but the immediate plan was to look for better job opportunities which would ensure a smoother life for my spouse and me.

Later, we had lunch and even sang a few songs (Allwyn is a musician too).

At the end of the meeting, Allwyn was not too convinced if I was capable to get married and settle down under my current financial status. "Pheku Hai"! he'd said.

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Dear readers, do you have an interesting love story that you want to share? Tell us where you first met your partner and how the two of you fell in love. Write in to us at getahead@rediff.co.in (subject line: 'Jab We Met'). You can also include a photograph of you and your partner and we'll publish the best entries right here on rediff.com


Image: Joel Saldanha (right) with his wife Diana


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'Thanks for coming into my life'

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We said our formal good-byes and I left for home thinking what had transpired that day as a good experience and I would make things better at future meetings (with other girls/ their parents of course).

In the evening Sunitha called me to ask how the meeting had been. My immediate response was that no 'meeting' took place since we hardly spoke to each other.

She cut the call on hearing this and I thought that was the end of this 'experience'.

Five minutes later there was a call from the same number and then I heard those words that I will never forget!

She asked me: What did you want to speak?

Me: Who is this?

She: Diana

What started like this continued for the next 30 odd minutes! I just kept talking because it was after a long time that someone (read girl) wanted to listen and talk to me.

We shared a lot of information about ourselves with each other our likes, dislikes, needs, wants.

At the end of the call, I was still not sure if I wanted to go all the way (marriage) with Diana since we had many differences. Some of these being:

I spoke English fluently, but she spoke Konkani, we had different backgrounds in education. I studied in Mumbai and had worked in Bangalore, but Diana had been in Mangalore (our home town) all along and had shortly worked in Mumbai before coming to Dubai.

Many more things really added up to make me think how this would work forward, but I still decided to flow with the tide.

She kept calling regularly from then on as I did not have much money to spend and called occasionally.

We drew closer and I began to meet her at her sister's place (she lived there) on weekends.

Occasionally, her sister brought out the topic of the future which I always avoided.

This topic also became an agenda to discuss during our daily telephonic conversations as well which mostly got me upset.

I told Diana that my financial status was not even good enough that we could live together under one roof and so I seriously had to think before taking the plunge.

During these months the differences I had drawn between Diana and me gradually began to look very superficial. Many times, she made remarks that I felt were so wise and mature that left me stumped!

Time passed by and Diana's sister (then pregnant) was flying home to India for her delivery.

I was strictly told not to visit Diana alone and also curtail the conversations. I am sure all this was mainly because Diana's sister and her family were not too sure on what to 'name' this relationship.

Also they were quite conservative and did not want anything our relationship to go public without a formal announcement.

After Sunitha (Diana's sister) left for India, we met on one weekend at a park to spend the day together.

Just like all stories, we had our best friends along. The day was quite good -- we spent some 'quality' time together.

Sunitha came back after the delivery and immediately asked me to lay my plans on the table.

My response was that I was interested in getting married to Diana (she was too) but it was my financial standing which was the biggest hindrance. I was asked to immediately look for a job while they suggested that we get engaged.

I was frankly shocked to take this step as I was worried about the reaction from my parents. I had kept these developments under-wraps.

As I had feared, my family did not approve of this alliance citing the very same differences I had earlier thought of. 

Even though I said these differences did not matter to me, it did matter to my family.

I had to take a mature step immediately and so we got engaged in June 2005 with the tentative date for marriage slated for November 2005.

I truthfully told Diana that I had no idea how this would work out and asked her to prepare for us to live separately while possibly meeting on weekends.

I had no support from my family and so Sunitha and Diana started working on the marriage preparations while asking me to focus on getting a new job.

When I asked my company for a raise, it was turned down stating that the company was not yet big enough (it was only two-years old) to support this. I asked them to allow me to search for any other opportunity which was agreed.

I told you that this match was made possible by divine intervention because a month before the wedding, I got selected for the job of my dreams.

Financially this was a 280 per cent increase from my current status and allowed me to enjoy all the benefits of a 'family'. Two good things had happened to me: I had met and begun to love a good girl and I had landed a job out of nowhere which was the answer to all my financial worries.

The question now was the 'change-over' to the new job which was slated for December 2005.

I was getting all frustrated with the impending marriage, my notice period, the job change legalities etc which were clearly showing.

Again Diana came to the rescue and told me to focus on the job change and just make sure I was in church for the nuptials on the said day.

So I focused entirely on the new job while Diana and her family made the arrangements.

On November 9, 2005, we tied the knot. I must say that this is the biggest turning point in my life since I changed from the happy-go-lucky guy to a more mature human being. After the marriage, we settled down under one roof (unlike what we thought).

The initial days were indeed very difficult for both of us, but what kept us going was the faith we had in each other.

By 2009, Diana was the 'bahu' in my family and we were blessed with our first son (Dwayne) who is a hyper-active three-year-old now.

Then in 2011 our joy was over the roof as Diana gave birth to twins -- a girl and a boy (Jaqlyn and Darryn).

Our family is now complete but the greatest happiness I always have is for Diana since she turned things around for me.

Rewind to 2003 when I first landed in Dubai and I swear that what I just wrote would have been only a "good dream" then.

Thanks Diana for coming into my life and making me complete!

Click here to read more Jab We Met stories!

Want to send a gift? Choose your gift on Rediff Shopping!

Dear readers, do you have an interesting love story that you want to share? Tell us where you first met your partner and how the two of you fell in love. Write in to us at getahead@rediff.co.in (subject line: 'Jab We Met'). You can also include a photograph of you and your partner and we'll publish the best entries right here on rediff.com


Image: Joel with his family


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