A re­la­tion­ship blos­soms

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Beauty News -

Alisha* and San­jay*, who run a suc­cess­ful busi­ness to­gether, have been mar­ried for more than 30 years and have three chil­dren in their 20s. Look­ing at the bliss­fully mar­ried cou­ple, it’s hard to imag­ine the long, hard strug­gle they went through to be to­gether.

Grow­ing up in Dubai, Alisha led a very pam­pered ex­is­tence. “I don’t mean to sound pompous, but I was used to trav­el­ling first class, had cars and driv­ers at my beck and call, and was the only 16-year-old among my friends with credit cards, which wasn’t com­mon in those days,” she ex­plains.

So when she chose to pur­sue a re­la­tion­ship with San­jay – whose fam­ily was far less af­flu­ent than hers – things be­tween Alisha and her par­ents quickly soured.

Sum­mer ro­mance

It was in­stant at­trac­tion for 18-year-old Alisha when she met San­jay at a party. But it wasn’t un­til a chance meet­ing in In­dia a year later that she re­alised he was The One.

“My mother and I were on sum­mer hol­i­day in Mum­bai. While we were there, we at­tended my cousin’s wed­ding,” she re­calls.

San­jay hap­pened to be vis­it­ing his ex­tended fam­ily in Mum­bai at the time. “He was stay­ing with his aunt, who is a very close friend of my mum’s, and we all ended up stay­ing in the same house,” says Alisha.

The pair got to know each other. “San­jay was dif­fer­ent from the other guys I knew. He was – and still is – a very good lis­tener. Ma­te­ri­al­is­tic things didn’t mat­ter much to him.”

They be­gan dat­ing se­cretly in Mum­bai, but San­jay never thought the re­la­tion­ship would last as their lifestyles and cir­cle of friends were so dif­fer­ent. He as­sumed it was a sum­mer ro­mance that would fiz­zle out. But Alisha thought oth­er­wise.

“Af­ter the wed­ding, I left Mum­bai ahead of San­jay to re­turn to Dubai. A few weeks later, I called his dad, on the pre­text that I had pho­to­graphs to pass to San­jay. But I was re­ally try­ing to find out when he would be back, which hap­pened to be the next day,” Alisha con­fesses. San­jay only re­turned her call 10 days af­ter re­turn­ing to Dubai. Once they re­con­nected, their re­la­tion­ship blos­somed, al­beit in se­cret.

“I didn’t tell my par­ents be­cause I knew they wouldn’t ap­prove. My sib­lings liked San­jay and my el­der sis­ter helped me meet him on the sly. My friends had mixed re­ac­tions. Most of them tried to dis­suade me from be­ing with him as ‘we weren’t the right fit’.

“Not that San­jay made it easy for them, as he would ap­pear aloof when­ever he felt slighted. But my two clos­est friends got along great with him.”

One year later, the cou­ple de­cided to get mar­ried and Alisha broke the news to her par­ents. Not sur­pris­ingly, it didn’t go well. “I knew from the start that my par­ents, es­pe­cially my mother, would not ap­prove. She was very sta­tus-con­scious and could not rec­on­cile the drop in my liv­ing stan­dards if I mar­ried San­jay. They had a mis­guided no­tion that I had to marry into money.”

San­jay’s par­ents weren’t thrilled with the union ei­ther, as they were aware that Alisha’s par­ents per­ceived them and their son poorly.

“But they were al­ways lov­ing and wel­com­ing with me. I had an es­pe­cially close re­la­tion­ship with my mother-in-law, who was a very wise and lov­ing per­son,” says Alisha.

Ex­treme mea­sures

Over the next few weeks, Alisha’s par­ents gave her an ul­ti­ma­tum: Choose them or San­jay.

“They even tried to set up mar­riage meet­ings for me with other guys. But I made it clear that I was go­ing to marry San­jay, no mat­ter what. When I told them I wouldn’t hide my re­la­tion­ship with San­jay, they seemed to back off,” says Alisha.

In re­al­ity, trou­ble was brew­ing. Her par­ents cut her off from the fam­ily, packed her off to Lon­don for six months, then to New Delhi to stay with her grand­mother for al­most 18 months.

“I knew things wouldn’t be easy with my fam­ily but I didn’t ex­pect it to be so tough,” re­calls Alisha. “Be­ing ban­ished from home was hard enough, but they also in­ter­cepted my letters and did pretty much ev­ery­thing to keep us apart.

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