“Pursuing a career is fine. But what about getting married, Neela? Her mother asked.
“I don’t want to get married.”
“Don’t you love children? Won’t it be wonderful to have a loving partner?”
Neela knew she could never win this argument with her mother. “If it’s meant to happen, it will.”
“Sooner the better,” Neela’s mother hugged her back.
Believe it or not Neela got married four months later— an arranged marriage.
Then her husband told Neela he’ll be off overseas for three years.
“Aren’t you pulling off a conniving joke to buy time?” Neela’s parents asked.
They promised to keep in touch. Emails. Phone calls. Ah, those landlines!
They say arranged marriage couples learn to love each other. Neela’s marriage was proof. Their arranged marriage taught Neela how to love and prioritize herself.
Practicing self-love became their collective struggle. Finding solutions to her every problem would make Neela’s husband her hero, but Neela didn’t want to be a damsel in distress, nonetheless her dissatisfaction was an unfair onus on his shoulders.
Neela started a journey of self-discovery with self-love. Despite feeling spent, Neela stole minutes to reflect, and drown out the noise around her. Those minutes came from sacrificing time spent with her loved ones.
Neela was happy with the life she had chosen. No regrets. She uncovered the inner peace, to embrace both the good and the challenging times in her life with confidence, and wisdom.
She would have never learnt to love herself so efficiently without her arranged marriage. They didn’t enter this union with any guarantee, but with hope and faith that everything will work out.
Neela deliberately decided to love herself first. She was her own safest bet. Self-love gave Neela the clarity she needed to focus on her future — as a mother, a wife, and as a professional.
They argued one morning.
“You are so entangled in your work, that you’ve begun to live your life in a state of uncertainty,” Neela told him.
“I’m in here,” He said, from somewhere inside.
“It’s just a physical threshold of sound,” Neela said. “The possibility of another world in which you could enter the house in silence, does little for me.”
“Neela, I’m sorry about things.”
Neela forgave him.
Self-love has provided a path for Neela to practice forgiveness. It has taught her to release the irritation and anger positively, when faced with even minor non-compliances.
Self-love has shown Neela her greatest strength — kindness, which doesn’t make her weak.
They exercise their relationship together. When old habits begin to gnaw at the edges of Neela’s newfound enlightenment, she reminds herself that her actions are always a sincere effort to practice her faith. Sometimes Neela stumbles; she forgets the newly evolved ‘HER’. Loving herself is a whole day activity, which makes Neela stronger and better with time.
As they bent and grew, the word “arranged” had vanished from their marriage description. What remains is twenty-one years of genuine love and a whole lot to anticipate.
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