Note: Apart from being a souvenir of sorts for us, this is also for Divyanshu and Bijoy :) I knew you will identify with it!
Oct 22, 2006.
Those were the Orkut days. So, I get a tweet. No, what was it called? A scrap? Yeah, so I get a scrap from a random person saying something I don’t remember. The reason I didn’t delete the scrap and actually read it, was because of his name. Since mine is rare and supposedly, meaningful … I get a little turned off by the Ajays and the Vijays (no offence meant to anyone, I swear!). So the name was Sankalp Sharma. Hmmm. I click on his name and go to check his account. Before I could see much, I saw like 5 common friends. Hain? I only had close friends in my acc…so 5 common friends was not a coincidence. So I look left towards his profile pic and say to myself, “OK! Not bad!”
Before I replied to him, I checked out if any of the common friends was online. Yes, Jatin … who back in junior school used to go by the name of Abhishek, was. So I ping him on Yahoo Messenger and ask, “Who is Sankalp?” Turns out all these common friends, who went to school with me, went to engg college with him! OKAY! So, I continue poking questions about this fellow, to Jatin … and after a while, I ask, “He’s messaged me on Orkut, is it OK if I reply?” <Please do not raise any eyebrows, I am a VIRGO. Being cautious is my absolute priority!> With Jatin’s go ahead, I replied. But this dude had logged off for lunch, having waited for my reply for almost 30 minutes. I too logged off after some time, and went to have lunch.
Later that night, I found an offline message from him and replied. For the next two days, we were never online at the same time and kept leaving offline messages. I was visiting my grandmother in Calcutta and he was at him mom’s in Bhopal. Coincidently, we both used to work in Mumbai back then.
So, as does happen in some cases, we moved on to IM and our conversations became longer. Phone numbers were exchanged, me giving it to him thinking, “Naaah! He won’t call!”
But he called! And I was shit scared! But we spoke, and it was nice. It was really nice. Henceforth, he started calling me every 3-4 days, sometimes from work, sometimes at night, from home. He was at Andheri and I was at Goregaon.
After speaking to him for a few times, I realized we were poles apart. Like seriously, even now, we are poles apart. There is NOTHING similar. Yet, at that stage, what struck was he was a hopeless emotional and I, practical to a fault. Back then, I didn’t appreciate when he said, “I was missing you so I called you.” I found that sissy. Every time he would say something emotional, I’ll say to myself, “C’mon, be a man!” I had recently come out of a relationship in which I had cried and waited and cried for 2 years, hoping for long term commitment. But that hadn’t happened, and I definitely wasn’t looking for mush ever again in this lifetime. Either, mom finds me a guy I can tolerate, or I stay alone – I had made up my mind. But, I was not going to fall in love. No way!
But when do things go as planned. I started feeling the mush. Not as much as he did, but somewhat. He became a good friend. His call would put me to sleep, and wake up in the morning. His number was on my speed dial. Every time Johnson, my boss gave me tears, his was the number I would call. I used to do night shifts back then, but his were day shifts. Still, I would call him in tears at 2/3/4am and he would answer my calls, listen patiently and be there for me until I was better and ready to hang up. For a man who cannot d without his 9 hours of beauty sleep, doing this … I should have guessed how much he loves me. But, I didn’t. He was my “rescue” friend. He was always there for me. Me…I don’t know if he needed me, I never bothered to know.
We decided to meet a couple of times, but the plans fell flat. Now when I think back, I wonder, if I really wanted to meet, I would have made it anyhow, wouldn’t I?
He tells me he’s changing industry and moving into banking. Posting: Indore.
This pisses me off completely. What kind of Engg/MBA ends up in banking? Does he have no ambition? Is living close to home the only ambition he had? Well whatever, so he went and I let him.
Then continued a long distance friendship. He had confessed his love for me and had an idea I too had some mush for him … but I hadn’t accepted as much in words. <Yup, Virgo!> Over the next few month, phone bills increased and so did our understanding of each other. To me our difference became more obvious. So much that I decided it’s silly to go on further and we being in a relationship will only end in heart break for both of us. <Yes, Virgo … I took the decision for him too.>
So, very typically, I cut all ties. I changed my number and until that happened, my then roomie, Gauri, would answer all calls from and around Indore. I am not particularly proud about how I behaved at this time, but in a way I am glad it happened. I realized what a gentleman Sankalp is. I snubbed him, refused to speak to him, sent rude replies to his sweet emails and basically asked him to shut the fuck up and get lost. I am kicking myself till even today for such a behavior, what if he hadn’t come back to me? But, then he is an archer (a saggi). He has to hunt. Despite me changing numbers and cities, he traced me down. He found me and how!
Dec 29, 2007.
Gauri and I had gone drinking. Pop Tate’s Malad. Yup, we were celebrating .. celebrating God only knows what. But I remember, we had JDs and were totally sloshed. While on the rick back home, my best friend from school, Gautam <name changed> called from the US. He gf, who was in India, had broken up for some real stupid reason. He’d called me for sympathy and some ego rubbing, which I normally deliver. But, kehte hain na, jo hona hai who hi hoga? I was slightly drunk and in my defense, this gf <who is long gone> was one hell of a psycho. So I told him, “Good riddance!” He took offence, hung up and blocked me from his life until his anger subsided. No calls, no scraps. I was even blocked on gtalk! I was angry, he was hurt. And I was shocked. No one, no one I loved, had ever cut me off like this before. This is when I realized what a bitch I had been to Sankalp. He loved me, and he was such a gentleman! I had no business cutting him off w/o any explanation. None. I was convinced, what happened between Gautam and me, was God’s way of punishing me for being such a bitch. So, I lost both of them.
Did I? Nooooo! :-D
I was lucky! Gautam's anger calmed and he came back in my life, and is still my bestest buddy ever. As for Sankalp, he pinged me on gtalk one day in early Jan, 2008. I replied and we spoke.
This time he asked, “Can I call you sometime?”
I said, “Sure.”
He called that evening and we spoke for 35 minutes. It was a normal conversation, he didn’t try to be overbearing and I was sure not to be rude.
Next evening, same time, I waited for his call. Waited and waited. Gauri asked me to call him myself. But I didn’t. What if the change I saw in him was only temporary and if I call him, he gets all emotional like he used to be?
The weekend went by.
Monday morning we chatted on gtalk from work and I told him, “I’d thought you will call on Friday night!”
His reply was, “I wasn’t sure you would be comfortable.”
Oh! Where did that overbearing, over the top emotional guy go? Who was this? No seriously! This guy had actually taken my criticism of him as a challenge and changed his ways. He was not a softy any more … now, he was slightly heartless, like me.
I came home and told Gauri; showed her a print of the conversation. She said, “He changed himself for you. Now you decide.”
Well, what was there to decide? He was in another state altogether and long distance relationships never work. It always ends up with either one person losing interest or one person cheating. Not interested. Nada.
“We have a meeting in Pune, and we’ll be returning via Mumbai. You want to meet?”
“Are you sure? Every time we planned, either something has happened or you had backed off!”
“Ya! Ya! We’ll meet this time.”
So we met. And jab we met, our hearts actually beat like the bells that clang in temples, in scenes from Hindi television soaps. Seriously. He’d thought I’l take the train, so was waiting at the exit of Dadar station. But, I’d taken the cab <always a snob>. So, outside CCD, I see no one. And the men I see sitting inside, sort of scare me. So I call him. He says, “I am coming,” and reaches where I am in a couple of minutes. And then?
He extends his hand to shake mine. WTF! Did I break all my rules, come to meet a stranger, put my faith in you and right now, stand straight with my knees shaking, to shake your hands? I needed something to hold on to. I was shaking from inside. Why? Yes, I knew he was a handsome man, I knew that from his pics. But I saw a man with the most genuine smile and the kindest heart stand in front of me and instead of trying to act smart, he wants to shake my hand? Lol … to hell with it … I took one step and hugged him. Hugged him tight, to never let go. People take important decisions like who to marry, after loads of thought. We both took it in that very moment.
Five minutes, we were in cab, en route to Sundance. He picks his phone, calls his bro and actually says, “Mummy ko bolna mere liye ladki nahin dekhe. Baaki ghar aakar batata hoon.” <He was to reach Bhopal the next morning>
So that was it. No proposal. No speculation. No discussion.
We spent the rest of the day together watching movie and getting drunk. Dropped him at Churchgate later in the evening and I came back home. Happy. Content. Called Ma and told her I need to speak to her when I am home next, gave her a gist of what it was. She told me to come home, I went after a couple of weeks.
Before I went home, the bomb had been dropped on the Sharma household and sides had been taken. His sis and mom were against getting a bangali at home, his dad, bhai and bhabhi were neutral. He held on to his case. A lot of drama followed. I knew, being the only child, I would have convinced my family. Moreover, my family was always broad minded, the boy mattered to them, not what the boy ate. So while I had told Ma, I’d also told her let’s wait and see, first. Some unpleasantness happened on his side of the family, of which Sankalp would tell me, but its best not spoken about in public.
Both of us went through hospitalisation. He had almost lost his eye sight in one eye and I got a second lease on life, literally.
Sankalp went to Shirdi with his parents. And from there he came to Nagpur to meet my mom. His confidence unnerved me. It also won mom’s appreciation. After a long chat, my ma told him, “I have nothing against this relationship, but, I will not go beg your parents to accept my daughter. She is worth a lot more than they now know. It’s up to you to convince them, when I speak to them, they need to have accepted this relationship.”
He said, “Ok,” and left.
Diwali. He called. I was in Calcutta. My nani had passed away earlier that month and our spirits were low. He said his mother wants to speak to my mother. I tensed. When I told Ma, she tensed. But … surprise! Surprise! His mom spoke to me first and then to Ma … very nicely to both. Her words to Ma, “Aap toh jaante hi hain bachchon ko shaadi karni hai. Toh milte hain, aap hamare yahan aa jaaiye.”
Nov 29, 2008.
We travel the 5 hours from Nagpur to Bhopal, to meet the family. His mom had wanted us go to their place first, coz she wanted my Ma to have a fair idea about where I was going. Fair enough! So while we are in the train, Sankalp calls and say, “Arre guess what! Papa and bhaiyya are deciding the dates!”
“Shaadi ke dates! Apni!”
Oh! Shaadi! I’d thought we were going for them to see me and then reject me! This was moving a little too fast! I was panicking. At the station, I met his bro, bhabhi and their baby and fell in love with all three of them instantly <more with the baby, he is my special jaan>
Met his parents the next morning. They are so nice and cultured, that seriously, the struggle of the last few months felt like a nightmare and in a few minutes, it disappeared. In this very visit, the families met, loved each other, decided on the wedding date, and booked the venue! What a venue! It was all moving so fast, it was like a dream. Neither of us had thought we’d be getting married in 3 months, we’d thought we will convince the parents first and then take a year or so to get married. But, why crib now! What we wanted was happening. We were thrilled beyond comprehension.
So finally, on March 5, 2009 … mazzak mazzak mein, we got married. The 3 days of marriage and the 3 months of preps before that … are another episode altogether! Maybe another blog entry for that ;)
But here is a sneak peak of what the venues were, first for the sangeet and the second pic is of the venue for the reception and fere :)
Yes, it was a fairy tale wedding :)
Here is the e-invite I had made. It says we have been married 1069 days :)
And, here are we, when love conquered all!
P.S. -> Jatin and Gautam, both have absolutely no idea how critical they have been in our love story!
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