I am an engineer. I thought I was lucky to be married to the girl of my dreams. We had been engaged for five months before we got married. But everything changed in our lives after a few years.
We had got a proposal from this very family a couple of years back too. But we had not gone ahead with it at that time because we belonged to different castes and followed different social norms. We belonged to the same community and practised the same religion though. But the girl and I continued to remain friends for two years. We never met each other in person. We just chatted with each other regularly.
My sister happened to meet this girl one day. She had seen me laughing and smiling a lot whenever I texted this girl. So she met her one day without disclosing her identity. She too liked her a lot.
My parents then decided to check her out by meeting her in the hospital. (She worked there.) They made a general inquiry about getting a full body check-up in the hospital and were satisfied with the way she interacted with them. All this happened without my knowledge. I work in Bangalore (I have changed the name of the city here). My family and her family live in Mangalore (I have changed the name of the city here).
When I went home to meet my parents during a break, my parents and sister suggested that I should now start thinking of making her my life partner since I was such good friends with her anyway. We were having our dinner at that time. I gave it some thought and said, “Aagey se koi rishta dekhne ki zaroorat nahi hai.” Things worked well after that. She had a decent 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. job in Mangalore. Both our families agreed to get us married.
But over a period of time, I realized that something was bothering her parents and her siblings. I could never understand what it was. In fact, I still don’t understand their actual problem.
She is an extremely beautiful and gorgeous woman. I would often ask her how she had managed to remain single so far. I work in an MNC in Bangalore and earn a handsome package.
She agreed to move to Bangalore after we got married. My parents had clearly conveyed this to her and her family before we got married.
But she opted to stay in Mangalore for another 8 months after we got married. She said it would take her some time to leave her job. She said she would join me later in Bangalore. I would visit her during the weekends.
It was a tough phase for both of us but we managed to get through it. She finally came over and settled down in Bangalore with me.
I was extremely surprised to see all her family members becoming extremely emotional when she was leaving for Bangalore. They had not cried so much even during the bidaai ceremony. We had discussed several things before she came to Bangalore. She said she wanted to enjoy herself and explore the city for 3-4 months before she took up a new job. She said she would start hunting for a job only after that.
All of us were fine with this. I was well placed. I knew I could keep her in comfort even if she chose not to work.
But she started hunting for a job the day she landed in Bangalore. I was surprised when she decided to start working from the very next day.
I just let the matter pass. She kept switching jobs – so much so that within 4 months she had worked in four different places. I now started noticing some changes in her behaviour and approach.
She seemed adamant about moving back to Mangalore. I was even more surprised when all her family members kept insisting that she stay with them in Mangalore and not with me in Bangalore.
They said, "Life in Bangalore is tougher compared to life in Mangalore." Some of her family members said, "If she can leave her job for you, why can't you leave your job for her?"
I calmly explained things to them.
I told them that I could progress in my career only if I lived in a metropolitan city like Bangalore. I told them that I would never be able to earn this kind of a pay package if I opted to live in a smaller city. I also told them that my wife was not earning well enough for both of us to live in comfort in Mangalore.
I am the only son of my parents. My parents are well settled. They run their own business and we have other sources of income too. My parents insisted that both my wife and I live together in Bangalore. But one fine day, her brother came over, picked her up from our house in Bangalore and left with her without even intimating me or my family members about it. We were all really shocked when he did this.
I knew she was happy with her 4th job because she was now earning as much as she was earning in Mangalore. So I presumed that she would not give up that job now and would live with me now.
All through this phase and even before we got married, we had told her that she needed to work only if it was convenient for her. There was really no need for her to stress herself about it. My parents even asked her to enjoy her married life for a couple of years.
But God knows what her family had in mind. They all supported her saying that she should continue to live in Mangalore itself. They said that she had created a name for herself in her hospital and had progressed a lot in her career. All that would go down the drain if she came over to Bangalore to live with me. They then said that it would take her another 5- 7 years to create a reputation for herself in Bangalore.
So she went back to her mother’s place.
It's been three months now. We are not staying together now. All my close friends and our mutual friends are very clear about the whole thing. They agree with me and say that my wife has to move in with me and live in Bangalore. I earn 5 times the salary my wife earns currently. I cannot afford to leave Bangalore for her. I know I will be making the biggest mistake of my life if I do so. I don’t want to ruin my career. All our mutual friends tried to explain all these things to her.
But she just asked them not to interfere in our personal matters. She disliked the fact that I had disclosed our personal affairs to our friends.
I told her that everyone was trying to make her understand things. I tried reconciling with her but i am surprised by her sudden change in behaviour.
All my friends too believe that she has been brainwashed by her family members and that is why she prefers to live in Mangalore. She says she can support her family during a medical emergency only if she lives in Mangalore. She says she cannot do this if she lives in Bangalore with me.
She seems happier when she works in her new workplace in Mangalore. She talks to me warmly at such times. But the minute she comes to our house, I can see a drastic change in her behaviour.
I wonder what exactly is going on in her mind. I wonder why her family wants her to stay away from her husband. Sometimes it feels so good to hear her talk about family planning and future planning. At such times, I tell her that we need to live in Bangalore - only for another 3- 5 years. I tell her that it is my long-term plan to shift to Mangalore permanently. But I need to establish a good source of income if I want to live there in future.
I have been living a very peaceful life so far. We have never had any fights or issues or arguments in our family. All these fights between us have started only in the last three months. My family and I have always encouraged her to work and asked her to opt out of pursuing a career if it stressed her out. None of us has taken even a penny of her income till date. We don't actually need it because we are financially quite well off.
But she seems to have been brainwashed in these past 6 months. She has now decided to work and live in Mangalore itself. People ask us all kinds of questions. They say, “Why did she get married to me if she wanted to live in Mangalore itself?” They then say, “All this was already decided upon before you both got married. Why has she changed her mind suddenly?”
I need to get all this emotional turmoil out of my heart. So I started writing about it. This has had an adverse impact on my professional life too. But I motivate myself.
I know that life is full of ups and downs for all of us and such problems will get resolved in time. I know time will heal everything. But sometimes I get very depressed when I have to live all alone in a flat. I think of her at such times. Sometimes I even think of committing suicide but I think of my parents and dismiss such thoughts.
I still can’t understand how anyone can change so much in such a short span of time. We were very happy with each other. We had no issues in the first year of our marriage. We had enjoyed our lives being in each other’s company…why, how and when did it all change?