A Love Story: Sindhur And Spoorthy

I always say that before I met Spoorthy, I did not understand what love was. Her love changed me, my anger, Casanova-nature, rudeness, and my all-time decision of not marrying anyone. I never used to believe in any relationships and always said that money could buy anything and everything. Her love taught me to smile, care for everyone, listen to others, and give other chances too.

We met, fell in love, struggled for acceptance, and now, we live a happy life. People say our love story is so epic, that one can make a Bollywood movie on it.

I met Spoorthy when I was working as a Manager in a leading E-Commerce portal. By then, I had worked for quite a few years and had become financially independent. I was keeping to myself, my priorities and my business. I always say that before I met Spoorthy, I did not understand what love was.  Her love changed me, my anger, Casanova-nature, rudeness, and my all-time decision of not marrying anyone. I never used to believe in any relationships and always said that money could buy anything and everything.  Her love taught me to smile, care for everyone, listen to others, and give other chances too. For me, Spoorthy is my first baby, my wife, and my mother with whom I can share every bit of me.

Spoorthy and I are relatives. She is my cousin brother’s daughter. Her parents have seen me from my birth and used to like me for the way I was; a person of my word, bold, straightforward, and the way I used to analyse things. But things entirely changed when they encountered our love. As I said, I was a person who was never into family and relationships; I have hardly attended any family functions. I’ve never ever gelled with my cousins, but the case was entirely different for Spoorthy since the beginning.

Our first meeting after many years was in her house. One day before my birthday in October 2016, her parents called me home as I never visited any of our relatives. To be honest, I had started developing feeling for Spoorthy since August 2016, when I wished her on her birthday. But I never said anything to her then. Just by seeing her photos, which she used to post on FB, I felt like it was wrong. There was a question within myself: How can I love my own brother’s daughter, when it could possibly cause a rift in our families? But I couldn’t stop myself when I went to their house; I expressed all my feelings to Spoorthy and told her all about my previous relationships. In the beginning, she did not understand what I trying to tell her. When I told her about my feelings for her, she said that I might be saying all this because I was probably missing my exes. So, she said no to our relationship. She said she would never go against her parents’ wishes as they had so many dreams about her married life, after which I never said anything to her. I blocked her from all social media sites. I wasn’t angry, but was really sad that she didn’t understand the love I wanted to share with her. It was nothing like my previous affairs. For me, she was not the one who was like a passing cloud; I just wanted to lead my complete life with her.

After a day she messaged me on normal chat, as I had blocked her from everywhere else. She said that she wanted to see me because she had so many unanswered questions. We met on October 11, 2016. Honestly, one day without her felt like ages. When we met, we were so happy to see each other. She said that she wanted to give our relationship a name. She said that the one and half day which she spent with me from Oct 8th evening to Oct 10th morning was a special moment in her life. The way I showed love to her and cared for her defined it. She said that she felt like she was missing something really special for the first time in her life. She told me that every time she remembered the day she said no to our relationship, tears would roll down her cheeks while she was doing anything, even speaking to her parents. After she shared her feelings with me, I held her hands, and for the first time ever in my life, I gave someone the commitment that whatsoever happens, I would never ever leave their hand.

We roamed around for a while, and had pastries in the area. Then, I dropped her to her class which was near my house, and eagerly awaited to meet her again. By the time she finished her class, I had purchased a ring. I proposed to her by giving it to her as a token of our love. Since that day, she has never removed it.

The “dating” phase of our relationship was very short although we made all kinds of efforts to meet each other regularly since the proposal. I would finish work and go to her evening college which was 40km away just to see her for 10 minutes and grab a cup of coffee. Then I would drop her near her house and go back to my home, get freshened up, and wait to hit the bed so that we could chat again. I would wake up early morning to have a chat with her while she studied on her terrace. We never left a single chance to meet each other. Even on weekends, she would bunk her classes just for me. She was a girl who had never bunked a single class till she met me. In those 3 to 4 months of our relationship, our bonding became so strong that we started planning for our future. I told her about all the consequences which might happen in the future. And when she said that she was ready to face it, we started taking household items, clothes, etc. for her (as I had told her that whenever she would leave her house, she would not be able to bring any of her belongings apart from what she was wearing; not even a gold chain, which she usually wears). Our main motto was to understand each other well and to fill each other’s hearts with love, which time or anyone can never take. But our honeymoon period was cut short.

It was Feb 7th, 2017. We had no plans of meeting each other that day. But I was very anxious and I felt like something was going to happen if I did not meet her. As usual, I was waiting outside her college, and as soon as she finished college, we had a quick coffee and a normal conversation. I hugged and kissed her, and dropped her near her house and left to go home. As soon as she went home, her father (my cousin brother) asked her to show him her phone and read all our daily messages. We were never in the habit of deleting our messages as we never felt the need to do so. We still aren’t sure how her parents came to know about us or who informed them about our meeting. At the same time, she messaged me from her father’s number saying “DAD HAS COME TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT US”. After reading all our messages, her father gave the phone back to her. Without anyone’s knowledge, she gave me a call so that I could listen to their whole conversation. He asked her about what was happening between us, why we were meeting so regularly, why she had sent so many messages to me.

We would share every little bit of the moments we weren’t together in our messages. Spoorthy was a very soft person. She would never speak against her parents. But for the first time that day, when her parents asked her these questions, I was totally shocked by her answers. She said that she messaged me because she really liked me and that she could not be without me. When her parents asked her to choose between me and them, she said that she couldn’t. She said that she wanted the both of us, because she loved both me and her parents equally. She also told them that if she were to get married, she would get married to me. At the same time, in my house, I made my father listen to what was happening and told him that I would always stand with her whatever happens. My father told me to end this relationship then and there. I told him that when a person like her can stand up for me, no matter what happens; even I have to give my life for her. I will stand for our relationship.

I tried contacting her father, and literally begged him to meet me but he did not meet me. I asked him to just come talk to me and that everything would be sorted out if we could just sit and discuss things. But that day still hasn’t come even after 2.5 years of our relationship. Instead, he told me that he was connected to MLAs and gangsters and that he would ensure that I wouldn’t be alive. Listening to this, I told him that I also knew the same people he was talking about.

Things started getting worse for Spoorthy. She was locked up in her house; she was mentally and sometimes physically harassed as well. Her parents would sit outside her college to make sure that we wouldn’t even have a chance to meet. I had no clue about what was happening at her place. I started calling Spoorthy from public phone booths. But every single time, her parents would pick up the phone. We were left with no chance of speaking to each other for a week’s time. I was in the hope that, one day she would call me. I was waiting for the chance to speak to her. By then, I had bought a small phone and SIM card. In case she was to call me, I could inform her that I was there for her and that she needn’t worry. On May 16th, I got a call from her when she was shifted to her granny’s place. I told her not to say too much, and just listen to what I had to say. I asked her if she was attending her classes. She said yes, and that she was going in the evening. I told her that I had arranged a phone for her and that a person would come and hand over the phone to her on a staircase between her classes. This was successfully done. After that, I eagerly waited for her call. On May 17th, I received a call from her. She told me everything about what was happening at her place. I told her to be calm and relaxed and to not retort to whatever her parents say, but to try and make them understand about our love in the hope that they would understand. Her parents also had a love marriage 25 years ago, and we felt like they would understand the pain that we were going through. However, it was very unfortunate that they did not accept or understand our love for each other.

Her father took her to a Human Rights Professional named Mr. Sreedhar, and introduced Spoorthy as his friend’s daughter. He told the professional that she was in a same-sex relationship. Then, Mr. Sreedhar told Spoorthy that they would harm us, make our life miserable, put chilli powder in our private parts and destroy our lives. At that time, I did not know if an LGBT Community was present. As we had phones, we both started searching if there was some community. I started connecting with everyone, all the trusts that I could find in Bangalore, every person who had written on their Facebook in BOLD LETTERS that they were there to support; but no one helped us. Not even the one that was in Bangalore. So that day, I told Spoorthy that no one would support or help anyone. If we loved each other, comewhatmay, we had to fight and stand for our love; and we did. One of the people in that community told me about Alternative Law Forum (ALF), which is an NGO that helps people uphold their rights with respect to Domestic Violence, Labour, Gender and Sexuality. We met a few people like Sunil, Sumati, Ramya and Darshana. I approached them in mid 2016, and told them all about the events that had transpired till then. They asked me if it was possible for me to bring Spoorthy to their office; they’d have to talk to her in person and get things in writing from her. After that meeting, we eagerly waited for a chance to be able to go to ALF together. Until then, Spoorthy had to convince her parents that she had become ‘normal’. We stayed in constant touch with each other.

People say that if you love someone with your heart then the whole world tries to get you close to them. At ALF, they told us to stay calm for a few days and suggested that Spoorthy finish her BCom as education was also important. They constantly stayed in touch with us. Talking regularly and our love for each other kept Spoorthy strong even after all the mental trauma she had. She had to pretend as though everything was fine at her home. In the meantime, I was getting a house ready so that we could stay there after her exams. I met the lawyers from ALF on a regular basis, and arranged for household items. I also collected all of Spoorthy’s original documents from her house when her parents weren’t home. We replaced them with laminated colour duplicates certificates so that her parents wouldn’t suspect a thing.

We tried to make them understand whenever we got the chance, but they never accepted us or our love. On April 19th, we gave a written statement to the ALF lawyers that Spoorthy would be leaving from her house after her exams which were to happen on May 17, 2017.Her cause for leaving was the harassment she was facing at home. Copies of this statement would go to the police when she would leave her place. In the month of May 2017, her exams started and we were waiting for the last exam. At Spoorthy’s house, her parents suspected that she would leave home after her exams. So, they made all sorts of arrangements. On the day of her last exam, her father dropped her at the exam centre and her and waited outside. Luckily, Spoorthy finished her exam within 45 mins as it was an optional one. At that time, her father wasn’t outside, probably because he assumed that the exam would finish only in 2 hours. That particular day we felt like the invigilator was sent by God to help us. He told Spoorthy that she could leave for the day if she was done with her exam. Immediately, she called to ask me what needed to be done. I told her to check if her dad was around and if not, to take an auto rickshaw, and leave from there instead of using OLA or Uber. I had arranged for a person to pick her up from halfway and drop her to a PG that we had found for her. I never even went to see her PG as I was worried that I would be caught if the police conducted a lie detector. So a few of my colleagues helped me find it. By then, we also opened a bank account for Spoorthy with the help of some people we knew, and put some money aside so that it would last her for at least the next 10 days. This was a critical time for us.

I expected Spoorthy’s father to call meat around 5:30 – 6:00 PM, when he would probably realise that she had left. But I was shocked and scared when he showed up at my office at around 4:00 PM along with my parents. My mom made a scene and her dad asked me where Spoorthy was. I said that I had no idea. I told them that we cut ties in February, after he threatened me. They even came to my house to look for her and repeatedly asked me, but my answer remained the same.

During this incident, a few friends and colleagues helped me out a lot. I handed them the extra phone through which I was in contact with Spoorthy. And just kept my personal number with me. Her father threatened to file a complaint against me if I didn’t tell him where she was. After 3 hours of interrogating me, my parents and Spoorthy’s dad went home. I went to my colleague’s place, took my phone, and contacted Spoorthy to know if she safely reached the PG. I told her to remain calm, have dinner, and sleep. I also said “I love you a lot”. I informed her of what the police had asked me, as when the police would enquire her the next day, both our answers would have to be the same. This happened in a movie called ‘Drishyam’.

On 18th morning, I called Spoorthy’s dad and asked him if he was going to meet me or if he got any information about her. But by then they had given a complaint against me on kidnapping charges. As her father was a priest, he got the support of an MLA from Vijayanagar (in Bangalore), and the case against me became stronger. The Vijayanagar police station continuously called me to the station.But my lawyer advised against it, no matter what happened. They requested my parents to be silent if they knew anything about my relationship with Spoorthy. Despite repetitive calls from the police, I did not go to station. The next day, two police officers, Spoorthy’s father, and her uncle came to my house and wrote a written statement. They told me to come to the station the next day, and that if I didn’t turn up, they would pick me up from my house. My lawyer still advised me not to go, but I felt like I had to confront the police, especially since they threatened to pick me up from my house. On May 20th , at around 11:00 AM, I went to the Vijayanagar police station where Spoorthy’s relatives started screaming at me. Even the police was irritated at me as I hadn’t gone to the station for 2 days even after numerous calls. They started yelling at me and the interrogation went on for 2 to 3 hours. My answer remained that I was unaware of where Spoorthy was; I remained firm on my statement that we had no contact since February. Many conversations and heated arguments later, her family and the police threatened to imprison me if I didn’t tell them the truth.

My mom had been continuously calling my lawyer. And at the moment that I was supposed to go to jail, he came and asked them on what basis they were arresting me. He also told them that he had some news about Spoorthy, and that her lawyer was on the way. He said that she was fine and was with them at ALF. As soon as both our lawyers came, the police changed their tone in a fraction of seconds. They took a statement from me and let me go.

Spoorthy’s lawyer said that she was fine and was in their custody, and that she wanted to lead her life on her own as she faced too much mental and physical harassment from her family. The lawyer told us that we shouldn’t meet each other or stay with each other for a year or so. But we could not be away from each other and starting living together. After I came home, I called Spoorthy and told her every bit of what went down at the station. I said that things would be fine and that she just needed to be strong as she would be called for interrogation very soon. From May 20th to May 25th, Spoorthy and her lawyers met every police official like Commissioner, ACP, DCP, and finally the Vijayanagar police sub inspector and gave them the statement.

Spoorthy and her team of lawyers and NGO worker took her statement along with video and selfie at the last stop to confirm that she was fine and that it was Spoorthy’s will and wish to leave her family and stay separately. So, hopefully all police issues were closed there. I’m eternally grateful to ALF and the people who were there for us the whole time.

After that, we could not be without each other. We figured that it wouldn’t be safe to stay together so soon. So for a couple of days, we stayed in hotels after work. During weekends we would go out of Bangalore so that we wouldn’t get into any trouble with family members. My main responsibility at that time was to get Spoorthy a job. She got one at Go.zefo. We then started living together at our house with love but also a bit of fear as we had no clue when her parents could barge in with someone as we had no one to support us from the LGBT community. Thing went on well for a few days. We were confident about our love and were ready to face any situation. We had accepted that the worst that could happen after the police case was that they might go to the media or- at the absolute worst- kill me.

After a few days, I got a threatening letter at my office. It said that they would break my hands and legs, and make my life miserable, and that I would not be able to stand my whole life. They probably thought that I would file a police complaint. I did no such thing as according to me, any parent would have done the same thing; they’ve raised their child for so long and the love for them will make them do so. Coincidentally around the same time, the break wire of my bike got jammed and I met with a minor accident. We had other plans after the accident. We went to Mysore to take blessings of God who had kept us strong to fight all these situations.

Sometime later, I started getting calls from Mahila Sahayavani that there was a complaint against me for kidnapping somebody’s daughter. I told them that this case was filed by Spoorthy’s parents two months ago, and that it was proven to not be a kidnapping. I also said that she didn’t want to stay at her parents’ house and that she wanted to do something of her own now. They continued to call me even after this, and I didn’t respond to them. After a few days, I started getting calls from newspaper agencies who said that they were making it public. They started threatening to portray me in a wrong way and bring shame to me and my family if I didn’t come to their forum and give them a statement.

I was anxious about what would happen next. On the morning of July 5th, our lawyers and my colleagues started called me and told me that our story had come on the front page of Bangalore Mirror (local newspaper) with the headline All hell breaks loose as two women wed in Koramangala.Majority of the story was false, and they had done this without our permission. Local Kannada News ‘PUBLIC TV’ took our photos from our Facebook, edited them, and started portraying us in a wrong light, and started speaking ill of our love. When their thinking is wrong about love, how can our love be wrong. At that time it was so new to me; I had no idea what to do. All of a sudden, for the first time, I started getting calls from LGBT Community people who we were trying to reach out to from so long ago. They took us in and let us stay at their place. Because of the media attention, Spoorthy was forced to leave her job. When the call came from her office, we were in front of lawyers and NGO people at that particular time. They helped us a lot and called all media agencies. As a token of apology, Bangalore Mirror published an article ‘They called at 11 am and asked if I wanted to continue in my job. By 5.30 pm, they had asked me to leave’ . After this, we stayed hotels for a few days and started searching for a new house. We found one within a day or two. We shifted all our belongings as I wanted to stay with love and dignity as love is not a crime.

To this day, I have never hid our relationship in front of anyone. I consider Spoorthy my better half and whenever I introduce her to my friends, I introduce her as the same. At the companies we work for, we always inform them before that we are both married to each other; that I am married to a girl and that it’s up to them if they have to take us in their organisation. I guess for a job, skills and talent are required and not your love life. We never thought that our love was wrong. We worship our love and always make it a point to stand for each other in any situation. To be very frank, even unknown people who see us ask, if by any chance we are a couple as they see love in our eyes and the care we have for each other. We just want to tell everyone that if they take a stand for their love in the initial days of a problem, and just trust their love, they will have the courage to face any problem even in the future. Because when love is true, it is always worth to stand for it, and we are really happy with each other today.

We just want to make everyone understand that “Love is just Love” and that it’s not a crime. Love is beyond gender. You need two people to love each other, and not gender.

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Sindhur

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