Thursday, September 18, 2008

Oh yeah!

This picture is being used in an ad for John Robshaw Textiles, but the taxi, the dirt road, the driver, the textiles reminds me of a day, long ago, when my sister and I begged a poor Mumbai taxi driver to take us to the suburbs in search of Fabindia.  

Although  we actually found it, (after hours of driving around and asking directions), when we arrived it was closed! We asked if he would take us back the next day since he already knew where it was and he agreed. Soon he was whisking us all over Mumbai to temples, Dhobi Ghats, and markets and finally, he took each of us in turn to the airport. 

If I had scanned my India journal, I could have figured out his name. I do remember he told a touching story about his wife. 

When it was time to get married, his mother and father went out looking for a suitable match. Like every Indian boy, he envisioned his future wife would be a beautiful girl with good cooking skills and super-model good looks. He was horrified when his mother introduced him to a short, round, plain girl. He rejected her on looks alone. (Although he himself was no Shahrukh Khan!)

But his mother insisted this was her choice for him and he was pushed hard into the union. He finally gave in and married her -- only to make his mother happy. But he was unhappy and made the first few years of their life together unpleasant for his new wife. He admitted he criticized everything she did and cooked and never had a kind word for her. 

Over time, she gave birth to a son.  He softened and they began to talk more. He grew to appreciate her cooking, maybe even more than his mother's, (gasp!) and then one day he realized that he had grown to love her. Not just love her, but ADORE her.  

He explained that his mother had been right all along, that although she wasn't thin and willowy with "wheat-ish" skin, her personality and temperament were an exact match for him. In his eyes, she was perfect, and he gushed when he spoke about her.

Looking back on the early days of his marriage, he said he felt ashamed he had treated such a wonderful woman so badly, but that she endured it all without holding a grudge, and for that, he loved her even more. 

It was a nice story. You hear so many negative arranged marriage stories, it was refreshing to hear about one that actually worked out. 

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