How my Grandparents Met-India, 1955

 

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I was so excited to interview my grandmother about her love story. She really thought that no one would find their story interested because it so ,” old fashioned” according to her. On the contrary, it is probably one of the most interesting stories . Watching my grandmother’s happiness as she re-lived these moments was such a joy. This was emotional for us because we lost my grandpa ( baba ji) to dementia last year. I regret not asking him his perspective when I had the chance.

My grandparents didn’t actually see each other until their wedding day. They had an arranged marriage. Their families arranged their marriage from a young age but they did not get married until my grandmother was 20 and my grandfather was 24. I want to emphasis that this was NOT a forced marriage. Many people have the false understanding that arranged marriages and forced marriages are the same thing but they aren’t.  Although she didn’t see him, she had an idea of what he looked like because her aunt from Calcutta saw him at the temple and told her all about him. She told my grandmother not to worry because he was very handsome. She mentioned to her that he had a very nice beard and pretty eyes. My grandmother saw what he looked like for the first time when she peeked out of the window when he came inside for the ceremony. She said she got a good look at him because he was looking at the door.

They were married in the Punjabi village of Gundara in February during Holi ,a Hindu holiday. It was Puranmasi, so there was a full moon on that day. The actual ceremony took a total of three days.  They did not have a big marriage ceremony. It was actually quiet simple compared to the more extravagant Indian weddings nowadays. Back in those days, men and women did not mix in social settings. Women observed purdah to  stay out of the sight of men. Women only attended certain parts of the wedding ceremony that were for women only like the mehndi ( henna) celebration.

On her way home from the ceremony, she fell down a few times. She said my grandfather would catch her and tell her to be careful. That was basically their first interactions.She said that there were so many kids in his village. When they saw that a bride was coming, they  came and pinched her feet. It annoyed her so she was relieved when they finally reached her new home in the village. She was a city girl and it took her a long time to get use to village life.

She said back then it was the tradition that the bride did not work for a certain number of days after she was married. Her mother in law made her all kind of food but she was too shy to eat it. She remembers that they made her milk with amla for strength because they were worried that she did not eat enough. She said she eventually  got use it and started to like living there. She was happier when they moved to Ludhiana, Punjab later on though. She worked as a homemaker and he worked as a government contracted tailor.

They had four children together and were married a total of 62 years. In my opinion, their marriage was the definition of love. Some people might find this unusual since they didn’t meet until after their wedding. It just proves that you really can’t put a limit to how you fall in love with someone.  Their loyalty towards one  another is very different from anything you’ll find today.

babiji

 

 

 

 

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