When the first marriage ended for Girija, she was left with one weary soul and two wonderful daughters. To say that divorce was an emotionally exhaustive experience would be understating its impact. Grossly. And yet, being the life-affirming person that Girija is, she decided to move forward with the unfailing support of her parents, siblings, kids and the Almighty. At that time, Girija was employed in an IT company where she met Deepak, who soon swept her off her feet. And as their courtship rolled by, marriage seemed like a natural progression. Girija shares, “For some time it was once bitten twice shy scenario. But Deepak was very charming and convincing. He just sang his way to my heart.”
In fact, when Deepak proposed marriage to Girija, he wasn’t even aware that she was married with two daughters. And even when Girija shared her past with Deepak, he remained unfazed. It was Deepak who cajoled Girija to seriously consider his proposal as it would give her another opportunity to build her life.
As she was battling these concerns, it was her friend, Mrs. Parikh whose sound advice came to Girija’s aid, “If a person wants to willingly marry you and love your daughters as his own, why would someone not want to marry your daughters. If your divorce or remarriage is a bone of contention with a prospective groom or his family, then it’s not worth it marrying your daughters to such a person. Moreover, everyone is born with their destiny. Your parents could not ensure a happy marriage for you, nor will you be able to for your children. No parent can.”
This advice dispelled Girija’s fears. But that was just one part of the puzzle solved. Both their families were yet to get on board with this marriage. Deepak met Girija’s relatives and friends to convince them about their marital union. Getting their blessing was crucial for Girija because it was this set of people that had supported her and her daughters in the toughest phase of life. Thanks to Deepak’s persuasion and their immense love for each other, they were able to get the Girija’s family on board. Deepak, however, decided to loop his parents in only when the deed was done.
Sure enough, Girija and Deepak had a court marriage post which Deepak broke the news to his family. They were understandably hurt but thanks to Girija’s charm and loveable daughters, Deepak’s parents soon accepted their marriage.
As for Deepak, he says that Girija’s past has only strengthened their relationship and they are committed to each other more than ever before.
Though it was a second marriage for Girija, she says she didn’t set any expectations with Deepak or herself. She says, “I just focus on what I want and what I need to do. You trust that when a person loves you, he will take care to not hurt your feelings. If there is no love, no amount of expectation-setting will help.”
She’s had full faith in Deepak. The best dynamic of this modern family is that Girija’s daughters have also accepted Deepak with a lot of love and innocence. Deepak says that he absolutely adores Girija’s daughters and sometimes wonders if they love him more than Girija. He says he feels blessed to have them in his life.
Deepak adores Girija just as much if not more. There’s everything to love in Girija, Deepak shares. “She is beautiful. I love her smile and the twinkle in her eyes when she is shy. She is an extremely genuine, sorted and a deeply caring person. She is big-hearted, highly focussed and committed to everything she takes up.”
Deepak and Girija’s commitment and love are a testimony to the unconditional love that can exist in modern times.
Today Girija and Deepak are married for 23 years. They have one son in addition to two daughters and a home that is ringing with laughter and joy. They share passions, common goals, similar hobbies and have built an incredible life together.
With such a positive and successful marriage, it wouldn’t be complete unless we ask Girija to share her advice for people who are contemplating a marital union for a second time.
First, she says, “off-load” your baggage. Just leave it where it belongs and walk ahead.
Second, celebrate life. Taste the drops of honey!
Third, don’t get into the new relationship with the fear that history may repeat itself. Trust yourself and the universe to do good to you.
It’s what the great poet Rumi says, “You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.” Maybe a broken heart is not the obstacle but the very way itself to reach a love so powerful that will endure till the end of time. Certainly has been the case for Girija.
(Girija and Deepak married in 1995 and have a son who is a budding entrepreneur. He runs his boutique digital firm. Their two daughters are working in the U.S.)