She was an extrovert, he an introvert. She was a Hindu, he a Sikh. She was a simple Himachali, he an energetic Punjabi. Be it gradually and against normal prediction, but they did grow towards love.Some things happen just because they are bound to. This is the story of Rupali Chohan (40) and Rupinder Singh (41), friends-turned-lovers, who met in the Panjab University MA English class. “In the first year (1996), we were friends and would hang out together on the campus. By the second year, we became serious about a relationship and I expressed my love for him,” said Rupali, now a government official. Asked how Rupinder had reacted, she smiled and said: “He was very comfortable about it. He always liked me but never knew I was fond of him, too.”
“Since both of us were busy planning out our future, I was surprised. Since life doesn’t play out like the stuff of dreams, I was not sure if we would be able to give each other enough time to know each other better,” said Rupinder Singh.“So, he said okay, but asked me what next. We went out on a date, and found we were comfortable,” remembered Rupali. The university days passed, and it was time for the next big step, to settle down. Convincing the parents was a huge task. It took us a while, since it was also to be a long-distance marriage.
“My parents were shocked that I wanted to marry a Punjabi. I was always a disciplined child,” she laughed.Rupinder’s parents jad spent most of their time teaching in Africa (Ethiopia, Zambia, and Nigeria). “So as children, my brother and I were never stuck with the issues of caste, religion and class, which are created by your environment. With the parents being so opened-minded, convincing mother was not an issue.” he said.
Bound by family responsibilities, Rupinder Singh stayed in Patiala, while Rupali focussed on qualifying for the civil services during courtship. Meanwhile, they kept trying to convince the parents for marriage.“He knew I was serious to pursue my dream of being a bureaucrat. He would sit outside the entire day, waiting when I would be writing the papers.
You don’t forget those things,” she said. True love waits. She knew he had to marry him, so she waited for her parents to agree. “I could have married without their consent, as I was independent financially, but I wanted my parents to be happy. Gradually, they understood and we got married in 2003,” recalled the determined woman.
A happy marriage is about adjustment. Her job and his family affairs and business keep them busy over the week but the couple hang out together like old days every weekend. “Rupinder keeps flexi-hours and comes over the weekend to spend time with me and our son, who is 8,” said Rupali, adding further “It’s been a great journey. All we now need is more time together to celebrate.”