I hesitated before putting up the pre-wedding photograph that said "Save the date". I was fully aware of the shock waves that would spread through people who had known me in school and college. Was it too early? You bet! I was just 22, barely 4 months into the corporate world and all geared up to take the plunge. Was I wrong? Only time would tell.
As expected, I did get some comments that made me cringe, "Whoa! That is too soon", "Are you serious" and even though the congratulatory ones far outnumbered these kind, I couldn't help feeling a knot in my stomach when I read them. At a time when my contemporaries were choosing universities for higher education, I was busy selecting my wedding trousseau. I was out of loop with what was happening in my friends circle and they were as clueless of my activities. A lot of help poured in from fellow bloggers who were not just supportive but guided me through my everyday anxiety. From suggestions about wedding preparation to giving me pep talk, people I had not even met in real life were helping me sail through this tumultuous time.
"I don't know what she's doing, but I will stick with her" was the kind of attitude of people who loved me dearly. I had never thought I would be doing it so early. Why was I choosing to do this at 22? For one, I had been in love for a long, long time with the man I was going to marry. We realised there was no way we could carry on long distance any more. It was time for him to settle down. Although, I was not fully prepared to settle right away, I did not see myself marrying anyone else. It was an everyday battle between what I want and what I need since the time we made this decision.
Truth be told, I was not aware what was in store for me in this deal called marriage. I was always skeptical about marriage. It had to do with the fact that I had been around so many unhappy marriages, so many pairs who loved each other but could not agree on a single thing and I had known so many unmarried people who never lost an opportunity to degrade marriage and married ones. I only hoped it wasn't the case with me. I was brought up in a very different world than what I was married into. The first month felt like a vacation. I often caught myself wondering when I would go home. The husband was trying to get to know me for real. It was awkward between us. Since we had been in long distance all these years, it took time to figure out living together. We were just not used to having each other around. Three months of my life after marriage were spent at home. During the day, I would try to experiment with cooking. Since I had barely cooked (except for baking!) before marriage, everything was an experiment! I read or watched TV rest of the day. Some evenings he would come early and we would go for a walk or drive. Weekends we spent watching movies or shopping. Even though I was occupied with the changes in my life, there were nights I terribly missed home and cried while he held me, trying to calm me.
When I got a job, he was ecstatic. It was my first and only interview and I had made it. The office was 28 kms away from our home. As I neither knew the local language nor did I know the route, he dropped me all the way to work the first day. He had to come back the same distance as his office was in the opposite direction. The same day he again came to pick me up. It was one exhausting day. I somehow figured out coming back alone the next day (courtesy a colleague). The time for travel through bus was around 2 hours each way. So every morning, husband dropped me to work for the next one and half month until I got a shift assigned and a cab to take care of my travel.
They say the first six months of marriage are blissful because everything is so new. The passion fizzles out eventually by the time it’s your first anniversary. "Yours is a new marriage" was one comment that I kept getting if I did say something that was not true of someone else's marriage. I secretly wondered if it was true. Was ours going to go the same way? I did know that novelty wears off in some time. We had been in a relationship before our marriage and the first six months of our relationship was the peak of all romance and later we had a one on one with reality. I worried that it was the same for marriage.
Even after the six months, nothing changed in our lives. We worked, we laughed, we ate, we travelled, we partied, we watched movies, we made love, and we dreamt just the same way. In no time we were at our first anniversary. In a year, we had become inseparable.
The next few months were challenging for me from work perspective. I worked long hours, often logging in even after coming home. I worked weekends, I worked on public holidays. I worked every waking hour. It was all possible because he stood by me. He picked me up sometimes when I worked on holiday, treating me out or picking some food parcel on the way because I would be too tired to cook. He let me work when I was struggling with sinusitis because he understood it was important for me (plus I never take holidays that I can utilize to travel :P). The work pressure was getting the better of most people. Some decided to quit. Some colleagues asked me, "Doesn't your husband say anything?" Someone asked, "How long have you been married?" and when I said it’s been a year, she replied, "Oh! That’s why. If it was new, it would be a problem". It got me thinking. Why should a husband have problem if a wife works extra when her job requires it? I also wondered how it mattered how old a marriage is. It definitely hinted at some kind of action they expect during the first year. Do they think I just go home and open my laptop?
I put my keys in the door as quietly as possible as to not wake him up. I work in second shift and so it is usually midnight when I reach home. As soon as I opened the door, I saw a black chair next to my table and the husband sitting on it with his back towards me. He rotated the chair with a big smile on his face! He had got me an office chair as a surprise! Since I was spending so much time working at home, he figured it would be good if I use an office chair. And here I was wondering all about the irrelevant things about marriage and work. It was then that I realized how true it was when someone had written, "The best decision you can make for your career is who you choose to marry". There is no end to ifs and maybes. I may have had a better paying job if I had waited it out and gone for higher education. I may have got married eventually to someone else. Because who am I kidding? I wouldn't have stayed single all life even if I chose to. But in that moment, I knew that I was right in marrying the man who was my husband. And I wouldn't trade that with all the money in this world let alone some snide remarks from people who don't get it.
We are about to complete 2 years of marriage. Weekdays just go by in a blur, getting the chores and office work done. Some weekends we plan and travel and some weekends are simply spent watching crime patrol (Yes! I got him addicted too). Life has been a bag of surprises with him. It doesn't need much to surprise me. Sometimes, an unexpected halt in front of my favorite ice-cream shop, or a couple of novels he picked at airport on his way back home from a work trip, when he suddenly takes me shoe shopping or him letting me sleep on his side of bed because I am not feeling well. I still work long hours some days. I don't do it just for money. I do it sometimes to help others. Besides, it’s good to buy gifts for family with the extra money you make. Even if we are busy with work, we make time for each other every day. We never miss to hug each other when he leaves for work in the morning and when I return at night, we still message each other at least once in a day. There are a million ways we are always involved with each other.
"Marrying right after college is like leaving the party at 8.30" someone posted recently. Not if you are going to another party that is more happening my love! I thought of commenting but didn't. To marry or not to marry? That is not the question. Choose what makes you happy.