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Conjugal Conspiracy

Updated on October 21, 2017

Marriage: a perspective

From a philosophical perspective, all marriages should certainly be made in heaven. But in practice, there are any number of ways that they are made on earth. What follows, is the story of my courtship and marriage, as it happened when the then-prevailing societal standards forbade all contact between a couple until their notional union was sanctified at the altar in the presence of elders of the community and members of the extended family.

Conjugal Conspiracy - Tradition in siege

In India, upto about three decades ago, marriages were decided by and solemnized in the presence of the family patriarchs and matriarchs. They contemplated; they saw; and they sealed the fate of a couple for ever after. The individuals going to the altar had hardly a say in the matter. Love was expected - or was rather demanded - to flow from the divine, predetermined union. Some of them truly did so and experienced the heights of marital bliss. Other floundered almost immediately after the decisive ceremony. As it is with everything and always, there was a sea of mediocrity between these two extremes, where the paired couples went through varying levels of wedded delight or distress - as one preferred to see it.

There were undoubtedly aberrations. One did read or hear about an occasional couple having eloped and married against the wishes of the parents. Depending on their luck, such deviant duos were either hailed as messiahs of divine, inspirational, and transcendent love and became part of folklore, or were condemned as agents of the devil who were out to wreck society and lead it to the gates of perdition.

Then, about three decades ago, things began to change. A surge of rebellion assailed this long established norm. The first surge was followed by a never-ending series of waves, and the established societal norms for marriages began to slowly wilt.

Tradition put up a last-ditch fight to retain its supremacy. It made concessions to the change-inducing processes that were attempting to dislodge it. Parents began to grant their wards a bit more say in the choice of their life-partners. They would identify a set of prospective candidates and concede the selection of one among them to the concerned individuals. This concession was followed by many more in time, but I will not go into the others now because it was under these prevailing conditions that I went to the altar and this little story is about how I fared on this occasion and whatever that followed.

The guy - that's me - went to see the gal at her place and was promptly blown off his feet. He wanted to have a private word with the gal to ascertain whether she too experienced a similar sensation. The request was seen as blasphemy of the worst kind. It was reluctantly granted, with the parents and other family members hovering just outside the open door of the room where the guy and gal were seated. Not a very conducive setting for love to blossom or find expression, but one had to make the best use of what was available. The question was fired; it was answered by a look that could have meant anything, but which the guy chose to believe was in the affirmative, and went happily back to report to his parents.

A few weeks passed and the verdict was announced. I had passed the test, despite my misdemeanor. Perhaps, other contending candidates went to lower levels of transgression of norms, which made my in-laws-to-be to plump for the guy who gave the least offense. The date of the wedding too was fixed, which was to be three months later.

The fateful bus-ride

Ask any guy, and the unanimous response will be that 90 days is too long a time to be waiting to see the gal-to-be in your life (after it has been confirmed by all concerned that it is to be so) and have a few words of the nonsensical kind with her occasionally (I suppose, it is so with gals too, but I haven't been able to figure it out for sure even after 30 years of wedded life). The situation gets further exacerbated when the guy and the gal happen to be in different cities, as it happened to be our case.

Trying times are hotbeds of conspiracies and such a 90-day-wait would certainly have been the most trying of times in any guy's life. Inevitably, it led to the hatching of a conspiracy.

The guy learnt from the general discussions in the family that the gal was to travel to another city to meet her cousins before the wedding. Conveniently, the road from the guy's city to the place she was to go to, led through the one that she lived. It was an ideal background for the plot. The guy, then a free-lance software developer, opportunely arranged for a business meeting at the target city. He drafted in a school chum too into the scheme to make it appear authentic and promptly arrived at the door of his in-laws-to be with his chum in tow, on the fated morning to say that he was on his way to the other city on business and was making a courtesy call. There were surprises all around - both real and imaginary, when it was announced that the gal too was starting for the place the same day.

It was a concerned set of relatives who came to see off their gal (and the guy and his chum) at the inter-city bus terminus. They even came into the bus to make certain that the guy and the gal did not share a seat on it.

The bus began its 5-hour long journey. It was time to execute the main plot.

The guy had surreptitiously bought a red rose from a florist at the bus station and hid it in his carry-bag. Lying next to the rose inside the exclusive and roomy compartment in the bag was a poem that the guy had written for his gal. The climax of the sinister plot was for him to present both to his ladylove at an appropriate moment during the journey.

The gal promptly lost herself in the depths of a jerky slumber, as the bus meandered through winding roads across a range of hills that lay between the place it started from and its destination.

Two hours went by. The guy and his chum exchanged glances ever so often, the guy wishing that it were with the gal that he could do so.

The offering

During an intermediate stop at one of the many smaller towns that dotted the route, an acquaintance of the gal got on and expectedly took the seat next to her. Until the other woman got off at the next stop, which was another two hours later, the guy found the seat in front lost in a haze of non-stop chatter. He was reduced to continue exchanging tense glances with his chum. Plot execution had to wait a bit longer.

It was now the last hour of the journey. The verdant expanse of the outback that had greeted them so long every time they looked out of the bus window was now gradually being replaced by signs of human habitation, as they approached the outskirts of the bustling city, which was their destination.

The chum nudged the guy with his elbow to prompt him to have a go. It would be now or never. Beads of perspiration lined the guy's forehead. With trembling hands, he opened his carry-bag and brought out the rose and the folded sheet of paper.

Another elbow nudge, a sharp and painful one this time, made the guy let out a painful gasp and extend the items that he held in his hand towards the seat in front.

"What is it?" the gal asked.

"These are for you," said the guy.

The gal accepted the offering and gave him a long, inscrutable, and searching look; similar to the one that he had got when he had asked her the first question a few weeks back. The rose and the folded sheet went into her carry-bag.

The bus came to its final halt. The passengers got off, said their goodbyes, and went their respective ways.

* * *

I got to know the meaning of that unfathomable look one day, a quarter of a century later, when my wife revealed to our daughter, who was about 23-years old then, that the now-dried rose of so many years ago and the now-yellowed paper with faded writing, is one of her most prized possessions, preserved securely in an undisclosed niche of our house. The response from my gal was very long in coming, but when it finally did, it brought along unbounded joy. It was with a lump in my throat that I re-read what I had written as a young man of thirty-two and deeply in love.

* * *

The poem

It is moments such as these and their reminiscence that powers us through the undulating paths of life's journey, is it not?



Would you agree that . . . . .

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    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      Your love story is beautiful. I too was anxiously waiting to see what her look meant as well.

    • SkipARockRecords profile image

      SkipARockRecords 5 years ago

      Great lens! Just awesome!

    • NoYouAreNot profile image

      NoYouAreNot 6 years ago

      Of the two, I'm the writer and the poet, but I found that there are times when things unspoken can speak more eloquently of love :)

    • CoolFoto profile image

      CoolFoto 6 years ago

      Delightful story and poem. My husband wrote lots of poems for me, too. We have been happily married for 16 years.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

      I always enjoy reading your stories - you have such interesting thoughts to share, in a poetic and down to earth style. I could picture the nervous love-struck guy and the poised and proper gal in this story so well. I had a young man of Indian descent as a coworker in the mid-1990s in a computer company. His family was in banking, but he was a budding engineer whose family arranged his marriage. He did get to meet her and was lovestruck with the young dentist he married. It was adorable, but hard for him at the same time. He had been living in Dubai, then schooled in Boston in the US and was very comfortable with Western culture. I was amazed at his maturity and so happy things worked out for him. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story!

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 6 years ago

      Such an uplifting story. Thank you. "Squid angel blessed."

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 6 years ago

      What a beautiful story. It's poetic. Thank you for publishing this lens.

    • Marciajane profile image

      Marcia 6 years ago from England

      What a lovely story - just what I needed to read at a time when I really want to invite love into my life - thankyou, it's made my day.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      You had me holding my breath, smiling and wiping tears with your masterful and loving telling of your beautiful love story...perfection! Blessed!

    • profile image

      grannysage 7 years ago

      I must have missed this wonderful story, Ram It brought a tear to my eye. What a lovely tribute to your wife and your life together.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 8 years ago from New Zealand

      Wonderful engaging story. Sounds like things have worked out well.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      A captivating story, Ram, and I'm glad that it worked out so well for you and your wife.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      your graphic description of those touching tentative moments were very moving.

      I could visualise your beautiful wife and sharer of your experiences across the years

      since the day you both tied the knot, passing you that eloquent message from the heart.

      I'm so happy you found each other.

    • profile image

      myraggededge 8 years ago

      How beautiful. How exquisitely romantic. May the next 25 years (and the next) be as fulfilling as the first. Congratulations Mr & Mrs Wordwinder!

    • sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 8 years ago

      Oh I always love reading your words - this one was a special treat - and right in time for Valentines Day!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Hello Ram;

      A wonderful story and an interesting take on an ancient custom. My response to the comment that, "90 days is too long a time to be waiting to see the gal-to-be in your life.." would be that: all God blessed gifts are worth waiting for.


      Waheed Rabbani

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Very well done. There is nothing more dear than truth in love.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 8 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I also think this was beautifully written. I really enjoyed it. You should right more lenses like this one that come straight from your heart.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Lovely story about you and your wife. Quite touching that she kept the rose and the poem.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      You both are made for each other by Krishna, Himself. May your love last through the eons of time. I loved the narration. My friend captures the hearts of all around her.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 8 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      beautifully written, I loved it! How sweet to hear those words from your wife. 5*

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 8 years ago

      What a wonderful personal story...

      Thank you for sharing!


    • profile image

      Leanne Chesser 8 years ago

      This is a beautiful and fantastically-written lens. It's both funny and serious and I even got tears in my eyes at the end. How special that must have been to learn that your wife kept the rose and the note . . . and that it was her most prized possession! Blessed by an angel!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 8 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Very interesting...thank you for sharing with us a life style very different from what we know in the US.

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 8 years ago from Washington KS

      Beautifully written and nicely laid out. Thank you for this fascinating glimpse into your life.


    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Hi Ram... A very good story to tell. Im sure your granchildren will also like to tell their kids how desperately one had to find ways to express romance in that time and age. Your effort in narrating the entire episode so beautifully is yet another bouquet to your lovely wife. We used to call it the romance of the black & white movies. The more colourful the movies got, more they became open in all senses and less sensual all the more. While effectively influencing the society at large. These changes that unfold by the day evolve more out of need I suppose.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      Thank you for a glimpse into your world. This was an interesting read. Well done!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 8 years ago from United States

      As always, I was completely captivated! Angel Blessed and added to my Squid Angel Mouse Tracks lens