I often wonder how falling in love might have been because for me that experience has never happened. The music playing in the background, the flowers, the courting, the songs, the looking into each other’s eyes in their depths and fathoming the degree of love he had for me- nope- I have never felt it.

I am married for 25 years to the same man- this year is our 25th wedding anniversary. I had an arranged marriage and over the years I have gradually grown to love the man. When I talk about my arranged marriage to my colleagues, they give me looks like how is this possible. Can they really be in love ? Are they just pretending ? Can two people who are so un-like even live together for 25 years ?

But it has happened. I must confess, many are the times I have wanted to run away from this marriage or to call it quits. The only reason we are together to this day is my husband and his unwavering faith in our marriage and his love.

For he has had that magical experience of falling in love. He says he fell in love with me about 5 years before I knew even he existed. He studied in my college and was an intern when I was a first year medical student of 17. He might have been about 24 years when he saw me first- I cannot remember this incident but he gave me a tuberculin test as part of a research project ( not a very romantic setting, I know) but he says he fell in love with me, the minute I asked him, What are you doing this for?”

Years passed-the year was 1989- I was a year 4 medical student and one day a curly haired post graduate student hailed me as I was walking past the emergency department of our hospital. He had met his cousin during his vacation who happened to be married to one of my relatives. That cousin of his ¬†mentioned that she had met me during the summer too. And he thought that some sort of marriage proposal was going on. He tells me later that he doesn’t know what made him impulsive enough to call out to me that day. I said hello and we talked for a few seconds and then he says, well, what do you think ? I said, About what ?” ( I had no idea what he was talking about).

Then he says, ” About our marriage- are you willing to get married to me ?”

Taken entirely by surprise, I said, ” Who do you think you are and what do I know about you that I can say anything to you ?” I was mortified that someone would dare assume that I was available when I was still a student. Embarrassed he went away.

And again years passed. We tried our best to avoid meeting each other and avoided one another’s units in hospital- this was more or less successful for I saw him less than two times over the next two years.

In 1992, after I passed out and got home to work as a doctor, my father went to meet his family for an official engagement. During that time, he happened to find out that this family was the same family to which the guy who had proposed me two years back belonged. He came back home and told my mum and me about them. I wanted to get out of the deal as soon  as I heard about this considering our past history but as fate would have it, everything worked out in his favor because my father liked him a lot. We got married to the greatest surprise of a lot of people, myself included.

February seems a good month to remember old tales and how we got together- more than love, if you ask me, what holds us together is the fact that we can’t imagine a life without one another- I guess we need each other to survive. Is that love, I am not sure but I still do not hear music nor do I get flowers or candies on Valentine’s day but there is a glue that is stronger than all that stuff that holds us together and that I think is ample evidence of the dictum that “marriages and love are made in heaven”.