Why the tale of my mixed marriage is a story for Love Jihadists
Despite the multiplicity of ceremonies and blessings of 30 million Hindu deities and the Holy Trinity to boot, mine barely made it past the first year.
- Total Shares
I just read last week that an "alleged" marriage in a church was disrupted by custodians of all things moral because they thought the Hindu guy was going to convert to marry the Christian girl. Or was it the Christian guy and Hindu girl... I forget. Turns out it was just a blessing and that no marriage was in progress, followed by a good old party. All was well and tempers cooled.
Marriage itself is like a masala blend with too many flavours (read people) telling you how to run it and therein lies the tale of stress and tribulation. Add complexity of beliefs and prayers, and it works like a well timed tadka.
However, there is no bigger truth than what has actually happened to you, a wise man once said.
I got married three times to the same man to please every denomination between traditional Hindu and conservative Catholic thrown in with a heady mix of the tribal Lepcha whatchamaycallit. But first the law of the land had to be seen to - the Special Marriage Act of 1952!
So the protective court came into play. Dutifully signed the form in triplicate, proof of age and that we were not related... given that the man was from the Northeast and I from the cowbelt Hindi heartland, a blood relationship would have been really hard to see, but babudom ruled.
Then two sets of photos were punched up as “wanted alive or dead” displays outside Tees Hazari for 30 days. I believe it is an attempt for anybody who is against the union to come in and file for recourse. How many of our relatives go to the boondocks beyond ISBT for a stroll is a matter of great conjecture.
My mother who dreamed up elaborate plots to break us up, which would have baffled Catherine De Medici, didn’t even think of the court angle and instead would go the Nirupa Roy way. Religion was not the issue for her, my long term marital security was... (I should have paid attention).
So one fine morning, we took the DTC Mudrika, trundling on the outer ring road, alighted all hot and sweaty and climbed up the dank stairs to await our turn. Two lines were read, one double stamped paper and a crumbling certificate and the deed was done. We had a Nirula’s Mahaburger to celebrate and I went home alone to announce my new status.
The families kicked into high gear immediately, feeling more left out than angry. The most legal of the union - the court marriage - was brushed aside as if it had never taken place and the circus came to town. First of course were the North Indian types.
The groom’s party travelled down all the way north of Teesta river for a long trip to Delhi. Band bajaa was hired, the tent hauled up and several tables laden with food. Gol gappas were the star attraction.I wondered what the Love Jihadis would have made of my marriage had they been around. Photo: Reuters
I still have a photo of sullen me unable to stop the financial massacre. There was enough of the socialist in me from my JNU days that I was rather proud of the fact that I got married for 60 bucks or so.
I had a dozen boxes packed with clothes, steel ke bartan, food processor, mithai, mathri, et al. All my lofty ideals were left behind at New Delhi railway station as we chugged on the North-East Express. But alas, the other part of the family was not to be left behind.
I was welcomed in the cold night as a bleary-eyed and very hungry newly-wed under a canopy of wheat stalks, drank some milky stuff which marked the Lepcha bit of the heritage and sent off to sleep "alone" - despite two marriage ceremonies already done. A week later there was the third: a church wedding in a gown gifted by a well known Delhi designer who would grace Parisian runways in the months to come.
Then there was the Lepcha feast. Entire villages turned up to glug copious amounts of homemade "bams", the fermented millet drink, whole sides of roast meat of all provenance, which I gorged on too and then I could call myself the Missus.
And a pretty drunk and satiated one at that!
I wondered what the Love Jihadis would have made of it had they been around. It was a matter of some pride among my peers to be with a person as different as possible from your own. So there was a classmate from Arrah married to a TamBram, an Ahom to a Kannadiga and so forth.
We had found our own form of national integration!
Anyway, back to people who disrupt marriage ceremonies to save people’s religion. Well, there is really no saving from a bad marriage. Despite the multiplicity of ceremonies and blessings of 30 million Hindu deities and the Holy Trinity to boot, mine barely made it past the first year and I was back in my mother’s bosom.
I now call her a Love Jihadi. Yet I came out of it with the best kind of return gift, a daughter - all my own.
Imagine what a "beware" poster I must be to the culture-keepers: A divorced Hindu who had been married to a Christian, so lost her religion and became an outcast(e) in the process, the divorce making me a suspect naari of dubious moral values and as a mother of a girl child, I can only be pitied. Such fun!