We met at an acquaintance’s wedding. I had just completed my schooling and he had finished engineering. We were seated on different benches in the church.
Our eyes met for the very first time and for several times thereafter.
He caught me staring at him so many times that it was embarrassing. Ultimately, he got up and left the church. I felt guilty for being unable to control my eyes. After the wedding, he was nowhere to be seen on the campus. I felt extremely sorry for making him uncomfortable.
I relaxed when I saw him at the party venue. I guessed that he was from the bride’s side, as he was actively participating in the preparations. This time, I was determined not to gawk at him like a foolish person. Throughout the wedding, we did not try to communicate, as we were strangers to each other.
However, our paths crossed more than once and we did steal several glances at each other.
The celebration ended without any interaction between us. On reaching home, I told my mom and my cousins about my new crush. A few days after the wedding, my cousins and I were randomly chitchatting when all of a sudden, the topic of my latest crush popped up. From his looks to his soberness, they could not stop praising him to the extent that they declared that they too had a crush on him. I felt extremely jealous and felt like crushing the copycats!
The next thing I did was to find this stranger in the big world of social media. It was really challenging for me to do so without knowing his name; it was like looking for a needle in the haystack. I asked God to help me and to my surprise, his profile popped up in front of me. I looked at his profile picture and proudly celebrated my victory. Keeping my girl ego aside, I sent him a friend request.
He accepted it quickly as if he was just waiting for this request. Thankfully, he was the first to message. We behaved like strangers because I wanted him to initiate the topic about the party but he did not. Two days later, he asked for my number and I gave it to him without a second thought but with one condition. The condition was that he could not call me, as I was hesitant to talk over the phone. He accepted it saying that he’d never call me without my permission.
We started chatting frequently and discovered that we had many things in common including our date of birth though we were born in different years. He didn’t speak much while I’d go on and on.
When I asked him why he didn’t talk much, he said, “Because I love hearing you”.
At that time, I had made a resolution that I would not commit to anyone until the right time. I wanted to be single rather than get committed and heartbroken. Though I liked this guy, I did not think of going beyond our friendship, as I wanted to cherish the present.
We chatted daily and spoke about our day-to-day engagements. He was still in a search of a job and spoke about his desire to become an army officer. He was quiet and mysterious, which drew me towards him.
I did have several male friends who shared their problems with me and looked up to my suggestions but this man was different.
I shared everything with my mom who was aware of our friendship from the beginning. After a while, he started sending me romantic messages. However, I'd make fun of them and reply back with funny messages because somewhere, I knew that it was not the right time to respond seriously. I was patiently waiting for the right time. During this period, he got selected in the army and had to leave for his training.
After his selection, our conversations began to reduce and there was a time when we stopped exchanging messages because I did not want to bother him. He got busy and I don’t know what happened in his life but I did follow him on social media to know about his whereabouts because I wanted to see him experience the life he'd always desired. We both grew in our respective lives and moved ahead.
During his absence, I came across numerous men but none moved me the way he had.
He was a simple and average looking person; he had become thin and pale because of the rigorous training. But I adored him the way he was because I had seen him growing and excelling through the years.
Years passed by and I became a mature woman who learned to delicately handle romantic proposals rather than make fun of them. Sometimes, I'd use his name as my boyfriend to secure myself in situations where things seemed to get out of control.
It had been seven years since we’d spoken but I could never really forget him.
One night, I’d just returned from office when my mom called to give me some news. She told that he was getting engaged! I could not believe my ears because all this while, I'd been waiting for the right time. I was silent but a tear rolled down my cheek.
My mom had always wanted me to marry him and I kept delaying it because it wasn’t the right time and now, I was out of time.
He was getting engaged and it was very difficult for me to digest this truth. My mom felt sorry for me. However, I developed an 'I don't care' attitude. Two days later, he posted his engagement pictures on social media and like everyone else I congratulated him on the new addition to his life. His better half was pretty but I was not jealous of her instead I vowed to accept my fate and move ahead. Though I can’t say that I was waiting for him, I did hope that he would be a part of my life.
When he finally got married, I buried my feelings forever, as though they never existed.
I too had reached the age to settle down and my mom wanted me to get married. I met many prospective grooms but could not connect with any of them; I felt like something was missing which stopped me from saying yes to any of them. Mom was worried for me, but heartbreak and loneliness were far away from me as I was a mature girl who knew well to handle my emotions.
I was not affected by his wedding because I’d accepted that we were not meant to be together.
A year and a half later, my mom called me in the evening as always. She had shocking news to share. She happened to meet his aunt who requested my mom to look for a girl for him. I could not believe what I’d heard and wondered what had led to their separation. I asked my mom if they were divorced but what she said next broke my heart. His wife had a complication in her pregnancy and died during the delivery. Even the baby did not survive.
I went quiet even as mom continued talking about other things. Something stirred within me, a thought occupied my mind and I did not listen to a word she said.
Abruptly, I interrupted her and said, “Mom, I want to marry him”.
Now it was mom’s turn to go silent and I did not interrupt her because I wanted to know her thoughts about my decision. When she finally spoke, she said, “I give you two days. Think again, this time more deeply and then let me know.” I agreed. Two days later, mom asked me and my answer was the same.
She did not object to my decision like a typical Indian mom because she understood that my decision was firm and she did not doubt it.
I asked her if she was happy with my decision, and she replied, “You are my darling and your happiness is all I want.” My happiness had no boundaries but another fear lurked in my head, what would he say about this?
From the very next day, I was inundated with calls from my relatives who wanted to convince me that my decision was wrong and I would regret it later. Every person had a different theory and I was tired of listening to them.
I was not angry because after all, they were only concerned about my future but I had no energy left to argue or make them understand my feelings for him.
The good thing was that my mom and aunt respected my decision and stood with me. And no matter what my relatives said, it did not bother me, I was sure about my decision. I couldn’t help but wonder why I was so comfortable and confident about my decision.
I had never believed in love nor did I bother to understand it.
My feelings for him had started with jealousy. I was infatuated with him and I did get a shock when he got married but I accepted that the time was not right and buried my feelings. However, something took over me when I heard that I still had a chance to be with him.
I knew that this time, I couldn’t afford to let him go.
I couldn’t stop smiling when I realized that I was in love and my dead feelings were reborn with greater intensity. I had always wanted him, no matter how he was. Unintentionally, I had compared the other men in my life with him and rejected them when they did not match his standard. Now, I was experiencing a magical peace, my heart was at peace and was ready to break its boundaries to embrace love with outstretched arms.
I had not expected my right time to arrive in such a way.
Several days later, I received a text message. It was an unknown number and it contained only one word, “Why?” I did not take much time to guess that it must be him. My mom had probably taken the next step and now, he knew that I wanted to marry him.
All I could reply was, “Because… I love you and will always do.”
He asked me if I was out of my mind but I was completely in my senses. His next message said, “Do you even know that I am a widower! My wife died a few months back and she was expecting our baby but he did not survive either.” He said that being an unmarried woman I deserved much better. I told him that I was aware of everything and becoming his second wife did not bother me at all.
Love has given me a second chance and this time, I don’t want to lose it.”
Like the old times, our conversation carried on for almost an hour where he kept trying to convince me that I was wrong and I kept defending my decision. Finally, he asked if it was the right time to call. I looked at the watch, it was 9:32 p.m. I replied, “Yes”
My heart started racing as this was our first ever phone conversation. I was nervous; I didn’t know how to talk or react. Just then, the phone rang and as soon as I answered, he said, “Why are you so stubborn?”
I was not ready to give in and asked why hadn’t he called me till now. His response surprised me. He said, “Because you asked me not to… until I take your permission.” He remembered that I was hesitant to talk on the phone and had asked him not to call.
I was smiling from ear to ear; he too had not forgotten me.
It was these little things that made me adore him so much. He asked if we could meet for a cup of coffee and I agreed. We decided to meet on a Saturday. The day arrived and I happened to be running late. As I rushed inside the café, I found him seated in the corner on a table for two. I looked at his face; it had been nine years since we met. I could not believe that he was in front of me. I reached the table and greeted him, “Hi?”
“You’re 22 minutes late madam”, came his response. He mounted his left eyebrow and looked at me. Gosh! He was an army official and punctuality was one of their strict traits. I felt stupid as I’d thought that he’d be happy to see me after all these years but he didn’t react.
I told him that I couldn’t escape the traffic. Luckily, he didn’t say much and our main discussion began. He introduced me to his real self; he told me everything that had happened in his life and finally came to the point where he thought that my decision was wrong and I should give it another thought. I was sure that he’d say this!
But I kept defending my love until I was exhausted.
When I thought that I was on the verge of losing the battle, I angrily stood up, looked into his eyes and said, “Look, you don’t want to marry me? Fine, just reject me! At least I’ll be satisfied that I tried. Even though the person I loved the most rejected me because of stupid social reasons like ‘what will people say!’
I did not think of people when I fell in love with you, all I thought was you and your happiness and how to make you happy, to take you away from the pain you have suffered.”
I was nearly in tears but I continued, “I am really sorry about your wife and I never wished to take her place. But fate gave me another chance to be a part of your life and I didn’t want to lose it. This is your life and your decision and you are free to reject me. But I will not change my mind because I am one hundred per cent sure about my feelings. Goodbye.”
I don’t know whether I was right or wrong but I spoke my heart and I didn’t regret it.
Two hours later he texted me, “I hope you have reached safely.” Post that, he did not call or text me. I kept waiting but it was all in vain. I shared everything with my mom who asked me to be patient. It had been 15 days since we met and by then, I was sure that he had decided not to marry me and he didn’t have the guts to face me with his decision.
Around that time, my aunt invited me to visit her place on the following Sunday. When I reached there, her maid greeted me with an unusually broad smile. I asked what was the matter with her and as I made my way to the hallway, I saw my mom who yelled, “Surprised?” I ran towards her and embraced her tightly.
I got teary-eyed as I had really missed her with everything that was happening.
Just then, my mom asked me to turn around, and when I did, I almost got a heart attack! It was him! He was standing behind me and his parents were sitting on the couch with my uncle. Everyone had a smile on their face. I’d not expected him and couldn’t help but wonder why was he there? Before I could ask, he got down on his left knee, took out a ring and said, “I have no reason to reject you, and I might not find a better partner than you.
I gave you a chance to escape but you are one stubborn lady who made me fall for you and it will be hard for me to let you go…”
“Stop your speech and come to the point,” I was overexcited and literally in tears. Everyone burst out laughing. He was smiling as he tried to give me a romantic proposal but I was too impatient. He took a deep breath and said, “Will you marry me? Is it ok now?”
I instantly replied, “Of course! I don’t have a second option!”
We dated for the next five months to give each other a little more time and during this time, our love has grown stronger. No matter how far away, we were always close to each other, in each other’s hearts. We are getting married next month.
This is not the final destination of our relationship but the beginning of a new journey together.
I never knew that my fate and God would work in such an unexpected manner in my life; who knew that it would take so many years for the right time to arrive for us. But it did!
Love does not differentiate you as unmarried or widower or second wife.
Love is all about patience. I never knew that my infatuation would shape into this beautiful love. My mother knew my love more than me and she trusted my decision while my uncle and aunt supported us as pillars. And his proposal added colours to my life. The journey was not easy but it was beautiful.
My love was reborn with a second chance and while every love story is beautiful, mine is my favorite.