Love at first sight? "No, no," she says. Mallika Boruah, 30, an editor of a US-based publishing house met Abhishek Tiwari, 32, a software engineer with Adobe, in 2001 through a friend. "He had come up to use the loo…"
Not much more to that memory. Far more vivid is her recollection of their first fight, two years ago.
"We had just started living together. It was winter, early morning, and the whole house got flooded because the kitchen tap was left open."
She walked to the hall "and my toes were wet — there was at least five inches of water outside the bedroom".
After turning off the kitchen tap, she went to tell Abhishek "and he said: leave it no, come back to sleep, we'll do it later." Cherry on the icing: "When I got back to bed, after an hour of cleaning the mess, he asked me, why are you so cold?
There are, of course, warmer memories of their early days. Another that begins with "when we first moved in together" is watching the whole series of Dharma and Greg — "We must've watched the whole show in a week."
Earlier, Abhishek had to leave his bachelor pad because the landlord "started commenting" about a girl coming over. He says, "I explained to him that it's ‘not like that', and I'm going to marry this girl but he (the landlord) wasn't cool with it".
Mallika's family, back in Guwahati, was fine with her being in a live-in relationship. "Of course, they would rather we have been married, but they never created a fuss — their only worry was they couldn't tell people back home."
Not so much Abhishek's parents in Lucknow — initially. Once, when his father came to visit, Mallika had to go to her friend's place."But I felt bad about that, so I told him — this is Mallika and we live together." And that was that.
This year, the two finally overcame their laziness and got their paperwork done to legalise their relationship. There was no bigger reason than that for not being married. Not big fans of loud, Punjabi-style ceremonies, the two had a quiet Arya Samaj wedding six months ago just before they moved into their new house.
Unlike in the days of kitchen floods, the two have their domestic labour well divided. Food, for instance. "We have a good maid, but he likes me to cook dinner." Besides the everyday dal-roti, Abhishek can't get enough of her Assamese dishes. Like a good husband, he's all praises for her masor tenga — fish made in a light tomato gravy.
His job? To chop the onions.