The Wedding day pic Aug 23
When did I first step into a church? Well memory is very clear here, it was into a Chapel many, many years ago in the convent school run by Carmelite nuns, where I studied in the primary classes. The Chapel is a magnificent Victorian era structure. Though access into the precincts was not free, there were occasions we could be in. It was often that we peeped in through the windows and be amazed by the quietness inside.
Honestly even if there was students from families of various faiths, no separation and difference was felt. We sang the morning thanks giving song in the assembly with exuberance and excitement. “Father we thank thee for the night, and for the pleasant morning light…...” We had a parting song in the evening. “Jesus tender shepherd here me…. .” It was exciting!
I believe, those formative days had immense bearing on me from a tolerant and all inclusive point of view of creation and cosmology. I did not find a necessary distinction based on faith. That I turned out to be an irreligious person in later years may be perhaps a matter of little conjecture, but more of reasons not wasteful.
So it was not an astonishing shock for me that I chose to be confidently around in a church with the woman I fancied marrying. And, I could empathise with her feelings when she expressed the desire while travelling pillion on my bike to pray for a while at the St Antony’s church en route to home one day after a wedding.
However there was no formal proposal to her, going down on my knees yet. Neither did modesty let her. But something told me within as it did to her that we got to live together.
However with two of my close chums (Balan & Sree) rebuking me for what they asserted (and rightly so) as my unparalleled foolishness, I decided to ask her and without delay if I can have her hand. It certainly could be a betise if I walked about on the presumption that she would want to wed me. The whole world almost knew that I wanted to marry a catholic lass- my family, friends and her folks. And quixotically, except the woman that mattered ,the woman concerned!
It was perhaps the longest journey of my life-a journey on a sultry March afternoon, from Cochin to the distant town in Tamilnad some two hundred fifty kilometers away. The dusty town that it is and was then was not relenting at night too. It was quite warm. I checked into a hotel and spent another longest period ever –the longest night! The following morning I would be going to her house (where she lived with one of her sisters). It was then, rolling about in bed that I wondered what if I had been prejudiced about her decision. Presumptions can be awakening painful and panicky too.
March 20- and the Sun took a long while to come up in the east and go further up in the sky. Perhaps the whole world was conspiringly going slow.
Audaciously, I began the chat with her on the assumption that she has accepted to marry me. I did not while sitting across in the chair alone with her in the room, think it was necessary ask her if she would marry me. I assumed that we had decided to be married and began the discussion on our life after wedlock. The little nitty gritty matters that can come up manifested, or be foisted up by the ones around, more because we were from families of two different back ground and faith and many other things I do not recollect what and what not.. Did we chat for an hour? I guess so.
I was to take the night train back and in the evening we found a convenient excuse of walking to the church being a Sunday (I have not seen since, that keenness ever in her to go to church ha!!) We took a long slow, casual, walk. And wished the road was longer!
By then it was intense and clear that the physical law of Nature had played its role. We were attracted because of the forces of gravitation and honestly!!!