Married At First Sight: I Wed A Man I Had Never Seen Before

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In a small town in North-Eastern India, I was struggling to find network on my Nokia phone. It had been two days since I spoke to my parents and this was too much of a time gap. Being an obedient Indian middle-class girl, it was my duty to call my parents every day. And I gladly fulfilled it, never faltering even once. At 27, I called them every morning or evening.

That day I was frantically trying to call them up, but the call wasn't going through. I thought of putting the phone to rest while grabbing a cup of black masala tea. As soon as I held that colorful ceramic cup in my left hand, the phone in my right hand beeped, causing a minor spillage. 

It was my father.

"I have a proposal for you. There's no way for you to say no to him. He may call you sometime. Talk to him and decide."

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I hung up without revealing that I was on a vacation with my friend. After having said no to about 20 arranged marriage proposals, my relationship with my papa had become strained. He thought I was acting pricey and snobbish.

Later that day, I received a call from my potential suitor. Though the call lasted for over an hour, I wasn't sure of my feelings. He had seen my photos but I hadn't seen his. He wasn't on any social networks, so I had no other way to see him other than believing how he described himself.

So even though I felt pressured to agree to marry him, I asked him for some time. I told him I'd need to talk to him more before I could decide yes or no. 

Our phone calls steadily extended to several hours in a day.

We were full of contradictions. He loved the movie Pyaasa by Guru Dutt while I went gaga over every Shah Rukh and Salman film. He once crossed the Taj Mahal but didn't care to turn behind to have a look at the majestic fort, while I was adding world heritage sites to my never-ending bucket list.

He claimed he could live for years without smiling and my habit of giggling, often without reason, got me in trouble time and time again.

But we were also similar: Both of us focused more on meaning than material. Both of us wanted kindness and peace to prevail. And both of us were ready for a life-long commitment. 

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He was a tough nut to crack. He challenged my ideologies and presented himself in raw form — and that's what ultimately made me fall for him.

Photo: Courtesy of author

One late night he whispered to me, "I want to marry you."

The next morning, I screamed to my papa on the phone, "I want to marry him."

All was happy, all was well. Except for one small hitch: I still hadn't seen him, not even a picture. I expressed my concern to Papa but he was unfazed.

"He looks good. Don't worry. Trust me. I want the best for you," Papa reassured me.

I loved Papa. I trusted him, but should I let him decide on my life partner?

Maybe yes, because I had my firm faith in his decisions and words, and because everyone else in my {{ family }} had arranged marriages. But would I marry somebody without knowing what he looked like? No.

My problem became aggravated because my entire family knew I had said yes to him. There was no way for me to back out. 

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We fixed a meeting. The night before, I searched Google in hopes of finding any of his pictures, but nothing came except a passport-sized photo that I could barely make out. 

The next morning we set off to meet him. During the trip there, I considered the dilemma: What if I didn't like him? What if his face repulsed me? Would I still go ahead and marry him?  

Thankfully, when we finally met, he looked exactly as I had imagined him to be: kind, serene, and full of love. 

We went for a stroll. We were both nervous, anxious, and shy but slowly got comfortable with each other. We wed that day.

Photo: Courtesy of author

Maybe ours was a magical love with divine intervention.

Otherwise, how does a ridiculously rigid man fall for an outrageously outgoing woman? An arranged marriage proposal became a love marriage.

Six and a half years later and we're happily married.

We settled in our small nest in New Delhi, and are sorting out our contradictions one by one, day by day. 

Surabhi Surendra is a writer who's currently working on writing her memoir about her experiences with arranged marriages.

This article was originally published at XoJane. Reprinted with permission from the author.