He was waiting for me at the Heathrow airport eagerly. We were going to see each other for the first time after chatting for almost 3 months.
Although, we had known each other and worked for the same Project for more than a year now we hardly spoke outside work.
The moment he looked at me and opened his arms wide to embrace me, I knew I was heading towards trouble. Little did I know that life would never be the same for me again.
We hugged each other in nervousness. It was the moment that we kept chatting about for months now but it all happened in a flash.
Going back in time, I was a normal IT Professional content with whatever I was doing. Dealing with a break up after being rejected by a Guy's parents for no fault of mine.
I came across Javed on a matrimony portal when my family was in full swing to get me married. He seemed to be the perfect man and in no time we started to like each other alot. We eventually decided to spend the rest of our lives together until reality hit us hard.
His mum felt her son was slipping away from her to a girl he has been speaking to over phone only since a couple of days and his Dad thought I'd not fit into their mediocre world as I was the only kid to my parents.
We all belong to a judgemental society. Javed reassured me that he'd convince his parents but my family started to pressurize him and me for a final decision and he decided to let go. He decided to give up so easily!
I tried reaching out to him but he hardly responded. Not sure if he was shattered by his parent's decision or did he think I wasn't even worth putting up a fight for. I still ponder over it sometimes.
I got a new project and life got busy in the IT world with work and friends.
Marriage was still on my mum's mind. My Dad passed away when I was ten and to see me get married became my mum's only goal in life. When my family started looking for a suitable partner for me they had a huge checklist which only got shorter as time passed.
I wonder why Indian families consider settling down in life associated with marriage alone. I was given lot of freedom compared to other Muslim families but in certain aspects they seemed just like any other orthodox family.
The only checklist item to be considered eventually to get me married was that, the person should be a man. Every weekend a family would visit home to see me and judge me. No one ever asked what I wanted to do in life rather asked me if I wore Burkha or knew cooking.
Life was getting miserable to entertain but I had no choice.
Meanwhile my manager had put a seed of onshore in my thoughts and I knew this would be my perfect escape plan. My family was always very overprotective about me and I knew at the back of my head that they would never agree to send me abroad but I wasn't willing to give up without giving it a try.
When I mustered the courage to tell my mum my dreams of traveling onshore for my Project, she understood my ambitions and said I could go. I couldn't believe it but how can things go as planned in my life?
I wasn't eligible to travel with my current package but my Onshore manager reassured me that I would travel as soon as I become eligible which meant that I had to wait for another six months to know my eligibility. I hadn't given up yet on my dreams. I was hoping that this would turn out in my favor.
Meanwhile my cousin was getting married and his brother, Afroz came home to give us the invitation card. I hadn't spoken to my aunt and his kids in ages. Afroz was of my age and my mum got this stupid idea that he could fit into the frame of being my husband. At first I was very reluctant but my cousins inisited that I gave it a try and get to know him before saying No. I went to the wedding which was in a village, hoping that I'd probably be able to make a decision.
The wedding date was close so I managed to get a few days off from work to attend the wedding along with my Mum. The thought that he wasn't a city boy, although he did reside here since few years to understand my dreams and desires kept hovering in my mind. Afroz was there at the bus stop to receive us. He saw me and gave a warm smile like he knew what was going on in my mind.
We couldn't speak much with other cousins around but seemed nice. We had a small chat where I mentioned to him how my lifestyle was and that I'd not compromise on it for a man. I did mention to him on my travel plans to UK as well and he seemed to agree with me on everything. We spent few days together amidst all the other relatives and I thought I had no reason to reject him. I probably jumped too early at that conclusion. Had I realized that you cannot know a person in few days.
After the wedding, I came back to Bangalore and normal life resumed except that Afroz would message or call me all day. Initial few days it seemed ok but after that it got weird. He was too overwhelmed about us and I couldn't sink in. I started avoiding his calls and messages. Work excuse always worked. He started being too cheesy and romantic when it had just been few days since we started talking. I realized I wasn't prepared for this!