‘Now days, you don’t even know whether you’re dating!’ True love at the time of Partition

The definition of love, like other things, has changed over the years. Writing letters has become obsolete and so has the innocence attached to it. While the change in the dynamics has led some confusion and cynicism about the idea of ‘love forever’, there are some romances that have indeed withstood the test of time. Take this couple, for instance, who met during Partition.

The man narrates the story of how they had come to Bombay (now Mumbai) during Partition and how difficult it was for refugees back then. Looking for opportunities, he had shifted to Kuwait and had chanced upon his wife while visiting home. “I was at the window and saw her in this lovely sari, standing at the bus stop. She looked so sweet and innocent, I used to see her everyday from my window,” he said. Fate played its role and soon he found out that his sister was married to the girl’s uncle. After dating for 10 days, he proposed to her and that was that. “It was that simple — now days, you don’t even know whether you’re dating!” he says. Although they had to endure the pangs of being apart from each other, they wrote each other letters.”That was true romance to me — being happy in just ‘knowing’ that the other was happy…even without you!” He shared the story with Humans of Bombay and it will reinstate your faith in love.

We were both born and brought up in Sindh, which used to be a part of India back then. Even though we grew up in the same place, our paths never crossed. It was during partition that both our families left for Bombay — hers by train, mine by boat. Those were terrifying days — bodies and riots every, we didn’t have any money…forget that, we didn’t even have shoes on our feet! We slept on VT station for the first 3 days, until my father found a job and life returned to normalcy.

All of us ‘refugees’ were hungry to start over, we worked our way up and slowly built a life for ourselves. In time, I shifted to Kuwait where there were many opportunities and she was studying to be a doctor in Bombay. Once when I was visiting home, I was at the window and saw her in this lovely sari, standing at the bus stop. She looked so sweet and innocent, I used to see her everyday from my window…and then as fate would have it, I found out my sister was married to her uncle! After a lot of convincing, my sister ‘set up’ a meeting for us, we dated for 10 days and then I proposed! It was that simple — now days, you don’t even know whether you’re dating!

Then came the dreadful long distance — I still remember, I used to set aside time and money to make a long distance phone call from my hotel to call her. In between, we wrote each other letters but they would reach after months, so our letters would be long…trying to cover everything we’ve missed! That was true romance to me — being happy in just ‘knowing’ that the other was happy…even without you!

I always felt bad because she gave up an excellent job opportunity in Boston to be with me, but in my heart I knew that her dreams were as important as mine…so a few years into our marriage she did end up going back there to work and I moved with her. Those were the days, and believe me we still talk about all these memories. One thing we love doing together is being in nature, so very often you will find us watching the sunset or the moon together and talking about life, and how amazing it has been. That’s the best part about this life — reliving those special memories over and over with the same person and watching that sunset together, knowing that you’re creating more of those memories as you go along.”