Travel tales# 1

Snehal Karia
5 min readDec 23, 2022

Have stories to share, not tales to tell 😁

Photo by Z on Unsplash

I, like most of you, live a busy life, and while different people have different ways of coping with the daily stress and pressures, my way of unraveling is to travel. You encounter different people, some of who touches a chord in your life. We go to different places, understand their cultures, and while respecting them without judging, we come across some interesting stories which gets imbibed in your memory. One of such stories made me wonder on the institution called marriage, the true meaning of companionship, and how to live a life which is generally just spoken about. Whereas I am not against the concept of marriage, I would surely insist that if the structure or should I say- the basic understanding of living together can be revisited, it will surely make marriage a true union of hearts and would make life enjoyable with a companion who is understanding, respectful, and loving.

Once upon a time in the land of the Maharajas, somewhere in the 1960s, lived Jignesh (Jignes 😂). He was a undergoing some graduate program and one day he comes across Jigisha (Jigisa 😂😂) who as we will read further will become the love of his life. Both the Jigs are way ahead of their generation and that they come to know once they start knowing each other. Acquaintance leads to friendship which further leads to a deep feeling of care, feeling, and love. Soon the news spread and once the word reaches the ears of their parents, the inevitable starts. Initially talking, then pressurising, and then emotional torture — remember I am talking of India, where the concept of “arranged marriage” is as common as getting married. Non Indian readers, have you heard about this concept called Arranged Marriage!? In the land of arranged marriages, even accepting Love Marriage was a big taboo in those years!

She tells him one day that she loves him and would like to spend the life with him but she doesn’t want to get married. Though taken by surprise, his love for her is deep and strong enough to withstand this current storm and immediate future thunderstorm situation. However, how will he convince his parents became the only thought in his otherwise romantically inclined brain. Its a life-long decision so will his family members or society accept this? What if they get banished and left on their own? These and many fears got generated by the power of imagination vested upon him by virtue of him being a human! Finally he decided to brave it out and hope that his love endures the cannonade. They both decide to not marry and stay together in what is nowadays called the “live-in relationship”.

Today nearly 55 years later, both the Jigs are as close to each other as they were in 1967, or maybe more. These two not only weathered the initial storm but also set a classic example of how two individuals, not bound by any social status and norm, were able to not only sustain, but also grow their love and respect for each other. This relationship really intrigued me and while learning more about them, I was able to pen down the top five reasons I felt were responsible for their achieving this Nirvana (a place of perfect peace and happiness, like heaven). Allow me to express:

  1. They lived truly independent lives: Though both were together most of the time, they still decided to have different homes, just in case. Occasionally she would move out of the common home and live in that other home for a few days. When she used to come back, he felt like his love had returned and a freshness was felt between the two. There was an excitement factor and occasionally he would surprise her with some flowers or by preparing some food items of her liking.
  2. Another advantage of such a living was that he had learnt to live independently even though he had a permanent live-in partner. House chores, cooking, cleaning, etc were sort of forced upon him and when they were together it wasn’t any one’s job but rather both of them took equal responsibility of every work required in the house.
  3. She on the other hand did not want to feel dependent on him and hence a separate home, though nearby, gave her independence and matured her into an independent, self-reliant woman who became aware of so many areas related to daily living, which normally are defined as those of the man. This arrangement gave them both a feeling of equality and made them respect and regard each other in the true sense.
  4. Both of them had their independent business ventures. He was a bit laid-back and invested his time in house chores, playing and training children in some board games, and investing in the market. She was more on the artistic side with her interests in painting, sculpting, and sharpening her poetic skills. However, they both had, for a long time, worked together on some business venture too. Such arrangement, I believe, gave them an opportunity to make their own identities at the same time do what they wanted to, rather than being dragged in the spouse’s venture.
  5. Living together yet independently made them enjoy their respective space. When I was a child, I had read somewhere that “let there be enough space in your relationship for the winds of heaven to pass through”. I guess they believed in this space. Just the right amount ensuring that none felt suffocated in any way. Living together yet independently made them have their own friends even when they had common friends. They both felt empowered as well as maintained the charm of getting introduced to each other’s friends.

Today, at the age of nearly 80, these two fine individuals have shown a path of initial defiance, conviction in each other, faith in their relationship & nurturing it in the best possible manner, and today being there for each other not just as life-partners, but as friends who care, friends who can be relied upon, and a person who understands and respects each other. Hats off and thank you, Mr Jignesh and Ms Jigisha.

So that’s the story. If you liked the story and agree to my views and interpretation, feel free to share your feedback.