I remember the first time my husband, Neelesh and I met in Mumbai on 30th December 2015. Ours was an arranged marriage and we were meeting along with our respective families. On my way to the restaurant, my mind was blank. I had no clue what to talk about, how to start, what to tell, how much to tell, and above all how am I supposed to judge someone in just one meeting and be sure whether we’ll be perfect for each other or not! I was also a little mad on the guy(my now husband) because he had been postponing the meeting date for a while now as he had his MBA placements going on. Although this did not affect me at all, my parents couldn’t stop worrying and overthinking about the reason(s) for which they’ve been postponing (as they thought the family might not be interested in meeting us and are hence postponing the dates). Seeing my parents lose sleep over this got me a little furious.
We reached the restaurant 20 minutes prior to the decided meeting time. As the time came closer, I felt butterflies in my stomach! Neelesh and his family finally arrived. I gave a quick glance past him and both of us nodded our heads as if saying a silent “Hi”(which when I now think about, feels cute!). We had a casual conversation with each other’s families first and then were escorted to another café in the vicinity by Neelesh’s cousins to talk and get to know each other better. With each step towards the café, the butterflies only seemed to increase!
Once we arrived at the café and walked to a table, Neelesh pulled out a chair for me and I found myself ticking an imaginary checklist in my mind! Chivalrous, check!
As soon as we started talking, he apologized for postponing the dates and all of my anger vanished and I was relieved that he wasn’t those typical ladkewala who never agree to their mistakes. Humble, check!
Soon the awkwardness vanished and we talked for almost an hour as if two long lost friends had finally met. He managed to crack a joke here and there which made me laugh of course! Sense of humour, check!
I gradually lost track of the checklist and got engrossed in the conversation. If it wasn’t for the call from our parents after an hour to check upon us, our conversation might have lasted for another hour or two.
It was the best conversation I have ever had with a complete stranger, and that first meeting turned out to be enough for the both of us. We got engaged the following day. This three year journey (2 years of marriage and 1 year of courtship) has brought us from strangers to friends to soulmates, and I couldn’t be more thankful.