Dear Button and Twinkle,
When you are reading this, your dad and I would've at least been together for 20 years, and its a long time. We are aware that your ideals of a happy,exciting marriage would be based on what you've seen at close quarters a.k.a your parents a.k,a "Us". While you may think that we had a stormy relationship with ups and downs before we got married (like then ones you are now having with your girl/boy friend), we actually had an 'engineered' marriage. A step up from traditional arranged marriages, but certainly not a 'love marriage'! Ask us what these terms mean. They don't exist anymore :) No no, we do love each other....a LOT, there is love in the marriage, it just didn't have time to bloom before the marriage. (Sigh, kids today!)
When we met on 'tsunami' day in 2004 at Bombay, neither of us were particularly 'looking' to get married. Our parents were involved MUCH MUCH more in our 'meeting' process than your parents would be. Our horoscopes had been matched, parents had spoken to each other and because we were both very stubborn, our parents persuaded us to email each other and at least consider meeting once. Now I had met 9 other 'eligible' men before your dad... all very educated, settled all over the world... but I wasn't prepared to settle down, and certainly not this way with a man I'd met a few minutes only. Your dad has his own hilarious tales of how he met a similar number of women before he met me.
You could say we were hardened 'meeting-for-marriage' veterans. We met, had coffee, a conversation ensued - yes, polite, why would I be impolite to a stranger? A good looking one at that! And then, my phone rang... and didn't stop ringing. A massive tsunami had struck the coast of TN and also Kalpakkam (where my parents, and grandparents and your aunt lived). I couldn't reach anyone - not my mom or dad or sister and I was panicking. I called your uncle A (then your aunt's boyfriend) and he was panicking too. Reports on TV were super scary. I knew my dad had gone out that day and footage of cars being washed 30 kms away from where they were, with bodies inside, didn't do much to assuage my fear.
And then I heard someone speak calmly to me. He said "I am going to first book a ticket for you to Chennai, then figure out what the emergency Police control room numbers are and try to reach them." While I was trying hard not to believe that my entire family had been wiped out, I also remember wondering who he was and why he was doing this for me . He took my phone, sent a message to a few friends asking them to keep trying to reach my parents and ordered another coffee for me. At some point your uncle A called me and said "Everyone is safe. The ground-floor is flooded and the garden is trashed, a couple of cow corpses are at the gate, but everybody moved to the first floor. All of them are really shaken, but safe. Nothing to worry at the moment".
I remembered how to breathe again. I finally cried a little. Your dad did nothing but offer a clean kerchief. And that was the moment I knew I had found the man of my dreams. A man who could write well, charm me, regale me with funny stories, laugh at himself... but most importantly be my rock. Be silent when I needed him to. Be compassionate And do his best to help even a stranger.
It took him a few more days to get round to thinking the same way. Well, what convinced him was how straight I could walk after drinking him down, but he'll never agree :) How many? Far too many for you to know or emulate! This'll go down to the grave with me dears, but enough to sign the check in Tamil!
So coming back, its not that one meeting convinced us that we were "made for each other", we worked at it.Really hard. Over the years seeing us be close, seeing the obvious love and affection we have for each other, AND each others' opinions will hopefully help you form a good idea of how marriages ought to be. It doesn't matter that I don't get diamonds each year, but it DOES matter that I get to enjoy a great vacation every year. Watching each others' backs, being there for each other and doing little things to make our lives more fun, that's the key darlings.
I do hope you make the right choice. And more importantly work at two things in your relationships - One, keeping that choice, and two, keeping the 'rightness' of the choice!
Your (still-besotted-with-dad) Amma!