I have a few things to say and I am gonna say them here ...
|Let me begin by saying that this will be my penultimate attempt to complete the commitment of 10K for sherrasq's NoWriMo - the commitment level. I am thoroughly pooped by now. I have written over 8000 words in the last one and a half or two days and I am quickly running out of things to write on!
Hence, this entry: It is always easiest to write about one's own loved ones, and I hope to write quickly and effortlessly as I serenade my memories and thoughts about my better half, Nishrin, my elder daughter Inas and my younger one Hannah ... all jewels on my crown!
I married Nishrin, a Sikh girl, then called Kamaljeet, in January 1990. It was a typical doctor-nurse romance. While I was working in a large public hospital as a resident-in-training for Pediatrics, she was a full-time nurse there. How we met and how the romanceactually bloomed is a story that I will tell some other time, but let me say that we never intended to marry: actually, we had met as stqand-in escorts for our friends - my friend V and her friend M, who wanted to go out on a date. As they were a bit shy, we - that is, Kamal and I offered to chaperone them on their first date. Queerly, neither V nor M turned up at the desired date, and K and I decided to take a walk and ended up having tea and snacks at a local restaurant. Back in 1990, people in India did not "make out" when they went on their first dates. Pre-marital sex was something no normal people did ... (albeit things have changed now and almost 25-30% of daters do indulge in some form of sex ... though they may not all go all the way, there is kissing, necking, groping and perhaps other forms of sex such as oral or fellatio etc.)
So. whether you believe it or not, we did not even touch each other except for the handshake that we started and ended the meeting with. However, we decided to meet again a week later. And that is how we began to meet, periodically, over the next two and a half years ... but the relationship remained platonic and no physical contact of any sexual nature was made.
Sometime during the second year, we began to go to public places, and on one or two occasions, we met up with individuals who went and told my younger brothers and on one occasion, an aunt of mine that they had seen me with a girl. Imagine the time, and imagine the fact that I was generally perceived as a studious, straight sort of chap beyond the yearning for having girl-friends and such!
In fact, one of my brothers did not even believe the whistle-blowers!
Back to the story: we decided to go on a one day picnic to a garden-cum-amusement park on one Sunday in 1985: that day, I finally asked Kamal if I could kiss her. She said yes! I kissed her for the first time then, under the shade of a banyan tree and the lingering kiss went on for a long time. However, we were in a public park and our personal morality would not permit us to take this farther than that, so we cut it off then. By evening, Kamal and I began to discuss a possible marriage.
In our country, inter-religious marriages are frowned upon and not given a free social sanction. On top of it was the fact that Kamal came from a very traditional Sikh family. Sikhs will generally not mingle with Muslims, as Sikh spiritual leaders have been murdered in the past in well-organised pogroms by Mughal kings in the 17th Century A.D. Thus, Sikhs, as a rule, do not like Muslims. And here I was, a Muslim asking for a Sikh's hand in marriage.
My parents also were a bit hesitant initially, but they went along after a bit of persuasion from some of my progressive relatives. They, however, insisted that Kamal convert to Islam and take a Muslim name. Thus, she became Nishrin instead of Kamaljeet.
Her parents rejected her and immediately left Mumbai to settle in their home town in Punjab, a place over 800 miles away, to escape social ostracism.
Our marriage was solemnised in front of a court appointed person on the 10th of January 1990. Ten days later, Nishrin and I became man and wife through a religious Nikaah ... marriage by Muslim rites. An uncle of mine stood in as Nishrin's father and agreed to give her hand to me in front of a Kazi (judge).
We took a small apartment on hire and shifted there after our honeymoon was over. Life was hectic and quite strained as we did all the house-work ourselves. Nish went for her nursing duties at different times each day ... while in her absence, I did whatever house work I could. Conversely, when I went to my clinic, she did whatever she could. WE loved, we fought, we cried and we laughed. Within six months of our marriage, we fought so badly that our marriage came to within a few inches of breaking up.
However, life went on, and in March 1991, we were blessed with a 5 lbs. baby, who was later named "Inas" (sympathetic). She was our bundle of joy and she was so lively that she brought happiness to every single soul who came in contact with her. Born a small baby, she remained slim throughout her infancy, but she developed her milestones so well! By five months, she was crawling and by ten, walking with support!
By nature, she was hyperactive, though not pathologically so. She was inquisitive, bold, daring, smart, and clever too! She is all that even today!
Her delivery was a normal one, and we were back to our household routine within a month of her arrival. We appointed a baby-sitter who stayed in the same building as us. She was about 55, with grown-up children and financially in need of some help. We were only too happy to appoint her as she was a kind, considerate and loving person who looked after Inas as she would look after her own children.
In the meantime, both Nishrin and I progressed in life and in December 1992, when Inas was just 9 months old, we shifted to a slightly bigger apartment with a better view and many other good features. Nishrin feels that all this was because of Inas's arrival in our home. I am not too sure about that, as that acknowledges magic and I do not believe in magic!
More in the next blog ...