|By Nelson Lewis, Bahrain [ Published Date: July 21, 2011 ]|
My name is Rajiv Patankar and I come from a conservative, orthodox family and many marriages that have taken place in our family and amongst our relations were arranged ones. With this trend and custom in our family, my relations naturally wanted me to get married to one of the many girls that they carted me to see. Though I felt that if I were to marry any of these girls, she could have been an ideal housewife, however, she would not have been an ideal partner with whom I could talk professionally or on an intellectual plane or she could have assisted me in my business, should I think of launching one or be an excellent hostess during social gatherings, when I decided to invite professionals and their families at my residence or interactions which are essential to propel my career, build contacts and give meaning to my life.
In short, they wanted me to have a proposed marriage right from the time I was 24 years old. Whereas, having studied in a Christian co-educational institution and exposed to a cosmopolitan surroundings, I was very liberal, broad-minded, with “live and let-live” attitude and had friends of different faiths and backgrounds.
At college, I became friendly with Ruth Fernandes, a Roman Catholic, where we studied engineering, passing in first class and got employed in good organisations.
My infatuation with Ruth involved in series of dates, social interactions at parties and finally cupid struck us. At the age of 28 years, I decided to marry her, being convinced that she would be an ideal life partner. One day, we went to an exclusive restaurant, where I proposed to her. She was very flabbergasted, at a loss for words and blushed. Later, she regained her composure, thought for a while and said, “Why not? We love each other and why not take the plunge and she kissed me, much to the discomfiture of the waiter who was attending us.” We celebrated this happy moment by having sumptuous dinners and I washed down my dinner with beer.
Earlier, our parents were shocked and resisted our decision, but as we were steadfast, determined and stood to our decision, they conceded. We got married, both at the temple and church. Then, we decided to spend our honeymoon in Goa, which is Ruth’s native place.
One evening, we left by the morning flight to Goa reaching there within an hour’s time. Landing at Dabolim, we reached her ancestral mansion there - a large, old Goan-style house, where her relations live.
Earlier, many of her relations were shocked at Ruth’s decision to marry a Hindu. However, after meeting me, experiencing my jovial nature and charm and seeing how much we loved each other, they accepted me, extended maximum hospitality to us. During our stay in Goa, they fortified me with Feni and fed me with Goan cuisine, including Goa sausages. I was just treated like a Maharaja and one servant was always at our beck and call and fussing over us. Though, it was a bit embarrassing, we were made to feel that we were something special, wanted and welcome.
We attended churches, family functions and parties and danced a lot. Ruth’s relations were just amazed with my bubbly and effervescent nature and told her that they felt that I am an extrovert like Goans, lacking the traits of a conservative Brahmin.
Then, Ruth and I travelled a lot: relaxed on the beaches, visited temples, museums, cruised on the Mandovi river, explored Aguada fort and many other places. We remember Anjuna beach in particular, where we were lazing amidst foreign couples, many of whom were topless or nude. Ruth and I and another couple, who were Ruth’s relations and quite modern, tented at Anjuna and we had carried food: marinated chicken, mutton and fish for barbecuing, bread, food, vegetable, ample alcohol, soda, water, portable stove connected to gas cylinder and a few utensils and cutlery for two days’ stay.
We were having a good time and the couple in the adjoining tent approached us. They introduced themselves as Jim O’Connell, an Engineer, and his wife, Rebecca, a Teacher, from Santa Barbara, California. They too had just married and were spending their honeymoon in Goa, about which they had heard a lot of good things and they never regretted their decision.
They were enjoying every bit of Goa and we thoroughly enjoyed their company. We offered them chicken, mutton and fish tikkas and chicken and mutton kebabs, Goa sausages and other things we purchased from the adjoining restaurants. They thoroughly enjoyed it and the Royal Challenge and Blenders Pride Whiskies, Feni and Goa. Though everyone were having copious draughts of alcohol, they were sober and full of mirth. We had interesting discussions and found the American couple to be highly intelligent, well-informed and humorous. They narrated their lives and experiences and we heard it with rapt attention and found it to be quite interesting. Jim and Rebecca also invited us to their tent the next evening and we enjoyed delicious beef steaks they had specially ordered for us from a local restaurant, along with American malt whisky, Planter’s assorted nuts, chips and many other eats. Jim was very surprised that both of us were Mechanical Engineers by profession, which he was. Before, we parted we exchanged our addresses and contact details and we have been in touch with them ever since, especially with the enormous advances that has taken place in electronic communication. We have become very good friends since then and they have been inviting us to visit them in the U.S. and we have been inviting them to visit India and tour the country’s tourist destinations along with us. They have accepted to visit India and stay with us as our guests and tour the country in our company, provided we visit them first and stay at their homes as their special and invited guests. They are also very much interested to see our children too. Therefore, we will be visiting them very soon in the next couple of months. Thereafter, they will visit India as our guests.
It is years since we married and have a seven year old daughter and four year old son, whom we adore very much. However, when Ruth and I think about the revelry during our engagement, wedding and honeymoon, we get nostalgic. With a growing family, we will not have that fun and frolic, more so since we are aging by the day. Time just flies by.
This important event in our lives will certainly go down-the-memory-lane.